Monday, June 12, 2006

New Edition of The Comics Since 1945
Coming this Fall

Great news! A revised, paperback edition of The Comics Since 1945, the second volume of cartoonist and historian Brian Walker's important examination of comic strips in America, will be published this fall.

Brian announced the new edition recently on the Platinum Age Comics discussion list, and he kindly posted the various updates the new edition will include. These changes - including updated information and better-quality artwork for some strips - will make this volume even more authoritative than the original hardcover (pictured).

Brian gave us permission to post his list of updates at, affording owners of the hardcover edition access to the paperback's newly revised information. We've included that list at our information page for The Comics: Since 1945. This book and its companion volume,The Comics Before 1945, constitute a must-have series for anyone interested in the history of American comic strips. Thanks, Brian!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

June Updates

Here are the books we've added to since our last update. And as always, we've been adding new weblinks throughout the website, as well. Remember, you can always recommend new books or reviews or links.

Geipel, John. The Cartoon: A Short History of Graphic Comedy and Satire.
South Brunswick and New York: A. S. Barnes and Company, 1972. ISBN 0498011496 (cloth).

Kahan, Jeffrey and Stanley Stewart. Caped Crusaders 101: Composition through Comic Books. Jefferson, NC and London: McFarland & Company, 2006. 200pp. ISBN 0786425326 (paper).

McDonnell, Patrick; Karen O'Connell; and Georgia Riley de Havenon. Krazy Kat: The Art of George Herriman. New York: Harry N. Abrahms, 1986. ISBN 0810912112 (cloth), 0810923130 (paper).

Morrison, Bill. Innocence and Seduction: The Art of Dan DeCarlo. Seattle, WA: Fantagraphics Books, 2006. 200pp. ISBN 1560977108 (paper).

Pieper, Gail W., with Kenneth D. Nordin and Joseph Ursitti. Understanding the Funnies: Critical Interpretations of Comic Strips. Lisle, IL: Procopian Press, 1997. 180pp.

Sanders, Joe, ed. The Sandman Papers: An Exploration of the Sandman Mythology. Introduction by Neil Gaiman. Seattle: Fantagraphics, 2006. 280pp. ISBN 1560977485 (paper.)

Schurman, Lydia Cushman and Deidre Johnson, eds. Scorned Literature: Essays on the History and Criticism of Popular Mass-Produced Fiction in America. Contributions to the Study of Popular Culture, Number 75. Westport, CT & London: Greenwood Press, 2002. 245pp. ISBN 0313320330 (hc).


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Is there Enough Irony in the World to Make this Ad Inoffensive?

I really don't think so.

This advertisement comes from page 399 the June 2006 issue of Previews, the catalog for Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. (Diamond is the major distributor of all US comics and related materials to comics shops.) I doubt if anyone at Diamond (or DC Comics or their parent company TimeWarner) is responsible for the ad copy; most likely it comes from the company that produces the shirt, Grafitti Designs.

I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt to whoever came up with the slogan originally; I suppose there might possibly be folks young or sheltered enough out there who don't recognize the racist - oh, let's just say it, Nazi - associations with the term "White Power." But nobody else did? Not an in-house editor or design person at Graffitti? Not a licensing person at DC? Not anybody at Previews, or even at whatever printer they use? (Although Previews as a whole reads as if it were proofread by... well, nobody.)

In case the problem's not clear:
White Power -> Nazis -> Übermensch -> Superman.

Again, I'm not accusing anybody of racism here. I am accusing the entire production chain of, at best, a failure to edit or, at least, a really, really piss-poor sense of humor.

While I did find a small discussion about the ad at Snopes, I haven't seen it mentioned on any comics news sites (although I'm not sure even Tom Spurgeon could actually follow them all). Maybe that just means that nobody reads Previews that closely? I doubt it. Maybe it means that nobody thinks it's offensive? I sure hope not.

In any event, I would certainly hope that Warner Bros. would be bothered to know - especially with Superman Returns on the horizon - that their All-American boy scout is being publicized with a phrase coined by the American Nazi Party.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Paging Reader Kevin Knapp...

Kevin Knapp: On May 17th you submitted a question about the comic book collectors market via the website. I've repeatedly tried to respond to your note, but the email address you supplied does not seem to be valid. Please try again, or leave a comment here for me to respond to. Thanks.

Friday, June 02, 2006

On the Air: "Out with the Comics" (WNYC-FM)

This morning I was a guest on The Brian Lehrer Show (WNYC-FM 93.9), a public radio chat-show, discussing DC Comics' announcement about their newly revamped Batwoman character, who's now a lesbian. Joining me to talk with Lehrer and his callers were Nick Purpora, store manager at comics shop Jim Hanley's Universe, and Emily Remm, managing editor of Bust Magazine (which quite often includes interviews with cartoonists as well as graphic novel reviews). It was an interesting discussion (even if some of the callers wandered a bit far afield, as they so often do), and I was glad to have the opportunity to join in. At least a thermos of Throat-Coat Tea from Kate helped me keep my cold-addled voice from disappearing for eighteen minutes.

This new Batwoman character has garnered lots of press, although it's certainly not the first time that even mainstream superhero comics have included homosexual characters - as sites like GayLeague and this Wikipedia article detail. Apparently, some fuss is being made that Kate (Batwoman) Kane will be portrayed as a lipstick lesbian. Personally, I think the fuss should be over why even a lipstick lesbian would choose to fight crime in those boots.

The show's archived here, with links for listening and downloading. And the link for works, even though it's listed there (and was announced on the air, repeatedly) as Whatchagonna do....

(Special Saturday Morning Update: Freaky - At the WNBC website, the audio links for this segment, and this segment only, of the show have disappeared. However, my audio links in the paragraph above still work - at least, they do at present, as of this writing. Get 'em while they're hot!)

(Above: The Batwoman image that's appeared in probably every newspaper in the country by now. Unlike the NY Times, however, I'll credit it to DC, not Marvel. Tsk tsk, NYT fact-checkers...!)