The Wonders of Free Market Health Care

Tom the Dancing Bug, IN WHICH the Smythes of Chagrin Falls, USA, shop for health insurance with only the guiding invisible hands of the Free Market!

The Big Bad Fox: hilarious tale of predators, parenting, and poultry

Benjamin Renner's hit French comic The Big Bad Fox isn't just being adapted as an animated feature, it's also now available in English, thanks to the good graces of Firstsecond, whose translation keeps and even enhances all the comic timing of the original.

My Favorite Thing is Monsters: a haunting diary of a young girl as a dazzling graphic novel

Emil Ferris's graphic novel debut My Favorite Thing is Monsters may just be the best graphic novel of 2017, and is certainly the best debut I've read in the genre, and it virtually defies summarizing: Karen is a young girl in a rough Chicago neighborhood is obsessed with monsters and synthesia, is outcast among her friends, is queer, is torn apart by the assassination of Martin Luther King, by her mother's terminal illness, by the murder of the upstairs neighbor, a beautiful and broken Holocaust survivor, by her love for her Vietnam-draft-eligible brother and her love of fine art.

Classic comic book covers as balloon art

For those who can't get enough balloon art (previously), here are some classic comic book covers reimagined with balloon art by Phileas Flash. Some impressive detail! Read the rest

In 1956, Hugh Hefner gave MAD's founding editor an unlimited budget for a new satire magazine called "TRUMP"

Harvey Kurtzman is a hero of satire, the guy who convinced Bill Gaines's mother to bankroll a comic book called MAD, then doubled down by turning MAD into a magazine -- only to jump ship five issues later after a bizarre fight with the Gaineses, finding refuge with Playboy founder Hugh Hefner who gave him an unlimited budget to start an all-star, high-quality satire magazine called TRUMP, which lasted for two legendary, prized issues, now collected in a gorgeous hardcover from Dark Horse. Read the rest

The complicated, feminist history of Wonder Woman’s odd origin story

In this great piece for Vulture, pop culture critic and Wonder Woman aficionado Angelica Jade Bastién digs into Diana’s Prince comic book origin story. Unlike Batman and Superman, whose backstories are both iconic and straightforward, Wonder Woman’s origin is a little weirder and a little less familiar to mass audiences. Traditionally, she’s molded from clay by her mother, Queen Hippolyta, who leads the Amazons on the all-female island of Themyscira; Diana leaves Themyscira when Captain Steve Trevor crash lands on the island and needs an escort to take him back to the world of man. Like many comic book characters, however, Wonder Woman has seen her origin—not to mention her personality, ethos, and biographic details—shift over the years. And Bastién argues that in this case, those shifts aren’t just part of the normal ebb and flow of comic book storytelling; they also specifically relate to Wonder Woman’s relationship to feminism. Bastién writes:

Due to the fact that she’s so intrinsically tied to the feminist movement, Wonder Woman is also often burdened with having to represent all facets of womanhood in ways other female superheroes, like Black Widow, Storm, and Captain Marvel, have not, which has created a more muddled sense of who she is. Charting the tangled lineage of Wonder Woman’s origin is to chart the history of American feminism itself and how female power is negotiated in a world that abhors it. At the beginning of her history, Wonder Woman carried the echo of the suffragette movement and first-wave feminism.

Read the rest

"The Crucible," Starring Donald Trump

Tom the Dancing Bug, IN WHICH the Mayor of 1692 Salem Massachusetts, a Donald J. Trump, is the subject of a horrible and allegorical witch hunt!

A comic that profiles Columbia University's first-ever comics curator

Nick Sousanis is the comics creator who broke ground in 2015 by being the first doctoral candidate to submit a dissertation in comics form and ever since, he's been doing wonderful nonfiction work in the form, on subjects ranging from entropy to climate change to elections. Read the rest

Handmade Wonder Woman swimsuits, made to measure

Etsy seller Kooj of Northfield, NJ (everything is legal in New Jersey!) makes beautiful, well-reviewed handmade bathing suits, including a timely range of Wonder Woman suits: with skirts, bikinis, one-piece (closed back or peek-a-boo) and kids' sizes, handwash cold water, XS to XXL, made to your measurements. (See also: Captain America) Read the rest

