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Jack Kirby's Eternals vs. Ridley Scott's Alien

Peter Bebergal points out the uncanny similarity between this panel from Jack Kirby's The Eternals #1 (1976) and the fossilized "space jockey" in Ridley Scott's Alien (1979). I have a feeling Kirby was inspired by the Mayan space jockey image that Erich von Däniken touted as proof of alien visitation in his crackpot science classic, Chariots of the Gods (1968)

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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Gweek 119: How much is your reputation worth?

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Joshua Klein gave one of the most watched TED Talks of all time (about vending machine to train crows to exchange found coins for peanuts). He joined me on Gweek to talk about his new book, Reputation Economics: Why Who You Know Is Worth More Than What You Have. I also welcomed the return of Michael Pusateri, a television technologist, inveterate tinkerer, cooking geek, and cycling enthusiast. He blogs at Cruftbox.

We talked about: Jim Woodring's hallucinatory comic book masterpiece, Fran; The Daedalus Incident, by Michael J Martinez; and L-Theanine, a pill I take when I drink coffee, and more!


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Fantagraphics Kickstarts its 2014 spring season

Fantagraphics (who are tied with Drawn and Quarterly as my favorite publisher) just announced a Kickstarter to fund their 2014 spring season. The premiums they are giving away are amazing. I got myself a signed copy of Heroes Of The Comic Books: 75 Portraits Of The Pioneering Legends Of Comic Books, by the great caricaturist Drew Friedman!

Fantagraphics 2014 Spring Season: 39 Graphic Novels & Books

Comics Rack: picks for October 2013

Two quick things at the top, both somewhat New York-centric (apologies, everyone else): First, The latest issue of Gabe Fowler’s Smoke Signal comics newspaper has a typically incredible cover from sequential art’s resident over achieving genius Chris Ware. And if you live here, you can pick it up for free in his fantastic Williamburg comics / art shop, Desert Island (among other places). For the rest of you, however, it runs $5. Also, a quick mention of a cool thing I found at a Brooklyn Mini Zine Fest, the other month. Alisa Harris' Rock On is dedicated to bygone New York City rock clubs -- a topic that always makes me a little misty-eyed. Because, come on, the new Knitting Factory is fine and all, but magical? Hardly. You can pick that one up online through Alisa’s site, if you’re the sentimental-type.

Palookaville #21
By Seth
Drawn and Quarterly

Palookville’s a bit of a strange proposition, these days. At issue 20, the pamphlet became a book. The 21st issue is compromised of three distinct segments. The first pretty much precludes any recommendation for the uninitiated, continuing the Clyde Fans storyline Seth has been serializing since the late-90s. The next two, on the other hand, offer some fascinating insight into the sometimes guarded cartoonist -- one a standalone feature on yet another of the artist’s cartooning experiments, and the other the first part in a new on-going sketchbook serial. Seth introduces "Rubber Stamp Diary," explaining that it began as an attempt to speed up the process of daily diary comics -- dreamt up, fittingly, on a phone call with the notoriously glacial Ivan Brunetti. And, certainly, the creation of several rubber stamps to cut down on extra drawing feels like the perfect Seth solution.

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Gweek 118: The Weirdo Years

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In 1981, Robert Crumb launched Weirdo, a magazine-sized comic book that was inspired by Crumb's own underground comics and the post MAD-era magazines of Crumb's mentor Harvey Kurtzman. Weirdo was a launch pad for many talented cartoonists, including Peter Bagge, Dori Seda, and Dennis Worden. Crumb's own comic stories were the highlight of every issue, and Last Gasp (publisher of Weirdo) just released all of Crumb's Weirdo comics in a handsome 256-page anthology, entitled The Weirdo Years by R. Crumb: 1981-'93. I spoke to Janelle Hessig, a Bay Area cartoonist and writer and the current marketing director at Last Gasp Publishing, about Weirdo, and what became of some its the lesser-known contributors. Janelle also recommends the scandalous Life and Times of Little Richard, by Charles Wright. She calls it a "truly great oral history which includes a three-way with Buddy Holly, a childhood spent pooping in jars, and heeding the call of the Lord."

We were joined by returning Gweekster Rob Walker. He's a technology and culture columnist for Yahoo News, a regular contributor to Design Observer, and he recently started a new “watercooler therapy” advice column called The Workologist for the New York Times Sunday business section. His Procrastinaut blog is a must-read.


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"Destruct Room" from Jack Kirby comic book becomes a reality

The "Destruct Room" in Jack Kirby's comic book OMAC (1974) was a place where stressed-out people could act on urges to smash things. Forty years later, there's a real Destruct Room.

