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New Essays

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In which I attempt to review (almost) all of the films of Pedro Almodóvar, in chronological order.

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Between 2004 and 2006, I served as managing editor of The Comics Journal, the closest thing in the industry to a reputable trade journal and literary review. One of my duties for the print magazine was the conducting of interviews with notable and interesting cartoonists and industry professionals. A few of these interviews can be found at the magazine's website, TCJ.com:

  • Eddie Campbell

    The cartoon genius behind the autobiographical Alec series — as well as the illustrator behind Alan Moore's mammoth graphic novel From Hell — sits down for a long conversation. Please note that not only is this a four-part interview (links are at the top of the first page of each part), but each part is broken into smaller parts (links are at the bottom of each page). Yeah, design wasn't exactly Job One with the Journal, by that point...

  • Joey Manley

    I spoke with the webcomics-publishing impressario about the past, present and future of the medium in digital form.

  • Bill Willingham

    A long, wide-ranging interview with the Fables creator, from his days at TSR Publishing to his time at Fantagraphics to his adventures at DC Comics. Again: Not only is this a four-part interview (links are at the top of the first page of each part), but each part is broken into smaller parts (links are at the bottom of each page). I know, I know...

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"Like most Journalistas, Dirk Deppey is spiritual kin to Fredric Wertham."

Okay, I may have pissed a few people off over the years. (You can find more positive reactions to my work at this link.)

For six years between 2002 and 2010*, I wrote The Comics Journal's weekdaily newsblog, ¡Journalista!, which followed the industry from an arts-first/creators-rights perspective. While much of the work was a compilation of available news as found on the Internet, I also wrote a great deal about the issues under discussion. Below are a few examples.

Fair warning: The links on these pages are up to a decade old. I've tried to tag obvious dead links, but bear in mind that I've likely missed more than a few.

* With a two-year break where I left the web to serve as Managing Editor of the print version of the Journal, of course.


Featured Essays

  • Scanlation Nation: Amateur Manga Translators Tell Their Stories

    (Note: Link is to an unauthorized copy of the essay hosted at the Inside Scanlation website, which is really funny, when you think about it.) A look at the people who skirted copyright law and brought often obscure manga stories to the attention of English-language readers. Not actually a ¡Journalista! essay, but where the hell else am I going to put it?

  • Suicide Club

    (Note: Link is to The Comics Journal's website.) Subtitled "How greed and stupidity disemboweled the American comic-book industry in the 1990s," this is a dense, four-page examination of a twin series of crises that destroyed somewhere between half and two-thirds of the American comic-book industry in the space of just two years. Again, not actually a ¡Journalista! essay.

The Comics Industry

  • An Act of Sheer Desperation

    Manga publisher Tokyopop pulls a few titles from distribution to sell directly online, and retailers react with fury. Also included: a short explanation of how publishers solicit their wares to comics-shop owners.

  • Cowboys & Alibis

    Did Platinum Studios trick Entertainment Weekly into listing Cowboys & Aliens as a bestselling graphic novel? Our intrepid reporter investigates.

  • The Highest Caliber Ninjutsu

    "The graphic novel has arrived, the American public is reading it, and its author is Japanese. Welcome to the 21st century." Graphic novels in bookstores, and how they got that way.

  • Living in the Plastic Age

    The market has been slowly getting better, so why does everything feel like it sucks?

  • The Man Who Couldn't Shoot Straight

    DC Comics fires Publisher Paul Levitz, and it's about damned time.

  • The Man Who Sold the World

    Diamond introduces a new point-of-sale inventory tracking system — but is it a much-needed upgrade, an industry power grab or both?

  • Prophetic by Exactly Two Days

    Warren Ellis, funnybook futurist: a look at Marvel's tentative first step into the world of digital comics.

  • Return to Big Nothing

    How BookScan numbers work, and why the bookstore and library markets are more important to independent graphic-novel publishers than comics-shop retailers would prefer.

  • A Small Victory

    A judge grants the family of late Superman co-creator Jerry Seigel partial ownership of his famous creation and, for a brief moment, justice prevails in funnybookland.

  • Somewhere, Jack Kirby is Laughing

    Stan Lee doesn't own anything that he created for Marvel, but try telling that to Stan Lee Media.

  • Thirty-Two Pages to a Pauper's Grave

    No, your comic book won't earn you enough money to pay the rent this month.

  • Where the Gravestones Never Cease

    Minx, DC Comics' line of graphic novels for teenage girls, meets its all-too-predictable demise.

  • Zunecomics.com

    DC Comics' attempt to co-opt the webcomics scene, Zuda Comics, was an obvious disaster-in-the-making from the outset.

The World of Cartooning

  • Garo, 1992

    (Note: Link is to The Comics Journal's website.) Extended highlights from an issue of the venerable Japanese avant-garde comics magazine. Originally serialized in ¡Journalista! before being compiled as this article for the TCJ.com homepage.

  • Howard's End?

    Decades ago, comic-book genius Howard Chaykin strode through funnybooks like a colossus — so why did 2006 find him drawing small-change work for Marvel and DC Comics?

  • In Respect for Religious Sentiment

    Right-wing Danes secretly filmed while drawing anti-Islamic cartoons. Guess what happens next? Also: A short history of how the whole Killer Danish Muhammed Cartoons controversy began.

  • Poor Hachi...

    On the brilliance of Ai Yazawa's Nana.

  • That '70s Garbage

    Comic books in the 1970s weren't nearly as good as you remember...

Comic-Book Culture

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These essays were written between 2006 and 2008 for a previous iteration of The Comics Journal's website. A few of the links point to articles still available on said website, but with much of the old TCJ.com now gone from the Web, I've posted the other reviews here.

Please note that many of the manga panels illustrating some reviews should be read from right to left, rather than in the traditional Western fashion.


Featured Reviews

  • 50 (well, 52) Excellent Comics from 2007

    Five pages of short reviews, collecting my thoughts on the best books I'd read in a given year.

  • A Kind of Alchemy

    (Note: Link is to The Comics Journal's website.) A two-page appreciation of the comics of Eddie Campbell.

  • The Mirror of Male-Male Love

    (Note: Link is to The Comics Journal's website.) A long, four-page examination of a collection of academic essays on the shounen-ai/yaoi phenomenon — a genre of Japanese comics devoted to romantic/pornographic tales of gay men in love, as written and drawn by and for women. Be warned: This is easily the most obscene thing I've ever written for public consumption.

  • X-Men Reload: Remember When...?

    Following the end of Grant Morrison's New X-Men series, Marvel acted to undo everything that happened in said series. Here's how it all went down.

Graphic Novels and Collected Volumes

Comic Books


Comic-Strip Collections

Books About Comics

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