|Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under previews||5 Jan 2009 12:06 PM|
Please note that release dates are subject to change.
Search / Login
Sign up for our email newsletters for updates on new releases, events, special deals and more.
Please note that release dates are subject to change.
• Comic Book Resources concludes their "Best 100 Comics of 2008" countdown: Part III ranks Ganges #2 by Kevin Huizenga at #51 and Bottomless Belly Button by Dash Shaw at #41; Part V has Love and Rockets: New Stories #1 by the Hernandez Brothers at #20
• In their "Nexus Graphica" column for The SF Site, Rick Klaw and Mark London Williams include the following titles on their "top ten graphic novel or comics-related publications lists": The Number 73304-23-4153-6-96-8 by Thomas Ott, Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko by Blake Bell, and Rebel Visions by Patrick Rosenkranz (Mark's #1)
• J. Caleb Mozzocco's top-ten list of "The Best Comics of 2008" includes Bottomless Belly Button and Jason's The Last Musketeer, with Pocket Full of Rain on the long list
• The Village Voice "Pulp Fictions" column names Bottomless Belly Button and Where Demented Wented: The Art and Comics of Rory Hayes two of "The Best of 2008"
Time for the new installment of Steven Weissman's in-progress pages from "Blue Jay," an epic 32-page story from Chocolate Cheeks, the next collection of the Yikes! gang's adventures. In this week's episode: things going wham in the night!
And don't forget to catch up on our current 5-day chunk of Martin Kellerman's hilarious Swedish smash-hit Rocky, updated Monday-Friday! This week starts a new storyline, with Rocky back in New York City!
This month I've mostly been home with my six-month-old daughter, which doesn't leave a lot of time for heavy reading (or watching, for that matter). Short attention span entertainment is where it's at. To the point where I've found myself doing something I haven't done in years: re-reading a bunch of old (mostly Marvel) comics from my youth that have been gathering dust in the basement for 20 years. Comics by John Byrne, Michael Golden, Bill Sienkiewicz, etc. I think I was partially inspired by Frank Santoro's effusive love for the comics he grew up with. He and I are about exactly the same age, I think, so a lot of what he writes about 1980s comics resonates with me even when I disagree with him. One of the 'runs' I just (partially) re-read was a true favorite of my childhood: John Byrne's Fantastic Four (from somewhere around issues 220-something through 293). I was surprised to enjoy these comics again (as long as I don't read most of the dialogue and just skim things rather briskly, anyway), because I don't think of Byrne with the same reverence I do of other mainstream creators of that era, even though at the time I thought he was the greatest. Yeah, he's got a total tin ear for female characters, his inking is pretty lousy, etc., but he also came closest to the high-adventure, soap-opera spirit of the original Lee-Kirby FFs as anyone ever has. He got the gist of what made the FF tick, in a way that kids could totally dig. Anyway, a few random things I particularly enjoyed from this run:
1) The Jerry Ordway inked issues in the 280s-290s. Seriously, these were very cool looking superhero comics for the era:
2) The John Byrne-lettered issue (#273):
Thought not actually credited, I am pretty certain Byrne himself lettered this issue of FF all by himself -- it harkens back to his old Doomsday Squad comics for Charlton. I like the weird 'indie' look of this issue, the way Byrne's lettering plays off his own art. Lettering is the most underrated and egregiously ignored skill in comics these days. You don't have to be a technical whiz like Chris Ware; Jaime Hernandez has a wonderfully simple style that makes his pages much more organic wholes than they would be with, say, a font.
3) Crazy Byrne pop culture references like this:
Byrne seemed to have a little more free-reign than a lot of writers/artists behind the Shooter Curtain of Marvel 1980s. Not that he used it as innovatively as, say, Miller and Mazzucchelli, but lately I've been enjoying goofy stuff like the panel above, depicting a scene of a Connecticut dinner party attended by Reed and Sue as their short-lived alter egos, "Reed and Sue Benjamin" (the most believable alter-ego since Superman put on glasses), with guests named "Hi", "Lois," "Walt," etc. This all no doubt flew completely over my 13-year-old head.
Anyway, let this post be a loud rejoinder to the notion that we at Fantagraphics are a bunch of elitist jerks. I've been reading 1970s/1980s Fantastic Four, Moon Knight, Master of Kung-Fu, The 'Nam, and Defenders comics all month, fer crissakes.
From Fantastic Four #263 (1984):
P.S. If this post makes no sense to you, be grateful.
UPDATE: My pal Robert Goodin pointed out to me that the name of the character referred to in this panel, a Mr. Alden Maas, is an anagram for Neal Adams. John Byrne was a good 20 years ahead of the curve of the science community when it came to dismissing a crackpot! I knew re-reading these comics would pay dividends.
Oh my word, you have just a few hours left to get in your order and save 25% by using the coupon code 25OFF08, plus get free standard U.S. shipping! End your year right: with an orgy of comics shopping! Click here for more details about the sale.