Some quick links:

  • Wow, John Updike is dead. Onetime cartoonist, novelist and critic, Updike was one of the great American artists and the master prose stylist of his time. As the long-time book reviewer for the New Yorker, his style of writing and critical understanding made his essays miniature masterpieces of education. Jeet Heer has written extensively on Updike, including notes on his early comics fandom. He writes again here and in a longer obituary here.
  • Sean Rogers writes about Matt Groening for the Walrus blog. The article (part one of two) examines some little-talked-about aspects of the Life In Hell strip and Groeings contribution to the latest Kramer’s Ergot anthology.
  • Proving that the new online version of Globe Books has something to offer, Brad Mackay contributes a short essay on jazz and comics: specifically, how superhero comics concepts like Batman are like old Tin Pan Alley standards that are constantly reworked by artists.
  • The Shusters blog features an interview with Toronto cartoonist Willow Dawson, who discusses her recent No Girls Allowed book.
  • Canadian wrestler-turned-actor James Preston Rogers is lobbying for the role of Marvel superhero Thor in the film slated to be directed by Kenneth Brannagh (!), a filmaker known more for his acting chops and Shakespearian productions than comic book actioners. (Caveat: the linked to article says that Thor was created by Steve Ditko and Stan Lee. Even the dumbest kid knows that Jack Kirby (created the superhero incarnation of the Norse god of thunder, along with a little help from plotter Stan Lee and dialogue contributor Larry Lieber.) Sequential wants to know: has everyone forgotten about the original Canadian Thor, aka 1970s Heavy Metal god John Mikl Thor?!?!
  • (there are several other Canadian Thor connections: Mount Thor in Nunavut; Thor Eaton, great-great-grandson of Timothy Eaton; and last but not least, Thor Hansen, one of the greatest Canadian visual artists and designers of the 20th Century.)