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August 22, 2013
[comics] Grant Morrison on bringing back Wonder Woman … Morrison also discusses Rebellion’s reprinting of Zenith.

…one particular title from the late 1980s made headlines earlier this year. Rebellion, the publisher of 2000AD, announced it was planning to reprint Zenith, Morrison’s subversive superhero strip. Shallow, sarcastic and frequently used as a way for Morrison to criticise the Conservative party, the hero’s five-year run in 2000AD ended in 1992. Zenith has been out of print ever since, due to a legal dispute over who owns the rights. So Rebellion’s announcement of a £100 preorder-only hardback complete collection raised rather a lot of eyebrows, with Morrison unable to comment. But, choosing his words carefully, the writer is now able to talk a little about what’s happening.

“Well, it’s very simple,” he begins with a wince. “We, uh, we spent five grand on lawyers’ fees. They sent [Rebellion] letters. We were very keen to discuss it and we’ve never heard back from them. All I can say is that we tried to get into a discussion with them and they just didn’t reply. I don’t know what to do at this stage.”

August 20, 2013
[comics] Chris Ware Q&A … a live chat with Guardian readers …

Q: Did you base Jimmy Corrigan’s looks on Piers Morgan? Come on, you can tell us.

Chris Ware: Honestly, I don’t know Piers Morgan, though I suppose I could google-image-search him. Jimmy Corrigan has my grandfather’s hair, Charlie Brown’s eyes, Tintin’s pants and my self-doubt and that’s about it, I’m afraid.

August 19, 2013
[batman] The Killing Joke Ending Revealed? … Grant Morrison has an interesting theory about the conclusion of The Killing Joke … ‘That’s what I love about it- Batman kills the Joker…that’s why it’s called The Killing Joke…The Joker tells the ‘killing joke’ at the end and Batman reaches out and breaks his neck… and that’s why the laughter stops…the light goes out because that was the last chance of crossing that bridge. Alan wrote the ultimate Batman Joker story… because he finished it… the laughter stops, it abruptly stops, it’s quite obvious.’
August 7, 2013
[watchmen] Five More Notes About Before Watchmen … more from Tom Spurgeon on Before Watchmen … ‘I doubt I’ll ever be convinced that Before Watchmen was an awesome project. I don’t think it was evil; I think it was sad. That was a lot of talent aimed at books whose nature allowed only the tiniest chance that remarkable art would result; talent that probably could have gone to bolstering the new superhero comics line or that could have been pushed in the direction of their own, similar achievement. So much of it smacked of parody — they really did a Dollar Bill comic book! With Steve Rude art! — that the whole thing was hard to fathom.’
August 6, 2013
[comics] I Am NOT the Beastmaster: Morrison in Glasgow … notes from a keynote lecture Grant Morrison gave at the University of Glasgow last month … ‘Morrison argued that shared-universe, corporate-owned superhero stories ought to be generational, circular, and repetitive—since they cannot be brought to an end, writers might as well play up the mythic angle and retell stories for each new generation of readers. One young guest wanted to know what Morrison’s favorite comics from his own catalogue were. (His answers: The Filth, Doom Patrol, and Superman Beyond 3D.)’
July 24, 2013
[comics] Comics Are Educational, Part One: How to Kill Juggling Nazis‘Yes, Kurt, you are good at juggling apples… But how good are you at juggling — A… A GRENADE?!’
July 20, 2013
[comics] Explorers on the Moon 1969 … Tintin and Gang greets Neil Armstrong on the Moon in 1969 …

