Thank you internets, you’ve been great this week. So let’s share that bounty with others:
Mighty Samson: Writer J.C. Vaughn has a preview of Mighty Samson #1 at his blog. Shooter’s involved, Patrick Olliffe is the artist. Dark Horse is the publisher. I’m in!
Here’s a little more about the series at Comic Attack.
Shadow: Novelist James Reasoner has a Forgotten Book that’s a must have for fans of Maxwell Grant’s The Shadow: Gangland's Doom: The Shadow of the Pulps, by Frank Eisgruber Jr.
British Comics: Matthew Murray at Comics Beat goes all out for the new Dandy and breaks down its contents.
Peanuts: Zach Weiner finally lets Charlie Brown kick that football.
Peppers: Mark Evanier lives the sitcom life.
3-D: Ricky Sprague at Project Child Murdering Robot tells how Marvel Comics (in 3-D!) turned him into an atheist. Bonus: 3-D artwork on the internets!
I’m always the last to know.
I knew of Peter Steiner’s work as a cartoonist because he’s had something like 400 cartoons published in The New Yorker over the years. And I’ve probably seen most of them. He has a loose, fun style that’s classicly New Yorker-ish and his gags are very funny.
Then I found out that he’s also a writer of books as well. Only he’s not writing comic novels about summers in Connecticut or the party crowd in the Hamptons. He’s doing a 180 from his cartooning and he’s writing, wait for it, spy thrillers.
And he’s got not one, not two, but three of them, including his latest that came out earlier this year called The Terrorist. It shouldn’t surprise me, but maybe I’m a cartoon bigot who expects cartoonists to only do funny things.
I’m over that now, and I accept that cartoonists can also be writers of thrillers, science fiction novels, and historical mysteries, or even drive cabs or fix leaky drains. I certainly didn’t complain when I found out that New Yorker cartoonist Bruce Eric Kaplan (BEK) was writing for Seinfeld and producing Six Feet Under.
Remember that whole digital thing that’s supposed to knock off the printed comic book? Oh wait, that’s still happening!
If you want to be part of the industry now that we’ve passed “peak comic book,” ComiXology the “digital comics leader” is looking for a couple of new people.
First up is a LAMP Developer, someone with “2+ years of experience with Linux, Apache, mySQL and PHP. Additional experience with AJAX/JavasScript/HTML5 (jQuery), XML, HMTL, XMLRPC, SOAP and other development environments is preferred.”
Doesn’t everyone who’s not there wish they were at the New York Comic Con this weekend? Or is it just me?
Big announcements all across the board. Marvel and DC are cutting prices which won’t boost sales enough for the Big Two to make the same amount of money. But it’s good news for non-Big Two publishers who can try to tap into the money customers are saving and steer it their way. I’m looking at you Boom!, Dynamite, Moonstone and IDW.
DC’s also cutting the story count down to 20 pages. Since there aren’t that many paid ads anymore, anyone want to wager on when the $2.99 printed comics go from 32 pages down to 24 to further reduce costs?
And in the wake of his supervisor stepping down, Bob Wayne‘s been given a promotion and stays in New York. Well played.
At Project Child Murdering Robot, Ricky Sprague has some thoughts about the new Wonder Woman TV series in development by David E. Kelley (Ally McBeal; Boston Legal). His advice: “Please don’t shy away from her glorious bondage past.”
Toasting Toth: Who doesn’t love Alex Toth? John Kricfalusi posts panels from a really nice story and breaks down his love for it.
Toth II: Daniel Best at 20th Century Danny Boy has some great information of Alex Toth and the artist’s time in Australia. Bonus: lots of Toth artwork.
Sad news in the world of television and novels. Stephen J. Cannell, one of Hollywood’s legendary writers has passed away. The list of shows he worked on and created is legendary. Comic fans might know him best from The Greatest American Hero. He mentored a number of famous writer-producers, much like Roy Huggins had mentored him. When he got tired of television, he reinvented himself as a novelist – the ones I’ve read are quite fun – and actor (he had a somewhat recurring role on Castle). Jaime Weinman has a nice appreciation of one of my favorite writers.
