Comics Lowdown: Unearthing info on Golden Age comics artists

Plus: Matthew Inman, Seth, May sales and more.

Above: A panel from Dotty, by Jane Krom Grammer

Comics scholar Carol Tilley has unearthed new information about several Golden Age comics artists, and she presents the first fruits of her research on her blog: An account of the life and work of Jane Krom Grammer, who drew (and perhaps colored) the comic Dotty in Supersnipe Comics in the mid-1940s. Tilley has found Grammer’s pay stubs for comics that had previously been attributed to another artist, and in conversation with Grammer’s daughter, she fills out the rest of her biography.

Hold the Oatmeal? Cartoonist Matthew Inman says he is about ready to hang up the stylus and put his webcomic The Oatmeal on hiatus after 10 years of creating viral sensations, not to mention helping fund a Tesla museum and epically trolling an internet lawyer. Inman says he’s just tired of making the comic, but he’s staying busy promoting the 10th Oatmeal book, Why My Cat Is More Impressive than Your Baby, working on the Exploding Kittens card game, and developing an animated feature.

CREATORS + INTERVIEWS

Seth Speaks: The singly-named Seth talks about his newest book, Clyde Fans, and his use of the past and of pop culture in his work in an interview that’s a good introduction for those unfamiliar with him.

Hometown Hero: Mentor, Ohio, artist Perry Mackey doesn’t make comics, but he does make art out of comics, creating a mural of comic book characters and making collages out of his old comics from the 1980s and 1990s.

Hometown Hero, Part 2: The local paper profiles Jason Viola, indy cartoonist and co-creator of Science Comics: Polar Bears, which is basically a manual for becoming a polar bear.

reviews + commentary

Sea Stories: Julie Danielson reviews Amy Chu and Janet K. Lee’s new middle-grade graphic novel Sea Sirens, a modern fantasy based on a forgotten L. Frank Baum story.

Northern Lights: Dan Brown gives his take on Joan Steacy’s graphic memoir Aurora Borealice, which was getting good word of mouth at TCAF this year.

The Biz

What’s Hot, What’s Not: Heidi Macdonald takes a look at Diamond’s graphic novel sales figures for May, with added commentary from John Jackson Miller. Tl;dr: Sales were up a bit in the direct market, and the DC Ink graphic novel Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale, by YA author Lauren Myracle and artist Isaac Goodheart, was the top seller.

Book Expo: Calvin Reid fills us in on the graphic novel news from last week’s Book Expo America, the massive trade show for the book biz.

Piracy: Johanna Draper Carlson reports that the Japanese publisher Shogakukan is filing DMCA takedown notices on YouTubers who make videos of themselves turning the pages of manga, so the watcher can read the book.

Publishing: The Japanese Magazine Publishers Association posts the circulation figures for manga magazines for the first quarter of 2019, and the news isn’t good: All but one magazine saw a drop in circulation.

Podcasts

Hate Comics: The Center for Investigative Reporting podcast Reveal has a two-part series on hate in America, and the first episode includes a segment on white supremacist comics that first appeared in September. It’s compelling listening as host Al Letson, who is black, talks to writer Chuck Dixon about his work on Vox Day’s comics and challenges him to think about how that work looks to black readers.

Recommended Reading: Callie Crossley’s podcast Under the Radar is a great politics and culture podcast based in Boston, and this week she talks to three librarians, including graphic novel specialist Robin Brenner, about their summer reading picks. Several graphic novels make the cut—from all three librarians.

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