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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

San Diego Comic-Con International Report #2 : Comics Purchased and Received

In this second SDCCI report, I'll list the Jewish comics that I bought or was given, as well as the non-Jewish freebies I received.

In addition to the comics swag (slang for freebies), there was plenty of other swag available, though it was near-impossible to gather it all up, given the vast expanse of the exhibition floor and the limited time (especially if you wanted to do something more than picking up swag, like, y'know, actually buying comics or attending the sessions).

My vote for the best (& most practical) swag of the con (which I, unfortunately, did not score for myself) : a Final Destination 3 promotional handheld mini electric fan. Everywhere you went in the Convention Center (moreso in the lines outside of it), as well as on the crowded trolleys, it was as hot as the flames covering Ghost Rider.

Other cool non-comics swag that I recall getting : a blue "The Tick" spoon (aka Spooooooooooooon!") ; a bookmark illustrated by Donna Barr ; a Lynda Carter Wonder Woman face-on-a-stick (for the auction, I guess) ; a gummi candy (I think it was a "gummi brain" ; it gave me a necessary sugar-rush) ; bags, bags, bags (alas neither the HUGE black "Star Wars" bag nor the yellow Dark Horse bag survived the trip, though they lasted quite a long time and held a lot) ; a large reproduction of a page from Art Spiegelman's In the Shadow of No Towers (on thick cardboard, I think) ; a Wowio t-shirt ; a pink sticker-thing of an octopus holding up a torah scroll that has the word "Chimney" written on it (with Hebrew letters) which I later stuck onto a black display board ; a booklet of bizarre Adult Swim postcards ; "The Making of Free Enterprise" booklet ; exclusive author-read excerpt and Q&A for Eldest (book two in the Inheritance trilogy) ; SW [Star Wars] Action News podcast CD (38 recent episodes) ; ConNotations v.16, #3 June/July 2006 ; Comic-Con International 2006 Souvernir Book

Free Books

The Best of BenBella Books' Smart Pop Series Volume 2

The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters by Gordon Dahlquist (special excerpt)

His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik (special preview)

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (special excerpt)

Lost Calling by Evelyn Vaughn

Nocturne by Caridad Pineiro (sneak preview)

Rhiana by Michael Hauf

Free Magazines

Animation Magazine Aug. 2006

Bubblemag #1 (2006)

Cinemafantastique special 2006 preview issue

MAD Kids #4 (Aug. 2006)

Previews July 2006

TV Guide for July 24-30 (which just happened to have Capt. Kirk and Mr. Spock on the cover)

Write Now! Magazine #13 (Aug. 2006) given to me by Danny Fingeroth after chatting with him prior to the start of the Eisner Awards

non-Jewish comics

Age of Conan : Hyborian Adventures

B.A.B.E. Force : Back to School #1

B.A.B.E. Force : Jurassic Trailer Park #1

Classic Cardinal #2

Codename Ghost (1-page promo)

Conan : The Legend #0


Dark Horse : 20 Years (a collection of pinups)

Flare #1 Nov. 2004

The Guradian Line preview issue

Hellgate London #0

Innies and Outies (1-page promo)

Iron Star

The Legend of Isis #2

Liberty Girl #1

Monster House (signed)

Netcomics Manhwa Sampler

The Night Driver teaser edition (signed)

Pakkins' Land #4

R. H. Stavis' Demons of Mercy #0

Red-E & the Lynnx #1

Renaissance (looks like a comic, but actually just tells about the people involved in the film)

Rush City #0

Shark-Man #1

Sherree's Secret #1

Ted Dekker's Saint : A Graphic Introduction

Visionary Comics Studio Previews 2006

Virgin Comics #0

Woah Mini Comics #1 & #2 (given out to those of us standing in line outside the convention center, waiting to get into the Ghost Rider / Spider-Man 3 session)

Yin Yang Yo! #1

Jewish Comics

I bought Jobnik #1, written by a Jewish American-Israeli-Canadian woman. I suppose I could have asked to pay for it in Canadian dollars, but didn't think of asking, at the time. I might have passed right by the booth, if I hadn't spotted the Hebrew t-shirts ("bikesh shalom ve-rodfehu", which means "seek peace and chase after it"). The comics are autobiographical and mainly show Miriam Libicki's life during her stint in the Israeli army. You can read about Miriam and her comics (and view preview pages) by going to I paid cover price, but forgot to ask her to autograph it for me. I was also given a 4-page reproduction called "jobnik manifesto".
Libicki, Miriam. [Hamas] Jobnik #1 Feb. 2004 (Vancouver : Real Gone Girls).

