Please enjoy this six-page scientific research paper — complete with figures, graphs, and (possibly real) references — discussing the discovery of a novel protein linked to regeneration of tissue in the human mutant known as Wolverine. Apparently, it's very similar to a tissue-regeneration protein found in the axolotl.
There are some real gems in here, including references to the (I would say decidedly lax) Xavier University Research Ethics Board. I would also question why very-real biochemists Sigrid Alvarez, Emma Conway, and Leonard Foster would choose to work with Scott Summers, of all people, rather than Henry P. McCoy, who, I would assume, has a much longer and more impressive CV.
It’s getting chilly outside -- curl up with a good comic. We’ve got a good cross section for you below, from a hefty collection belonging to one of the all-time masters, to a pamphlet-sized volume discussing the peculiarities of scents in ants.
Essential reading, obvious, from a oft-overlooked era. As the press material helpfully points out, Weirdo was, in many ways, the antithesis of Françoise Mouly and Art Spiegelman's comics-as-art anthology, Raw. Not that Crumb strays entirely from such things. Crumb's 80s / 90s Weirdo took an openly schizophrenic approach to storytelling, with the legendary cartoonist tacking whatever happened to strike his fancy that day, from a Philip K. Dick memoir outlining strange messianic visions brought on by painkillers, to adaptations of a late 19th century guide to “psychopathia sexualis” and the work of Jimi Hendrix. This beautifully-assembled collection showcases Crumb’s thinly-veiled id in its purest, unrestrained form. And it is, just as you’d imagine, some dark, dark shit, not for the weak of stomach.
Knockabout has done a fine job tossing in full-color reproductions of the series’ covers, along with a number of Crumb photo comics that seem, more than anything, a chance for the artist to galavant with his usual selection of generously-proportioned females. You’ll be poring over this one for weeks to come.
Drawn & Quarterly has reprinted cartoonist Chris Ware's Acme Novelty Datebook Volume One, which came out in 2003. It's a terrific look at the "loose" work of one of the world's best living illustrators.
Acclaimed cartoonist Chris Ware (Building Stories) reveals the outtakes of his genius in these intimate, imaginative, and whimsical sketches collected from the years during which he completed his award-winning graphic novel Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth (Pantheon). Acme Datebook Volume One is as much a companion volume to Jimmy Corrigan as a tremendous art collection from of one of America’s most interesting and popular graphic artists. Chris Ware has a passion for drawing that is infectiously wide-ranging in style and subject. Acme Datebook Volume One surprises the reader on every page with its spontaneity, its mordant humor, and its excellent draftsmanship. Architectural drawings from Chicago and interplanetary robot comics collide with cruelly doodled human figures, quietly troubling figure studies, and innumerable notes to self detailing artistic doubts and ideas.
Gweek is a podcast where the editors and friends of Boing Boing talk about comic books, science fiction and fantasy, video games, board games, TV shows, music, movies, tools, gadgets, apps, and other neat stuff.
Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and semiotician. He is co-author of Significant Objects, published by Fantagraphics, and Unbored, the kids' field guide to serious fun. He edits the website HiLobrow, which as HiLoBooks is now publishing classics -- by Jack London, Rudyard Kipling, Arthur Conan Doyle, and others -- from what he calls science fiction's Radium Age.
My friend Jon Lebkowsky (an editor at bOING bOING and the co-founder of Fringe Ware) says, "Your Popeye post sent me to Amazon, where I discovered you can acquire old original issues of Mad Magazine (and various other comics, including Batman #1 and Superman #1) for the Kindle. Best of all, Mad #1 is free!" (It's also free on Comixology)
Archie was created by Bob Montana, but Dan DiCarlo gave Archie and his pals the looks and personalities we are familiar with. Someone at Walt Disney Studios created Donald Duck, but it took cartoonist Carl Barks to transform the sailor-suited waterfowl from a screechy ill-tempered time bomb into a scheming, but good-hearted uncle to three industrious ducklings. And E.C. Segar created Popeye, J. Wellington Wimpy, Olive Oyl, Sweepea, and Bluto, but Bud Sagendorf's incredibly entertaining comic books about the one-eye sailor are the canonical Popeye (at least to me), on par with Little Lulu (created by Marjorie Henderson Buell and brought to life by John Stanley) and Barks' Uncle Scrooge.
