Hot on the heels of his first graphic novel, House, Josh Simmons' Jessica Farm fuses serialized adventure, fantasy and psychological horror and stamps it with his signature macabre sensibility in his atmospheric new graphic novel. Like a Lynchian take on Alice in Wonderland, Jessica Farm opens with an exterior of what could be any Midwestern farmhouse: once inside, we track our titular heroine as she bounds out of bed on Christmas and goes about her morning routine, eventually breakfasting with her grandparents. The banality of the situation is subverted by a ratcheting sense of dread, however, as we discover that Jessica's increasingly nightmarish house is filled with creatures around every corner: some whimsical, some sexual, some despairing and some malevolent. Jessica Farm is an ambitious experiment in world-building: as conceived by Simmons, this book is the first volume of a life-spanning comics project in which he drew one page every month for the past seven years, starting in January 2000 — and will continue this project for 50 years in total, making up the story as he goes and releasing 96-page increments every 8 years until he amasses a 600-page body of work.
Front cover hand lettered and designed by Robert Crumb, plus five wonderful pages of sketchbook drawings inside! Back cover by Christoph Mueller, "My Angel of Sin"! The life of famous Beat underground poet, Diane Di Prima, drawn and written by Mary Fleener (with guest Harvey Pekar)! Poetry by Diane Di Prima! "Pat & Corky" fiction by J.R. Helton, Zippy the Pinhead and how Bill Griffith got his start! New artwork by Christoph Mueller (with guest Joe Coleman) and William Crook, Jr.! Jay Lynch & Ed Piskor's story about Lynch and Crumb going to visit Chester Gould! "In Praise of Goth Beauticians" by Andrei Codrescu and illustrated by Aaron Lange! Plus the long awaited next chapter to the Green Star by editor Everett Rand, also Frank Stack, Bruce Simon, Aaron Lange, letters from around the globe and more!!
In a mammoth interview, Marvel Zombies writer Robert Kirkman discusses everything from starting out as the publisher of Battle Pope to his work with Image and Marvel Comics. Plus: Kirkman-related essays by Michael Dean and Simon Abrams, and zombies, zombies, zombies!
The Arrival author Shaun Tan talks about the Australian comics scene, children’s books and the breakaway success of his immigrant-themed latest work.
Our comics section this issue features 100 consecutive strips from Ed Wheelan’s classic Minute Movies, plus a history of the strip by Jared Gardner.
Bob Levin looks at the life and work of Hustler Magazine’s most notorious cartoonist, “Chester the Molester” creator Dwaine Tinsley.
Historian R.C. Harvey recounts the history of the first daily comic strip, Mutt and Jeff, and its creator Bud Fisher.
Paul Kirchner remembers the late Charlton cartoonist Wayne Howard.
Alan David Doane offers a critique of the modern comics shop.
As always, we’ve got teasers from the new issue on the TCJ.com website, including extracts of our Robert Kirkman and Shaun Tan interviews, plus Michael Dean’s Marvel Zombies essay in its entirety! Boasting absolutely no zombie-variant covers whatsoever, The Comics Journal #289 will enlighten, entertain and irritate comics connoisseurs in all the ways you’ve come to know and love.
Meanwhile, the May 1 issue of Booklist features a starred review of Hall of Best Knowledge. "This is a life-passage story that reveals itself as such so slyly that the joy and loving humilty it evokes at the end are breathtaking," writes Ray Olson. Couldn't agree more.
We recently received a large package of original art from Al Jaffee for our upcoming complete Humbug collection. Here's just one amazing example -- click the image above to see a high-res version, and click here for a set with close-up detail photos. Also, if you haven't seen it already, see our nifty feature detailing the production process of restoring a Humbug page.