• Review: "Austrian cartoonist Nicholas Mahler cheerfully spoofs superheroes and modern comic-book publishing with Angelman... These kinds of jokes about the venality of superhero industry have been made many times before, but Mahler’s little squiggly characters are adorable, and his gags are genuinely funny, especially as poor little Angelman gets more and more loaded down with quirks and complications. Angelman is a satire, yes, but it also revels to some extent in the goofiness of revamps, retcons, and all the other gimmicks that keep mainstream comics afloat." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club
• Review: "The Matthias Wivel-edited anthology Kolor Klimax: Nordic Comics Now offers a generous sampling of recent work by new and veteran cartoonists from Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Denmark.... Overall, it’s a fine survey of creators who are largely unknown here in the States." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club
• Review: "Spain Rodriguez is one of the legends of the original underground comics wave, and he tells his own origin story in Cruisin’ with the Hound: The Life and Times of Fred Tooté, a collection of short stories about coming of age in Buffalo in the ’50s and ’60s. ...Cruisin’ with the Hound... gives a real flavor both of Rodriguez’s work — which was so different in its point of view than the other underground comics of the late ’60s and early ’70s — and from whence it came." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club
• Review: "It's over. And I am so sad. Fantagraphics's breathtaking reprints of some of the greatest comic strips of all time -- E.C. Segar's fabulously wonderful Popeye -- comes to a conclusion with this amazing sixth volume, a perfect collection of comics art that brings joy literally from cover to cover. From the latest spectacular die-cut front cover to the awesomely odd letter reprinted on the inside back cover, the final volume of the adventures of the sailor man and his friends, enemies and pets is pure joy and bliss, a deliriously charming collection... There was no world quite like the insane world that E.C. Segar created in Popeye. And that world is pure magic." – Jason Sacks, Comics Bulletin
• Review: "One of the most beloved comic strips of all time, Charles Schulz's Peanuts chronicled the adventures of Charlie Brown and friends for nearly five decades. Fantagraphics has been working for a few years now on a massive reissue of the entire strip, and their latest edition, The Complete Peanuts 1983-1984, collects work from the post-'classic' Peanuts era of the '60s. While it wouldn't be unfair to expect a bit of staleness at this stage, these later comics remain consistently witty and entertaining, and reflect Schulz's continued mastery of comedic timing within a four-panel layout.... Consistently subtle yet always timely, after 30 years, Schulz still had a winning formula on his hands." – Phil Guie, Critical Mob
• Interview (Audio): Podcaster Jason Barr: "Johnny Ryan guests on this addition of A.D.D. We talk about political correctness, illustration, growing up outside Boston, religion, wanting to be a priest, childhood loves, hating Doonesbury, having a funny family, not giving a shit, confrontational art, marriage & why people are afraid of Johnny Ryan among many other topics."
• Feature: "Love and Rockets has probably been my favorite comic book series for over a decade now. Though it’s been running since the early '80s, I didn’t discover it until Penny Century #1 came out in the late 90s -- I was immediately drawn to the cover art (as seen here), and the story within wasn’t at all what I expected. Of course, I immediately started reading all the collections starting from the beginning, so I could figure out who these characters were and discover their rich backstories." – Alicia Korenman, Chapelboro
• Plug: "Available now is an exceptional collection that just might have missed your attention. I have particularly enjoyed [The Sincerest Form of Parody].... This collects the 30 best stories from all the wild comics that came out to compete with EC's original Mad Comics, in 1953-55.... Plus I enjoy every project editor JohnBenson writes about. He offers fascinating insights into each of these disparate titles, interesting facts about the artists and even what they were spoofing." – Bud Plant
• Plug: On YALSA's The Hub blog, Emily Calkins includes Wandering Son by Shimura Takako on their list of graphic novels featuring LGBTQ characters
We had a swell time at the Stumptown Comics Fest in Portland this past weekend and the big news for us there was that Jaime Hernandez received the Stumptown Comic Arts Award for Best Cartoonist! Festival special guest and our longtime pal Stan Sakai picked up the award for Best Letterer, and our newest hire, Jen Vaughn, shares the award for Best Anthology as co-editor of Lies Grown-ups Told Me. Congrats to all!
We were extremely pleased to learn over the weekend that Moto Hagio (creator of A Drunken Dream and Other Stories and the forthcoming The Heart of Thomas, among many other works) has been awarded the Purple Ribbon Medal of Honor by the government of Japan for her contributions to the arts. "Hagio is the 14th manga creator and the first female manga-ka to receive this award," reports Deb Aoki at About.com Manga, who has the complete story and background courtesy our own manga editor/translator, Matt Thorn (pictured below with Hagio-sensei at the Japan Cartoonist Association award ceremony last June).
A high-rise apartment building in an unnamed European city. Its inhabitants come and go, meet each other, talk, dream, regret, hope... in short, live. A ghostly, shape-shifting anthropomorphic white rabbit roams from apartment to apartment, surveying and keeping track of all this humanity... and at the end of every night, he floats down to the basement where he delivers his report to the "great dark one."
