September 15, 2003
[comics] Not Quite As Unhappy — another interview with Harvey Pekar‘I think there are a lot of very common events that take place in people’s lives that are paradoxically not written about very often. The so-called mundane quotidian experience. I try to write about these things because an accumulation of those experiences can have a terrific effect on your life. Most writers, especially in movies which cost a lot of money, try to go for more sensational stuff like bank robberies and single life changing events.’
September 12, 2003
[comics] Voice in the Wilderness — profile of Art Spiegelman‘In the decade since the publication of the two Maus books – graphic novels about the Holocaust in which Jewish mice are persecuted by Nazi cats – Spiegelman had drifted away from cartoons in favour of illustration and design. Some feared that his genius had become blocked; or that, in one rival’s dismissive words, he was just “a guy with one great book in him”. Now, finally, the proximity of death refired his enthusiasm for the calling that made his name. He realised, he says, that “there is something I can do in comics that I cannot do in other ways.” He began to make notes for a post-September 11 cartoon strip…’
September 10, 2003
[comics] Warren Ellis on Cerebus: ‘Over the course of many thousands of pages, it’s also been a detailed political novel, a comedy of the court, a drama of the church, a vision quest, a biography of the last days of Oscar Wilde, several deeply strange attacks on feminism and women in general, and an exegesis of Sim’s own bizarre personal take on religion. It fascinates because Sim is an absolutely brilliant maker of pages, a sublime cartoonist with total control of the form… and because, during the progression of the work, you can clearly see his mind crumbling under the pressure of his immense undertaking and twenty-five years of increasing solitude in which he can only express himself to the world through the agency of a talking anteater.’ [via ¡Journalista!]
September 9, 2003
[web] Latest Episode of Get Your War on

Panel from Get You War On

September 4, 2003
[comics] DC Confirms Lapham & Sienkiewicz Working On Batman‘Bill Sienkiewicz stated at this past weekend’s Dragon*Con in Atlanta that he and David (Stray Bullets) would follow the creative team of Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso on Batman following the former’s arc, which begins with issue #620 in October.’ [via Barbelith]
September 3, 2003
[comics] The New Comic Book Releases List Web Site — very useful on New Comics Day. Morrison’s New X-Men #145 is out this week…[Related: Barbelith discussion on #145]
September 1, 2003
[comics] Gallery of Pages from Big Numbers #3 — pages from Moore and Sienkiewicz’s unpublished graphic novel …

panels from Big Numbers 3

Related: Alan Moore discusses the plot to Big Numbers. [Part One] [Part Two] … ‘The mall is going to change everything, everything will continue to change, but now CHRISTINE has got a handle on it, she’s been through all of these mad events, she’s had this illusory love affair, she’s seen what’s happened to her sister and dad, her mother, sort of, all of this stuff and it’s been a lesson and she’s got the metaphor to hang it all on this past thing so she goes off to write Big Numbers basically, she goes off to write a book about chaos and small towns. And that’s her story. ‘
August 29, 2003
[comics] The Influence of the Flagg! — Stuart Moore on Howard Chaykin’s American Flagg! …

‘[Flagg!] succeeded because it was worth the work. The complex subplots involving Brazil, Chicago, and Mars built to a series of meaningful major storylines, which drove home the moral points of the series. The characters were interesting, layered, and mostly likable, even if they were hard to keep straight sometimes. And the whole series added up to a complex commentary on patriotism, greed, and the flawed nature of heroic human beings, all of which became clearer the more you read (and reread). The first year, in particular, still functions as a terrific novel when read in one gulp — all the plot threads build to a harsh, violent climax.’

