BEST BETS: "Jessica Jones," "Big Trouble/Escape from New York" & More October 2016 Highlights
Digital comics | So, your $3.99 comic comes bundled with a download code for a free digital copy, but you’re strictly a paper person. What to do? Todd Allen has a fascinating article about the secondary market in unused download codes, not just the fact that they are being sold fairly openly but also what that market tells us about the true value of comics: “Outside of eBay it’s relatively easy to use Google to find somewhere to swap or purchase Ultraviolet codes. The Home Theater Forum’s classified ad section has codes sprinkled in, with a low $2-$3 looking like a common price. Codes are also easy to find on Reddit, including a dedicated subreddit, though codes on Reddit are swapped or given away, not sold.” [The Next Web]
Conventions| Small Press Expo announced its first round of guests for the Sept.14-15 convention: Seth, Gary Panter, Lisa Hanawalt, Gene Yang and Frank Santoro. [SPX]
Sales | Sales of comic books and graphic novels to comic books stores through Diamond Comic Distributors increased 27.5 percent in January compared to the same month in 2011. Comics were up 32 percent while graphic novels were up 18 percent compared to 2011. DC Comics dominated all 10 spots at the top of the chart, with Justice League #5 coming in at No. 1. Batman: Through the Looking Glass was the top graphic novel for the month. [ICv2]
Passings | British comics artist Mike White, who illustrated Alan Moore’s The Twisted Man and numerous other stories for 2000AD, Lion, Valiant, Action and Score ‘n’ Roar, has passed away after a long illness. [Blimey!]
Publishing | Because the world demanded it, apparently, Random House plans to publish e-books of all the collected editions of Garfield newspaper comics. [Down the Tubes]
Lisa Hanawalt’s illustrated review of Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-bait World War I drama War Horse has a lot in common with Pablo Picasso’s immortal masterpiece Guernica. They’re both an example of their artists at the peak of their powers. They’re both an artistic response to a traumatizing early 20th-century military conflict. They both prominently feature horses. And they both contain, like, subliminal messages of skulls and shit. Three of those four statements are true — to find out which, read the review.
You might be accustomed to seeing the comics of Matt Furie and Lisa Hanawalt in avant-garde anthologies like Kramers Ergot and Thickness, or in their solo humor series from Pigeon Press Boy’s Club and I Want You, or in the stylishly sleazy pages of Vice magazine. But now you can share your love of these modern masters of anthropomorphic mayhem with your little ones!
Sandy Bilus of I Love Rob Liefeld notes that McSweeney’s, the literary magazine-slash-publisher with a very comics-friendly track record historically, has officially launched a subscription plan for its new children’s imprint McMullens with books by Furie and Hanawalt. Furie’s The Night Riders chronicles the bike-based adventures of a frog and mouse on a nocturnal journey, while Hanwalt’s Benny’s Brigade follows “the world’s smallest, chattiest, and most gentlemanly walrus” as he attempts to find his way home with the help of two little girls and three brave slugs. Presumably these books will be as beautifully drawn as any of Furie and Hanawalt’s comics, but with far fewer dirty jokes.
The books retail for $17.95 each, but are the launch titles for a McMullens subscription package that will get you eight books for $80 total, including shipping. Not a bad deal at all.
The featured guests for the third annual Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival have been announced, and whoo boy, it’s quite a line-up. And it runs the gamut, too: MAD Magazine legend Jack Davis, book-design kingpin Chip Kidd, The Diary of a Teenage Girl author Phoebe Gloeckner, Asterios Polyp/Batman Year One artist David Mazzucchelli, Providence artcomix vets CF and Brian Ralph, grossout-humor queen Lisa Hanawalt, and minicomics patriarch John Porcellino. An opportunity to encounter Gloeckner live and in person is not to be squandered, folks, and that’s just for starters.
Organized by publisher PictureBox Inc., retailer Desert Island, and scholar Bill Kartalopoulos, this year’s BCGF will take place on Saturday, December 3 from noon to nine at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, with programming hosted at the nearby Union Pool. If the last two years are any indication, it’s the alternative comics show to beat.
What is it with Lisa Hanawalt and the use of automobiles for untoward purposes? Last week she drew a review of Nicholas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling’s neon-noir crime flick Drive, and now she’s selling an original art piece entitled “Car Wreck Totem Pole.” Originally created for the (very comics-friendly) Panorama issue of McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, the watercolor illustration was inspired by Crash, author J.G. Ballard’s novel about accident victims who’ve become sexually fixated on car crashes. (You may also recall director David Cronenberg’s kinky film adaptation, starring James Spader at his James Spaderest.) It’s on sale for $220 at Hanawalt’s new online store. Where does she go from here — The Road Warrior, Death Race 2000, Vanishing Point, Duel, Cars, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Herbie the Love Bug? The possibilities are endless and/or unleaded.
