Legal matters: J. David Spurlock suing Tatjana Wood for Wally Wood artwork

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Here’s one of those matters where there are really no winners. J. David Spurlock, the publisher of Vanguard Publishing which puts out books about comics history and such artists as Frank Frazetta and particularly Wally Wood, is suing Wood’s ex-wife Tatjana Wood, for the possession some of 150-200 pages of Wood art. According to Spurlock, the pages are worth between $2000-25,000 each.

Looking at Marie Duval, Victorian cartoonist

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Who is Marie Duval? While not a household name in comics circles she’s actually one of the most important Victorian cartoonists, artist on Ally Sloper, one of the early cartoon sensations. The tale of a no good lazeabout that ran from 1857 on, it was created by Duval’s husband, Charles Ross, but gained its greatest fame after Duval took over in 1859. The Guardian has a tribute to her.

The secret history of alternative manga

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Manga isn’t all awkward schoolgirls and giant robots. There has long been a very strong alternative and literary thread of manga, and two recent articles give you some perspective on it.

I would call Ryan Holmberg’s Proto-Gekiga: Matsumoto Masahiko’s Komaga a must read, but I have to confess, it is very long and involved, and I have set it aside for weekend reading. BUT the important thing is that he compares and contrasts Yoshihiro Tatsumi, who is kind of credited as the father of “gekiga” or realistic manga, with Matsumoto Masahiko, a figure who appears in Tatsumi’s autobiographical A Drifting Life under another name. Masahiko’s work went down a slightly different path than Tatsumi’s but Holmberg shows that it was equally important:

NYCC ’14: Carol Tilley on how one man nearly killed reading comics

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by Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson Frederic Wertham’s name is akin to the devil incarnate in the comics world. Wertham was one of the ringleaders of the anti comics movement in the early 1950’s with his book Seduction of the Innocent. Carol Tilley, scholar, professor and librarian at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who has written extensively […]

Interview: Dark Horse Publish Sally Heathcote, Suffragette GN – Kate Charlesworth, Artist, Speaks!

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Dark Horse Comics have published the US edition of Mary & Bryan Talbot and Kate Charlesworth‘s Sally Heathcote, Suffragette, as of a few weeks ago. When this was originally published in May in the UK, I interviewed Kate Charlesworth, the book’s artist, which appeared here previously, in the middle of July. However, as it’s now […]

This fall we learn the truth about Wonder Woman

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We all know that William Moulton Marston, the creator of wonder Woman, was a bit odd. He had two “wives” and he was heavy into bondage. But did you know that one of the women he shared his life with was the niece of birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger—who liked to wear bracelets? And that […]

Webcomic Alert: The Utopian City That Wasn’t by Eleri Mai Harris

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Australian cartoonist/journalist Eleri Mai Harris isn’t just an editor at The Nib, Medium’s marvelous comics section, run by Matt Bors. She’s a trained journalist who turned to comics to tell stories and in today’s Nib she has a good one: the story of the abortive designs for Canberra, the capital of Australia. Like a few other planned capital cities—Celebration and Brasilia comes to mind—the structural, utopian approach to city design rarely works out. The story also includes a dandy forgotten woman—Frank Lloyd Wright’s associate Marion Mahony Griffin. So sit back and learn some Australian and architectural history.

Must Read: Women Who Conquered the Comics World

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Lisa Hix of Collectors Weekly sat down with Trina Robbins and runs through a few chapters of Robbins’ Pretty in Ink, her third history of women cartoonists. The result is an immense article that could function on a primer on the history of women cartoonists going back more than 100 years, starting with Rose O’Neil:

SPX ’14 party poop: this is the year of the Prom and the Wedding

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This weekend the Small Press Expo takes place in North Bethesda, MD. The show is known for its collegial, summer camp vibe, but this year, it is going ALL OUT. There will never again be talk about the pig roast or the softball game or the karaoke or anything else, because this year there is […]

New documentary on the DOOMED Roger Corman Fantastic Four movie from 1994

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Before Marvel became the toast of tinsel town, there were some pretty dreadful Marvel-based movies—and I’m not just talking Howard the Duck. Dolph Lundgren starred as The Punisher in 1989, but the movie got only a very limited theatrical release. A 1990 version of Captain America starring JD Salinger’s son, Matt, was so bad it […]

Preview: Hollywood Superstars by Evanier and Spiegle and the lost history of comics

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About Comics is a boutique publisher that specializes in bringing back unjustly obscure comics in affordable editions. They’ve just released HOLLYWOOD SUPERSTARS by Mark Evanier and Dan Spiegle. Originally published in 1990 via Marvel’s Epic line, it was a non-superheroic variant of Crossfire by the same team, basically behind the scenes tales of Hollywood, seen through the adventures of a team of private eyes consisting of a stuntman, an aspiring actress and a stand up comic. Like Crossfire, it has that slightly elegiac air of people who believe Hollywood’s legend and lore a little too much, told as only a couple of insiders could tell it.

Lessons from 25 years of selling comics

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Since I was just picking a fight with Brian Hibbs, now I’ll quote him extensively. His latest Tilting at Windmills is an anniversary post, looking the original Diamond catalog from when he started in 1989! We’ve lost some soldiers along the way, but the Diamond catalog is now a bloated thing,

The Hermit of Shooters Hill – An Interview with Steve Moore, Part 4

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Here’s the fourth part of my interview with the late Steve Moore, with more to follow. The first, second, and third parts are already online, along with some explanation of how the interview came about. PÓM: You mentioned that you worked with Dez Skinn at Fleetway House. How did you get on with him? SM: […]

The secret of comics history that people on the internet don’t want you to know!

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I was asked not too long ago what was something I was proud of writing on The Beat, and it’s actually something I didn’t write. This post by political communications specialist Brett Schenker entitled Market Research Says 46.67% of Comic Fans are Female from February, was pretty groundbreaking. Why am I mentioning a six month old post? Well, people continue to quote it when they look for demographic information on comics readership, and it represents a solid benchmark in an area where there is shockingly little research. Schenker’s research via Facebook, which he’s graciously presented here, has been quoted in numerous articles and yesterday it was referenced in this Time.Com piece on the new female Thor. I tweeted it again and it got a whole new set of reactions on twitter from people who hadn’t seen it the first time.

Suffragette Lady: An Interview with Kate Charlesworth

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On International Workers’ Day, the 1st of May, Jonathan Cape published Sally Heathcote, Suffragette, the second graphic novel written by Mary Talbot, a semi-fictionalised history of the Women’s Suffrage movement in Britain, and a really well researched and gripping piece of work, in my opinion, and should be read by everyone, everywhere, as it is […]

The Beat’s 10th Anniversary Special: San Diego 2004 photo parade!

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As mentioned earlier this week, The Beat is 10 years old this month! What was it like in the primitive days of 2004? Thanks to the wonders of digital archiving we can tell you! We can even take you back to San Diego 2004 for a look at skinnier but not necessarily better versions of many Beat favorites. So step with us behind the veils of time for….