Archive for August, 2011

Kickstarter and 10 Best Comics

So, Kickstarter approved our project for the Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath graphic novel! The actual Kickstarter page isn’t up yet, but we’re working on it and now working on the next steps for the book publication. Please check back soon for more information!

On other names, The Hooded Utilitarian posted my contribution to a poll of the 10 ‘best’ comics in the opinion of various comic folk. Looking back on the list, I have to admit that I was rushed and I feel bad for picking obvious ones like Tintin, Pogo and Peanuts (but I do like them!). They’re such safe answers. It reminds me of the time a friend asked me what one comic I would take with me to a deserted island and I answered “Doonesbury.” As he looked at me with a disgusted gaze, I explained that it was the longest comic I could think of that counted as a single story under the question and was of relatively decent quality.

Here’s my original list in no particular order:

* Achewood, Chris Onstad
* Beirusayu no Bara [The Rose of Versailles], Riyoko Ikeda
* Cerebus, Dave Sim & Gerhard
* The Doom Patrol Stories, Grant Morrison & Richard Case, with Scott Hanna, et al.
* Jojo no Kimyô na Bôken [Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure], Hirohiko Araki
* Meanwhile, Jason Shiga
* The New Yorker Cartoons, Roz Chast
* Peanuts, Charles M. Schulz
* Pogo, Walt Kelly
* Tintin, Hergé

If I could add 10 more comics, these would probably be the next four… they’re all wonderful ones that I somehow failed to list…

* Donald Duck & Uncle Scrooge, Carl Barks
* The Cartoon History of the Universe, Larry Gonick
* Maison Ikkoku, Rumiko Takahashi
* American Born Chinese, Gene Yang

And now things get fuzzy again… like the feeling that there are webcomics and recent works I’m forgetting…

* Palestine, Joe Sacco
* One Piece, Eiichiro Oda
* Antique Bakery, Fumi Yoshinaga (but its ending is weak… I’m not sure which is her best work…)
* Scott Pilgrim, Bryan Lee O’Malley
* The Drifting Classroom, Kazuo Umezu (I have a problem here. I want to include Umezu because he’s such an insane outsider artist with a powerful work ethic. But I’m not sure which of his stories to list… I would’ve listed Fourteen but, after reading it, I’ve discovered it’s actually too demented to actually be enjoyable, it goes past the border of lunacy and over the edge into childlike babbling. But he’s still great…)
* Black Jack, Osamu Tezuka (although this feels like an obligatory “I have to include something by Tezuka”…)
* Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud (though I feel weird including it)
* Li’l Abner, Al Capp (…or should I include Little Orphan Annie? Or Little Nemo in Slumberland? Or Popeye/Thimble Theatre… but I have to admit, I spent the most time in my childhood reading Li’l Abner. I think he introduced me to the concept of fanservice, and also of comic artists who become grouchy right-wingers as they get older. But it’s hard to honestly nominate Li’l Abner due to his slavemaster-like use of assistant labor.)

Then the list peters out again into conflicting impulses. There’s lots of really good comic artists I haven’t mentioned… Ariel Schrag… Gabrielle Bell… Felipe Smith… Shaenon Garrity… Chester Brown… I should probably even get Neil Gaiman in there….

Kumoricon Schedule

For those in the Pacific Northwest, I’m going to be exhibiting at Kumoricon in Portland, Oregon on September 2-4! Jay and I will have a booth in the exhibit hall and I’ll also be doing a ton of panels and gaming events.

8 PM-midnight (or later)
Chibi Room/Ash
A D&D 4th edition tournament torn from the pages of the “manga meets tabletop gaming” graphic novel series King of RPGs! The great city of Gharazak is besieged by an army of ferocious lizard men. Only a group of brave heroes has the chance to save their city from unimaginable horror… or just loot the place before it collapses. Featuring pregen characters from King of RPGs and King of RPGs 2, it’s a bloodsoaked roleplay-and-slash adventure! For 2-8 players.

10:30 AM-11:30 AM
Discovery Room B/C
(aka The Manga Censorship Hall of Shame)
In 2011, an American was charged with possession of child pornography for bringing dojinshi into Canada on his laptop. In 2010, Christopher Handley, a manga collector in Iowa, was sentenced to six months in prison for possessing obscene manga. In 2009, Dragon Ball was pulled from libraries after a city councilman complained about inappropriate content. Censorship is a fact of life in mainstream manga and anime, both in Japan and America, affecting everything from the “Harem no Jutsu” in Naruto to cigarettes in One Piece and pot leaves in Shaman King. Why is manga censored, and what do the laws really say about what you can and can’’t show? Discussing the legal, moral and business aspects of this complicated issue,… with tons of before-and-after artwork! Ages 18+.

12:00 PM-1:00 PM
Discovery Room B/C
When many people today think of “comics”, they think of webcomics, but Japanese comics still seem like a faraway world of print-based graphic novels and tattered copies of “Shonen Jump”. But the manga world in Japan is changing fast due to competition from ebooks, cellphones and online comics. How are Japanese artists today publishing their works? What will the manga of the future look like, in a world without Tokyopop and Borders?

1:30 PM-3:00 PM
Workshop: Pine/Spruce
It’s every otaku’s dream: being a manga artist in Japan. Now YOU can walk the road of the heroes of Bakuman, Genshiken and Even a Monkey Can Draw Manga in the world debut of MANGAKA: THE ROLE-PLAYING GAME! Go from a struggling dojin artist or an assistant and become a professional mangaka working in shojo, shonen, seinen or perhaps the dark underworld of ero-manga and yaoi. Face malnutrition, angry fans, carpal tunnel, the disapproval of your parents and the brutal terror of… the Editor!! Will you become the next Tite Kubo, or end up in the gutter babbling about maid cafés? Yes, this is an actual RPG, featuring music and audience participation. DMed by Jason Thompson (King of RPGs). Actual drawing ability not required.

Anyway, those will be my public appearances at Kumoricon, or just come on by the booth any time and say hello. We’ll have King of RPGs books, jewelry and T-shirts and I’ll also be announcing the official beginning of the Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath Kickstarter project!

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