• List: Look out, it's Tom Spurgeon's Best of 2009 list at The Comics Reporter. Fantagraphics category rankings are listed below, with complete lists and Tom's commentary to be found at the link above:
• Review: "Somehow, some way, Jamie Hernandez is getting better and better. ...Locas, the first gigantic hardcover compilation of Jamie’s 'Maggie and Hopey' stories, stands as one of the highlights of my life as a reader. Now, unbelievably, Locas II exceeds the original’s standard. ... In Locas II: Maggie, Hopey and Ray, he’s crafted perhaps his most universal work to date, a saga of three people who’ve left behind the postures of their youth to stumble, unsure and hesitant, across the landscape of their adult lives. It’s strange and scary, funny and sweet, confused and enlightening. Locas II is a master as the top of his game, and a true comic book classic." – Michael C. Lorah, Newsarama
• Review: "It is interesting to see the rapid evolution of the graphics and drawings [in Prince Valiant Vol. 1: 1937-1938], a little reticent and schematic at first, but soon becoming highly detailed and expressive. Adventure prevailed in the stories, but there was room for humor, romance and tragedy." – Top Comics (translated from Portuguese)
• Review: "OK sure but trust me it's not for those who just want to look at dumbed down pictures and drool on themselves as anorexic telepathic women parade in wonder bras nor is this Babar's color by number. [The Portable] Frank is engaging on all levels and asks the reader to not just lose themselves but to participate fully and that's why this is my pick of the week!!" – Coast City Comics
• Plug: "This book is amazing and bat%$#* crazy. There are no words, just check it out of the library asap." – Cold Bullets
• List: We published 3 of "The 6 Most Underrated Comics of 2009" according to Robot 6's Chris Mautner, including Giraffes in My Hair: A Rock 'n' Roll Life by Bruce Paley & Carol Swain ("Swain's low-key, nonchalant art fits perfectly with Paley's tales of hippie wanderings and punk-era decadence, stripping the stories of any rock glamor and tinging them with a genuine sadness. Really, this book just underscores how talented and sharp an artist Swain really is") From Wonderland with Love: Danish Comics in the Third Millennium ("...Nikoline Wedelin's haunting, chilling Because I Love You So Much... still resonates with me months after I wrote this review. The unflinching regard for its subject matter is not going to have people beating a path to its door, but the sheer daring artistry on display deserved much more attention than it got") and Gahan Wilson: Fifty Years of Playboy Cartoons ("It's a testament, not only to Wilson's genius (the material never flags or gets rote, no matter what the decade) but also to Fantagraphics skill in presenting this material in such a stellar fashion. Really, it was the best retrospective collection of the year, and I wish more people had noticed it.")
• Panel: The concluding installment of The Comics Journal's presentation of a never-before-published panel discussion between Charles Burns, Chip Kidd, Seth and Chris Ware, moderated by Jeet Heer, that occurred October 29, 2005 at the International Festival of Authors in Toronto, Canada, turns things over to audience Q&A
Pull the kids up on your lap, turn up the volume on your computer, and enjoy this performance from cartoonist/musician Archer Prewitt, live on "Chic-A-Go-Go," the cutest all-ages dance show on cable access in Chicago.
By the way, that "John & Mark" happens to be John Upchurch and Mark Greenberg (also seen "drumming" with Archer on "Chic-A-Go-Go"), and Tight Ship Records happens to be ran by one Mr. Barry Phipps. Yes, folks, it's the closest thing we have to a reunion by The Coctails until I raise enough money to get them to play my next birthday party.
(Incidentally, The Coctails' Popcorn box set? Features photography by your FLOG host Mike Baehr! Also? The Coctails have collaborated in the past with Fantagraphics' very own Dame Darcy! It's a very small world of awesomeness.)
This looks like it's going to be a dazzling art show of John Pham's paintings (and a few sculptures) at GR2 in LA April 10 - May 5. The opening reception is on Saturday April 10, 6:30-10 PM. More info here.
• Review: "There are two types of war stories: war as the great human drama, man accomplishing amazing feats in the most horrible of circumstances, or war as the great human tragedy, the ultimate loss of life without any rhyme or reason. Tardi’s book fits very firmly into the latter category. ... Ink-soaked and gory, Tardi’s detailed renderings drive home the grotesquery of the war and the ordeal of the young men fighting in it. ...It Was the War of the Trenches creates an aura of loss, regret and terror." – Michael C. Lorah, Newsarama
Seattle’s Peter Bagge is the architect of the ubiquitous alternative comics genre. His compelling comic book serial HATE chronicled the exploits of Buddy Bradley and his gang of lovable losers through the rise and fall of the grunge era. Going beyond mere satire, Bagge’s observations helped fashion the aesthetics and attitudes of the only significant youth movement to emerge from the Pacific Northwest. A contemporary review by Bruce Barcott in the Seattle Weekly stated, “Twenty years from now, when people want to know what it was like to be young in 1990s Seattle, the only record we’ll have is Peter Bagge’s HATE.”
Happily, in the years since the series ended, Bagge provides periodic updates on the lives of Buddy Bradley and his crew. HATE ANNUAL #8 finds Buddy and beau Lisa back home in New Jersey dealing with the responsibilities of parenthood while trying to cling to their carefree youth. The results are predictably hilarious. Bagge will also premiere his new full-length graphic novel OTHER LIVES on DC’s Vertigo imprint. The book follows the fantasy lives of high tech nerds as they collide with harsh reality.
James Sturm was among the cadre of creative cartoonists that relocated to Seattle at the dawn of the grunge era. He co-founded The Stranger and created his popular comic Cereal Killings for Fantagraphics Books. He later co-founded the Center for Cartoon Studies (CCS) in White River Junction, Vermont and instructs students in their two-year program. In MARKET DAY, published by Drawn & Quarterly of Montreal, Sturm draws a quiet and reflective portrait of Eastern European culture in the early 1900s — bringing to life the hustle and bustle of an old-world market place on the brink of the Industrial Revolution. MARKET DAY is a timeless tale of how economic and social forces can affect a single life. Sturm will speak briefly on his experiences starting The Stranger, the CCS, and his work in comics.
The Peter Bagge and James Sturm event on April 17 coincides with national Record Store Day at neighboring Georgetown Records. Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale Street (at Airport Way S.) in the heart of the historic Georgetown arts community. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110.
Our Free Comic Book Day offering this year, Weathercraft and Other Unusual Tales by Jim Woodring, is an absolute doozy! It features an excerpt of Jim's new graphic novel Weathercraft along with out-of-print and never-before-published "Frank" material, a centerfold of a previously unpublished Woodring charcoal drawing (like the ones in Seeing Things), and other surprises. It's an absolute must-have for any Woodring fan! Believe me — I've seen the proofs and I can't wait to get my hands on the final product.
At the FCBD website, you can read an interview with the comic's editor, our own Jason T. Miles, with more information about the whole shebang, and download an excerpt of the Weathercraft excerpt.
Free Comic Book Day is Saturday, May 1 this year, and you'll be able to find Weathercraft and Other Unusual Tales at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery and other participating comic shops across the land while supplies last. Be sure to check with your local shop to make sure they're getting copies.
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