Item! As was reported widely yesterday, comic strip historian and archivist Bill Blackbeard died March 10th. He was the prophet and patriarch responsible for saving the comic strips of the late-19th and early-20th Century from the flood of indifference and benign neglect of scholars, journalists, governments, and the world at large, preserving them until they could be appreciated by the brave new world of the 21st Century. If you would like some background, you could do a lot worse than read this post by Canadian comics historian and one of the most prominent of Blackbeard’s spiritual descendants, Jeet Heer, on the subject of Blackbeard’s legacy. For myself, the Blackbeard-edited The Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics, along with the Maurice Horn Encyclopedia of Comics, Ron Goulart’s Adventurous Decade, and the one-two punch of The Comics Journal and Nemo Magazine were my 1980s gateways to an appreciation for comics history classic comic strips and a large part of the impetus behind my own interest in the history of Canadian comics. Blackbeard’s major, irreplaceable contribution to comics history was his massive rescue/preservation effort and his shepherding of his collection through various reprint projects, studied introductory essays, etc. Those were some pretty fucking awesome old funny papers he saved! His specific theories and attempts at strict categorization and periodization seem less successful in retrospect but nevertheless were very important in terms of developing my own personal idea of comics’ evolution, even if his crusty old guy aura as expressed in forums like Yahoo’s Platinum Age Comics group and the historical essays in his Comic Strip Century or Yellow Kid collections seemed sometimes purposefully argumentative.
Item! The previous issue of Taddle Creek is now online so you can read Peter Birkemoe’s interview with Dave Lapp as well as a four page strip by Ethan Rilly (Pope Hats) that is wonderful to look at.ethan rilly ex-montreal
Item! Drawn and Quarterly and Adrian Tomine are selling prints to benefit victims of the earthquake in Japan.
Item! Robert Haines has posted his most recent Retailer Roundup, checking in with new and old comic shops across the country.
Item! Squidface & the Meddler interview Anne Koyama about Root Rot, the gorgeous new anthology she edited with Michael DeForge that will be debuting at TCAF.
Item! Not sure if you can get the Mezco Scott Pilgrim action figures yet, but some posted a picture on twitter. That’s right, you just read some[thing very close to] action figure news on Sequential.
Item! The Calgary comic jam is profiled in The Calgary Herald.
Item! The Doug Wright Awards have a new website with a blog and everything. This year’s event is scheduled for May 7, the Saturday of TCAF, at the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Jackman Hall. Don McKellar returns as host. Facebook event page.
Item! Speaking of awards, The Shuster Awards have announced the nominees for this year’s Harry Kremer award for Canadian comics retailers. The nominees are AMAZING STORIES (Saskatoon, SK), ANOTHER DIMENSION COMICS (Calgary, AB), THE COMIC HUNTER (Moncton, NB), COMIC READERS (Downtown Regina, SK), and PLANÈTE BD (Montreal, QC).
Item! Finally, reviews of Chester Brown’s Paying For It, Joe Ollman’s Mid-Life, Pascal Girard’s Reunion, and Mark Kalesniko’s Freeway are among the highlights of the most recent VICE comics column.