August, 2012 Monthly archive

Here’s your semi-regular “what’s goin’ on” post.


THE LONE WOLF gets wet.

Later on today we’ll have a new TITAN episode. Did you notice that Titan is back on a weekly schedule? I don’t know about you, but that makes ME happy.


Fridays: Psychedelic mega-quest comic It Will All Hurt continues on towards the end of part 2. Crime World has returned with the second installment of the hard-boiled hijinks you’ve come to know and love. Casual murder, racism, and tough guy antics continue to be the order of the day in this bleak workplace dramady.

Saturdays: HAUNTER continues her journey into the lush ruins.

Sundays: Peepers, our resident bizzaro-space race comic continues to baffle and amuse the rubes. Secret Voice part 3 has begun. If you read the Adhouse comic version of this story, you might have noticed that the whole beginning up to now has been completely rewritten and redrawn. Part 3 is where my new intro synchs back up with the old material. I liked the fight scene I drew way back when and didn’t want to scrap it. So sue me!  Anyway, if this stuff looks different than the pages leading up to now, that’s because it was drawn 6 years ago. U_U

Mondays:  Danger Country  nears the end of chapter 1!

Tuesdays: Kaz is getting ready for PAX (he works in video games) so The Mourning Star took the week off, but Klive & co. will be back Sept. 4th.

Wednesdays: The Yankee has gone on hiatus while Ian works on some other projects (including a PROPHET back up!). It’ll be back in October with Chapter 2.   Black Is The Color continues to  keep Weds wet and creepy. Speaking of which, the 2012 Ignatz Award nominations have been released and BITC was nominated for “Outstanding Online Comic!” Huzzah!


We haven’t stopped posting complete, awesome new work just because we’re clearly on the cusp of societal breakdown. The barbarians would want us to give up, right? Check these sweeties out if you’re against the heat-death of the universe:

Tales of The Cat Killin’ Coat – by Tim Root (nsfw)

Disappearing Town – Polaroid – by Morgan Jeske


Just two important links today.  First: Just one more day to help crowd-fund The Projects! Even the best comics shows in America tend to operate on a dynamic closer to a flea market than a celebration of an art form, but some friends of mine are trying to take a cue from the way European countries often run comics shows: no tables of sad-eyed people hoping you’ll buy their mini comics, just 3 days of workshops, socializing with artists, and appreciating comics qua comics. I’ll be helping out with a couple workshops and just straight up breathing comics for that whole weekend. You should consider making it up to PDX for the event if you’re into the comic art form. Should be worth it. In any case, those non-commercial festivals across the pond tend to have government grants and such backing them up, but we all know that’s crazy talk here in the USA, so the organizers have turned to Kickstarter to help make their dream a reality. Even if you can’t make it to the fest, I  urge you to  consider backing The Projects. There’s a bunch of cool incentives, including a way to get both recent Study Group publications and a cool print for a discounted price. Ok, that’s my spiel.

Second: Aidan Koch is the first SG alum to take her webcomic from the site to print, and she’s having a Blonde Woman book release in NYC to celebrate, as well as accepting pre-orders! The book looks beautiful. Says the artist herself:

You are invited!

To the official release party of The Blonde Woman in NYC!
Party will take place on September 08, 2012 at 8pm at the Cartoon House, 282 Broadway #2, Brooklyn NY.
The will be refreshments as well as beautiful company to enjoy the evening with.
Come flip through some books and celebrate with me.
Copies will be available.
If you do not live in NY you can pre-order your copy now!
I will also be attending this year’s Small Press Expo September 15-16 as well as the New York Art Book Fair September 29-30.
Thank you so much, and I hope to see you all soon
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Compare and Contrast:


