* Behold: the greatest photo in the history of comics. Top row, from left: Gary Panter, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Phoebe Gloeckner, Ivan Brunetti, Seth, Danniel Clowes, Alison Bechdel, Gary Lieb, Justin Green, Chris Ware, Robert Crumb, Ben Katchor. Bottom row, from left: Joe Sacco, Françoise Mouly, Art Spiegelman, Hillary Chute, Lynda Barry, Carol Tyler, Charles Burns. Photographer: Jason Smith.
* Pope Hats #3 by Ethan Rilly, coming soon from AdHouse! That book will burn up the alt-comics festival circuit this fall, that’s for sure. The first two were lovely, and good reads.
* I’m not sure why this hasn’t been a bigger deal — I was pretty sure this was one of Hollywood’s great mysteries for decades now — but Tippi Hedren says Alfred Hitchcock tried to blackmail her into sex and smothered her career when she refused him
* Matt Madden, Jessica Able, and Françoise Mouly have released the table of contents for this year’s Best American Comics. Some strong work in there, including excerpts Joyce Farmer’s Special Exits, Anders Nilsen’s Big Questions, Sammy Harkham’s Crickets, and Jaime Hernandez’s “The Love Bunglers.” That last inclusion gives me another opportunity for an smh moment regarding the lack of major comics awards consideration given that work, a failure of judgment that borders on scandal. Oh well, looking forward to the Ignatz sweep.
* Here’s a short but impressive list of like-minded alt/art/underground comics anthologies currently operating, as recommended by Leah Wishnia, editor of the likeminded Happiness Comix effort. One thing that the contretemps over Dan Nadel’s anti-SP7 editorial brought to light for me is — well, it’s actually two things. The first is that the community of (mostly) young cartoonists making resolutely uncommercial comments is growing much faster than I can keep up with. To be honest I’d long flattered myself with the idea that I was keeping nearly all this stuff on my radar, but there’s so much I’m missing, so much I don’t even know I’m missing. I doubt that as a critic I’m on their radar, either, although who knows. The second thing spins out of that last sentence: I don’t think any critics are working this beat with any regularity. Maybe Rob Clough, since he reviews everything? Maybe someone I don’t know I’m missing either? But as best I can tell, aside from certain breakout talents I don’t think this cohort has critical champions or interlocutors. Which could explain some of the anger directed at Dan when he said he had no idea what “underground comics” means in 2012, ’cause these folks do, I’d guess. Anyway, I think that if a generation of cartoonists comes of age without criticism, that will have an effect on both cartooning and criticism.
* “Where You Are King” is an impressively icky comic by Ian Sundahl for Study Group. The lettering is tremendous.
* Domitille Collardey’s new webcomic Wreckhall Abbey is indeed very new, but it’s the kind of comic that makes you nod your head and go “yep, there it is” — the moment a cartoonist finds the project her interests and talents were tailor-made to create. It appears to be a boarding-school strip in the vein of Jillian Tamaki’s excellent Supermutant Magic Academy; I think the internet’s plenty big enough for both. The layout seems super-considered and labor-intensive, too. Well done.
* I liked this Mark Richardson piece on associating the work of David Lynch with his own real-life brushes with fear and violence. This is an underdiscussed characteristic of Lynch’s work, his ability to accurately convey the sensation of proximity to violence that renders you powerless, and the terror of that. It’s usually overlooked in favor of the stuff to which the adjective Lynchian is more often applied — narrative ruptures, surreal horror, little people doing weird things and so on — but it’s absolutely a core element of his work, and one I’ve seen enough people bring up when discussing trauma from their own lives to know I’m not alone in detecting. You’d be hard pressed to find a better depiction of the impact of losing a classmate than the pilot episode of Twin Peaks, for example, or a better depiction of the psychic toll of sexual violence than Fire Walk with Me. Lynch’s “supervillain” characters, for lack of a better term, get the attention, but they really exist so that we can personalize the trauma in a way large and frightening enough to be commensurate with the size and impact of that trauma.
* Oh look, it’s Jessica Paré/Megan Draper from Mad Men singing “Just Like Honey” and “Sometimes Always” with the Jesus and Mary Chain, because I’m now Franklin Richards and can bend reality to my will, apparently.
What do you think of this, ’90s high-school drama-club goth Christina Hendricks?