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Ask Chris #218: The Scariest Comic Of All Time Is A ‘Garfield’ Story From 1989

Ask Chris #218, art by Erica Henderson

Q: Is Garfield: Alone the best horror story in comics? -- @discord_inc

A: Even though I usually try to do an entire month of spooky questions every October, this is, I believe, the first time an installment of Ask Chris has ever been posted on Halloween, and it wasn't surprising that a lot of readers asked me about stories that scared me, or what I thought was the single most frightening comic of all time. To be honest, it's not a difficult question to answer, either. The comics I love are full of scary stuff, from the grotesque horror of Alan Moore and Rick Veitch's swamp thing to the horrific imagery that you'd get in manga like The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service.

But if you want to see something really scary? No question. There are six days of Garfield from 1989 that'll turn your hair white.

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Spotlighting Three Awesome Cartoonists On Patreon: Lauren Monger, Austin Holcomb & Drew Weing

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If you've not heard of Patreon yet, it's a service not dissimilar to Kickstarter, in that it allows you to donate money to projects and artists you'd like to support, sometimes for rewards, but largely because it's something you're invested in and would like to see continue. It's also different in that you can pledge ongoing support; giving a certain amount of money each month- say a dollar- although there's the option available to cancel at any time. As you can imagine, these factors make Patreon better tailored for those working and producing art online, as evidenced by the number of more established online artists doing well on there- KC Green, Anthony Clark, Meredith Gran, Ryan North, and more.

With so much projects and content to sift through, it's easy to miss some perhaps lesser-known, but equally excellent comics worthy of wider attention, so I thought I'd spotlight three of my favorites here. Regardless of whether you choose to support them or not, at the very least hopefully you'll be introduced to a few great comics that you may not have been aware of.

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New York Times Says Offensive Cartoon About India’s Space Mission Was Not Meant To Be Offensive

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Comics can be a very powerful medium, either as a catalyst for change or as a way to--even inadvertently--uphold stereotypes.

A New York Times cartoon about India's recent, successful mission to send an orbiting spacecraft to Mars fell into the latter category, angering so many people that the newspaper had to openly apologize.

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FunkyWatch: September’s Most Depressing ‘Funky Winkerbean’ And ‘Crankshaft’ Strips

FunkyWatch

Over the past 40 years, Tom Batiuk’s Funky Winkerbean has transitioned from a gag-a-day comic strip about a high school to an ongoing chronicle of pure, abject misery. Thanks to the commentary on Josh Fruhlinger’s Comics Curmudgeon, I am now completely obsessed with it, which is why I spend a little time every month rounding up its finest examples of crushing despair.

After last month hit rock bottom with the worst Funky Winkerbean strips on record, I was dreading diving into September's offerings even more than usual. That said, it seems like Batiuk has decided to take the month off from pure despair, instead taking a hard left turn into a set of comics that make absolutely no sense. Unless you count the one where an elderly woman is so frustrated with her neighbors that she literally renounces God, I mean. That one could really go either way.

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Venezuelan Cartoonist Rayma Suprani Fired After Criticizing Hugo Chavez

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Sometimes we comics fans can get so bogged down in the minutiae of whether characters we like are being treated the way we think they should that we forget that some cartoonists actually risk their livelihoods -- and occasionally their lives -- to make comics.

Trouble can arise even over seemingly innocuous points. Consider the case of Venezuelan cartoonist Rayma Suprani, who was fired from her job at the El Universal newspaper over a cartoon about health care.

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Chris Ware’s Very Chris Ware New Comic ‘Last Saturday’ To Be Serialized Online At The Guardian

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Chris Ware has tested a whole lot of different formats for his graphic novels, including massively over-sized books, joke books, and craft sets. Now, he's sort of going back to the early roots of comics, publishing a weekly strip on the website of British newspaper The Guardian, titled 'The Last Saturday'.

