Nickelodeon Magazine editor Chris Duffy posts a complete story from Milt Gross Funnies #2 to his blog. The comic, published in 1947, was written and drawn entirely by Gross. Gross’s cover for Milt Gross Funnies #2 can be seen at Lambiek’s website.

 
 

Shortly before the Thanksgiving holiday, Publishers Weekly reported on the launch of TOON Books. Everyone involved with the TOON Books project was gratified and overwhelmed by the very positive subsequent response, and we were quite happy to see the story picked up by such varied and important online commentators as Elizabeth Bird at the School Library Journal, Tom Spurgeon at the Comics Reporter (who also named RAW Junior Editorial Director Françoise Mouly his “winner of the week“), the BEA’s Lance Fensterman, Anne Levy at Book Buds, Heidi MacDonald at PW’s “Beat” blog (who also had kind words to say about our website and blog), Amazon.com’s blog, and many others.

We’re very grateful for the interest in TOON Books we’ve seen to date. In addition to continued coverage of kids’ comics in general we will incorporate more information about TOON Books into this blog in the coming weeks, including behind-the-scenes sketches that will illustrate the process involved in constructing a comic book for early readers.

 
 
 
 

An exhibit currently on display at the Society of Illustrators shows original artwork from this year’s Children’s Book Illustration Award winners, including Gold Medal winner Bow-Wow Bugs a Bug by Mark Newgarden and Megan Montague Cash. The exhibit runs through November 21.

 
 

Neil Cohn summarizes a 1986 study by Michael J. Pallenik which examines the ways that children interpret a particular comics story at different ages. Titled “A Gunman in Town! Children Interpret a Comic,” the paper reports the results of showing the same comics story to children of varying race, class, age and gender and soliciting responses on a panel-by-panel basis. The study originally ran in Studies in the Anthropology of Visual Communication. The comics story in question is from a 1955 issue of Western Outlaws.

 
 
A review of Shaun Tan‘s The Arrival headlines The New York Times Book Review‘s special focus on children’s books this week. Gene Yang, author of the National Book Award-nominated graphic novel American Born Chinese, reviews the book for the Times and notes:

Some of the most accomplished graphic novels in existence are never identified as such. Maurice Sendak’s “In the Night Kitchen” comes to mind, as does Peggy Rathmann’s “Good Night, Gorilla” and David Wiesner’s recent Caldecott winner “Flotsam.” Sendak, Rathmann and Wiesner are best known as children’s book illustrators, but these particular works are pure comics in the way they construct their narratives.

The issue also includes a review of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie and with comic strip illustrations by Ellen Forney.

 
 

Little, Brown has cancelled plans to publish Hergé’s Tintin in the Congo domestically, Publishers Weekly reports.

Publicist Melanie Chang did not give a reason for the standalone book’s cancellation, but of its omission from the box set she said, “Given the controversy surrounding the Congo title, we felt including it in the box set would eclipse the true intention of the collection, which is to showcase Hergé’s extraordinary art and his remarkable contribution to the graphic arts.”

The book was to have been part of a complete box set of Hergé’s Tintin stories, including for the first time American editions of Tintin in the Land of the Soviets and Tintin and Alph-Art. That project has been postponed to coincide with the eventual release of a Tintin film.

 
 

The New York Comic Con, organized by Reed Exhibitions, announced plans to add a “Kids’ Day” to the 2008 schedule. The children’s comics-specific programming will consist of “a significant all-day program on Sunday, April 20 which will focus on events and activities designed to attract and entertain young fans. A key partner in the development of this program is Kids Love Comics (KLC), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the development and growth of children’s comic books in North America.” The New York Comic Con will take place April 18 – 20 at the Javits Center in New York City.

 
 

Sherman Alexie’s first Young Adult novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, incorporates comic strips by cartoonist Ellen Forney, presented as work by the novel’s protagonist and narrator. In an interview with the Seattle Times, Alexie describes the collaborative process involved:

Q: And were the cartoons your idea?

A: Yeah. When I started writing it as a novel, for some reason in the first paragraph, I made him a cartoonist. I sent Ellen Forney, who is a friend of mine, about a page, I think, and I said, “Can you draw a cartoon of this?” About five minutes later, it came back over the e-mail. So she was a part of this five minutes into its creation.

I’m getting angry, though, because people are assuming I had nothing to do with the illustrations, that the press hired her. It was a really collaborative effort. Some of them I dictated, some of them we did together, some of them she did on her own.

The book was recently nominated for a National Book Award, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports. The National Book Foundation’s website carries an excerpt.