February 26, 2017

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Ley Lines Subscription Delivers Comics To Your Door

While things might be terrible otherwise, it's good to know that comic publishers like Kevin Czapiewski and L. Nichols are there to provide us with excellent reading material. But if you want to be one of the first to read the 2017 edition of Ley Lines, you're running out of time--the pre-orders are only being taken for a few more days, ending on February 28th.

Ironically, the subscription cost is also $28, which probably has more to do with shipping and production costs, but I'll pretend it's to match the deadline. Each issue is 24 pages, roughly half-sized, if you know your zines, and has great production value.

What is Ley Lines? Here's the co-publisher's description: 

Ley Lines is a quarterly publication dedicated to exploring the intersection of comics and the various fields of art & culture that inspire us. Each issue features a different artist's take on a different subject matter taken from the larger context of art making, past and present.
And here's the lineup for 2017:

  • Tommi Parrish on William Blake/Lydia Lunch (Ley Lines 10 - February 2017)
  • Eric Kostiuk Williams on Kylie Minogue (Ley Lines 11 - May 2017)
  • Shreyas R Krishnan on Abida Parveen (Ley Lines 12 - August 2017)
  • Evan Dahm on the Surrealists (Ley Lines 13 - November 2017
Here are a few sample images:

Evan Dahm

Eric Kostiuk Williams

Shreyas R Krishnan

Tommi Parrish

I really enjoy the work of Evan Dahm. I profiled him before SPX in 2013.  Dahm's fantasy comics are a real joy to read, so seeing him take on the artistic collective who specialized in warping reality should be a blast.

While I am not familiar with the other names on the list, I trust Kevin and L's judgment, as I've known them both for quite awhile now, even if I don't see them much due to moving out to the west coast. 

I've also picked up a few of the other Ley Lines, and they're very high quality. I really dig the idea of a creator looking at other creatives and examining their work through the mirror of their own illustrations. It's a great concept.

You can order a subscription to 2017's Ley Lines (along with others from past years) here. If you're a fan of my features on non-fiction comics, this is a must-purchase as we move from winter to spring. But remember--the deadline is February 28th, so don't delay!

February 17, 2017

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Party Like It's 1985 (Weekend Pattering for February 17, 2017)

Previously on Panel Patter

Cover of the Next Week

Starstruck: Old Proldiers Never Die #1 by Elaine Lee and Michael W. Kaluta

So, I just had to check and I backed the Kickstarter for the hardcover of this that ended on April 15, 2013.  Almost 4 years after the Kickstarter ended, the comic is finally coming out.  Now compared to other long completed Kickstarters, this one doesn't bug me as much because I feel that Lee has done a pretty good job at keeping her backers updated on the progress of this.  It feels like it will still be a while before I get my hardcover of this book but I'm actually pretty o.k. waiting for this.

If nothing else, it will give me time to go back and reread IDW's excellent reprinting of all of the Starstruck material to date.

This and That

** The Hunters and the Hunted– DC Comics Reveals Looney Tunes Crossover Comics (The Beat)-- I don't even know if this is going to be an actual comic but I'm ready to declare Martian Manhunter vs. Marvin Martian by I believe Aaron Lopresti as the greatest thing of 2017.  

And only by the slimmest of margins, Sam Keith drawing a team up of Lobo and Wile E. Coyote comes in as the 2nd greatest thing of 2017.

** D+Q'S FALL 2017 CATALOG: BARRY; FINDAKLY & TRONDHEIM; GAULD; SIKORYAK; AND MORE! (Drawn & Quarterly blog)-- D&Q have a lot of great books coming out later this year.  Can't wait to see most of these.  I'm just amazed at most of the names that they're publishing within a few months span.  

** JABLONSKI’S BARNYARD (The Smart Set)-- Chris Mautner takes a look at Gerald Jablonski's Farmer Ned's Comic Barn, collecting the last couple of issues of Jablonski's Cryptic Wit.
The stories in Comics Barn play out in many ways in the same manner as your average TV sitcom or (perhaps more accurately) old vaudeville act, with the traditional straight man and comic foil relaying insults and punch lines along familiar themes ad nauseum. (Certainly, there is no lack of tired TV programs that drag out the tired “these kids today” saw or feature some wisecracking prepubescent.) Howdy and Dee Dee owe as much to Abbott and Costello as they do to the underground comics scene that birthed them. Listen closely and you might hear a “ba-dum-tish” or laugh track at the end of one of his panels. Certainly, his dialogue sometimes seems comes straight out of an old-fashioned “wacky riddles” book...