Mon, 08/13/2012 – 9:26am

“We are saddened to learn of the death of our colleague and friend Joe Kubert. An absolute legend in the industry, his legacy will not only live on with his sons, but with the many artists who have passed through the storied halls of his celebrated school. His latest work on BEFORE WATCHMEN: NITE OWL was among his best, and we are so honored to have worked side-by-side with such an unforgettable force in both comics and in life.” – DC Entertainment Executive Team

Aaaand about 100 disgusted comments later, someone from the DC PR department realizes they should probably not have tried to insert BEFORE WATCHMEN plugs in the ludicrously short memorial for one of their all time great work-horse artist and editors. The amended text reads:

“We are saddened to learn of the death of our colleague and friend Joe Kubert. An absolute legend in the industry, his legacy will live on through his remarkable talent, with his sons and with the many artists who have passed through the storied halls of his celebrated school.  An important member of the DC Comics family, Joe made an indelible mark on the entire DC Comics universe including his renowned and award-winning work on iconic characters such as Sgt. Rock, Enemy Ace, Hawkman and most recently Nite Owl.  We are so honored to have worked side-by-side with such an unforgettable force in both comics and in life.” – DC Entertainment Executive Team.


Still far too short for someone who did so much for them, to say nothing of it being written by some nameless PR flack, but I guess it’s a step up. For a more fitting memorial and career retrospective, head over to Comics Reporter.

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Hola, all. I’m tired so I’ll just get right into it:


THE LONE WOLF gets wet.


Saturday: HAUNTER dives deep.

Sunday: The Savage Dragon is having a bad life in my short comic Screamin’ Bones. It was originally published in the Twisted Savage Dragon Funnies collection, which I think had a fairly limited print run, so most of you are seeing it for the first time. Secret Voice will be back this Sunday and continue uninterrupted for a good long while, if everything goes according to plan.

Monday: We took Monday off. Just pretend we’re a gallery or something. Danger Country will be back this Monday!

TuesdayThe Mourning Star also took the week off, but luckily we had a new short story by Ian Sundahl called Where You Are King. Sean T. Collins calls it “impressively icky!

Wednesday: The Beast wears a crown in The Yankee, while storm clouds brew in Black Is The Color. Milo looks at the Kyle Baker drawn issue of DAMAGE CONTROL here on the blog.

I’ve got a couple links too:

- Look at this beautiful new animated webcomic, THUNDERPAW! Golly, that’s pretty. Not much there yet, just a page and some framing devices, but I’ll be checking back on it:

- Kelly Sue DeConnick is doing a comics collaboration with a young girl she met at HeroesCon, and YOU can join in!

- C.F. has a website. Has he had one for long? I don’t know, but it’s news to me.

- Oh yeah uh I started a Facebook page for myself, you should “like me.” Have you liked the Study Group Comics and Study Group Magazine pages yet?

Ok, Zack: OUT!

Only Zack Could Make School THIS much Fun!

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[Thanks to Mr. Witzke for suggesting this comic to review and thus getting me off the Alcatena-Wiseman see-saw for a week.]

Even a professional comics hater like me found it easy to like Dwayne McDuffie, who was clearly a good dude who loved comics even though he was too intelligent to be completely fulfilled by the corporate-pamphlet field that never knew quite what to make of him –  a career riddled with interviews that were always more engaging and entertaining than the actual finished product once it came out of the IP sausage factory …. largely to fanboy indifference.

McDuffie achieved escape velocity from Marvel’s editorial offices with Damage Control, three four-issue miniseries published over 1989-1991; I don’t have them all handy, but I remember reading them during my time in the Journal library and thinking the series was fun and pretty thoughtful for something published under Tom DeFalco’s custodianship of the company. I’m pretty sure it was Marvel’s only attempt to cash in on DC’s [maybe I should say Andy Helfer's] successful “Bwah-ha-ha” cycle of comedic adventure comics, which is odd — the company always took after papa Stan and not papa Jack or Steve, and Stan rarely finished an issue without some tongue-in-cheek banter.