Lushly delineated in penciled halftones, this moody graphic novel was orig- inally serialized in Fantagraphics’ acclaimed "Ignatz" series of upscale saddle-stitched booklets in duotone form, but this complete edition restores the artist’s original striking full-color treatment.
"What makes Gabriella Giandelli's world unique is her brave rejection of the fashionable and the stereotypical. Intimate and poetic, sensitive and enigmatic, Interiorae is her masterpiece." – Lorenzo Mattotti
• Profile: Esteemed underground comix historian Patrick Rosenkranz at The Comics Journal: "Spain Rodriguez acknowledges that age hasn’t necessarily brought wisdom, but it does help him appreciate his youthful adventures more, especially the unique experience of growing up in Buffalo, New York in the 1950s, which he portrays in his latest book,Cruisin' with the Hound.... This new volume from Fantagraphics Books tells more about his childhood, the guys and girls in his neighborhood, early encounters with sex, religion, and science fiction, and the birth of rock and roll." Sample quote from Spain: "Each moment is unique. That’s the thing about comics. If affords you the potential to be able to capture that moment, probably more than anything else. It has certain objective and subjective potentiality. It’s something that nobody else can do. Each person is unique, each person sees things in their individual way and comics give you that opportunity."
• Review: "A book with 400 pages of Alex Toth comics is a dream come true. Toth is one of the early greats of comics. Many of the golden age and early silver age comic artists made drawings that were charmingly crude, but there were a few supergeniuses among them. Alex Toth's art is obviously a cut above a lot of his peers. His understanding of how to use areas of black is unequaled. Cartoonists like Frank Miller and Charles Burns, who really like to use as much black as possible, owe a lot to Toth as a guy who really broke new ground in blacking it up. If you want to learn something about shading and composition you go get this book [Setting the Standard] and just black out." – Nick Gazin, VICE
• Review: "I still like looking at Ditko's stuff and think his work is valid. He's not a great drawer but he is clearly full of intense feelings and a lot of rage. Although his actual rendering skills aren't as strong as someone like Toth his ideas, feelings, and visual concepts are strong. This book [Mysterious Traveler] collects various sci-fi and horror comics he drew that are all pretty fun to look at and have neat visual ideas littered throughout." – Nick Gazin, VICE
• Review: "[Glitz-2-Go] deals with feeling unattractive and dressing kinda like a drag queen and being dissatisfied with relationships. The Didi Glitz comics were produced at a time when doing art about the hidden perversions of the 50s was big. Pee Wee Herman, Blue Velvet, John Waters, a lot of stuff Devo did — it all fits in with this book." – Nick Gazin, VICE
• Interview: At PSFK, an excerpt of Rob Walker talking about Significant Objects in Need to Know Magazine: "People value and are attracted to stories, and this often plays out in the world of objects. What we tried to do is take that observation in a different direction. Instead of a traditional story ‘about an object’ (where it was made, why it’s so great, how it will make your life better), we wanted creative writers to invent stories inspired by objects, which can lead to all kinds of unpredictable results. And in this case, the results turned out to be strong enough that the stories stood on their own."
• Commentary: A Fletcher Hanks creation tops Pip Ury's list of "6 Great Old-Timey Comics for (Traumatizing) Kids" at Cracked: "Fantomah, Mystery Woman of the Jungle is often credited as the first comic book superheroine, debuting in early 1940 and predating Wonder Woman by almost two years. Whoever decided she counted as one, however, has an extremely loose definition of what superheroing entails -- for starters, as far as we know superheroes aren't meant to be mind-numbingly terrifying."
• Interview (Audio): Listen to Monday night's episode of Too Much Information on WFMU, in which "Cartoonist Bill Griffith joins Benjamen Walker for an hour long conversation about Underground comics, Newspaper strips and Mainstream culture."
48-page black & white/color 8.5" x 11" softcover • $9.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-571-6
Ships in: May 2012 (subject to change) – This item will be available to order simultaneous with its release to comic shops.
Five years in the making and meticulously edited by John Benson, Squa Tront returns with a profusion of rare and interesting features from the EC era: the story behind Basil Wolverton’s first EC art; Howard Nostrand’s last interview; art from the unpublished third issue of Flip; Jack Davis’s WWII cartoons; plus EC era art by Wallace Wood, John and Marie Severin, Harvey Kurtzman, and Roy Krenkel. The longest running EC historical magazine and a perfect companion to Fantagraphics’ new series of EC reprints.
Download and read a 6-page PDF excerpt (1.7 MB) including the Table of Contents.
This week's comic shop shipment is slated to include the following new titles. Read on to see what comics-blog commentators and web-savvy comic shops are saying about them (more to be added as they appear), check out our previews at the links, and contact your local shop to confirm availability.
