all the latest links from across Canada:
Item! D+Q staffer Jessica Campbell gives us an intriguing and wide-ranging reading list. Now we know why the publisher puts out such classy books: their designer actually reads novels. (The list also includes a description of the contents of a new comic book history of the crisis at French avant garde publisher l’Association, illustrated by the people who were there.
Item! Speaking of French publishers, I was totally unaware that the popular comics series Les Nombrils, by Quebec creators Delaf and Dubuc, has been available in English translation from UK publisher Cinebooks for several years now. The series, about a clique of young highschool brats, is a bestseller in France and Quebec for Dupuis. (Cinebooks has a huge range of classic and contemporary Franco-Belgian comics series in translation as well, from Lucky Luke and Spirou to XIII.)
Item! Toronto cartoonist Michael Cho has made a name for himself over the last decade as an illustrator and cartoonist plying his trade in the Canadian magazine world. Many of us are fans of his gorgeous pin-ups of classic superhero characters and may even have seen some of his comics work for Marvel’s Age of the Sentry miniseries a few years back. Now he has a collection of his Toronto city drawings coming out from D+Q, Back Alleys and Urban Landscapes. Tom Spurgeon interviewed Cho about the book last Sunday and it’s an excellent overview of where the artist is coming from and where he’s going. Sample quote: “I like drawing superheroes… two days out of the week. When I draw superheroes, I draw them without irony. I’m not trying to draw fey, little, indie superheroes, poking fun of things.”
Item! A BC schoolboard has banned a quote from Dr. Seuss’s Yertle the Turtle for objectionable political content. After appearing on a classroom wall, the quote, about turtles on the bottom having the same rights as turtles on the top, sparked this: “After receiving a complaint from the school district, the teacher met with acting director of instruction for the district, Dave Stigant. […] And while he conceded Tuesday that it might seem absurd to spend time reviewing quotes from, among others, Dr. Seuss and former Canadian prime minister John Diefenbaker, Mr. Stigant said the review is necessary to protect students from an often-bitter dispute.”
Item! Kevin Boyd catches the news of a new Niagara Falls comic shop being opened by Hamilton, ON’s Big B Comics.
Item! In TCAF news, U.S. cartoonists Dave Roman and John Green have produced a comic strip featuring their Teen Boat characters for the festival.
Item! Michael DeForge has an online offer for his Kid Mafia comic in advance of the release of his second issue. Also, a sneak peak at the cover of the upcoming horror anthology featuring DeForge. Zach Worton, Patrick Kyle, and Chris Kuzma.
Item! Lastly, iconic Marvel comics spokesperson Stan Lee has been doing the rounds lately in advance of the release of a new documentary about him and the upcoming Avengers movie. He will be appearing at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo this weekend and a reporter from The Calgary Herald squeezed a few questions out of him about his relationship with Jack Kirby:
How crucial were the artists in the creation of iconic properties like Spider-Man and X-Men?
“Incredibly important,” says Lee, without hesitation. “I don’t think the characters would have been as effective without them. . . . I worked with the best in the business. . . . They contributed a lot to the stories.”
Will Hess, who co-directed With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story (which screened Sunday at the Globe Cinema as part of the Calgary Underground Film Festival) says Lee gets a bad rap in this regard.
“This goes hand in hand, to a certain extent, with anybody who steps into the limelight,” Hess says. “Stan is very sensitive to the issues that artists have brought up and he’ll be the first to thank them, credit them and bring them up at comic conventions.”
Perhaps time has mended some fences. Lee says he last met with the notoriously reclusive Ditko, co-creator of Spider-Man, “some years ago” in the Marvel offices.
“It was very friendly. . . . We even discussed maybe doing something together, but we never got around to it.”
As for Jack (King) Kirby (a title Lee gave Marvel’s chief artist during the 1960s), Lee saw him at a comic convention a few months before his death in February 1994. He says they, too, parted on good terms.
“Jack always felt like he hadn’t been treated well by the comic industry,” says Lee. “Maybe by Marvel, maybe by me, I don’t know. But he last time I saw Jack, he was very friendly.”
Lee remembers one part of that conversation most vividly. Its importance to him couldn’t be more evident in the suddenly vulnerable tone of his voice.
“He said a strange thing,” Lee recalls. “It was the last thing I remember him saying to me. ‘You know, Stan, you have no reason to have any regrets.'”