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SAVAGE SYMPOSIUM: WILSON by DAN CLOWES

Abhay Khosla

Dan Clowes is the cartoonist and author of a considerable number of the most celebrated comics of the past 20 years, including GHOST WORLD, DAVID BORING, ICE HAVEN and THE DEATH RAY, all of which originated in his EIGHTBALL anthology series.  His most recent publication is WILSON, his first original graphic novel published by DRAWN & QUARTERLY and released on April 28, 2010. WILSON prompted the following Savage Critic round-table discussion, which took place via the internet between May 2 and May 9, 2010.

Douglas’s note on the domino effect

Douglas Wolk

[This is a reconstructed post from Google Cache; originally posted by Douglas] I love the tightly knit week-to-week continuity of the Big Two’s superhero serials, but its potential downside is that a single stumble can do strange things to the direct market. According to Diamond’s new shipping updates, the final issue of Siege has been bumped three weeks, from April 21 to May 12. (Siege: Embedded #4 has moved also moved to May 12, but from April 7.) Which means that the final issues of Dark Avengers and Avengers: The Initiative, which were supposed to come out that week, have also been bumped to 5/12. And New Avengers Finale, which was meant to follow Siege #4 by a week on…  Read More…

In search of the Marvel completist

Douglas Wolk

There’s a lively discussion going on in the comments to my last post here, but I wanted to carry one thing that’s been brought up there over to a new post: How many “Marvel completists” are there right now? According to the estimates over at The Beat, November’s issue of “Marvel Adventures Super Heroes” sold 3,308 copies in the direct market (one of them was to me). The final issue of “Omega the Unknown” sold 7,591 copies in the direct market. “Dominic Fortune” #4, a mature-readers title, sold 5,657. “Amazing Spider-Man Family,” which was actually in continuity (at least in part), hit bottom at 7,289 copies with #4. If you assumed that everyone who bought a copy of each of…  Read More…

Douglas vs. Siege #1

Brian Hibbs

SIEGE #1: I’ve enjoyed “Dark Reign,” and particularly Brian Michael Bendis’s fuming, coffee-nerved Dark Avengers, and I wanted to see how it all ended. I’ve got no quarrel with superhero event comics, obviously. But this is just a distressingly shabby piece of work, and it fails to deliver the goods in nearly every way it might have. [Explanation under the cut...] Here’s a bit from a scene where Ares is addressing the super-types under his command: What a scene like this calls for is spectacle–something like a cast-of-thousands George Pérez freakout, or that bit in Final Crisis where every possible Superman shows up. The way Olivier Coipel has drawn this page, though, is just about as unspectacular as this sort…  Read More…

Savage Critics on the Reporter!

Brian Hibbs

It is a Savage Critic Four-fer (is that a word?) as Tom Spurgeon interviews Jog on Death Note, Douglas on Invincible Iron Man, Tucker on Ganges, and Sean on Blankets! All of them (as well as all of the non-Savage Critic interviews as well!) are definitely must-read pieces! Spurge initially asked me to do an interview, as well, but then he suddenly decided to do this one-critic-one-book series, and he asked if we could do our general survey of the business of comics later in 2010. I’m certainly looking forward to the chances of doing that sometime in the next month or two, I hope! -B

Douglas looks forward to 2010

Douglas Wolk

I’m putting together a list of interesting-looking comics-related books that are coming out in 2010–what I’ve got so far is under the cut. Note that this is only book-format projects (so e.g. no “Joe the Barbarian,” which reminds me: whatever happened to “Warcop” anyway?), and only things whose release dates have been announced either by the publishers or Amazon. Everything, as usual, is subject to change. I welcome additional suggestions for this list from anyone who doesn’t work for the creators or publishers of the things you’re suggesting. January: Eddie Campbell: Alec: The Years Have Pants (Top Shelf) Jan. 12: Dash Shaw: The Unclothed Man In the 35th Century A.D. (Fantagraphics) Jan. 29: George Herriman: Krazy & Ignatz in “Tiger…  Read More…

Douglas Vs. Write About Comics All Day Day 2009, Pt. 3 of it’s looking like 3

Brian Hibbs

Under the cut: “Ten Thousand Things to Do” and this year’s issue of “Love and Rockets.” TEN THOUSAND THINGS TO DO #5: This is Jesse Reklaw‘s enormously charming diary comic–he’s apparently just finished the sixth and final issue, but this was the latest one that was at SPX. I suspect I’ll be pulling it out decades from now to show people what bohemian life was like in the Portland of the late ’00s. Reklaw’s got a pretty interesting day-to-day existence, as bohemia goes, and he cherrypicks it for the funny/interesting-to-draw bits: That lower-right-hand image, incidentally, appears with variations on every page: a diagram that indicates Reklaw’s mood, energy level, pain levels (head, shoulder and lower back), and how many caffeine…  Read More…

