* Tom Spurgeon talks TCAF. That sounds like an incredible show; the guest list alone is astonishing, I saw publisher and exhibitor after publisher and exhibitor tweeting that they’d sold out of this or that book by the end of the first day, and the free festivals always feel much less like summer camp for comics lifers and more like, well, a festival.
* Benjamin Marra is launching a new webcomic called Zorion the Swordlord, to be written and drawn on an ad-hoc basis during downtime on his commute, as part of a sprawling mythology he’s touched on here and there already called Space Barbarians of the Ultimate Future Dimensions:
The Space Gods then created the SPACE BARBARIANS OF THE ULTIMATE FUTURE DIMENSIONS, warriors in different dimensions of the universe with individual destinies and adventures, existing and operating with no knowledge of each other, in separate realities taking place near the demise of the universe. Each of the SPACE BARBARIANS, through their legion of adventures, is a piece to a puzzle which will stop the PHASER-AXE from completing it’s mission: to reach the HEARTSTAR and shatter all dimensions by cleaving the central sun in two.
I love Benjamin Marra.
* Wow: Various Closed Caption Comics members, with people like CF and Matthew Thurber riding shotgun, enter the “erotic artcomix” sweepstakes with Sock #1.
* Speaking of CCC, Zach Hazard Vaupen’s webcomic Rusted Skin Collection is an endearing combination of funny dick jokes and very weird drawing.
* A trio of noteworthy features from The Comics Journal: Sean Rogers interviews Chester Brown about Paying for It, kicking off a week of PfI programming;
* and Rob Clough lists his Top 25 minicomics of 2011 (and then some). Also noteworthy is this comment in which Rob makes a point I’d never even thought of before, which is that with various comics schools mandating the creation of minicomics as part of the curriculum, the format isn’t going anywhere, the relative ease of Kickstarter-funded book-format projects (not to mention simply publishing to the web) notwithstanding.
* Nick Gazin’s latest comics review round-up for Vice (which happily used the “comics” tag and thus showed up in my jerry-rigged comics-only Vice RSS feed) is also a stealth interview column, featuring brief chats with Gilbert Hernandez (it’s called “The Fritz Film Series,” sez Beto), Johnny Ryan, Michael DeForge, and Benjamin Marra.
* It’s kind of funny to me to report on in-story developments in a Frank comic, superhero-style, but I was pretty excited to hear Jim Woodring say that Frank will be leaving the Unifactor in his next book, The Congress of the Animals.
* Zom of the Mindless Ones continues his series on the Joker with a piece on Grant Morrison’s “super-sane” take on the Clown Prince of Crime.
* Kudos to Kiel Phegley for getting the ever-fascinating Marvel editor Tom Brevoort to confirm a connection between Marvel Studios’ ownership of movie rights to certain Marvel characters and those characters’ attendant higher profiles in Marvel comics. Brevoort characterizes it as an issue of easier coordination with their in-house studio rather than “let’s favor the Avengers over Spidey or the X-Men because we’re not Sony or Fox,” however, but it’s still the most direct explanation yet of a relationship between the two phenomena that I’d long suspected.
* Ben Morse writes about Thor in the context of that weird superhero-comics phenomenon wherein if your first impression of a character comes during an off-model period for that character it skews your understanding of how that character works pretty much for the rest of your life. I was thinking about that the other day in Target when I walked through the action-figure aisle and saw that a series of “classic fight”-type Marvel two-packs come packaged with the comic in which the fight in question took place; what’s a kid who gets the Dark Spider-Man/Dark Wolverine two-pack from his grandma going to think of it all?
* This admittedly awesome page from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns sold for $450,000, making me wish Batman were real and there were a villain that represented income inequality in America whom he could punch repeatedly in the face.
* Emily Carroll profiled; Emily Carroll’s website revamped — now you can find all of her webcomics (including at least one I’d never heard of before) in one place, not to mention quite a bit of her illustration work.
* Travis Greenwood of the fine t-shirt company Found Item Clothing interviews the guy who played the little kid in the “BULL SHIT” t-shirt in The Jerk — the greatest movie t-shirt ever.