Can kickstarter be the savior of indy comic books?

GeekDad's Dave Banks explores the current state of indie comic's with New Brighton Archeological Society co-creator and writer Mark Andrew Smith.
New_Brighton_Archeological_Society.jpg.jpgFinally, here was an all ages graphic novel that treated kids intelligently and was really entertaining at the same time. So we were surprised to see that the sequel was going to require some Kickstarter funding to get going. Surely a critical darling like The New Brighton Archeological Society didn't need funding to get off the ground, did it?

Unfortunately, as with many creators in the indie scene, the answer from Mark and co-creator Matthew Weldon, is a resounding YES. "We're eight thousand dollars in the red on The New Brighton Archeological Society Book One for coloring and lettering costs... We front the cost of producing the book and promoting the book. The publisher (Image Comics) prints it and the distributor (Diamond) distributes it... In the model we're publishing under, we're the last to recoup."

The recent fundraising success of Jeremy Bastian's Cursed Pirate Girl and others has made Brooklyn-based Kickstarter a game changer in the world of comics -- providing micro-financing to projects that wouldn't otherwise get made in this current state of shifting business models and economic woes.

Support Mark and Matthew! You can donate to the NBAS Kickstarter project and help bring the much anticipated sequel to reality. Or buy the first book.

Lorna: Relic Wrangler -- upcoming comic book preview

Here's a preview of the upcoming one-shot issue of Lorna: Relic Wrangler, coming on March 23 from Image comics.
Fun fact: Washington D.C.'s occult architecture was configured to roll out the red carpet for an extra-dimensional Dark Lord. And only one woman can rescue mankind from certain doom!

In March, Image Comics will tell the tale of mankind's savior in Lorna: Relic Wrangler, a one-shot adventure written by Micah S. Harris (Heaven's War) and illustrated by Loston Wallace (Elvira Mistress of the Dark, Batman Animated Series), Michael Youngblood, and Olli Hihnala. Eisner-award winning artist Darwyn Cooke (DC: The New Frontier, Richard Stark's Parker) provides the gorgeous cover, while Dean Yeagle supplies a pin-up worthy variant cover.

"Lorna's passions were never those of your typical southern belle," Harris says. "Now, from her trailer park HQ, she tracks the uncanny on a global scale."

"Lorna is Mary Ann and Ginger combined with a mint julep twist of Laura Croft," Wallace adds. "Sexy, funny, and devilishly smart, Lorna fearlessly faces down supernatural dangers wearing cut-off jeans shorts. What's not to like?!"

To defeat a nefarious evil entity, Lorna, Relic Wrangler, must pilfer a mysterious artifact from a Memorial in the heart of our nation's capitol. What she doesn't know is that she's offering herself up as a sacrificial party favor in the process! Lorna also has to face down her high school nemesis -- now a cat-suited villainess -- in a girl fight for the ages!

See preview pages after the jump.

Read the rest

Transmetropolitan Graffiti on the streets of NYC

Boing Boing reader Giant Eye, aka Matthew Borgatti, says, "Here's a sneak peek of something I'm working on for the Transmetropolitan Art Book. It's on the corner of W 26th st and 8th in Manhattan. If you live in the city you should come and see it before the installation gets graff'd over."

For those who aren't familiar: Transmetropolitan is a series of cyberpunk graphic novels written by Warren Ellis with art by Darick Robertson, published by DC Comics.

The time I met Jack Kirby and pestered him for 3 days

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My friends at Hilobrow are running a really fun series of posts about comic book legend Jack Kirby. It's called Kirb Your Enthusiasm, and each essay is by a different person analyzing a panel from a Kirby title. Posts so far include Douglas Rushkoff on The Eternals, John Hilgart on Black Magic, Gary Panter on Demon, Dan Nadel on OMAC, and Deb Chachra on Captain America.

I lucked out and got to write about Kamandi.

In the summer of 1977 Jack Kirby came to Colorado to make appearances at the three different Mile High Comics stores -- in Fort Collins, Boulder, and Denver. At the time I was 16 years old and worked after school and on the weekends at the Boulder store; I fell asleep thinking about Kirby and woke up in the morning thinking about Kirby. I'd become an instant fan upon discovering Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth. Before Kamandi, I read Richie Rich and other Harvey titles, but had zero interest in Marvel or DC comics, which were exclusively about superheroes and seemed as ridiculous to me as spectator sports.