Douglas vs. Write About Comics All Day Day 2009, Pt. 2 of Several

Douglas Wolk

Two I didn’t like so much, under the cut: “Logicomix” and “Dark Entries.” LOGICOMIX: AN EPIC SEARCH FOR TRUTH: This is a comics biography of Bertrand Russell (preview here) that’s been getting a lot of exceptionally enthusiastic praise lately: Bryan Appleyard of the Sunday Times called it “probably the best and certainly the most extraordinary graphic novel I have ever come across,” which makes me suspect that he has not come across very many of any kind. It’s by a relatively large cast, which is fine: Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos H. Papadimitriou are credited with “concept & story,” Doxiadis with the script, Alecos Papadatos with “character design & drawings,” Annie Di Donna with color. All four of them actually appear…  Read More…

Douglas vs. Write About Comics All Day Day 2009, Pt. 1 of At Least 1

Douglas Wolk

It’s 24 Hour Comics Day, and it’s also Read Comics All Day Day, and I figured I might join the festivities myself. I’m not going to be reviewing comics here all day–I have some things I need to write for other places–but figured I could mention a few worth-seeking-out things I picked up at SPX, as well as some other stuff. Below the cut: three of my favorite things I’ve read lately, “Woman King,” “Driven by Lemons” and “Ganges” #3. WOMAN KING: This is a small, self-published book by Colleen Frakes that knocked me for a loop–an understated but sharp-fanged fable about a human girl who becomes king of the bears during a war between bears and humans. (There’s a…  Read More…

It really was a kitten, after all: Douglas vs. 9/23

Douglas Wolk

DETECTIVE COMICS #857: The Batwoman serial is my favorite thing happening in superhero comics at the moment, and it keeps getting more luxuriously inventive with each installment. I actually went back and reread all four parts after reading this one, and there are a handful of earlier scenes that open up in the light of later ones. One of those later cues is Alice’s final line of dialogue this issue–I believe it may be the only thing she’s said in four issues that isn’t a quotation from Lewis Carroll’s Alice–which sure makes Kate’s hallucination in #855 a lot more interesting. The Question backups still aren’t clicking at all: I suspect an eight-page story needs to be much more densely packed…  Read More…

My brother the ape: Douglas reads some 8/11 periodicals

Brian Hibbs

MARVEL ADVENTURES SUPER HEROES #14: No grade on this one–I feel a little hinky about grading comics written by my neighbors (Paul Tobin, in this case)–but I will say that I enjoyed this issue immensely and wanted to call it to people’s attention. It’s a Hawkeye/Blonde Phantom team-up (what are the odds of two Blonde Phantom stories coming out in the same month?), a done-in-one detective story with a couple of action set-pieces and a lot of lively banter. It earns its “all ages” stamp: it’s a very 10-year-old-friendly funnybook, but it’s got a bunch of Easter eggs for people who’ve read a billion Marvel comics already, including a cute “Civil War” riff and, actually, the fact that it’s got…  Read More…

The mortgage on the cow: Douglas looks at some things from last week and earlier

Douglas Wolk

FINAL CRISIS: LEGION OF 3 WORLDS #5: I get the feeling that this OKAY conclusion changed direction somewhere between its conception and its execution–there are a bunch of subplots set up in the earlier installments that either go nowhere at all or get resolved very quickly and for no particular reason (hey, Sun Boy feels good again! There we go). Various new statuses quo are hammered into place (the White Witch has turned into Morpheus or something, the one remaining Triplicate Girl has turned into Madrox or something), Blok gets to say “But at what cost?” twice (there’s also a “But for how long?”), Kid Flash and Superboy strike some heroic poses, and you’d think given half a year of…  Read More…

Weeping Congorilla on JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRY FOR JUSTICE #1

Douglas Wolk

An intimate sitcheeation: Douglas v. June 24 and such

Brian Hibbs

DETECTIVE COMICS #854: As I was at the comics store this past Wednesday, a gentleman going through his very full pull-box announced that he wanted them to stop reserving Detective and Batman for him, because he “didn’t think it was right that Renee Montoya was the Question now,” and was going to “boycott the Batman titles until they bring back Vic Sage as the real Question.” Dude was twice my size, and I try to avoid adding to the general poor behavior that comic book store clerks have to deal with. But I wanted to ask him: just what do you read superhero comics for? Do you actually not like enjoying them? Seriously, this is the best-looking superhero comic book…  Read More…

