Alas, E.C. Segar, arguably the funniest cartoonist to ever lay ink on paper, died at the age of 44, leaving less that a decade’s worth of strips featuring his immortal creation Popeye — so this sixth volume of Segar’s Popeye is in fact the final one, enabling collectors to add the last “E” to the P-O-P-E-Y-E spelled out on the spines of Fantagraphics’ smashing collection.
This final volume starts off in grand style with “Mystery Melody,” featuring the terrifying return of the shape-shifting Sea Hag. Olive Oyl, Wimpy, Poop- deck Pappy, the Jeep, the newly domesticated Goon, and Toar all appear in this four-month epic, as does Bolo, the latest in Segar’s cast of massive Popeye opponents.
Other stories include the melodramatic “A Sock for Susan’s Sake” (Popeye becomes the protector of a girl who lives on the streets), Popeye’s boxing duel with King Smacko, the return of Thimble Theatre’s original star Castor Oyl as a detective who solves the case of “Plastic Pan,” the Poopdeck Pappy yarn “Wild Oats” (culminating in a six-month prison sentence for the rambunctious oldster), “The Valley of the Goons” (in which Popeye is shocked to discover who the new leader of the Goons is), and the self-explanatory “King Swee’Pea.”
And that’s just the dailies! Popeye Volume 6 also includes 62 splendid full-page full-color Sundays, featuring further adventures of Popeye and an epically surreal six-month interplanetary voyage for Sappo, the star of Popeye’s “top strip.” The supplementary features include two historical articles by Popeye expert Rick Marschall (one on Popeye’s translation to the world of licensing and merchandising, and one on Segar’s place in comics and pop culture history), an illustrated Segar-written biography of Popeye originally serialized in newspapers of the time, and more rare art and photos.
Download and read a 15-page PDF excerpt (27.2 MB) with 10 pages of dailies and 5 pages of Sundays.
• Review: "Record collecting was an engagement with mystery. [Pat] Thomas understands this and his book, Listen, Whitey, which documents the pieces -- both lauded and obscure -- of the recording element within the Black Power movement of the 1960s and ‘70s.... These small discs were part of the overall effort that allowed African Americans to get real information about the Black Power Movement, to let them know they weren't alone, to show them ways to be involved, to stoke ideas and energy, and to provide catharsis. Thomas mines this territory to construct a richly illustrated history of a time when revolution was damn hard, and it left reminders that it once existed." – John Seven, North Adams Transcript
• Scene: Culture blogger Philip Utley of Kellygreen reviews the Daniel Clowes retrospective exhibit — "There’s a quiet, clever intelligence to his work. He can also be harsh and sexually frank. Which, of course, totally offends me. So, when a show of his work came to the newly renovated Oakland Museum of California, I pulled out my dildo and jumped in the car." — with a bunch of close-up photos of the artwork
Lovers of art comics know Hans Rickheit from his smashing graphic novel The Squirrel Machine (2008), but Rickheit has, for over a decade, been producing his own self-published comics — reaching into the deepest cupboards of the back-mind and culling these strange artifacts. He has been a basement-dweller, gallery troll, and a purveyor of forbidden notions. Originally distributed into the world as Xeroxed pamphlets, these “underground comix” reflect the true nature of its nomenclature: Here are the archeological findings of the subterranean ruins of the psyche. Finally, these scattered elements have been compiled into a compact, lushly illustrated bedside reader. Give your cerebellum a tug and become a spelunker of the subconscious as we trespass among the scorched archaic wastelands of the offspring of apes and fools. Here we find the profane, beautiful progeny of prurient ideals. Immerse yourself in the nocturnal meanderings of unnamed protagonists. Ponder the uncomfortable sexuality of the twins, Cochlea & Eustachia. Recoil at the doings of a dwarfish malefactor in "Hail Jeffrey," or simply stare at the pretty pictures. Suffice to say that readers of The Squirrel Machine will not be disappointed.
The author instructs you not misuse this tome. Poke it gently with a long stick, if you must. Careful, it might ruin the carpet. Placate it with a belly-rub or sweet pastry before it attacks the children. Don’t worry, your tongue won’t stick. If it fits, don’t shove it in too quickly. Keep it as your own cherished object; a shameful, guarded secret. The filter for reality’s blinding glare. Detritus of the Under-Brain. The Unspeakable Thing You Always Knew.
Folly: The Consequences of Indiscretion. By one of the most inscrutable and discomfiting cartoonists alive.
• List: For The Guardian, comics creators Bryan & Mary Talbot select their top 10 graphic memoirs, with Joe Sacco's Palestine at #4: "Sacco was trained as a journalist and singlehandedly created the genre of reportage in graphic novel form. Immersing himself in a situation, his in-depth reports use the medium of comics to its full potential. Like his Safe Area Gorazde or recent Footnotes in Gaza, Palestine follows his experiences as he investigates events and interviews residents, explaining the history, politics and dynamics of the place as he goes along. The palpable sense of place and the feeling that we're in the presence of the people who relate their experiences to him (and therefore to us) is a testament to his storytelling skills, his work being far more intimate than that of a filmed documentary. Sacco is a master of this medium."