Tintin and Gang greet Neil Armstrong on the Moon

July 15, 2013
[batman] A Reader’s Guide To Grant Morrison’s Batman … useful guide to Morrison’s recently concluded long run on Batman … ‘If there is one question I’ve answered more than any other in the past few years in regards to Batman, it is “what is the reading order of Grant Morrison’s run”, or some variation thereof. So I have created this list as a permanent resource and answer to that question.’
July 9, 2013
[comics] MAD MENTAL CRAZY! The True Life of the Fabulous Zenith Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 … a three-part history of the British super-hero Zenith and a look at the murky legal situation regarding ownership of the character … ‘2000 AD maintain that they own the rights while Grant Morrison contends that they do not have the paperwork to prove that. This is not an argument that Morrison had at the time of initial publication, rather one he put forward in later years in greater understanding of the situation, so early interviews with the writer at the time are not entirely illuminating. There are however other pieces of the jigsaw that help build a larger picture. 2000 AD maintain that they have never sought creator owned work and the implication was always that comics were created on a work for hire basis. However, they also operated without contracts in many cases before the early ’90s, and under UK law a creation belongs to the creator until the rights are signed away – regardless of publication or payment.’
July 3, 2013
[comics] Bryan and Mary Talbot’s Top 10 Graphic Memoirs … great reading list from the creators of Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes — Below, they discuss Ethel and Ernest by Raymond Briggs

Briggs’s loving tribute to his London working-class parents stretches from their first meeting, as a milkman and a lady’s maid, in 1928 to their deaths in 1971. Both moving and funny, Ethel and Ernest is the personal story of a couple in a rapidly changing world that they often struggled to come to grips with. The Great Depression and the second world war were major events impacting on their lives, but so were the arrival in the home of radio, television and the washing machine.

June 27, 2013
[comics] 60 Comics Everyone Should Read … great list of comics from Buzzfeed highlighting why it’s a great time to be reading comics at the moment … On Jimmy Corrigan – The Smartest Kid on Earth: ‘The story is so densely rich, packed with graphic delights and somber realizations, but mostly it’s heartbreaking — so heartbreaking that you’ll occasionally have to put it down, collect yourself, and start reading again as your heart sinks further and further into your gut. A masterpiece, indeed.’
June 14, 2013
[comics] Man Of Steel: Why Hollywood Needs A Break From Superhero Movies … Joe Queenan on superhero movies … ‘The most interesting thing about the popularity of superhero movies is that they are insanely expensive to make, yet they spring from a plebian, populist artform. Comic books, at least until recently, were cheap. They were beautifully drawn and exciting, but they were still basically cheap. That was the point. Movies are not cheap, especially not in 3D. Comic book heroes, like football players, have lost all contact with their proletarian roots.’
June 7, 2013
[comics] The Believer – Interview with Alan Moore‘Retroactively I can see that a lot of my earlier work was starting to center around themes that would become a lot more lucid when I did understand them in a magical context. The sense of timelessness or the fact that time may have a very different nature than that which we perceive has been there since my earliest 2000 AD short stories. It was there in Dr. Manhattan in Watchmen, it was there with William Gull in From Hell, and it’s there at the moment at the forefront of Jerusalem. So a lot of these things, even if they weren’t specifically magical, you start to see that, unintentionally, they were approaching a similar territory.’
[comics] Has DC Comics done something stupid today?‘Are you tired of having to comb through dozens of articles trying to figure out if DC Comics has done something cringeworthy today? Would you like to be the first person to know how long it’s been since DC’s alienated fans, minorities or people with discerning taste? Do you like regularly experiencing schaudenfreude at the expense of a major corporate entity?’
June 4, 2013
[comics] Silver Age Superman – An Early Pick-up Artist? … Is Superman using his powers to neg Lois?

Superman / Lois / Super Dickery

May 27, 2013
[batman] Grant Morrison explains the last 74 years of Batman

Batman from 1938 who’s out there with guns in his hand and he’s fighting vampires and crooks, I thought, well, imagine that’s Batman at 20, you know. And then he meets this kid when he’s 21, and the kid’s this little working class circus kid who’s totally cocky. And this introverted young Norman Bates Batman is suddenly, “Wait a minute. This is the kid that died in me. This is everything that I wanted to be.” And the two become friends, and it’s not creepy. It’s like, “He’s my best friend and my brother and everything I wish I could be.” And the kid’s looking at him like, “He’s everything I wish I could be.”

