It's 1948. Charlie Parish, a screenwriter and "part-time reprobate," wakes up with a hangover in a bathtub he doesn't recognize. As flashes of the previous night's bacchanalia go through his dulled mind, Parish wanders through the abandoned bungalow, trying to piece together the bits into a coherent timeline. But he gives up when he spots the body of starlet Valeria Sommers sprawled across the floor. She'd been the star of the movie he wrote, the one currently being shot at Victory Street Pictures. The bruise marks on her neck make it clear she was strangled. In shock, Parish realizes he can't call the police (why not?). He wipes his prints off everything he's touched in the bungalow and slips away inconspicuously.
This happens in the first few pages of The Fade Out, a new comic book series by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, the duo behind the fantastic hardboiled-crime-meets-Lovecraft comic series called Fatale. To capture the look of 1940s Los Angeles, Baker and Phillips hired a research assistant, Amy Condit, who runs the LA Police Museum and curated the recent exhibit of the Black Dahlia case. She is worth whatever they paid her - the look and mood of The Fade Out is like a trip in a time machine to a Los Angeles built by Chandler, Fante, Hammett, and Nathanael West.
In addition to the murder mystery, it looks like this series is going to explore the endemic corruption of movie studios of the era, anti-Semitism, racism, and the effects of the House Un-American Activities Committee on screenwriters.
The back of the first issue has some nice bonus material, including an article about Peg Entwistle, a frustrated young actress who committed suicide in 1932 by jumping off the 45-foot-tall Hollywood(land) sign.
My review copy was the large-format "movie magazine style" variant, which costs a few dollars more than the standard-size comic version. I recommend it, because the art is excellent.
Wally Wood (1927–1981) is regarded as one of the world’s best comic book artists, and I agree. His science fiction stories for Weird Science and Weird Fantasy, which featured complex spaceship interiors, ruggedly handsome male astronauts, curvy female astronauts, repugnant monsters, and richly detailed alien landscapes, made him an instant and enduring hit with comic book readers in the 1950s.
This episode of Gweek is brought to you by Bombfell, the glorious clothing service for men that sends handpicked outfits to your door. Go to bombfell.com/gweek to get $10 off your first purchase. And by Stamps.com — get a $110 sign-up bonus with the offer code GWEEK!Read the rest
One evening several years ago my friend, the artist Coop, took me to the San Fernando Valley house of comic book art collector Glenn Bray. I was somewhat familiar with Bray, having read bits and pieces about his large collection. I knew that he was the first person to seek out and collect the work of the great Donald Duck comic book artist writer Carl Barks back in the 1960s, that he published some small books about grotesque-artist Basil Wolverton, and that he was the champion of forgotten genius Stanislav Szukalski (read my Wink review about Szukalski here). He was probably the first real comic book art collector, buying original work in an era when everyone else considered it to be worthless.
So I felt I was somewhat prepared for what was in store for me at Bray’s house. But when I stepped inside, I realized that I’d greatly underestimated the size and quality of his collection. Bray’s walls were covered with original art and paintings by the greatest comic book artists in history: Robert Crumb, Robert Williams, Jack Davis, Wally Wood, and dozens more. The second floor of his large house looked nothing like a home. It was a clean, organized library/museum dedicated to comic book art. I was stunned, not only by the amount of art Bray had amassed over the last 50 years of collecting, but by his aesthetic sensibility, which matched mine to a T. Like me, he was completely uninterested in superhero comics, concentrating mainly on old EC science fiction comics, MAD, and underground comics. That evening I studied the original art from many iconic comic book covers, but barely scratched the surface of his collection.
The Blighted Eye is a massive book containing samples from Bray’s collection. Arranged from A-Z by artist, it represents the tip of a comic art iceberg. The book also includes a long interview with Bray and many photographs of Bray with the artists he’s befriended over the decades.