And hey, while we’re on a Ballard kick, it’s never a bad time to check out The Diary of a Teenage Girl author Phoebe Gloeckner’s extravagantly NSFW illustrations for Ballard’s The Atrocity Exhibition — well, unless you’re at work, in which case it’s a very bad time to do so. There’s also this examination of Ballard’s book covers by Simon Sellers and Rick McGrath, featuring striking from artists such as Salvador Dali, Chip Kidd, Max Ernst, David Pelham, Bill Botten, and Chris Foss. Finally, this is a bit farther afield from comics, but the excellent BBC4 rockumentary Synth Britannia, which is now available in its entirety on YouTube, spends some time tracing Ballard’s influence on early synthesizer-heavy experimental and synthpop acts The Human League, The Normal, John Foxx, and Gary Numan. Buckle up!
Look, I have a baby. The only movies I have a chance to watch air on Saturday afternoons on Lifetime. (Odd Girl Out is the best.) But Lisa Hanawalt has provided one of her patented “illustrated responses” to Drive, the instant cult-classic crime film starring Ryan Gosling as … I dunno, someone many people find attractive, I’ll bet. I haven’t seen the movie, and so I’m not reading the review, in hopes that I can eventually see it, perhaps if Lifetime acquires the broadcast rights. But don’t let that stop you.
It’s New York Fashion Week, that time of year when labels and designers show off their wares for the upcoming spring season, and Project Runway starts getting really good. What better way to mark the occasion than with Lisa Hanawalt’s painstakingly detailed drawings of animals wearing bizarre hats for the Hairpin? Let’s face it, a poodle wearing a pillbox with a chia pet on top really isn’t any odder than the actual headgear sported by any number of people at the VMAs or William & Kate’s wedding, so Hanawalt really may have a future as a cutting-edge haberdasher ahead of her.
With the San Diego Comic-Con just days behind us, I guess there’s enough nerd culture in the air to permeate the brains even of comics folk who don’t make a living off capes and cowls. How else to explain the near simultaneous salutes to science-fiction cinema from two of alternative comics’ most talented draftspeople, Dustin Harbin and Lisa Hanwalt?
First up, Diary cartoonist and Casanova letterer Dustin Harbin brings us “The Faces of RoboCop,” a 16-panel portrait of the cast of Paul Verhoeven’s Detroit-dystopia sci-fi satire. I’m particularly fond of “Psycho That ’70s Dad,” but you’ll have to click the link to see him. I’d buy that for a dollar! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)
Next, I Want You cartoonist and Pizza Island member Lisa Hanawalt reviews Michael Bay’s Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon in words and pictures. It’s a harrowing, heartbreaking, ultimately uplifting tale of human perseverance in the face of adversity and atrocity — I’m talking about the review, not the movie. (Oh God, definitely not the movie.) It also features the best portrait of Rosie Huntington-Whitley ever drawn. Chewy indeed!
New York Magazine has a slideshow up this week about Pizza Island, the Greenpoint, Brooklyn, studio where six comics creators make the magic happen.
The slideshow includes self-portraits of Julia Wertz (Fart Party, Drinking at the Movies), Kate Beaton (Hark, A Vagrant) Lisa Hanawalt (I Want You), Sarah Glidden (How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less) Domitille Collardey (whose works are mostly in French), and Meredith Gran (Octopus Pie) as well as comments on each one by a co-worker. (It was Lisa and Domitille who commented on that Frank Quitely piece, so it’s interesting to contrast their self-portraits with his version of a woman cartoonist.)
There’s a whole lot of talent working in that small space, and if you’re fortunate enough to be going to MoCCA, be sure to check out their panel, which will feature all six. If you’re not, then head on over to the Pizza Island blog, where, at the moment, everyone is showing off their work spaces and discussing the quirks of their desktops.
