News about the premier academic journal devoted to all aspects of cartooning and comics -- the International Journal of Comic Art (ISSN 1531-6793) published and edited by John Lent.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Rhode's 6:1 book reviews

Here's my reviews from the International Journal of Comic Art 6:1, Spring 2004 in uneditred form. The part about Denver Square is sadly dated now especially the line about newspapers supporting their cartoonists:

Charles Brooks, editor. Best Editorial Cartoons of the Year 2003 Edition, Gretna, LA: Pelican, 2003. ISBN 1-58980-090-7.
Ed Stein. Denver Square: We Need a Bigger House!, Gretna, LA: Pelican, 2003. ISBN 1-58980-115-6.
John Chase. The Louisiana Purchase: An American Story, Gretna, LA: Pelican, 2002. ISBN 1-58980-084-2.
Bob Artley. Christmas on the Farm, Gretna, LA: Pelican, 2003. ISBN 1-58980-108-3.
Bob Artley. Once Upon a Farm, Gretna, LA: Pelican, 2001. ISBN 1-56554-753-5.
Una Belle Townsend and Bob Artley. Grady’s in the Silo, Gretna, LA: Pelican, 2003. ISBN 1-58980-098-2.

The decline of comic art in America, whether comic strips, comic books, editorial cartoons or most recently hand-drawn animation, has been an accepted belief for at least a decade. Given the proliferation of cartoon characters in all media with attendant licensing, the movies based on comic books, dozens of museum and library exhibits per year, and the rising consumption of manga, I wonder how accurate this truism is. When a small American publisher like Pelican publishes over a dozen books by cartoonists, perhaps the field is changing and not diminishing. Pelican’s recent offerings run an interesting gamut – for this review, I have one editorial cartoon collection, one comic strip collection by an editorial cartoonist, one historical comic strip collection, and three apparent children’s books by an editorial cartoonist (see IJoCA 3:1 & 4:2 for other Pelican reviews).

Brooks’ 31st collection of editorial cartoons continues his useful sampling and should be a regular purchase by anyone interested in the field. Clay Bennett of the Christian Science Monitor (see IJoCA 5:1) won most of the major awards in 2002, including the Pulitzer, but to my eyes, his obviously computer-generated work is overly slick and reproduces badly in black and white. Ongoing Catholic church scandals got a hard-hitting section, as did, in a sign of the second Gilded Age, Enron’s collapse. 2002, and thus the book, was heavy on terrorism cartoons, and the youthful suicide bomber wrapped in dynamite sticks needs to be retired. An especially unfortunate example of a terrorism cartoon was Steve Kelley’s cartoon of Snoopy deciding to go after Bin Laden. Inexplicably, no cartoons by 2001 Pulitzer winner Ann Telnaes were included.

Ed Stein is a political cartoonist for the Denver Rocky Mountain News, and he also does a non-syndicated comic strip for them. “Denver Square” has been published since 1997, and a selection of strips from five years is included in the book. The strip follows a middle-class family of three, who are joined by live-in in-laws. Stein consciously decided to make his strip local, so the Denver Broncos football team, local wildfires, the Columbine High School murders, and the excesses of the tragic Jon Benet Ramsey murder investigation all are topics of the strip. As this list makes clear, Stein’s political cartoonist instincts are frequently on display in the strip. Both despite and because of its local focus, Stein’s strip is a good one, and this book is a nice example about what is still possible when newspapers support their cartoonists.

Non-fiction comic strips such as “Texas History Movies” (see IJoCA 5:2) have recently been rediscovered, and Chase’s “The Louisiana Purchase” is a reprint of 1950s strips with a text introduction that adds more detailed context. Moving far beyond Jefferson’s purchase, Chase begins with the discovery of America, and slowly moves through various explorers and a basic history of the settlement of the United States, even including two strips on the creation of the dollar sign. The strips are well-drawn competent basic history which I enjoyed, and much of IJoCA’s readership should too, but I am not sure today’s students have enough interest in comic strips for this reprint to attract a school-age audience.