The first installment of the strip was published Saturday, Sept. 13, with a brief introduction. The apparent premise is that the comic will follow the lives of six characters, all from the town of Sandy Port, Michigan, and presumably all riddled with self-deprecation and insecurity. It is a Ware work, after all.

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FunkyWatch: August 2014 Was Funky Winkerbean & Crankshaft’s Most Depressing Ever

FunkyWatch: August 2014

Over the past 40 years, Tom Batiuk’s Funky Winkerbean has transitioned from a gag-a-day comic strip about a high school to an ongoing chronicle of pure, abject misery. Thanks to the ongoing commentary on Josh Fruhlinger’s Comics Curmudgeon, I am now completely obsessed with it, which is why I spend a little time every month rounding up its finest examples of crushing despair.

This month... oh brother, this month. Tom Batiuk's offerings over the past few weeks have made August 2014, without question, the single worst and most mind-bogglingly bizarre month on record. If you haven't been reading my recaps of the strip over the past few years, this is the one you're going to want to start with, if only to see how completely irate one man can get over a newspaper comic strip about a man trying to write a made-for-cable movie about his dead wife.

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Buy This Book: Mickey Mouse Color Sundays Volume 2: Robin Hood Rides Again

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Listen: I love Robin Hood. Outside of Dracula, who I think we can all agree is pretty great, he's probably my favorite public domain character in the history of fiction, and between the sidekicks, the secret headquarters, the recognizeable costume and the uneasy relationship with local law enforcement, he's pretty much a direct ancestor to the kind of superheroes that we have today. So really, if there was anything that was going to get me back to being excited about the hardcovers reprinting Floyd Gottfredson's Mickey Mouse strips after the last volume left such a bad taste in my mouth, Mickey going on an adventure with Robin Hood was going to be the thing that did it.

Which, as it turns out, is exactly what they did. The latest Mickey volume from Fantagraphics is a collection of Gottfredson's full-color Sunday strips from 1936 to 1938 -- plus a whole bunch of bonus features from his later career -- that includes "The Robin Hood Adventure." And folks, this one isn't just a great story from a great creator, it's the kind of story where I want to just start grabbing people on the street and telling them they have to read it, because it's one of the weirdest things I have ever read.

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Bill Watterson’s ‘Pearls Before Swine’ Artwork Raises $62,000 To Benefit Parkinson’s Disease Research

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Even those of you who don't keep up with daily newspaper comic strips probably heard about Bill Watterson's secret return to comics earlier this year. In a storyline in Stephan Pastis's Pearls Before Swine, Pastis was briefly replaced by a second-grader named Libby, who claimed she could draw the strip far better than Pastis had been. While the strip was running, Pastis hinted at a "mind-blowing surprise" for readers, and he definitely delivered when he revealed that "Libby" was actually the legendary creator of Calvin & Hobbes, brought back to comics for the first time since 1995.

As you might expect, this was a pretty big deal, but became even bigger this week when Watterson's three strips were sold at auction, raising $62,000 to benefit Parkinson's Disease research.

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FunkyWatch: July’s Most Depressing ‘Funky Winkerbean’ And ‘Crankshaft’ Strips

FunkyWatch

Over the past 40 years, Tom Batiuk’s Funky Winkerbean has transitioned from a gag-a-day comic strip about a high school to an ongoing chronicle of pure, abject misery. Thanks to the ongoing commentary on Josh Fruhlinger’s Comics Curmudgeon, I am now completely obsessed with it, which is why I spend a little time every month rounding up its finest examples of crushing despair.

After last month's strips involved an intervention from the Almighty Himself voicing his disapproval for even the slightest bit of happiness, you might think that Tommy B would take a few weeks to ease off the pressure a little bit, but you would be a fool. A fool. Things never actually get any better in the Batiukverse, and never is that more evident than this month, when the strip heads to that most nightmarish of all places: San Diego Comic-Con. Seriously.

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