Current Mood

February 16, 2017

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Scooby Snacks at the End of the World-- thoughts on Scooby Apocalypse Volume 1

Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, and Howard Porter reimagine Scooby Doo and the rest of the Scooby gang as a small thrown-together group who have to band together to fight some kind of man-made viral apocalypse that turns humanity into vampires, werewolves and other kinds of monsters. After decades of cartoons that depicted these kids as supernatural sleuths, DC Comics new series turns them into survivalists and warriors. A strange mishmash of The Walking Dead and Afterlife with Archie, Scooby Apocalypse does what DC is doing lately with so many characters-- reimagining characters that are 40 years old and more for a 21st-century audience. And this reimagining fits in well in a time when every day seems to be bringing on a new apocalypse.

When did Howard Porter turn into some strange amalgamation of himself, Jim Lee and J. Scott Campbell? The 1990’s artistic influence in this book makes Porter look like a really good Wildstorm artist, taking the visual cues from Lee (who it looks like did some character designs and a number of covers for this series) but adding some incredibly strong storytelling that was missing in those old Image-era comics. Porter, occasional fill-in artist Dale Eaglesham and coloring studio Hi-Fi turn Giffen and DeMatteis’s somewhat standard zombie apocalypse story into an exciting book where you want to see what’s next.

It seems that part of updating these characters for a modern artist is turning them into a bunch of stuck up and privileged kids. At least, that’s how the writing portrays this group but Porter keeps his depictions a bit more traditional. There are some more modern touches in these designs-- Freddie’s ascot becomes a bandana and Scooby gets a set of hologram projecting eyewear (??)-- but Porter generally keeps the classic spirit of these characters intact. But he gets the chaotic nature of these characters' lives. Nearly every page is a modern reinterpretation of the scenes from the old cartoons where all of the characters are running around, trying to find and/or escape from the bad guys. As the world is taken over by these creeps and ghouls, Porter keeps the chaos of everything at the forefront of this world as these characters are trying to figure out what’s happening.

Using the Scooby gang gives Giffen, DeMatteis, and Porter a prepared template. There’s the brainy one, the jock, the dopey one, the pretty one and the dog. That’s the tried and tested form of these characters and other than giving Daphne (the pretty one in the old stories) a bit more agency by making her the pretty but tough one, they stick to playing the classics with these characters. You can take a look at what Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is doing over in books like Afterlife With Archie and Sabrina and view that as the model that DC is following of taking these characters and twisting their world just enough to make something new. Aguirre-Sacasa uses the well-known Archie characters to subvert their wholesomeness. Those Archie comics use their time-worn templates but reposition them one one level as zombie and witchcraft stories but on another level as stories about kids rather than just stories about kids in the 1950s.

Giffen, DeMatteis, and Porter are not nearly that daring with this group. Even in the after-school-special chapter looking at Velma’s (the smart one) relationship with her family and with everything that’s going on, there’s nothing in these characters that make them relatable like Aguirre-Sacasa or even Mark Waid’s work with the Archie characters. As the Scooby kids fulfill their preset roles in this comic, Scooby Apocalypse comes across more as just another Scooby Doo story, with characters who aren’t able to grow beyond their decade's old default character values. Daphne is the most evolved and different from what she was and that’s cynical because you can’t just have a character whose only purpose today is to be the pretty one.

Even if the characters aren’t all that great (were they ever?,) Giffen, DeMatteis, and Porter are clearly having fun with this book and it’s infectious. The way that they play with the old elements of the cartoons, the mysteries, and the characters is the fuel of this story. From the monsters to even Scrappy Doo, no longer Scooby’s nephew but something far darker and sinister, this creative team write and draw a highly entertaining comic. Giffen and DeMatteis have always had a good handle on casts and groups of characters and by throwing these kids together, they bounce these characters off one another in this crazy, end-of-the-world scenario. And Porter artwork has an animated energy to it that propels you through the book.