I bought The Lone & Level Sands graphic novels (i.e. both the color hardcover and the black-&-white paperback). I've been told that the hardcover looks superior to the paperback edition. I forget the total price, but I paid less than the cover price for the 2 combined would have been. mpMann signed both of them for me
Lewis, David A. The Lone and Level Sands (Fort Lee, NJ : ASP Comics, 2005).
Lewis, David A. The Lone and Level Sands (Arlington, VA : Caption Box, 2005).

I bought The Nine Lives of El Gato Crime Mangler at cover price, after author-illustrator Michael Aushenker told me it had a story with Holy Cow Holstein in it, whom he described as Jewish. He signed it for me, as well as a promotional poster for Monsters 4 Justice (a superhero-team comic series). Included in the team's roster is Urban Golem, who is Jewish.
Aushenker, Michael. The Nine Lives of El Gato (LA : El Gato Comics, 2003).

Jalila #1 was given to me for free, as I was heading out of the exhibit hall on Sunday afternoon --- at least 15 minutes after the hall was "officially" closed. I haven't read it yet, but there's a rabbi on the cover (alongside an imam and a priest).
Kandeel, Ayman. "The 6th Terrorist" Jalila #1 March 2006 (Giza, Egypt : AK Comics).

I was given a copy of Smoke & Mirror vol. 1 and Of Bitter Souls vol. 1, while waiting for my plane to board on Tuesday (i.e. 2 days after the convention ended). I was meant to fly back to Toronto via Detroit, but the Detroit flight was cancelled. If it weren't cancelled I might never have met Chuck Satterlee. Chuck realized that I was at the convention when he noticed that I was wearing a Wowio t-shirt (one of the freebies). When I told him about the panel I moderated, he told me that one of the characters in Smoke & Mirror is Jewish and that his adoptive parents were Jewish.
Satterlee, Chuck. Of Bitter Souls Volume 1 : Saints & Sinners (UK : Markosia, 2006).
Satterlee, Chuck. Smoke & Mirror Volume 1 : Time & Time Again (UK : Markosia, 2006).

I was given a copy of the minicomic The Bleeding Tree by its illustrator-adapter Diana Marsh.

I bought The Librarian : Return to King Solomon's Mines 5-page exclusive preview for $1.00. No Jewish content in it at all, but there is an illustration of a book with a Star od David on it on the cover and it's hard for me to pass up any comic that has "Librarian" in the title.

I made a photocopy (for 10 cents, I think) of a cartoon from a Doonesbury digest book that I had picked up during the Toronto Bookcrossing Convention. In the cartoon, Mark Slackmeyer tells his black friend that it will be interesting trying to get him into his father's club since normally you can't get in unless you're descended from one of the guys who came over on the Mayflower. His freind asks how he got in since Mark is Jewish. Mark replies that "We [the Jews} owned the Mayflower."
Trudeau, G.B. The President is a Lot Smarter than You Think (Popular, 1973).

I also made a copy of a one-panel Bizarro cartoon in which a pig is walking into a doorway of a house with another pig. A Hasidic Jew is sitting in a chair and one pig says to the other "It's okay, Ralph. We'll be safe in here."
Piraro, Dan. Bizarro. (San Francisco : Chronicle, 1986), p. 9

In the bookcrossing spirit, I gave away both cartoon books at a room where a panel on the subject of comic strips was to take place.

I bought a copy of Crickets #1 at the D&Q table for the Candian cover price (luckily I still had Canadian cash with me) and got Sammy Harkham to sign it for me.
Harkham, Sammy. "Black Death" Crickets #1 Jan. 2006 (Montreal : Drawn and Quarterly).