The Flintstones: Now that they’ve turned 50 years old – yikes! – the classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon show has attracted a lot of media attention this week. Jerry Beck at Cartoon Brew noticed the coverage…particularly how stupid the Christian Science Monitor was about it.
Appy: It’s not too late to check in with the Appy Entertainment blog and see what I and two friends have to say about the digital age of comics.
Mark Waid says it best in the blurb he wrote for the book I most want this Christmas. Says the man from Boom! Studios: “I now have a new book for my ‘Five I’d Take to a Desert Island’ list. Gotham City 14 Miles is the perfect companion to my favorite pop-culture phenomenon of all time!”
In case you need an explanation, 14 miles is the distance from the Batcave underneath “stately Wayne Manor” to Gotham City in the 1960s Batman TV show starring Adam West and Burt Ward. Gotham City 14 Miles is the title of a forthcoming book of essays about that TV classic, edited by my pal Jim Beard.
Inside, Beard’s bunch offers up a thoughtful reevaluation of the 44-year-old show, one of the first big comic book successes on the small screen. The series had an impact not just on pop culture, but on the DC Comics Batman as well. According to Beard, “essays examine Batmania, camp, the role of women, the show’s participation in ‘60s counter-culture, its many celebrated actors, its lasting cultural effects, and other critical subjects.”
So did you hear the big news? Marvel’s moving to a new office building in Manhattan!
Not to be outdone, Warner Bros. decided to shake things up with a large scale corporate shift. This interview with Diane Nelson from Comic Book Resources actually sheds very little light on the nuts and bolts of it.
And the lack of real answers has caused Tom Spurgeon to raise some questions he’d like to see answered about the situation forward-going.
Naturally, and because I sometimes can’t keep my mouth shut, I have my own take on the matter.
So did you read that great interview Adi Tantimedh had with Alan Moore over yet at Bleeding Cool? I was going to write about it precisely because I disagreed with almost every comment on the site and then I discovered that a much better writer, Tom Spurgeon at the Comics Reporter, did a much better job of encapsulating my feelings. So my work here is done.
Remember all those comic book movies that people outside of comics don’t really know are based on comics because they don’t have capes and boots, like The Losers, Scott Pilgrim, Road To Perdition, etc. There’s a new one coming up next month called Tamara Drewe, based on the graphic novel by Posy Simmonds.
The trailer looks awesome and I get a Reuben, Reuben vibe from watching it. (Yes, that’s the world’s oldest reference point, but go look it up.) Tamara Drewe looks like a lot of fun and I hope it moves a few thousand copies of the graphic novel, which is also well worth reading. Here’s a nice article on the movie from the BBC.
Now let’s see what else is out there.
We visit the Monster Costume offices to get a look at their awesome new iPad app, Bartleby’s Book of Buttons Vol. 1: The Far Away Land. Aimed at children and parents, Bartleby is a new take on what a book can be when you have the power of the iPad and its multitouch screen at your disposal. Rather than focusing on pages, the book focuses on interaction with the story, character, and elements.
We also chat about the potential future of interactive books in general, and where Monster Costume sees that they can take their publishing platform in the future.
It’s easy to toss around the word “genius,” especially when it comes to comics. We all have our favorites and we all like to think ours are the great ones. But one look at Roy Crane’s work and anyone can see that he definitely was worthy of the “genius” tag.
Crane created two great adventure classics, Wash Tubbs (which later became Captain Easy) and Buz Sawyer, with Wash being called the first true newspaper adventure strip. He’s been dead for 30 plus years, but looking through his strip work, you can see his influence in comics from Milton Caniff to Alex Toth to Howard Chaykin. Even the modern strip, Rip Haywire by Dan Thompson shows a Crane influence as does Randy Reynaldo’s Rob Hanes.
And in a classic Comics Journal interview, Art Spiegelman calls Crane an influence on Jack Kirby.
Continuing my series on cartooning and cartoonists, Roy Crane wrote about himself and his work back in 1964. This is pulled from an oversized saddle-stitched magazine from Allied Publications with the creatively-challenged title These Top Cartoonists Tell How They Create America’s Favorite Comics. It featured an introduction by Beetle Bailey’s Mort Walker and was compiled by Allen Willette.
Here’s Crane on Crane:
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