Lynda Barry gets a guest-appearance in The Family Circus

Lynda Barry blogs about the amazing feels she got when she discovered that she'd been given a guest-appearance in The Family Circus by Jeff Keane, Bill Keane's son and successor. Read the rest

The Realist: trenchant, beautifully surreal Israeli comics about a sweet and complicated existence

Asaf Hanuka is a celebrated Israeli cartoonist whose astonishing, surreal illustrations serve as counterpoint to sweet (sometimes too-sweet) depictions of his family life, his complicated existence as a member of a visible minority in Israel, the fear he and his family live with, and his own pleasures and secret shames -- a heady, confessional, autobiographical brew that has just been collected into The Realist: Plug and Play, the second volume of Hanuka's comics.

With Briggs Land, Brian Wood gets inside the scariest terror threat in America: white nationalists

Stories matter: the recurring narrative of radical Islamic terror in America (a statistical outlier) makes it nearly impossible to avoid equating "terrorist" with "jihadi suicide bomber" -- but the real domestic terror threat is white people, the Dominionists, ethno-nationalists, white separatists, white supremacists and sovereign citizens who target (or infiltrate) cops and blow up buildings. That's what makes Brian Wood's first Briggs Land collection so timely: a gripping story of far-right terror that is empathic but never sympathetic.

Matt Furie celebrated yesterday's Free Comic Book Day by killing off Pepe the Frog

Spare a thought for poor Matt Furie, a wonderful indie comics creator whose Boys' Club comics featured a lovable frog called Pepe that was adopted by the neofascist movement (the so-called "alt-right") as a symbol for racism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia and misogyny. Read the rest

Soupy Leaves Home: a masterpiece of YA graphic storytelling, about hobos on the open road

In Soupy Leaves Home, writer Cecil Castellucci and artist Jose Pimienta expand the borders of young adult graphic novels, telling a moving, inspiring tale of Depression-era hobos, identity, gender, suspicion, solidarity, and the complicated business of being true to yourself while living up to your obligations to others.

Spill Zone: fast-paced, spooky YA comic about the haunted ruins of Poughkeepsie

In Spill Zone, YA superstar Scott "Uglies" Westerfeld and artist Alex Puvilland tell the spooky, action-packed tale of Addison, one of the few survivors of the mysterious events that destroyed Poughkeepsie, New York, turning it into a spooky, Night-Vale-ish place where mutant animals, floating living corpses, and people trapped in two-dimensional planes live amid strange permanent winds that create funnels of old electronics and medical waste.

Interview with Alan Moore about science, imagination, and time

On the heels of the Daily Grail's new essay anthology Spirits of Place -- featuring Alan Moore, Maria J. Warren Ellis, Gazelle Amber Valentine, and many more writers and thinkers -- the Grail's Greg Taylor conducted a deep interview with Moore about populism, time, language, science, and other heady topics. From the Daily Grail:

What are your thoughts on the importance, or non-importance, of including consciousness, imagination and subjective experience in any theory of what 'reality' is?

AM: Is it helpful to observe that subjectivity is the only thing that we know is objectively real, or does that just muddy the waters even further, as with so many of the well-intentioned things I say? I mean, we do not experience the universe directly: we experience it only through our limited senses, with our sensory impressions arranged moment by moment into this immersive psychic movie that we agree to call reality. From this point of view, our entire universe can only ever be a subjective neurological phenomenon, at least to us, and a quick glance around will confirm that it’s only us who seem to be much bothered either way about this ontology business. I think Nagel is correct in his criticism of the materialist worldview, and I would further state that even should science ever accomplish its goal of unifying classical and quantum physics, of achieving a grand ‘Theory of Everything’, then if it only describes the physical universe and does not take account of the marvellous, supernatural phenomenon – consciousness – that has arrived at this theory, it is nowhere near a theory of everything, is it?

Read the rest

Briggs Land: an eerily plausible version of our near future

Briggs Land is a complex, intelligent crime drama that is so American at its core, but a slice of America we rarely get to see. It would be topical at any time, but in our current political climate, it's frighteningly relevant.

More posts