Scooby Apocalypse Volume 1
Written by Keith Giffen and J.M. Dematteis
Drawn by Howard Porter, Dale Deaglesham, Wellinton Alves and Scott Hanna
Colored by Hi Fi
Published by DC Comics

February 3, 2017

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How Did We Miss the 25th Anniversary of Rob Liefeld's Levi Commercial (Weekend Pattering for Friday, February 3rd)

Previously on Panel Patter

The Social Panel Patter

In case you never look elsewhere around the site, we're very social creatures here at Panel Patter.  Here's some quick links to where to find us.

Cover of the Next Week

I don't know if Matteo Scalera gets enough credit for his covers.  Here's his fun cover from next week's Black Science #28.  


** Jimmy Palmiotti Guides Us From Eternity to New York City (Comics Alliance)-- I haven't actually had a chance to read this interview between Palmiotti and Steve Morris yet but if there's anyone who knows where the bodies of the comic industry are buried, I think it's Palmiotti.  His and Justin Gray's Jonah Hex series ranks up there with Gotham Central as one of the best series that DC has published in the 21st century.
Our long-time plan for Jonah was to write the character forever, or until it got cancelled, which it finally did. It is sad really, because all of the trade books of the original series of 70 issues we wrote are out of print, and there aren’t plans for any collections. I find this especially sad because they feature some of the greatest artists in comics. The movie and its misfire destroyed the character in print, and with All Star Western we did everything possible to try to get new readers to appreciate the genre and character… but it didn’t work out. One day DC will figure out Jonah Hex and Tallulah Black will make the greatest HBO or Netflix series ever, and maybe this time they will pull us into the project on a consulting level.

This and That

** Before You Watch Riverdale, Read the Best Non-Archie Archie Story: Criminal: The Last of the Innocents (Paste)-- I forgot all about The Last of the Innocent's homages to old Archie comics.  Now I want to go back and reread Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips' book as a sequel to Mark Waid's current Archie work.
But the most jaw-dropping Archie mashup, featuring the most mayhem and death, is no Archie comic at all: it’s the sixth arc of writer Ed Brubaker and artist Sean Phillips’ crime classic Criminal. In “The Last of the Innocent,” (which is also on sale at comiXology right now) Brubaker and Philips answer the question: “What if Archie Andrews was the biggest scumbag in the world?” They also deconstruct all of the Archie characters, showing the hidden toxicity beneath the wholesome surface. This is the Archie equivalent of Watchmen (at least until the Archie Meets Rorschach one-shot).

** How Jodorowsky and Ladrönn’s Comics Sequel to Cult Movie ‘El Topo’ Further Broadens the Mind (Broken Frontier)-- Always link to Jodorowsky.  Actually, this is a book that I can't wait for the English translation of.
Readers only familiar with Ladrönn’s US art on titles like Marvel’s Cable and Image Comics’ Hip Flask will notice that he has taken an almost evolutionary leap to the point where this is almost unrecognizable as being the work of the same artist. His realistic approach coupled with his cinematographic storytelling is simply stunning. It’s a piece of art that one can gawk at for hours on end and is almost too beautiful to look at. Unfortunately it misses the mark in terms of visceral impact in the El Topo universe. The roughness of the visuals of the movie, the harsh setting and ingrained crumminess is exchanged for an inherent beauty and love for the scenery of the Californian deserts and Mexican borderlands. Luckily, Ladrönn revels in the violence and bizarre characters Jodorowsky comes up with, which lends some balance to the grand splendour of Ladrönn’s landscapes.

** Spanish Fever (The Comics Journal)-- Sometimes Panel Patterer Rob Kirby reviews the anthology Spanish Fever at TCJ.
In his introduction, Eddie Campbell notes that the new Spanish comics all share the importance of authorial voice, i.e., that they feature characters that are pure expressions of the authors, beholden to no meddling publishers or corporations. Garcia’s forward to the collection extrapolates on this theme, offering a mini-history of Spain’s comics leading to its current artistic renaissance amid the country’s current economic crisis.

Current Mood

You know how they say that if you remember 1991, that means that you really weren't there. I don't ever remember seeing this commercial before the wonders of the internet.

February 1, 2017

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Riding the Rails with Roger Langride in The Iron Dutchess

Roger Langridge’s The Iron Duchess is animated. That’s not to say that it’s a cartoon or a movie or anything like that even though it is cartoony. It’s animated because there’s a spark of life in Langridge’s comics; a snap, crackle, and pop that he just instinctually has on every page and panel. The Iron Duchess, a clear homage to the movies of Buster Keaton (it says so on the back cover blurb,) is a wordless pantomime about love, movies, trains, a horse and clown and his pig. Langridge’s Fred The Clown is at the center of this comedic storm and his naivety about the world around him powers Langridge’s view of the world as only a clown could see and live it.

