I've got several post-it notes cluttering up my work area, and I need to clear them out so I can get down to writing some commercial-type comics. So, here we go:
Fans of the semi-obscure and not so semi-brilliant comic strip Barnaby, as well as the beloved Harold and the Purple Crayon series of children's books, take note of the Crockett Johnson homepage:
If you're unfamiliar with Barnaby, get thee hither and roost about. It's a terrific strip that desperately needs to be reprinted. There are two old hardback collections that you can often find in used book shops, and a series of paperbacks that aren't that easy to find. Some of them are expensivo because they reprint material that isn't in the two original collections. Anyway, this is classic stuff, check it out if you have a care. I also believe there's a print magazine collecting Barnaby, Comics Revue or something like that. I'm too lazt to do any actual research, so use the internet and find out for yourself.
Folks on various websites are reporting -- and Amazon has listings that bear this out -- that there will be forthcoming two harcobver, translated collections of the work of the late Yves Chaland. I am a huge fan of his work, some of which was serialized in Heavy metal (I never read HM, preferring actual pornography, but Bob Fingerman clipped some Chaland stuff for me a few years back). I've obtained several pricey Chaland collections over the years, by hook or by original art swaps, so it would be very welcome indeed to be able to actually read the stuff. Chaland worked in the clear line European style, and he's my favorite of that bunch. Ilk. Contingent. I have a feeling the stories themselves are pretty straightforward and nothing spectacular, but the man was a master cartoonist and designer. I stare at his work and want to die. Some people get the hands and the brains, some create Milk and Cheese. They're my "shoddy line" style, ha ha.
My thanks to those who bid on our recent e-bay auctions, thanks, now we can buy shoes for the cats. We're most likely putting some new pieces of art up any day now, along with some items we have doubles of or are just culling from the HOF library.
I had some reprints of my stuff running in the Spanish comics magazine El Vibora, which was really neat. But I think they're dropping me, which is really sucky, to use the technical term. Interestingly, two El Vibora artists will be illustrating the two-part Marvel fill-in story I'm supposed to be working on right now instead of posting this nonsense. I've rarely had my work translated overseas, so at least I entertained/bored/confused some folks in Spain for a few months.
I recently completed my EC boxed set collection, a collection begun back in...cripes, 1983! Yikes. I bought my first Russ Cochran EC library after working at Jim Hanley;s Universe for $2 trade, $2 cash. My initial objective was to bring the boxed Tales From the Crypt set home (the second objective being alcohol and tix for punk/ska shows at CBGB's). Over time I picked up a few others, but I couldn't afford many of them and of course, a bunch of them went out of print and ended up doubling if not tripling in price on the secondary market. I mamnaged to pick several up on sale, several of the spendy ones on e-bay at decent prices, and finally picked up the last one I needed, the set featuring such box office hits as Psychoanalysis and Extra! Some friends think I'm nuts for picking up the truly minor titles, but I decided I was going whole-hog archival on the series and wanted them all (even the generally moribund pre-New Trend romance, crime and western titles). I really love the EC line, even the lousy titles and stories hold a kind of historical fascination for me, and the art is the major backbone of the EC line anyway. Recently there's been some noise from some quarters in the alternative press castigating the supposed blind devotion fandom holds for the EC line, but they can go take the gas pipe if you ask me. I hold no love for fandom, as you all might well know, and I'm not a blind defender of the EC line -- much of it was lousy. But EC strove to do better comics than what was out there, they're a historically important company which had the best out and out creator roster until Fantagraphics and Drawn and Quarterly hit their strides. On sheer craft alone these books are worth more than one look, , and in my big little book, EC deserves a pass from the curmudgeons on the strenght of Kurtzman's output and Mad alone. Throw in the horror books and the house editorial style that predated Stan the man and you get what you paid for -- an Entertaining Comic. EC never said it was creating art for the ages, tilting at the EC windmill just doesn't make much sense to me other than trying to stir up a tempest and upset some uptight fanboys (fanmen?). The main problem I've had with the (admittedly) small spate of EC-bashing isn't even really the argument against, but the lack of good p[oints in said arguments against EC's place in comics history, high level of craft, influences on the undergrounds and medium, etc.
Anyway, if your only familiarity with EC is with the shitty HBO Tales From the Crypt rigamarole, there are paperback reprints available of many of the EC titles. I recommend, of course, the early Mad material (the first 6 issues of which has been released in a handsome hardcover Archive edition by DC), the Johnny Craig crime material, Kurtzman and co's war stories in Frontline Combat and Two Fisted Tales, and of course, the silly but tons of fun horror and S-F comics. I think Gemstone has thick paperbacks available for around 7 to 10 bucks, in color, a nice introduction to the line. If you already dig that crazy stuff, treat yourself to the Tales of Terror compendium co-published by Fantagraphics and Gemstone (featuring interviews, a history of the company, a complete cover gallery, unpublished art, title rundowns and publisher Bill Gaines testimony to the 1954 senate subcommitee on comics and juvenile delinquency). Also from Fantagraphics is the handsome Bernie Krigstein retrospective, B. Krigstein. The books ain't cheap, but they are worth it and are welcome additions to any comic aficianado's library. Or pile by the bed/in the milk crate. You can also find the Fantagraphics-published latest issue of "legendary" EC fanzine Squa Tront, which features a great old interview with Kurtzman, Arnold Roth and Al Jafee, among other gems and trivial hoo-ha. man, someone at Fantagraphics really digs EC.
The latest Comic Book Marketplace has nifty features on Milton Caniff (IMHO more interesting for the photgraphs of Caniff at work, in the studio, with his character models, on the whole) and an interview with Marc Hempel, along with some crap about slabbed comics and what prices retail stores are getting for old comics and how the internet is killing the brick and mortar store, et al. Sure, the internet kill shops. Shitty shops.
Okay, that's the big rundown covering all those post-its. After this, two short posts, one is a plug and the other is a plea for sanity.