Blog Tools
Edit your Blog
Build a Blog
View Profile
30 Jan, 12 > 5 Feb, 12
17 Oct, 11 > 23 Oct, 11
3 Jan, 11 > 9 Jan, 11
29 Nov, 10 > 5 Dec, 10
20 Sep, 10 > 26 Sep, 10
19 Jul, 10 > 25 Jul, 10
28 Dec, 09 > 3 Jan, 10
14 Dec, 09 > 20 Dec, 09
28 Sep, 09 > 4 Oct, 09
24 Aug, 09 > 30 Aug, 09
3 Aug, 09 > 9 Aug, 09
15 Jun, 09 > 21 Jun, 09
8 Jun, 09 > 14 Jun, 09
23 Mar, 09 > 29 Mar, 09
23 Feb, 09 > 1 Mar, 09
12 Jan, 09 > 18 Jan, 09
15 Dec, 08 > 21 Dec, 08
24 Nov, 08 > 30 Nov, 08
27 Oct, 08 > 2 Nov, 08
13 Oct, 08 > 19 Oct, 08
15 Sep, 08 > 21 Sep, 08
8 Sep, 08 > 14 Sep, 08
1 Sep, 08 > 7 Sep, 08
19 May, 08 > 25 May, 08
12 May, 08 > 18 May, 08
14 Apr, 08 > 20 Apr, 08
24 Mar, 08 > 30 Mar, 08
17 Mar, 08 > 23 Mar, 08
25 Feb, 08 > 2 Mar, 08
28 Jan, 08 > 3 Feb, 08
21 Jan, 08 > 27 Jan, 08
31 Dec, 07 > 6 Jan, 08
12 Nov, 07 > 18 Nov, 07
15 Oct, 07 > 21 Oct, 07
8 Oct, 07 > 14 Oct, 07
1 Oct, 07 > 7 Oct, 07
10 Sep, 07 > 16 Sep, 07
2 Jul, 07 > 8 Jul, 07
25 Jun, 07 > 1 Jul, 07
21 May, 07 > 27 May, 07
5 Mar, 07 > 11 Mar, 07
5 Feb, 07 > 11 Feb, 07
8 Jan, 07 > 14 Jan, 07
18 Dec, 06 > 24 Dec, 06
4 Dec, 06 > 10 Dec, 06
20 Nov, 06 > 26 Nov, 06
13 Nov, 06 > 19 Nov, 06
16 Oct, 06 > 22 Oct, 06
9 Oct, 06 > 15 Oct, 06
18 Sep, 06 > 24 Sep, 06
28 Aug, 06 > 3 Sep, 06
31 Jul, 06 > 6 Aug, 06
24 Jul, 06 > 30 Jul, 06
10 Jul, 06 > 16 Jul, 06
26 Jun, 06 > 2 Jul, 06
29 May, 06 > 4 Jun, 06
15 May, 06 > 21 May, 06
1 May, 06 > 7 May, 06
24 Apr, 06 > 30 Apr, 06
17 Apr, 06 > 23 Apr, 06
20 Mar, 06 > 26 Mar, 06
20 Feb, 06 > 26 Feb, 06
13 Feb, 06 > 19 Feb, 06
30 Jan, 06 > 5 Feb, 06
16 Jan, 06 > 22 Jan, 06
2 Jan, 06 > 8 Jan, 06
26 Dec, 05 > 1 Jan, 06
19 Dec, 05 > 25 Dec, 05
5 Dec, 05 > 11 Dec, 05
21 Nov, 05 > 27 Nov, 05
14 Nov, 05 > 20 Nov, 05
7 Nov, 05 > 13 Nov, 05
24 Oct, 05 > 30 Oct, 05
17 Oct, 05 > 23 Oct, 05
10 Oct, 05 > 16 Oct, 05
19 Sep, 05 > 25 Sep, 05
29 Aug, 05 > 4 Sep, 05
22 Aug, 05 > 28 Aug, 05
8 Aug, 05 > 14 Aug, 05
25 Jul, 05 > 31 Jul, 05
18 Jul, 05 > 24 Jul, 05