August 25, 2003
[comics] Dave Sim on the Regency Elf: ‘The look of the Regency Elf was my shameless peroxide tribute to Blondie lead singer Deborah Harry whom I adored at the time with a passion that surpasseth human understanding. A condition dramatically worsened by the acquiring of our first VCR (Beta, which I was assured was the format of the future) and a commercial tape which collected all the videos from the Eat to the Beat album (at a time when commercial videotapes retailed for around $90 each). “Dreaming” “Eat to the Beat” “In the Flesh”. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.’ [via The Tomb of Horrors]
August 23, 2003
[comics] The Graphic Truth — Julie Burchill on comics. ‘…a lot of the time, I was just being intolerant of perfectly harmless, inoffensive people and the stuff they liked, whose only sin was that I just didn’t get it for reasons to do with my own impatience and literal-mindedness. Adults who read comics was a big one with me. I didn’t just believe that anyone over the age of 15 who read comics should have their voting rights removed (even if they didn’t have them yet), I also believed that they shouldn’t be allowed access to further education or to adopt small children. But thankfully, I have become a lot more open-minded in my old age and now enjoy the works of Daniel Clowes and Terry Moore on a regular basis.’
August 20, 2003
[comics] No Sweat — interview with Peter Bagge. On writing a novel: ‘When I was younger I tried writing a novel, and now I couldn’t imagine anything more boring. I like stuff immediate and accessible, and really all I want to do is make comic books with funny pictures. That’s part of why I like the idea of TV or the internet, that immediacy.’ [via ¡Journalista!]
August 19, 2003
[comics] Humdrum Hero — preview of American Splendor – the film about Harvey Pekar‘The beauty of the comics and the movie lies in the mundanity of Harvey’s life. He worries he doesn’t meet any women, moans about his job, turns his co-workers into characters and chronicles the ups and downs of life with his third wife Joyce, who evinces none of the quality spelt out in the first three letters of her name, only an almost luminous drabness. But as one fan notices: “This is great, man! There’s NO idealised shit in here!”‘
August 15, 2003
[comics] Louis’ Toons — interview with Chester Brown as he wraps up his comic book biography of Louis Riel. ‘…is a comic book able to carry the complicated portrait of a life? Ultimately, yes. Brown has winnowed Riel’s story into a fast-paced tale that, despite its relatively slim page count, contains about the same amount of detail as one might find in a cinematic biopic. The result is a story that entertains as well as informs, and it would make an excellent addition to the curriculum of high-school history classes. Apart from its academic value, it’s a great read, an accessible pop work…’ [Related: Preview of Louis Riel | via Pete’s Organic Link Farm]
August 14, 2003
[comics] Howard Chaykin Audio Interview — from 1988. Chaykin is interviewed by Kim Thompson … ‘What follows is a freewheeling, no-holds-barred conversation about Chaykin’s recent and forthcoming works, what went wrong with Flagg! after he left the series, the “creator’s revolt” following DC Comics’ attempt to impose a new ratings system on its comics, work-for-hire versus creator ownership, and the realities of the comics industry at the close of the 1980s. It’s an entertaining and illuminating discussion…’
August 12, 2003
[comics] Inside Morrison’s Head — another interview with Grant Morrison concentrating on his new work from D.C.‘ I’m definitely much more interested in what’s happening on the fringe where comics cross over with general pop culture and I find myself resonating strongly with the super sci-fi, hyper-realist and fantastic elements which teenagers are absorbing again via comics and via artifacts which owe very little to the weird reiterations of the superhero books. My problem with manga is the slow, ponderous and decompressed nature of so many of the books, so I’m hoping We3 will do something about fixing that – part of what we’re attempting to create is a Western-manga fusion cuisine, which combines inspirational elements from eastern and western tastes in visual storytelling and uses them to make something new.’
August 7, 2003
[comics] Catching Up With Professor M: Talking With Grant Morrison — another interview with GM … [via Barbelith]

‘I think today’s comic books are perfect reflections of their times: conservative, unambitious and self-congratulatory. A howling lack of imagination or direction runs through the mainstream, but that’s about to change. It’s easy to sense the upcoming wave. Reading most comics today is like wearing dad’s slippers and smoking his pipe – it’s an illicit thrill to be sure but not much of one…’