The largely silent comic borrows its various plots from old black and white and silent films. There’s romance, a train chase, and a handsome actor meeting a gruesome fate in a haunted castle. With Fred the Clown as his central character, Langridge has a lot of fun playing with these cinematic plots. And like those silent movies that provide him his inspiration, Langridge’s characters work because they’re played big and loud without ever uttering one word of dialogue.

There’s a horse in the book that’s smarter than Fred. Heck, there’s a pig in the book who may be smarter but Fred has the biggest heart in a book full of characters with a lot of heart. Wearing those hearts on their drawn sleeves, Langridge’s characters are great actors on the page. In fact, they’re overacting but that’s what’s needed for a story like this as their large and grand gestures more than make up for the lack of words. The cartooniness in his work is the method through which Langridge can create these wonderfully human characters.

That cartooniness helps make that horse that’s smarter than Fred as much of character with real motivation as Fred or his love interest is. Now the horse may be seeing Fred as a competitor for the love of the girl but that gives him a great reason to be both an ally and an impediment to Fred. Actually, there are so many missed love connections in The Iron Duchess that Langridge’s story is a comedy about the purity and foolishness of love. And it’s all wrapped up in this funny comedic wrapper that sometimes all you notice is just how naively simple Fred is and how clear and uncomplicated his view of everything is. His simpleness allows him to function is the world that’s full of complications.

A pure cartoonist, Langridge’s books sing with joy that can only be found in visual pratfalls, jokes, and misdirection. The Iron Duchess has an old fashioned heart that showcases everything that’s great about Roger Langridge’s comics.

The Iron Duchess
Written and Drawn by Roger Langridge
Published by Hotel Fred
Read online at zcomx

January 29, 2017

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Graphic Nonfiction: Sarah Glidden Explains Sanctuary Cities

So, yeah. 2017 is looking rough. And there's going to be a lot of resistance needed, like the brave people who are out there as I type this, holding the line at airports to stop an illegal, hateful ban.

For what it's worth, we will not be shying away from sharing comics that relate to that resistance and focusing our energy on supporting creators who are a part of the resistance and are sharing information.

Or in other words, if you're looking for an apolitical comics website, this isn't it.

Tonight's graphic nonfiction focuses on the idea of sanctuary cities. Sarah Glidden uses her sketchbook to outline the concept, what it means, and what the Orange One's Executive Order can and cannot do (with the caveat that laws no longer seem to matter to the White House). Sarah does great work in graphic nonfiction, and has been featured on one of my favorite sites, The Nib.

You can--and should--read Sarah's complete look at Sanctuary Cities here.

A sample panel:

I'm proud to live in a Sanctuary city. Some others are working on designating themselves as such, like Eugene, OR. A local action you can take is to see if you already a Sanctuary City. If not--why not go to your City Council and propose that you become one?

You can read more of Sarah's work at her website. She's got a new book about Syria, Iraq, and Turkey, published by Drawn and Quarterly in late 2016. Get a copy and get informed!

January 27, 2017

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Damn Good Coffee-- (Weekend Pattering for January 27th)

Previously on Panel Patter

Cover of the Next Week

So, just how many series can Francesco Francavilla be working on?  Doing a Spirit story seems like a great fit for him but what the heck is up with Afterlife with Archie (feeling that one's more on the writer than the artist) and isn't he supposed to also be doing another Black Beetle series at some point?  

Oh, and quickly-- the Matt Wagner/Dan Schkade Spirit series of the last year or so was a lot of fun, too.  


** Books: Joe Ollmann gives gonzo trailblazer William Seabrook his due (Montreal Gazette)-- The Montreal Gazette talks to Joe Ollmann about his new book The Abominable William Seabrook.
Ollman: I’m somewhat prone to hyperbole, but I’m also pretty insecure. Cartoonists tend to have a bit of an inferiority complex. I don’t mean to denigrate the form. Work of great depth and complexity has come out of the genre. I guess I only meant to impugn my own. And I don’t even think my own work is terrible per se; it just is never as fully realized on paper as it is in your head. My affinity with Seabrook is that we share a bit of that hard-drinking writer thing. I’ve outgrown it, but it killed him. More than his vices, I admire the man for his honesty in talking about them.