May 14, 2013
[comics] Cerebus On The Berlin Wall … a photo taken in 1989 and originally published in Cerebus #127 … ‘Conveniently located below a manned East German guard tower. Cerebus is mere yards to the right of Checkpoint Charlie.’
May 9, 2013
[am] Reasons I Do Not Dance: Alan Moore Interview … interview with AM on psychogeography and it’s connections with his work … ‘The author that first introduced me to [psychogeography] was the person I regard as being its contemporary master, namely Iain Sinclair, with his early work Lud Heat. Obviously, since then my appreciation of the field has broadened to include a wider range of writers. Some of these, like Arthur Machen, would appear to have been consciously applying something very much like Iain Sinclair’s conception of psychogeography as ‘walking with an agenda’, while others such as H.P. Lovecraft sought only to draw poetic inspiration from specific landscapes and their atmospheres, apparently without a conscious understanding of the way in which these fictions could be said to have emerged from the geography in question. Nor did Lovecraft seem aware that his imaginings, superimposed upon the actual territories of New England, were inevitably to become part of the way those territories were perceived and thus part of the place itself.’
April 30, 2013
[comics] Brendan McCarthy’s Desert Island Comics … Forbidden Planet’s blog interviews Brendan McCarthy on which comics he’d want if marooned on a desert island … ‘I’m struggling to call it a day here, because if somebody put together a book of Infantino’s 60′s Flash and Batman covers, I’d have no choice … Also, some Sergi Toppi would be swell. Some Frank Quitely would also be grand. WE3 probably. And one of Grant’s Doom Patrol TPBs would be nice too…’
April 22, 2013
[comics] Letters of Note: The Rejection Slip … a fantastic series of correspondence from Mad Magazine and a contributor in 1963.
April 16, 2013
[comics] Alan Moore On Providence, Jerusalem, League And More … The first part of an interview with Moore from Pádraig Ó Méalóid mostly on recent and upcoming work … ‘I will also point out that if you’ve got, I believe twenty percent of young people polled said that they would be embarrassed if their mates caught them reading. That would seem to me to be a decline, and also I would say that if you’ve got the Avengers movie as one of the most eagerly attended recent movies, and if most of those attendees were adults, which I believe they were, then if you’ve got a huge number of contemporary adults going to watch a film containing characters and storylines that were meant for the entertainment of eleven year old boys fifty years ago, then I’ve got to say, there’s something badly wrong there, isn’t there? This is not actually cultural progress. Anyway, that was my feelings. Yes, I’d stand by the sentiments expressed in League 2009.’
[comics] Tom Spurgeon On Frank Miller’s Daredevil‘Frank Miller was basically a zygote he was so young when those issues were coming out. Having arrived in comics at the end of the realism and relevance period, Miller could pick and choose which elements best suited his general approach to the character. Like a lot of writers, he ratcheted up the specter of violence by moving characters away from settling matters with their fists and into an era where everyone you ran into had a bladed weapon of some sort and wasn’t afraid to use it. There were a few guns, and a lot of guts. Wading into a bunch of guys with swords and knives felt different than seeing a hero plough into a wave of Moloids or a bunch of random dudes from the Serpent Society, slugging away all the while. It seemed an appropriate response to what we expected from entertainment in a post-Dirty Harry world.’
April 11, 2013
[comics] The Social Networks of Superheroes … Are fictional social networks similar to real ones?… ‘The Marvel Universe does exhibit the statistical features of a real social network in some simple ways. Furthermore, similar to our own world, they found distinct differences between the social structures of good guys and bad guys. However, in some very important aspects, it’s actually the opposite of a real social network. Specifically, while in real social networks the popular people interact with the other popular people, this is not so in the Marvel universe. For example, Spider-Man and Captain America rarely come into contact.’
April 8, 2013
[comics] 27 Comic Books That Came Out 20 Years Ago‘1993 was the biggest-ever year for sales in the comics industry. This is what was on the racks.’
March 25, 2013
[comics] The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Owns The Comics Code Authority Seal of Approval … I missed this when it happened – the rights transferred in 2011 and the code closed down in 2010 … ‘The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund today announces that it has received the intellectual property rights to the Comics Code Authority Seal of Approval in an assignment from the now-defunct Comic Magazine Association of America, which administrated the Code since the 1950s.’
March 22, 2013
[comics] Go Look: Only A Sub-Normal Human Being Would Buy This.
March 21, 2013
[comics] Go Look: An Actor Who Should Have Played Green Arrow.
March 4, 2013
[comics] Annotations to League of Extraordinary Gentlemen – Nemo: Heart of Ice … more work-in-progress annotations from Jess Nevins‘I confess to not understanding the “urine storage scheme” reference.’
February 25, 2013
[comics] Upcoming: Darryl Cunningham’s Ayn Rand Memoir …Forbidden Planet has some pages from Darryl Cunningham’s latest comic strip.
February 21, 2013
[comics] Antony Johnston on phoning Alan Moore‘So this friend of mine, this guy I’ve gotten to know since entering the now-largely-online comics community, asks me if I want Alan Moore’s phone number. Do what, I say. He repeats the offer. Just don’t tell anyone where you got it, he says, or Alan will fucking kill me. Go on then, I reply. Why not? Half a millisecond after I write it down, I realise why not: I can never call this number.’
February 19, 2013
[comics] Matt Murdock and Elektra Natchios, Malta, 1983 … by Phil Noto

