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Corto Maltese

Swashbuckling never goes out of style.

We’re thinking of Corto Maltese, the hero of a famous Italian comics series that swept through Europe alongside Fellini and Serge Gainsbourg. He’s basically an older, more rakish Tintin, dashing through the Pacific circa WWI, stirring up trouble.

The series never quite reached our side of the Atlantic, but between the nautical vibe and his easy continental charm, he’s inspired more than a few designers in his time. And more importantly, he’s mounting a comeback in the states. Maltese’s most famous book, The Ballad of the Salt Sea, gets a new edition from Rizzoli on Tuesday, complete with a fresh translation.

Fair warning: there will be male earrings.

The Comics Page

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It’s been a while since we’ve gotten excited about a streetwear collab, but Stussy just managed quite a coup. They commissioned the mildly reclusive, notoriously prickly Dan Clowes for a set of three Stussy-branded t-shirts.

The shirts show a detective, spaceman and Karloff-esque monster, respectively, but the lovingly nerdy detachment the real prize here. It’s a higher brow than we’re used to in a t-shirt, but maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. Between this and their Love & Rockets collab, Stussy’s on their way to being the official t-shirt of underground comics.

Helen Korpak is the Bard of Heavy Petting

Stairway: The US Air Guitar Championships are happening right now, and if you’re reading this, that means you’re missing out. Sadly, the live video stream is down, but there should still be plenty of rock to go around. [World’s Best Ever]

But Do They Have Batman?: Portland’s Floating World Comics is our favorite store of the day. [WeJetSet]

Dog Day Icon: Apparently the “Facebook guy” who used to pop up on the upper left of the screen was actually Al Pacino. Hoo ah? [Mashable]

Lifetime Achievement: In honor of his 70th birthday, here’s some pictures of Alex Trebek being drunk, smug, and generally awesome. [Urlesque]

No Bullshit

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We’re not much for posthumous praise, but now that he’s gone, it seems worth taking a moment to remember why everyone cared about Harvey Pekar in the first place.

When new art forms pop up, all sorts of strange voices can suddenly bubble up to the surface. In Pekar’s case, it was a kind of curmudgeonly skepticism, which happened to dovetail perfectly with the loving grotesque school of comics pioneered by R. Crumb. The result was funny, aggressive autobiography from someone who seemed to genuinely have no illusions about the world. (You can see good examples here, here and here.)

A lot of buzz today has focused on his ongoing Letterman feud—a tragedy in two acts— but it’s a pretty good example of what modern culture has lost. Unlike everyone else on the talk show game, he thought behind-the-curtain corporate shenanigans were more important than ever appearing on television again. It’s a high standard for honesty, and it’s unlikely anyone will live up to it again.

The New Pulp

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One of the nice things about the rise of highbrow comics is the how many genuinely lurid entertainments a gentleman can get away with adding to his library.

For starters, we’d suggest Tim Lane’s Abandoned Cars. It’s the modern equivalent of the Raymond Chandler yarns that fill up the more exciting portion of your bookshelf—a string of police chases and back-alley fist fights with a surprisingly introspective thread running in the background. (Spoiler alert: it’s about America.) It might be a bit heavy for beach reading, but we’re always happy to spend a Sunday afternoon walking the line between art and pulp.

And as of next week, it won't be that hard to find. After a hardcover run in ’08 that sold out almost immediately, the paperback version should be hitting shelves any day now.

Anna Kendrick is Suspicious of her Stylist

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The Beautiful People: Paper Mag unveils their roundup of the year’s beautiful people. Anna Kendrick, naturally, qualifies. [Paper Magazine]

Padded Out: John C. Abell gazes into the future, riffing on the iPad release. We’re guessing he’s not a flash fan… [Epicenter]

Understanding Comics: Tim Heffernan big ups the sprawling Love and Rockets series, quite possibly the Great American Underground Comic. Get on it, people. [Esquire]

Not Happening: We’re pretty open-minded, in general, but we just don’t see the coonskin cap coming back. Not ever. [Racked]

Masha Novoselova is an Action Painter

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One Brush at a Time, Please: We’re pretty sure this is a Big Lebowski reference. [Fashion Gone Rogue]

A Coin and Box Cutter: Glenn O’Brien provides an inventory of his favorite objects. Unsurprisingly, they’re pretty sweet. [GQ Eye]

If Only They Could Get Batman In There: The internet has finally produced a webcomic pitting Winnie the Pooh against the alien from Alien. In retrospect, this was inevitable. [Boing Boing]

Let Them Know What Time it Is: Our new favorite wall clock, laser-cut from birch by the folks at Kitsune Noir. [Cool Hunting]