* One’s temptation to crumple the entire comics internet up and throw it in the garbage decreases considerably when everyone starts writing about Chris Ware. The Comics Journal is doing a whole series on Ware’s astounding new collection Building Stories; highlights so far include Joe McCulloch’s thoughts and Chris Mautner’s interview with Ware.
* Mike Mignola, John Arcudi et al’s excellent B.P.R.D., long an ongoing series in all but name, will make it official beginning with “issue #100.”
* Ware was one of the human highlights of the recent iteration of SPX, and unsurprisingly Tom Spurgeon has the best con report. One thing that happened there that had never happened to me before was that total strangers came up to me to compliment me on this blog four or five times, which was wonderful and uplifting, so thank you, strangers.
* If you’re looking for comics to try you could do a lot worse than to use Jessica Abel & Matt Madden’s list of Notable Comics from Best American Comics 2012 as your guide.
* Or you could read all of the Kevin Huizenga comics that have been posted online.
* Michael DeForge’s “Leather Space Man” is as good at depicting the weird un-logic of urban legends and pop-culture mysteries like “Paul is dead” or “Andrew W.K. is an impostor” as Kevin Huizenga’s Ganges #2 was at depicting the weird un-logic of Mario-style video games. Meanwhile “Manananggal” is as strong a horror/SF thing as he’s ever done and “Splitsville” is the same for the sex-comic category and Ant Comic remains the best webcomic going. It’s a shame he abandoned Open Country, that awesome minicomic series about astral-projection art, though. Michael, don’t abandon/destroy your comics anymore. They’re good!
* Josh Simmons made a minicomic called Flayed Corpse for Chuck Forsman’s Oily Comics line that I’d like to read, and he also drew this tribute to Hans Rickheit’s Cochlea & Eustacea and this one-panel gag comic.
* Wow, look at this comic “Sparring” that my collaborator Isaac Moylan made.
* Ben Max F. Urkowitz made a very nice comic here — a little Tim Hensley, a little Gilbert Hernandez, a little pre-Maus Art Spiegelman even. Click to read the whole thing.
* Go buy a whole bunch of troubling, compulsively drawn comics by Heather Benjamin, who’s really got everyone else in comics beat in terms of interview attire and candidness.
* Once you’ve learned the grim true story behind the making of The Birds, this gif, which I’ve thought for years and years now is Hitchcock’s single most revealing-of-self moment, takes on an even more troubling new meaning.
* I once wrote an oral history of Marvel Comics with a 13,000-word first draft for Maxim, yet I’m still absolutely enthralled and regularly enlightened by the clips I’ve read from writer Sean Howe’s forthcoming book Marvel Comics: The Untold Story. Here’s a bit on the ’90s boom and Image defection, and here’s a justifiably internet-famous bit on the freewheeling, acid-dropping ’70s.
* In her Bloggingheads.tv show “Critic Proof,” Alyssa Rosenberg, who is one of my favorite TV critics, talks to Willa Paskin and Todd VanDerWerff, who are two of my favorite TV critics. Paskin is just a mercilessly efficient and effective critic, man, jeez.
* I’m looking forward to listening to four excellent comics talkers, Tucker Stone, Matt Seneca, Joe McCulloch, and Chris Mautner, talk about Love and Rockets at length in their podcast.
* Vanessa Pelz-Sharpe is probably the best sex writer I’ve ever read. Her advice in that post makes for excellent sex scenes in addition to excellent sex IRL, too.
* Please read this marvelous, harrowing true story about the coolest kids in the author’s hometown. Blood Sugar Sex Majik is a hell of a drug. (Via Molly Lambert.)
* Ta-Nehisi Coates presents an escaped slave’s furious response to an infuriating letter from his ex-master’s wife demanding he pay for the horse he rode off on. Incandescent writing.
* Coates is actually responsible for some of the best political writing I’ve read in ages himself: “Fear of a Black President”, his magisterially angry essay on the reaction to the Obama presidency that dare not speak its name.
* Conor Friedersdorf on the debilitating psychological effects of living life in constant terror of American drone attacks. Think about this every day, please.
* I don’t really know Zak Smith beyond liking his writing on gaming, art, and fiction and exchanging the occasional tweet or comment, and I don’t know his girlfriend Mandy Morbid at all, so I felt weird trying to talk to either of them about the issues raised in this post directly, so instead I’ll tell you to read Zak’s profoundly moving and blunt post on Mandy’s chronic, intensifying illnesses and living with death as a presence in your life and leave it at that.
* A very happy belated birthday to Jack Kirby, the King of Comics and one of the greatest artists, of any kind, of the 20th century. That link takes you to this year’s Kirby tribute gallery by Tom Spurgeon, an annual comics-internet highlight.
* Finally, I like Beyoncé.