• Feature: "Compiling the book was a learning experience for Thomas... 'They (the Panthers) switched from a gun-toting paramilitary organization to a more community-based entity offering free food, clothing, and medical care,' he says. And, perhaps, this may be Listen, Whitey!’s biggest strength — and greatest contribution — to future discourse about this topic that has been so distorted and misrepresented in its presentation to the consciousness of mainstream America. Maybe now, 40 years after the histrionics and exaggeration, enough time has passed so the emergence of Black consciousness can be scrutinized with a measure of clarity." – Gregg Reese, Our Weekly
• Interview: At The Atlantic, Steven Heller has a Q&A with Daniel Clowes: "I was trying to get work as an illustrator in the '80s, but no art directors actually ever called, which is what led me to throw up my hands in despair and slink back to comics. Originally, I was hoping to find a writer to collaborate with, since I was much more interested in the drawing part of the equation, but that didn't work out. And so I began writing my own stories."
In this month's issue of Booklist you can find reviews of three of our recent releases, excerpted below:
Amazing Mysteries: The Bill Everett Archives Vol. 1, edited by Blake Bell: "Dating from 1938–42, most [stories] feature superheroes designed to compete with the then-new Superman, such as Amazing-Man, who gained his powers from the Tibetan monks who raised him; the Flash Gordon-derived Skyrocket Steele; and Hydroman, who could transform himself into a waterspout. The stories and artwork are laughably crude by modern standards, although no more so than those in other comic books from the period. But even the earliest ones show traces of the sleek polish that would become Everett’s hallmark. By the later stories, his mature style is firmly in place, a sign that future volumes in the series will be of even greater interest." – Gordon Flagg
Krazy & Ignatz 1922-1924: At Last My Drim of Love Has Come True by George Herriman: "Herriman’s graphically dazzling, ineffably beguiling creation remains unequaled a century after its first appearance, and the 13 volumes amassing his three decades’ worth of fanciful Sunday funnies are mandatory purchases for any comics-art collection. This volume is filled out with Herriman rarities, including his first daily comic strips, from 1903, and the full run of Us Husbands, a far-more-conventional Sunday strip about married life that Herriman drew throughout 1926." – Gordon Flagg
The Sincerest Form of Parody: The Best 1950s MAD-Inspired Saritical Comics, edited by John Benson: "MAD historian Benson presents 32 stories and nine covers from the copycats fielded by nine publishers, and at the end of the book discusses them. If you read the stories before the notes and you’re a devotee of the early MAD, you’ll have recognized the imitative qualities Benson points out, such as how MAD’s Jack Davis and Bill Elder had the drawing styles that were aped, and how Elder’s habit of adding what he called chicken fat — jokey signs, bits of business going on in the background, incongruous decoration — to every panel was swallowed whole by the knockoffs. But as Benson tells us, none of the pretenders quite 'got' MAD or, more important, its nearly sole writer, Harvey Kurtzman, whose all-important 'touch' lay in his jaundiced, derisive, smart attitude toward American commercial culture. Prime Americana." – Ray Olson
Usagi Yojimbo: The Special Edition, the deluxe, slipcased two-volume hardcover set collecting the complete first decade of Stan Sakai's long-running, beloved series, with bonus materials including a color cover gallery, a career-spanning interview and more, has sold through its print run and is now a collectible. However! We have received a small shipment of dent-and-ding copies returned from the distributor, so if you don't mind a slipcase with a bonked corner or other superficial damage and you love bargains, good news because you can buy one of them for $50 — that's half price — from our mail-order department or from the fabled back room at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery. Fifty bucks for 1,160 pages of top-notch comics and fascinating bonus features is a heck of a deal, and we don't imagine these will last long, so don't delay!
• Review: "The names here are mysterious, but the book makes a good case for many of the artists to be better known, which seems to be its intent. Tommi Musturi’s 'Samuel' stories, for example, several of which are included, are colorful, wordless, and Zen-like in their focus on the here and now. Joanna Rubin Dranger’s 'Always Prepared to Die for My Child' is another highlight, with simple drawings that manage to convey a lot. And Jenni Rope’s minimalist stories, which nearly bookend the volume, are poetic and impressive.... The number of woman cartoonists is also worth noting, partially because there’s no attention called to it. Kolor Klimax is a good first offering and may well indicate a series worth revisiting." – Hillary Brown, Paste
• Review: "Between the heavy cross hatching and almost wood-carved appearance of Rickheit’s art and his fixation on the degraded physical form, Folly often looks like a Jan Svankmajer film or Tool video adapted by Geof Darrow or Jim Woodring. Rickheit’s work is visually striking... Folly is a gorgeous but uncomfortable collection best enjoyed a few pages at a time." – Garrett Martin, Paste
• Review: "Like a Velvet Glove [Cast in Iron] is an early work by a creator who will later become one of the artform's greatest creators. There are themes and moments in this book that will be revisited in Clowes's later works, and revisited in smarter and more focused ways in some of his newer and greater works. Daniel Clowes is clearly building his skillset in this book, as he works on his art style, story progression and thematic obsessions. But it's still an incredible work of art that shifted my perceptions of the world a bit as well." – Jason Sacks, Comics Bulletin
• Interview (Audio): Mike Dawson's final guest as host of The Comics Journal's "TCJ Talkies" podcast is Tim Kreider, about whom Dawson writes in his intro, "Tim has often insisted that he doesn’t consider himself a proper political cartoonist, but was only drafted into writing about current events by the lunacy of the times. It’s true that going back and re-reading Tim’s comics in the run-up to the Iraq war, is a vivid reminder of how hysterical things were at that time (not in a good way)."