I bought The Prophecy #2 for just $1.50 (i.e. 50% off the cover price). That's the kind of bargain one can expect when you wait until 15 minutes after the lady on the loudspeaker yells "The convention is now over. Leave the exhibit hall NOW!"
Kubert, Joe. "The Prophecy Part Two" Sgt. Rock : The Prophecy #2 Apr. 2006 (NY : DC).

I bought a copy of David : The Shepherd's Song and David's Mighty Men at cover price, as I didn't feel sure I would have another chance to buy them. I didn't realize, at the time, that the Mighty Men book contained the story from Mighty Men #1 (which I already owned).
Lepp, Royden. David : The Shepherd's Song Volume 1 (La Mesa, CA : Cross Culture, 2005).
Saltares, Javier. David's Mighty Men : Goliath Sized Edition (La Mesa, CA : Alias, 2005).

I bought one of the last remaining unsold copies of Arsenic Lullaby #12 at the cover price for one reason and ONLY one reason : to be able to read the story with the Pilsbury Doughboy at Auschwitz. When I got home and scanned it, I realized that it was simply a 1-page illustration, not a story. There are stories in the comic, though.
Paszkiewicz, Douglas. "1943 : The Pilsbury Doughboy at Auschwitz" Arseic Lullaby #12 Jan./Feb. 2000 (s.l. : A Silent Comics).

I vaguely recall getting a bargain on the copy of Families of Altered Wars #109 that I bought. I had to sift through a box of the issues of the series in the vendor's longbox to find it, but the cover was hard not to notice once I saw it. It has an illustration of an Israeli jet fighter and a Star of David air force emblem in the background, as well as the storyline title "Wings of David" and a "Save Israel Rebuild Iraq" slogan.
Nomura, Ted. "Raumkrieg Part Five" Families of Altered Wars #109, 1st story June 2003 (San Antonio : Antarctic).


San Diego Comic-Con International Report #1 : Signatures & Sketches

It's been over a month since I returned from SDCCI and I have yet to post any commentary --- until now.

In this first report, I'll just give a quick rundown of the FREE sketches and signatures I picked up. These don't include signatures of stuff I bought at the con (which will be covered in another post).

* Rabbi Simcha Weinstein signed my copy of Up Up and Oy Vey : How Jewish History Culture and Values Shaped the Comic Book Superhero.

* J.T. Waldman signed my copy of Megillat Esther.

* George Perez, who had already signed my copies of my non-Jewish Crisis on Infinite Earths #1 & #7, signed my copy of Wonder Woman #37.

* Marv Wolfman signed the aforementioned copies of Crisis ... #1 & #7, as well as The Tomb of Dracula #27 and The New Teen Titans #24.

* Peter David signed my copies of The Incredible Hulk #373, #386 & #387.

* Joe Rubinstein signed the aforementioned Hulks (386-387), as well as my copies of issues 1-3 of Mendy and the Golem. He also sketched me a rabbi based on the cover of M&tG #3.

* Judd Winnick signed my copies of Caper (issues 1-4), and sketched a "Happy Rabbi in SD!" for me.

* Brad Meltzer signed a Justice league mini-poster that was being given away at the DC booth

* Douglas Rushkoff sketched an "Adam and Eve in Eden" scene --- even though he's (by his own admission) a much better writer than he is an artist. I wanted him to sign a copy of an issue of Testament, but couldn't find a dealer who had copies to sell.

* Paul Levitz signed my prinout of his 1-page 9/11 story "Tradition"

* Sergio Aragones signed my copies of Testament (he drew the Jonah adaptation) and Fanny Hillman : Memoirs of a Jewish Madam (which led him to remark to nearby Scott Shaw! that he'd wished that Scott never mentioned the book in his "Oddball Comics" column). He also sketched me a rabbi holding a hot dog (kosher, of course).

* Eisner-award-winner Andy Runton signed my copy of the Free Comic Book Day edition of Owly : Breakin' the Ice - a non-Jewish comic, but one of my favorites

* Matt Groening signed my copy of a April 30-May 5, 2006 issue of the Toronto Star Starweek TV Guide which had a cover celebrating the airing of the 350th epdisode of his TV show hit The Simpsons, as well as a copy of Love is Hell (ironically signed to myself and my wife). Matt also sketched a Bart Simpson head for me. For those who have never been to CCI, I should point out that one must be prepared to get in line for a "lottery" for "Bart Bucks" in order to be allowed to get in the (later) line for autographs & sketches from the Simpsons crew.