This and That

** STATE OF EMERGENCY (Pen America)-- Edited by Meg Lemke, Rob Kirby, and MariNoami has put together a collection of comics about the current climate in America.

Antonio Aiello writes:
Seemingly overnight, we stepped back decades of hard-fought progress on issues of racism, bigotry, homophobia, xenophobia, nationalism, and so much more. At this point, we are a nation so deeply divided, we can’t even agree on what is real or fake news. We are in a state of emergency.

** HOW TO REPORT THE TRUTH IN THE AGE OF TRUMP (Lit Hub)-- Lit Hub looks at Sarah Glidden's Rolling Blackouts (reviewed here) and puts it in a context about reporting in Trump's America.
Sarah Glidden’s Rolling Blackouts couldn’t be more timely: a defense of journalism in the form of an extended work of graphic nonfiction, or, in other words, a book that cannot help but blur the lines. “[T]rue objectivity,” Glidden insists in a brief note entitled “About This Book,” “is impossible in narrative journalism (and arguably in any kind of journalism).” Anyone who’s spent time thinking seriously about journalism is aware of the challenges Glidden illuminates. There is the subjectivity of perspective, the selectivity of detail, the reliability of sources, the availability (or scarcity) of outlets willing or able to reckon with and make accessible what George Orwell referred to as “unpleasant facts.” There is the question of when, or whether, to publish, of how to get the information out. To this list, let me add one other item: the unattainability, on both reportorial or existential terms, of what let’s call a “full truth.” Journalists are always scrambling in the dark, building stories by accretion, following one individual to another, parsing the connections, the through-lines. Journalists are always having to decide.

** The Feminist ABC's (The Nib)-- The Nib reprints Gemma Correll's The Feminist ABC's  from the Feminist Activity Book published by Seal Press.

Current Mood

January 24, 2017

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The Rise and Fall of Paradise in Moebius' The World of Edena

The World of Edena, the first volume in Dark Horse's Moebius Library, is part adventure and part spiritual.  Back in the early 1980s, Moebius discovered the tiniest gem of a much larger story in a comic that was basically a promotional comic for French car salesmen.  Moebius is maybe one of the only cartoonists who could take a paying gig for a company like Citreon and turn it into the opening chapter of a cycle of stories about how the late 20th century humanity has disconnected itself from everything pure and good that came before.  Starting with the short story “Repairs,” Moebius discovers Stel and Atan, two very plain and non-sexual repairmen who have to fix the fantastic machines of the future. “Repairs” is very much a Moebius story of its time-- a freewheeling exploration of imagery and themes that displayed Moebius’ 1970-ish creative freedom.  But from that story, Moebius would spend nearly the next 20 years struggling against his own desired freedom and the world’s pressure to categorize, normalize, quantify and regulate his creative impulses and desires.  

The stories of Edena come after some of Moebius’ career-defining work.  In the 70s, he created Azrach and Le Garage Hermétique, drawing visions unseen in comics in any language before.  From Jean Giraud’s (Moebius’ real name) western Blueberry to Moebius’s La Banard Fou, two very different creators existed within the same man, hence the name “Moebius.”  But moving into the 1980s, Moebius would begin working on two very different story cycles; his Edena stories and The Incal with Alejandro Jodorowsky (previously written about here.)  The Incal spun out of Jodorowsky’s failed attempt to adapt Frank Herbert’s Dune into a movie (see the excellent 2014 documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune to find out what happened there) and just maybe the Edena cycle then spun out of The Incal.   In his loose attempts to create a Moebiusverse (Major Grubert from Le Garage Hermétique may or may not be a flawed god on Edena,) the story “Once Upon a Star” shows Stel and Atan travelling from this world to the next and the next is a veritable garden of Eden(a) with them as the Adam and Eve of this perfect world.  

