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Felix Dennis, defendant in Rupert Bear obscenity case, dies

Felix Dennis

Felix Dennis

Felix Dennis, who passed away this week at age 67, was the founder of a publishing empire that included the men’s magazine Maxim and the news magazine The Week, but he also has a place in comics history as one of the defendants in a famous U.K. obscenity trial that drew support of many prominent figures of the time, from John Lennon to Germaine Greer.

Dennis was one of the editors of the British satire magazine Oz, which published a mix of prose, art, poetry and comics. Stung by criticism that they were out of touch with youth, the editors in 1970 placed a notice in the magazine inviting schoolchildren to contribute to a special issue. About 20 teenagers came to London, singly and in groups, to create and edit a special “Schoolkids” issue. (One of those students, Charles Shaar Murray, described the experience 30 years later, and another contributor, David Wills, has posted the full issue online.) Although the “Schoolkids issue” was created by teenagers, it wasn’t necessarily created for them. On the other hand, teenagers were obviously already reading the magazine, as that’s where the call for contributions appeared.

(Warning: Potentially NSFW image below.)

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Give this man his Pulitzer already: Benjamin Marra’s The Incredibly Fantastic Adventures of Maureen Dowd

She specializes in zeitgeisty op-ed columns featuring schoolyard-taunt nicknames for the most powerful people in politics…and in MAYHEM! She’s New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, and she’s kicking ass and uncovering the crime of the century in The Incredibly Fantastic Adventures of Maureen Dowd, “A Work of Satire and Fiction” from Night Business and Gangsta Rap Posse author Benjamin Marra.

Told in Marra’s inimitable, po-faced ’80s-trash throwback style, TIFAoMD‘s preview pages show Dowd — winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary and recently named the eighth-biggest hack in journalism by Salon’s Alex Pareene — lounging in lingerie, battling burglars, flirting with fellow Times columnist Tom Friedman, and trying to blow the lid off the Valerie Plame scandal before her big date with George Clooney. And for a political junkie like me, it’s basically heaven. (Ordering info and preview page after the jump.)

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Everyone else is doing it, so why can’t we?

Barack the Barbarian

Barack the Barbarian

We’ve all heard countless times that President Barack Obama is a fan of Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian, and we saw where his affinity for the wall crawler led a few months ago. Now the other sword has dropped.

On Sunday, Comic Continuum posted Devil’s Due Publishing’s solicitations for June, and they include a comic titled Barack the Barbarian: Quest for the Treasure of Stimuli #1, written by Larry Hama. There’s also a poster offered of the cover to the first issue by Tim Seeley (pictured above). Here’s the full solicitation text:


Written by Larry Hama, art by various, covers by Tim Seeley and Rachelle Rosenberg.

From a far away land rises a mighty hero. The son of peasants from two different realms, the one known only as Barak protects the people of Hope Kingdom at all costs. Watch as he takes on the likes of Boosh the Dim, Red Sarah, and Cha-nee the Grim in this first issue!

But wait, there’s more!

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Talking Comics with Tim: GTAS’ Frankel & Britt


Garbage Time All-Stars (GTAS)

So with the Super Bowl settled some sports fans have moved on to other sports, such as following their favorite NBA team again. Or maybe they want to laugh about their least favorite basketball team. (Honestly, as an Atlanta native, I can say with great authority that for many years with the Hawks, all you could do is laugh . . . or cry). Why am I talking about sports at a comics blog? Well, this interview happens to focus upon the creators of the Garbage Time All-Stars (GTAS) webcomic: Josh Frankel and Mark Haven Britt.  As noted here: “Josh and Mark are the cartoonists responsible for the weekly NBA satire of Garbage Time All-Stars. Their comics first appear every week at the Yahoo! Sports Ball Don’t Lie blog, and are then archived here.” This week’s strip (posted on Wednesday morning) aims to welcome NFL fans back with a summary of the NBA season so far. Thanks to this interview, I now want to ask Tom Spurgeon if he thinks the 1979 addition of the three-pointer revitalized or ruined the game.

Tim O’Shea: How did the strip first come about?

Mark Haven Britt: Josh brought it up. He’s a huge NBA nerd. Even bigger than me. He knows the blogs, the sites and the community of NBA fandom. No one was really doing comics about the NBA and that he was sure that there was an audience for it. I thought it sounded like such fun. Josh is hilarious. I had to be a part of it so I weaseled my way into drawing it.

Josh Frankel: It’s true, I am an NBA nerd. I play fantasy basketball which requires total information gathering — stats, injury reports, local dispatches about coach moods — and it leads to long NBA rants in emails to friends. If I’m already doing all of that work I might as well try to get a comic out of it. Of my comics friends Mark is the guy I’ve always talked hoops with. It all fell into place.

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