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MAD may be well past its 1960s heyday, but every once in a while the magazine shows that it’s still capable of surprising us with political satire and social commentary.
The most recent reminder is MAD‘s timely take of Norman Rockwell’s famous 1958 painting “The Runaway,” which memorably depicts a kindly state trooper talking to a little boy at a diner counter. In the magazine’s update, influenced by events in Ferguson, Missouri, and the subsequent debate about the militarization of local police forces, the officer isn’t the reassuring presence he might have once been.
Conventions | An advocate for the homeless claims San Diego police are harassing homeless people to keep them away from downtown during Comic-Con International. The mayor and police chief deny the accusation and say officers are simply doing outreach, but at least one homeless man has been given a “stay away” order. Comic-Con begins Wednesday with Preview Night. [ABC 10 News]
Digital comics | Following the news that the comics market was estimated at $850 million in 2013, of which $90 million was digital, George Gene Gustines looks at a couple of different digital models, including Thrillbent’s new subscription service and Panel Syndicate, Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin’s name-your-own-price approach. [The New York Times]
Warner Bros. Television and TV Guide have teamed for the fourth consecutive year to produce a Comic-Con International special edition of the magazine, this time with a set of four flip covers that include Andy Kubert’s renditions of Superman and Batman.
The 88-page issue, which also boasts covers featuring The CW series Arrow, The Vampire Diaries and its new spinoff The Originals, and Supernatural, includes an overview of the 75-year history of the Man of Steel, an exclusive Arrow comic from DC Comics and the show’s executive producer Marc Guggenheim, a sneak peek at the DC Universe Original Animated Movie Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, and a look at Warner Bros. Animation series MAD, The Looney Tunes Show, Teen Titans Go! and Beware the Batman.
The special edition, which goes on sale July 17, will be available for free during Comic-Con at the Warner Bros. booth (#4545). You can see all of the covers below.
Legal | EC Comics writer and editor Al Feldstein and the estate of Mad editor and artist Harvey Kurtzman have taken steps to reclaim the copyright to their early work under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976 (the same provision invoked by the heirs of Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster). Feldstein has already reached an agreement with the William M. Gaines Agency, which holds the rights to Tales from the Crypt and other classic EC comics of the 1950s; the deal will bring him a small amount of money and the freedom to use the art any way he wants in his autobiography. Kurtzman’s people are in the early stages of negotiations with Warner Bros./DC Comics, which holds the rights to Mad magazine. [The Comics Journal]
Graphic novels | BookScan’s Top 20 graphic novels list for October makes for strange bedfellows, with The Walking Dead Compendium Two at No. 1, Chris Ware’s Building Stories at No. 2, and the third volume of Gene Yang’s Avatar: The Last Airbender at No. 3. It’s an interestingly mixed list, with the usual sprinkling of manga (Sailor Moon, Naruto, Bleach), a volume of Stephan Pastis’ Pearls Before Swine compilations, and four more volumes of The Walking Dead. And bringing up the rear, at #20, the perennial Watchmen. [ICv2]
by Harvey Kurtzman, Jack Davis, Will Elder, Al Jaffee and Arnold Roth
Fantagraphics Books, 476 pages, $60.
It’s very easy with a book of this nature to engage in wild hyperbole. “The most important publishing project of the year! No, the decade!” one wants to type. “There won’t be a better collection out this year!” “If I had to choose between breathing and reading this book, I’d choose the latter!!” “You’re a fool if you don’t buy this book, you hear me? A fool!”
And yet, how else to talk about a project of this nature, a large collection of work featuring some of the most stellar cartoonists of their day, originally edited by one of the most important and influential humorists (and I really don’t think this is hyperbole here — I’d put him up there with Richard Pryor in terms of significance) of the 20th century? Regardless of the bad economy, it’s got to say something incredibly positive about the current state of the industry that Fantagraphics sees publishing a book this massive and to a certain extent obscure as a viable financial venture.
OK, so I was getting a bit tired of saving up all the good art links and stuff until Friday, so I’ve decided to start to piecemeal it out over the week in short posts like these. Freaky Friday will still be around (assuming folks enjoy it) but will lean more towards the oddball and weird than the obligatory pretty art post.
All clear? Good. Moving on …
Mike Lynch shares some great original art from an old Mad magazine piece, which invited comic strip artists like Charles Schulz and Mort Walker to try their hand at “what they’d really like to do.” I actually remember this bit, but only because it was reprinted in one of those later “Super Specials.”