Item! For the Torontoist’s “Historicist” feature, journalist Kevin Plummer writes a very moving 4-page profile of cartoonist George Feyer, the Hungarian immigrant who became one of Canada’s greatest and most celebrated artists of the 1950s and 1960s. It’s an amazing story that spans two continents, a half-dozen countries, and incorporates World War II, the Holocaust, Hitler, Stalin, Pierre Berton, the Los Angeles animation industry, Hockey Night in Canada, June Callwood, the Royal York Hotel, the Great Northern Brotherhood of Canadian Cartoonists, Steve Allen, the 1960s counter-culture, and Santa Claus. (Sorry Kevin for not sending a copy of the Feyer book created for the Doug Wright Awards ceremony that inducted Feyer into the Giants of the North! I’ve been really fucked up lately. The article is awesome regardless!)
Item! Writing for the National Post editorial/culture wars blog, Winnipeg’s Scott Van Wynsberghe covers the origins of Wonder Woman and the career of her creator, William Moulton Marston. As you may expect from the publisher, the article is a fairly trite and conservative take on one of the most fascinating aspects of U.S. comics history. Marston is a compelling character, and his worthy biography alone catapults the Wonder Woman story into the “Big 3″ of DC Comics stalwarts, alongside Siegel and Shuster’s Superman, and Kane, Finger, and Robinson’s Batman. Still, despite some factual inaccuracies (everybody knows that Canada’s Nelvana of the Northern Lights, and not Hawkgirl or WW, was the first female superhero) the column is worth reading for the hilarious comments alone.
Item! Speaking of DC Comics history with a tenuous Canadian connection, I like the idea that there is this one minty artifact out there that has a storied history and still smells “hot off the the press” (if something can still smell “hot off the press” after 70-odd years and sharing a house with Nic Cage, Lisa Marie Presley, and various criminals).
Item! In Boycott Marvel –I mean Disney– er I mean Muppets news, Toronto’s Ramon Perez is illustrating a lost 1967 screenplay by visionary soft-spoken puppeteer Jim Henson, due from Archaia Entertainment in January 2012.
Item! The Globe and Mail’s annual gift book feature dedicates space to various art and coffee table books, including the neologism it has helped to popularize, “graphica.” This year’s generally lacklustre picks include one intriguing gem, a graphic novel based on an unproduced script by one of Canada’s greatest living filmmakers, Robert Lepage. Co-scripted by Marie Michaud and illustrated by cartoonist Fred Jourdain, The Blue Dragon is available from House of Anansi Press.
Item! PEI’s Journal Pioneer policart Wayne Wright is profiled on the occasion of the launch of his collection of editorial cartoons, Still Crazy After All These Years.
Item! The award-winning editorial cartoonist for The Chronicle Herald, Bruce MacKinnon joins the Order of Nova Scotia.
Item! Holy Local Policart News! Brantford Expositor editorial cartoonist Dave McCreary is profiled on the occasion of a gallery show of his work for the small Ontario daily.
Item! Montreal cartoonist Dave Rosen creates a Stephen Harper colouring book.
Item! I mean, I dunno, is Marc Bell the greatest living cartoonist or stuff? Dan Nadel has a fantastic feature interview with the Spawn of London, Ontario over at the Comics Journal. Sample quote:
Bell: I’m turning 40 in November. Lordy Lordy.
Nadel: Oh shit, you are fucked. [Laughter.]
Bell: What are you, 35?
Nadel: 35 now. I do think when you were coming up, and Ron, John Porcellino, whatever all the stuff was, was pretty outsiderish. What do you think? [Laughter.]
Bell: No, it’s true, I mean this stuff has a definitely folky kind of quality, and people like Ron, it’s unique…I mean, what are you asking me?
bonus: Tom Devlin digs up some Norwegian electro-orchestral music based on Bell’s work!
Item! All us old guys are ganging up on the Matt Seneca/Blaise Larmee “are comics cool?” massive interview series. Sample quote: “Yeah, me and maybe you are cool but other comics suck. Pretending to be other people on the internet rocks!” (not 100% verbatim).
Item! Brad Mackay writes about early Canadian graphic novelist Bus Griffiths for the Comics Journal.
Item! (Jesus, is TCJ turning into the C-List?) Seth Scriver and Shayne Ehman need funding for an animated cartoon about a cross-Canada tour they took.
Item! Lastly, blogger Mike Sterling celebrates 8 years of his nominally-Swamp-Thong-focused-site, Progressive Ruin, and points us to some of the highlights of the past year. Happy anniversary, Mike!