All-Star Superman

Comics College reveals Essential Reading of Comic Book Masters

One of my favorite regular columns is the monthly Comics College by Chris Mautner at Robot 6, hosted by Comic Book Resources. Each entry is a great introductory overview of what’s best to read from the great comic book masters and why they are so good, making this a fantastic source for newcomers or people who’ve always wanted to expand their reading. It also covers their lesser known work and stuff that maybe should be avoided.

The great part of the column is that it is looking at masters from all over the art form of comics. It’s not just superhero creators, or just alternative comics creators. It’s both those, as well as manga, newspaper strips, underground comics, euro-comics, comics journalism and more.

This month’s subject is the Norwegian cartoonist simply known as Jason. This prolific creator tells funny genre mash-ups with a deadpan economy of dialogue and understated emotion with characters struggling over love and guilt. Next month, George Herriman will be featured. His classic comic strip Krazy Kat is among the most highly regarded in the history of comics.

The Comics College column debuted in August 2009 and has covered the following comics masters past and present (click on the link to be taken to the column):

  1. Los Bros. Hernandez (Love and Rockets)
  2. Jack Kirby (The Fantastic Four, Jack Kirby’s Fourth World)
  3. Osamu Tezuka (Astro Boy, Phoenix)
  4. R. Crumb (Zap Comix, Book of Genesis)
  5. Neil Gaiman (Sandman, Mr. Punch)
  6. Chris Ware (Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth, Acme Novelty Library)
  7. Lewis Trondheim (Dungeon, Little Nothings)
  8. Harvey Kurtzman (Mad Magazine, Frontline Combat)
  9. art spiegelman (Maus, In the Shadow of No Towers)
  10. Eddie Campbell (Alec: The Years Have Pants, The Fate of the Artist)
  11. Harvey Pekar (American Splendor, Our Cancer Year)
  12. Kim Deitch (The Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Shadowland)
  13. Kevin Huizenga (Ganges, Curses)
  14. Hergé (Tintin)
  15. Charles M. Schulz (Peanuts)
  16. John Stanley (Little Lulu, Melvin Monster)
  17. Seth (George Sprott: 1894-1975, Wimbledon Green, It’s A Good Life If You Don’t Weaken)
  18. Frank Miller (The Dark Knight Returns, Sin City)
  19. Joe Sacco (Safe Area Gorazde, Palestine)
  20. Jason (I Killed Adolf Hitler, Hey Wait…)
  21. George Herriman (Krazy Kat)
  22. Jack Cole (Plastic Man, Betsy and Me)
  23. Adrian Tomine (Summer Blonde, Scenes from an Impending Marriage)
  24. Grant Morrison (All-Star Superman, We3)
  25. Jessica Abel (La Perdida, Artbabe)

UPDATE: I’ll keep updating the list over at The Comics Observer as Robot 6 posts new entries.

Static Shock creator/All-Star Superman screenwriter Dwayne McDuffie dies

Dwayne McDuffie by Glen Murakami & Andrew Pepoy (click for full bio)

The sad and unexpected death of Dwayne McDuffie was announced yesterday by Comic Book Resources. He passed away due to complications from a surgical procedure performed Monday evening.

Yesterday was also the day of the DVD release of All-Star Superman, an animated feature adaptation of the critically acclaimed comic book series of the same name by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. McDuffie was the direct-to-DVD movie’s screenwriter. He had previously written for the animated TV series “Justice League Unlimited”, and served as both producer and writer on Cartoon Network’s successful Ben 10 animated franchise.

In the comics world, he will be remembered for co-founding Milestone Media, which led to the Milestone imprint at DC Comics in the 1990s. His Milestone creation Static was later adapted into an animated series, “Static Shock”, on which McDuffie served as story editor and writer for several episodes. DC Comics has been reprinting a number of classic Milestone comics recently, including graphic novel collections of Hardware, Icon, and of course Static Shock. Earlier in McDuffie’s career he worked for Marvel Comics, where he co-created the comedy series Damage Control and successfully revamped Deathlok (both of which should’ve been made into movies by now).

McDuffie lived and worked in Los Angeles. He was a guest speaker at CSUN’s Superheroes Seminar with Charles Hatfield last Fall (read Hatfield’s touching eulogy), and would make in-store appearances at local comic book stores to sign books and DVDs. He had appeared at the LA screening of All-Star Superman last week at The Paley Center, and was scheduled to appear at tonight’s ReggiesWorld.com launch party at Golden Apple in West Hollywood. The final hours of that Golden Apple event have been converted to a Tribute to Dwayne McDuffie starting at 8 PM tonight. Fans and professionals alike are invited to attend.

As remembrances started pouring in, two stories caught my attention on Twitter. I think they illustrate the kind of humor and intelligence at his disposal. In my mind they underscore his importance as a respected professional who fought from within for diversity and a stronger industry. (more…)

Comics Events in LA: Week of 2/13/11

If you’re interested in finding out more about comic books and graphic novels, a great way to discover new stories is to check out a local comics event. There’s a vibrant comics community here in Los Angeles, where you can meet artists, writers, publishers, and other readers.

Here are some local Los Angeles events coming up that celebrate the sequential art form.

This week:

Sunday, February 13 – Friday, February 18: Steven Daily‘s Gag Me With A Toon 3, the third annual art exhibit featuring local artists re-imagining and remixing classic ’80s Saturday morning cartoons, continues at Meltdown Comics, 7522 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles 90046. Tickets: $0.

Wednesday, February 16: NEW COMICS DAY! Find your local comics specialty shop.

Wednesday, February 16, 8 PM: Comics podcast Bagged & Boarded with SModcastle’s Matt Cohen and Brendan Creecy with special guests writer Marc Andreyko (Torso, Manhunter) and True Blood actors Deborah Ann Woll and Michael McMillian, has a live show broadcast at SModcastle, 6468 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles 90038. Tickets: $10.

Wednesday, February 9, 8:30 PM: The Meltdown with Kumail Nanjiani and Jonah Ray (weekly comedy show) featuring stand-up comedians Scott Thompson, Nick Flanagan, Brent James Sullivan, Ron FunchesNick Thune, and piano-pop band Don’t Stop or We’ll Die, at Meltdown Comics, 7522 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles 90046. Tickets: $8.

Thursday, February 17, 7 PM – 9 PM: A panel discussion with screenwriter Dwayne McDuffie, executive producer Bruce Timm, director Sam Liu, casting director Andrea Romano, actor James Denton (“Desperate Housewives”) and others, will occur for the screening of All-Star Superman, the animated movie based on the comic of the same name by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, at the The Paley Center, 465 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills 90210. Tickets: free for members.

(more…)