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Posted at 10:15 AM ET, 01/14/2011

THIS WEEK IN COMICS: Hark! 6 Random Musings and Highlights

By Michael Cavna

bugbolling.jpg (Image: courtesy of Ruben Bolling)

1. CARTOON OF THE WEEK... has to go to Ruben Bolling's inspired take on the "Huckleberry Finn" language controversy in his comic "Tom the Dancing Bug." The full title of the comic -- which co-opts E.W. Kemble's original artwork -- is: "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Corrected to reflect modern sensibilities)."

Writes Bolling as backstory: "In researching Kemble's illustrations (I used that excellent University of Virginia site as a source), I saw that Twain had handpicked him, approved each drawing and ended up loving them. So subsequent editions that replaced or removed these illustrations were among the first steps taken by editors to change the book as Twain had intended it to be experienced."

Tales of Ruben Bolling's brilliance are not greatly exaggerated.

2. HARK! A TALENT: As most anyone who saw Kate Beaton winningly chatter to a packed room at last fall's Small Press Expo in Maryland can attest, the throngs were strong and vocal in their fandom. So it's with little surprise and much optimism that we welcome this week's announcement: The talented "Hark! A Vagrant" creator has signed a book deal with Drawn+Quarterly, says Tom Spurgeon of Comics Reporter. We hope Beaton will make it to SPX 2011 timed right to her fall release.

conanflames.jpg (Image: Paul Pape Designs)

3. FLAMING C vs. TEK J.: Now that TBS host Conan O'Brien's "Flaming C" cartoon character has risen to excellent action-figure status courtesy of Paul Pape -- and let's hope they literally broke the mold when they made it -- we wonder: Who would win a late-night intergalactic pugil-stick battle between Coco's superhero and Stephen Colbert's cartoon avatar, Tek Jansen.

Either way, we've got a funny feeling that writer/animator Robert Smigel (SNL's "TV Funhouse," including the superhero spoof Ambiguously Gay Duo; Triumph the Insult Comic Dog) -- who's worked with both comic hosts -- would be just the guy to script the late-night cartoon smackdown. Consider the cartoon gantlet thrown down, gentlemen -- and just remember The Only Rule of TV-Host Smackdowns: No touching, teasing or mussing of the coiffed hair...

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Tek Jansen - Beginning's First Dawn: Episode Three
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire Blog</a>Video Archive

4. SPEAKING OF FIGHT CLUBS: The first rule of this Fight Club might well be: Never talk about G.R.O.S.S. club. This video from makes us believe all the more that "Calvin and Hobbes" will long remain a source of fan inspiration and devotion, if not wild mashups.

5. THE PETEY PUSH: Swell to see the syndicate take new tacks to sell Richard Thompson's esteemed "Cul de Sac." Buy now and perhaps Universal Uclick will begin cranking out the Mr. Danders plush toys.

6. BEST OLD-SCHOOL PROMO: Speaking of eye-catching PR moves, Top Shelf Productions cranks up the push behind its busy year with the Top Shelf Tribune. Comics Alliance notes that Top Shelf will deliver 22 graphic novels this year, from Jeffrey Brown to Alan Moore to Colleen Coover.

By Michael Cavna  | January 14, 2011; 10:15 AM ET
Categories:  General  
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