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Comics Should Be Good Mailbag for 12/24

Here is the latest installment of a weekly reader interactive segment on the blog, where I answer reader-submitted e-mails to bcronin@comicbookresources.com (and also post other e-mails that I receive) while I should be finishing wrapping presents!

Enjoy!

Reader Wesley wrote in with the following extremely important question:

Hey, Brian, long-time reader, first-time writer:

I’ve been picking up the Essential Defenders collections, when I noticed that Namor has no nipples. I figure they had been omitted due to the Comics Code. So I did a little checking, and found that he was still nipple-less by the end of his 1990s series, but had them in the “New Wave” series in 2003. So here’s my question:

When did Namor get nipples?

Interesting question, Wesley, and it really is amazing how long he went without having nipples.

Well, while Byrne seemed to slightly getting towards having Namor have nipples towards the end of Byrne’s run as artist on Namor, I think the real beginning of Namor having nipples was when Jae Lee took over the book…

Later artists actually seemed to show less nipplege, but by that point, Paul Ryan had picked up on it full force over in Fantastic Four, and showed Namor’s nipples the entire time he was a cast member over in that book.

Can anyone find an earlier usage than Jae Lee (which would be early 1992)?
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Reader Aaron wanted to know if the blog could do more about webcomics. It’s a great question, Aaron, and while I can’t guarantee anything, it’s definitely a real possibility!

I DID put Achewood in my Top 10 Comics of 2008 list, by the way! Achewood is a web comic! Achewood is a really funny web comic! You should all go read Achewood now! achewood.com
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Reader Patrick asked:

You posted this week about how The Comic Book Heroes by Gerard Jones and Will Jacobs is one of the best books for funny book history and I totally agree, but could you tell me whatever happened to the man who did the most current cover, Travis Charest? Slow as hell, but I miss his stuff.

A number of years ago, Patrick, Charest officially dedicated himself to doing just European comics, where the slower pace is an accepted practice. However, amusingly enough, Charest’s pace was actually too slow for European comics, as well, as the Metabarons project he was working on for Humanoid Publishing (Charest was painting each page) ended up as just 30 pages in seven years. He was replaced on the project in 2007.

Nowadays, he does covers for Marvel, such as this one for Captain America: The Chosen…

and is working on some creator-owned stuff (he was doing a web comic called Spacegirl for awhile – you can follow it here)

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Kristin Kirkpatrick, of University Press of Mississippi, wrote to tell me about a Comic Studies Reader from University Press of Mississippi.

Here is the press release:

A Comics Studies Reader (University Press of Mississippi) provides an introduction to comics scholarship and critical commentary, offering essays on a wide variety of comics forms-gag cartoons, comic strips, manga, comic books, graphic novels-over the course of the 20th century and beyond. Featuring the work of such noteworthy writers and theorists as Gilbert Seldes, Fredric Wertham, David Kunzle, M. Thomas Inge, Amy Kiste Nyberg, Martin Barker, Thierry Groensteen, and others, this ollection testifies to the rich cultural conversation that cartooning has generated throughout the world.

This volume is divided into sections on comics history and origins, aesthetics and form, narrative and identity, and close readings of selected texts. Editors Jeet Heer and Kent Worcester provide contextual introductions to each thematic section along with a general introduction that gives an overview of the major critical approaches used to discuss comics.

The volume includes seminal essays on European and Asian comics as well as American works. Such pioneering works as R. F. Outcault’s The Yellow Kid, Art Spiegelman’s Maus, and Rodolphe Töpffer’s oeuvre are discussed, as are subjects such as the influence of manga, the Comics Code, and formal theories of comics as art.

A Comics Studies Reader is one of the first comprehensive collections of comics studies from the early twentieth century to the present. By introducing readers to the major debates, issues, and points of reference that continue to shape the field this anthology establishes the significance and breadth of comics studies. With Chris Ware and Chris Oliveros, Toronto-based writer Jeet Heer is editing a series of volumes reprinting Frank King’s Gasoline Alley, three volumes of which have been published. Kent Worcester teaches political theory at Marymount Manhattan College. He is the author of C. L. R. James: A Political Biography and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art. Together they have edited Arguing Comics: Literary Masters on a Popular Medium for University Press of Mississippi.

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Reader John wants to know:

I was thinking about writing a letter to DC comics and beg them to reprint Garth Ennis and John McCrea’s Hitman along with their earlier run on The Demon. Who would be the best person to send a letter/email to about this.

I’ll be honest – I have no idea.

Anyone know?
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John Seavey has another new non-comic book related Storytelling Engine piece up at his blog fraggmented.blogspot.com, which you can find here. This week, the Storytelling Engine is Universal Pictures’ Frankenstein.
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Marc Tyler Nobleman wrote in to say:

On the flip side of New Year’s, I will be speaking about Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman, the first standalone book about the two teenaged nerds who created the world’s first superhero:

Tuesday, January 13, 2009
8:15 p.m.
92nd Street Y (click for event information)
Lexington Avenue at 92nd Street

The talk includes the story itself, plus reveals the startling discoveries I made during research, the path from 22 rejections to the front page of USA TODAY, the connection between Superman and Judaism, funny highlights of the various promotional gambles I’ve tried, and more.

The Y charges for their programs and this one is $27. Add in the cost of babysitting and I understand that this may not be in the budget. However, if you can swing it, I do think you’ll enjoy it–even if you’re not a Superman fan. I’d love to see you and will be staying after to say hi.
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I believe that’s about it for this week!

Good e-mails, folks! Send more e-mails!

If you do, be sure to send me an e-mail to bcronin@comicbookresources.com with the subject heading “Mailbag” if you want to be included in next week’s mailbag!

Merry Christmas!

Now off to wrap some more presents!!

4 Comments

Glad to see more comics criticism and theory from the Univeristy of Mississippi Press. My girlfriend, currently in the process of getting her Ph. D in literature, has written a lot of comics-related papers over the years and she frequently comments on how little actual academic discourse on comics exists (frustrating when trying to find sources for her own papers). I tried to come up with examples, but most of those fell under the “history” category, of which there is (not unpleasantly) plenty. UoM Press has put out a number of good volumes on comics history themselves and some good criticism to boot, so the more the better, I say. I’m definitely pre-ordering from the current Diamond catalogue.

OK, now that’s how you make Namor look silly.

That’s a Jae Lee? Goodness. I’m glad I’m not familiar with his nineties work. Even Maleev’s is better.

Send those reprint letters to Bob Wayne.

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