Mirko Ilic of Imprint presents a gallery of hand-drawn 3-D comic book titles, with emphasis on Will Eisner's amazing Spirit titles.
But everything changed with the appearance of Will Eisner's "The Spirit" (1940). "The Spirit" was published as a seven-page supplement to the comics section of American Sunday newspapers. As a supplement tucked inside newspapers, "The Spirit" did not depend on being visible on the newsstands. It was not limited by the need for recognizable branding like "Superman".
Mr. Eisner used that extremely cleverly by going in exactly the opposite direction. Not only did he change the masthead of "The Spirit" for every issue, but very soon, the masthead became an integral part of the scene/set.
Eisner continued to play with the masthead even when "The Spirit" started to be sold on newsstands as an independent booklet.
In it, a young mother and child from the island of Kessenuma Oshima happen across a statue called the michibiki jizo -- the guiding bodhisattva. According to local legend, the soul of a person that is about to die appears before this particular jizo the day before they pass away. The mother and child are shocked to see a whole parade of spirits appear before the statue -- male and female, old and young.
When they return home, the father laughs it off as a figment of their imaginations. But the very next day, when the family is fishing at the seashore, the tide pulls out and doesn't come back in. Minutes later, a massive tsunami wipes out the entire town as the mother, son, and father watch escape to a hilltop. They are the only survivors.
Given the fact that Kessenuma is in the headlines today for the very same reason, there is no doubt that this "fairy tale" is based on a true story. It's particularly haunting in light of the ancient stone markers that dot the Japanese coastline warning of tsunami from times of old, a literal message to future generations from ancestors long since shuffled off this mortal coil.
Biffo the Bear is a character from Britain's long-running, vaguely anarchic kids comic, The Beano. His first appearance was in the 1950s, to which this illustration dates. Look familiar? [via @cabel and @stevenf]
Fans of classic indie comic Elfquest, tired of waiting on Warner Brothers to get cracking on the official movie, recently finished work on a "fan trailer" featuring some of the series' female characters. Shown off at Wondercon by creators Stephanie Thorpe and Paula Rhodes -- with the blessing of original authors Wendy and Richard Pini -- the live-action scene-setter captures the saga's weird combination of European and Native American folklore.
Elfquest, now available free online, was among the first indie comics to be sold in bookstores or to attract a significant female audience. It's also credited with hitting some transgressive notes back in the 70s: mixed-race relationships, genre-spanning stories, matter-of-fact violence, and a free-love lifestyle made apparent in events such as war orgies and bisexual goings-on in the night.
See if you can guess, before watching it, which of these attributes the trailer somehow seems to suggest without really trying.
ElfQuest: A Fan Imagining: Teaser Trailer [YouTube]
Elfquestfantrailer.com [Official website via i09]
Heritage Auctions estimates that the art for page 10 from issue #3 of Frank Miller and Klaus Janson's The Dark Knight Returns (1986) will fetch at least $100,000 when it goes on the block on May 5.
Prior to the four-issue series of The Dark Knight Returns, Batman had lost his perch among the superhero elite. When Miller's masterpiece debuted it created an almost instant buzz and rejuvenated Batman as DC's most popular character. In the process it also helped revitalize the comics industry as a whole.
Cartoonist and illustrator Adrian Tomine (author of the terrific little book Scenes From an Impending Marriage) was recently interviewed on the Bat Segundo show. (I love this cover Adrian drew for The New Yorker.)
Subjects Discussed: Doing time in Sacramento, veiling a personal experience with a sex change, which of Tomine's characters is least like him, the liberation that comes in fabrication, scratched out names and Victorian literature, the original small audiences for Scenes and 32 Stories, the father's fund, taking criticisms to heart, the drawbacks of working in the same realist vein, Tomine's wife as the "first audience," the artist's fragile ego, the influence of printed literature and storytelling upon art, humbling versions of inspiration, Tomine's degrees of aspiration and ambition, living a life in service to the drawing, facing the world, the "strenuous" exigencies of cartoonists, drawing panels without decor, Tomine's perfectionist qualities, the freedom in pursuing work that isn't going to be reviewed, feeling highly scrutinized, the pleasure in publishing harsh letters, the look of the ranger, using the fewest lines to get the maximum amount of detail, settling upon the three panel approach, maintaining a private style in secret scrapbooks, varying levels of creative insulation from the public, the very low frequency of sound words, the tongue licking in "Alter Ego," seeing external details that other characters cannot, the grotesque reality of Chris Ware's furry cats, the number of people who read books in Tomine's New Yorker illustrations, the Venn diagram between 1990s subcultures and digital culture, disappearing subcultures, cartoonists who detest hippie and hipster culture, gesture and look, Alison Bechdel's elaborate photographic process, and the pursuit of "realism" in an "unreal" medium.
One of my favorite illustrators, Barnaby Ward, found a cache of 1st edition copies of his dreamlike graphic novel, Sixteen Miles to Merricks, which sold out quickly (Used copies go for $90 and up on Amazon).
The story begins when a man comes home and discovers a mysterious woman in the house. She leads him through a series of tunnels under the house and beyond. The 208-page book contains four other excellent surreal short stories,
Just wanted to showcase this marvelous comic by Stuart McMillen (the cover of which you see above and is a nice nod to Hergé). It's called "St. Matthew Island" and asks: "What happens when you introduce 29 reindeer to an isolated island of untouched natural resources?"
As a parable (humans being humans, and reindeer being reindeer), it does a great job of gently and effectively illustrating the issue of over consumption .
St Matthew Island by Stuart McMillen
GeekDad's Dave Banks explores the current state of indie comic's with New Brighton Archeological Society co-creator and writer Mark Andrew Smith.
Finally, 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.
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!
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."
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!"