In Ofelia, the sisters, the kids, and the cousins are all settled comfortably in California after leaving Palomar in Luba and Her Family. Luba and her cousin Ofelia’s relationship has always been fraught, but when Ofelia threatens to write a book about Luba, past memories, secrets, resentments, and pain resurface. Meanwhile, Luba’s children—genius Socorro, recently out-and-proud Doralís, and prickly Maricela—show that a talent for trouble may be hereditary. Luba’s sisters, Fritz and Petra, swap lovers (as usual), but…are Fritz and family friend Pipo sittin’ in a tree? These vividly drawn characters are charged with Hernandez’s trademark complexity; they live, love, age, fight— and die—in this sweeping, multigenerational saga.
Saint Cole depicts four days in the life of a twenty-eight-year-old suburbanite named Joe who feels trapped working overtime at a pizza restaurant to support his girlfriend, Nicole, and their infant child. Especially when Nicole invites her troubled mother, Angela, to move into their two-bedroom apartment until she lands on her feet again. Joe reacts to this development by further retreating into alcohol. He thinks he loves Nicole but resents her at the same time. They probably wouldn't still be with each other if she hadn't become pregnant. Joe wants out. He's angry. He's in a position to act rashly. And he does. This sophomore graphic novel from Noah Van Sciver may seem like a left turn from his critically acclaimed debut graphic novel biography of Abraham Lincoln (The Hypo), yet upon closer reflection, it continues Van Sciver’s interest in pathos and the human condition.
Guy Colwell's Inner City Romance tread new territory for underground comix, filled with stories about prison, black culture, ghetto life, the sex trade, and radical activism. It portrayed the unpleasant realities of life in the inner city, where opportunities were limited and being on the lowest end of the economic ladder meant that one's vision of the American dream was more about survival than lifestyle choices. Readers wondered who Colwell was, whether he was black or white, and how he knew so much about prison. Two years at McNeil Island federal prison for draft refusal provided a personal education for him, as well as his involvement with the San Francisco Good Times underground newspaper, where he became a close observer of the White Panthers, the Symbionese Liberation Army, and anti-war demonstrations. Inner City Romance details Colwell's life on the mean streets. Every issue of Inner City Romance is included in this collection, as well as many of the highly detailed paintings he created at the same time. Colwell recounts in an accompanying text piece, his personal journey to artistic maturity forged by radicalism and frustration.
Mel Bowling is the unhappy, out-of-touch creator of a very bad daily comic strip called Freddy Ferret (a cross between Dilbert and Garfield). He spends most of his time listening to Rush Limbaugh and coming up with horrible catchphrases to merchandise, while his "sweatshop" cast of studio assistants grind out all the hard work. Sweatshop is a hilarious situational comedy from acclaimed author Peter Bagge (Buddy Does Seattle, Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story) that ingeniously incorporates the visual styles of cartoonist guest stars like Stephen DeStefano (Popeye) and Johnny Ryan (Prison Pit) to give voice to Bowling's colorful cast of misfit, aspiring cartoonists (plus a cameo by Neil Gaiman!), all attempting to make it big like their boss, but on their own terms. Originally published as a six-issue series by DC Comics in 2003 that was never collected, this is one of the best and most undervalued works of one of the key voices of his generation.
When a passel of extra-sneaky, extra-ornery high-tech cattle rustlers strikes the good citizens of Bullet Valley, Donald Duck bravely dons a badge to become the "Sheriff of Bullet Valley." Fortified by the know-how he's gained watching Hollywood Westerns, our ever-intrepid Duck sets out to solve the perplexing mystery of how Blacksnake McSquirt's brand keeps showing up on the cattle of the honest ranchers. Sheriff of Bullet Valley is the second entry in our new line of affordable kid-friendly Donald Duck books: just-right half-height books packed with fun, laughs, and adventure. Each story is complete with all the original artwork (no panels have been dropped or altered). Bonus: Donald's always-exasperating cousin Gladstone Gander returns in, um, "Gladstone Returns." All stories written and drawn by Disney legend Carl Barks!
It's a beautiful day to be taking in the bright, bold coloring and clean linework of comics giant Steve Ditko. We've received our advances of the fifth volume in The Steve Ditko Archives, lovingly edited by Blake Bell. Entitled Dripping with Fear, the book features over 200 full-color pages, essays, and extras highlighting the time period when Ditko began sharing a studio with famed fetish artist and art-school colleague Eric Stanton.
