A video history of Last Gasp comics

[Video Link] Last Gasp comics has posted the first video in a series called "This Moment in Last Gasp History." This one is about publisher Ron Turner's involvement in a scandalous political fundraising party that resulted in the following New York Times headline: "Political 'Party' Goes So Far, Even San Francisco Is Aghast."

In a recent episode of Gweek, Last Gasp marketing director Janelle Hessig 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."

Tell Me Something I Don't Know 026: Teenager X

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.

Two years ago, we recorded a conversation with a 16 year-old high school student. Not someone famous, but someone who is, to you, a random teenager. So that he could feel free to speak candidly about friends, school, and culture, we gave him the pseudonym Teenager X. He told us about being more tech-savvy than his teachers, he described his hectic schedule, he vented frustrations about learning to drive, and shared a funny anecdote about being kicked out of an online Metal Gear game.

Two years later, we revisit Teenager X. He's 18 now and mere months away from high school graduation. He talks about high school "busy work", modern jazz, and nerd culture. He tells us about a brief stint reviewing rom-coms for his high school newspaper and ponders his plans for life after high school, work, college, and girls.

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.

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RiYL podcast 047: cartoonist Box Brown, "Andre the Giant: Life and Legend"

Recommended if You Like is Boing Boing's weekly podcast of Brian Heater's cafe conversations with musicians, cartoonists, writers, and other creative types.

In this episode, we speak with Box Brown, the artist behind the newly-released graphic novel Andre the Giant: Life and Legend. By way of background, he also designed RiYL’s logo, so in a sense he’s been part of the podcast since the beginning. I’ve been aware of his work since the earliest days, when he first began exploring the medium. He posted his loosely autobiographical comics on message boards of established cartoonists like James Kochalka. He put his work out on floppies and webcomics. Those early strips were really rough.

I can’t think of a single cartoonist whose work I’ve watched progress from such an early stage. And it was no doubt that exact drive to put his stuff out in the world that helped Brown improve, culminating with the forthcoming release of his first full-length book, Andre the Giant: Life and Legend, which examines the man who became professional wrestling’s largest legends.

Brown and I met up at a coffee shop next door to Locust Moon, my favorite comic shop in Philadelphia. We discussed giving it all up to pursue your dream — and, like zine publisher (and friend of Brown) Robert Newsome before him, the cartoonist was more than happy to discuss his lifelong love of professional wrestling with a podcast host who’s only just beginning to familiarize himself with the subject.

Oh, and as we approach episode 50, I’m asking listeners to let me know which RiYL episodes have been their favorite, thus far. Please send any feedback to riylcast@gmail.com

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My favorite history comic books, by Max Brooks, author of the Zombie Survival Guide

[Max Brooks, author of the Zombie Survival Guide, has a new historical comic book out, called The Harlem Hellfighters, about the historic black 369th infantry regiment from WWI. Here's an exclusive essay that Max wrote for Boing Boing about his favorite history comic books. It's a terrific reading list! -- Mark]

History is boring, and I say that as a former history major. In high school, history was the only subject I was any good at. It kept me focused, it kept me engaged. It probably kept me off drugs. To this day, the “life story of the human race,” to quote one of my college professors, is nothing short of a lifelong passion. However, it’s a passion I share with very few people. And why? Because history is boring. Or, to be more accurate, it’s too often presented in a boring way.

Too often teachers do nothing more than preach fact regurgitation, while using uninspired texts. They numb the brain and extinguish the heart with a flood of intricate details without ever taking the time to tie those details together. I’ve been lucky enough to have some great history teachers, and what made them great is that they always started with the BIG PICTURE. They introduced their subjects in the broadest, simplest, most easily digestible manner before diving into the specifics. That big picture thinking kept me as focused as the finished image on the box of a jigsaw puzzle, and it’s a method I continue to use whenever I tackle a new subject.

Before cracking a one ton tome by David McCullough or Doris Kearns Goodwin, I always try to find a big picture primer for their subject, and through the years, I’ve found no better primer than comic books. The visual aspect of illustrated work has always made history come alive for me. To see the clothing, hairstyles, architecture and technology in vibrant color (or even black and white) serves as an instant time machine.

Sometimes I’ve found all the information I’ve needed on a subject within a comic book’s pages. Sometimes those pages have served to stoke my interest. Sometimes they’ve even taught me something the prose volumes have missed.

Here are few examples of the illustrated books that have taught me about what once was. They are:

Read the rest

Gweek podcast 138: From Russia with Doubt

In each episode of Gweek, I invite a guest or two to join me in a discussion about recommended media, apps, and gadgets. This time my guests were:

Ramez Naam, a computer scientist and the H.G. Wells Award-winning author of three books, including the sci-fi thriller Nexus, which has been optioned as a film by Paramount and director Darren Aronofsky. The follow up title, Crux, came out in August.

Dean Putney, Boing Boing’s software developer and Gweek regular, whose self published a book of his great-grandfather’s World War I photos.

