Arts Desk

In the Esophagus of the Beast: Introducing Comics Blogger Mike Rhode

Simpsonize Mike formalMuch to my surprise, I was recently asked to write on comic art for Washington City Paper. My previous contact with the paper, beyond being a regular reader of it since the mid-1980s, was through my ComicsDC blog. At that site since 2006, I've tried to keep up with aspects of comic art in the Washington area. As such, when WCP dropped all of its comic strips in November 2007, including Derf's The City, Lynda Barry, Emily Flake's Lulu Eightball, and others, as well as  Rob Ullman's cartoons for Savage Love and George Washington University graduate Shawn Belschwender's ones for News of the Weird, I took the paper to task on my blog. And I apparently did a good enough job to get a call from Editor Erik Wemple, who explained the cold, hard realities of a new corporate owner.

Now, two years later, I'm writing for WCP.  ComicsDC will continue (and I will bite the hand feeding me if necessary), but that's always been a site for short hits and links. I plan on writing longer pieces here, hopefully one a week, which I've been told to make local and quirky. Later this week, look for "What's So Special about Wednesday?"—a look at the culture of comic book stores. I'll try to get some interviews with local cartoonists, some reviews of or pointers to local exhibits, some discussion of what's out and worth buying, and the like. Feel free to write me with suggestions for topics you'd like to see covered.

I'll include one time-sensitive piece—Rob Stoltzer is auctioning off two Herblock Christmas cards to raise money for Haitian relief efforts. This is a chance to own a rare piece of Washington cartoon history and help people.

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  • MJ

    Glad to see you throwing down the comic word here! Your articles are insightful and informative.

  • BSI

    Am I the only oldtimer that misses the PS MUELLER 'toons that used to run on the back cover? I'd sacrifice a truckload of Lutheran cattle to have the CP get that back, budget be damned.

  • Mike Rhode

    BSI - I do NOT remember PS Mueller being on the back cover - very interesting! I wonder if WCP retains a morgue and I could go poke around one day and look into that.

  • J

    This is really exciting. WCP needs something light and entertaining on occasion instead of the latest shooting

  • Glen Weldon

    Welcome to the WCP, Mike.

    This is great news; you folk are in for a treat. ComicsDC is practically a public utility for comics types; Mike knows whereof he speaks.

    And whyof. And whoof.

  • Michael Cavna

    Big congrats, Mike. Couldn't happen to a better -- or more qualified -- guy. Am seriously lookin' forward to this feature.

  • Mike Rhode

    Geez, guys, I can't live up to this.

    For those who're wondering, Glen and Michael ALREADY do comics blogs - Glen for NPR and Michael for the Post. I read both regularly.

  • Intangible Arts

    If there is a back-issue morgue, we're talkin' late '80s here. If memory serves, back covers were filled with little classified ads & the PS Mueller piece in the middle of the grid. Always a great one-panel of surreal WTF?!?!?... how I miss it so...

  • BSI

    damned memory cache thing. IntangibleArts was supposed to be BSI. Ah well...

  • Mike Rhode

    BSI looks interesting - I just forwarded your site to Mark Weidenbaum who writes on electronica.

  • Marc Weidenbaum

    Congrats, Mike. Can't wait to see what you come up with. (And thanks for that BSI link. Way up my alley.)

  • Pingback: Rhode to write comic column for Washington paper » The Daily Cartoonist

  • The Vinyl District

    Bring back Refrigerator Johnny!

  • Craig Fischer

    Can't wait to read your article on new comic book day (i.e. Wednesdays). I desperately need to know what compels me to visit the shop even when I'm sure none of the comics that I read came out. Social capital?

  • Mike Rhode

    Craig, it's the thrill of the unknown, combined with the thrill of the hunt. You're hoping to find the one story that will make your life complete.

    Or maybe you just see your buddies in the store.

  • Richard Thompson

    Mike! Good to see you here! I remember those PS Mueller cartoons, but forgotten that they were on the back cover. Did you see that Emily Flake had a good one in the New Yorker this week?

  • Mike Rhode

    Thanks, Richard. Yes, I saw that. She's been appearing fairly regularly there now. Hey, your name links to your blog - cool! BTW, at some point I'll be interviewing you
    for this site - I'm just working up the questions: "When (to the decade is fine) where you born and where?" "Then what're you doing in DC now?" and the like.

    And if anyone's reading these comments - Neil Gaiman is about to appear in a chat on the New Yorker at 3 pm -