While their time on Edena begins with it as a heavenly paradise that is theirs alone to explore, they both become changed by it and discover the corruption that infests this world.  Transitioning from a man-made science fiction world to a world that’s purely nature, Stel and Atan find themselves shipwrecked on Edena and separated from every artificial and processed thing that they believed made them who they are.  Moebius is very clear in his belief that they’ve really escaped the manufactured reality that stunted who they were.  In the early stories, Stel and Atan were very non-sexual creatures, not possessing any clear characteristics or desires associated with gender.  But Edena frees them from their manufactured reality and frees them to be a man and a woman.  And like in Eden, Stel and Atana (as her name morphs into as she clearly develops as a woman) will partake from a tree of knowledge and will experience their own expulsion from paradise.

Once Edena becomes something other than a paradise, Stel starts to experience base sexual desires that frighten Atana and she goes off on her own.  Separated, both discover the people of Edena, sealed up and hidden from the germs of the world.  While Edena may have it own giant metropolises, its people are even more isolated and non-descript than Stel and Atana were at the beginning of their stories.  The beautiful and powerful Atana is viewed as a goddess to rescue them from this sin at their core while Stel discovers the true actor behind the fall of this paradise.  On their own, both confront the serpent of this garden yet neither has the power to overcome him.

Moebius wields art like a weapon. Drawn over the course of 20 years, The World of Edena is a lush book.  Sometimes Moebius’ artwork is detailed and beautiful.  Stel and Atan’s early days on Edena contain some of the best cartoons of forests and nature.  But other times, his work becomes loose and cartoony, reflecting more of an emotional state than a physical state.  His artwork in The Incal often functions the same way as Moebius’ shifting narrative concerns are mirrored wonderfully in his artistic choices.  We often look for and demand the artist to create a visual tapestry that doesn’t break the illusions of the reality that they’re creating but for Moebius, style is a tool and a choice.  

Through these shifting visual moments, Moebius creates an alternate reality that’s not grounded in a concrete reality but in very emotionally and spiritually driven perceptions.  The world of Edena symbolizes a constant struggle between our nature and our nurture.  The shifting art styles enhance the uneasiness of Moebius’ story.  Stel and Atana are never on any kind of steady ground and Moebius never lets his reader have any surety that his characters don’t.  As we’ve seen this story released in drips and drabs over the past 20 years, it’s been difficult to judge the effect of the art but in this one collected volume, this may be the most definitive representation of Moebius art because it shows everything it was capable of as well as how Moebius was able to use it as a storytelling tool and not as just the story itself.

The World of Edena is the first time "SRA," the conclusion to Moebius’ Edena cycle, has been printed in English.  From its beginnings, you could see Moebius improvising the story as he went along.  And he improvised it up to the end.  The final chapter of The World of Edena doesn’t offer any type of conclusion, only more of a restating of the conflicts that go on and on even after the book ends.  It’s frustrating to follow the journey of Stel and Atana and to realize that Moebius never really had any vision for where their journey was going.  Maybe there’s something zen about that-- a battle for everything with no clear conclusion or victors-- but it makes the book an ultimately frustrating reading experience.  Moebius, in trying to be profound or artistic or even uncommitted to an ending, leaves the story wanting a conclusion because he does not or cannot resolve the story of Stel and Atana.  

Moebius was an artist and creator of imagination.  In his solo creations and his collaborations with Alejandro Jodorowsky, Moebius created worlds like we had never seen before and will never see again.  The World of Edena is Moebius’s work where he pours the most of his beliefs and his philosophies into, making a prolonged argument against mankind’s consumption of all kinds of things processes and manufactured.  And within his large themes and his deep imagination, Moebius tells a very human story of two characters who are separated by a world.  Stel and Atana are these two characters who are searching for the other one but they are stuck on a world that will do everything it can to keep these two lovers apart.  

Moebius Library: The World of Edena
Written and Drawn by Moebius
Published by Dark Horse

January 20, 2017

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Welcome to your life there's no turning back (Weekend Pattering for January 20th, 2017)

It's my own desire, it's my own remorse
Help me to decide, help me make the most
Of freedom and of pleasure
Nothing ever lasts forever
Everybody wants to rule the world

Somehow some Tears for Fears seems appropriate today.

For some reason, I feel compelled to say that any opinions expressed here are my own and aren't necessarily shared by anyone else at Panel Patter.  

Previously on Panel Patter

We started the week here at Panel Patter thinking about MLK day and Representative John Lewis.  We end the week thinking about what's really happening today.

