Commentary: Shaenon Garrity mulls over the question of why comics creators and publishers can't make money selling porn. (Worth a click for the Phil Foglio side trip alone.)
And even though Penny and Aggie is supposed to represent something akin to a real high school, it still exists in a fantasy universe. It's a Joss Whedon version of high school, sans the vampires: everything is a little brighter, the dialogue is sharper, and just about everyone is redeemable, if not actually redeemed.
History: Ryan Holmberg writes about the origins of the Japanese underground comics magazine Garo, which actually was a children's magazine in its early days:
There were articles instructing kids in how to protest and how to petition the government. There was also a manga instructing kids in judo, which is interesting in relationship to the material on neighboring pages, a kind of multifaceted, ideological and physical training of children for martial combat against the right-wing social values, the military-industrial complex, and monopoly capitalism.
Overkill: Chris Reilly reviews A Home for Mr. Easter, which is about a troubled high school girl who finds the Easter bunny. Keep that in mind as you read the following:
I have to admit that I usually despise female-empowerment in genre fiction, not because I want my women weak, but because their power is usually bestowed upon them by a middle-aged male creator and tends to ring false. Frank Miller’s women are a perfect example: their “girl power” is usually being bizarre prostitutes who fight the hulking men on dark streets (streets that really only exist in superhero comics and Mickey Spillane novels) with swords and swastika earring’s that double as throwing stars. That’s not empowering a woman; that is a retarded male-power “fantasy” of how great it would be if all strong women were hookers, drop-dead gorgeous, didn’t charge their cool clients and had blood soaked adventures with them. Even Gilbert Hernandez whose strong women I love, all have tits like they were shot in the back by a pair of major cruise missiles.
Review: Gavin Lees discusses Kate Beaton's Never Learn Anything from History, and he takes it seriously, too:
Her pared-down characteristic style makes the strip seem almost effortless, but the apparent simplicity belies some very subtle abilities with storytelling and page design. In her strip about the Shelleys’ marital strife, the dance of the characters from one panel to the next beautifully reflects the strains of their relationship, with Percy seemingly pushing Mary away from the top tier to the bottom; and the subtle shift in dynamics as their position in the penultimate panel is echoed by Byron and Shelley in the last. In a climate where Dinosaur Comics is somehow popular, it’s a refreshing touch of artistry.
Review: Richard Bruton reviews Bryan Talbot's Grandville, which looks like a strong contender for Weirdest Comic of the Year.
Review: Kate Dacey reviews the first volume of Kingyo Used Books and wonders if it's a propaganda device to get adults to keep reading manga.
Review: Greg McElhatton looks at Crogan's March and is surprised—and pleased—by Chris Schweizer's mix of grimness and humor.