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Raised By Squirrels is published by Panel Press.


You never call! Maybe you should instead? Seriously, we'd love to know what you think about RBS.


Occasional posts from (usually) Bram and (sometimes) Monica about comics in general, this comic in particular, art, design, publishing, visual culture, and far, far too many things about actual squirrels.


Just before the end of the month (and year!), string #10 is available for download. This issue of 7000 BC's regular anthology contains the usual assortment of independent comic goodness from New Mexico — as well as the return of Dale Deforest (he of the definitive Rose) to comics, after some time with his music project, Blood for Soil.


Oh, hai!

Busy, much goings-on, including the addition of a new canine staff member at Squirrel Central. A few things, though:
  • Um, yeah, no reports from New Comic Night for a while. There have been new comics, some of them very good, some of them pretty good, some of them Tangent: Superman's Reign. Now totally on board with Fraction's Uncanny X-Men; impressed that they decided to wrap up Manhunter by dropping the current storyline and just jump 15 years into the future; and I think that now Fables is no longer about the fables and the fight for the homelands, I like it better than ever.
  • Zombies are totally played out. But Sean Bieri's cartoons of The 12 Days of Zombie Christmas is way, way too much fun.
  • Dave, of Dave's Longbox "fame" is back with a new blog — The Society for the Advancement of Dave. I have high hopes, and welcome Mr. Campbell back. Not that he left, I just never felt the urge to follow his ABC writings.
  • My Top Ten Comics of 2008 (below) got a mention at The Comics Reporter. Tonight's reading offers a couple amendments: Patsy Walker: Hellcat, with a healthy dose of absurdity, some terrifically funny panels, and a couple laugh-inducing bits, creeps its way back into Best Of territory; the third issue of Guerillas is doing a good job of making sure it's on next year's list.
That's all. I'm reasonably sure that there was more when I started typing, but, y'know. Best wishes to everyone this holiday season.


Year's winding down here at Panel Press with a mad rush to get The Darkness From Warsaw off to print in time for Phoenix.

In the meantime, we're still offering free shipping on Death, Cold As Steel, the first adventure of Norris and Estelle.

And the complete Raised By Squirrels is available by downloading the PDFs to the left (starting at the bottom), checking out the Raised By Squirrels ComicSpace page, or by purchasing the trade paperbacks over at the top left.

Joining in on the end-of-year list madness, my Top Ten Comics of 2008 below; go out and support your local comic shop and independent publishers.


Top Ten Comics of 2008

The following comics stood out to me this year; all had a release or were ongoing in some fashion in 2008. And though there are repeats from last year's list, I'm also trying to call attention to some that might have been overlooked. In no particular order:

1. The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite TPB by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba — I was not exactly filled with confidence when the highlight of this solicit was "written by the lead singer of My Chemical Romance." When I started hearing good things from surprising (and trusted) sources, figured there'd at least be some great artwork. There is, but there's also tight storytelling with a terrific tone, odd humor, and familiar elements in the right places that combine to make for an original, enjoyable tale, with the promise of more weirdness to come.

2. Cul de Sac by Richard Thompson — the early days of Thompson's strip are now collected into a book, and the adventures of the suburban Otterloop family are available daily at With a wry, affectionate sensibility and approach to everyday life that is familiar yet fresh, it brings new energy to the daily newspaper strip and, I think, could be the best one going on now. Plus, the linework alone is often funnier than just about every other daily. You can follow his blog at

3. Diesel Sweeties ( by Richard Stevens — Monica introduced me to his daily syndicated newspaper strip just before Stevens retired from it to fully concentrate his energies on the Web version. So he's still offering a contemporary take on the modern comic strip, daily doses of geeky humor, contemporary wit, and a skewed glimpse at modern romance, all while wringing every bit of expression possible out of those limited pixels.

4. Hark A Vagrant (; also posted at by Kate Beaton — literary humor, Canadian (and some American) history, fishmongers, saucy mermaids, dandies, Miyamoto Musashi somewhere in there, and, of course, Fat Pony. This occasional webcomic never fails to amuse with its obscure references and intelligent storytelling. The artwork is deceptively simple, well-paced and expressive. Found via The Comics Curmudgeon.

5. Astonishing X-Men by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday and
6. Immortal Iron Fist by Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, and David Aja — both titles appear for a second (and last) time because they each take characters with extensive history and continuity and bring something new to their mythologies. They offer different approaches: X-Men's, a sharp, character-driven story that puts the fun back in the old galaxy-spanning epics; Iron Fist's, a smart, mystical/martial arts adventure that that introduces new elements and characters who are such a such a perfect fit, it's tough to imagine they haven't existed all along.

