… You Might Just Say, “It’s Bleeding Cool!”

Up now at the popular comics newsite Bleeding Cool, an interview with yr hmbl svnt — but not just any interview, a three-part interview!

Ian Melton, who writes for the site, contacted me several weeks ago. As a fan of the Amazing Spider-Man comic strip, Ian had bought our reprints of the wall-crawler’s newspaper exploits and asked me if I’d like to talk. Glad to do so, but what I didn’t expect …

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A Dozen Views of One of Life’s Certainties

It’s that time of year here in the United States — tax time, that is! Actually, the citizenry has something of a break in 2018, since the official deadline for filing tax returns, April 15th, falls on a Sunday. That means the deadline slips to the next business day, so in most states the Post Offices are bracing for a run on their windows on Monday the 16th. In Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Connecticut, and Maine, where Patriots Day is a state holiday. the deadline will be Tuesday the 17th — and no, NFL wags, the holiday commemorates the Revolutionary War battles of Lexington and Concord, not the team headquartered in Foxboro, Mass.!

For decades cartoonists have mined tax day for laughs; some of them made it a point to annually commemorate the date in their strips. Don’t believe us? Well, the proof is in the pudding. Here are a dozen strips devoted to the trials and tribulations of taxation, taken at fifteen-year intervals across a period of three decades:

 

From 1980 —

 

From 1995:

 

And finally, from 2010:

Whether you’re assembling your schedules so your tax forms will bear a postmark scant minutes before the deadline or (like the Canwell household) you finished your taxes and have settled accounts with Uncle Sammy weeks before, we hope you enjoyed this little look at tax day in the comics page!

Episode 006 with special guest Michael Barrier

Dean Mullaney and Kurtis Findlay are back with another episode of the Library of American Comics & EuroComics Podcast!

In this episode, Dean and Kurtis discuss Skippy, Vol. 4, Treasury of Classic Tales, Vol. 3, and The Reprieve. Plus, animation historian Michael Barrier tells us about some of his favorite stories from Walt Disney’s Treasury of Classic Tales!

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Eddie Campbell to Talk Goat Getters at British Library

The British Library is hosting a special discussion with Eddie Campbell and his wife Audrey Niffenegger about their latest collaboration—Bizarre Romance, a collection of short stories by Audrey illustrated in comic form by Eddie. The discussion will be chaired by our old friend Paul Gravett.

Eddie will also share his thoughts about his new book from LOAC: The Goat Getters, which arrived in comic shops this week! Very cool that Eddie has a chance to discuss it at such a prestigious venue!

The event is on Tuesday, April 10 at 7pm. Tickets are £15.00 and are on sale though their website. Click here for more information.

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Highly Recommended: Two by Jules Feiffer

We in the comics world do not devote enough attention to the treasure who is Jules Feiffer.

I first encountered his work in the Sunday newspapers of my boyhood. where his Feiffer feature appeared weekly. I bought his 1979 proto-graphic-novel, Tantrum, and the next year I hied myself to the local cineplex to see Robert Altman’s film Popeye — lovingly written for the screen by Jules Feiffer. His 1993 illustrated novel, The Man in the Ceiling, was one of my memorable late-20th-Century reading experiences; a story about a boy who dreams of creating comic books, it strongly resonated with me, to the point where many friends and family members received copies as Christmas gifts that year. I delighted in his string of early-21st-Century children’s books with titles like I’m Not Bobby! and The House Across the Street. A decade ago I came full circle and bought Fantagraphics’s complete collection of Feiffer’s Village Voice strips that were the precursors to the material I first read as a youngster.

While Feiffer has devoted much of his career to drawing cartoons featuring normal, everyday men, women, and children and has rarely intersected with the adventure comics that remain at the heart of the business even today, it’s always been clear to me that Feiffer is One of Us, a comics geek who embraces the warp and woof of the medium and has absorbed the same “classics” that we have. If we had ever had the chance to share a drink with some of the notable talents with whom Feiffer has rubbed elbows — with Altman or Gay Talese or Mike Nichols — what would we say to them? What would we have in common with them? Ah, but if we had the opportunity to bend an elbow with Jules Feiffer, the conversation would likely flow faster than the bartender could fill our glasses. We’d talk about our favorite Caniff Terry and the Pirates sequences — compare and contrast the work of E.C. Segar and George Herriman — pull out of him the stories from his youngest days, just starting out in the business, when he assisted Will Eisner on The Spirit.

I understand that the odds I’ll ever shake hands with Feiffer are small, but I have been lucky enough to renew my acquaintance with him through his most recent works. I am taking this space to unreservedly recommend them to you. His two interconnected graphic novels, Kill My Mother and Cousin Joseph, are wonderful accomplishments that remind us anew of their creator’s singular talents.

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Episode 005 with special guest Eddie Campbell

Dean Mullaney and Kurtis Findlay are back with another episode of the Library of American Comics & EuroComics Podcast!

In this episode, Dean and Kurtis discuss LOAC Essentials, Vol. 11: Tippie, The Goat Getters, and Violette Around the World, Vol. 1. Plus, cartoonist Eddie Campbell reveals all about his upcoming book, The Goat Getters!

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Back to the Shelves

Several years ago we took some time in this space to show you what my LOAC bookshelf looked like. I shelve my books in alphabetical order by author, or by publisher where that makes more sense — for instance, while my William Saroyans are under “S”, my Fantastic Fours are under “M”, with the rest of my Marvel Comics collections. My Library of American Comics titles are therefore under “L,” and then shelved alphabetically in a logical way (well, logical to me, anyway), as you can see:

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Steve Canyon: Still Swinging in the Sixties!

One of the key points I raised in my text feature for Steve Canyon Volume 8 was that Milton Caniff’s picaresque adventure strip was still a hot property as the Sixties began to unfold. The perceived “Communist threat” was a very real part of life during that period, and the nuclear specter hung heavily over citizens of many countries (having spent my single-digit childhood years in the ’60s, I clearly remember the bi-level department store in my hometown, with both ground-level and basement shopping, and how the stairwells leading down to the basement prominently displayed “Fallout Shelter” decals). We too often try to examine the works of the past from a modern-day sensibility, ignoring a simple but accurate truth: It Was a Different World Back Then. (And our society couldn’t have arrived where it is today without our grandparents, parents, and some of us living through the way it was then … but that’s a thought for another day and another forum).

While doing some advance work for Canyon Volume 9 — which will feature more never-before-reprinted stories, this time from the years 1963-64 — the power of the feature to serve as a “draw” was once again brought home to me as I saw the plethora of advertisements and promotions for the series that ran in various client newspapers. Here’s a small cross-section of them, sure to whet the appetite of any Caniffite:

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