27 Jun, 05 > 3 Jul, 05
13 Jun, 05 > 19 Jun, 05
6 Jun, 05 > 12 Jun, 05
30 May, 05 > 5 Jun, 05
23 May, 05 > 29 May, 05
16 May, 05 > 22 May, 05
2 May, 05 > 8 May, 05
25 Apr, 05 > 1 May, 05
11 Apr, 05 > 17 Apr, 05
4 Apr, 05 > 10 Apr, 05
21 Feb, 05 > 27 Feb, 05
3 Jan, 05 > 9 Jan, 05
27 Dec, 04 > 2 Jan, 05
29 Nov, 04 > 5 Dec, 04
15 Nov, 04 > 21 Nov, 04
25 Oct, 04 > 31 Oct, 04
27 Sep, 04 > 3 Oct, 04
6 Sep, 04 > 12 Sep, 04
16 Aug, 04 > 22 Aug, 04
9 Aug, 04 > 15 Aug, 04
2 Aug, 04 > 8 Aug, 04
26 Jul, 04 > 1 Aug, 04
19 Jul, 04 > 25 Jul, 04
12 Jul, 04 > 18 Jul, 04
5 Jul, 04 > 11 Jul, 04
28 Jun, 04 > 4 Jul, 04
14 Jun, 04 > 20 Jun, 04
7 Jun, 04 > 13 Jun, 04
31 May, 04 > 6 Jun, 04
24 May, 04 > 30 May, 04
17 May, 04 > 23 May, 04
10 May, 04 > 16 May, 04
3 May, 04 > 9 May, 04
26 Apr, 04 > 2 May, 04
19 Apr, 04 > 25 Apr, 04
12 Apr, 04 > 18 Apr, 04
5 Apr, 04 > 11 Apr, 04
29 Mar, 04 > 4 Apr, 04
15 Mar, 04 > 21 Mar, 04
8 Mar, 04 > 14 Mar, 04
1 Mar, 04 > 7 Mar, 04
16 Feb, 04 > 22 Feb, 04
9 Feb, 04 > 15 Feb, 04
2 Feb, 04 > 8 Feb, 04
26 Jan, 04 > 1 Feb, 04
19 Jan, 04 > 25 Jan, 04
12 Jan, 04 > 18 Jan, 04
5 Jan, 04 > 11 Jan, 04
29 Dec, 03 > 4 Jan, 04
22 Dec, 03 > 28 Dec, 03
15 Dec, 03 > 21 Dec, 03
8 Dec, 03 > 14 Dec, 03
1 Dec, 03 > 7 Dec, 03
24 Nov, 03 > 30 Nov, 03
17 Nov, 03 > 23 Nov, 03
10 Nov, 03 > 16 Nov, 03
3 Nov, 03 > 9 Nov, 03
27 Oct, 03 > 2 Nov, 03
20 Oct, 03 > 26 Oct, 03
13 Oct, 03 > 19 Oct, 03
6 Oct, 03 > 12 Oct, 03
29 Sep, 03 > 5 Oct, 03
22 Sep, 03 > 28 Sep, 03
15 Sep, 03 > 21 Sep, 03
8 Sep, 03 > 14 Sep, 03
25 Aug, 03 > 31 Aug, 03
18 Aug, 03 > 24 Aug, 03
11 Aug, 03 > 17 Aug, 03
4 Aug, 03 > 10 Aug, 03
28 Jul, 03 > 3 Aug, 03
21 Jul, 03 > 27 Jul, 03
14 Jul, 03 > 20 Jul, 03
7 Jul, 03 > 13 Jul, 03
23 Jun, 03 > 29 Jun, 03
16 Jun, 03 > 22 Jun, 03
9 Jun, 03 > 15 Jun, 03
You are not logged in. Log in
Entries by Topic
All topics  «
Return of the Knave
Drink It Black
Saturday, 26 December 2009
Overflow
Now Playing: Michael Buble