Danimal Cannon, a touring chiptune and heavy metal musician who occasionally composes music for indie video games. His album Parallel Processing was recently launched as the soundtrack for the new game Wave Wave on iOS.

This episode of Gweek is brought to you by:

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Show Notes:

Ramez's picks:

Geekomancy and Celebromancy by Michael Underwood: Fun, witty, insider-joke filled geek urban fantasy.

How to get the most out of Facebook & Twitter: It’s all about Lists. And an app: TweetDeck.

rubtr: A browser plugin that lets you rebut pages that are inaccurate, and see rebuttals that have been made.


Dean's picks

Wave Wave - upcoming iOS game by Thomas Janson built around a fantastic chiptune album by Danimal Cannon.

The ArtisanVideos subReddit


Mark's picks:

From Russia With Doubt: The Quest to Authenticate 181 Would-Be Masterpieces of the Russian Avant-Garde A couple of amateur art collector brothers buy $40,000 worth of paintings on eBay, and they are appraised at $50 million.

My Passport Ultra 2TB Portable External Hard Drive I have replaced my external desktop hard drives with these. They are small, quiet, and inexpensive.

And much more!

Real Stuff: "Them Changes"

“I’ve often wondered what made me such a violent teenager… But whatever the reason, by the time I was in my mid-teens I fancied myself a pretty tough customer.” Originally published in Real Stuff #6, April 1992. Illustrated by Seth and Chester Brown.

Read the rest

Gweek podcast 137: The Horrors of Ancient Medicine

In each episode of Gweek, I invite a guest or two to join me in a discussion about recommended media, apps, and gadgets. This time my guests were:

Janelle Hessig, a bay Area cartoonist and writer and the marketing director at Last Gasp Publishing.

A.J. Jacobs, a writer, a human guinea pig, and the author of four New York Times Bestsellers, including the Year of Living Biblically, for which he followed the hundreds of rules of the Bible as literally as possible, from the 10 commandments to growing a huge beard.

This episode of Gweek is brought to you by:

Lynda.com, with over 2,000 high-quality and engaging video courses taught by industry experts. Visit lynda.com/gweek to try lynda.com free for 7 days

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Show Notes:

Janelle's picks:

Prisoner art & inventions. I used to receive a lot of unwanted mail from prisoners in the 90s. An exhibit of prisoner inventions assembled by the Chicago artist collective Temporary Services collaborating with an incarcerated artist named Angelo changed my outlook and, in time, the quality of my prisoner mail. From bedsheet murals to paper mache chess sets, I’m fascinated with the ways that artists adapt with limited resources and compromised humanity while incarcerated.

"This Moment in Last Gasp History" is a video series I’m launching next week. 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. Read The Origins of Last Gasp.


A.J.'s picks

There's lots of new stuff to report about the Global Family Reunion The crowdsourced genealogy movement is fascinating. I wrote a piece about it for the NYT. I'm a big fan of the World Family Tree (which is now up to 75 MILLION people) but it's very controversial, because of invasion of privacy concerns and also accuracy concerns.

The Horrors of Ancient Medicine. I'm writing a piece for Mental Floss about the horrors of ancient doctors. My favorite: the smoke enema. Where you literally blow smoke up the ass. That's where the phrase comes from. It was supposed to cure all sorts of things, like stomach ailments.


Mark's picks:

Wink is a new website from Kevin Kelly, Carla Sinclair (my wife), and me. It’s about remarkable books that belong on paper and wouldn’t be good as an ebook. We review one new paper book each weekday.

Figurines of Fletcher Hanks’ comic book characters from Golden Age Figurines

David gave me this CD: Devo: Hardcore: 4-track Demo tapes made in Akron from 1974 to 1977. Fantastic early work. The members of Devo were peaceful hippies until the Kent State massacre (Amazing interview with Jerry Casale).

And much more!

Creepy old Simon and Kirby comic: Nasty Little Man

I read this Golden Age Simon and Kirby comic about a malevolent leprechaun when I was a kid. I think it was in a black and white paperback anthology; but I’m not sure. I do remember being thoroughly creeped out by it. “Nasty Little Man” is included in the newly issued Simon and Kirby Horror anthology, which is loaded with wonderfully bizarre stories. Enjoy the full story here on Boing Boing!

Read the rest

Pigeon Press features original art from some of my favorite cartoonists

Daniel Clowes, Charles Burns, Ivan Brunetti... three fantastic artists who are part of the new Pigeon Press Gallery, founded by Alvin Buenaventura (editor of The Art of Daniel Clowes). Pigeon Press sells original art and limited prints. They will also be publishing comics later this year, and I'm looking forward to this, because Alvin published a bunch of great books and comics (as well as the stupendous Comic Art magazine) in years past when he ran Buenaventura Publishing.

Pigeon Press

Tell Me Something I Don't Know 025: Stephanie Buscema

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.

