Welcome to the webbed and wired edition of R&R, aristotle. We’ll be doing the same sort of song and dance here as we do in print: reviewing the latest comics and cartoon-related books and ranting about trends and abuses and unfathomable foolishnesses. Each installment will stay here for about four weeks, with a new one coming in just about every other week or so. If you don’t have the time to ponder every punctuation mark in this deathless prose and merely want to see what might be there that would interest you, we suggest you scroll down the page looking for the bold-face type that heralds the notables who reside herein this week. So here we go with Opus 401 and a reprise of Opus 400—:
Opus 401 (February 29, 2020). Having shorted Editoonery last time, we pile it on now, just in time to prepare you for Super Tuesday. For this exclusive Political Posting, we’ve scoured the landscape for a selection of editorial cartoons reflecting events of the past 45 days or so—namely, the Trumpet’s impeachment and trial by the Senate, the Iowa caucuses, Trump’s State of the Union address, and the Superbowl half-time scandal, reviews of a couple collections of hard-hitting editoons—and more, of course. Inspired by the political cartoons, the Happy Harv also fulminates on his own about the debates, Bernie and the insufferable Iowa caucuses, and New Hampshire primary and other rampant injustices. But it’s not all frothing-at-the-mouth politics. Not everyone loves political “discussions,” so throughout the Editoonery section, we’ve sprinkled some ordinary but inspiring gag cartoons, a historical note or two plus the New Yorker anniversary covers. Also—Katy Keene is back! And with her, cheesecake! Finally, at the end, obits for Victor Gorelick and Claire Bretecher.
In order to assist you in wading through all this plethora, we’re listing Opus 401's contents below so you can pick and choose which items you want to spend time on. Here’s what’s here, by department, in order, beginning with the news of the day (followed by POLITICS!)—:
NOUS R US
Dan DiDio Fired at DC
Stripping with Big Nate and Funky Winkerbean
Wonder Woman Back on the Big Screen
Astonishing News : Flash Gordon Original To Be Auctioned
How Truth Is Twisted on Social Media: Bernie Sanders Slandered
Politics: Part the First
Cartoon Break: Debate Toons
Politics: Part the Second
Acquitting a President Crowns a King
FUNNYBOOK FAN FARE
Archie and Katy Keene
Front Lines: Political Cartooning and the Battle for Free Speech
The Trump Years: This Is the End
The Idiotic Antics of Our Self-Aggrandizing Buffoon in Chief
The Mock in Democracy
Impeachment, State of the Union, Caucuses, Superbowl et al
With Interludes of Gag Toons & New Yorker Covers
NEWSPAPER COMICS PAGE VIGIL
The Bump and Grind of Daily Stripping
Archie’s Victor Gorelick
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
If Not of A Lifetime
“Goddamn it, you’ve got to be kind.”—Kurt Vonnegut
Our Motto: It takes all kinds. Live and let live.
Wear glasses if you need ’em.
But it’s hard to live by this axiom in the Age of Tea Baggers,
so we’ve added another motto:
Seven days without comics makes one weak.
(You can’t have too many mottos.)
And in the same spirit, here’s—:
Chatter matters, so let’s keep talking about comics.
And our customary reminder: when you get to the $ubscriber/Associate Section (perusal of which is restricted to paid subscribers), don’t forget to activate the “Bathroom Button” by clicking on the “print friendly version” so you can print off a copy of just this installment for reading later, at your leisure while enthroned. Without further adieu, then, here we go—:
NOUS R US
Some of All the News That Gives Us Fits
ComicBook.com has learned that Dan DiDio is no longer with DC Comics; and DC has confirmed the news. As this is written, DC had not yet issued a statement publicly, though it's likely coming soon. But BleedingCool.com asserts that DiDio was fired; that report begins a couple paragraphs down the scroll.
It's the end of an era at DC Comics: DiDio was best known for overseeing multiple initiatives that pushed massive awareness of the brand, with storylines and titles including Infinite Crisis, 52, the New 52 relaunch, and DC Rebirth, as well as other stories like Before Watchmen and Doomsday Clock. DiDio has served as co-publisher alongside superstar artist Jim Lee for the last decade, being anointed as one of the figureheads of DC Comics by then-president Diane Nelson.
Bleeding Cool now understands that yes, DiDio was fired by Warner Bros one morning last month in their Burbank offices, and he left the building straight away. The Bleeding Cool report follows—:
“I am told by sources close to the situation that he was fired for cause, for 'fostering a poor work environment' – as evidenced, as we previously stated, by significant departures at the publisher by editors.”