136-page black & white 7.5" x 10.25" softcover • $19.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-461-0
"...[T]here are a lot of good books out this week, mostly from Fantagraphics. My first pick would be Cruisin’ with the Hound, a collection of autobiographical strips by the great Spain Rodriguez centering mostly on his misspent teen and young adult years. A lot of this stuff was serialized in Blab! years ago and it’s all killer material." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
"Cruisin' with the Hound now in stock. A collection of my favorite comics by Spain (or anyone for that matter)." – Jason Leivian, Floating World
88-page black & white 9.25" x 12.25" hardcover • $19.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-521-1
"There’s also the rerelease of Any Similarity to Persons Living or Dead is Purely Coincidental, Drew Friedman’s very first collection of scabrous caricatures, first released way back in the heady days of the early 1980s. Ah, good times …" – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
"One of the foundational books of any arts/alt comics library, and a fine printing endorsed as such by the creator. If there's a funnier five minutes to be had than reading that Andy Griffith story, please tell me about it." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
144-page black & white/color 7" x 10" softcover • $18.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-509-9
"There’s also Folly: Consequences of Indescretion, a collection of short pieces by Hans Rickheit, author of The Squirrel Machine." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
"If you go to the comics shop to buy work from voices with which you're not entirely familiar -- and you are a fine person if this is your primary reason for heading into comics shops -- I can't imagine a better buy for more people than a Hans Rickheit book." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
"Rickheit is one of the finest and most interesting illustrators putting ink to paper today. This book collects his early, self-published books." – Benn Ray (Atomic Books), Largehearted Boy
188-page black & white/color 10.5" x 14.75" hardcover • $29.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-483-2
"If I were splurging, I’d pick... the sixth and final Popeye volume from Fantagraphics. Let’s face it, there’s only one place to go to get pure, wonderful, unadulterated Popeye, and that’s from its creator, E.C. Segar. I’ve made no secret about my pure and utterly devout love for Segar’s strip and that love continues into this final volume, where Segar tragically died all too soon from leukemia. ...[I]f you’re really, seriously interested in wanting to delve into Popeye, this is where you go." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
"Finally, my Nerd OCD prevents me from starting with volume 6, but Chris M has convinced me that I should check out Segar’s Popeye stuff. It’s out of bounds for this list, but if I had some extra money, I’d grab the first volume of that collection." – Michael May, Robot 6
"The final year-or-so worth of E.C. Segar's run on 'Thimble Theatre' is collected in another big, punchy hardcover, wrapping up the Fantagraphics reprint series." – Douglas Wolk, ComicsAlliance
"One of the great strips, and an archival project that's kind of been forgotten a bit. These are magnificent comics, and I read them in a semi-swoon." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
"CONFLICT OF INTEREST RESERVOIR: There are a lot of pretty huge Fantagraphics releases this week, including some original sailor man stuff via Popeye Vol. 6 (of 6): Me Li’l Swee’Pea, the final hardcover compilation of Segar’s content; $29.99. Then there’s Folly: The Consequences of Indiscretion, a 144-page selection of short stories by Hans Rickheit from the pages of Kramers Ergot, various minicomics and other places; $18.99. Then there’s Cruisin’ with the Hound: The Life and Times of Fred Toote, a 136-page collection of ’50s period tales by Spain Rodriguez, seen in Blab! and elsewhere; $19.99. AND THEN there’s a new edition of the 1985 Drew & Josh Alan Friedman collection Any Similarity to Persons Living or Dead Is Purely Coincidental, a prime volume in many home libraries; $19.99." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
To celebrate the re-release of Any Similarity to Persons Living or Dead Is Purely Coincidental, Josh Alan Friedman presents a behind-the-scenes look at one of the strips from the book, discussing his creative process with his brother Drew, with rare art not included in the book, seldom-seen photos and his full typewritten script for the strip.
• Review: "Since its 1996 Olio Press inception with The Curse of Brambly Hedge, writer/artist Linda Medley’s sweetly Grimm magnum opus has sometimes appeared fitfully, and this week, Castle Waiting Vol. II #16 continues that trend. More specifically, as her publishers note in a one-page introduction, three years have passed since last the black-and-white Fantagraphics Books neofable graced comics shops. Still, those same publishers — Gary Groth and Kim Thompson, not exactly gentlemen known for lavishing praise profligately — also characterize the series as 'one of the greatest and most beautifully drawn fantasy comic books of all time,' and the verity of that characterization, even after so long a hiatus, earns Castle Waiting this column’s most heartfelt recommendation, as does the series’ gentle humor. Regarding its visuals, by way of example, a two-page view of Jain’s new quarters sparks astonishment for the impeccability of its draftsmanship; regarding its wit, meanwhile, a gentle chuckle should greet Rackham’s comment about the castle’s three handmaidens: 'They’ve been old biddies for so long, it’s hard to imagine that they were once young biddies…'" – Bryan A. Hollerbach, PLAYBACK:stl
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