Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Canada's "Conceptual Comics" & "Comic Craze"

The Canadian city Banff, in Alberta, sounds like a must-see destination for comics connoisseurs this summer - specifically, the exhibits and programming at the Banff Center's Walter Phillips Gallery.

First up: Conceptual Comics (April 27 - August 3), "a survey of over 50 books drawn from the inventory of Printed Matter, Inc., the artists' bookstore located in New York City." Consisting of artist's books that employ comics conventions, this one should be of interest to anyone interested in the formal aspects of comic art, particularly OuBaPo fans (en français ), as well as to book arts aficionados. Curator's tour Thursday, May 4, 7:00 p.m.

The other exhibit, "Comic Craze" (May 4 - September 3) focuses on French- and English-language comics from across Canada. Cartoonists include, among others, Marc Bell, Rupert Bottenberg, Shary Boyle, Chester Brown, Geneviève Castrée, David Collier, Rebecca Dart, Jeff Lemire, Billy Mavreas, Marc Ngui, Joe Ollman, Michel Rabagliati, Seth, Rick Trembles, and Maurice Vellekoop. This one appears to be pretty large, and conducive to reading, not just looking at, some great work:
For this exhibition, the Gallery is being transformed into a reading space. A black and white woodland forest, filled with luminous snails and hundreds of comic books, 'zines, and mini-comics accessible for on-site reading, is the stage for a unique experience in appreciating the visual and literary pleasure of reading comics.
Curator'’s Tour May 8, 6:00 p.m.; Opening Reception May 20, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.; Exhibition Tour July 7, 7:30 p.m.

In conjunction with this exhibit, the Banff Centre will host the Comic Craze Symposium from May 4 - May 6. The list of featured speakers includes artists, scholars, curators, publishers, and fans, so it promises to offer wide-ranging appeal. One particularly interesting feature, given the recents (and welcome!) spate of comics gallery exhibits, is a session on "Curating Comics," designed to "provide an opportunity to discuss and debate the strategies that are currently used to represent this field of visual culture."

Unless someone has some airfare to spare, we'd appreciate any and all visitor's reports on these events.

Above: "Between Gentlemen" (excerpt), Rupert Bottenberg, 2003. Extra-special mega-thanks to The Queen of Everything for letting me know about these shows!

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

April Updates

Today we climb around the library shelves, in this list of the latest new or significantly revised entries to Several older and heretofore-overlooked books, as well as more recent fare, now have detailed entries.

Note also that we've done quite a bit of updating on our Academic Resources page, particularly with regard to comics research collections in libraries from around the world.

And away we go...!
Goulart, Ron. The Great Comic Book Artists. New York: St. Martin's P, 1986. 128pp. ISBN 0312345577 (paper).

Hess, Stephen and Sandy Northrop. Drawn & Quartered: The History of American Political Cartoons. Montgomery, AL: Elliott & Clark Publishing, 1996. 164pp. ISBN 1880216396 (hc).

Howe, Sean, ed. and introduction. Give Our Regards to the Atom Smashers! Writers on Comics. New York: Pantheon, 2004. 228pp. ISBN 0375422560 (hc).

Lent, John A., ed. Cartooning in Latin America. Hampton Press, 2005. 396pp. ISBN 1572735600 (cloth), 1572735619 (paper).

Lent, John A., Lent. Comic Art of Europe through 2000: An International Bibliography. Volume I. Bibliographies and Indexes in Popular Culture, Number 10. Westport, CT & London: Praeger, 2003. 570pp. ISBN 027598219X (set); 0275982203 (hc). ISSN 10660658.

Lent, John A., Lent. Comic Art of Europe through 2000: An International Bibliography. Volume II. Bibliographies and Indexes in Popular Culture, Number 10. Westport, CT & London: Praeger, 2003. 571-1090pp. ISBN 027598219X (set); 0275982211 (hc). ISSN 10660658.

McLaughlin, Jeff, ed. Comics as Philosophy. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2005. 256pp. ISBN 1578067944 (cloth).

Morris, Tom and Matt Morris, eds. Superheroes and Philosophy: Truth, Justice, and the Socratic Way. Popular culture and philosophy. Chicago and La Salle, IL: Open Court Publishing Co., 2005. 281pp. ISBN 0812695739 (paper).

Satin, Allan D. A Doonesbury Index. Metuchen, NJ and London: The Scarecrow Press, 1985. 269pp. ISBN 0810818000 (hc).

Spurgeon, Tom, ed. The Comics Journal Library 6: The Writers [voices from the rebirth of comics, 1975-1985]. Seattle: Fantagraphics, 2006. 358pp, ISBN -13: 9781560976967, ISBN-10 1560976969 (paper).

Thomas, Rebecca L. and Catherine Barr. Popular Series Fiction for Middle School and Teen Readers. Westport, CT & London: Libraries Unlimited, 2005. 515pp. ISBN 1591582024 (hc).

Wertham, Fredric. Seduction of the Innocent. New York: Reinhart, 1954. 397pp[?].

Wright, Thomas. A History of Caricature and Grotesque in Literature and Art. ("The original text is reprinted from the London edition of 1865 from a copy in the collections of The New York Public Library Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations.") New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing, 1968. 508pp.


Thursday, April 20, 2006

Comic Art Collection of M. Thomas Inge on Display at Randolph-Macon College, VA

Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's...