If you want more good comics blogs than you can reasonably want to spend your time reading, then it's pretty much a matter of landing on one you already know to have good coverage, and click on their Blog Roll.

Given that that's the case, I don't plan to repeat any of the "main" comic book blogs here, rather to find some other sites that post interesting and informative entries on all things graphic.

Heritage Blog the official blog of Heritage Auction Galleries in Texas. A roundabout way of introducing Bernie Wrightson but worth it in the end.

covered a blog where fan artists emulate official comic book covers. Pictured is a cover from an issue of Secret Wars II by Al Milgrom and Steve Leialoha.

Kleefeld on Comics daily thoughts and ramblings about comics and the comic book industry. A post explaining what happened to Vince Fargo, the editor who took over at Timely when Stan Lee went into the Army.

Thomas Mauer, Letterer

Possum Press colourist blog :-)

Comics Comics looks at publishing Pacific Comics

children

Star-Studded War Comics

Matching Dragoons: Jonah Hex blog western comics

funny animal

Daily Comic Book Covers section on mature comics 

The Porn Comics adult comics blog

lines and colors: a blog about drawing, painting, illustration, comics, concept art and other visual arts underground comics, S Clay Wilson

The Phantom Stranger character blog, documents appearances and so forth

Scott Saavedra's Comic Book Heaven celebrating purple prose, red-blooded heroes and yellowing newsprint!

Vintage Fanzines Now Online

Fan Fiction - Blog Toplist a blog about fanfic

Ottertorials Rejected! A long, long time ago action figures blog

 Mania: Beyond Entertainment a blog that looks at comics in other media

The Horrors Of It All a horror comics blog

io9. We come from the future science fiction comics and much more

For Those Playing Along At Home feminist 'anti-comics' blog

tokyopop Masters of Bulgarian comix (of course :-))


Posted by berko_wills at 1:41 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 13 February 2010 8:52 PM EADT
Post Comment | Permalink
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
My Cup Runneth Over
Now Playing: Can kickers

The blogosphere is a great place to congregate as there is a permutation for nearly every aspect of our hobby or obsession. So many weblogs are devoted to the subject of comic books that there is now a site that tells you which have the most hits.

The social networking sites only extend the mass iteration of fan enthusing and professional point scoring. Read a writer's pithy take on Twitter, watch this MySpace, come face to Facebook, be Bebo, live a Second Life. And LiveJournal is not the same as a blog, just similar.

 While there was an undoubtable thrill to be had for letter hacks to see print in their favourite comic book, how does that compare with reading a creator's blog, or exchanging ideas with of your favourite artists? Well there's no doubt that some of the old timers are laughing up their sleeves knowing that their names are enshrined in the pages of a boxed and bagged collector's item. Keeping an online journal is decidedly ephemeral, even with the Internet Wayback Machine doing its thing.


Posted by berko_wills at 10:05 PM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 17 December 2009 2:05 PM EADT
Post Comment | Permalink
Thursday, 24 September 2009
Slides Down

Only the King gets his own magazine.

A search for magazines often yields webzines, and the Web presence of a hard copy publication. 

Another point of confusion is the way that the comics that feature an artist's work are included in the search, frustrating our desire for insight into their working methodology and/or insider gossip.

Wizard tends to focus on the latest big events and the showiest aspects of the medium, while the Comics Journal is at the scholarly and interrogative end. Other trade publications are geared toward a sector of the market i.e. the Comic Book Buyer's Guide.

Amazing Heroes shared Wizard's enthusiasm for superhero hijinks and had a number of cool articles on powers and suchlike. Comics Scene was as (or more) commercial and had a wider purview into funny animal and situation comedy. 

If you're interested in the history, as well as the hot items, then it might be worth hunting down such periodicals as David Anthony Kraft's Comics Interview or any of the other print magazines that have made an impression on the enthusiast market.