Cartoonists have written children’s books (i.e. books written specifically for children and not collections of their work) throughout the entire twentieth century, and many recent notable examples spring to mind – masters such as Steig and Seuss, but also Breathed, Larson, Bliss, Spiegelman, Sfar, and Stamaty. Retired midwestern editorial cartoonist Artley illustrated Townsend’s true story of a cow caught in a feed silo. There is nothing particularly ‘cartoony’ about his illustrations, and my five-year-old daughter pronounced the story as ‘nice.’ Artley’s other two books recall his experiences growing up on a farm in the 1920s and collect drawings from his syndicated cartoons and “Once Upon A Farm” weekly half-page. These books are packaged as children’s books, but are really for an older audience; perhaps even one that remembers a lost rural way of life. Artley’s text is serviceable, and his drawings, either pen and ink or watercolor, are very good. There is some overlap between the two books, and the cartoon component of either is slight, but both are recommended.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Fall 2008 Table of Contents now online

You can see the Fall 2008 Table of Contents at the current issue link on the official webpage. Cutting-and-pasting isn't working so well. This issue is still for sale, of course. 872 pages, and 43 articles it says.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Seattle-area exhibit reviewer wanted for Warner Bros animation show

See this article for information on the Warner Bros animation exhibit opening in Seattle. Anyone who wants to do an academic review should contact me.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Preliminary list of exhibit and media reviews for IJOCA 11-1

Here's the exhibit and media reviews that we have in hand and have been edited.

Zap! Pow! Bam! The Superhero: The Golden Age of Comic Books, 1938-1950. Jerry Robinson. Beachwood, Ohio: Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, Sept. 16, 2008-Jan. 2009.
Mark C. Rogers

R. Crumb’s Underground. Todd Hignite and "coordinated at the ICA by Associate Curator Jenelle Porter.” Philadelphia: Institute of Contemporary Art, Sept. 5 – Dec. 7, 2008.
Michael Rhode

Snoopy as the World War I Flying Ace. Jane O’Cain. Produced by the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center and toured by ExhibitsUSA. College Park, Maryland: College Park Aviation Museum, Aug. 30-Nov. 30, 2008.
Jeffrey S. Reznick

Life in Boxes: Comic Art & Artifacts, an exhibition selected from the Steve Rothman Collection of Comics, Cartoons, & Graphic Novels. Steven Rothman. Philadelphia: Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center, University of Pennsylvania. Oct. 27, 2008 - March 22, 2009.
Derik Badman

Punisher: War Zone. Directed by Lexi Alexander, starring Ray Stevenson, Wayne Knight, Dominic West. Marvel Studios/Lions Gate, 2008.
Robert G. Weiner

The Spirit. Directed by Frank Miller. Lionsgate, 2008. Starring Gabriel Macht, Samuel L Jackson, Scarlet Johanson, Eva Mendes, Jami King. Based on the comic strip created by Will Eisner.
Robert G. Weiner

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Preliminary list of book reviews for IJOCA 11-1

Here's a list of the book reviews we've already got in hand and that have been edited. More may be added.

Eury, Michael. Comics Go Ape: The Missing Link to Primates in Comics. Raleigh, NC: TwoMorrows Publishing, 2007. ISBN: 9781893905627.
Robert G. Weiner

Beronä, David. Wordless Books. The Original Graphic Novels. New York: Abrams, 2008. 256 pp. ISBN: 978-0-8109-9469-0. $35.
John A. Lent

Scott, Randall W. European Comics in English Translation: A Descriptive Sourcebook. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company , 2002. 401 pp. ISBN-10: 0786412054; ISBN-13: 978-0786412051. $75.
Michael Rhode

King, Owen and John McNally, eds. Who Can Save Us Now?: Brand-New Superheroes and Their Amazing (Short) Stories. Free Press, 2008. 432 pages. ISBN-10: 1416566449; ISBN-13: 978-1416566441. $16.
Michael Rhode

Dolle-Weinkauff, Bernd, Sylvia Asmus and Brita Eckert. Comics made in Germany -- 60 Jahre Comics aus Deutschland. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2008. 142 pp. ISBN 978-3-447-05690-8.
Pascal Lefèvre

