Wimbledon Green creator Seth has joined in the call to boycott Marvel following the recent court ruling that Jack Kirby’s heirs have no claim to the characters he co-created for the publisher, saying, “I hope it catches fire and spreads. The corporation badly needs to be shamed into doing the right thing.”
Veteran artist and educator Stephen R. Bissette asked fans late last month to stop buying all “Kirby-derived” Marvel products in an effort to pressure the company to better credit the artist and fairly compensate his family for the properties he helped to create. Seth, like Bissette, takes particular issue with Marvel’s characterization of Kirby’s contributions, and the supporting testimony offered by Stan Lee, Roy Thomas and others.
“The corporate lie about Kirby’s role in the creation of all those characters is abhorrent,” Seth writes on his blog. “It’s a bold faced lie. Everyone knows it’s a lie. No one is fooled. Everyone lying for the company should be ashamed. Stan Lee should be ashamed. What the Marvel corporation is doing might be legal but it certainly isn’t right.”
Seth concedes a boycott isn’t a sacrifice on his part — he’s never worked for the publisher and can’t recall the last Marvel product he bought — but encourages others to “refrain from supporting the corporation until some form of justice is brought forth for Mr. Kirby.”
(via The Comics Reporter)
Drawn and Quarterly released Chester Brown’s Paying For It: A Comic-Strip Memoir of Being a John in May. It was one of the more eagerly anticipated books of the year, given the skill and reputation of Brown, and it ended up being one of the most reviewed and most discussed graphic novels of the year (so far).
The subject matter certainly didn’t hurt coverage any, in fact it’s colorful and controversial nature drove a lot of coverage: Brown meticulously chronicles every time he patronized a prostitute between 1996 and 2003, in the process formulating and defending a particular point-of-view regarding the evils of romantic love and relationships and the relative virtues of paying for sex.
Between the first time I read it and the second time I read it (it’s that kind of book), I read somewhere around 50 million reviews of it and articles about it and Brown and his position. Two months after release, and all that ink and virtual ink spilled over it, a formal review from me seems kind of superfluous at this point.
Instead, here are a few thoughts about the book…
1.) The book opens with the cartoonist breaking up with his live-in girlfriend…sort of. She announces that she thinks she’s falling in love with someone else, would like to try dating that person. Brown gives his blessing, and they decide to keep living together and see where it goes.
Cut to a scene of Brown walking down the street with the little comics avatars of his fellow Canadian cartoonists Seth (Wimbledon Green, Palookaville) and Joe Matt (Spent, Peepshow).
The pair have fairly big roles in the story—Dwight Garner refereed to them as a “wise-guy geek chorus” in his New York Times book review—and when I saw their first appearance, I felt a sudden surge of a mixture of surprise, glee, excitement, recognition and comfort.
I imagine it must be something like what little boys must have felt like reading Marvel Comics in the 1960s, and seeing Spider-Man sudden swing into a Fantastic Four comic, or Daredevil or Dr. Strange bumping into one another on their shared streets of New York City.
There’s something undeniably cool about seeing comic book characters appear where you don’t expect them, or interacting with one another, although it’s a coolness that has been diluted to the point it probably doesn’t even register in superhero comics anymore, given that Superman started playing sports with Batman and Robin back in 1941, and the modern Big Two super-universes are in constant states of crossover (And hell, Archie can meet the Punisher or president or Kiss, and Mr. Spock run into Wolverine or Cosmic Boy).
As cartoonists who are also characters in other comics, Seth and Joe Matt have a peculiar status and, in this narrative, it was the Canadian art memoir comics equivalent of, I don’t know, seeing Johnny Storm and Bobby Drake in a Spider-Man arc, only you’re seeing it for the first time.
The book even rewards familiarity with these characters and their previous adventures, like in a scene where Brown brings up prostitute review message boards, and the Matt character says it’s too disturbing to which Brown replies “How can this be disturbing for someone who watches porn almost 24 hours a day?”
