An excerpt from Seth's graphic novel masterpiece, Clyde Fans

It took Canadian cartoonist Seth twenty years to complete his graphic novel Clyde Fans, and it was worth the wait. Seth is one of the greatest living cartoonists, and I've been a fan of his work since 1985, when he drew Mister X (after Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez stopped working on it).

Clyde Fans appeared in serial form in Seth's comic Palookaville, published by Drawn & Quarterly. The entire anthology runs 488 pages, and each panel is gorgeous.

From the book description:

Twenty years in the making, Clyde Fans peels back the optimism of mid-twentieth century capitalism. Legendary Canadian cartoonist Seth lovingly shows the rituals, hopes, and delusions of a middle-class that has long ceased to exist in North America—garrulous men in wool suits extolling the virtues of the wares to taciturn shopkeepers with an eye on the door. Much like the myth of an ever-growing economy, the Clyde Fans family unit is a fraud—the patriarch has abandoned the business to mismatched sons, one who strives to keep the business afloat and the other who retreats into the arms of the remaining parent.

Abe and Simon Matchcard are brothers, the second generation struggling to save their archaic family business of selling oscillating fans in a world switching to air conditioning. At Clyde Fans’ center is Simon, who flirts with becoming a salesman as a last-ditch effort to leave the protective walls of the family home, but is ultimately unable to escape Abe’s critical voice in his head. As the business crumbles so does any remaining relationship between the two men, both of whom choose very different life paths but still end up utterly unhappy.

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Watch the trailer for the upcoming Watchman series on HBO

Published in 1986, the Watchmen comic book series by Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons is rightly regarded as a masterpiece. (It was the first DC comic book series I read after Jack Kirby's Kamandi folded in 1978 and I loved it.) Now, HBO is adapting the series for TV.

From Damon Lindelof and set in an alternate history where “superheroes” are treated as outlaws, this drama series embraces the nostalgia of the original groundbreaking graphic novel of the same name while attempting to break new ground of its own. The cast includes Regina King, Jeremy Irons, Don Johnson, Jean Smart, Tim Blake Nelson, Louis Gossett Jr., Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Hong Chau, Andrew Howard, Tom Mison, Frances Fisher, Jacob Ming-Trent, Sara Vickers, Dylan Schombing, and James Wolk.

Image HBO/YouTube Read the rest

The Book of Weirdo - a history of the greatest magazine ever published

Robert Crumb launched Weirdo magazine in 1981. I bought the first issue from the comic book store I worked at in Boulder, Colorado, and it blew my mind. It had comics by Crumb (many people, including me, think Crumb's work in Weirdo is his best), a selection of incredible illustrations from the late Polish artist Stanislav Szukalski's bizarre theory about human evolution (Netflix has a new documentary about Szukalski produced by Leonardo DiCaprio), comics by homeless Berkeley cartoonist Bruce Duncan, tracts from the Church of the SubGenius (Weirdo was the first place I came across the Church), and Foto Funnies (starring Crumb and amateur models recruited from UC Davis). I had never seen anything like Weirdo and I instantly fell in love with it, looking forward to every issue.

Here's the intro, where Crumb describes Weirdo as, "another MAD imitation, another small-time commercial venture with high hopes, obviously doomed to failure."

Weirdo was partly inspired by MAD, but it really took the look and feel from the short-lived Humbug magazine, launched in 1957 by MAD creator Harvey Kurtzman. Like Humbug and Kurtzman's follow-up humor magazine, Help! (which Crumb drew comics for), Weirdo had a small circulation (never topping 10,000 copies per issue) even though both magazines were loaded with talent. During its 28-issue run between 1981 and 1993 Weirdo ran comics by Peter Bagge, Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes, Kim Deitch, Julie Doucet, Debbie Drechsler, Dennis Eichhorn, Mary Fleener, Drew Friedman, Phoebe Gloeckner, Bill Griffith, Rory Hayes, Gilbert Hernandez, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, John Kricfalusi, Carol Lay, Joe Matt, Diane Noomin, Gary Panter, Harvey Pekar, Raymond Pettibon, Spain Rodriguez, Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, Dori Seda, Art Spiegelman, Carol Tyler, Robert Williams, S. Read the rest

God of Hammers cosplay with LED eyes (don't try this!)