Soper, Kerry D. Garry Trudeau. Doonesbury and the Aesthetics of Satire. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2008. 166 pp. ISBN: 978-1-934110-89-8. $22.
John A. Lent

Miller, Ann. Reading Bande Dessinée: Critical Approaches to French-language Comic Strip. Intellect Books, 2007. ISBN 978-1-84150-177-2. $40.
David A. Beronä

Evanier, Mark. Kirby: King of Comics. New York: Abrams, 2008. 224 pp. ISBN: 081099447X. $40.
Robert G. Weiner

Ding, Min’an. Ding Min’an’s Clay Statuettes of Caricatures. Hong Kong: Tianma Publishing Ltd., 2005. 65 pp. with colored illustrations.
HongYing Liu-Lengyel

Rhode, Michael G., ed. Harvey Pekar: Conversations. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2008. 225 pp. IBSN 978-1-60473-086-9. $22.
Mark C. Rogers

Jacobson, Sid and Ernie Colón. The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation. New York: Hill and Wang, 2006. 118 pps. Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-0-8090-5738-2; Hardcover ISBN-10: 0-8090-5738-7. Paperback ISBN- 13: 978-0-8090-5739-9; Paperback ISBN-10: 0-8090-5739-5. $30 HC; $16.95 PBK.
Sol M. Davidson

Jacobson, Sid and Ernie Colón. After 9/11: America’s War on Terror (2001- ), New York: Hill and Wang, 2008. 150 pages. Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-0-8090-2357-8; Hardcover ISBN-10: 0-8090-2357-1;Paperback ISBN-13: 978-0-8090-2370-7: paperback ISBN-10: 0-8090-2370-9. $30 HC; $16.95 PBK.
Sol M. Davidson

Abouet, Marguerite and Clément Oubrerie. Aya. Montréal: Drawn and Quarterly, 2008. 132 pp. ISBN: 978-1894937900. $19.95.

Abouet, Marguerite and Clément Oubrerie. Aya of Yop City. Trans. Dag Dascher. Montréal: Drawn and Quarterly, 2008. 107 pp. w/ 17 bonus pp. ISBN: 978-1-897299-41-8. $19.95
Matthew L. Miller

Modan, Rutu. Jamilti and Other Stories. Trans. Noah Stollman and Jesse Mishori. Montréal: Drawn and Quarterly, 2008. 174 pp. ISBN: 978-1-897299-54-8. $19.95
Matthew L. Miller

Delisle, Guy. Burma Chronicles. Trans. Helge Dascher. Montréal: Drawn and Quarterly, 2008. 263 pgs. ISBN: 978-1-897299-50-0. $19.95
Matthew L. Miller

Hignite, Todd. In the Studio: Visits with Contemporary Cartoonists. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007. ISBN 978-0-300-11016-6. $20.
David A. Beronä

DePastino, Todd. Bill Mauldin: A Life Up Front. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2008. ISBN 978-0-393-06183-3. $28.

Mauldin, Bill. Todd DePastino, ed. Willie & Joe: The World War II Years. Seattle: Fantagraphics Books, 2008. ISBN 978-1560978381. $65.
David A. Beronä

Fresnault-Deruelle, Pierre and Jacques Samson, eds. Mei 26, Poétiques de la bande dessinée. Paris: L'Harmattan 2007. ISBN 978-2-296-04082-3. 21.85 €
Pedro Moura

Alban Delannoy, Pierre ed. CIRCAV no. 19 La bande dessinée à l'épreuve du réel. Paris: L'Harmattan, 2007. ISBN 978-2-296-04879-9 15.20 €
Pedro Moura

Lavanchy, Eric. Étude du Cahier Bleu d'André Juillard. Une approche narratologique de la bande dessinée. Louvain-La-Neuve: Academia Bruylant, n.d. [2007]. ISBN 978-2-87209-862-0. 20.90 €.
Pedro Moura

Eisner, Will. Expressive Anatomy for Comics and Narrative. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2008.ISBN 978-0-393-33128-8 (Pbk.). $22.95.