The task of finding an artist in one of the specialty magazines is no easier than locating them in a book on comics. Nowadays, as comics take their part in multimedia, you can as easily find

How then would one find Steve Leialoha in a magazine on comics? This depends a great deal on your plan of attack. Given that he has done some interesting work, concentrating on the kind of publication that might have as its readership, Star*Reach fans of old or Fables fans of new.

As with books, periodicals have index and contents that allow the customer the quick flip to see whether their artist is profiled. Along with Leialoha's name (even allow for misspellings!), it is better to focus on the more idiosyncratic collaborations; not because there will be more articles on them - though there could be - but because they are more likely to yield mention of Leialoha than his work on mainstream books, where work can be eclipsed by the artist before or after, or be downplayed for the writer and editor's take on the direction the series is taking.

Depending on how 'hot' and stylised an artist's work on a series, there can be quite some interest in the art. Ideally, you get a feature that has samples of the artist's work, along with an insight into their techniques, their tribulations, the approach they took.

You can often find sales of back issues in the latest issue of a magazine, so that is helpful for tracking down features and interviews you are interested in.


Posted by berko_wills at 8:24 PM NZT
Updated: Friday, 16 October 2009 11:09 PM NZT
Post Comment | Permalink
Monday, 17 August 2009
House Read
Now Playing: Silent Type

Much as it may seem that way, the Web is not the be all and end all of source material. It can be wayward and quite unreliable, with old favoured links suddenly pointing nowhere; the site having moved or been removed. Look back over Drink It Black and, regrettably, some of the great hyperlinks will now take you on a wild goose chase.

If you want to know more about Bob Wiacek, you may have to go back over your collection, or pick up one of the many books devoted to all things comic book.

Books also have the advantage of not directing you to a sales pitch or an order form, when you look up a subject.

The problems and advantages are different. Where a useful link could disappear, a book can rapidly become outdated, especially when profiling a creative talent whose still working, or a character still in syndication. 

So, say you want some information on Wiacek and you don't trust the 21 thousand odd search returns on the Web to yield this quickly and accurately. You could look up 'Wiacek, Bob' in the index and/or 'Marvel inkers of the eighties' in the contents but in which book? The World Encyclopedia of Comics by Maurice Horn is a vast and authorative text but it may not go into the detail you require.

Wiacek is both penciler and inker and his work appears in a number of mainstream releases, but he doesn't have the superstar status of artists like the Romitas and the Buscemas and he's no auteur like Jim Steranko or Jim Starlin so is unlikely to have his own biography.

This is where a little knowledge helps. You could find references to his colleagues or books he has worked on, but there's no guarantee that there will be comprehensive writings on them either. Or that it will come in book form. 


Posted by berko_wills at 11:49 PM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 6 September 2009 5:04 AM NZT
Post Comment | Permalink
Sunday, 2 August 2009
Quite a site
Now Playing: Elvis Costello

As much as it has been illuminating looking at the necessary and sufficient condition of being a fan, or somehow ending up with a comic book in your hands, fandom is an amorphous beast familiar to us all.

So what has changed for comics since the World Wide Web came into being? Here I'm not concerned with the amount of time spent online, which leaves less time and inclination for reading, or the advent of webcomics, which I think are a different form. Although comics creators and their eager readers got along quite fine before there was a search engine to look up a series or a blog of reviews to tell you whether it's worth picking up, the Web has as impressive an array of resources for the comics afficiando as for any other special interest group.

If you're pitching a story you can use an impressive grasp on history whether you're an artist or writer. What once necessitated a trip to the library or book store can now be had at the click of a mouse. You can see how the editorial process works across media. You can take lessons from oil and watercolour painters, charcoal artists, pencil sketches, chalk art. Actors approaching their role can inform the way you approach a character, directors and producers can provide insight as to how a narrative is constructed, or more effectively presented. 

For that matter, any  topic can be looked up on the Internet. Comics writers look to other writers, though the parallel to their enterprise is not in the novel and short story but in plays played right and the modern work of screenwriters.

