I’m currently obsessed with ‘Comic Art Magazine,’ primarily because it’s exactly what I always wanted The Comics Journal to be – historically minded, analytical, and in full color on glossy stock. To be fair, the interviews in Comics Journal are usually pretty great, and the monthly interview mp3’s are a favorite of mine. The editorial quality and production values of Comic Art, however, put the journal to shame.
My favorite part of the magazine is a regular feature called ‘In the Studio,’ in which comics artists select several pages worth of artifacts from within their personal studios for reproduction. The selections usually include the artist’s originals, favorite bits of random printed matter, and selections from their own collections of original art, each captioned with a description of the item and its importance by the artists. Past installments have covered Daniel Clowes (Eightball, Ghost World), Chris Ware (Jimmy Corrigan, Quimby the Mouse), Charles Burns (Skin Deep, Black Hole, The Believer), and in the current issue, Art Spiegelman (Maus, The New Yorker). Clicking each name in the previous sentance will open a two page preview of the article.
In addition to these pieces on contemporary comics artists, each issue has featured several articles on comic art of days gone by – including great essays on Charles Schulz’ pre-peanuts work, Disney artist Carl Barks’ unique panel layout (Cool Dude alert!), and the myth that ‘The Yellow Kid’ was the first newspaper comic strip.
The current issue features an Art Spiegelman cover that was rejected by the New Yorker. From the Spiegelman ‘In the Studio’ article:
“It was originally presented as a cover for the New Yorker’s “Money Issue” last year, but at that point, [Editor] David Remnick’s repsonse was “This is about oil. It’s a money issue.” (Laughter)….”
There’s a bit on the circumstances of Spiegelman leaving the New Yorker here, for you comic book gossip hounds.
The current issue also features an extensive article on ‘Harold and the Purple Crayon’ creator Crockett Johnson’s comic work. The quarterly magazine is 80 pages in full color, with minimal advertising (Even the ads are good, mostly teasers from auction houses selling original artwork). It’s $9 ppd, and the issues have all been selling out, so act fast. You can see the tables of contents of the first 4 issues here.