Break Club is a club in Buenos Aires, Argentina where members (predominately women) go to break shit with a stick, shatter bottles against the wall, kick stuff, and all around have the best fifteen minutes of their day. It's like a one-sided Fight Club.

A Club For People To Go Smash Things, Vent Anger

Memory Palace Comic! "A Gas Gas Gas"

“There, beneath his bedroom window, while his wife slept just inside, was a strange figure dressed in black crouching in the darkness.”

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"Robot Woman," a 1952 Basil Wolverton comic book story

"You, Fozzmo, are the most brilliant scientist and inventor of the century! The whole world has acclaimed your genius at creating amazing mechanical contrivances!…" A story from Weird Mysteries, told in the rare second-person narrative mode.

Read the full story at Cartoon Snap

Real Stuff: "Our Thing"

“When I was a junior in high school, I suffered from a condition that troubles many teenagers: not much money and no way to get booze.” — From Real Stuff #4 (Fantagraphics, November 1991).

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Gweek 115: Year Zero

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In this episode of Gweek we talk about DIY book publishing vs traditional book publishing, music designed to trick your lizard brain, software that turns photos into talking cartoon characters, a board game that teaches preschoolers about computer programming, and more!

This episode's guests:

Dean Putney, Boing Boing’s software developer and Gweek regular, who’s now self-publishing a book of his great-grandfather’s World War I photos thanks to Kickstarter.

Rob Reid, a writer and technology entrepreneur based in California. He wrote Year Zero -- a novel about aliens with a mad passion for human music – and founded the company that built the Rhapsody music service.

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Here's what we talked about in this episode:

Rob's novel, Year Zero is on sale for 99 cents in ebook formats. Get it here on Amazon, or other formats here.

Dean's self published book about his great-grandfather's collection of a World War I photos, Walter Koessler 1914-1918.

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Gweek 114: Brett Gurewitz of Bad Religion

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In this episode David and I interviewed Brett Gurewitz, the guitarist and songwriter for the band Bad Religion. Brett joined the band when he was a high school student in 1979. Today, he is still in the band and still writing and recording music with Bad Religion, but he also runs the Epitaph record label as well as a number of other labels, with an impressive artist roster including Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Booker T, and Mavis Staples. More recently, Brett became a partner in a new comic book company born out of the Occupy Comics kickstarter, called Black Mask Studios. We talked to Brett about all this and more.

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The artists of Weirdo: where are they now?

Weirdo was one of my favorite magazines of the 1980s. Started by Robert Crumb in 1981, it's where I learned about The Church of the SubGenius, Stanislav Szukalski, and lots of amazing artists. Over at the Last Gasp blog, Janelle has written a "Where are they now" post about the artists of Weirdo.

She writes, "There were about 85 contributors over the course of Weirdo’s 28-issue run. Some of these artists went on to have life-long comics careers (Dan Clowes, Gary Panter, Peter Bagge, etc) while others have faded into the shadows, their work in Weirdo being all the more precious as a result. Although I may prove not to have the fortitude (read: masochism) to track down all 85 Weirdo contributors, I’d like to start by checking in to see what some of my favorite Weirdo artists are doing now…"

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On the auction block - Creepy magazine fan club button and membership card

Creepy and Eerie were black-and-white comic story magazines from the 1960s that absorbed the talent from Tales from the Crypt and EC's other comics after bluenosed panic merchants put them out of business. Heritage Auctions is offering this fine specimen in their Sunday Internet Comic Book auction. Current high bid is just $9!

(Dark Horse has reissued the stories from these great magazines in nice hardbound editions.)

Tell Me Something I Don't Know 015: Evan Dorkin & Peter Bagge

Peter Bagge and Evan Dorkin began making alternative comics in the 1980s.

Peter Bagge began his career on R. Crumb’s Weirdo magazine as a cartoonist and then editor. He created Neat Stuff and Hate for Fantagraphics Books along with works for DC Comics, Marvel, and Dark Horse including the titles Yeah! (with Gilbert Hernandez), Apocalypse Nerd, and Other Lives. His latest work is the biography, Rebel Woman: The Margaret Sanger Story.

Evan Dorkin is best known for Milk & Cheese, Dork, and Superman and Batman: World’s Funnest (he also wrote and drew Bill & Ted’s Excellent Comic Book). He has written for a number of TV shows including Space Ghost Coast To Coast, Superman, and Welcome To Eltingville. He is the co-creator of Beasts Of Burden (with Jill Thompson).

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