 

II

 

It stands to reason if there's that much interest in arcania, then we're potentially connected to someone somewhere out there on the Web who has the very update on Roger Stern we've been waiting on.

So fans and obsessives need not feel left out.

There are places to go to sample pages of a key artist's work. With a friendly cyberspace tour guide.

Hang out with fellow inkers in newsgroups. Learn lettering from a message board. Pass by a colourist's blog.

When you find a website devoted to your favourite character, it's time to settle down.


Posted by berko_wills at 4:48 AM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 9 August 2009 4:37 AM NZT
Post Comment | Permalink
Saturday, 13 June 2009
Temper rants
Now Playing: BetonJan

Fans may be harder to corral than any of the other interested parties in this dark horse medium. Those who warmed to Marvel Girl may not have wished for Phoenix or accepted Dark Phoenix. Goodness knows what they'll do with Jean Grey.

Some fans will drop books if the writer or artist changes, others will hang on for grim death. 

Fans don't even always buy their own comics. They may buy some and borrow others, and their policy may have a dividing line: borrow brooding psychotics but buy superhero swimsuit issue.

 Some fans are mad consumers and enjoy the experience of collecting, of posing action figures, of meeting at fan clubs and conventions. Other fans create fanfic, edit fanzines, write blogs, write columns on websites, even occasionally go into production themselves.

 


Posted by berko_wills at 4:48 AM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 7 July 2009 5:19 PM NZT
Post Comment | Permalink
Saturday, 6 June 2009
Quaff medicine
Mood:  party time!
Now Playing: Jane said

Hack into the industry itself and a carelessness so often abounds. Publishers copy a format without being able to discern the essential element that makes it a success and end up, in extreme cases, poisoning the ouevre they invade. Writers do inferior retellings of past glories for characters who have no more stories left in them, or no longer fit the temper of the times. Pencillers xerox Kirby before going on to exaggerate the muscles and weapons even further, creating a parodic slush of heroics. Colourists look all washed out and inkers draw too much shadow. Editors bastardise the lot and are out by happy hour.

It is is a medium that is no less prey to indifference than any other. Comics may have come into their own as mainstream entertainment (if in transmuted form), but that means they are up there with ghastly blockbusters and bestsellers; along with artistic works that satisfy on many levels.


Posted by berko_wills at 12:38 AM NZT
Updated: Saturday, 13 June 2009 4:45 AM NZT
Post Comment | Permalink
Monday, 23 March 2009
Cork age

You may think that a comic collector is as likely to pull that rare edition out of its Mylar snug to read, as a coin collector is to use change from their collection to buy a pint of milk, or a stamp collector is to whack that Penny Black on a letter to family. There is that attitude, but comic collectors aren't exclusively speculative or precious in the way they behave.

Gradually accruing more kitcsh surrounding a beloved character while reading less of their adventures doesn't happen often. If you really love a character, you'll queue for the movie and wear the t-shirt.

There is that version of the collector who ends up having to trawl for cardboard cutouts of the character they've chosen to collect that would otherwise not be likely to find a place in the rumpus room.

Readers are neither as fixated or loyal as collectors. They'll snap up the stories they want to read (and re-read) and they'll smartly drop a book at the first sign of trouble.

Buyers need not show that much interest. As long as they don't confuse  Cherry with Cherry Poptart  there should be no harm done.*

The intended reader knows it's fantasy. Cyclops may have cool powers but he was born that way through a genetic deviation. And 'wearing rose coloured glasses' was only ever intended as a metaphor - you wouldn't really like having a permanent red mist before your eyes. I also think that having powers like that almost requires that you have someone like Brotherhood of Evil Mutants on the opposing side - destructive eyebeams may not give Aung San Suu Kyi her rightful leadership of Burma any more than existing weaponry.

[*whoops!]

The seller can be counting his stock and almost divorced from the excitement of waiting for the next issue (other than the fact that this is when he will make his money), provided he knows the difference between Felix the Cat and Fritz the Cat. Whatever incidental example a character like the Beast proves to be, with his combination of rough exterior and loquatiousness, the business of telling a good story is the main thing required.

