Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 1/20/21: A perfect dinosaur butthole

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§ Nice art: Warren Craghead has just wrapped up TrumpTrump, a four year project of daily improvised – but still incredible –  drawings about the 45th President. While some might doubt his sanity after all this, he has many interesting notes on his process in the last few entries:

My biggest heist, one that is still ongoing, is from the work of Philip Guston. His late paintings and especially his “Poor Richard” project (where he drew the Nixon Administration – pre-Watergate! – is sickening glory) were images I took all I could from. The klan man is directly from his work, along with whips, bugs and other debris and junk. Even in these last days I’m using his spiders and webs, covering everything in chaos. 

I’ve orbited his work all my life – there’s a painting of his in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts I used to go see a few times a week when I was in school near there. His work is violence mixed with absolute, precise skill and a desire, maybe foolish, to use the deep language of drawing and painting to confront the monsters in our world.

I also took heavily from others: Pablo Picasso and his pulled-apart biomorphic figures, Goya’s nightmares (I did a Fourth of July drawing based on his Saturn painting), Ben Shahn’ open lines, George Grosz’s angry slashings, Kathe Kollwitz’s lamenting ones.

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§ While we’re talking politics, The Nib has a brief history of political cartoons’ use of tentacled menaces to represent looming threats, including this classic representing Standard Oil credited to Joseph Keppler Jr. Joseph Keppler Sr. was also an awesome cartoonist!

Savage Dragon #253 Decision 2020 Joe Biden Kamala Harris Variant Image VF/NM - Ultimate Comics

§ Despite all that, better times are ahead. Let us never speak of this octopus again. Welcome to a new day of cartoons!

§ Another comics website has gone to the great hiatus in cyberspace: comics review portal DoomRocket is turning into a podcast, writes site founder Jarrod Jones.

While my unbelievable team has now moved on to other things, there are still a few embers burning in the DoomRocket furnace. For starters, CASUAL WEDNESDAYS lives on. MJ & I will still be kicking out episodes of your favorite comics podcast 3 times a month—as opposed to our oft-foiled attempts to maintain a weekly schedule. That means: more news, more reviews, more Read-Thrus, more Top 5 Most Anticipated Issues, more solicits episodes, more from our kitten buds Cooper & Audrey, more of everything listeners have come to love from our podcast is forthcoming—and, I’m happy to report, all of it will still be published on DoomRocket.com. Yes, despite everything you just read, the site lives on. I am calling this an “extended hiatus” instead of “the end”; I can’t imagine I’ll be able to continue not interviewing my favorite creators on my own terms, or writing down my thoughts on a comic I just read whenever the mood should strike me, or working with a team of exciting voices who love this medium just as much as I do. 

§ However, do not be disheartened! Shelfdust is still chugging along, and they are creating an invaluable guide to the world as seen in relations to the Infinite Crisis mini series. You might find something by me in there, although apparently it was inappropriate to the theme.

§ Here is a lovely piece about artist Steve Lightle, who died of COVID complications recently. It’s written by journalist/comics scripter Ethan Sacks. It’s unusual, but necessary, to read about the life of a talented journeyman comics maker in this fashion.

Lightle, 61, died from cardiac arrest in a Kansas City, Missouri, hospital on Jan. 8, just three days after coming down with what he thought was a head cold and just hours after he was rushed to the hospital. “Covid stole my husband’s life and our future together,” said Marianne Lightle, his wife of 38 years, by email. “We wore masks, social distanced, washed our hands. … It appeared as a cold and became death. “I will never forget the helpless feeling of not being able to save him,” added Marianne Lightle, who now has Covid-19 herself.

§ Abraham Riesman’s new Stan Lee biography is hitting the review circuit:

As Lee became increasingly famous, however, his artistic collaborators chafed at his claiming all the credit for the Marvel Universe. In True Believer—a clever title taken from the jocular trademark phrase “Face front, True Believer!,” which Lee used to address Marvel readers—Abraham Riesman, a reporter at New York magazine, takes a close look at the mythology that surrounds Lee. It’s not clear whether Riesman is a Marvel fan, as he doesn’t delve into Lee’s body of work much beyond the obvious high-water marks. But Riesman has done a ton of research about Lee’s life, excavating his personal archive and interviewing numerous artists and writers he worked with as well as his business associates. His reporting starts with Lee’s childhood in New York, and stretches to his final years in Los Angeles. Throughout, Riesman provides an illuminating and reliable account of Lee’s improbable odyssey.

§ Over at PW, Rob Salkowitz sums up the parlous state of DC Comics:

That’s a lot of disruption at a company that, by the numbers, seems to be doing pretty well. DC’s top titles are selling well in comics shops. In the trade book market, collected editions of recent series like the Three Jokers, White Knight, and Dark Metal are doing well, such backlist perennials as Alan Moore’s Watchmen and Batman: The Killing Joke and Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series have lived on the bestseller lists for decades, and the company’s burgeoning line of young reader graphic novel series like Superhero Girls, Swamp Kid, and Gene Yang’s recent Superman vs. the Klan are garnering critical praise as well as new fans in the hot tween-and-teen book market.

Review: The Banks #1 (TKO Studios) - Pipedream Comics

§ Also at PW, a look at what TKO Studios is up to, namely the book trade and media adaptations. The company started out with innovative Diamond-avoiding distribution but now it’s going with PGW to the book trade.

