Zap! Pow! Comics aren’t just etc.

April 10, 2012

Adam is in a place where he really has to reconnect with what it means to be a Master of the Universe

“Writer” James Robinson, discussing a forthcoming comic book about the adventures of a popular children’s toy from the 1980s.

Racism in the Funny Pages, Episode 3,768

March 14, 2012

But everyone was racist back then...

Yes, that’s Little Orphan Annie in blackface. On the left is Pee Wee, her elephant pal from her adventures in the circus; Sandy on the right, of course; and just visible is the “native” hut where Annie lives from 26 November to 20 December 1935. That’s a panel from the Sunday strip on 1 December. Here’s two panels from the daily for 10 December:

Context: Annie is living on a film set. She thinks she’s merely an extra; unbeknownst to her, her every action is being filmed for a fictional film about the life of a jungle princess. The footage of her antics is “great stuff”, “going to make a corking picture”, “marvelous”, “a sensation”…and, indeed, once the film is released, it’s “a smash hit” and “a riot”, with audiences “going wild”. Once again, Annie reveals herself a showbiz natural — as well as her turn in the circus, she has already been a music hall sensation with her renditions of sentimental standards.

She adopts a stage name for the release of the film. That name?

Inkey

But, you know, different times, everyone was racist back then, the strip also has some positive portrayals of non-whites, etc. etc. etc.

Anyway, it’s okay because she has a good reason for donning blackface and calling herself Inkey. It’s so she can hide from hatchet-wielding Chinamen who want to murder her.

(detail from 16 September 1935)

***

Also, I’m fairly sure that that’s not what happens when you have unregulated monopoly pricing:

(detail from 15 June 1935)

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UNRELATED POST-SCRIPT: This will be cryptic right now, but a propos something else entirely I predict that someone will accuse it of tending to political conservatism, pretty early on in the thread. Let’s say within ten comments (assuming it gets that far!).

That’s entertainment!

March 7, 2012

Let’s You and Him Fight Exclusive:

Let’s You and Him Fight can today report exclusively  that DC is digging up Neil Gaiman’s dead grandmother, and publishing a fumetti series about her posthumous sexual escapades. Jim Lee has told Let’s You and Him Fight that everyone at DC is totally psyched for the new project, which will showcase some of the industry’s hottest writers, including Micah Wright, Laurel K. Hamilton and Grant Morrison.

‘We’re taking the property in a bold new direction. You’ve never seen Neil Gaiman’s dead grandmother like this before — this ain’t your granddaddy’s Neil Gaiman’s dead grandmother.’

Dan DiDio added, laughing, ‘This comic brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “splash page”!’

You can find the full press release, as well as previews and concept art, here.

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PS: Apologies to Mr Gaiman’s grandmother. Also to Mr Gaiman himself, subtlety, good taste, so-called humour

PPS: What’s striking about the Mazzuchelli thing is that it looks like such an unforced dick move. Watchmen Babies, you can at least understand the logic of — a curse be upon them and their children, sure, but it was probably going to happen eventually, just as it was going to happen eventually that Mr Burns would try to blot out the Sun so he could squeeze a few more pennies from the poor. This thing, though…maybe those spells Alan Moore has been casting at DC are finally starting to work, and they’ve all gone completely fucking insane?

Play for pay

February 24, 2012

I just got a copy of the latest Walt and Skeezix, vol 5. It comes with a DVD of home videos filmed by the strip’s creator, Frank King.

It comes with a DVD of home videos filmed by the strip’s creator, Frank King.

This madness must stop. Publishers D&Q obviously feel a need to cram these reprints with supplementary biographical material; alas, they blew their load too early with all the photos etc. in the first few volumes, and there’s nowhere left to go but more and more elaborate. At this rate, Vol.6 will contain a 3,000 page fold-out family tree of King’s ancestors, all the way back to mitochondrial Eve. For Vol. 7, Chris Ware will come to the house of each and every person who buys a copy, and deliver a ten hour presentation on King’s life and technique.

(The first twenty minutes is the formal presentation; the remainder is a protracted bout of self-effacement and apologising from Ware.)