To us mortal men and women, that's Professor M. Thomas Inge, Blackwell Professor of the Humanities at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia. An incredibly widely published authority on American literature (see, for example, his forthcoming book William Faulkner: Overlook Illustrated Lives), Tom also was - and continues to be - one of the pioneers in academic comics research in America. Given Tom's wide-ranging interests (and impeccable taste), this exhibit is sure to be a treat. From the official description:
Take a stroll through a diverse and detailed collection of 20th-century comic art, on display at Randolph-Macon College’s Flippo Gallery in Pace-Armistead Hall, located at 211 North Center St., from Sunday, April 23 and through Sunday, June 9. This special collection, belonging to R-MC humanities professor Thomas Inge, includes more than 50 works, many of which are original drawings. The exhibit also includes several signed, limited edition prints, as well as pieces by artists such as George Herriman (Krazy Kat), Mort Walker (Beetle Bailey) and Winsor McCay (Little Nemo in Slumberland), among many others, including the image above of Tom Inge as “Superman” by Richmond artist Chris Pitzer.
More information, including contact details, is available here.

Besides being an influential scholar and connoisseur of comic art, Tom is also a supportive mentor and a wonderful friend. I know for a fact that one "piece" he has in his collection is the complete art to Charles Vess' adaptation of "Snow White," because Kate and I were there last month to see Charles hand it to him. Sure wish we could be there for the opening reception on April 23rd...

Friday, April 07, 2006

Lynda Barry = Cruddy-est Funk Queen of the Universe, Ever

Whenever I have a pressing "To-Do List," I always seem to gravitate towards #2 on that list, not #1 - no matter how much I want to do #1.

#2 on my list right now - the thing the last few posts here have covered - is the revamping of But I do have another, more pressing issue. (OK, maybe I've got more than one "more pressing" issue at present, but I do what I can.)

But #1 - ahhhh, #1. For the Comic Art & Comics area of next week's annual meeting of the Popular Culture Association, I proposed an essay entitled "'Whenever Possible, Be the Unexpected': Approaches to Lynda Barry's Cruddy". If you haven't read Cruddy: An Illustrated Novel, but you love poetically written, well-characterized, unflichingly dark but absolutely hilarious fiction - and you have a strong stomach - Cruddy is your book, hands down.

Check out Cruddy's entry - you can read the first chapter or two there. Then read chapters four and five at the Simon & Schuster website. That'll give you a small taste of what's to come. (You don't even meet the cream of the character crop, the delightfully well-spoken "Suzy Homemaker," until about 2/3 of the way in.)

What's that? You don't know about the sublime cartooning genius of Lynda Barry? The creator of the #1 Poet, Fred Milton: Beat Poodle? Well, what are you waiting for?

OK, this post served its purpose; now I'm ready to get back to work on that essay!

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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Still More Construction

Besides successfully (and finally) migrating this blog to, we're also slightly revamping the way that website functions. No more frames - hurrah! It will take some time to make the necessary changes; but all the old info is still there, just not as pretty as we'd like. Please bear with us as we update pages as quickly as possible.

We also have added a Google search. But seeing as how's files are now housed on a different server than before, it will take a while before Google indexes the new site. But once that's done, searching will be easier and more accurate than before.

Pictured: The cover to David Macauley's award-winning Cathedral: The Story of its Construction- perhaps not technially a comic book, but still an amazing example of the clarity and potential possible when text and image are combined with skill and care.

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Moving Again - And for the Last Time, Promise!

Please update your bookmarks (for the last time, really!) to:

Explanation: With the penultimate phase of our site-wide revamp of, we've moved to a new server; we now have the capability to host our own blog. Farewell, and; you have served us well. All the previous "Comics Research & Such" and "Blog-Machine" posts still will be available at that new blog site. Thanks for visiting!


Monday, April 03, 2006

Even More Additions to the Bibliography

We've been making lots of changes here - besides changing our URL (sorry about that confusion, folks!). We've added a list of categories in the right-hand column as well as more comics-related blogs in out blogroll. And, of course, we've added detailed listings for yet more books, both older and newer. It's a healthy and interesting list, so on with the show!
We hope you're enjoying our newly ignited dedication to this blog and to As always, we welcome your questions, comments and suggestions.


2006 International Conference on Asian Comics, Animation, and Gaming

Just posted at the Comics Scholars Discussion List: an update concerning the 2006 International Conference on Asian Comics, Animation, and Gaming, to be held at Toronto's York University, May 18-19. From the conference website:
The goal of the ACAG 2006 conference is to provide an international forum for presenting recent research on the emerging cultural markets in China and the Asian countries and to investigate the transnational issues of Asian cultural products, focusing on comics, animation and digital games in relation with the global world. The purpose of the conference is to promote scholarship and intellectual engagement between academics and cultural production professionals on the conference themes and topics from various backgrounds.
The guest of honor is Professor John A. Lent, Mass Media and Communication Program, Temple University. John's the publisher of the essential International Journal of Comic Art and easily the USA's (if not the world's) most-travelled comics scholar. Besides Dr. Lent, there's also an impressively long list of other speakers. No schedule up yet, but I'm guessing it will be soon. Looks like a great event; I hope that a proceedings volume, at least, will grow out of the conference.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Cartoonists Cover the Classics

An advertisement in today's New York Times Book Review alerted me to this series of "Deluxe Edition" Penguin Classics, featuring covers by a stellar line-up of cartoonists:
I'd already heard about the Candide, but the others were news to me. These are books which should grace everyone's shelves anyway; and these covers add gorgeous, graphic icing on some top-choice literary cakes. Time to update those wish lists!

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