Thor is in the house.

Eerily prescient 1950s comic book about "The Wall"

My friend Craig Yoe edited a great anthology of old, forgotten comic book stories, called The Unknown Anti-War Comics. Here's a three-page story from the anthology about a group of intergalactic migrants who seek refuge on Earth and are told they are too different from Earthlings to stay.

Here's a video about The Unknown Anti-War Comics:

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez quotes Rorschach from Watchmen

Joe Lieberman (76) went on Fox Business News last night to let everyone know that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (29) "is not the future."

I wonder how many Democratic Ocasio-Cortez supporters who watch Fox Business News heard this, smacked their head and said, "By gum, Joe is right! I'm going to subscribe to John Dingell (88) and Louise Slaughter's (88) Twitter feeds right now so I can be part of the future!"

AOC was gentle with Granpa Joe:

She showed less patience for other old guard Democrats who are jealous of the attention AOC has received for sharing policy ideas that people actually like. She quoted the famous line that Rorschach of Watchmen uttered after pouring a pan of hot cooking grease on a fellow prisoner.

Image: Fox Business News Read the rest

A previously undiscovered Jim Steranko swipe

A friend of mine (who wishes to remain anonymous) shares my interest in finding swipes of famous illustrators and comic book artists. Neither of us begrudge these artists for swiping (that's the comics industry term for using reference material perhaps a bit too faithfully). After all, these artists worked under brutal deadlines and sometimes they had to cut corners to meet them.

"One of the great swipes," says my friend, "is Jack Kirby swiping a Hal Foster image and turning one panel that became an entire comics series and an integral part of the standing DC Extended Universe."

That swipe is well-known. But my friend found a swipe by the Great Jim Steranko which was previously unspotted:

"It appears that when Steranko painted the covers for the Shadow reprints, he swiped this cover from Spicy (Speed) Detective. The original artist was Hugh Joseph Ward and the periodical was Speed Detective June, 1945.

"The image below is more the norm: Steranko being swiped himself. Here Williams' pinball machine "Blackout" swiped Steranko's famous Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D issue number 6 cover for its scoreboard art:"

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Sample pages from Liz Suburbia's new comic book anthology, Thee Collected Cyanide Milkshake

Artist Janelle Hessig (who was a guest many times on Boing Boing's retired Gweek podcast) has launched a comic book publishing company in Oakland called Gimme Action. Tomorrow Gimme Action is releasing a new comic anthology by Liz Suburbia (who wrote and illustrated the excellent Sacred Heart in 2015).

Suburbia's anthology is called Thee Collected Cyanide Milkshake, which includes all seven issues of Liz's mini-comic Cyanide Milkshake.

As Janelle describes it, "the book takes you on a journey from hilarious single panel gags (a la Mad Magazine) to deeply personal autobio strips about subjects like anxiety and street harassment to horny sci-fi (favorite new genre?). If it sounds jam-packed, that's because it is. But it never feels fractured or inconsistent as it takes readers through a variety of experiences. Cyanide Milkshake is personally very precious to me and I feel honored that Liz has trusted me with her genius work. I truly believe this book will make the world 176 pages less shitty. It feels worthwhile to note that this book was created by a woman, published by a woman, printed by a women-owned press, and debuts at a women-run comic convention (Short Run in Seattle)."

Thee Collected Cyanide Milkshake ships November 1st, 2018. Ordering info is on the Gimme Action site.

Enjoy these sample pages:

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Doc Pop's risographed mini comics are fun and quirky

Today was a good day. A package from San Francisco artist Doctor Popular arrived in the mail. Inside were eight tiny publications, what he calls the Mini-Comics Mixtape.