A picture of Matt Murdock and Elektra

February 11, 2013
[comics] “Son of Sam” and the Comics Industry … fascinating story of how the detectives investigating Son Of Sam visited DC Comics after it was suggested that Sam’s handwriting was like the lettering in comics … ‘Upon hearing why I’d been called into Sol’s office, a few of my cohorts had their own ideas about who might be the Son of Sam, including a couple of fellow staffers. The most convincing argument, however, was made for a somewhat reclusive artist whose ultra-conservative leanings might have made him a suspect as the killer of “loose” women. We did not, however, share any of this with the NYPD.’ [via Neilalien]
February 6, 2013
[batman] An Extensive Discussion Of Batman Punching Animals‘I don’t think I actually have a comprehensive list handy, but I can assure you that Batman has gotten into fistfights with dogs, wolves, panthers, lions, tigers, bears (oh my!), gorillas (regular), gorillas (telepathic), gorillas (other), sharks, horses, crocodiles, at least one eagle, and I distinctly remember an ostritch, although the issue number escapes me at the moment.’
February 4, 2013
[watchmen] Rorschach’s Father: The Lost Tapes … previously little seen Alan Moore interview from 1987 on Watchmen … ‘The Nazis weren’t villains but ordinary human beings who did terrible things. Her­oes are usually people who, if you happened to be on the opposite side of any battle, would be famous monsters. It is all totally subjective. There aren’t any pure heroes; there aren’t any pure villains; there’s just people. But people like there to be heroes and villains, because if we can say “That person is a monster”, it makes us feel better or not so bad. Or it makes it not our responsibility. Mrs Thatcher isn’t a monster, sh’es just a fairly nondescript intellect, but she’s a greedy and an ambitious woman. It’s too bad that she’s Prime Minister. I mean, if she’d have stayed in her greengrocery business, probably not many peuple would have shopped there an awful lot, but it wouldn’t have done anv great harm. But a lot of the left wing in Britain like to portray Mrs Thatcher as a monster.’
January 30, 2013
[batman] Batman Keeps Gotham Tidy

A Keep Gotham Today Poster

January 22, 2013
[comics] Alan and The Mad Reader … a look on the early influence of Mad Magazine on Alan Moore … ‘The chief importance of the Superduperman story to Moore seems to have been the basic idea of a totally fresh way of looking at Superman, a character whose stories at that time were extremely formulaic. Apart from this, one small point worth noticing is the way in which the emblem of the hero’s chest keeps changing – just like that of Dourdevil in Moore’s Daredevil parody “Grit” (The Daredevils #8, 1983).’
January 15, 2013
[comics] The New (and very liberal) Superhero Power Couple … fabulous mock up by Phil Noto of a 1972 Esquire cover with Black Canary & Green Arrow …

Black Canary & Green Arrow

January 14, 2013
[comics] A Collection Of Quotes From Alan Moore’s Weeping Gorilla‘I guess all the Waltons must be dead by now.’
January 4, 2013
[comics] The Comics Reporter’s 50 Comics Positives For 2012 … a great list of good things that happened in comics during the last year … ‘Stan Lee Turned 90’
December 31, 2012
[comics] Steve Bell’s best cartoons of 2012