August 6, 2003
[comics] Cerebus the Aardvark Radio Episodes — old episodes from a radio show based on Dave Sim’s Aardvark … ‘They’re a little rough and amateurish and I apologize for the iffy quality of the recordings. Still, these should be of interest to die-hard Cerebus fans. ‘ [via Pete’s Organic Link Farm]
August 5, 2003
[film] American Splendor Trailer — Quicktime Trailer for a film about comic-book writer Harvey Pekar‘Ordinary Life is pretty complex stuff!’ [Related: American Splendor Official Site]
August 1, 2003
[comics] Teaser Art from League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. Three … Comments from Kevin O’Neill: ‘… the third volume will jump to the year 1920 and will feature new League members, although Mina will still be around. “We’ll also go back and jump forward as well, around the 1950s,” O’Neill said. “Alan has some dazzling ideas. It’s going to be sexier than earlier volumes.” O’Neill said there will be a break between the second and third volumes. “Alan’s promised to continue with the League,” O’Neill said.’ [Related: League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Annotations | via Barbelith]
July 30, 2003
[comics] Grant Morrison at San Deigo Gossip from Rich Johson …

‘…the rumour, mentioned by a slew of people, over the shouting match that went down at San Diego Comic Con between Joe Quesada and Grant Morrison. Or rather from Joe to Grant, one phrase “You owe me!” being the most repeated on the convention floor the day after. Quesada had found out about the DC exclusive deal and he took it out on Grant with expletives that were definitely MAX labelled.

Reports indicate that Grant kind of shut down and went into a mini-coma, but did give out one response “Fuck You, Fuck your company, and Fuck your boss who’s the biggest arsehole I’ve ever met.”‘

July 29, 2003
[comics] Batman: Dead End [Quicktime: Large File | Larger File] – a short Batman Movie …

image of the joker from Batman: Dead End

[Related: Ain’t it Cool News backgrounder on the Film | Barbelith Comments]
July 24, 2003
[comics] SDCC’S Grant Morrison Panel — fuller report from GM’s panel at the San Diego Comicon‘[Morrison] went on to talk about how he’s not entirely thrilled with realistic comics. Realistic characters, yes, but once you put superheroes in the real world; they seem more than a bit silly. Morrison said that you couldn’t drag the gods to Earth and keep them as gods. “Realistically, the Flash would be able to take care of every super-villain everywhere over his lunch break, but how much fun is that?”‘
July 23, 2003
[comics] Wired has a couple of items about comics:

  • Reliving Comics’ Days of Infamy‘Sen. Estes Kefauver, the ambitious committee chairman, showed Gaines a cover of a comic book and threw this when-did-you-stop-beating-your-wife-style comment hardball: “This seems to be a man with a bloody ax holding a woman’s head up, which has been severed from her body. Do you think that is in good taste?”‘
  • Coloring the Comic Books‘Women, meanwhile, ran the gamut from the masochistic 1940s-era Wonder Woman (who spent way too much time being tied up) to the vapid Invisible Girl of the Fantastic Four in the 1960s. In one early comic book, she chirped: “I can’t wait to surprise Reed with the new miniskirt costume I’ve been designing!” But Invisible Girl later morphed into Invisible Woman, a sharp character who now runs the Fantastic Four corporation…’

July 22, 2003
[comics] Mobfraction Futurephone … [Related: Matt]

picture of a 'fuck team comics' badge

July 21, 2003
[comics] Grant Morrison at the San Diego Comic-Con:

  • Grant Morrison Exclusive To DC‘DC Comics has just announced that Grant Morrison has just signed a two-year exclusive contract with them. There is no news on how this affects his existing Marvel work. The superstar writer is supposed to be working on a Vertigo project with Frank Quitely which will be announced officially in Chicago. He’s also working on a DC Universe book…’
  • Comments at Morrison’s Panel from Comic Book Resources: ‘The conversation inevitably shifted to “New X-Men,” which Morrison will be leaving as of #154 and will be destroying the Marvel Universe in issue #150 and #151! He also says that his final issue can be seen as the end of the X-Men if one so wishes.’
  • Comments on Barbelith about GM’s Plans: ‘Marvel’s going quite rapidly to shit, innit?’

