Saturday, August 28, 2021

The Comics Block Party at Blockfort, September 6, 12-5, Columbus, OH


Check out work by indie cartoonists far and wide like M.S. HarknessEmmi Gennis, Bob Corby, Bryan Moss and Nate McDonough

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Thursday, August 26, 2021

Shin’ichirô Ueda's One Cut of the Dead (2017), Reviewed on Film Review Central

Even those not disposed to like slasher/zombie flicks may enjoy this mad romp about creatives doing the best they can with what limited talents and resources they possess.

One Cut of the Dead – Film Review Central


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Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Recently Read: Naruto, Vol. 15: Naruto's Ninja Handbook!


"Naruto's Ninja Handbook!" is a balancing act, both intimate and epic. In its first half, more of Gaara's back story is revealed: his attempts at learning about the concepts of love and pain from his aunt, Yashamaru, end in tragedy, cementing his psychological destiny. Meanwhile, the sand spirit Shukaku continues to achieve complete control of Gaara's bloated, morphing and ever growing body, requiring Naruto to summon help from the dubious (but equally large and powerful) pipe-smoking toad Gamabunta. This begins a battle of gargantuan proportions (taking place, fortunately, in a wooded area). Sasuke is still physically spent, Sakura is still trapped, and only Naruto and Gamabunta (and Gamabunta's mini-toad son, Gamakichi, literally along for the ride) have a chance at stopping the homicidal Gaara. This is amazing cartooning.

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Sunday, August 22, 2021

Recently Read: Daisy Miller, by Henry James

This short and succinct novella works as a dual character study of two American expatriates in 1870s Europe; it observes the proper but intrigued Frederick Winterbourne observing, puzzling over and only half-heartedly attempting to win the attentions of nouveau riche Daisy Miller. Miller, accompanied by her oblivious mother and a rambunctious younger brother, either deliberately or innocently ignores the social graces demanded of both European upper society and the upper class Americans attempting to ingratiate themselves with the natives.

Whether Daisy's fresh, open and free approach to life is natural or calculated (and to what extent is it a reflection of societal differences between new America and old Europe) is the crux of Winterbourne's "problem", and when Miller begins spending much time in public with a lower class but gracious and handsome Italian gentleman, he's no less intrigued.

Although nearly perfect and, then as now, one of James' most popular works with the general public, I was disappointed in reading yet another James tale of a male character who can't or won't make a fighting commitment to a union with his female interest. It's the title character, seen through Winterbourne's eyes, that makes the story memorable. She's a vibrant, truly American spirit still relevant to all ages and sexes of readers nearly a century and a half later.

The Penguin edition, edited by David Lodge and Philip Horne, makes the smart choice of using the original version of the story, as opposed to the inferior late New York Edition text, and includes much background information, analysis, comparisons of the differing texts, relevant letters and more.
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Thursday, August 19, 2021

Comics I've Read Recently, August 19, 2021


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Friday, August 13, 2021

Detective Dandy Short Stories Available on Hot Cakes Comics +

Mystery fiction and the occult mash in the new Detective Dandy series of short stories by Jordan Kirian, available for free reading at Hot Cakes Comics +. Check out the entire series and other wicked fiction and comics here: Short Stories (

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Over One Hundred Graphics Now on My Agatha Christie Pinterest Board

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Thursday, August 12, 2021

Recently Read: According to Jack Kirby, by Michael Hill


Michael Hill has done comics historians a service in compiling and publishing this collection of cartoonist Jack Kirby's memories and thoughts on his career. While the longer living and outgoing spokesman Stan Lee's interpretation of events has held sway in the general public's mind, in-depth comics readers and historians have long been able to differentiate the two creator's distinctive voices and contributions. Despite what any creator might say, the proof is in the published work (and the photocopied original art, with Kirby's story notes in the margins). What Kirby relates in the book's compiled quotes jibes with the historical evidence and shores up his contention that he wrote the stories in Marvel's seminal '60s work and created the initial characters. In short, Lee claiming he was the writer of the work insured more money for him and less money for Kirby (and other cartoonists who were also creating stories on the series they worked on, like Steve Ditko and John Romita, Sr.). This was an injustice perpetuated by later owners of Marvel.

Loaded with copious footnotes, the book covers decades of Kirby being outspoken on his contributions. Because the scope of the book mainly covers what Kirby said, some evidence which would help confirm his beliefs isn't covered: Dr. Michael Vassallo's extensively researched chronological analysis of Stan Lee scripts, for example, shows conclusively that Lee's "creativity" began when Kirby rejoined Marvel in the late '50s, and mysteriously left Lee when Kirby quit Marvel for DC in 1970. Conversely, the book deals little with Lee's distinctive 1960s voice which, whether one enjoys it or not, was highly instrumental in creating a new jovial and audience-connecting informality in comics (compared to DC's straight-laced and patronizing editorial voice), but which is, again, outside the scope of this book.

The incident of Lee rejecting a Kirby Hulk story and the resultant output of Kirby in the month of March, 1963, is a fascinating connection and a new avenue to explore in the complex story of these two creators.

There are ways According to Jack Kirby could be bettered. Some commentators are quoted with no context or explanation of who they are or why their opinion is of importance. Some reproduced art could be of higher resolution quality. And, the book uses some quotes too repetitively. I'm hoping a future edition can correct these attributes. Still, the book is an essential addition, and appreciators of Kirby's work have Michael Hill to thank for the hard work and initiative to put together what is, ultimately, a damning and important document.

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Sunday, August 8, 2021

Recently Read: Archie: the Best of Harry Lucey, Vol. 1


This fine collection of stories (centering on the early '60s) drawn by the multi-talented Harry Lucey is a great addition to IDW's Best Of Archie cartoonists series. Lucey was a master of frenetic body language, particularly pratfalls and deep kisses resulting in legs and feet propelled high in the air.

One 1961 story, "Dog's Best Friend", plays with the medium in a meta way, with characters commenting on and pulling at word balloons. The stories are funny and the reproduction of the art impeccable. The volume is topped off with an introduction by cartoonist Jaime Hernandez and an afterward by Lucey co-worker Victor Gorelick

Recommended for a fun, carefree afternoon. 

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Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Cartoon Crossroads Columbus' Annual Fundraising Campaign Starts!


CXC is aiming to raise $5,000 for our 2021 operating budget. But that $5,000 would turn into $10,000 thanks to a matching gift from co-founder, board member, and all-around legend Lucy Shelton Caswell. Lucy is the founder of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum at Ohio State University. Details about the campaign and ways to contribute here: Cartoon Crossroads Columbus - CXC

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Monday, August 2, 2021

Columbus, Ohio's The Laughing Ogre Eisner Award Win Covered by the Columbus Dispatch


Congratulations to all the Ogre for this prestigious win! Read the article for details:

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