guttergeek the discontinuous review of graphic narrative

April/May 2009

As promised earlier in the year, we have been hard at work in the R&D labs here at guttergeek inc. , and we are now prepared to launch guttergeek 2.0. OK. In truth, it is not much of a big change (I think we need a new R&D team), but it does get us out of the business of publishing “issues,” a business we were struggling with increasingly over the past year or so as our commitments both in and out of the world of comics continued to grow more complicated. The new format will allow us to publish updates on a more regular basis, working guttergeek more effortlessly into the unpaid pleasures of our frenetic lives. And moving to an rss feed for guttergeek, as many of our readers have asked us to do, will allow you to keep up with our updates and make it no longer necessary to bombard our faithful friends with emails announcing the latest of our issues. Finally, moving to a blog format will also allow us to include comments from readers and creators about our offerings and about the world of comics in general.

Of course, new beginnings also seem of necessity to get us looking backwards as well. In one case, at least, the look back is with great regret for the loss of the invaluable and inimitable UK startup, The DFC, which I reviewed this past summer when I was fortunate enough to be in London just as the new anthology-weekly came on the scene. We continued to keep up with The DFC after our return to the U.S. (despite the brutal overseas subscription rates), faithfully following the serial stories and marveling at the unique energy and love the creators poured into its pages. And so it was with great sadness that we learned recently that The DFC has fallen a victim of the global recession, canceled by publisher Random House after a half-hearted attempt to find a buyer for the imprint. The DFC was the best thing to happen to British comics in a long time, and while there is little reason to hope for a rebirth of the comic, there is good reason to believe the folks who made it happen will pull together something remarkable in the not-too-distant future. Keep up with their plans and plots at the newly-created community for DFC refugees: the Super Comics Adventure Squad.

Happier reports from the guttergeek field come in from Eric Davies, master editor and secret-ninja cartoonist, who offers us his review of his visit to the NY comicon in February. We are hoping Eric and others will share their reviews and essays in comic form in the months to come. Comics about comics are still the best comics in our book (although, it must be admitted, our book is not in fact a comic).

And more happy follow-ups to earlier reviews. From the brilliant Apostolos Doxiadis, a YouTube documentary on the making of his mind-bending Logicomix (don’t forget to watch parts 2 and 3 also). Logicomix won’t be available in English translation until later early fall, but the documentary will have all good guttergeeks pre-ordering their copy right away. (Not nearly half as cool, but we also discovered an animation tie-in to The Stuff of Life which we discussed in the same review).

On a related note, Geoffrey Long dropped us a note following up on his review of “Motion Comics,” directing us to a terrific Flash essay. As Geoffrey writes, “It's not that far past what McCloud's been yammering on about for years, but he does some interesting stuff – especially pointing out what the new digital comics initiatives (like the ones I talked about in my Guttergeek essay) get so spectacularly wrong, and how digital comics can do neat stuff with recentering the frame on particular things.  (That was something I'd never seen done before, so he gets big ups for that.)”

OK! I think we’re almost caught up with all the news from the gutter and ready to return to your irregularly-scheduled programming...