Damage Control never really caught on, I think, for two reasons: Most supercomics fans won’t buy comics that don’t have a consistent, reliable amount of superheroes in them, and the series itself strikes what’s probably an untenable balance between broad comedic fantasy and pragmatic logistic realism. This particular vehicle just doesn’t corner that well.

Think of the superduper content in such a comic book as a burger and fries, and any real-world content as the parsley: It used to be that if the chef cook gave you any parsley at all, it will be as a garnish on the side, which you’d ignore but not resent it for being on the plate. In the comics, these are usually scenes/subplots involving the supporting cast, although I always liked the scenes of Peter Parker on his college campus or realizing he needs a shower badly or discovering that he’s been on the go so long that the food in his fridge has spoiled on him. These days, a lot of burger joints have gotten fancy and chopped the parsley up and worked it into the meat they serve. I can’t think of a good example of this stupid metaphor in action in recent comics — please don’t make me read them — but I’ve heard that it’s there. In Damage Control, the burger joint served a bowl of parsley soup with meatballs on the side, and wondered why few of their regulars ordered it more than once. This might be a rare example of Marvel actually overestimating the intelligence of their audience.

All that said, what compelled me to write about this particular comic can be summed up in two words: Kyle Baker. The other 11 issues of the series were drawn by the supremely versatile workhorse Ernie Colón, and it’s a little bizarre that a miniseries, even in the must-hit-deadline office culture of the late ’80s, would bring in a replacement cartoonist on its first issue. Is there a good office story here?

At the time, Baker’s exuberant cartooniness always had inking that showcased an appealingly polished, careful sheen — a character might look wildly off-model from one panel to the next, but his rendering of those figures would be as unique as his fingerprint. This issue, however, looks like a rush job; drawn with the same pen for almost everything, often with no penciling first. In a lesser artist/storyteller’s hands, this sketchbookish approach would be disastrous but Baker pulls it off with aplomb, even giving the story’s events the kind of coked-out mania it probably wouldn’t have gotten from Colón.

Rush job or not, there must be a good story behind the recurring gags about the width of Albert’s lapels being illustrated with him wearing a solid black jacket:


Times like that, isn’t it better to change the joke to something about tie knot or color, or something about his shoes?

It’s perversely entertaining to watch even the loose sketchbook style of the first few pages devolve and sometimes mutate, presumably as the deadline drew closer.


One of the joys of seeing jobs like this is noting how artists seem to use the same short cuts and often wind up finishing that have the same curiously isolated, haunted affect; some of the panels throughout this issue come off as homages to the infamous Iron Man #39, which Herb Trimpe drew in just a couple of days.

Have I mentioned that I love how Baker uses Morley Safer as his template for Lenny? Altho this panel, WTF:


I know that drawing of John on the right is a swipe/photo reference from somewhere, but I can’t put my finger on it. Publicity photo of Bogie? Lee Marvin? If you know, tell me; it’s making me nuts trying to think of it

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WELL GOLLY, I seem to have last posted an update on Monday. And here it is, (just barely) still Friday!

In my defense, I’ve had a hellaciously busy week, trying to deal with the real jobby-jobs and bla bla bla, the stuff that almost pays the rent etc.

You don’t care about that, though. I sure as hell don’t! We’re all just here for THE COMICS, right?


Tuesday: Covert actions in The Mourning Star, and again we add a new creator to the roster: Morgan Jeske, who brings the first of his Disappearing Town series of short sci-fi stories to SG. There will be more Disappearing Town in the future!

Wednesday: Light trails and lost scarves on The Yankee, and a bit of a maritime pastoral scene over in Black Is The Color.

Thursday: The Lone Wolf loses her footing, while Titan serves up tension in the mess hall!

Friday: More psychedelic action narrative in It Will All Hurt, and if you’ve been missing Crime World, it’ll be back Aug 24th!

OK time for the weekend, there’s some surprises in store but if I told you about them now then they wouldn’t be surprises, would they?

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