Which isn’t just a quip, of course—it’s practically the plot of Matt’s memoir Spent.
Aside from the crossover thrill, it’s worth noting that the scenes with the other cartoonists are among the most enjoyable to read in the book, because they tend to be the most funny; Brown shows himself debating with himself and friends and even some of the prostitutes (to some extent) about the ethics and morality of prostitution and love, sex and relationships in general, but he’s apparently most comfortable around his friend cartoonists, so those exchanges tend to be the most honest and amusing. Continue Reading »
Publishing | Charlaine Harris, author of the “Sookie Stackhouse” novels on which HBO’s True Blood is based, says that after she finishes the last two “Sookie” books, she plans to work on a graphic novel with Christopher Golden. “I’m very excited about that. It’s called Cemetery Girl with Christopher Golden, and it’s a very exciting opportunity.” Harris had mentioned wanting to do a novel called Cemetery Girl back in 2009, about “a girl raised by ghosts in a cemetery,” but put it on hold when she found out the plot was similar to Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book.
Based on the description in the news report, it sounds like the story has been tweaked, as it says the graphic novel “centers on a woman who finds herself living in a cemetery with no memory of her past but a clear sense of a mysterious threat hanging over her.” This isn’t the first time Harris’ characters have found their way into comics, as IDW publishes comics based on HBO’s True Blood, and an adaptation of her Grave Sight novels has been published by Dynamite. [NBC San Diego]
Publishing | Former Marvel Comics editor and Transformers writer John Barber has joined IDW Publishing as a senior editor. IDW also announced the promotion of Tom Waltz to the company’s first senior staff writer position, in addition to his duties as editor, and the expansion of the company’s book department with longtime IDW employee Alonzo Simon becoming an assistant editor. [press release]
The Toronto Comic Arts Festival, or TCAF, is coming up May 7-8, and to promote it some friends of the organizers have created this nifty video featuring many of Toronto’s talented comics folks — Chester Brown, Michael Comeau, Steve Charles Manale, Vicki Nerino, Michael Cho, Michael DeForge, Seth, Fiona Smyth and Britt Wilson.
Comics College is a monthly feature where we provide an introductory guide to some of the comics medium’s most important auteurs and offer our best educated suggestions on how to become familiar with their body of work.
This month we’re going to take a look at the bibliography of the Canadian cartoonist called Gregory Gallant, better known to you and me as simply Seth.
Publishing | Diamond’s December numbers for sales in comics shops are out, and the picture is grim. Diamond reports that it sold 89,985 copies of the top selling single-issue comic, Batman: The Dark Knight #1—the lowest number for the month’s top seller since ICv2 started tracking the numbers in 2001. In its more detailed dollar analysis, Diamond sees comics sales down and graphic novel sales up for a slight overall increase, both in December and in the last quarter of 2010 as a whole. [ICv2]
Publishing | Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada announced that Nick Lowe has been promoted to senior editor. Lowe edits Uncanny X-Men, Generation Hope and New Mutants, among other titles. [Comic Book Resources]
Publishing | Douglas Wolk boils down the 2010 comics sales data into some easily digested bullet points, for the benefit of those who don’t like to spend all day squinting at sales charts. [Techland]
Pop culture | Apparently inspired by Tiger Mask, a character from a manga popular in the 1960s, people in Japan have been quietly dropping off gifts for children in orphanages and other institutions. [Inquirer.net]
Digital comics | Johanna Draper Carlson tries out the comiXology app for the Android OS and is somewhat underwhelmed. [Comics Worth Reading]
Before Strange Tales, before Bizarro, before those pages in Ultimate Marvel Team-Up that Craig Thompson drew, before the past decade’s worth of alternative comics artists taking a crack at the spandex set, there was Coober Skeber 2. Published by Tom Devlin, who would go on to launch the hugely influential (if never quite financially successful) Highwater Books imprint, this anthology’s so-called “Marvel Benefit Issue” contained a galaxy of altcomix stars both famous (that’s a Seth cover above) and obscure taking on the heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe.