July 16, 2003
[comics] The Comic Genius Who Made Superheroes Human — BBC News profiles Stan Lee … ‘Stan Lee maintains links with Marvel, even though he is involved in a “friendly” lawsuit with them over royalty payments. Marvel reportedly pays him $1 million a year for promotional work at lectures and conventions.’
July 9, 2003
[comics] Give me Moore — another interview with Alan Moore‘”The basic thing to remember,” growls Alan Moore “is that, eventually, I am always right.” And Lord knows, nobody is going to argue with the man. Moore looks intimidating enough in the few photos he has allowed to be taken — “I don’t do smiles. If I’m not actually glaring, that’s pretty good”. But meeting him in the flesh is even more scary. He’s a towering giant : the hair really is that bushy, the elaborate rings on his fingers chink as he moves, and the joints piled neatly beside his chair really are over 10cm long.’ [via The Copydesk]
July 7, 2003
[comics] Baker’s Future In Plastic — interview with Kyle Baker about his update of Plastic Man for DC … Baker: ‘One of the reasons I don’t read a lot of comic books is that I try and can’t follow them. I’ve been doing this for 20 years, and I don’t know what the hell is going on in some of these books. Whenever you do one of these jobs, you have to read up on some of the older issues so you know what’s been going on, so for Plastic Man, I read a bunch of JLA issues. People show up and I have no idea who they are, and it’s done as a big reveal. I don’t know if I’m supposed to be happy that it’s the character or sad that it’s that character.’
[comics] The Underground War in Gaza [login as: linkmachinego/linkmachinego] — Joe Sacco (described as a “Comic Book Journalist” by the NYT) reports from Gaza. [thanks Kabir.]

panel from Joe Sacco's NYT slideshow

July 3, 2003
[comics] Rolling Commentary — Alan Moore on the War in Iraq … ‘[America is] a great country, but you (and the rest of the world) got Bushwhacked. A spooky little clique who for some considerable while contented themselves with being part of America’s un-elected Shadow Government have now stepped boldly up into the footlights, where they feel (perhaps correctly) that they can now do or say whatever they want, and that nobody can or will do anything about it. They’ re ready for their close-up, Mr. DeMille. There is no longer any need for secrecy or shadows. Covert wars were so last century, don’t you think?’ [Related: Arthur Magazine | via 2lmc Spool]
July 1, 2003
[politics] A Hard Line on Bush — Steve Bell visits an Editorial Cartoonists Convention in America … ‘Watching Fox makes you realise just how rampant the right is at the moment, and reading the New York Times, a supposedly great liberal newspaper, makes you wonder if they would ever say boo to a goose, let alone tell truth to power. It seems dull, ponderous and timid. It’s also one of the few major papers without its own editorial cartoonist. It runs syndicated stuff, but that’s not the same thing. Having its own editorial cartoonist is at least a sign that a paper is prepared to put somebody’s nose out of joint now and again.’
June 30, 2003
[comics] I bought this a couple of weeks ago… Prez #1 — One of DC’s Goofier Moments … (click image to enlarge) …

Cover to Prez #1 (1973)

June 29, 2003
[comics] Marvel: State of Play — interesting internal gossip about micro-management of creative projects at Marvel by Joe Quesada and Bill Jemas … ‘”Marvel Boy” II is not happening because Bill Jemas wants to change the script, and Grant Morrison doesn’t.’ [via Neilalien]
June 26, 2003
[comics] Princess Di in X-Statix linkage:

  • Diana in the Mavel Universe — from Newsarama‘It was later confirmed for Newsarama that Diana would join, in some form or another, X-Statix.’
  • Princess Diana, Superhero — Peter Milligan Comments … ‘Diana comes out of it a lot better than the British establishment. Indeed, a couple of old palace eminence grise types arrange for this resurrected mutant zombie to be killed. “And this time, let’s do it properly,” one of them says.’ [via I Love Everything]
  • Guardian’s Pass Notes: Princess Diana, the Superhero ‘Next up from Marvel Comics: Camilla Parker Bowles as Catwoman; Prince Philip as the Joker; Derry Irvine as Judge Dredd.’
  • Diana in ‘Sick’ Comic — Daily Mail Article … ‘Marvel editor- in- chief Joe Quesada said: “Princess Diana is a mutant. Like every good superhero, she’s coming back from the dead. She’s going to join one of the X-Men teams. “If comics are anything, we’re subversive. This is really a wonderful story.” The monthly comic is already on sale in America and Britain and is expected to sell around 150,000 copies worldwide.’