Kamandi was different from any other comic. It was about an ordinary boy, with no special powers or skills, surviving on his own in a crazy world taken over by intelligent, bipedal mammals. The series came on the heels of Planet of the Apes -- a movie I watched over and over again in the theater -- and Kamandi was like an improved extension of that world. So when Kirby came to Colorado I was the first in line at all three stores. I hung out at the signing table from the minute he arrived until he left the stores in the evening.

I remember three things about his visit:

1. On the first night, somebody asked him what role Stan Lee played in the writing of the Marvel titles that Kirby had illustrated. Kirby answered, "He didn't do anything. I did the whole damn thing." A few minutes later, he noticed that someone was holding out a small tape recorder to record his answers. He said, "What are you doing! Gimme that." When the guy handed him the tape recorder, Kirby removed the cassette and stuck it in his back pocket. He then handed the recorder back to the guy and said, "Don't do that!"

Read the rest of my essay at Hilobrow.

New comic book: Ziggy Marley's Marijuanaman

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In stores on April 20: Ziggy Marley's Marijuanaman.

Based on a character conceived of by Ziggy Marley, written by Man of Action Studios  and illustrated by Jim Mahfood, Marijuanaman promises to shatter all expectations -- this is not the comic you think it is! The oversized deluxe hardcover graphic novel tells the tale of a noble extraterrestrial champion, who has arrived on Earth to deliver an important message and at the same time save his own planet.  

"Marijuanaman represents the hope of the future... the hope that we will utilize all of the power that the universe has given us to save our planet," Marley explained.

Ziggy Marley's Marijuanaman  

Adrian Tomine's "Scenes from an Impending Marriage"

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I like autobiographical comics, especially because they are about the lives of cartoonists. Adrian Tomine's (Optic Nerve, Summer Blonde) Scenes from an Impending Marriage (Drawn & Quarterly, 2011) is a 54-page book with 1-4 page vignettes of the events leading up to his marriage with his fiancée Sarah. The stories include making a guest list, booking a reception venue, designing the invitations, hiring a DJ, registering at Crate and Barrel, hiring a florist, etc.

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This may sound humdrum, but the events are funny, and anyone who has gotten married will see a little of themselves in these comics. Adrian comes off as a slightly grumpy cheapskate (doesn't it seem like most good cartoonists are?), but the sweet-yet-firm Sarah has no problem getting her way and making Adrian come to his senses (see sample above).

This book was originally designed as a little gift that Adrian and Sarah gave to each of the wedding attendees. I'm glad they are sharing these entertaining and endearing personal stories with a wider audience.

Scenes from an Impending Marriage

Vegans: Cowardly, moderately advanced, and continually radiating Anti-Gravitons

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From BB pal Jeff Simmermon's blog, a detail from Essential Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Vol. 1, No. 11, November 1983. (thanks, Jeff!)

Steampunk Palin comic book

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Chris Murphy of Comics Alliance reviews issue number 1 of Steampunk Palin.

The story starts in the near future, in the immediate aftermath of a war that has destroyed all the Earth's oil. A new power source is needed, and Sarah Palin steps forward to suggest steam power as a replacement. A conglomerate consisting of big oil and nuclear power interests makes a counterproposal by blowing her up with a bomb at the meeting where she suggests this.

... Six months later Sarah Palin wakes up to find that she now has body more than half made of robot parts. Powered by steam.

It's fitting that a cartoonish person gets her own comic book!

Steampunk Palin' Comic More Insane Than You Imagined (Thanks, Felipe Li!)

Museum of Sex exhibition about sex and comic books

163722_498354728006_553483006_5847338_6673086_n.jpg Here's my buddy Craig Yoe standing in front of a giant reproduction of Wally Wood's "Disney Memorial Orgy" poster at New York City's Museum of Sex , which was originally published in Paul Krasner's The Realist in 1967. Craig is the curator of an exhibit there called "Comics Stripped."

From the show's description:

As Tom of Finland famously said, "If I don't have an erection when I'm doing a drawing, I know it's no good." Whether produced as an individual work of art or mass produced, comics are a reflection of society and sexual fantasy where every sexual act that can be performed or imagined can exist.

In showcasing the coquettish to the most sexually explicit "dirty drawings," Comics Stripped will examine the history and cultural significance of the images, icons and illustrators that have entertained, educated (as well as equally misinformed) on the basics of sex and created a realm of sexual fantasy unlimited by the constraints of reality for generations.

Craig is also the editor of two books about comics and sex: Clean Cartoonists' Dirty Drawings, and Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman's Co-Creator Joe Shuster.

Museum of Sex exhibit: "Comics Stripped"

New Yorker cartoons redone with literal captions

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The Monkeys You Ordered takes New Yorker cartoons and changes the captions to match the scene. The joke is that there is no joke. And it's actually pretty funny.

