Kirby’s Here! Sort of…

kirby_king_comics.jpgMark Evanier long-time friend and collaborator of the late Jack Kirby, and the world’s foremost authority of the man and his work, has been working on a comprehensive biography for years. Recognising that this book will be huge, as well as expensive and perhaps hard to market to a broader audience, he has put out an abbreviated, coffee-table version, Kirby — King of Comics, which is to serve simultaneously as a primer on Kirby to a general audience and and lavishly-produced art book showcasing a representative selection of the best of Kirby’s vast oeuvre.

This is a good idea. Kirby’s work is not only experiencing something of a popular renaissance by proxy through the newly-minted, goldlined silverscreen incarnations of his creations, but seems entirely ripe for a broader reassessment as a major artist of the 20th Century. This is a well-timed book, but how well does it succeed? Less well than one would have hoped, unfortunately.

Hype: Majors

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Majors is a new Danish supergroup delivering traditional, well-crafted boom-bap hip hop in spades. In consists of former DMC Champion DJ Noize, DJ and producer extraordinaire Static, as well as the MCs NatILL, J-Spliff and the hottest new talent on the block, Negash Ali. Their album is out, you can check out their first video here and, if you’re in Denmark, be sure to make one of these upcoming shows:

Copenhagen, Rust
Wednesday May 7
Doors 21.00 (free beer)
Show 23.00

Ã…rhus, Train
Friday May 9
Doors 23.00
Show 01.30

Majors.dk MySpace

The Arbiters of Taste 2007

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By Matthias Wivel, Henry Sørensen & T. Thorhauge
As per our Modus Operandi, we hereby bring you the Bunker’s selections of the best comics of 2007, more than four months into the new year, after everyone else has moved on. But we wouldn’t bother if we didn’t think our recommendations might be useful to comics readers out there. So here we go!

2007 was another great year for comics, although one could perhaps argue that the publication of new, truly groundbreaking or just plain amazing comics has been slightly on the wane the past couple of years, after the consummation of the work of so many great talents, both in North America and the Francophone countries, in the years around the turn of the new century. This may just be the way the chips have fallen, but could also be a symptom of the generational shift taking place within comics. The great works published by now established, middle-age cartoonists in previous years are a hard act to follow to say the least, but a generation of younger artists are increasingly delivering the goods and we can only hope they will continue to grow.

Picks of the Week

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The picks of the week from around the web.

  • The New York Times: Frank Rich turns in a brilliant column on the perceived constituency and chances of election of John McCain in this autumn’s presidential election. As usual, a thought-provoking corrective to the steady media drone about the Democratic primaries.
  • More on the 50’s comics clampdown and its figurehead psychiatrist Frederic Wertham from cartoonist Steve Bisette and writer Bob Levin. Both serve up interesting counterarguments to Bart Beaty’s defense of Wertham (as linked to last week).
  • The monotypes of Gustave Verbeek. Check out this 1916 article on the prints of the Japan-born Dutch fine artist and cartoonist. Oh, and here are some comic strips.
  • Hype: OCX 08 & Tegneseriens Dramaturgi

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    Lest you’d missed it, it is festival season. So here’s another round of hype. This time for the newly initiated Oslo Comix Expo, which was held for the first time last year. It was a considerable success — a really pleasant and unpretentious, but still ambitious and well-organised little festival (read more here and here). This year it will be held on May 23-24 and only promises to get better. Amongst the announced guests we find Warren Ellis, Killoffer, Igort, Johnny Ryan, Martin Kellerman and the Stripburger collective.

    The official programme hasn’t been announced, but an ancillary special arrangement has: on May 21-23, a workshop on the dramaturgy of comics, with special focus on the exchange between writing for film and comics, will be held at the Oslo Cinemateque (Filmens hus) in Oslo. Amongst the instructors will be a number of the above-mentioned comics luminaries: Killoffer, Igort and Warren Ellis.

    To join, send an email with a CV and a short synopsis to a story (max. 3 pages) to kurs@nfl.no, marked “TEGNESERIE-VÆRKSTED.” More information (in Norwegian) here and here. And keep an eye on the OCX site for updates! Artwork by Igort.

    Hype: Stripdagen Haarlem

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    Stripdagen in Haarlem has long been known as one of the best small comics festivals in Europe, consistently offering quality programming and notable international guests. This year’s festival, which runs from June 6-8, looks to be no different, with a group exhibition of artists from the collectives FRMK, La Cinquiène couche and La Mycose being the central attraction announced so far.

    Full disclosure: I’m in the nominating jury for the so-called VPRO Grand Prize, for which Chris Ware, Naoki Urasawa and Dominique Goblet have been singled out. The winner will be selected by an independent committee of some hundred Dutch and Belgian comics experts.

    Additionally, it has been announced that the nominees for the national prize, the so-called Hoogste Prijs, are Hanco Kolk, Peter de Wit and Marcel Ruijters. The winner will be chosen by the same committee. Also, the VPRO debut prize will be given to Randall C.

    Go, if you can!

    Images from Goblet’s Faire semblant c’est mentir, Ware’s 2007 Thanksgiving covers for the New Yorker and Urasawa’s Monster.