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Jul
20
2011

The Favorites Zine: Great Comics Writing for a Great Cause

You may have heard me mention this zine before. It debuted at this year’s HeroesCon and until now that was the only place you could get it. Now, though, you can order it online and have it delivered directly to your grubby little mitts. I got a chance to read mine once I got back from the con and there’s some really great comics writing in it–on some interesting and surprising topics.

You can read all about it here, but briefly here’s the deal: editor Craig Fischer asked a stellar lineup of folks to each write a short essay about one of our favorite comics and then he’s collected them all into this great ‘zine. All proceeds go straight to Richard Thompson’s Team Cul de Sac for research into a cure for Parkinson’s Disease.

The contributors are an all-star line-up: Derik Badman, Noah Berlatsky, Alex Boney, David Bordwell, Matthew J. Brady, Scott Bukatman, Johanna Draper Carlson, Isaac Cates, Rob Clough, Corey Creekmur, Andrew Farago, Shaenon Garrity, Dustin Harbin, Charles Hatfield, Jeet Heer, Gene Kannenberg Jr., Abhay Khosla, Susan Kirtley, Sean Kleefeld, Costa Koutsoutis, Andrew Mansell, Robert Stanley Martin, Chris Mautner, Joe McCulloch, Ana Merino, Mike Rhode, Jim Rugg, Frank Santoro, Chris Schweizer, Caroline Small, Tom Spurgeon, Ben Towle and Matthias Wivel.

You can buy one via Paypal either using the button below or on the Team Cul de Sac site.

 

 

And just as a teaser, here’s the essay I wrote for the zine on Walt Simonson and Archie Goodwin’s Manhunter:

Is it still good? Much like popping in that college-era mix tape and wondering whether those once-loved songs are going to still sound good, I always experience a bit of trepidation each time I re-read Archie Goodwin and Walt Simonson’s Manhunter. Is Manhunter—the early 70s kind-of-but-not-exactly revival of the golden age DC character of the same name—“still good?” I’m not sure I can even answer that question; Manhunter is far too inexorably intertwined with my development as a cartoonist. Sure, I’d been reading comics throughout my childhood—Rupert, collections of newspaper strips like Little Orphan Annie and Bud Counihan’s Betty Boop, the ubiquitous Star Wars comics of the 70s—but the 1984 DC Manhunter collection was something different.

I was fourteen in 1984 and at a point in my development as an artist (cartoonist? passionate doodler?) where I was beginning to move beyond simply copying panels of my favorite artist’s work to doing the at least slightly more engaging work of trying to mimic formal elements they employed—page layouts, panel shapes, staging of action. And Manhunter’s got plenty going on in the formalistic elements department. There’s not a straight six-panel grid in the entire book. There are, though, Krigstein-esque repeated “moment to moment” transitions, pages that consist of a single small panel inset into a splash page, pages with three tiers of panels, pages with four tiers of panels, sequences of borderless panels, diagrams, typographic elements drawn into panel backgrounds, “panels” formed out of folds of a character’s cape—and I was reading this just at the point when I was starting to try to figure out the mechanics of comics. Beginning with my reading (and re-reading) Manhunter, I changed from passively consuming comics to actively engaging them and analyzing them—asking, “How does this work?”

Manhunter is the only comic I own that I’ve literally read the cover off of. It’s full of the things that made me love comics: fun characters, great action scenes, beautiful drawing, and an engaging story. And it is good.

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