June 25, 2003
[comics] Slick on the Draw — preview of the Comica! Festival at the ICA‘London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts will be hosting Comica, a 10-day festival of comic art and literature from around the world. Running from 27 June until 6 July, Comica features some of the most highly regarded figures currently working in the form, with appearances by Jimmy Corrigan creator Chris Ware and Joe Sacco, whose Palestine, a collection of graphic war-zone reportage, was published earlier this year.’
June 24, 2003
[comics] Return to Sim City — analysis of the latest issue of Cerebus … ‘Sim has produced a one-panel-per-verse Bible pastiche with art that at times comes close to abstraction, complete with running creator’s commentary built into the layout of the page. It’s certainly a fascinating experiment. The problem is that it’s nuts.’ [via ¡Journalista!]
June 23, 2003
[web] Some recent interesting Barbelith threads:

  • Promethea #26‘This issue was ridiculously cool.’
  • Barbelith. (Warren) Ellis. Cameron (Stewart) (and Fatbeards) … ‘ I am using the term “fatbeard” in an inclusive, spread-the-love term, as a reader of comic books myself (a closer reading may have noticed that nobody has actually mentioned liking or disliking particular comic books in this thread yet). As you say, I am posting about comic books on the Internet. I am clearly of the fatbeard nation. I get to use the term, you don’t, to paraphrase Richard Pryor. Except of course you do, because you are also posting about comic books on the Internet.’
  • Sporanos Series 4 Discussion‘A wig!’

June 21, 2003
[comics] DaveWatch — reading the last issues of Cerebus so you don’t have to … Dave Sim: ‘I had assumed — such was my level of disengagement from feminist social reality — that overnight the military in the Nato countries were going to be up to their eyeballs in volunteers (comparable to what happened in 1914 and 1939)–countries like Canada would volunteer for the dirty jobs of sending wave after wave of ill-equipped soldiers into the caves of Tora-Bora and, over the course of a year or two, the military authorities would find out what to do with the real soldiers based on what had happened to the cannon fodder. I prepared myself to volunteer for cannon fodder duty.’
June 20, 2003
[comics] ¡Journalista! on the ‘comics blogosphere’: ‘There have been comics-related weblogs for some time now, of course, but the collected group seems to be finally getting big enough, and complex enough, to take seriously as a sort of ecosystem of ideas. We’re starting to see more and more real writing on the subject, from a wider variety of viewpoints — an environment that political weblogs take for granted, but into which comics weblogs are still growing. What started out as a set of isolated rants seems to be turning into a genuine, multi-tiered set of conversations…’ [via Neilalien]
June 17, 2003
[comics] Two scanned pages [Page 1 | Page 2] from Alan Moore’s Script for V For Vendetta …

image of voice of fate dialogue from Alan Moore's V for Vendetta Script

June 13, 2003
[comics] Fanta Out Of Fire — interview with Gary Groth about the sucessful Fantagraphics appeal … [via Neilalien]

‘GROTH: I caught it about a week or two before we sent out the open letter. Just in the natural course of paying bills and looking over our upcoming list, something triggered this. I realized that things weren’t right, and that’s what did it. I called an emergency meeting with Kim and our accountant, and sat down to empirically verify my gut feeling that this was not good.

NRAMA: And the cold feeling in your stomach got bigger and bigger…

GROTH: Yeah. It was a real “Oh shit, we are fucked!” moment.’

