The goddamn Batman ties the room together.

At one point in our not so distant past, comics fandom was enough of a monolithic affair that it was not out of place to promote a Batman rug (“As featured in the upcoming Batman movie”, and “based on Frank Miller’s Dark Knight”) in an underground (or at least alternative) magazine like Heartbreak Hotel. It even has an endorsement from Jonathan Ross.

In these days of comics in the mainstream, and at the same time an abundance of microniches, I don’t see things like this happening very soon.

(thanks to Scandy)

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The More Things Change

Over on Reddit, Derek A Edwards dropped this little sci-fi story about being careful what you wish for, and about how karma does not work if you don’t learn (which is ironic, as it is Reddit).

Bonus points for all redditors who provide solid feedback — sometimes the internet of the 90s still exists…

(artwork by Derek A. Edwards)

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Hold it, Jim!

“How are we going to reach these disenfranchised youngsters who could have an exciting career in electronics?”

“I know, we’ll put an ad in one of those comic books that they seem to like so much, and we’ll put a super-hero in it”.

“That’s a good idea. And we’ll add a coupon that they can cut out and send back. It’s not like they’re going to want to keep those rags, is it?”

From Skull The Slayer #1 (Marvel), 1975, which also carried the gems below. Incidentally, the ads in comic books were quite a thing to get my head around when I first started reading American comics. They totally broke the rhythm of the story, and often I thought they were either part of it, or were title pages to new stories.

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An endeavour of gargantuan proportions, on a set of small cards

So you have comic books, a storytelling medium that, through a series of well-established techniques, tries to simulate temporal and spatial, and (if at all possible) narrative, progression on a piece of paper, quite often involving adult men beating each other up. And then there’s comic book movies, films based on the former that, thanks to the medium, can dispense with the simulating of temporal and spacial progression (they simply show the movement), but still can only hope they achieve something of a narrative.

And then there are artists like New Zealand’s TrÆ°Æ¡ng DP who recreates scenes from those movies by drawing each frame, in pencil, on a piece of cardboard. Their most recent feat involves the key scene between Iron Man and Thanos from Avengers: End Game, rendered in 1400 drawings, created over a period of 736 hours. The sheer audacity of that achievement is only equaled by the way the creative process is documented.

On the DP Art Drawing channel on YouTube, more flipbooks can be admired featuring the Hulk and Black Panther, as well as other art projects that are to be seen to be believed.

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The future of the New Yorker cover is safe

In addition to being an amazingly cool visual artist, cartoonist and designer (and having an equally talented brother), Tomer Hanuka also teaches at the New York School of Visual Arts. As befits a good teacher, he gives his students assignments that requires them to use what they know, apply their creativity while taking into account the limitations of the purpose of the work. In this case, they were to create cover suggestions for post-Covid issues of the New Yorker magazine.

The results are phenomenal. They cover a spectrum from the liberating feeling of being able to breathe again, to the crushing emptiness that those we lost leave behind. Here are some names we’ll hear about pretty soon, I think.

(top illustration by Huahua Cui, with thanks to Lotta, our finely tuned antenna for Twitter goodness)

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Mind your back(s)!

Comic readers typically are nerds, obsessing over minute details of story lines, characters, specific panels while they could be solving crime. Quite often, comic readers are also book buyers, faithfully adding each episode of their favorite series to their shelves, quite often only to find that the spines are slightly off, or even have been redesigned completely, triggering all kinds anxieties.

Recently a long established support group of sufferers started sharing examples. If you regularly read Oddlysatisfying, these images might not be for you.

This post was inspired by Bleeding Cool. More book spine thoughts at Comics&Cola, Sarah Neofield, and Luke McKernan.

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Invisible Goldberg

In the end, there’s few things as satisfying to watch as a video of a Goldberg machine, that gloriously grand but totally useless type of contraption named after cartoonist Rube Goldberg, who delighted audiences with his zany inventions when comics were still young.

Scientist Masahiko Sato takes things one step further, by creating an invisible, albeit basic, Goldberg machine, using glass, oil and light refraction. There’s probably a bona fide scientific explanation for all this (after all, the video runs on the page of the Japanese National Institute for Materials Science), but in my book, it’s amazingly cool first and foremost.

(via Twisted Sifter)

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Jeroom gladly gives you a headache

Flemish cartoonist and humorist Jeroom was able to add something totally different to his oeuvre when he unveiled the BMW racing car for which he designed the wrapping. Partly as a hommage to earlier designers of BMW art cars like Roy Lichtenstein, partly in an attempt to confuse other competitors in the race, he baptised his design “project Dafalgan” (Link in Dutch). The car is wrapped in the image of a slighter smaller car of the same model, which in turn sports the image of a still smaller car. And while other drivers are pondering that, the BMW can take the lead. Or at least, that’s the idea.

In any case, when he wins, he’ll be able to keep everybody else from the podium.

Earlier, Jeroom did the design of Belgian racer Tom Boonen’s Ferrari, and reacted aptly when that one was in a very bad crash

(photography Reddit and Autosport.be)

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Pif Magazine stamps

Contrary to popular belief, there are whole swaths in comics that I don’t know anything about. I’ve seen covers, I’ve heard names, but beyond that, nothing. Zilch. And I’m not talking about comics from faraway lands like China or Chili — present me with your typical French comic magazine from the second half of the 20 century (Pif, Valliant, Bayard, c.s.) and my mind goes blank.

For that reason, I couldn’t tell you anything about these fake stamps that were published in Pif Gadget in 1985, except for what I read on the website where I found them (Fred Andrieu’s excellent Les Trésors De La  Flibuste). Still, It’s alway nice (and in a way sad) to see that stamps were a well-known meme back then that youth-oriented magazine used to connect with their audiences.

On a similar note — Over the years Pif ran various campaigns, often together with their advertisers, to get their readers interested in stamp collecting, as the photos below (scraped from Ebay, similar) can attest.

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Vandenbroucke for Variety

While promoting his new book, Shady (his first one in eight years), Flemish painter and cartoonist Brecht Vandenbroucke also noted that in the past year he did a job for Variety Magazine, illustrating an article on the effect of the Covid crisis on film crews.

The piece very cleverly combines the real with the virtual, contrasting film making tools, like cameras and microphones, with the ever-present green screen of current cinema. As if we were all too preoccupied with little details that we didn’t see the larger danger looming.

Vandenbroucke’s new book collects his Shady Bitch stories, short comics about a chaotic and not very endearing character with a full beard and a skirt (he’s been described as the love child of Popeye and Olive Oyl) who bumps his way around a world full of pop culture and contemporary angsts. If you love Cowboy Henk, or Pieter De Poortere’s Dickie, and you know a word of two of Dutch, here’s a comic for you. Or, as we used to say in the times of the Forbidden Planet blog, “translation, please!”…

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