Croonin’ into the beer of a drunk man: Douglas vs. 6/3

Douglas Wolk

BATMAN AND ROBIN #1: I love just looking at Frank Quitely’s art for this comic. The little details are the most immediate pleasure: the evenly spaced blobby teeth in Toad’s mouth, the cutaway diagram of Wayne Tower, and most of all the utterly indignant, entitled expressions on every single iteration of Damian’s face. And the in-art sound effects are a particularly nice touch, a subtle riff on the ’60s Batman TV show that Morrison and Quitely are rehabilitating here. Going back to re-read it, I’m noticing more of Quitely’s layout tricks, especially the preponderance of extreme closeups and long-shots; almost every page is composed as a cascade of pagewide panels, with the prominent exception of a couple of sequences that…  Read More…

The old hat routine: Douglas on a couple of 3/25 comics

Douglas Wolk

THE MUPPET SHOW COMIC BOOK #1: I had some conflicting expectations for this one. I would not have expected a comic book based on a TV variety show inspired by stage vaudeville (and notable for excellent puppetry and famous guest stars) to be up to much good. On the other hand, Roger Langridge, who’s writing and drawing it, has never to my knowledge made a comic book that’s less than worthwhile–I even kind of liked GROSS POINT. It turns out to be VERY GOOD, I’m happy to say, because it reads less like a solid cartoonist servicing somebody else’s trademark than like somebody had the bright idea to let Langridge have some fun with the Muppet characters. It’s a Roger…  Read More…

Vaporware: Douglas exhumes the absent past

Douglas Wolk

I picked up a bunch of old Amazing Heroes Preview Specials a few months back. They were published twice a year in the mid-to-late ’80s–fat saddle-stitched things, with more or less extensive writeups of nearly every comic book series that was supposed to be published over the next few seasons. Jog’s mention a little while ago of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s perpetually in-the-works City Lights reminded me of my perverse fascination with comics projects that are officially announced and maybe even produced but never actually published at all. (I also recently ran across a French site with fairly extensive lists of aborted Marvel and DC projects–mostly pitched or planned, rather than formally announced, although I would still love to…  Read More…

Then we didn’t come to the end: Douglas on GaimanBats, pt. 1

Douglas Wolk

Goddamn: this site just got even more fun to write for. Welcome, Wave Three! I’d be very surprised if the title of “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?”–the story that begins in BATMAN #686–had been created any way other than editorial fiat, as a companion to “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” (Whoever came up with this one apparently failed to notice that there was a joke in Alan Moore’s title.) So I agree with Brian and David: points to Neil Gaiman for coming up with a different way to spin it. (More beneath the cut.) As David pointed out, Gaiman’s got a habit, these days, of making sure that we know he’s Telling Stories, For He Is a…  Read More…

Why I loved Final Crisis

Brian Hibbs

I’ve been enjoying the online discussion of Final Crisis, especially as the last three parts have been coming out over the last three weeks. But one thing I think is particularly interesting about the reaction to the series is that a number of people who disliked it seem angry about it, or convinced that people who “actually enjoyed” it have somehow been duped. And even though I’ve been posting notes on every issue, I realized that I haven’t actually said much about what I thought of the series since the first issue. I really did enjoy it enormously–as much as I’ve liked any superhero comic in the last few years. I thought it was problematic in a lot of ways,…  Read More…

A preview of 2009

Douglas Wolk

I’ve put together a list of some interesting-looking comics-related books that are scheduled to come out this year, and figured other people might find it useful too. DISCLAIMER: This list is mostly ganked from Amazon listings, which is why it’s heavy on a few publishers–notably Fantagraphics, DC and Top Shelf, which list things way, way in advance. It is not anywhere close to comprehensive. It is not anywhere close to reliable. The entire publishing industry could crumble in the next week, in which case none of this stuff might come out at all. JANUARY: Lewis Trondheim: Little Nothings: The Prisoner Syndrome (NBM) William Messner-Loebs: Journey vol. 2 (IDM) FEBRUARY: Boulet/Joann Sfar/Lewis Trondheim: Dungeon Zenith vol. 3: Back in Style (NBM)…  Read More…

Douglas looks at some latter-day Dredd

Douglas Wolk

JUDGE DREDD: ORIGINS: I picked up this 2007 paperback from a half-off bin a little while back, noting that the front cover misspells artist Carlos Ezquerra’s name. One of my minor New Year’s resolutions is to read more of John Wagner’s future-cop Judge Dredd stories; I’ve actually been batting around the idea of working my way through the twelve “Complete Case Files” volumes that are sitting on my shelf and reviewing them all here. (If Laura and Leigh can do it with Cerebus, I can do it with Dredd, right?) I like the fact that Dredd is an American character whose stories are almost always by British writers, for a British audience–he’s a European nightmare of what an American hero…  Read More…

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