“Something about this poster really rubs me the wrong way (and it ain’t just the daisy dukes wedgie). People can draw whatever they want and Frank Quietly is a great artist, but honestly this makes me want to avoid that event like the plague.”—Lisa Hanawalt
“I think if this flyer wasn’t representing a girl cartoonist I would not be annoyed like I am now. I’m just mildly annoyed. Also it made me laugh a lot because the women cartoonists I know are way sexier than that.”—Domatille Collardey
The cartoonists behind such books as I Want You and What Had Happened Was… respectively take issue on their Twitter accounts with the promotional art for a rare stateside appearance by Batman and Robin artist Frank Quitely tomorrow night, the proceeds from which will be donated to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Please note that neither person is saying it’s the worst thing in the world or that Quitely’s some kind of creep, just that it’s an odd and off-putting choice of image for the event. I was taken aback by it myself, and I say that as someone who admires Quitely’s art generally and his sexy-ish art specifically. Maybe it’s the visible underwear, giving me flashbacks to every superhero artist who’s drawn some poor woman’s thong sticking out of her jeans? Or maybe, as Collardey argues, it has something to do with the fact that the woman in question is, apparently, a cartoonist herself? This also makes me wonder how much our reaction to a given image has to do with who made it. If this had been done by, say, Greg Horn, would I be at all tempted to defend it? Does the quality of the artist’s overall body of work, or even of his depictions of women in particular aside from this one image, factor into the equation? Am I using rhetorical questions in order to avoid taking a coherent position?
Whoa. These are pretty much the last official promotional items I ever expected to see, but man am I ever glad I’m seeing them: Alternative-comics creators Jordan Crane, Lisa Hanawalt, Johnny Ryan, and Jon Vermilyea have each created a Walking Dead print. Made to look like shooting-range practice targets, the prints tie in with Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard (and Tony Moore)’s series, the television adaptation of which will make its debut on AMC this Halloween. Each print is signed by the artist and by Kirkman himself, emblazoned with the “Grant County, Georgia Law Enforcement and Public Safety” logo, limited to a run of 100, and priced to sell at $40. Best of all, each artist worked in his or her own inimitable style: Crane’s features linework so impeccable it actually becomes somewhat menacing itself, Ryan’s is spectacularly gross and upsetting, Vermilyea’s is a riot of squiggly detail, and Hanawalt’s has a cat’s head instead of a human’s.
The prints were curated by L.A.’s Secret Headquarters. Click here to see them all and buy them, but remember: If you end up using them for target practice, headshots only!
(Hat tip: David Paggi)
Or maybe that headline needs a question mark instead of an exclamation point — I’m not exactly sure, and publisher Alvin Buenaventura is letting the picture at right speak for him. But, yes, over on the Blog Flume group blog, Buenaventura posted the image, announcing the launch of Pigeon Press with the latest installment in two of the late, lamented Buenaventura Press’s comic series, Matt Furie’s Boy’s Club #4 and Lisa Hanawalt’s I Want You #2.
It was with heavy heart that we reported the closing of Buenaventura Press back in June after several months in limbo, owing to what Buenaventura described a single knockout financial-legal blow. In addition to comics by Furie, Hanawalt, Ted May, and Eric Haven, BP also released high-end prints, the acclaimed critical publication Comic Art, and recent volumes of Sammy Harkham’s hugely influential anthology series Kramers Ergot. It remains to be seen just how much of a continuation of that work Pigeon Press constitutes, but it’s certainly good to see Boy’s Club and I Want You back in the game at the very least.
On Friday, publisher Alvin Buenaventura announced he had shut down his imprint Buenaventura Press as of this past January, due to a single knockout legal/financial blow. Publicly available details are few, in keeping with the private way the move has been handled for the past six months. But comics creators and critics en masse are mourning BP’s demise and reading the tea leaves as to where its publisher, artists, and entire brand of comics will land.
Robot 6 reached out to several of the artists published by Buenaventura, as well as a few of his fellow publishers, for their reaction:
Working with Alvin over the years has been really amazing. He has introduced me to a lot of magical and influential artists and hooked me up with tons of inspiring and perverted books. His place has awesome shit scattered all over- mountains of crazy books, toys, memorabilia, gigantic figures, artwork- it’s like a bomb went off. Now that he’ll be taking a break from the business we’ll finally have more time to play Rock Band and trip out on weird TV shows.
–Matt Furie, writer/artist, Boy’s Club
“Bad Romance” yes! Bad comics no! Making its debut at last weekend’s Toronto Comic Arts Festival, Prison for Bitches is a no-holds-barred fanzine tribute to Lady Gaga. Taking its name from a segment in Gaga and Beyoncé’s instant-classic “Telephone” video and edited by Same Hat!’s Ryan Sands and newly minted Doug Wright Award winner Michael DeForge, the ‘zine contains artistic tributes to Lady Gaga from a host of underground art and comics stalwarts and up-and-comers, including Johnny Ryan, Michael Kupperman, Hellen Jo, Lisa Hanawalt, and Nick Gazin.
The book’s slated to go on sale online today; in the meantime, click the link for sample spreads, and click here for DeForge’s strip, which foresees another 86 years of world domination by the Haus of Gaga. (And click here for previous Robot 6/Gaga goodness.) Don’t be the last little monster on your block to get a copy!