Argue with me until you’re hopping mad. You won’t change my mind that Robert Crumb is the greatest living American artist. And this anthology of his comic book stories from Weirdo, the magazine that he founded in 1981 (only 13 years after creating Zap the title that launched the underground comic book revolution), contains some of Crumb’s finest work. Not only does Crumb plumb deeper than ever into the depths of his neurotic soul, he also lays bare the behavior of modern society with a keen eye and a bittersweet sense of humor. Most interesting to me are Crumb’s comic book versions of old books, such as Psychopathis Sexualis, and science fiction author Philip K Dick’s bizarre religious experience (which Dick described as a “vision of the apocalypse.”)
Crumb’s output seems to have slowed to a trickle in recent years, which is alarming to a fan like me. Fortunately, Crumb’s work is usually so rich and dimensional that it can stand up to repeated readings, which I have done over the years.
R. Crumb: The Weirdo Years includes not only every comic book story that he wrote and drew for Weirdo, it also includes all 28 covers he illustrated. If you already are familiar with’s Crumb’s comics, this is a convenient way to reread all of his Weirdo stories. If you don’t know Crumb, this is probably the best introduction to his work.
This is a two-volume, slipcased facsimile edition of the Daniel Clowes comics anthology; it contains the original installments of Ghost World, the short that the film Art School Confidential was based on, and much more.
Before he rose to fame as a filmmaker and the author of the best-selling graphic novels Ghost World, David Boring, Ice Haven, and The Death Ray, Daniel Clowes made his name from 1989 to 1997 by producing 18 issues of the beloved comic book series Eightball, which is still widely considered to be one of the greatest and most influential comic book titles of all time. Now, for the 25th anniversary of Eightball, Fantagraphics is collecting these long out-of-print issues in a slipcased set of two hardcover volumes, reproducing each issue in facsimile form exactly as they were originally published. Included are over 450 pages of vintage Clowes, including such seminal serialized graphic novels/strips/rants as “Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron,” “Ghost World,” “Pussey,” “I Hate You Deeply,” “Sexual Frustration,” “Ugly Girls,” “Why I Hate Christians,” “Message to the People of the Future,” “Paranoid,” “My Suicide,” “Chicago,” “Art School Confidential,” “On Sports,” “Zubrick and Pogeybait,” “Hippypants and Peace-Bear,” “Grip Glutz,” “The Sensual Santa,” “Feldman,” and so many more. Full color illustrations throughout
My new portrait of artist Joe Shuster and writer Jerry Siegel, circa 1939 in Cleveland, shortly after they signed away all the rights to their new character Superman to National/DC comics for the total sum of $130. The check they endorsed was actually for over $400, padded out with other payments due them, no doubt to make the signing more enticing.
In this episode of Gweek, I spoke with Ted Adams the head of IDW, which publishes high-quality reproductions of original comic book art by greats such as Dave Stevens, Jack Kirby, Wally Wood, and Frank Frazetta. Brought to you by Stamps.com -- get a $110 sign-up bonus with the offer code GWEEK!Read the rest
This is exciting - Locust Moon Press in Philadelphia is publishing a giant-sized tribute to the great Winsor McCay (Little Nemo, Gertie the Dinosaur). They already have met their initial funding goal on Kickstarter.
Locust Moon Press has spent the last two years assembling the LITTLE NEMO: DREAM ANOTHER DREAM anthology, in which many of the world's finest cartoonists will pay tribute to the master and his masterpiece by creating new Little Nemo strips, following their own voices down paths lit by McCay. Taking on the same giant, broadsheet newspaper-sized canvas as McCay, artists such as Michael Allred, Paul Pope, Yuko Shimizu, J.H. Williams III, Charles Vess, David Mack, J.G. Jones, Craig Thompson, Paolo Rivera, Carla Speed McNeil, Bill Sienkiewicz, P. Craig Russell, Ronald Wimberly, Denis Kitchen, Jill Thompson, Stephen R. Bissette, Gabriel Bá & Fábio Moon, Farel Dalrymple, John Cassaday, Cliff Chiang, and over a hundred more have all done some of the very best work of their illustrious careers.
Squa tront! Spa Fon! The great Al Feldstein, passed away today.