TKO initially made its titles for sale primarily via its own website. It offered every format in a bingeable form—all series are available immediately in completed stories in print as either oversized trade paperbacks or traditional comic books in six-issue series, and as digital comics. Readers can buy the format they prefer or collect the series in every format available. The company is now moving to expand into the book trade. TKO has about 15 staffers mostly based in Los Angeles. (TKO editor-in-chief Sebastian Girner works out of New York City). The house recently hired Marc Visnick as its director of sales, and last summer signed up with PGW for distribution to the book trade. In addition, the house is adding works of illustrated prose short story collections to its publishing program. Moving into movie and TV production, TKO announced a partnership with the production house of Macro with plans to develop and produce a film adaptation of The Banks, a TKO graphic novel published in 2019 and written by Roxane Gay, the acclaimed nonfiction author and comics writer, with art by Ming Doyle.

§ Speaking of Diamond, ICv2 notes that there has been a bit of a restructuring at Geppi Family Enterprises, the parent company of Diamond and Alliance. Namely, the C-suite has been tweaked, and some of the weird titles that were announced back during an efficiency expert-led purge have been returned to ones that look more normal on a business card:

Three other GFE titles changed:
Chris Powell, formerly Chief Relationship Officer, is now Chief Sales & Service Officer
Tim Lenaghan, formerly Chief Procurement Officer, is now Chief Purchasing Officer
Dan Hirsch, formerly Chief Revenue Officer, is now Chief Business Development Officer.

ICv2 also notes that Chuck Parker, long a Diamond impact player, is back in a leadership role.

§ Still a few 2020 best ofs drifting in including Mike McCann’s list at Panel Patter.

§ But At Comics Bookshelf, Zack Quaintance is just crazy enough to take a stab at the Best Comics of 2021!

There’s a tough thing that happens when you start putting together a best of the year list for periodical comics, in that some series have showed great (great!) promise, but just haven’t been around long enough to compete with stories that are a dozen chapters-plus into their runs. That’s why today I’m doing a way-too-early Best New Comics of 2021 list. One important caveat to note here is that I didn’t include any as-of-yet-unlaunched series; only books that have debuted and are in position to remain strong in the coming year. Basically, these are all series I am excited to see much more of 2021. Enjoy!

§ Area man makes comics! In this case, Napa artist Darrick Robertsonbest known for The Boys.

Robertson should know. This Napan is a comic book creator, illustrator and writer. He’s drawn Spider-Man comic books, Wolverine, Justice League, Transmetropolitan and other favorites. He’s worked for Marvel, DC Comics, Valiant Comics, Dark Horse Comics and other publishers. More recently, characters he co-created have been adapted into an Amazon series called “The Boys.” The whole experience, and his career as a working artist, is “pretty incredible,” the Napan said. Watching a comic book and characters that he co-created come to life and become a hit, is “a dream come true in many ways,” he said. “To see it all fully realized, and even more so, so well received by the public … that’s been very validating (and) unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.”

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This cover is by Boo Clark though, not Robertson

§ Area man Robertson is staying busy, contributing to the new Space Bastards kickstarter:

The future of the postal service is… out there. That’s the premise of Space Bastards, the comic book series about an Intergalactic Postal Service staffed by, shall we say, somewhat undesirable elements, launching a new crowdfunding campaign today. Set in a future where the Intergalactic Postal Service is the last word in deliveries — because the lack of regulation promotes postal carriers to intercept and steal each others’ packages, even if it means killing someone in the process, with only the carrier making the final delivery to the recipient getting paid. The mail has become a cutthroat business, and only the most ruthless… or the most desperate… are ready to take the job.

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§ An unused cover for The Blue Lotus by Tintin creator Hergé sold for a record $3.9 million at auction.  It appears to have been crumpled up in a drawer for a long time, but who cares, it’s Hergé!

 The 1936 illustration, intended for the cover of Hergé’s fifth Tintin book, “The Blue Lotus,” shows the young hero hiding with his dog, Snowy, in a porcelain jar. It was painted with gouache, ink and watercolor. It was eventually rejected as a cover because it would have been to expensive to reproduce, the auction house said in a press release ahead of the sale. The Blue Lotus was expected to sell for between $2.7 million and $3.4 million, but ultimately went for $3.9 million including fees — a world auction record both for a work by Hergé and for an original comic strip work.

§ Scientists have discovered a nearly perfectly preserved dinosaur butthole. That’s it. That’s the tweet.

The first dinosaur butthole ever discovered is shedding light where the sun don’t shine. The discovery reveals how dinosaurs used this multipurpose opening — scientifically known as a cloacal vent — for pooping, peeing, breeding and egg laying.  The dinosaur’s derrière is so well preserved, researchers could see the remnants of two small bulges by its “back door,” which might have housed musky scent glands that the reptile possibly used during courtship — an anatomical quirk also seen in living crocodilians, said scientists who studied the specimen.

Although scientists have just discovered this dinosaur ass, it should be noted that many cartoonists and artists have been doing valuable research on this topic for decades.

The Dinosaur That Pooped The Bed: Tom Fletcher Dougie Poynter: 9781782951797: Amazon.com: Books

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