My friend and cartoon historian Craig Yoe has been editing collections of Sagendorf's Popeye comics books, published as reasonably-priced hardcovers by IDW. Popeye Classics Volume 1 came out earlier this year, and Volume 2 is forthcoming. Like Uncle Scrooge and Little Lulu, these are great comics to read with your kids. Below, a couple of sample spreads.
Frank Santoro is a Pittsburgh-based cartoonist. He self-published his first major work, Storeyville in 1995 while living in San Francisco. Upon its republication twelve years later, Tom Spurgeon wrote, "Frank Santoro's Storeyville may be the book of 2007, which is doubly amazing when you realize that it may have been the book of 1995 as well." After spending time in the New York art scene, where he painted and assisted painter, Francesco Clemente, he returned to making comics in the early 2000s with Cold Heat - an unfinished collaboration with Ben Jones. He cofounded the influential comics criticism blog and publication, Comics Comics, with Dan Nadel and Tim Hodler. In 2011, he founded the Santoro Correspondence Course. He writes a weekly comic for tcj.com and runs comicworksbook (currently in the midst of the comicsworkbook Composition Competition 2013). This fall, Picturebox, Inc. will release Santoro's new graphic novel, Pompeii -- a historical romance set in the days before the eruption.
This episode of Gweek is brought to you by Squarespace, the all-in-one platform that makes it fast and easy to create your own professional website or online portfolio. For a free trial and 10% off, go to squarespace.com/gweek and use offer code boing8.
JULY -- Listen, I know it’s hard to resist the lure of Powell’s on a trip to Portland (believe me, I was there twice in a three-day period), but if don't visit Floating World Comics when you’re in the Rose City, it’s time to sit down and take a serious look at your life. I went to both places, of course. We hit Seattle and San Francisco on the trip as well, so my suitcase was around 10 to 20 pounds heavier than it was on the way in. It’s a sickness, really. I mean, I’m writing a comics column to partially pay for a comics habit. Maybe it’s time for me to have a serious look in the mirror, as well -- but if you really thought I was going to leave that store without picking up the new issue of Henry & Glenn Forever, you’re just kidding yourself, really. We all fill the hole of missing Comic Con in our own way.
Okay, I’m about six months behind on this one -- and I also learned an important lesson about reading comics on a Kindle (don’t), but man, I liked the hell out of Nicole Georges’s book. Her artwork has improved by leaps and bounds from the scribbled early days of her wonderful Invincible Summer zine, which I also revisited on a recent trip to Portland, to bone up before an interview with her for an upcoming episode of my RiYL podcast. In that volume, Georges expressed interest in working on something book-length, if only she could find the right story -- at the time she was considering doing something about dogs, I think.
The early 1980s were an exciting time for alternative comics. Shortly out of high school I discovered RAW, which was launched by the husband-and-wife team of Art Spiegelman and Françoise Mouly, and Weirdo, launched by the husband-and-wife team of Robert Crumb and Aline Kominsky-Crumb. It was in the pages of Weirdo that I discovered The Church of the SubGenius, Stanislav Szukalski, and a bunch of great cartoonists.
Crumb wrote and drew at least one story in each issue of Weirdo (which was published by Last Gasp from 1981 to 1993) and drew every cover. The covers are reminiscent of Humbug, a late-1950s humor magazine created by Crumb's mentor, Harvey Kurtzman (also the creator of MAD):
Some of Crumb's best work came out during his Weirdo period. In Weirdo #17, Crumb illustrated an 8-page story called "The Religious Experience of Philip K. Dick," based on a 1978 undelivered speech Dick wrote called "How to Build a Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later" and from passages in an out-of-print book called Philip K. Dick: The Last Testament.