Stephanie Buscema is a painter, illustrator, cover artist, and comic book artist. She studied cartooning and illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York. In our conversation, she tells us what it was like to grow up with artist role models in her family. We discuss the influence and importance of illustration greats Mary Blair and Marie Severin. Stephanie walks us through her process for creating killer Red Sonja comics covers, and talks about the benefits of working on a variety of projects in different formats, and the sacrifices necessary to be a working artist.

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.

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The Best of Wonder Wart-Hog

That Gilbert Shelton’s name isn’t immediately recognized by everyone who reads these words is a shame, one Knockabout Comics has spent the past half-dozen years working hard to correct. In 2008, the UK-based publisher issued The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers Omnibus, followed a year later by a collection of the delightful spinoff series, Fat Freddy’s Cat. The company took a couple of years off from the Shelton racket, issuing books by, among others, the cartoonist’s better known peer and fellow French transplant, Robert Crumb.

Late last year, however, the company returned with the final piece in Shelton’s puzzle: Wonder Wart-Hog. Like Shelton himself, the bestial hero is mostly forgotten outside of sequential art faithfuls and those who followed his skewed super heroics in sporadically issued comics collections throughout the 60s.

Read the rest

Gweek podcast 136: Zombie Jughead

In each episode of Gweek, I invite a guest or two to join me in a discussion about recommended media, apps, and gadgets. This time my guests were:

Michael Goodwin, a freelance writer and the author of the comic book Economix: How the Economy Works (and Doesn’t Work) in Words and Pictures. Like many freelance writers, he lives in New York City with cats.

New York Times best-selling novelist Scott Sigler, author of Ancestor, Nocturnal, and the Infected Trilogy (consisting of the books Infected, Contagious and Pandemic).

This episode of Gweek is brought to you by:

99designs, the world’s largest online marketplace for graphic design. Visit 99designs.com/gweek and get a $99 Power Pack of services for free.

Squarespace, the all-in-one platform that makes it fast and easy to create you own professional website or online portfolio. For a free trial and 10% off go to Squarespace.com and use the offer code UNIZILLA

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Show Notes:

Michael's pick:

Health Care Reform: What It Is, Why It's Necessary, How It Works, a comic book by Jonathan Gruber and Nathan Schreiber
Scott's pick

The First Law, Joe Abercrombie

Mark's pick:

Sugru Magnet Kit

And much more!

Gweek podcast 135: The Weird World of Aurora

In each episode of Gweek, I invite a guest or two to join me in a discussion about recommended media, apps, and gadgets. This time my guests were Peter Bebergal,the author of Too Much to Dream: A Psychedelic American Boyhood, and Dean Putney, Boing Boing’s software developer and author of Walter Koessler 1914-1918: The personal photo journal of a German officer in World War I.

This episode of Gweek is brought to you by 99designs, the world’s largest online marketplace for graphic design. Visit 99designs.com/gweek and get a $99 Power Pack of services for free.

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Show Notes:

Peter's picks:

Feeling more nostalgic than usual with the recent death of my dad, so have been looking at some cool stuff from the 70s that my father turned me onto at the time, such as Aurora monster models, and the Warren Publishing archives on archive.org. On that note, Ares Magazine successfully completed a Kickstarter campaign to relaunch the magazine and you can pre-order one now.

Raagnagrok’s Man Women Death Birth Infinity by Mark Pilkington and Zali Krisha. Related, this is a good time to browse Pilkington’s press Strange Attractor for the best in the underground occult-weirdness.

Mark Waid just completed his run on Daredevil, one of the best superhero comics in years.

Dean's picks

Really3D YouTube Channel

Whoever runs @DietCoke’s twitter account is a master of the absurd

Mark's picks:

Shelf Space: Modern Package Design 1945-1965This era was a golden age for package design - cereal boxes, plastic soap bottles, TV dinners, motor oil. It’s not about retro, it’s about better. You can buy this book for one cent on Amazon. I run an occasional “Then and Now” post on Boing Boing/ The Voyeurs by Gabrielle Bell. Funny autobiographical comic books stories written by an introvert.

Frazettagirls on Instagram.

And much more!

1939 Action comics cover art sells for $286,800


The original art from Action Comics number 15 sold for the price of a house at auction this week.It's interesting that the earlier covers of Action Comics either do not exist, or are stashed away somewhere and forgotten.

The earliest Superman cover art known to exist – Fred Guardineer’s action-packed tableau from 1939 of the Man of Steel from Action Comics #15 – brought $286,800 at Heritage Auctions on Feb. 22 in New York.

“Guardineer’s cover is the earliest Superman cover art in existence,” said Ed Jaster, Senior Vice President at Heritage, “and an absolute treasure of comics history. A price like this shows just how much collectors covet a rarity like this.”

The Action #15 cover depicts Superman in full hero mode, saving a distressed U.S. Submarine just a few feet from a presumably bad end in the depths of the ocean, without seemingly an ounce of strain.

It was purchased by Richard Evans, of Houston, TX, who owns Bedrock City Comics Company. He has said that he plans to display the cover in his shop.

“I’m just a big fan,” he said.

Fred Guardineer Action Comics #15 Superman Cover Original Art

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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