Comics Comics Takes Over & Arthur Magazine Closes

Fantagraphics Books’ long running magazine of comics news, criticism and whatnot, The Comics Journal, officially handed over the curation of it’s interwebs iteration to the motley band at Comics Comics. Re-launched on Sunday, March 6th, 2011, with a brand new look and an opening editorial from Dan Nadel and Tim Hodler, is the nicest and freshest it has looked in years. We will see in the coming weeks what kind and frequency of content we can expect from the new stable of columnists, which includes the whole Comics Comics team and a host of others. I expect great things from Sean T. Collins in his new interview series Say Hello and am curious what novelist Tom DeHaven will be bringing to the show. No word on if Brian Chippendale has been enticed to bring his Marvelous Coma blog over to the site. Granted he hasn’t had a new post in over half a year, but I remain optimistic. In related news, Lightning Bolt starts it’s Spring tour in just a few weeks. Go check that.

In the meanwhile, it was also announced on Sunday by Jay Babcock that “Arthur, such as it is, is set to close March 15, 2011.” In the weeks before the announcement, the Arthur site had been posting a great deal of content from its mid-decade print version including a number of comics that hadn’t been seen since. The Arthur comics pages were edited by Jordan Crane and Sammy Harkham, then Tom Devlin, then Alvin Buenaventura. In the last two years as online-only, Jason Leivian of Floating World Comics has been the comics editor. Among the artists presented are David Lasky, Megan Kelso and Souther Salazar. Some kind of an incomplete history is on the Wikipedia. Arthur was a very influential magazine during it’s few years run in the mid-00s. It was sort of a bold fusion of 80s fanzine* and new journalism sensibilities fused to whatever was going on in the middle of the century’s first decade. Good stuff. We can now officially miss it.

UPDATE: For further reading, I direct you to Tom Spurgeon’s The Comics Reporter for his interview with Dan and Tim about the take over. Tom also covers Arthur closing and notes in this post that the Comics Journal’s notorious message board has been shuttered. I salute his professionalism and restraint regarding any mention of a certain cartoon figure who also is known for having a portrait of him by Sam Henderson.

*For the curious, I’m thinking of 80s fanzines like Forced Exposure, No Mag and Chemical Imbalance. Thanks to Jay Babcock for checking in here and correcting some of my Arthur facts (you know, like placing it in the wrong decade)