* David Hedgecock sketched a rabbi for me.

* David Silverman sketched a Krusty the Clown for me (he politely declined to sketch me his rabbi-father Rabbi Krustofsky, though).

Bat-family (TV show): Batman, Robin, Batgirl, Catwoman

Friday, August 25, 2006

Masters of the Comic Book Universe Revealed! launch party

Arie Kaplan's book Masters of the Comic Book Universe Revealed! (Chicago Review Press) comes out in September. Recently, he interviewed some of the most legendary comic book creators in the world -- nay, the universe -- and wrote a book chronicling their lives and careers.

...And now it's time to celebrate. Arie's having a launch party on Monday August 28th, 2006, at 6:15PM at MoCCA (the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art) in Manhattan. The address is: MoCCA Gallery, 594 Broadway, Suite 401 (between Houston & Prince).

At the launch party, there'll be a panel discussion on comics featuring Kaplan as well as comics luminaries Jerry Robinson (Batman), Rob Sikoryak (RAW Magazine), and Danny Fingeroth (Spider-Man). The panel will be moderated by entertainment journalist Eddy Friedfeld. A reception will follow, and this event is free and open to the public.

Masters of the Comic Book Universe Revealed! is a book profiling some of the most influential comics creators in history, including Stan Lee (X-Men), Will Eisner (The Spirit), Art Spiegelman (Maus), Kyle Baker (Why I Hate Saturn), Trina Robbins (GoGirl!), Jerry Robinson (Batman), Ho Che Anderson (KING), Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis), Gilbert Hernandez (Love & Rockets), Neil Gaiman (Sandman), and Dwayne McDuffie (Static Shock). Amazing stories of how these artists and writers fell in love with the comics medium and built up their careers are coupled with never-before-disclosed anecdotes and previously unpublished self-portraits that will surprise even the most knowledgeable fans.

The book's wonderful cover art is by MAD contributor Ray Alma. And the back cover is adorned with some really nice blurbs from cartoonists Al Jaffee (MAD) and Peter Kuper (World War Three Illustrated), and comedian Patton Oswalt (TV's "King of Queens").

And feel free to check out a brief blurb about the launch party at the following link to MoCCA's website, and scroll down to "August 28th":

Additional information on thr book, plus a link to the book's page on, can be found at the following link:

Also, here's a page from the 2006 Chicago Review Press catalogue (PAGE 30) devoted to "Masters of the Comic Book Universe Revealed!":

Monday, August 21, 2006

"Jews and the Graphic Novel" by David Gantz

Not only is this autobiographical-historical overview well-written, it's presented in the comic book format --- most appropriate, since it is about comic books and graphic novels.

The pages may be viewed at

Among the specific comics creators whose work is mentioned are : Joe Kubert, Neil Kleid, J.T. Waldman (author-illustrator of Megillat Esther), Will Eisner, Joann Sfar, Al Jaffee and David Gantz hiself.


A special thank you goes to Rabbi Joe Kanofsky of Toronto's Latner Centre for Jewish Knowledge and Heritage for pointing this article out to me.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Jewish graphic novel authors at Harbourfront (Toronto)


Want to meet some interesting author-illustrators in Toronto during the Labour Day Weekend?

There are 3 presentations on Jewish graphic novels at Harbourfront (2 panels, 1 slide-show lecture) as part of Ashkenaz --- and 2 of them are FREE!

Sept. 3 @1pm : The Story of the Jews with Stan Mack
Marilyn Brewer Community Space
cost : Free

Veteran cartoonist and writer Stan Mack has never used his documentary style of graphic design to better effect than in his stunning Story of the Jews. Through projection of graphics onto a screen accompanied by his lively narration, the book is transformed into a historical drama.

Sept. 3 @5pm : Graphic Lives: Ben Katchor & Bernice Eisenstein
Studio Theatre
Cost : $10.00

Artists and writers Ben Katchor and Bernice Eisenstein both employ graphics in their storytelling. Using multi-media techniques, they will screen illustrations and dramatically evoke the real and imagined events in such acclaimed books as Katchor's The Jew of New York and Eisenstein's I was a Child of Holocaust Survivors.

