Publishing | DC Comics will allocate the second printing of Justice League #1, with retailers receiving 32 percent of their orders, which now won’t ship until Sept. 21, the same day the third printing will be released. ICv2 reports some stores are concerned that potential new readers drawn in by the publisher’s promotional campaign for the New 52 won’t understand the two-week wait to pick up a copy of the comic. The website also runs down the list of cable television shows during which DC’s New 52 commercial is airing. [ICv2.com]
Passings | Comic Art Community reports that artist Dave Hoover passed away earlier this week. Hoover, who drew runs of Captain America and Starman in the 1990s, more recently worked on Zenescope’s Charmed comic. Before working in comics, Hoover was an animator, working on Flash Gordon, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, She-Ra: Princess of Power, The Super Friends, The Smurfs and many more in the 1970s and 1980s. [Comic Art Community]
The hardcover collection will be 6″ x 9″, the same dimensions as the Afrodisiac hardcover they published last year. It ships in early 2012, according to the publisher’s website.
Both AdHouse and Scioli will have signed and numbered American Barbarian prints at SPX, free with any purchase from Scioli or AdHouse. Other AdHouse guests this weekend include Jim Rugg, Lamar Abrams, Ethan Rilly and Sterling Hundley.
You know those ideas that you’d never think of yourself, but when you hear about them, they’re so brilliant and so obvious that you wonder how you couldn’t have thought of them? This is one of those ideas: The Library of Congress is creating The Small Press Expo Collection, with the intent of adding a gravely under-preserved area of comics to the permanent archives of the United States’ official storehouse of knowledge.
Spearheaded by SPX executive director and chairman of the board Warren Bernard, the Collection will serve multiple purposes. It will archive the ephemera of the Bethesda-based alt/indie comics convention itself, including the posters, badges, and programs created by cartoonists for the Expo, and even each year’s SPX website. It will also include every print comic nominated for the Expo’s festival award program, the Ignatz Awards. (For the time being, only the winner of the Best Webcomic Ignatz will be digitally archived.) And it will collect a selection of the comics that are available for purchase at each year’s show — a selection dominated by minicomics and other self-published works that are often difficult if not impossible to find once their tiny initial print runs have sold out.
As someone who’s gotten a lot out of SPX over the years, I think this is providing a vital service — a time capsule of the state of alternative and art comics, updated yearly. An Please read TCJ.com editor Dan Nadel’s entire interview with Bernard about this fascinating project. Then be sure to go to this year’s SPX next weekend, where my fellow Roboteer Chris Mautner and I will be hosting panels about the kinds of comics that will soon make the Library of Congress their permanent home.
The nominees for the 2011 Ignatz Awards have been announced on the website for the Small Press Expo. Awarded every year at SPX and named after the brick-throwing mouse from Krazy Kat, the Ignatzes are selected by an anonymous jury of five creators and voted on by attendees of the show. There’s nothing in comics quite like lugging around the actual, honest-to-god bricks awarded as trophies to the winners.
This year, cartoonists Michael DeForge, Edie Fake, and Sammy Harkham top the list of nominees with three nods apiece. DeForge’s Lose, the third issue of which was released this year by Koyama Press, earned him nominations for Outstanding Artist, Outstanding Series, and Outstanding Comic. Fake received an Outstanding Artist nomination for his Secret Acres graphic novel Gaylord Phoenix, which is also up for Outstanding Graphic Novel, while the the fifth issue of the series collected in the GN earned an Outstanding Mini-Comic nod. Harkham’s self-published Crickets is up for Outstanding Series thanks to its third issue, which is nominated for Outstanding Comic and contains “Blood of the Virgin,” nominated for Outstanding Story.
On the publishing side, Fantagraphics leads the pack with five nominations, split between Joe Daly (Outstanding Series, Dungeon Quest), Joyce Farmer (Outstanding Graphic Novel, Special Exits), Jaime Hernandez (Outstanding Story, “Browntown,” from Love and Rockets: New Stories #3), and Carol Tyler (Outstanding Artist and Outstanding Graphic Novel, You’ll Never Know, Vol. 2: Collateral Damage).