He writes, "All 8 comics were drawn in under 24 hours with no planning in advance, so the stories can get a little out there." They're so good -- funny, offbeat and engaging!

Plus, he used a Risograph to print the comic books in two colors, which makes them look extra neat.

He's selling the set for $12 over at Etsy or through his site DoctorPopular.com.

Doc Pop previously on BB Read the rest

Comic book art being auctioned off for a great cause

Giving generously to an important cause is cool. Y’all know what’s cooler? Giving generously to an important cause and, as a result, becoming the proud owner of a gorgeous piece of comic book art.

Cat Staggs — the co-creator of Crosswind and an artist on Wonder Woman ‘77 — was approached at a recent comic book convention and was commissioned by a fan, Danielle Van Lier, to throw together a gorgeous drawing of Wonder Woman. It was a sketch with a mission: to raise as much coin as possible for Immigrant Families Together. It’s a charity that focuses its efforts on improving the lives of families separated at America’s southern borders in the following areas:

• Raising funds through coordinated crowdfunding and individual giving in order to post bond for parents separated from their children • Paying bonds and providing pro bono legal representation to fulfill all legal responsibilities while awaiting trial so that they may be with their children • Arranging safe transportation from state of detention to the city where children are currently in foster care • When needed, finding long-term housing in the destination city while they await trial • Connecting parents with resources in order to sustain them during the process of being unified with their children • Working with local organizations and government to expedite the process of achieving full custody of their children while they await trial

Given the shitty way that the Trump administration has been treating families seeking safe harbor from the dangers of their homes, this is vital work. Read the rest

Tom Hardy caught a real nasty bug in the latest trailer for Venom

Tom Hardy continues his tradition of playing comic book characters whose main power is mumbling in the latest trailer for Venom. It's a fun-filled 3:14 that extols the virtues of teamwork, appreciating one another's differences and making the best of a bad situation.

I'm betting the movie'll be just like the Odd Couple, but with more eviscerations. Read the rest

Aquaman will never be cool no matter how hard DC tries

When you've got a 77-year-old hunk of intellectual property that can breathe underwater and talk to fish, it's not a bad idea to update it so that it's relatable for a modern audience. In the case of what I'm seeing in this first trailer for the Aquaman movie, I feel like DC may have missed the mark by about 20 years. It is so grim-dark and EXTREME that you'd swear that 1990s Todd McFarlane was called in as a consultant.

I love DC comics. I grew up with them. I really want their movies to do well. But I'm not sure that this is the right way to go. Read the rest

What comic books should I be reading?

I grew up reading comic books. Green Lantern was my childhood superhero (do not talk to me about the movie.) I loved the X-Men, too. Batman? Hell yes. In my late teens, I graduated into Hellblazer, Shade: The Changing Man and honestly, pretty much anything that Vertigo printed. Sadly, when university rolled around, I was too much of a broke joke to afford extras like the occasional funny book.

Of late, I’ve been catching up on what I missed.

I’ve read to the end of Hellblazer (so good!) and pick up Saga, Trees and Injection on a regular basis. But I don’t know what to read next. I like dark gritty stuff—I came of age in the 1990s—and I’m not sure what to check out. As I live in an RV, even though it’s a big one, I don’t have space to build up a huge collection of comics, trade paperbacks or graphic novels. What ever I consume needs to make it to my eyeballs, via my iPad or Kindle.

What do y’all think I should try next? Do you have any favorite titles that I should take for a spin? If so, what do you like about them and why, based on what I’ve told you that I dig, would I find to love in them?

Help a fella out?

Image via Flickr, courtesy of Sam Howzit Read the rest

Steve Ditko, co-creator of Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, RIP

Steve Ditko, the pioneering comic artist who co-created Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, has died. He was 90 years old. From The Hollywood Reporter:

In 1961, Ditko and Lee created Spider-Man. Lee, the editor-in-chief at Marvel Comics, gave Ditko the assignment after he wasn't satisfied with Jack Kirby's take on the idea of a teen superhero with spider powers. The look of Spider-Man — the costume, the web-shooters, the red and blue design — all came from Ditko. Spider-Man first appeared in Amazing Fantasy No. 15. The comic was an unexpected hit, and the character was spun off into The Amazing Spider-Man. Ditko helped create such classic Spider-Man characters as Doctor Octopus, Sandman, the Lizard and Green Goblin. Starting with issue No. 25, Ditko received a plot credit in addition to his artist credit. Ditko's run ended with issue No. 38.