Eisner, Will. Comics and Sequential Art. (Revised edition). New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2008. ISBN 978-0-393-33126-4 (Pbk.). $22.95.

Eisner, Will. Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative. (Revised edition). New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2008, ISBN 978-0-393-33127-1 (Pbk.). $22.95.

Eisner, Will. With Eisner Reader: 7 Graphic Stories by a Comics Master. (Revised edition). New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2008. ISBN 978-0-393-32807-3 (Pbk.). $16.95.

Eisner, Will. The Name of the Game. (Revised edition). New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2008. ISBN 978-0-32815-8 (Pbk.). $17.95.

Eisner, Will. To the Heart of the Storm. (Revised edition). New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2008. ISBN 978-0-393-32810-3 (Pbk.). $17.95

Eisner, Will. The Dreamer. (Revised edition). New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2008. ISBN 978-0-393-32808-0 (Pbk.). $16.95.
Sol M. Davidson

Monday, February 2, 2009

NYC New Yorker exhibit reviewer desired UPDATED

"On the Money: Cartoons From the New Yorker" Morgan Library & Museum, 225 Madison Ave. at 36th Street, through May 24. Information: +1-212-685-0008;

Taken! by Ian Gordon, whose book, Comic Strips & Consumer Culture, anyone who's interested in comic art should own.

Tokyo exhibit on Fujio Akatsuka reviewer wanted

Manga artist Fujio Akatsuka is the subject of an exhibit in Tokyo that I'd like a reviewer for. See this Yomiuri Shimbun article for more information.

Zippy exhibit in Pittsburgh PR

UPDATE - I've got a reviewer, and Bill Griffith can't make it due to illness.

I'm hoping for a reviewer for this exhibit.

Zippy's Pittsburgh and More: The Art of Bill Griffith

At The ToonSeum, February 7 to March 31, 2009

PITTSBURGH -- The ToonSeum, Pittsburgh's museum of cartoon art, presents Zippy's Pittsburgh and More: The Art of Bill Griffith, February 14 through March 31, 2009.

Zippy's Pittsburgh and More is an exhibit of Griffith's original comic art, with several strips featuring Pittsburgh landmarks as settings. "Our location at the Children's Museum has a certain surreal quality that lends itself well to Zippy," said ToonSeum Executive Director, Joe Wos. "Giant inflatable ice cream dinosaurs, twenty-foot cranes made of old gas station signs, and of course a museum of cartoon art, all seem to fit quite well in Zippy's world!" The artist agrees, saying "For me, Zippy is funniest when his craziness bumps up against the 'real world', which is why I put him in diners and have him talking to Bob's Big Boy. It doesn't get much more real than Pittsburgh, PA - it's Zippy Country!"

Zippy the Pinhead, one of the unlikeliest daily comic strips in the history of newspapers, initially appeared in underground comix in the early 1970s, and was first published as a daily strip in the San Francisco Examiner in 1985. The following year, King Features picked up the strip for worldwide syndication. Zippy's creator Bill Griffith describes the character as the "wise fool," who "knows nothing at all and everything at once." His twisted response to all forms of high and low culture forces us to take a fresh look at words and images that permeate our consciousness daily.

Bill Griffith will appear for a special book signing at Phantom of the Attic Comics in Oakland, on Saturday, February 21, from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. The book signing is sponsored by Phantom of the Attic and Copacetic Comics.

The ToonSeum is Pittsburgh's museum of cartoon art, currently housed within the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh (10 Children's Way, on the North Side). Entry to the ToonSeum is free with paid admission to the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh (Adults- $10, Children under 18 and Seniors - $9, Children under 2- Free). Museum hours are Monday-Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Sunday 12:00 to 5:00 p.m. For more information, please visit or call(412)325-1060

Pittsburgh City Paper is the media sponsor for Zippy's Pittsburgh and More.

The ToonSeum at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh
10 Children’s Way
Pittsburgh, PA 15212