It’s been a long time, I shouldna left you, without some dope links to click to (while we’re rapping, here’s 99 Problems like you’ve never imagined it). But to make up for the unexpected absence (and thank you for the flowers and concerned fruit baskets) this is an extra-sized balls crazy $8 edition of Need To Know… Seriously, if you’re done with this by the end of today you’re either a speed-reader or in Lying Cat’s bad books.
Catch-up first, here’s a bunch of links from the week before last which I just couldn’t let go, and like all leftovers, warm ’em up or munch while cold, they still taste gooooood.
We open with some slick visuals to pretty up your walls and sharpen up your mind, before going all Cadbury’s Egg on you and asking “How do you read yours?“. That last one is a great key into why some pages pull you onward, and some drag you down.
Marvel didn’t even wait for San Diego to make announcements, spilling on the new Marvel Knights books a fortnight ahead. If you’re wondering, they’re Hulk, Spidey, and X-Men. As if Fantomex MAX wasn’t crazy enough. At least they’re still planning on actually making a funny book, though.
Over in DC land, the big question was: “invisible plane, or invisible muscle car?“, and whatever side you come down on, there’s no question that DC Nation’s animation is some of the best stuff at the Distinguished Competition, they’re golden. Tangentially, Greg Capullo’s art prompted this great piece exploring the “uncanny valley” as it pertains to comics, and may explain why you aren’t crazy about Greg Land’s art.
Last of the leftovers is this Pretty Deadly preview. Sweet.
We didn’t all love Day Men, but since it enabled (along with this Dennis Culver tumblr post) this article about writer-artist collaboration and perceived primacy, we’ll hold off judging for now.
And without further ado, San Diego happened. This is probably the best master list you’ll find for a comprehensive rundown of what went down in San Diego town. But we have our favourites, so let’s start by congratulating the Eisner winners, and looking over the Harvey nominees. Christmas came a little early for Hellboy aficionados, Vertigo continued to announce new books, the most interesting panel belonged (surprise surprise) to Image, Marvel announced more Wolverine Origin, Young Avengers jam (not that kind, although…), and Marvel UK (?). Most importantly, IDW announcedSweet dreams of Slumberland, and more Parker. Proper Parker. Fantagraphics have some sweet Eleanor Davis and Simon Hanselmann books upcoming, both names you might want to get to know, plus repackaged Jim Woodring, along with Tony Milionaire and Joe Sacco projects! 2000AD representing with Thrillpower. But could SDCC ever live up to these hopes?
“I guess he wasn’t expecting a mutant arctic fox.” was likely the best line from last week’s comics.
Gail Simone’s on Red Sonja, so take a peek, but don’t look too long. She’s bringing friends. But from the looks of things there’s one heavy-hitting female creator missing from the Red ranks, Plume’s K. Lynn Smith. Actually, there may be a hell of a lot of names missing, even though they’ve been in comics for quite some time. While we’re waxing historical, here’s a little comics culture lineage for you, regarding the Japanese street theatre superfolks who pre-dated Superman.
Animated Prison Pit may be the only thing grosser than that Scientifically accurate Spider-Man thing we posted earlier in the year, so exercise viewer discretion. Or for a safer bet, anything billed as “Tron meets Dali” has to be a class act, doesn’t it? And its just one of a bunch of great titles from Floating World. For those who’d rather be guided than explore, here are some good reviews for several UK small press comics that are likely malingering in the West Wing. Maybe some will be worthy of your time time capsule?
Finally. Print this list. Laminate it. Put it in your wallet, purse, clutch, or better yet on a lanyard around your neck. Abide by it.
Have you ever wondered what a painting made by a squealing electric guitar would make? Edwin from Savage Pencil wants to show you the answer, with a live event and a subsequent open studio exhibition. And its free admission. Maybe you could take what you save on admission and buy some original Marceline art, or some Rich Tommaso originals, or this hilariously rude Brazilian Alan Moore tee, or start trawling newsagents and eBay for this Gary Erskine newspaper cover celebrating Andy Murray’s Wimbledon win. You could even book in advance for this Edinburgh festival show featuring Emma Vieceli and fusing live literature readings with live-drawing! If you really want to be culturally relevant, though, maybe you should be re-watching Miami Vice, Airwolf, Punky Brewster, Saved by the Bell, and Knight Rider. They’re going to be digital comics soon. Hmm, didn’t Alan Moore have a good line about Nostalgia once…?
Speaking of digital comics, Comixology has now introduced subscriptions and bundles, and Monkeybrain celebrated their first birthday with interviews and previews, yet Image stole the week with three words: DRM Free Comics. But what about Piracy?! “Piracy is bad for bad entertainment”. That little game-changer was just part of the slew of announcements from Image Expo, detailed here, but relevant highlights include the fact that there’s a 90’s-esque Marvel exodus happening, previews for a velvety smooth Brubaker/Epting project coming soon, Remender’s showing off his Black Science and demonstrating Deadly Class, and you’ll definitely want to hear about John Boogerhead, though Nick Dragotta’s perspective on East of West, Image, and making comics may be more rewarding. Its amazing how many non-manga creators in this post-manga-boom era are drawing from that particular well, Dragotta being just the most recent one to cite the influence publicly.
But there are other publishers, y’know! DC announced their SDCC plans, and the new Tom Strong miniseries, along with more details on the somewhat underwhelming Vertigo announcements of recent weeks. Dark Horse and Kitchen Sink are playing two become one, and here’s some context on one of their forthcoming releases, plus a preview of what looks to be their next fun comic, Blood Brothers. Wait, did we say “fun”? Yeah, we did, because comics are fun, right? And kids love fun, so we should have more kids comics, right? Let Jamie Smart talk you through it, because sadly it ain’t that simple. And Julia Gfrorer may not be a name you recognise, but we’re guessing this headline will grab you: “I don’t get why people write stories without sex in them.”. Do you?
Now cheer up with the funniest comics, EVER. This review made us hope someone gives Age of Ultron the video game review treatment (its the only way we’ll laugh at that mini), while this archived letters page made us wonder when editors stopped being fun? Also, proof that religion, comics, and ancient history can be a fun combination.
For those yet to “get” Dan Clowes, this may be the resource you need, and since we’re tumbling, why not check out Treasure Island, the cool King Shark lookalike (that was an easy link, but scroll through the page and there’s some very cool art there), Simon Moreton’s Grand Gestures and the quality folks who are talking about them, and this comic that is far, far too good to be free. But is.
These reading recommendations for comics journalism/thinking are tough to beat, while this story reminds you to always take the reminiscences of comics’ lauded elder statesmen with a pinch of salt. If you’re drowning in words, let Kim Jacinto’s art buoy you, or try picking a favourite image from this haul, we dare you.
This week’s Kickstart call to arms is for another music/comics project, so step into The Fur Trap. If you’re not sure, you can always step into the West Wing and check out Static Revolter to get a feel for the material, its from the same source.
Until next week, please don’t give up.
p.s. – sorry about the skip week!