In 1963, Ditko created the surreal and psychedelic hero, Doctor Strange. The character debuted in Strange Tales No. 110, and Ditko continued on the comic through issue No. 146, cover dated July 1966.

After that, Ditko left Marvel Comics over a fight with Lee, the causes of which have always remained murky. The pair had not been on speaking terms for several years. Ditko never explained his side, and Lee claimed not to really know what motivated Ditko's exit...

The reclusive Ditko was known as the "J.D. Salinger" of comics. From the 1970s on, he rarely spoke on the record, declining almost every interview request. He sat out the publicity booms that accompanied the Spider-Man films and the Doctor Strange movie.

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Copy of Action Comics #1 could fetch $600k at auction

A copy of Action Comics #1 (1938), featuring the first appearance of Superman, is on the auction block. The current bid is $300k and Heritage Auctions says it could go up to $600k or more.

The book considered by many to be the “Holy Grail” of comics collecting is expected to compete for

top-lot honors at Auctions’ Comics & Comic Art Auction May 10-12 in Chicago in what could be the most lucrative comics auction ever held.

“This auction has a chance to be among the largest comics auctions of all time, if not the largest,” Heritage Auctions Comics Director of Operations Barry Sandoval said. “It will be in a vibrant city that is easy to reach from just about anywhere, and we have an extremely strong collection of valuable comic books that will draw the attention and interest of comics collectors from just about everywhere.”

Action Comics #1 (DC, 1938) CGC VG 4.0 Cream to off-white pages (est. $650,000+) is among the most coveted comic books in the hobby. The issue generates major interest regardless of its condition, and this is one of the highest-graded copies ever offered by Heritage Auctions. Ernst Gerber's The Photo-Journal Guide to Comic Books rated it "scarce,” and CGC's census lists just 40 unrestored copies. The first appearance of Superman launched the Golden Age of Comics, and every superhero that followed is in debt to the character created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster (artist). The issue also sits atop Overstreet's “Top 100 Golden Age Comics” list.

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Video profile of Ghost World creator Daniel Clowes

Woody Harrelson and Thora Birch narrate this video profile of the great cartoonist Daniel Clowes, creator of Eightball.

Daniel Clowes’ brand of funny verges on bleak. Over his 25-year career, through works like “Ghost World,” “Eightball” and “Wilson,” the cartoonist has lead the way for a new kind of comic hero, one that’s misanthropic, dry and on the outside of conventional norms. Now, with an Oscar nomination and features in places like GQ and the New Yorker, Clowes has been on the front lines of the new age of comics, bringing graphic novels to the big screen and to the wider public. This is the story of how one cartoonist changed an industry, as set to the unmistakable vocal stylings of Woody Harrelson.

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Comic book bouquets and boutonnieres

Ooo, betrothed comic book nerds, this one's for you. Mallory McKenney of Wisconsin makes wedding bouquets and boutonnieres by cutting up upcycled comics. From Batman to the Wolverine, and just about any character in between, the Milwaukee crafter can whip up something super for your big day.

Before you get all up in arms about the comics she's chopping up, Mallory's husband Nick explains her source, "...she actually buys damaged comic books for super cheap from a couple comic book stores here in Milwaukee, so she’s definitely not using ones that anyone would want otherwise. The only real exceptions are if people request really specific comic books or characters that aren’t super popular and didn’t appear in too many issues."

She sells her creations in her Etsy shop, glamMKE. Prices start at $10 (for a single flower) and go up to $200 (something for the entire wedding party).

(reddit) Read the rest

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