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J. Caleb Mozzocco

Meet The Many Jane Mais of Jane Mai’s ‘See You Next Tuesday’


One of the first pages of cartoonist Jane Mai's See You Next Tuesday is simply a large drawing of the girl on the cover winking, with the words "This is my diary, xoxo Jane Mai" next to it. That certainly seems to suggest that the many short comics, drawings and bursts of hand-written text should be read as autobiographical; as real or true. But that page is followed almost immediately by qualifiers.

The first is a hand-written page stating that "The following series of events is not presented chronologically and frankly time does not exist anyway. I'm not even sure I exist TBH." And that is followed by a two-page "people guide" introducing the dramatis personae that star in the book, and... four of the seven are different versions of Jane Mai.

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Mixed Nuts: Creators Pay Tribute To Charles Schulz With Unique ‘Peanuts’ Anthology

Peanuts Tribute cover

From October 1950, when the very first installments of Peanuts was published, every single installment of the strip was drawn by Charles M. Schulz's own hand, and the only variations in the style of the characters' depictions came organically through the evolution of Schulz's own drawing style. Even when the characters have appeared outside their home strip, in various animated specials or in the Dell or Boom comic books, the animators and artists have closely aped Schulz's style.

That's what makes Boom Studios' new Peanuts: A Tribute to Charles M. Schulz so compelling. It's difficult to imagine what any other artist's version of the iconic characters might look like, but this book is full of them, and being faced with these characters divorced from their creator's designs is fascinating and at times even disconcerting. It's hard to look at the realistic image of Charlie Brown by Ryan Sook on the cover of the book, staring into the eyes of the "real" Charlie Brown, and not be a little freaked out, isn't it?

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Thumbnail: New Thor, New THOOMS; The Epic Sound Effects of Russell Dauterman’s Asgard


There is probably no superhero comic better known for the lettering of its sound effects than Walter Simonson's 1983-1987 run on Marvel's Thor. John Workman's lettering on that seminal, still-beloved run was so integral that it's difficult to imagine those comics without it. Workman's big, bold DOOMs, THOOMs and KRAKATHOOMs hit readers' eyes and imaginations like graphic hammer blows. Simonson's art alone could tell powerful, affecting stories, but Workman's lettering really made those Thor comics sing... and scream and thunder and crash and splinter.

How fitting then that the most recent Thor comic, featuring a brand new star character wielding Mjolnir to protect Midgard, should also have such a highly distinct sound effect style, and yet have those sound effects stand out in a completely different way than those of the Simonson/Workman Thor comics of yore.

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Comic Strip Lit Crit: Step Aside for Kate Beaton’s Self-Appraising Heroes & Histories


Kate Beaton's approach to Wonder Woman is perhaps one of the clearest examples of how the acclaimed cartoonist combines brilliant humor with perceptive critical analysis. After several appearances in Hark! A Vagrant, Wonder Woman makes a return six-strip engagement in Beaton's new book, Step Aside, Pops! When we first met this incarnation she was a bitter, sarcastic superheroine just trying to have a smoke, or reluctantly helping an old lady rescue her cat from a tree by yanking it down with her magic lasso.

This time around, Beaton gives some clues about why her Wonder Woman might be the way she is. Taking a meeting in "head office," she's told, "the Greek stuff, the outfit, the lasso... it's too weird to deal with" (though a bro with the same affectations somehow works), and gets mansplained by Superman and Batman. At a bar, a fan gushes about how great she thinks Wonder Woman is, without seeming to actually know anything about her.

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Filed Under: , Category: Opinion, Reviews

Patrick Atangan’s ‘Fires Above Hyperion’ Finds the Universal in One Love Life


The first line of copy on the back of Patrick Atangan's Fires Above Hyperion reads, "Imagine if Sex and the City were written by a gay Charlie Brown..." So of course, I thought, 'I don't just want to imagine that. I want to read Sex and the City written by a gay Charlie Brown, and I want to read it as soon as possible."

And so, in all likelihood, will you.

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Benjamin Marra Attacks Fantasies of Sex and Violence in ‘Terror Assaulter: O.M.W.O.T.’


The cover of Benjamin Marra's new book Terror Assaulter: O.M.W.O.T. (One Man War On Terror) is just about perfect, at least in terms of telegraphing the interior pages. In his signature Paul Gulacy-by-way-of underground comix artists style, Marra depicts the title character gorily decapitating a bizarrely attired opponent who has a chainsaw in one hand and is firing gun with the other, while a buxom, scantily clad woman looks on, the whole tableau rendered in glaring Golden Age comics coloring.

The only way the cover could be more accurate in telling a potential reader what lies beneath it would be if the title character were simultaneously engaged in a graphic sex act.

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Like Disneyworld With Fangs: Should You Be Reading ‘Zombillenium’?


Zombillenium is French animator and cartoonist Arthur De Pins' ongoing series of graphic albums about a horror theme park run by actual monsters... pretending to be regular people pretending to be fake monsters... all as an elaborate way of hiding in plain sight. Published first in France, it's being translated and republished by NBM in English. The third volume, Control Freaks, was just released this summer.

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The Original Secret Avengers Return: Tom Taylor on ‘Agents of Atlas’ [Interview]


What if The Avengers formed a decade earlier, before Jack Kirby, Stan Lee and their fellow writers and artists at Marvel Comics had created Thor, Iron Man, The Hulk, Ant-Man and The Wasp? Before there even was a Marvel Comics?

This was an idea explored in a classic What If, revived for the 2006 Agents of Atlas, and revived again for Secret Wars in October, Jimmy Woo, Namora, Marvel Boy, Gorilla-Man, Venus and M-11 the Human Robot, are returning in one of the domains of Secret Wars' Battleworld in the upcoming Secret Wars: Agents of Atlas. We spoke with writer Tom Taylor and editor Mark Paniccia about what we can look forward to.

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Dinosaurs are the New Superheroes: 10 Dino Comics to Make Everyone Rich


The success of Jurassic World means that superhero movies are over! Forever! Why, we wouldn't be surprised if Fantastic Four and Ant-Man went straight to DVD and studios pulled the plug on the dozens of superhero movies already in production. Dinosaurs are the new superheroes, and in the future we expect all big-budget, would-be blockbuster films to be dinosaur movies.

Does this mean that comic books and graphic novels will lose their coveted place as the breeding ground for Hollywood's favorite source material? Not at all; there are plenty of dinosaur comics, ripe for film adaptation. Let's take a look at some of the more popular ones, and how likely it is that they may be coming to a theater near you... instead of Wonder Woman, Doctor Strange, or Justice League.

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Well, They Can’t All Be Batman: Jon Morris on His ‘League of Regrettable Superheroes’


The Justice League of America and The Avengers are the top teams in comics, super-groups composed of the most popular, most powerful and most iconic superheroes in their respective publisher's fictional universes. Jon Morris' League is... not that kind of league.

Morris, a graphic designer, cartoonist and writer, has devoted himself to compiling and chronicling the weirdest superheroes from throughout comics history on his blog Gone & Forgotten, which he's maintained since the late 1990s. Those efforts have lead to a new book, The League of Regrettable Superheroes: Half-Baked Heroes From Comic Book History, which features a full 100 of the most spectacular misfires of the 20th century comics industry, from 1939's Bozo The Iron Man to 1997's Maggot, from shoe shill AAU Shuperstar to the compressed air-powered speedster Zippo. We spoke to Morris about his selection process and what it really means to be "regrettable."

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