Vol. 8, and all volumes thereafter, will be double the length, as it starts the collection of a parallel strip (drawn by Ware and written by Joe Matt, when he can drag himself away from his pee jar) chronicling King’s life, from the moment of his birth, in daily comic strip form. But whereas Gasoline Alley was published in “real time”, each daily strip covering one day in the life of the characters, each episode of the  biographical strip will cover one hour in King’s life. It will be titled The Life and Opinions of Frank King, Gentleman.

Vol 9? Four words, my friend: Mark Gruenwald, Squadron Supreme

The thing is, I myself am, basically, not interested in other people’s lives. It adds nothing to my appreciation of an artist to know that for fifty years he favoured Cheerios at the breakfast table, the honey-nut ones yo. Critical essays on various facets of their work or career, I like those things that you also find in today’s Golden Age of Reprints Reprints, but all the crap about where they lived and what route they took on their morning walks and how they tied their shoes, feh.

You might say, ‘Come on, Jones, could you be any more the ungrateful Comic Book Guy? What’s more typical of the entitled fan than complaining about too much of something, which they don’t have to read and can just ignore anyway, so why don’t they just let other people enjoy it if they want? It doesn’t cost you anything.’

To which I say, actually, it does cost me. For the money that Drawn and Quarterly spent producing the DVD, they could have paid someone to give each reader a handjob (or the gender-appropriate equivalent). I hear Joe Matt is free.

So: where’s my handjob, Drawn and Quarterly? Where’s my handjob?

Paging Rick Santorum

February 15, 2012

Forget about your Lost Girls, Big-Ass Comics or Milo Manara. Ladies and gentlemen, I present, for your edification, the single most erotic page in the entire history of sequential fiction.

–Gents, you may want to bring a kleenex for this–

Click here, if you dare.

(Link does not contain nudity, but is still probably not SFW)

Top 10 Comics of 2011

January 4, 2012

(10) Some boring bullshit

(2)  Some boring bullshit

 

And the number one comic of 2011 is….
(1) My awesome comic. It’s reprinted below; I’m really proud of how this one turned out.

Eisners, here I come

It’s titled “Your Mom”

Fuck it, I’ll start my own petition

January 1, 2012

Dear world,

We, the undersigned, do believe that Dave Sim is a misogynist.

Yours etc.

1. Jones

PS: Nonetheless, we don’t believe he is the lowest, subhuman form of life in our society. Also, Cerebus is pretty good.

PPS: Rationale here

This post is flawed because it doesn’t contain several paragraphs on Norbert Weiner

December 19, 2011

So the great psychologist, and “Nobel” laureate, Daniel Kahneman has written a pop science book summing up his prodigious life of research — good for him. If he’d started his research career thirty years later, he would have written a dozen such books by now; so much of his research lends itself to the genre of  “Title/Subtitle: How One Half-Baked Idea Based on Other People’s Research Can Sell a Million Books”…except that Kahneman himself did all the research (with collaborators, of course), and his ideas are so very, very far from half-baked. We can only be grateful that we have the one pop book that he’s given us now. I hope he sells a zillion books.

Anyway, Freeman Dyson has a review of Kahneman’s book in the New York Review of Books, and his big criticism is…Kahneman never mentions Freud!

Not even in the footnotes!!!!!!

Shit, man, what about Skinner??? Does Kahneman have nothing to say about the humoral theory? Where my Robert Burton at, homeboy? I thought A Brief History of Time should have had at least two chapters on Ptolemy; The Selfish Gene, two on Georges Cuvier.

On the other hand, Dyson’s review doesn’t name-drop Malcolm Gladwell or David fucking Brooks, so there is that. (Speaking of “Title/Subtitle”…)

PS: Bonus points for Dyson for repeating the furphy that William James and Sigmund Freud were not scientists. Just because a lot of their theories were false, doesn’t mean they weren’t scientists — they were just unlucky!

Department of Exceedingly Obvious yet, Embarrassingly, Belated Realisations

November 30, 2011

1: Oh, shit, dude — Thor’s helmet has wings, and Loki’s helmet has horns SYMBOLISM!

2: Is it just me, or are large chunks of the “mainstream” comics blogosphere exactly like Patrick Bateman’s critical appraisals of Huey Lewis and the News?

The saddest 11 words in the English language

November 29, 2011

“Concluding Dark Horse’s complete reprinting of Stanley and Tripp’s Little Lulu…”

Little Lulu, RIP