My friend and fellow cartoonist Matt Wuerker pointed me to this incredible graphic novel that was just published online. House Without Windows, by cartoonist Didier Kassai and photojournalist Marc Ellison, uses an innovative mixture of cartooning, photos, fumetti, and 360-video to depict the lives of children in the Central African Republic.
It is amazing, accomplished storytelling, but far more importantly, the stories being told, of children subjected to the horrors of chaos in that war-torn nation, are absolutely harrowing and heartbreaking.
The title "House Without Windows" is a reference to the fact that media coverage of the crisis in this forgotten country has been minimal or nonexistent. I hope the tragic stories of these children can help correct that.
I love the Dell comics section, particularly the Four Color series. This is a series that was published several times a month, featuring mostly licensed one-shot comics. The quality of the art and writing is surprisingly high, and the comic book versions of obscure sitcoms (Car 54, Where Are You?), cartoons (King Leonardo and His Short Subjects), adventure shows (Sea Hunt), and tons of other material are fascinating and hilarious (intentionally and otherwise).
Where else would I have discovered King of Diamonds, a comic book based on a short-lived TV show about detective John King (Broderick Crawford) who ONLY takes cases involving the recovery of stolen diamonds? The guy is weirdly obsessed. And he's a comic book hero who looks like this: (art by Mike Sekowsky, Frank Giacoia)
I have no comment on the site's claim that all the comic books on the site are in the Public Domain, except to say that it's so obviously in everyone's interest that these comics are made available for people to see, and no one's economic interests are harmed in the least. Read the rest
Jack Stratton, the leader of the band Vulfpeck has offered a book on Amazon, "How I Made $290,000 Selling Books." It was much funnier when the page first went up and Amazon provided an order link to purchase the book for $290,000. They have since replaced that link with a note that the book is "currently unavailable."
By the way, this dubious side project aside, I cannot recommend Vulfpeck enough; they've become my favorite band. On the surface, they're pranksters and ironists, but strip away a few layers of irony (and then a few more) and they are the exact opposite: incredibly sincere, making fantastic, mind-blowing "minimalist funk" music.
One of my favorite Vulfpeck songs is "Wait for the Moment," featuring Antwaun Stanley. It has special resonance for me because it's about a ~10 year old kid, but it's done in my favorite funky musical style, which happens to have been the dominiant musical style at the time that I was a ~10 year old kid!
My other favorite Vulfpeck song (also feat. Mr. Stanley) is "1612," which can be seen as an elaborate device for remembering a four-digit keypad code. My biggest fear is that someone will hack into my iTunes account and find out how many times I've played these two songs.