In July, we reviewed the compilation of Gary Trudeau's Doonesbury strips focused on Donald Trump.  It seems like a fitting time to revisit that review.  
What’s really scary about Yuge! is just how timeless Trudeau’s take on Trump is. A lot of times, diving into the archives of Doonesbury is like stepping into a time machine where you have to refamiliarize with the zeitgeist of the day. Maybe it’s because Trump is so much a major figure of 2016 but Trudeau captures the essence of the man in all ages. For a lot of the historical figures that Trudeau poked at, he provides signposts that easily separate his version of the person from the real ones. Just look at his incorporeal versions of both President Bushes. But there’s none of that visual distancing of the strip Trump from the real Trump. So the words that Trudeau satirizes from years past feel so current because they’re words we’ve heard repeated from Trump over the past couple of years during his Presidential run. 
October 4, 2015 
As the collection catches up with the events from the past year, Trudeau’s comics become all the more damning because there’s no way to make the cartoon character spew more ugliness and vitriol than the man himself has done. It’s so bad that some of the strips are even direct quotes from Trump. It’s like Trudeau can’t go far enough in his own humor to skewer Trump any more than his own words can. The only joke and exaggeration that Trudeau can make are Trump’s medusa-like hair that hides the suggested baldness of the character.

Cover of the Next Week

RESIST! is a pro-female, anti-Trump cartoon anthology, created and published in time for the inauguration of President Trump on Friday. Created and organised by Francoise Mouly and Nadja Spiegelman with Desert Island Comics owner Gabe Fowler, it will be a free 40-page protest publication featuring mostly female comic book creators and cartoonists.

This and That

Current Mood

And let's end as we began:

Mr. Robot S02E08 Angela Moss Karaoke Scene from Plajtas on Vimeo.

January 16, 2017

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This week is a great time to revisit March and Representative John Lewis' amazing story (Weekend Pattering extra)

As we begin the inauguration week of our 45th President of the United States, it begins as most of the past weeks have with controversy and division.  Last week, Representative John Lewis, a hero of our Civil Rights movement, announced on Meet The Press that he was not going to attend President-Elect Trump's inauguration because the news of the Russian interference in our election has caused him to question the legitimacy of the President.

And you know that once this news broke, it was only a matter of time before the President-Elect responded on Twitter.  Not one to disappoint, Trump tweeted about Lewis, "All talk, talk, talk — no action or results."

Amazingly, there's the wonderful and recently autobiographical March that helps to show Lewis' actions and his results.  Along with Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell, Lewis recounts his youth in the 1960s as he non-violently fought for the right of black people in Alabama to be able to exercise their right to vote.

Since it's debut in 2013, we've covered all three volumes of March.

Writing about Book One, Rob McMonigal said:
Lewis describes in detail his path to a non-violent protester, starting with being inspired by a speech from Jim Lawson to learning how to resist attackers without attacking back. As the book nears its climax, Lewis is involved in trying to integrate the lunch counters in Nashville. It's slow, painful work, and not everyone within the African American community is solidly behind the methods of Lewis and his fellow protesters. The book ends on a note of hope, as Nashville gives in, and the tide of progress moves one step closer to the shore.
For Book 2, I talked about how Lewis, Aydin and Powell framed the story around President Obama's first inauguration.
That aftermath of the attack in 1961 is woven together with Obama’s 2009 inauguration when Aretha Franklin sang “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” and Powell fills a double-page spread with images from both time periods and it’s just a stunning moment in a book filled with many breath-taking images. Here’s this powerful woman singing, “Long may our land be bright, with freedom’s holy light, protect us by thy might, oh let freedom ring!” and while we’re taking in that glorious moment, Lewis, Aydin and Powell show us just a glimpse of what that “freedom’s holy light” was built on. Aretha sings in 2009 and in 1961 look at the blood on their hands and in the streets, each dealing with their actions in their own ways. Some are proud and others are shocked by what they’ve done. 
Book 3 debuted just last year and in my review, I concluded about it (and really the whole series,

March Book 3 isn’t a history lesson; it’s a lesson of us and who we are. The events of the early 1960s don’t feel that long in the past because of the division between Americans then, unfortunately, is not that different than the division that exists today. We’ve seen black men killed in 2016 and we’ve seen the protests, the violence and the heartfelt pain that follows. The events in March Book 3 may as well have been 50 days ago or 50 months ago as much as they were 50 years ago. Representative John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell’s book shows us the past but is really about the present, reminding us that as a country and a people we still have a long way to go to truly be a nation that understands that all men are created equally and have unalienable rights, including Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
If you believe in the President-Elect's tweet that Lewis is "all talk" and has "no results," I urge you to read all three parts of March.  Comixology has all three available digitally relatively inexpensively and you can sample it with a 2016 Free Comic Book Day issue which has excerpts from all three volumes of this fantastic book.