Steve Bell - Austerity Isn't Working

December 28, 2012
[crime] The Myth of the Lone Villain … Kevin Kelly looks at why lone, murderous, technically advanced super-villians don’t work in the real world … ‘The lone evil genius works in a high tech haven, hidden from others, all by himself. At this point, the scenario is total fiction because no one can run all that technology by themselves. It is hard to keep 3 computers and a network going all by yourself. The madman’s electronic door hatch probably crashes once a month, particularly if the madman just invented it. So can you invent and keep operational the death ray? No. Way. No solo genius can destroy mankind. That kind of power takes cooperation.’
December 20, 2012
[comics] The Watchmayan Calendar

The Watchmayan Calendar

December 19, 2012
[comics] Alan Moore: why I turned my back on Hollywood … a profile of Moore from The Observer … ‘When another of Moore’s old computer keyboards was put up for auction on eBay, last year, the seller hazarded that it “may contain otherworldy powers”. It went for £461, despite having a faulty Z key. Walking in Northampton, Moore explains that his old keyboards have ended up on eBay, or in that museum in Charleroi, because he has had to decommission so many of them. He currently writes on an industrial-strength keyboard made of metal, properly meant for use in foundries and conflict zones. The plastic sort used to last him a few months before melting under the constant spray of cigarette ash, or otherwise breaking from overuse.’
December 18, 2012
[comics] How to make Batman squirt in your face … a look at a remarkable Batman water pistol from a more innocent time … ‘Why so legendary? Well it was made in the late sixties at a time when kids, and adults alike for that matter, wouldn’t look at that and instantly start cracking wise about its design. Where do I start? Batman’s prone position bending forwards while reaching back seemingly to grab his buttocks? The fact that the water for the gun is refilled in his butt with a big plug hanging out…’
December 12, 2012
[comics] Dave Sim On Creating A Judge Dredd Cover‘I originally thought, “Well, Dredd has easily the most complicated costume of any costumed character, so there’s no way I will be able to do that costume accurately in these tiny little spaces.” I was going to do the drawings twice up and have the IDW production department reduce them and place them. “Dave Sim work-made-for-hire cover: some assembly required”. But then it came time and I thought, “Hell, if Brian Bolland can do it, I can do it.” So there I was with a fresh Hunt 102 and my magnifying glass.’
December 5, 2012
[comics] Brendan McCarthy: ‘Best Of Milligan & McCarthy Due 2013’‘Expect a big announcement on that from a major comics company soon. It will include pretty much all the classic ’80s material from Peter Milligan and myself: Paradax!, Rogan Gosh, Skin, Freakwave, etc., plus some early, archival snippets from The Electrick Hoax and Summer of Love.’
November 23, 2012
[comics] Dave Sim’s 1986 Marvel Portfolio

Shang-Chi Master Of Kung Fu

November 14, 2012
[space] Happy Little Crater on Mercury … Another smiley face crater for Dr Manhattan to visit in our Solar System.
November 9, 2012
[comics] Tom Spurgeon On 27 years Of John Constantine: ‘Here’s something I noticed when I got that 27-year-old number. That means that more time has passed between John Constantine being created and now than between the creations of Hal Jordan and John Constantine. That is… I don’t know if that’s depressing or astonishing or what. These characters aren’t young. An era of comics that many of us think of as still ongoing is really receding in the rear view mirror.’
November 1, 2012
[comics] Bizarro Back Issues: Dracula Fights The Silver Surfer Because of Reasons (1976) … Chris Sims analyses a weirder than usual issue of The Tomb of Dracula‘I will take issue with the Surfer’s dialogue on the cover about Dracula being “the most deadly horror the Earth has ever known.” Believe me, I will be the first one to agree that Dracula is a pretty bad dude, but the Silver Surfer used to hang out with a guy who literally ate planets to survive. Dracula eats people, yes, but on his best day, I really don’t think he could eat six billion of ’em at once. Not that he wouldn’t try.Case in point, our story opens with Dracula doing what Dracula does, which is attempting to eat a young lady, calling everyone around him fools and dolts, and then flying off in a huff…’ [via Sore Eyes]