That is adopting the principle that a readership will gravitate toward quality storytelling, which is not the sole reason for the reader, less so the buyer.


Posted by berko_wills at 2:55 PM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 12 May 2009 11:23 PM NZT
Post Comment | Permalink
Sunday, 22 February 2009
Bottled up
Now Playing: The Coral

You can find collectors among the other print media but there needs to be some cult of personality at work to increase the interest in any one publication.

Age is a factor as antiquarian bookshops attest. They often sell antique magazines, pamphlets and posters along with the books. And I have seen newspapers but you'd have to have a good basement and a patient partner to keep them long enough to become collectable.

Newspapers are more of interest to historians, researchers, and Barbier enthusiasts (in those art/icles on the founder of art deco) than to collectors.

Of course one could collect a writer or illustrator, a photographer, who worked in newspapers but it would be easier to collect magazines and journals with their featured writers than searching through old newsprint for a byline.

Special interest magazines lend themselves to certain art styles. There's artists like Norman Rockwell whose work is tied to an editorial imperative for catchy covers with heartwarming themes but many other artists found steady commercial work in monthly publications. While one could collect gazettes by their contributors, the more common collection is a complete run of one publication.

Some forms of narrative are, by their nature, ephemeral; you really had to be there. It is entertainment that can only be echoed in ticket stubs and souvenirs.

As time goes on there are many more ways of 'preserving the moment for posterity' though, unfortunately, there are films and television programs for which there are no surviving copies and recordings that are exceedingly rare. This, naturally, only makes them more attractive to the collector.

Posted by berko_wills at 4:42 PM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 8 March 2009 10:42 PM NZT
Post Comment | Permalink
Saturday, 10 January 2009
Collection at a bottleneck

A collection is really all the crap you got and stuffed into a box and felt good that you had it. It isn't necessarily something you think about much or pull out very often. But it has a value, an ever accruing sentimental value.

What that does to the care with which you backboarded or plastic sheaved is for you to determine.  But it it is good that there are nerds or geeks or whatever else they call the (inadvertent?) collector preserving these things for posterity.

One day a museum is going to pore over our quaint customs and researchers are going to seriously question our ways. We do it to previous generations so why should things be any different then. But that's no reason to trash our art or burst our bubble.

II

Comics are another artform, publication, pop culture item, work, product, item, reading matter, sequential narrative, that people like to collect. They've become moreso with a change in generational attitude (just chill, man) and the sophistication of the graphic art medium. 

This applies to superhero sagas as much as prison camp dramas or densely realist vignettes. Fans have a say in whom they make their idols in the production department. That's if they aren't too busy drooling over the characters to pay the technicians sufficient mind.

Older stories are of interest for their very antiquity. Perhaps a pre-code appearance of a cherished character or the first use of the villain growing to an enormous size.

 Fans who have been accumulating comic books will know the books to collect from a certain writer or artist. (I guess it would be possible to collect inkers, though probably not anyone else whose name appears in the credit of the comic itself, unless they also happen to be writers or artists as well).

Great storylines ensure that collectors take an interest in a certain company. It's more the publications they produce and the characters they feature, certainly, but a brand loyalty is engendered just as surely. It's Harvey league stuff sometimes but the collector market doesn't discriminate as online auctions have proven only too well. 

 III

 What's the difference between a collectible and a collector's item? The first is more ostentatious in presenting itself as something you might want to keep - preferably in the box. 

A collector's item often only becomes so over time, not just because of its increasing age, but because it is all the better for not being self-conscious. Those holograph covers and crossovers and extravaganzas and anniversary issues are all well and good, but there is an oversubscription from amateur collectors who don't realise these things can't be wholly engineered.

You can buy a series that begins again from number one if you want but I find the corners of comic collecting are where to find the still interesting stuff.

 


Posted by berko_wills at 1:28 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 1 February 2009 2:38 AM EADT
Post Comment | Permalink

Newer | Latest | Older