(2001 A Space Odyssey issue 10. Cover by Jack Kirby 1977. Image stolen from Kevin Metz.)
Here are some things I found interesting in the world of minicomics, comic books, graphic novels, small press, self publishing, zines, webcomics, cartoons, digital comics, other, etc. during the week ending 09182016.
“Spock, I’ve found that evil usually triumphs - unless good is very, very careful.” -Dr. Leonard H. McCoy.
Hello sisters and brothers of teh intronets and welcome to another episode of your Other Comics News Parade-O-Links. My name is Shannon and I’ll be your host. I have to start this episode off with an apology. I know most of you woke up Sunday morning, got out of bed, shared breakfast with your non-gender specific significant other, read the Sunday funnies then Ologged on to the internets to read the Other Comics News Parade-O-Links like all good humans do but you were then horrified to find that the Parade-O-Links was not there. I’m sorry. I got busy. And today’s Parade will be short. Let’s call it minimal. That makes it sound more intentional and less like failure. All I can do is say that I’m sorry and promise that I will always disappoint you frequently. I spent much of the weekend at the annual Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion on the VA/TN state line in Bristol. It was neat. Crowded, but neat. Lots of hillbilly hipsters. Hipbillies. Craft beer, craft crafts, foods on sticks, country and bluegrass upstarts, country and bluegrass legends. It was a good time. And look, country music ain’t my thing but I appreciate it when it’s good and there was plenty that was good. I recommend it. The highlight for me was seeing blues legend Buddy Guy perform. He was fantastic.
This weekend the indie comics and small press world turned it’s lonely eyes to the Small Press Expo (a.k.a. SPX) in Bethesda, MD. I didn’t go. I haven’t been since they moved to the lotter for their table reservations. My number just hasn’t came up. And, as much as I’d like to attend, September and October are busiest months of the year for me. But, lots of folks whet and I saw some neat things on the old twudder and instacrack. I’m sure we’ll see some reports roll in this week. I can’t wait to see the best pictures of people cosplaying as the carpet or as those two old horror movie looking architects in that painting everyone takes a picture of. The Comics Reporter has your Ignatz winners. I was hoping that Gabby Schulz’s Sick would win because it is one of the best comics I’ve ever read. I hadn’t read most of the nominees because minicomics are a wierd regional kinda thing and graphic novels are too expensive.
Speaking of comics shows, Adam and Shawn of The Dollar Bin have part 2 of their DragonCon adventure. Part 2 of their podcast focuses on the comics related part of the convention. The fact that you can do a podcast on the comics related part of DragonCon shows that the show has improved a lot in recent years. When I lived in Atlanta, it was just a cosplay show with comics shoved in corner of a basement. I remember one year when Carmine Infantino, Julius Schwartz, Darth Vader and Chewbacca were crammed into a space in the basement about the size of a Ford Focus while upstairs, in a huge convention room, literal porn stars had 8 foot tables to themselves. But, from listening to The Dollar Bin, it appears that things have improved and that DragonCon may indeed be a show worth checking out for comics enthusiasts and creators. The episode also has a great story about Shawn meeting the great Jim Steranko. (ABS. Always be Sterankoing.)
A lot of talk the past few weeks about Raina Telgemeier’s new book Ghosts. Most of it high praise but a little bit of negativity. I haven’t read it. I am not a child. Also, graphic novels = expensive etc. My comic reading kids kind of jumped from Archie to Kate Beaton and manga before these YA graphic novels were really a thing so that window was missed by my household. My youngest reads Yo-Kai Watch manga. I gotta say, it’s hard to get them to give american intermediate or young adult graphic novels when they’ve already been introduced to books that are vastly more visually stimulating. I’ve tried. It’s not my fault.
There are a lot of things I’ve enjoyed while file under other was on hiatus and I hope to get to a lot of it throughout the rest of 2016. One thing that I’ve been really pretty lousy about pointing out are the webcomics I enjoy. Pals Jeremy Massie and Matthew Smith have a new comic online called Amazing Age. They are now up to a 1st issue’s worth of pages so it’s a good time to check it out for before the next pages roll out. Page one is here.
And now ladies and gentlemen…
THE BEST Pretty Good NEW COMIC I READ THIS WEEK
Doom Patrol (volume who knows because publishers don’t even keep track anymore) issue 1 by Gerard Way, Nick Derington, Tamra Bonvillain, Todd Klein and several other people. Published by DC Comics. $3.99
The reason I struck through the word “best” in the header above is because I think I only read one new comic this week and calling a thing the “best” when you only sampled one of them is kind of silly. But it’s a pretty good comic. I enjoyed it. I should enjoy it because the thing is pretty much made for me and/or my offspring. I’m a 90s Grant Morrison acolyte and this thing is essentially a tribute to Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol and Invisibles but made for current teens like my kids. It’s kind of like The Batman Adventures version of Morrison’s Doom Patrol. And I think it’s perfect that DC has put Gerard Way in charge of this thing and this Young Animal line of comics because Grant Morrison may have very well invented Gerard Way. Some of the youngs might not know about this but, in the 90s, we had rock star comics creators. No, they were not comics creators that were actual rock n’ roll performers, but they were creators that carried themselves, portrayed themselves and were treated much like rock stars. The Image guys were like west coast American rock stars. They had expensive cars, they hung out with rappers and sports stars and did TV commercials. But the DC Vertigo creators were the cool UK rock stars with the black leather jackets, combat boots and tight shiny pants. Neil Gaiman and Grant Morrison were the prototype for Gerard Way. He is their dream become manifest. He is a literal rock star making comics. Which, also gives me a chance to repeat one of my favorite jokes; “How do you break into comics? Become moderately successful in any entertainment field other than comics, then ask." And please don’t think I’m dismissing Gerard Way here. He’s doing good work in this comic. He has history with Morrison and has clearly done his homework. All the right references and hints and teases are there. This comic feels like the Netflix re-boot of your favorite old TV show. It’s mostly a new cast but they brought back enough of the old faces to make it feel like a family reunion. There are panels where my Grant Morrison-fan reflexes kicked in and my "hey, they’re ripping off Morrison” alert went off and I had to remind myself that it is supposed to do that. Derington’s art is fine enough. Kind of a stripped down kid friendly version of what you would have expected to see in a 90s Doom Patrol. A Philip Bond or Cameron Stewart might have been a better fit but it’s okay. My fourteen year old daughter likes My Chemical Romance. She’s in the high school band and they play one of their songs. She want’s to read this comic. Grant Morrison, your creation has succeeded.
And finally… Francis likes a girl that’s like a cheeseburger.
Remember pals, life is hard. Read comics every day, chew Glorp every day and you’ll keep on livin’ until your dead.