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WHAT I DID AT THE COMIC CON LAST SUMMER (Part 2)

Comic Book Creator cover KitchenAt the Twomorrows booth, I picked up a copy of Jon B. Cooke’s Comic Book Creator, No.9, which features “the comix book life of Denis Kitchen.” Someday, I’ll review that in connection with another Kitchen tome, The Oddly Compelling Art of Denis Kitchen, which has been sitting on the “review” shelf too long.

And I stopped by Curio & Company to buy a copy of their latest hoax, Spaceman Jax, a spoof of a certain type of 1950s comic book genre. Kirstie Shepherd and Cesar Asaro, who usually reside in Vienna (she’s a California native; he’s Italian), became celebrated here in Rancid Raves for manufacturing a faux comic strip, Frank and Friend, that purported to be a long-lost cartooning artifact but is actually a completely fraudulent concoction — so artfully and thoroughly achieved as to be jaw-droppingly entertaining. Ditto Spaceman Jax. (Frank, by the way, is the rag doll in the accompanying illustration.)  Frank and Friend have been published in two paperbacks and one hardcover, Finding Frank and Friend; all three and Spaceman Jax are for sale at the website curioandco.com.

KirstieCesar

Beware: everything on the website is faked historical artifact. It’s all make-believe even though you can buy the books (perhaps not the soft drink that Spaceman Jax promotes) and the comic book. But the $1.25
price that appears on the cover of the paperback is part of the hoax: it apes the look of 1950s paperback books. In this case, the actual price of the book is $11.95

And before I left the Comic-Con premises, cartoonist Phil Yeh thrust into my hands the latest issue of his magazine, Uncle Jam (No.104), which includes a 2013 interview with Alex Nino and a history of Michael Gross, among sundry other articles on lovingly offbeat topics. The magazine is free; you can find it online at Yeh’s wingedtiger.com, where you can read it without charge.

I’ve been drifting purposefully into San Diego for the Con for more than twenty years, and this may be a good time to remember that it was chiefly Shel Dorf who set the table for that Olympian feast. In his last years, he was not deliriously happy that Hollywood occupied such large acreage of the Con’s landscape. He wished the present organizers hadn’t let newspaper strip cartoonists slip out of their grasp in the eagerness to embrace movies and television. But motion picture entertainment had always been part of his interest and enthusiasm. He conceived of a convention that would feature movies and sf as well as comics. And at the first Comic-Con over four decades ago, George Lucas showed slides of a movie he planned to make about star wars.

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com

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