Thanks wastrel!

MAD's William Gaines on To Tell the Truth


Comic book historian Bhob Stewart is the founder of the first EC comics fanzine, The EC Fan Bulletin, which he started in 1953. He started another fanzine in 1954 called Potrzebie and today runs a terrific blog under the same name. (Can you think of anyone else who has been a DIY publisher for almost 60 years? I can't!)

In a post on Potrzebie, Bhob included this episode of To Tell the Truth, in which the panelists tried to figure out who was the real William M. Gaines. I'm surprised he wasn't a recognizable figure. I've never seen a video of Gaines before this. He comes off as being very nice and calmly personable.

(Aside: Did The Association do the theme song for To Tell the Truth?)

Mad's William Gaines on To Tell the Truth

The ultimate Internet attribution instructive flowchart: "See Something? Cite Something."

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"A joint chart and public service announcement from two comic artists who are sick of having their work miss- or unattributed to them. Here's the right way to show your artists some love."

What you see above is but a snippet. View the whole chart in its full mindboggling and ROFL-rofling beauty here.

(notquitewrong.com, thanks Rosscott via BB Submitterator)

The Weird World of Eerie Publications: exclusive image gallery

Eerie Publications’ horror magazines brought blood and bad taste to America’s newsstands from 1965 through 1975. Ultra-gory covers and bottom-of-the-barrel production values lent an air of danger to every issue, daring you to look at (and purchase) them.

Read the rest

Little Lulu anthologies (and other comics by John Stanley)

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Tubby comic from Tubby Volume One, published by Dark Horse Comics. Read a full-length Tubby story here (PDF).

Sometime in the early 1980s I read an interview with Robert Crumb where he said that John Stanley's comic books, especially Little Lulu, were some of the finest and most influential comics he read as a child. I can't find that interview, but here is an excerpt from the Summer 2010 issue of The Paris Review's interview with Crumb where he mentions Little Lulu:

INTERVIEWER
Were you watching cartoons before you encountered comics?

CRUMB
It was at the same time. I was reading Little Lulu, Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, Mighty Mouse, Felix the Cat. Often they were very bad. I never knew who the artist was, they didn't give the names of the artists at all in those comics. I gradually started to get more discriminating about comic books and got interested in Donald Duck creator Carl Barks. Donald Duck and Little Lulu turned out to be the outstanding story comics of that period.

INTERVIEWER
What was it about Little Lulu that stood apart to you?

CRUMB
The stories. The drawing in Little Lulu was very simple, hieroglyphic, but the stories were very sophisticated--it was a literary comic. Carl Barks was a cartoonist who was both very powerful visually and as a storyteller. The stories were great in those Donald Duck comics. I still enjoy reading them.

I tried to buy some Little Lulu comics in the 1980s, but they were too expensive. I eventually shelled out $130 for a 4-volume anthology of Little Lulu, published by Bruce Hamilton's Another Rainbow Publishing (There are a total of six 4-volume sets in the Little Lulu Library, and some of them are still available), and understood what all the fuss was about. These timeless comics reveal and revel in the secret world of kids: clubhouses, campouts, tall tales, jealousy, rich kids vs. poor kids, outwitting bullies, vacant lot adventures, and all the intriguing schemes and rivalries that kids cook up.

I started reading Little Lulu to my daughters when they were old enough to comprehend them, and my 13-year-old daughter still enjoys them. My 7-year-old tears through them in the morning while the rest of the family is asleep (she's an early riser). Even my wife, who never read many comics besides Love and Rockets, likes Little Lulu.

There are a couple of ways to buy Little Lulu comics affordably. The cheapest way is Dark Horse's paperback anthologies.They cost between $10 and $15 for each 200-page volume, which is a great bargain (some are out of print and you'll have to pay more to buy second-hand copies).

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Read the rest

Comic book pinbacks

  Pb-O1Yt5Eyg Trlwqnux2Ri Aaaaaaabk4Q Cop4Bgqfzwu S1600 22 Bushmiller Society   Pb-O1Yt5Eyg Trlxfvtrh9I Aaaaaaabk5O Uehxtsa4O3A S1600 11 Spysmasher 1940S
Golden Age Comic Book Stories posted a nice gallery of comix-related pinbacks from the 1930s-1990s. And there are hundreds more to see at Mark Lansdown's Comic Pinback Website, focused on specimens from the 1890s to the 1950s. (via SheWalksSoftly, thanks Stacey Ransom!)