7. Scalped: Casino Boogie TPB by Jason Aaron and R.M. Guera — a difficult story, full of unappealing people making tough choices and generally doing bad things with unpleasant consequences. And probably one of the finest examples of what comics can achieve. Grittily realistic and evocative, it jumps around time and in and out of reality, interweaving characters and revealing more about their past and relationships in a way that would be tough to pull off in any other medium.

8. The Martian Confederacy by Jason McNamara and Paige Braddock — laugh-out-loud moments in a sci-fi tale about a quirky cast caught up in a caper on a future Mars. It's a simple premise, well told. The inventive characters and their dialog really drive the humor and fun in the story, which is really a great fit for the pacing and art. Credit goes to Monica for picking it out.

9. Helen Killer by Andrew Kreisberg and Matthew JLD Rice — not without its flaws, but it takes a pitch — Alexander Graham Bell gives Helen Killer a device lets her see and hear as well giving her super-strength and agility, which she uses to protect the president — that just seems ill-advised and turns it into a well-paced, historical sci-fi adventure. There's a lot of classic comic storytelling in there, a real love of the medium, but also a modern sensibility that manages to play it completely straight while reveling in the absurdity of it all. Thanks to The Invincible Super-Blog for calling attention to it.

10. Bill Mauldin: A Life Up Front by Todd DePastino and the accompanying collection Willie and Joe: The WWII Years — OK, so, the DePastino book is a biography and, technically Mauldin is a cartoonist working in single panels, but they both call attention to a true master of storytelling through combining words and pictures. I usually avoid biographies, but this is a fascinating, gripping read of an exceptional character in unusual times. The collection traces his development as a draftsman and observer, all the more amazing when you learn the conditions he was working under.


Honorable mentions: Black Summer (mostly for its lush art); Criminal; Elephantmen; Fantastic Four (Millar and Hitch's); Doonesbury's B.D. storyline; B.P.R.D. and Hellboy; The Secret History of The Authority: Hawksmoor (a surprising story with beautiful, atypical supehero art); All-Star Superman; Invincible Iron Man; Comic Book Comics; Girls With Slingshots Volume One and webcomic at; Patsy Walker: Hellcat #1 (2 and 3 haven't lived up to the promise, but that first issue is crazy fun); Gutsville; Guerillas (off to a promising start); and 100 Bullets is only missing from the list because now I'm just hoarding the trade paperbacks to read when it's all done.

Best magazine covers of the year, according to Time and Ad Age.


Some great thoughts on digital comics that address the fact that if you put them on the web, animate them, add sound … they're not really comics any more. Via Marc.


OK, so this WaPo article kind of creates an … epic-ness about the regular frustrations and tribulations of being a self-publisher of superhero (or, well, really any) comics. Those of us who are trying it might consider to be a more mundane, day-to-day reality — but let's consider that the artist profiled is legally blind.


I recently was reminded of Molly Lawless' terrific work when I ran across a couple baseball comics she gave away at SPX 07. And, today, another one.


Um, wow, seems that a lot of folks didn't really care for Quantum of Solace. But I'll bet we can all agree that this is pretty awesome.

I wouldn't necessarily count Mark Waid as one of my favorite writers, though I do like his work well enough (even if the Boom! stuff has been disappointing). Here's the first installment of what promises to be some insightful commentary on comic book writing. In this edition: frozen moments and space.

So, with those tips in mind, off to write one last page for The Darkness From Warsaw.


The evolutions of car logos, tech logos, and movie company logos at Neatorama. Via not martha


Seriously, how awesome is this? One of Jamie's panels from the last pages of The Darkness From Warsaw (the story to date available here).


Everyone's concerned I'm keeping up with the squirrel sites — Squirrels Squirrels Squirrels, via Pam.
7000 BC meeting this Saturday at noon at Warehouse 21. Details here.

We'll be taking a break before 3:00 to head over to True Believers for an in-store appearance by The Pander Brothers (and I'll be bringing my ol' Devil's Legacy TPB). They're in town screening their movie Selfless as a part of the Santa Fe Film Festival.


Jamie's hard at work on the last pages of The Darkness from Warsaw, which we've been serializing in the odd-numbered issues of string. The last two installments will appear in issues 11 and 13. We're collecting the complete run, along with some additional pages and behind-the-scenes artwok, and should have the full-sized trade paperback available at Phoenix Comicon.

Marc's delivered the next pages of our Target story (currently called Title T/K!), and that will continue in string #10, available online the next couple weeks. I've promised him some more script, featuring alien robot beating action. That's in the works now.


Squirrel Resources. Via Andy.

Currently eyeing up some of the stuff in the store.

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