The book hit an unsuspecting Comic-Con International in 1997, as the ailing comics giant was cape-deep in bankruptcy. And though the “benefit” angle was dubious, since the book was handed out for free, the impact on readers who’d never seen the likes of future underground legends like Mat Brinkman or Ron Regé Jr. before, let alone working with characters like Spider-Man, was substantial.
The good folks at Comics Comics have posted the story behind the book. Here’s a snippet:
Check out Seth’s latest illustration project, the cover to Criterion Collection’s edition of the classic Leo McCarey film Make Way for Tomorrow. I would imagine the interior booklet is just as superbly designed.
Man, that’s a knockout, huh? Feast your eyes on George Sprott author (and all-around Dapper Dan) Seth’s design for Nancy, Vol. 2, the forthcoming installment of Drawn & Quarterly’s gorgeous John Stanley Library.
The image hails from this post by D&Q’s Rebecca Rosen, which you really ought to read if the cult of Nancy has been a bit inscrutable to you like it has been to me. Just for example, the above image is a Seth drawing … which graces a book containing the adventures of a character created by, and best known through the work of, Ernie Bushmiller … but D&Q’s Nancy books collect John Stanley’s run on the character from her comic books, as opposed to Bushmiller’s newspaper strips … but those books were actually drawn by Dan Gormley, working off Stanley’s storyboard-format scripts. Phew! And then there’s the role that Mark Newgarden’s abstractified tribute to Bushmiller’s Nancy, “Love’s Savage Fury,” played in the character’s popularity with cartoonists…and ditto Newgarden and Paul Karasik’s landmark essay “How to Read Nancy” … ah, let Rebecca explain it to you, and why it all matters.
Lately, acclaimed cartoonist Seth has mostly been busy delighting us with his designs for Drawn & Quarterly’s John Stanley Library. But with Halloween only a day away, the artist behind George Sprott and Wimbledon Green has decided to spook us instead. Seth has provided illustrations for a series of New York City ghost stories, reported by writer Lizzy Ratner in The New York Times. Created in ghostly blue and white, they’re like the artiest, most tastefully drawn episode of Ghost Hunters ever.
(Via Peggy Burns at the D&Q blog.)
The nattily dressed cartoonist talks about Doug Wright and his own book, George Sprott in this interview for Q TV. Is it just me or should Steve Buscemi play Seth in the great alt-comix biopic?
Cartoonist Seth has designed a float for the Niagara Wine Festival Parade featuring the Wine King of Dominion City, a fictional city created by the Canadian artist. Details on where and when you can see it in the Niagara area can be found at the link.
Welcome to another round of What Are You Reading. Our guest this week is blogger, critic, Comics Comics editor and expectant dad Tim Hodler. To find out what Mr. Hodler and the rest of us are reading this week, click on the link below. And be sure to let us know what you’re currently reading in the comments section.
George Sprott: 1894-1975
Drawn and Quarterly, 96 pages, $24.95.
My father in law passed away earlier this year. He was born in 1929, the son of immigrants, a first-generation American. I often wonder what it was like for him, watching his parents’ culture and way of life fade away as he grew up and then watching his own culture and everything he spent his adulthood embracing all but completely eradicated as he passed into old age.
That may be the great curse of the 20th century. Technology and the world has changed so rapidly that we often had little time to turn around and miss whatever was behind us before it got steamrolled over to make room for the new mini-mall. Not that there weren’t things that needed paving over, mind you, just that we rarely had time to reflect.
Welcome to What Are You Reading. Our special guest this week is PictureBox publisher, Art Out of Time author and all-around top dog Dan Nadel.
Remember, we want to know what you’re reading as well, so feel free to share what comics you’ve been enjoying (or haven’t as the case may be) in the comments section.
And now, here what we’re reading …