June 4, 2003
[comics] Fantagraphics Appeal Paying Off — Team Comics seems to be saving Fantagraphics … Eric Reynolds: ‘This grass roots campaign looks to be a phenomenal success: if orders continue at close to the rate they have for the last five days, we project that by weeks’ end we will have achieved our immediate goal of… $80,000.’
June 2, 2003
[comics] Frank Miller Speaks! — MP3 audio of a Comics Journal inteview of Miller by Gary Groth.
May 30, 2003
[comics] Fantagraphics Needs Your Help — Fantagraphics (publisher of Dan Clowes, Joe Sacco, Robert Crumb and Chris Ware) is in deep trouble … ‘Inexperience with the book trade resulted in our erring on the side of overprinting our books too heavily throughout 2002, so that our anticipated profit is in fact sitting in our warehouse in the form of books. Loans must be paid in cash, not books. The only way to get out of this hole we’ve dug ourselves into is to sell those books. Which is where, we hope, you come in.’
May 28, 2003
[gm] Grant Morrison wonders if Justin Timberlake is a Mutant: ‘Definitely a pure mutation – and he’s trying to push his powers in a more evil direction. I think they inject all of those Disney kids, like Britney, with something when they’re young. One minute, they’re singing about mice, and the next, they’re riding motorcycles and fisting each other.’
May 27, 2003
[comics] Timeline for the 2000AD Universe — it manages to tie together the histories of Judge Dredd, The A.B.C Warriors, Sam Slade and Strontium Dog‘The robotics revolution is not without its difficulties. The mark one war droid cannot discriminate between enemy soldiers and civilians. The mark two war droid is programmed with genuine moral values, but becomes a pacifist and surrenders to the enemy. The mark three war droid, named Hammerstein, is created at the University of Wisconsin in a project funded by Rover. The first emotion ever experienced by a machine is jealousy and results in the accidental death of the creator…’ [via scribot]
May 24, 2003
[comics] Yet Another Grant Morrison Interview — I’m wondering… If the DC Universe did become self-aware would Paul Levitz have it Pulped? …

‘…now that we have the idea in our heads that “intelligence” appears when systems become increasingly complex, we can approach my notion of “living comics.” Think of a STORY. My contention is that a story can be made sufficiently complex that it achieves some measure of self-awareness – in fact I believe this is what’s happening when authors talk about characters “taking control” or when they say “the story just took a turn I wasn’t planning…”. When I was doing The Invisibles, I was definitely aware of the book as a living entity which was interacting with me in many of the ways a human being might but at the time I was thinking of this “aliveness” as a kind of mystical quality not as an emergent property that could reproduced without recourse to the spirit world. I’d like to see if I can deliberately “wake up” a story and let it make its own decisions.’

May 22, 2003
[comics] Bachalo’s X Weapon Plus — brief interview with Chris Bachalo about his upcoming work on GM’s New X-Men … On working with Morrison: ‘I feel like I’m on an X-Men / Steampunk / 2001: A Space Odyssey trip written by Shade the Changing Man. Fabulous!’ [via Barbelith]
May 16, 2003
[comics] Rebel in Exile — preview of a Graphic Novel about Marjane Satrapi’s childhood in Iran during the Islamic Revolution in 1979. [Buy: UK | US] ‘…Persepolis, her tale of this remarkable childhood, is published in English for the first time. It is an extraordinary book, outspoken and caustic on the suffering of so many of her fellow Iranians, but also funny and surprising and in parts extremely moving. It is told in graphic novel form, in stark monochrome drawings reminiscent of medieval woodcuts or ancient Persian murals.’
May 15, 2003
[comics] Great/dumb Comic Book Covers — Metafilter discuss the Best and Worst Comic Book Covers … ‘Threads like this make me long for the days when I spent hours in the comic book shop discussing comics, M:TG cards and bragging about my collection of extremely rare and entirely coverless comic books (at some point I realized that they only way I could have items such as “Amazing Spider-Man #1” was to find copies without covers….lol). I do have more money now though.’

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