January 13, 2017

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That Gum You Like (Weekend Pattering for January 13th, 2017)

Previously on Panel Patter

Cover of the Next Week

** It's 2017 and DC is reviving the DC Challenge with a "story" focused around Jack Kirby's Kamandi.  And to commemorate the upcoming new series, DC is reprinting Kamandi #32 by the King.  Welcome to 2017 where everything old is new again.  

And in this case, I welcome Kamandi to our future!

This and That

** The Best Comics of 2016 (According to Some) (The Comics Journal)-- Panel Patter alum Rob Kirby and Whit Taylor contribute to TCJ's roundup of their writer's favorite comics of 2016.  

** Rob’s 6th Annual Top 20 Comics List: The 2016 Edition (Rob Kirby)-- Rob goes deeper into his best comics of 2016.
At times like these it's easy to wonder: "Why bother with stuff like a Best Of Year list?" But moving forward and celebrating art and creative expression, even in the midst of calamitous world events, can never be a bad thing. Right? Plus this is my 6th annual Fave Comics list and old OCD-ish habits do die hard...so I'm forging ahead, shining a light through the surrounding fog of dread & fear onto some real good stuff–the stuff I liked best in what turned to be a pretty good year for comics after all. This time around I broke it down into my ten favorite books and ten favorite minicomics/floppies–with the strict ground rule that everything had to have been published during this terrible, horrible, no-good, very-bad-but-still-with-some-bright-spots year. Enjoy, and let's all stay strong and fight back against what’s coming, just around the corner. And good riddance to you, 2016: the very mention of your name should now & forever carry a fucking Trigger Warning.

** kuš! winter season 2017 (kuš! blog) -- We don't give kuš! enough love around here but here's their upcoming winter comics.

Why do I have this strange feeling that my subscription to kuš! has expired.  I really hope is hasn't yet because I don't want to miss these comics.

Current Mood

January 9, 2017

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2016 Comics that Scott Will Still Be Thinking About in 2017

For the past few weeks, I've been staring at this list of comics.  I don't know if these are the best comics of 2016 or even my favorite comics of the year but these are all of the books that really struck me and that I've kept on coming back to as I've tried to figure out what 2016 meant to me when it comes to comics.

I've written about quite a few of these comics over the past year but not all of them either here or over at Newsarama.  For the books that I have written about, I've included a link to the review.

And in no particular order, here are the books of the past year that made a huge impression on me.

January 6, 2017

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Previously On Panel Patter 2016 (Weekend Pattering for January 6th, 2017)

Welcome to 2017.  Hopefully next week I'll emerge from my link blogging holiday coma and be back in normal mode.  Until then, I still have to put some kind of list together of my favorite comics of 2016.  But until then, here's a quick look at some of the stuff that's happened here at Panel Patter over the past year.

Top 10 Posts of 2016

Here's the list of the most popular posts of the year.  And of course, nothing was more popular this year than Bernie Sanders as Snow White.

#1:  Graphic Nonfiction: Birdie Sanders and a Brief History of the Finch (Rob M.)
Lastly, Panel Patter doesn't endorse presidential candidates (though we might have gone for Captain America, way back when) but we will use any excuse possible to show this:
Princess Sanders by Kipp Creations

#2:  SPX Spotlight 2016: Dan Clowes' Patience (Scott C.)
Don’t get too comfortable reading Daniel Clowes’ Patience. Don’t allow yourself to get 5 or 10 page into the book thinking you know what this story is. The book is a story about a young couple, expecting their first child and trying to figure out how they’re going to make ends meet. To keep his wife Patience calm and assured that everything is going to be o.k., Jack lies to her about his job, saying he’s on the fast track to a promotion while he’s really standing on a street corner, handing out flyers for some business or another. These first few pages almost seem like something more out of a recent Adrian Tomine book than a Clowes book. Then again, Clowes is the guy who did Ghost World, a book that has served as a template for so many of Tomine’s works.