At Nightfall

There is a distinct sense of hesitation to the work of the Italian Renaissance painter Sebastiano del Piombo (1485-1547). In spite of a high level of craft and an acute visual sensibility, many of his pictures are characterised by a searching insecurity, which also seems reflected in his notoriously low rate of productivity. According to Vasari’s biography, his longtime friend and mentor, Michelangelo, went as far as to describe him as plain lazy. He did this at a time when the two artists had fallen out — allegedly over the older master choosing fresco instead of oil as the medium for his Sistine Last Judgement — but is somehow characteristic of the professional relationship that more than anything determined Sebastiano’s career as an artist. The creative boost he got from the older artist’s Protean vision developed over time to become a crushing creative dependency.

Shot in the Head

The arrest and 30-hour detainment of Dutch cartoonist Gregorius Nekschot and the seizure of his property by police at the end of last week is disturbing news. The arrest was part of an investigation into alleged spreading of hate-speech in his cartoons and political commentary, based on a complaint made by a Dutch imam in 2005. I’m not familiar with Nekschot’s work, but what I’ve seen — coarse and repulsive as it is — is not substantially different from the hateful agitprop of a Geert Wilders for example, and not even his garbage merits this kind of action. Ignoring this kind of idiocy is the best way of combatting it.

What the hell is wrong with the Dutch government?

Reporters without Borders’ report. Nekschot’s website. Detailed commentary by blogger sympathetic to Nekschot.


As you may have read, an anonymous donor recently gifted a complete set of the original art to Amazing Fantasy #15, in which the first Spider-Man story, by Steve Ditko and Stan Lee, appeared, to the Library of Congress.

This is the story Morten Søndergård in an article published on this site, suggested was based on layouts by Kirby. This hypothesis was subsequently rejected by a number of specialists. I hereby post an image of one of the original pages as Exhibit A: what do YOU think? Is there any Kirby in it? (more images at the link).

Bonus: Charles Yoakum speculates about the identity of the donor.

UPDATE: Blake Bell has a slew of info on the original AF #15 pages, including images of all of them, up on his Ditko website.

Marvel Steps Up

Looks like I may have spoken too soon when I wrote that Marvel could not be counted on to support ailing artist Gene Colan in his hour of need. Apparently, they have agreed to contribute towards paying for his treatment, though the exact amount will remain confidential. Great, but it’s still a disgrace that there would even be doubt about them doing this in the first place. But good on Marvel for this one.

Remember: YOU can also help the Colans. More information here.

UPDATE: Tom Spurgeon has great commentary up concerning the broader issue of the lack of a safety net in the American comics industry.

A Word on Our Hype

It has gotten to the point where we’re receiving so many press releases, announcements and other advertisements here at the Metabunker that we have decided to impose certain restrictions on what gets posted. A lot of what you, the readers, have been sending looks great and we certainly appreciate and pay attention to it, but lest this site drown in hype-type, we shall from here on restrict ourselves to publishing announcements we have some kind of foreknowledge of. Stuff for which we feel we can vouch. So keep it coming, but please don’t take offense if it doesn’t get published.

Thanks for reading!

Picks of the Week

The picks of the week from around the web.

  • Douglas Feith on the Daily Show (above). Watch the former Under Secretary of Defence getting grilled on the selling of the Iraq War to the American People by John Stewart. Not to be missed!
  • Tom Spurgeon, Dirk Deppey and a host of others on the future of comics as a serial medium, as well as a primarily digitally-distributed one. Dirk’s piece especially is fascinating reading on for anyone interested in how comics might interface with the internet in the future.
  • Robert Rauschenberg Rest in Peace

    On Monday, one of the greatest artists of the latter half of the 20th Century, the uncontainable creativo Robert Rauschenberg, died. He was 82 and active to the end, leaving us a massive and singular body of work. Art as beauty, keenly reminding us that it is no different from Our World as such.

    One Love.