Tell Me Something I Don't Know 024: Bill Boichel, owner of Copacetic Comics

Tell Me Something I Don’t Know is Boing Boing's podcast featuring artists, writers, filmmakers, and other creative people discussing their work, ideas, and the practical side of how they do what they do.

Bill Boichel is the owner and proprietor of Copacetic Comics, one of the greatest comic book stores ever. They are located in Pittsburgh, PA, and specialize in independent comics, music, film and literature. Bill has worked in comics retail for over 35 years, and has seen comic books go from disposable entertainment found on newsstands to an art form that is now accepted in galleries, museums and universities.

In this episode, Bill discusses the significance of Carl Barks and his impact on the American comics community. We talk about Barks' challenges with creator's rights, and similar struggles faced by artists like Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, and Jack Kirby. Bill ponders today's comics landscape and history. We survey Copacetic Comics' extensive inventory of small press comics and find out how Bill manages to keep up with such a dynamic and diverse art form. You can experience an online version of his store at copaceticcomics.com, where Boichel posts extensive reviews and promotes the books he carries. But the best way to experience it, and it's worth the trip wherever you are, is to find your way to Pittsburgh and visit in person.

Also: We've got a T-shirt bearing TMSIDK's smart aleck logo! Challenge people with your shirt to tell you something you don't know. Everyone loves a know-it-all.

This episode of TMSIDK is sponsored by Warby Parker. Try out 5 pairs of prescription eyeglasses for free and get three-day shipping with the offer code TELLMESOMETHING.

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Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Trail of the Unicorn by Carl Barks: Excerpt

Fantagraphics has announced the latest volume in its exemplary Carl Barks Disney Library. These full-color hardbound anthologies contain some of the very best comic book stories of all time. The latest volume is called Trail of the Unicorn and is available for pre-order. In the meantime, enjoy this 21-page PDF preview!

The Complete Carl Barks Disney Library: Vol 5

Bless Fantagraphics for publishing Carl Barks' duck comics. One of the three original inductees into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame (along with Eisner and Jack Kirby), Barks was known for many years only as the nameless "good duck artist" in Walt Disney comic books. His stories read like Indiana Jones adventures, and the art is superb. Just looking at a Barks page make me feel good. My kids and I read Barks' duck comics together, over and over again.

Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Christmas On Bear Mountain is the fifth book in Fantagraphics' Complete Carl Barks Disney Library. Fantagraphics went all out with the production quality in this series: the pages were shot from the original art, and the re-coloring carefully matches the original colors in the comics.

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Walt Disney's Donald Duck: The Old Castle's Secret, by Carl Barks

Bless Fantagraphics for publishing Carl Barks' duck comics. One of the three original inductees into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame (along with Eisner and Jack Kirby), Barks was known for many years only as the nameless "good duck artist" in Walt Disney comic books. His stories read like Indiana Jones adventures, and the art is superb. Just looking at a Barks page make me feel good. My kids and I read Barks' duck comics together, over and over again.

Walt Disney's Donald Duck: The Old Castle's Secret is the third book in Fantagraphics' Barks library, and it contains all of Barks' duck work from 1948, a very good year for duck comics. Fantagraphics went all out with the production quality: the pages were shot from the original art, and the re-coloring carefully matches the original colors in the comics. In addition to a number of great stories, like “The Old Castle’s Secret” (a 32-page story that marks Scrooge McDuck's second ever-appearance) and “Rocket Race to the Moon,” there are a number of nice essays from Barks' scholars and aficionados.

Walt Disney's Donald Duck: The Old Castle's Secret

Anthology of forgotten Carl Barks' Barney Bear comic books

Barney-Bear-CoverMy friend Craig Yoe (a designer and comic book historian whom I interviewed on Gweek a while back) has has edited over 30 books about comic books and illustration, including Krazy Kat & the Art of George Herriman, Amazing 3-D Comics, Archie: A Celebration Of America's Favorite Teenagers, The Golden Collection Of Klassic Krazy Kool Kids Komics, Dan DeCarlo's Jetta, The Art Of Ditko, Boody: The Bizarre Comics Of Boody Rogers, And Secret Identity: The Fetish Art Of Superman's Co-Creator Joe Shuster.

Craig's latest book is a 220-page deluxe hardcover anthology of Carl Barks' Barney Bear comics, which Barks drew before working on the Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge comics he became rightfully famous for. Barks is considered by many people (including me) to be one of the top 10 comic book artists of all time. It's a lot of fun to read these Barney Bear comics and see the same style of Barksian plotting, characters, humor, and drawing style that my kids and I love so much in the duck comics.

Carl barks drew Barney Bear and Benny Burro comics from 1944 to 1947. In the introduction to his anthology, Craig says:

Of his comic booking in general, Barks stated, “I worked hard at trying to make something as good as I could make it. When I took the finished art into the office and turned it over to the editor, I was satisfied that I had done it the very best I could. I always try to write a story that I wouldn't mind buying myself. And that's what distinguished it from the writing of those who only try to get the story past the editors. I was always thinking that other people value their dimes as much as I did.”

This book is the first reprinting of all the Barks' Barney Bear and Benny Burro stories in their original color and English language. In 1999, a year before he died at the age of 99, Barks commented on the Internet and the experience of reading comics on a monitor, “it isn't like going to bed with a comic book where you can read it, turn the pages, slam the thing down, and pick it up later.”

So, go to bed with The Carl Barks Big book of Barney Bear, read it, turn the pages, and slam the thing down as you Bear with Barks.

Here's a sample story from The Carl Barks Big Book of Barney Bear.

Barney-Bear-1

Read the rest of the story after the jump:

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