Sept. 4 @2pm : Illustration, Passion and Memory: Jews and the Graphic Novel with Ben Katchor, Bernice Eisenstein and Stan Mack
Marilyn Brewer Community Space
Cost : Free

A new literary genre is emerging. Called the graphic novel, it haphazardly incorporates memoir and fiction, documentary and fantasy. Though clearly not always a novel, the form always uses illustrations and text, and is intended for adults to enjoy. Pioneered by Will Eisner and Art Spiegelman, the graphic novel has roots -- though not solely -- in Ashkenaz culture. Three of the finest exemplars of this new genre, Ben Katchor, Bernice Eisenstein and Stan Mack, will discuss their contentious relationships to this new, highly visible, form. Is it literature? Art? How will it develop? Join them for a lively discussion.

Truth Justice & the Canadian Way, eh?

If I were a superhero, that would be my motto. I'd fight for truth, justice and the Canadian way.

I have no superpowers or colorful costume, though. I'm not tough enough to stand a chance in a physical fight with the bad guys.

What I can do, though, is point out injustice when I see it. Not just in the literal "violation of criminal statutes" way, but in the broader sense of warning people about wrongdoers and speaking out against the actions of tyrants.

This blog isn't about the larger injustices of the world, though --- things like poverty, war, terrorism. It's a blog about a specific commodity, namely comic books. As far as I've seen, there hasn't really been any wrongdoing in the Canadian comics industry. Technically, the selling of "crime comics" is still illegal, but that's an old law that doesn't get enforced.

The wrongdoing I'd like to address is being committed by a company called Hobbystar Marketing (or, at least, by Aman Gupta who represents Hobbystar).

According to Daryl Collison of 3rd Quadrant Comics, Aman called him to inform Daryl that anyone who exhibited at the Super Fan Comic Book Show would not be allowed to also have a table at the Fan Expo Canada show.

Since the circulation of Daryl's open letter, others in the Toronto comics scene have spoken out against Hobbystar and have asked others to boycott the upcoming Fan Expo show. There's even a blog dedicated to discussion of the topic (allowing both pro- and con- statements, though most of the comments seem to be in favor of the boycott).

If you're in the Toronto area on Labour Day weekend and would like to meet comics celebrities, I would reccommend attending one or more of the graphic novel programs at the Ashkenaz Festival, instead of attending Expo. More details about Ashkenaz in my next post.

Balm in Gilead (Mahrwood Press)

Tampa, Florida, August 13, 2006

Top names in comics & SF join forces to aid Israeli children

Prestige anthology from Mahrwood Press directly benefits children affected
by bombing in northern Israel.

American-Israeli Publisher Mahrwood Press Ltd. has announced a special project to benefit children suffering disruption and more due to the situation in northern

Balm in Gilead will be a prestige anthology featuring the top names in
comics and genre literature. All proceeds go directly toward feeding,
clothing and housing children.

Balm in Gilead combines the efforts of Neal Adams, Jon Bogdanove, Dave Cockrum, Jack Dann, Peter David, Colleen Doran, Harvey Jacobs, Jeffrey Jones, Joe Kubert, Stan Lee, William Messner-Loebs, Robin Riggs, Joe Rubinstein, Robert Silverberg and Len Wein. Additional creators will be announced in weeks to come. The anthology will be edited by Clifford Meth.

"We wanted to do something for the kids to give them some joy in a difficult
time," stated Eric Mahr, Publisher and President of Mahrwood Press. "We are
pleased and proud that some of the most respected people in comics and
literature have stepped forward to join this project. Balm in Gilead will
provide desperately needed help to children in northern Israel and the book
itself will be something that Jews, Muslims, Christians will enjoy."


About Mahrwood Press

Mahrwood Press Ltd. founded in 2004, is a privately held company with
offices in Jerusalem, Israel and Tampa, Florida. The company publishes
visual publications and prose literature for the English, Hebrew, Spanish
and French languages. For more information please visit
Marhwood Press' website. Or email