I wrote to cartoonists that Fantagraphics publishes, inviting them to do a drawing responding to the massacre at the Charlie Hebdo office on January 7. The purpose is to show solidarity to our fallen comrades and to the scorched-earth tradition of cartoon satire. We would run whatever we received, uncensored. It seemed not only appropriate but imperative that Fantagraphics offer cartoonists a place to display such cartoons since we have published so much satire ourselves – from R. Crumb to Drew Friedman to Johnny Ryan to Jonah Kinigstein.
There is a debate simmering as to whether or not Hebdo was indeed an "equal opportunity offender," as the political cartoonist Ann Telnaes has said, a characterization disputed by, among others, Glenn Greenwald. This may go to the integrity of Hebdo as a magazine or it may not; satirists and the editors of satirical magazines are not necessarily obliged to follow quotas— but it is irrelevant to their fundamental right to express themselves without being murdered. I have seen no statistics that categorize their offensive cartoons, but claiming that they were more offensive to one group than another or insufficiently anti-semitic begs the question as to whether their rights should be protected only if they’re equal opportunity offenders; clearly, we at Fantagraphics believe their rights to free expression should be protected and defended irrespective of how personally repellant or lopsided their cumulative opinions may be.
France’s own anti-speech laws are onerous. Shortly after the Hebdo tragedy, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said, “We must not confuse freedom of opinion with antisemitism, racism, and negationism.” Actually, exactly the opposite is true, and it’s a shameful hypocrisy to laud Hebdo on the one hand and utter a statement like this on the other. “Freedom of opinion” means freedom of opinion, not freedom of opinion I approve of.
A new image will be posted to the Flog every day and archived on this post so that, eventually, every image we've received will be collected here:
Today's Book-A-Day Sale title is by award-winning cartoonist and animator Lilli Carré. Heads or Tails packages some of Carré's best work over a five year period.
Carré’s elegant short stories read like the gothic, family narratives of Flannery O’Connor or Carson McCullers, but told visually. Poetic rhythms — a coin flip, a circling ferris wheel — are punctuated by elements of melancholy fantasy pushed forward by character-driven, naturalistic dialogue. The stories in Heads or Tails display a virtuosic breadth of visual styles and color palettes, each in perfect service of the story, and range from experimental one-pagers to short masterpieces like "The Thing About Madeline" (featured in The Best American Comics 2008), to graphic novellas like "The Carnival" (featured in David Sedaris’ and Dave Eggers’ 2010 Best American Nonrequired Reading, originally published in MOME), to new work created for this book.
Today's Book-A-Day title is a bundled gift set of fantastical, surreal work by artist and musician Leslie Stein. Eye of the Majestic Creature Vols 1 + 2 are semi-autobiographical books starring the girl Larrybear and her talking acoustic guitar Marshmallow as they travel and have adventures around the countryside.
Larrybear is in a constant struggle between the desire to connect with those around her and to be left to her own devices. You get a glimpse of her past life when she visits her home town of Chicago, trying to relate to old friends who have not matured since high school, as well as her family (which includes her Hippopotamus father and his harem of ex-wives, two brothers, and Salsa-dancing mom). In the present, she moves to New York to find work for a time, resulting in many hilarious and drunken adventures with her new coworkers at a cell phone decorating shop, and her old friend Boris, who shares with her his P.G. Wodehouse books, as well as his “Incredible Hulk” weed.
Stein's gorgeous cartooning, highlighted by incredibly detailed stippling, and her dry sense of humor combine to make one of the most unique and immersive narrative experiences in comics.
The Indiegogo event for this year's Sequential Arts Workshop has technically mets its goal, but that doesn't mean you still can't give part of your Friday pay to a cutting edge educator. SAW's goal is not only to product well informed and highly skilled artists, but to bust the doors wide open on the high prices of an advanced degree. And you can help make their school possible with a tax-deductible donation to this non-profit!
Instruction, mentorship, and hand-on production experiences help create the next generation of working cartoonists build a community based on blending the importance of tradition and innovation. The '14-'15 year is well under way, but a little extra is needed to offset next year's costs of facilities, educators, and workshops. Speaking of workshops, this March SAW will be hosting a workshop with Aidan Koch from March 2-6, and cool kid, Ed Piskor from March 9-13. Registration for these events can be found on SAW's website.
If you can't make it to Florida for either workshop, you can still feel like you were there by hitting up this Indiegogo event and selecting the Workshop Roundup reward! Other premiums include things like a Ron Rege poster, or a Julie Doucet print.
A culturally and artistically important group like SAW is deserving of our well-wishes and some well-earned bucks. I just filed my taxes, so I know I'm looking for a way to give!