Feldstein began working at EC comics, publishers of Weird Science, Weird Fantasy, Tales from the Crypt, The Vault of Horror, and The Haunt of Fear in 1948. Soon he became editor of most of EC's titles. He typically wrote and illustrated a story in each title and drew many of the covers, a mind-bogglingly prolific output. Eventually he stopped doing the art for stories and stuck with editing, writing, and cover illustrations. According to Wikipedia, from "late 1950 through 1953, he edited and wrote stories for seven EC titles." I've always loved his signature, which features elongated horizontals on the F and the T, and an extended vertical on the N.
After MAD creator Harvey Kurtzman got in a fight with publisher William Gaines over ownership of the comic and left EC in 1956, Gaines put Feldstein in charge of the humor magazine, where he remained as editor until 1985.
In each episode of Gweek, Dean Putney and I invite a guest to join us in a discussion about recommended media, apps, and gadgets. This time our guest was Jared Zichek, owner of Golden Age Figurines, which produces limited edition hand painted resin figurines of selected superhero, science fiction, and horror characters from the Golden Age of Comics.
This episode is brought to you by Harry’s quality men’s shaving products. Go to Harrys.com and use the promo code BOINGBOING to save $5 off your first purchase.
Giggle Blossom, the Fiverr Clown. A very sweet clown that will record a video of any message you like.
Boing Boing has a new podcast! Futility Closet is a celebration of the quirky and the curious, the thought-provoking and the simply amusing. This podcast is an audio companion to the popular website that catalogs more than 7,000 curiosities in history, language, mathematics, literature, philosophy, and art.
Last week I announced that Wink (a paper book review website that my wife Carla Sinclair edits) was holding a giveaway of the rare signed, numbered, slipcased "Limited Edition" of The Fifth Beatle, which is limited to 1500 copies, signed by all three creators and comes with an exclusive tip-in page of art. Entrants to the giveaway were asked to write their own text for the word balloons in the panel above. (Clockwise L-R John Lennon, George Harrison, Brian Epstein, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney. NOTE: John has 2 balloons.)
The entries were judged by Vivek J. Tiwary himself, and he selected a winner for the limited edition and a runner-up for a regular edition.
In each episode of Gweek, Dean Putney and I invite a guest to join us in a discussion about recommended media, apps, and gadgets. Our guests this week are:
Ruben Bolling, author of the weekly comic strip Tom the Dancing Bug, which premieres each week on Boing Boing, and pre-premiers for members of his Inner Hive, which you can join by going to tomthedancingbug.com.
Nick Carr is a New York City movie location scout. On his blog, Scouting New York, Nick says he’s been pretty much everywhere, from the highest rooftops to the deepest subway tunnels, from abandoned ruins to zillion-dollar luxury penthouse apartments.
This episode is brought to you by:
NatureBox, makers of delicious, wholesome snacks delivered to your door. Go to NatureBox.com/gweek to get 50% OFF your your first box.
iFixit, the world’s free online repair manual for everything.. Use coupon code GWEEK at checkout and get $10 off your order of $50 or more.
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.
Nicole Georges is a cartoonist, writer, zinemaker, teacher, aerobics instructor (?), and pet portraitist. When she was a child, Georges’ mother and family told her that her father died when she was a baby. When she was 21, a palm reader told her that her biological dad was still alive. She called conservative talk show host Dr. Laura for some advice. She chronicles what happened next in her graphic memoir, Calling Dr. Laura.
Based in Portland, Georges has been making comics and zines including “Invincible Summer” for over a decade. She also teaches at the Independent Publishing Resource Center, which provides access to tools and resources for creating independently published media and artwork. Georges tells us about teaching Riot Grrl history and zinemaking to teenagers, and finding value and self-empowerment through self-expression. When we talked to Georges, she was in the middle of a 9-month fellowship at the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, VT.
In a recent episode of Gweek, Last Gasp marketing director Janelle He￼ssig told me: "Ron Turner regularly stops by my desk at Last Gasp and tells me crazy stories about Last Gasp history (smuggling comics into the Hanoi Hilton, smuggling comics to Fidel Castro, Last Gasp sponsoring a Formula 1 race car, goats in taxi cabs, weird 70s sex parties, you name it). I don’t have the means to write Ron’s biography so I’m turning some of these stories into short videos."