Secret Acres and Sparkplug tie for the silver with four nominations each. Secret Acres boasts the two nods for Fake’s Gaylord Phoenix graphic novel, plus another two for Joe Lambert’s I Will Bite You (Outstanding Artist and Outstanding Anthology or Collection). Sparkplug was tapped for editor Annie Murphy’s Gay Genius (Outstanding Anthology or Collection), Elijah Brubaker’s Reich (Outstanding Series), Dunja Jankovic’s Habitat #2 (Outstanding Comic), and Chris Cilla’s The Heavy Hand (Outstanding Graphic Novel).
Not to tip my own hand here, but as with the Harveys, it’s refreshing to see that Hernandez’s “Browntown” and Chris Ware’s Lint, arguably two of the best comics of all time, are nominated in the relevant categories for best comics of the year. You’d think you could take that for granted, but you’d be surprised! Moreover, DeForge, Fake, and Harkham’s books really are excellent, and Fantagraphics, Secret Acres, and Sparkplug are high-quality, gutsy publishers. Not a lot to be unhappy about with this list!
Hosted by cartoonist Dustin Harbin, the Ignatz Awards gala will take place on Saturday, September 10 at SPX in Bethesda, Maryland. See the entire slate of nominees after the jump.
Small Press Expo is still a few months away, but it’s never to early to start drumming up interest. That must be what the organizers had in mind when they released this year’s flyer, illustrated by none other than Craig Thompson, creator of the classic Blankets and the much-anticipated Habibi. Thompson will be a guest at the show, along Roz Chast, Chester Brown, Jim Woodring, and other artistic luminaries.
As is my wont, I made the one-day (the one day being Saturday) trek to Bethesda, Md., along with Joe “Jog” McCulloch for the annual Small Press Expo. Perhaps the Earth’s rotation is spinning ever faster, but this year’s show seemed a bit of a blur to me, even by previous years’ standards. Before I had a chance to say “Sorry, I’m tapped out and can’t buy your mini-comic,” it was after 6 p.m. and time to go home. Fortunately I took some pictures to help my fading memory keep the show alive in my tumescent brain. Or at least, I tried to take some pictures.
Publishing | Dark Horse Comics and Vanguard Productions have reached an agreement on who will publish Frank Frazetta’s White Indian comics after each company had reached separate agreements with different members of the Frazetta family. Dark Horse has taken The Classic Comics Archives Vol. 1: White Indian off their schedule. Vanguard will release the Complete Frazetta White Indian Collection, while Dark Horse will collect all the post-Frazetta material that featured the character. [ICv2]
Passings | Mark Evanier reports that Jerry Grandenetti, who began his career as an art assistant to Will Eisner on The Spirit, passed away Feb. 17. Grandenetti’s work appeared in Creepy, Eerie, House of Mystery, Prez and Championship Sports, among many other titles. [News from Me]
Pricing | Douglas Wolk considers the higher price of comics: “Twenty years ago, the price of a new mainstream comic book was 75 cents, about to make the leap to a dollar, the same percentage they’re currently increasing. For a $20 bill, you could get a stack of a couple dozen titles, with some interesting indie experiments thrown in.
“Since then, the price of comics has zoomed far ahead of the cost of living: $20 in 1990 is the equivalent of a bit over $33 now, while new mainstream comic books have more than quadrupled in price. And what happens when comics abruptly increase their cover prices by a third while adding little or no extra content–and the $20 standard gets you all of five 22-page comic books that take a few minutes apiece to read–is that that value proposition gets a lot less enticing.” [Techland]
I know I’d feel like a V.I.P. were I sporting a picture of this fine gentleman. For the complete set of badges that I Want You cartoonist Lisa Hanawalt designed for this weekend’s Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland — all of which feature animals wearing elaborate hats against some seriously neon-ass backgrounds — check out Hanwalt’s Flickr page.
