* I should have noted this last week, but I lost the link in my RSS reader: Captain America co-creator Joe Simon has died. In addition to his achievements as a writer, artist, and editor, and his role as one of Jack Kirby’s first and finest collaborators, as a font of first-hand information about the dawn of comic books — I interviewed him myself a couple of years ago; the sensation was like getting to ask Peter about the Last Supper — he was invaluable to journalists and historians. He also tenaciously fought Marvel Comics for his best-known creation very late in his life, and appears to have won, as he would define it. An inspiring figure.
* The Inkstuds Best of 2011 Critics Roundtable, featuring Tim Hodler, Joe McCulloch, Matt Seneca, and host Robin McConnell, could easily make a Best Comics Criticism of 2011 roundtable somewhere else. Radio really suits all four figures, and the discussion is lively, with each critic clearly springboarding off the others’ ideas.
* Tom Spurgeon’s Holiday Interview series has begun! This is seriously one of my favorite things about the holidays now — curling up on the couch with my in-laws’ dogs and reading one of the best in the business interview some of the best in the business. First up this year is Art Spiegelman and Tom Neely, Emily Nilsson, and Virginia Paine of Sparkplug Comic Books.
* Guy Delisle on Kim Jong-il. I need to re-read Pyongyang.
* Frank Miller on late capitalism (unintentionally). (PS: Jesus were he and Lynn Varley ahead of their time, artistically.)
* Matt Furie and Lisa Hanawalt are doing children’s books for McSweeney’s. My daughter seems to love froggies, so I’m thinking I’ll check these out.
* It’s the Cindy & Biscuit Christmas Special! Dan White is crazy talented.
* “Marvel already seems to have origin series galore; they just don’t seem very interested in keeping them in print.” So true. Every Christmas I think about trying to snap up the great Silver Age runs in some easy way — through the giant omnibuses; through the trade paperback versions of the Marvel Masterworks collections — and every year I discover this is next to impossible because nothing’s ever kept in print. You can’t go on Amazon and buy the entire Lee/Kirby Fantastic Four or Lee/Ditko Amazing Spider-Man in a handful of clicks, and that’s a crime. You in fact can’t do it at all, which is worse than a crime, as they say.
* Tom Brevoort’s Formspring has yielded the clearest encapsulation of fannish desire for fiction to work like a rulebook that I’ve ever had the misfortune of reading. I dunno how he puts up with these folks.
* And on the flipside of the loveliness coin — although they do have the crazy eyes in common — this is some strikingly gross art from Lala Albert.
* Finally, Uno Moralez’s comic from Chameleon #2 is now up on his LiveJournal. It’s as luminous and odd as everything he does.