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.

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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!

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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.

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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).

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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.

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832-page EC Comics anthology preview movie

Fantagraphics went all-out with this beautiful 4-volume anthology of 1950s EC comic book stories.

A boxed set of our first four books in our acclaimed EC Comics Library, which collects the best comics of the 1950s from the greatest mass market comic book publisher in history. Featured are: Corpse on the Imjin! by Harvey Kurtzman, et al.; Came the Dawn by Wallace “Wally” Wood, Al Feldstein, et al.; 50 Girls 50 by Al Williamson, Al Feldstein, et al.; and 'Tain’t the Meat... It’s the Humanity! by Jack Davis, Al Feldstein, et al.

The EC Comics Slipcase Vol. 1 (Vol. 1-4)

Comic Book People: Photographs from the 1970s and 1980s

Left to right: Bob Burden, Daniel Clowes, Jaime Hernandez (Photo by Jackie Estrada)

Bob Burden, creator of the great Flaming Carrot comic book series of the 1980s, says:

Jackie Estrada, one of the directors of San Diego Comicon is doing a Kickstarter for a book on the photographic history of the con. She was a shutterbug from the jump, and took hundreds of pictures every year.

This book is a virtual TIME CAPSULE of all the comic con people, from Dave Stevens, to Mobius, to Kliban to Alan Moore etc. Jackie combed the floor in the day and hit all the parties at night and has preserved a treasure trove of of the comic culture's .birth, adolescence and coming of age.

It's going to be an incredible book.

I think so, too! I reserved my copy for $45.

Comic Book People: Photographs from the 1970s and 1980s

Incredibly Interesting Authors 006: Encyclopedia of Early Earth author Isabel Greenberg

Isabel Greenberg is a writer and illustrator who lives and works in North London. In her graphic novel The Encyclopedia of Early Earth, Greenberg combines art, mythology, and humor to tell a story of star-crossed love. It takes readers back to a time before history began, when another—now forgotten—civilization thrived. The people who roamed Early Earth were much like us: curious, emotional, funny, ambitious, and vulnerable. In this series of illustrated and linked tales, Greenberg chronicles the explorations of a young man as he paddles from his home in the North Pole to the South Pole in search of a missing piece of his soul. There, he meets his true love, but their romance is ill-fated. Early Earth's unusual and finicky polarity means the lovers can never touch.

Buy a copy of The Encyclopedia of Early Earth on Amazon.

Read Cory's review of The Encyclopedia of Early Earth.

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RiYL podcast 038: Columbia librarian Karen Green


Peter Poplaski's cover for The Spirit Magazine # 30 (Kitchen Sink Press, 1981).

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

Strange to think, more than twenty years after Maus became the first graphic novel to win a Pulitzer, the concept of comics as academic pursuit still seems foreign. Standing in front of Columbia's collection of bound sequential art, however, the day when comics are widely regarded as some of the finest literature and art available doesn't seem too far off after all. When Ancient and Medieval Collections librarian Karen Green started work at the university, Columbia's comics collection was a scant three titles. Now, thanks to her work, it's an impressive thing to behold.

In December, Columbia University’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library acquired the archive of Kitchen Sink Press, which includes over 50,000 letters with cartoonists and "200 linear feet of material including editorial and business files, original art, handwritten letters and drawings."

This episode of RiYL is brought to you by 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 ten percent off go to Squarespace.com and use the offer code RIYL.

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Cannon: 27-page preview of Wally Wood's sex-and-violence comic strip

More than a few comic book aficionados rank Wally Wood as the greatest cartoonist of all time (he's in my top five, along with Carl Barks, Jack Kirby, Robert Crumb, and Daniel Clowes). This Fantagraphics anthology of Wood's Cannon is being widely praised in advance of its release. Love and Rockets' co-creator Gilbert Hernandez says, "Cannon is like a punch in the face with a cement-filled giant salami." There's no finer testimonial than that.

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Comics Rack: January's best comic books

Philadelphia’s surely got more comic shops than a city of that size requires — and book and record stores for that matter. And of course I love the city of brotherly love for it. I stumbled upon this fact by accident, traveling there for week between jobs a few years ago and cataloging a massive walking trek to all corners of the city, focused on each and every comic place I could find in between. I liked the sentiment enough to repeat it last week before starting my new gig at Yahoo — though a nasty post-CES flu abridged the trip length significantly — and the number of comic shops visited as well.

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