(Via Ken Parille)
If you’re in the Baltimore area this weekend, you will have an embarrassment of riches to choose from: Small Press Expo, which is just what it sounds like, and Intervention, a brand-new webcomics convention, both will be going on. And you don’t even have to decide between them; as Intervention organizer Onezumi Hartsein points out, you can do both:
A lot of people are doing both since we are in walking distance from each other. SPX seems to focus more on print and close around 5 or 6pm. We are all Internet and have huge events running until at least 3 AM. It’s almost like the yin and yang of comics. Some fans have nicknamed this weekend, “Comicspalooza”
Guests at Intervention include Fred Gallagher, Molly Crabapple and Ben Bova (who was recently rather critical of comics … hmmm), and activities will include not only webcomics panels but a class on WordPress and ComicPress taught by the developer of ComicPress. SPX will feature Richard Thompson, Nate Powell and R. Sikoryak.
Still can’t choose? Intervention press agent Brian Lynch lays out the options this way for Wired’s Geek Dad blog:
“we’re the only con to ever host a two-night, Cthulhu-themed goth/industrial dance party, replete with cosplaying go-go dancers. Alternately, I hear that SPX has a very nice chocolate fountain …”
Small Press Expo happens next weekend, and NBM is ready with a nice lineup of creators and book launches, including the debut of The Broadcast, Eric Hobbs and Noel Tuazon’s suspenseful graphic novel about a group of neighbors and strangers weathering the panic caused by Orson Welles’s War of the Worlds broadcast.
In addition, there will be appearances by Brooke Allen (A Home for Mr. Easter), Greg Houston (Elephant Man), and Ted Rall, “fresh back from Afghanistan, if he’s still alive,” according to the blog. Nice to know they care!
The Small Press Expo, or SPX, has announced programming for their show on Saturday, Sept. 11-12 at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Bethesda, Md.
You can find the complete schedule after the jump, but I wanted to point out two panels that feature our own Chris Mautner:
Spotlight: James Sturm
1:30 | White Flint Amphitheater
James Sturm is the author of several comics and graphic novels including The Golem’s Mighty Swing, Unstable Molecules, James Sturm’s America, and Market Day. He is also the founder of the Center for Cartoon Studies, a unique two-year degree granting institution dedicated to cartooning. In this spotlight presentation, Sturm will discuss his work and answer questions from moderator Chris Mautner.
Critics’ Panel: How We Judge
3:00 | Brookside Conference Room
The accessibility of online publishing alongside traditional media has enabled a diversity of critical voices who are addressing the broad spectrum of comics being published today. A diverse group of critics will discuss the disparate bases for their own critical opinions, and the extent to which they regard different kinds of work in different ways. Join moderator Bill Kartalopoulos for a discussion with Johanna Draper Carlson (Comics Worth Reading), Gary Groth (The Comics Journal), Tim Hodler (Comics Comics), Chris Mautner (Robot 6), Joe McCulloch (Jog the Blog/Comics Comics), Ken Parille (Blog Flume), and Caroline Small (The Hooded Utilitarian).