Crumb's story focuses on Dick's bizarre hallucinatory experience of March 1974, in which Dick went back in time to the era of the apostolic Christians. Dick spent the rest of his life trying to figure out what these visions meant. Here's the first page:
Rob Liefeld is the creator of Deadpool, Cable, X-Force, Youngblood, Supreme, Bloodstrike, Prophet, and Glory! He founded Image Comics in 1992 with Jim Lee, Todd McFarlane, Erik Larsen, Jim Valentino, and Marc Silvestri. Currently he oversees the Extreme Universe titles at Image. Follow Rob on Twitter @robertliefeld and see more of his art on robliefeldcreations.com.
Al 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.
Told in a series of one- and two-page comic strips, Boey describes his life growing up in Malaysia: finding a condom in his parents' bedside drawers, "fishing" for his dogs by tying a biscuit to a string and dangling it off a stick while standing on his balcony, making a tiny matchstick kite with his dad, fighting with his sister in the backseat of the family car while his mother reaches back to try to pinch their legs to make them stop, learning how to use a plastic bag to catch spiders, crying until his mother retrieves his favorite (but worn-out) pillow from the trash where she'd tossed it, falling out of love with his He-Man doll when he gets his first computer, and and dozens of other funny and sometimes poignant slices of life.
The art is simple, but effective, and I finished the book hoping he'll do a sequel. Read a sample story below.
Without a doubt, Jack Davis is one of the greatest cartoonists ever, and one of the most highly-recognizable. With a career that started before the early days of EC's MAD and its sci-fi and horror titles, Davis's distinctive work has appeared on movie posters, book covers, and on a famous poster of Frankenstein's monster. IDW's artist's edition is a 176-page, 11-pound monster-sized collection of Davis' comic book work, reprinted at the same size as drawn - the two-page spreads measure 30 x 22 inches!. (Shown above: the variant cover edition).
Shelton Drum is a first-generation outlier in the world of comics retail and convention organizing with his Charlotte NC store, Heroes Aren't Hard To Find, celebrating 30+ years in existence and Heroes Con growing stronger over a similar span of time. The TMSIDK gang traveled to Heroes Con 2013 to record the show live and the conversation spans the history of comics from the mid-60s forward through the eyes of a store owner who's seen it all.
In July I wrote that I'd ordered a copy of the giant-sized book, The Best of EC Artist's Edition, a collection of original arts scans from the great EC comics of the 1950s. I got my book and it's worth every penny. Below, some iPhone snaps of the book.
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.
Daniel Clowes ranks among the top three of four greatest living cartoonists. I've been following his work since 1986, when I came across his Fantagraphics comic book Lloyd Llewellyn, about a retrofuturistic detective with a misanthropic streak.
I'm relishing all 358 art-laden pages. They include the entire Ghost World story (made into a movie directed by Terry Zwigoff) with annotations, plus a number of rarely seen stories. Several of the twelve essays about Clowes' work were new to me, and I enjoyed re-reading Joshua Glenn's sharp interview from a 1990 Hermenaut interview. This is an essential book for all serious readers of Clowes' work.
Jon M. Gibson is the co-founder/co-owner of iam8bit -– a production company, creative think tank, art exhibition, and gallery space in Los Angeles. iam8bit’s projects include a music video for Radiohead, A Really, Really Brief History of Donkey Kong for the King of Kong DVD, Street Fighter Club, a custom vinyl picture disc for Tron Evolution, and marketing and artwork for Mega Man 9. After the success of the initial iam8bit shows (hosted at Gallery Nineteen Eighty Eight), they opened their own space and have continued to produce a variety of art exhibitions in addition to their work in the video game, film, fashion, and music industries.
Tell Me Something I Don't Know is produced and hosted by three talented cartoonists and illustrators:
Water filters light. The more water that's above you, the more light is filtered out before it can reach your eyes. The deeper you go, the more this effect alters which colors you can see and how those colors appear, writes Andrew David Thaler at Southern Fried Science. Even at a depth of just 5 meters, reds and oranges become difficult to distinguish from one another.
