Monthly Archives: July 2008

Why Be Surprised About LAT Book Review Demise?

In a way I understand some of the shocked responses to the demise of the Los Angeles Times Book Review, given how suddenly the news broke. But if you read websites like Romenesko’s you already knew that the newspaper industry has been struggling for quite a while. The slices of pie available for media outlets are diversifying and in some cases getting smaller (i.e. newspapers). Buyout offers are happening across the country. So while it is a shame to see this change coming, I can’t say that I’m too surprised.

Todd Dezago on The Perhapanauts

Two interviews in one week? Is it still summer schedule for this blog? Yes it is, but here’s what I was thinking: Some of us might be interested in reading a comics industry-related piece in the latter part of this week that does not involve San Diego. Plus I’m really worried about industry pulse taker, Dirk Deppey, falling asleep from counting “tumbleweeds in the street“. Fortunately, writer Todd Dezago was recently available to do an email interview about his and artist Craig Rousseau‘s The Perhapanauts. Issue 3 of the series, which moved to Image earlier this year, came out last week. Dezago is always an opportunity for fun–well fun for me, because I can always do a joke or two in the questions. Hopefully he had fun as well.

Before the interview, though, a smidge of background:

“There are places in this world where the fabric of reality has worn thin, where strange and terrible creatures have crossed over to lurk in the shadows and the night.

There is an organization dedicated to finding these creatures and sending them back whence they came, sealing the rift behind them, and maintaining the integrity of those borders.

The organization is called BEDLAM. Its agents are…The PERHAPANAUTS!”

Tim O’Shea: How soon after seeing you and Craig in these matching shirts did Larsen step down as publisher?

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Bob Greenberger on The Essential Batman Encyclopedia

The comic book industry is well-populated with many good folks that I respect immensely. One of those folks is Bob Greenberger. If you’ve ever enjoyed a reprint collection from Marvel or DC–odds are good that Greenberger was involved in the project (but that’s just one aspect of his prolific career). In recent years, he’s branched out into a variety of even more freelance projects–and with the release of the new Batman film, I became interested in Greenberger’s most recent effort, The Essential Batman Encyclopedia. Despite juggling a great deal of far more important demands on personal and professional fronts, he was kind enough to grant me an email interview this past weekend. I greatly appreciated his time and strongly recommend you visit his site after reading the interview.

Tim O’Shea: In researching the deep history of Batman, were there any particular characters (from the golden or silver or whatever age) that you think has been underutilized and DC would do well to bring into the present day?

Bob Greenberger: These days one writer or another brings back the underutilized or the obscure, especially in Grant Morrison’s current run on Batman. So, really, no, I can’t come up with someone truly deserving for a second look.

O’Shea: Were there any Batman writers or artists with which you gained a newfound appreciation for their work?

Greenberger: Frank Robbins and Don Cameron come to mind. Other than Bill Finger, Don wrote the majority of the stories during the Golden Age and gave us Vicki Vale and the Mad Hatter among others. While better known for his Superman work, his Batman stories were very entertaining.

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Brigid Alverson on Good Comics for Kids

As the parent of an eight-year old boy who is still warming up to the concept of reading outside of school assignments, I’m always looking for resources to help interest him in reading. So when I found out that Brigid Alverson had started a blog called Good Comics for Kids, I was definitely enthused. In fact I was so interested in finding out more about the group blog, I contacted Alverson for an interview. Here’s some background on Alverson:

“Editor-in-chief Brigid Alverson grew up reading American and British comics and developed a passion for manga late in life. She is the blogger at MangaBlog and the editor-in-chief of Digital Strips, and she does freelance comics writing for Publishers’ Weekly Comics Week, Shojo Beat, and other publications. You can see examples of her non-comics journalism at her personal site.”

After reading this interview, be sure to check out the links that Alverson was kind enough to provide of her fellow Good Comics for Kids bloggers.

Tim O’Shea: When did the idea for this blog first come about?

Brigid Alverson: Shortly before this year’s New York Comic-Con. Gina Gagliano, of First Second Books, and Janna Morishima, from Diamond, invited me to take part in a few panels on children’s comics. I started poking around on the internet and couldn’t find a site that was covering them in a regular, systematic way. So I started one.

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Gerard Jones: On His Return to Writing Comedy

I’m fairly certain the first time I ran across Gerard Jones was when I picked up an issue of his and Will Jacobs-written comic book, The Trouble with Girls, back in the late 1980s. I also was aware of his work for Marvel and DC in the early 1990s. But Jones’ writing really came to my attention in 2002, when he wrote the nonfiction book, Killing Monsters: Why Children Need Fantasy, Superheroes and Make-Believe Violence. It was then that I interviewed him (for a long defunct website) about the book. His popularity substantially increased with the 2004 release of the Eisner Award-winning nonfiction work, Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters and the Birth of the Comic Book. Jacobs and Jones, after a 15-year hiatus, recently started collaborating on comedy writing again–and posting their efforts online. Upon reading about one (of three) of their projects “Million Dollar Ideas, our new humor novel set in ’40s Hollywood (sort of)” [as described by Jones], I took the opportunity to email interview him about his return to fiction and humor.

Tim O’Shea: What prompted you to pursue a return to humor writing and collaborating again with Will Jacobs after a 15-year hiatus?

Gerard Jones: Writing humor with Will is the most fun I’ve ever had as a writer. We both got a little burnt out on the financial and market stresses of it after our struggles to keep The Trouble with Girls alive didn’t work out, but we both always figured we’d come back to it when the time is right. But then we both had kids, mortgages, a need to be a little more practical with our career decisions. I think we finally got to the point that we felt secure enough with our other endeavors to consider writing something fun by high-risk again, and all we needed was the trigger. That trigger turned out to be Checker Books asking to reprint the first 14 issues of Girls a couple of years ago. The rest of that story is told in an entry on http://undressingamerica.blogspot.com (and my Red Room page).

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Thoughts on Carlin, Free Expression

So a week or so ago, one of my sisters emailed me to ask–even as she conceded I was clearly on a summer “man that wedding date is coming up fast (August 9)” schedule–if I was going to comment on the passing of George Carlin. And I agreed that I should.

As a kid, I listed to Carlin’s comedy albums. He helped shape my sense of humor, no doubt. But there’s not much I can say that has not been said about the man.

Two things. Visit his website, as he gets the last word, in a sense, there–including the following great words:

“Upon my death, I wish to be cremated. The disposition of my ashes (dispersal at sea, on land, or in the air) shall be determined by my surviving family (wife and daughter) in accordance with their knowledge of my prejudices and philosophies regarding geography and spirituality. Under no circumstances are my ashes to be retained by anyone or buried in a particular location. The eventual dispersal can be delayed for any reasonable length of time required to reach a decision, but not to exceed one month following my death.”

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