* Murderers’ Row, from left to right: Adrian Tomine, Chris Ware, Seth, Chester Brown, John Porcellino, Peter Birkemoe, Chris Butcher, Chris Oliveros, and Dan Nadel. That’s five of comics’ best cartoonists, two of its best retailers, two of its best publishers, and two of its best convention organizers (there’s some overlap). This photo comes courtesy of the equally magisterial Tom Devlin’s TCAF photo parade, which along with Robin McConnell’s is one of my favorites so far. Meanwhile, Secret Acres’ Barry & Leon and cartoonist Tom Neely contribute fine prose reports. I’ll tell you what: For me, this is the year that TCAF went from “that sounds really nice for people who live in Canada, but I’m all set with MoCCA and BCGF and SPX down here” to “road trip!”
* Every silver cloud has a dark lining, however, and in this case that’s the seizure by customs officials of the Ryan Standfest-edited black-humor anthology Black Eye and Blaise Larmee’s Xeric-winning graphic novel Young Lions, neither of which is smut.
* Hooray: Jordan Crane’s webcomics emporium What Things Do is revving up again, starting with Kevin Huizenga’s Kramers Ergot 7 contribution “Balloon”. I remember flipping through the printout of the book that Alvin Buenaventura brought to SPX that year and marveling at the colors in this one, mouth agape.
* This actually made me say “whoa”: Flashpoint #5, the final issue of DC’s big summer event comic this year, will be the only comic DC will release the week of August 31. That’s an unusual and gutsy strategy — it has an antecedent in that issue of Blackest Night that DC shipped early with instructions to retailers to sell it during Diamond’s skip week between Christmas and New Year’s in 2009, but this time it’s DC that’s making August 31 a skip week, not the distributor.
* Meanwhile, the cover for the fourth issue makes me think that perhaps making Wonder Woman and Aquaman the villains of an event comic is the best way to get these two iconic but historically underserved characters over with audiences right now.
* The Comics Grid’s Roberto Bartual uses Richard McGuire to make an important point, which is that aesthetic coldness does not equal emotional coldness.
* A list of everyone who’s been in Ryan Sands’s zines. As a fan of impressive lists, I am impressed by this list. Speaking of which, you can buy his and Michael DeForge’s smut anthology Thickness #1 now, and get psyched for the just-announced Brandon Graham/Lisa Hanawalt-led line-up for issue #2.
* Everything you need to know about Uno Moralez’s aesthetic project, you can learn from the massive jpeg and animated gif dump he just posted.
* New York sports cartoonist Bill Gallo has died. I do not watch sports, but any time I’d come across one of his comics in the Daily News I’d just sit and appreciate the fact that he filled such a niche with such evocative and comforting cartooning.
* Finally, you Game of Thrones folks, including the ones who’ve only just seen the show, oughta get a lot out of this gorgeous infographic guide to character relationships by HauteSlides. Click the link to see it at its full, elegant size.