Cory and I have both raved about MAD: Artist's Edition, a massive hardcover book of high-fidelity scans of original MAD comic book art pages from the 1950s, complete with pencil lines, rubber stamps, Zip-A-Tone, pasted-over panels, yellowing Wite Out, notes in margins, and other markings that add interest to the pages. The paper used in the book was selected to closely match the bristol board of the original pages. (Here's Cory's review, and here's my discussion of the book on Gweek).
When I discovered that IDW, publisher of the MAD: Artist's Edition released The Best of EC: Artist's Edition, I immediately ordered it, too. EC is the same publisher that published MAD, and it used the same stable of virtuoso artists and writers in the 1950s to produce some of the best comic book titles in history, including Weird Science and Tales from the Crypt. This edition includes art by Frank Frazetta, Harvey Kurtzman, Johnny Craig, Roy Krenkel, Bernie Krigstein, Joe Orlando, Alex Toth, and Al Williamson. I haven't received The Best of EC: Artist's Edition yet, but to give you an idea of how big the book is and how nice the scans look in the Artist's Series editions, I asked Jane and Anna to pose with my MAD book.
Since 1988, the Eisner Awards have recognized the industry’s best and brightest. Named after the legendary comics pioneer Will Eisner, the awards have the longest tenure of any comics award. In preparation for the 2013 awards at San Diego Comic-Con International, here’s a streamgraph to visualize the varying number of awards over time and which publishers took home the most trophies.
Martin is one of a handful of Templar Knights to escape when the king of France and the pope conspire to destroy the noble order. The king aims to frame the Templars for heresy, execute all of them, and make off with their legendary treasure. That's the plan, anyway, but Martin and several other surviving knights mount a counter-campaign to regain the lost treasure of the Knights Templar.
With gorgeous illustrations by LeUyen Pham and Alexander Puvilland and lush coloring from Hilary Sycamore, this 480-page, full-color, hardcover graphic novel by Jordan Mechner is itself a treasure.
It's summertime! Go outside and read a comic! Or stay inside and read a comic. Personally, I like to read comics inside door jambs -- it splits the difference and is the safest place to be during an earthquake! These are the sorts of quality comics-reading tips you can expect from your friends at the Boing Boing Comics Rack.
This book is, frankly, just too large to attempt to read on a crowded downtown “6” train on a Saturday night -- the guy leaning off the pole next to you will keep bumping into you as he sways slowly, back and forth. And all of a sudden you’re the asshole, because you’re trying to read some beautiful, hardcover graphic novel on a too hot and sticky early night in June. And then maybe a fight will break out in the next car over, between two women. You can’t hear a word of it, but it’s a sort of delicate dance of hand signals and bobbing heads still visible through pollution-frosted windows. And then a man will apologize to the car before telling the sad story of the family he’s trying to support on an income of change and crumpled dollar bills, and some break dancing teens will flip to Michael Jackson songs, their flying sneakers repeatedly coming far too close to your downward-facing head for comfort.
I don’t know that it was the best way to enjoy such a thing. Peter Kuper packs a million shapes and colors and emotions into a page, and if you look up for a moment at the two young women have a loud conversation about their sex lives, you’ll probably miss a solid 100 thousand. But it’s a book that can be taken in pieces, a wide-ranging collection of comics, sketches and commissioned illustrations lacking in an over-arching narrative arc (if that’s what you’re in the market for, I’d nudge you toward the largely autobiographical Stop Forgetting to Remember). It’s fractured and chaotic, and for those looking in from the outside, the grime may well have all the tourist appeal of Penn Station.
Unlike the stylistically similar Diario De Oaxaca, Kuper doesn’t offer the added context of a visitor to the strange land -- and, really, the New York City tourist board isn’t likely to adopt this text any time soon. But who knows, maybe by the time you reach the first stop in Brooklyn, you’ll find a thing or two that will put you back on the right side of your perpetual love/hate relationship with this city.
Tom Van Deusen says: "I officially launched the Kickstarter for Dennis P. Eichhorn's Real Good Stuff a few minutes ago. These two new issues will include new stories by Eichhorn and original artwork by cartoonists Jim Blanchard, Max Clotfelter, Mary Fleener, Sean Hurley, Aaron Lange, Pat Moriarity, Tom Van Deusen, and Noah Van Sciver."