Eddie Campbell, Alec: The Years Have Pants (A Life-Sized Omnibus) (Top Shelf Productions)
Al Columbia, Pim & Francie: The Golden Bear Days (Fantagraphics Books)
Mike Dawson, Troop 142 (self-published)
John Pham, Sublife #2 (Fantagraphics Books)
Sully, The Hipless Boy (Conundrum Press)
Outstanding Anthology or Collection
The Hipless Boy, Sully (Conundrum Press)
Lemon Styles, David King (Sparkplug Comic Books)
Masterpiece Comics, R. Sikoryak (Drawn & Quarterly)
Red Snow, Susumu Katsumata (Drawn & Quarterly)
Ten Thousand Things to Do, Jesse Reklaw (self-published)
Outstanding Graphic Novel
The Complete Jack Survives, Jerry Moriarty (Buentaventura Press)
Market Day, James Sturm (Drawn & Quarterly)
Pim & Francie: The Golden Bear Days, Al Columbia (Fantagraphics Books)
Summit of the Gods Vol. 1, Yumemakura Baku and Jiro Taniguchi (Fanfare/Ponent Mon)
Years of the Elephant, Willy Linthout (Fanfare/Ponent Mon)
“I can’t BELIEVE MoCCA’s table prices. They are drinking the same hubris Kool-Aid as SPX. Why are the charity shows always the cheekiest? I saw it and I was like *slaps head*. Although to be fair, I’ve never exhibited there, just been a crowded hot attendee. (I read some interviews with them after the super hot year, they were all like ‘hey listen, it’s summer, it gets hot.’) Not to mention how expensive NYC is in general! Just makes it easier to skip. Also today I got my acceptance letter (???) for APE, after applying 3 months ago. Due date for payment: 1 week from now. I had always heard about how well-run HeroesCon is from guests, but now I see why. Indie shows are organized like block parties. Except the kind of block parties where they charge you like $50 to come in, then charge you for beer too. ‘Dude it’s for charity!’ SPX is pretty fun, but TCAF is the best one easily–plus Toronto = my favorite city! Wait, please exclude TCAF from that mini-rant. TCAF is a dream, a dreammmm. Other shows take note! Okay back to lettering, sorry.”
—Cartoonist, Casanova letterer, and “nicest guy in comics” candidate Dustin Harbin has an uncharacteristically grumpy moment on Twitter over the prices that the MoCCA Art Festival is charging exhibitors, and the administration of indie/alt-comics shows generally (except TCAF, of course). It’s hard out there for a minicomics creator.
They’re gettin’ the band back together, man! Tom Spurgeon reports that members of Providence, Rhode Island’s late, great comics/music/art/noise/wtf collective Fort Thunder are planning a one-off reunion issue of their anthology title Monster, to debut at
the San Diego Comic-Con UPDATE: the Small Press Expo via exhibitor and Fort alumnus Brian Ralph. Though the Fort produced everything from installations to art-rock to bicycles, we comics folks know them best through the output of a line-up of cartoonists that included Ralph, Brian Chippendale, Mat Brinkman, Leif Goldberg, Jim Drain, and Paul Lyons. It’s tough to imagine the alternative-comics world without them anymore — their aesthetic heavily influenced or outright inspired entire publishing lines, including Highwater, PictureBox, Buenaventura, Bodega, and post-Tom Devlin Drawn & Quarterly — so for fans of comics’ outer limits, this is at least as exciting as the Faith No More reunion tour currently underway. Which is pretty damn exciting.
Origin story time: Back when I worked at Wizard, I was introduced to the concept of a themed sketchbook by coworkers like Ben Morse and David Paggi, whose Nova and Lockjaw sketchbooks celebrated their favorite obscure superheroes through the generous contributions of comics artists. My problem? I don’t have a favorite obscure superhero. The only hero I really love is Batman, and the problem there is that I’m sure most superhero artists doing sketches at cons are sick of drawing him, while most alternative artists doing sketches at cons are sick of thinking about him. Who could I choose that would fit the bill?
Then it came to me: David Bowie. He’s my favorite musician, and it’s fair to say his outlook and approach to art literally changed my life. Plus, with all those alter egos and ch-ch-ch-changes, he’s like a superhero anyway, right? And thus, at MoCCA 2007, the David Bowie Sketchbook was born.
I’ve since collected sketches of Ziggy Stardust, the Thin White Duke, Aladdin Sane, the Goblin King, Major Tom, or whatever else you care to call the former David Jones from 80 artists and illustrators. Below are the latest batches, from this year’s Small Press Expo in September and Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival last weekend. How must the others see the faker?