Dan DiDio has a reputation among some of being a micro-manager, among others, for being very involved in projects. And DC Comics was heading towards a big change in its publishing programme – one aspect of which was the much-rumoured 5G – or Generation Five— which would have seen DC's major figures Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent, Diana and more aged out and replaced with new characters taking the roles of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman as part of the new DC Timeline.
And some folk at DC Comics were very much against this. But opposition never worried Dan, after all he was at constant odds with the direction the company line was pushed for pretty much his entire career as Publisher, and was always was striving to put comics first, as he saw it.
But in recent months, there seemed to be editorial backtracks on the direction given, details changes and a general sense of frustration that the clock was ticking and that nothing was being done. We saw a rapid departure in DC editorial of Pat McCallum, Alex Antone, Molly Mahan, Rob Levin and others. Could this have been a factor?
Certainly, DiDio's departure was a surprise – to him as it was for everyone else. I understand that it was internally announced at a series of small staff meetings at Burbank. Though no one seems to have told the executives attending ComicsPRO, who had to read about it on Bleeding Cool on their mobile phones – and who sharply exited the conference as a result.
Jim Lee is the remaining Publisher and CCO at DC, and so will be steering the ship for the foreseeable future. Is it too late to change the upcoming C2E2 panel Meet The Publishers to the singular now?
Sacramento Bee editorial cartoonist Jack Ohman has been promoted to deputy opinion editor. In his expanded role, Ohman, who won the Pulitzer for editooning in 2016, will write more editorials and columns focused on local and state issues. He will also help edit the Bee’s California Forum opinion section.
Ohman barely escaped oblivion in 2012 when the Bee hired him from the Portland Oregonian, which was rumored to be on the brink of downsizing by eliminating Ohman, who’d been there since 1983.
Big Nate, the popular comic strip and children’s book character by Lincoln Peirce (pronounced “purse”), is slated to become an animated television series on Nickelodeon. Nate also appears in at least six novels (actually, more like picture books aimed, somewhat, at juvenile readers) patterned after Jeff Kinney’s Wimpy Kid books. (Peirce and Kinney have been friends for a long time, and Kinney took Peirce under his wing and showed him the rope to pull to get published.)
Funky Winkerbean, a newspaper strip since 1972, is one of the few comic strips in which its characters have aged. The ninth volume of the collected Funky Winkerbean, containing strips from 1996 through 1998, has now been published. In the seventh volume, which included 1992, Tom Batiuk, Funky’s father, shifted the time in the strip and made the characters “age” out of high school, which is where they all started. Now they’re all 20-30 years older and scarcely recognizable as the characters they were when teenagers. Batiuk has also introduced new characters. He runs little continuities of about a week, going from one character to another. I no longer know which of them I’m looking at. And Batiuk, who gained some notoriety several years ago when one of his characters died of cancer (and the strip showed how the characters dealt with this tragedy), likes to take up “serious” “life” topics. Last fall, for instance, one of his characters died; it took about 30-45 days—including weeks where no one says anything; they just look mournful.
WONDER WOMAN BACK ON THE BIG SCREEN
Entertainment Weakly’s March double-issue starts by devoting its cover to Gal Gadot in the gloriously shiny Wonder Woman costume she wears in the forthcoming WW flick. And then makes up for the wardrobe sacrilege by putting H.G. Peter’s Wonder Woman on the Table of Contents page. (Miraculously, EW gives Peter credit.) Then during the article itself, a two-half-page spread presents an array of comicbook Wonder Woman that traces the history of her costume. All of that is on the Other Side of the $ubscribers Wall.
The article is not so much about the movie as it is about its actors and Wonder Woman’s new metal costume with wings made “from a spine-straining carbon fiber weighing upwards of 44 pounds.”
Oh—and Steve Trevor is back from the dead (?).
I didn’t think it possible. The original art for Alex Raymond’s first Flash Gordon strip is still extant. And it will be auctioned off on March 31 by Profiles in History, which claimed this is the first time this artwork is for sale. So who owns it?
The auction will also offer another Raymond creation, Jungle Jim, which was Flash Gordon’s “topper”: it was published as the top two tiers of a whole page, the rest of which was devoted to Flash’s adventures.
HOW THE TRUTH IS TWISTED ON SOCIAL MEDIA
To find just how the social media twists the news, to behold Katy Keene in all her 2020 glory, to learn about Front Lines (political cartoons about freedom of the press) and The Trump Years and then to wander through editoons from the last 45 days or so—and more, much more— Click Here
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