• Analysis: Matt Seneca examines a 1937 Krazy Kat strip for his column at Robot 6: "This page expresses a single gem of an idea, duality of character. It’s an idea both simple and profound, perfectly suited to Herriman’s aesthetic, and the way it’s put forth is so straightforward that it’s easy to read the strip over time and again before realizing that what it achieves could only be done using the comics medium."
Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez happened to be together in L.A. recently for the launch of the Daniel Clowes art book at Meltdown Comics and the folks there seized the opportunity to have the brothers sit down for an enjoyable chat on the Meltcast 2.0 video podcast. Topics include formative comics reading experiences, favorite superheroes, inspiration for their characters, and of course Dan: "The guy knew Mexican monster movies, like us, so why not be his friend?"
24-page black & white 6.75" x 10.25" comic book • $3.95 – Order Now!
Linda Medley returns with the first of a handful of issues that wrap up the second volume of the Castle Waiting saga! In this issue, our heroine Jain gets an unpleasant surprise as she moves into her new room, while Sister Peace has an awkward moment at the housewarming party; baby Pin surprises Jain and Chess with his amazing new ability; and mischief is brewing with Castle’s supernatural residents!
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.
24-page black & white 6.75" x 10.25" comic book • $3.95
"Cue the 'they don't call it that for nothing' jokes. Linda Medley puts out an issue of this relaxed, good-natured fantasy series when she feels like it and not a minute before... I'll read it whenever she releases one into the world, though." – Douglas Wolk, ComicsAlliance
"And then there’s Linda Medley, who’s been laying low for awhile, but is back this week with a new issue of her ongoing, low-key fantasy series, Castle Waiting. [This] will probably be [one of] the first comics I read once I get home from the comic store this week." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
"That Castle Waiting comic is usually a pretty satisfying package in terms of how it looks and the amount of story it provides." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
"...[M]y most anticipated is the return of Linda Medley’s Castle Waiting! Issue #16 ($3.95) is out from Fantagraphics, and I hope it begins a long and enjoyable run of the title." – Johanna Draper Carlson, Comics Worth Reading
600-page black & white/color 9" x 12" hardcover • $95.00
"[Fantagraphics'] final Chris Ware-designed collection of George Herriman's black-and-white Sunday 'Krazy Kat' strips is augmented by ten extra color Krazys that appeared in 1924, as well as the entire run of two other strips, 1903's 'Mrs. Waitaminnit' and 1926's 'Us Husbands.' Also this week: a fancy hardcover compiling the three volumes of 1916-1924 Sundays. 'Stumble Inn' is the next Herriman project up for the Fantagraphics treatment; I'm hoping they (or somebody) tackle the complete 'Krazy' dailies at some point." [That's the plan! –Ed.] – Douglas Wolk, ComicsAlliance
"It’s not so much a splurge as a must-buy for me — Krazy and Ignatz 1922-24: At Last My Drim of Love Has Come True is the final volume in Fantagraphics’ collection of Sunday Krazy strips and full of the same George Herriman magic as the previous volumes. There’s a tinge of sadness here as I believe the late Bill Blackbeard, who helped bring this project into fruition, has an essay here, as well as a remembrance by Kim Thompson." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
"...the final brick in the complete Krazy Kat, a genuinely amazing thing to exist, and almost a reason all by itself to to have irrational hope for humanity’s future. (Does that seem like an overstatement? It obviously is. But read more Krazy Kat and get back to me.)" – Tim Hodler, The Comics Journal
"We at Señor Hernandez declare as book of the week: Krazy & Ignatz the complete Sunday strips HC by @fantagraphics." – Señor Hernandez
"The final volume of @fantagraphics Krazy Kat collections is out today, my Lil' Ainjils! We have the both the paperback and fancy HC version." – Secret Headquarters
"Still may be the best comic. That's a long time to stay on any pedestal constructed by pedestal knocking-over comics fans." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
"CONFLICT OF INTEREST RESERVOIR: A veritable format suite is available to you this week, as Castle Waiting Vol. II #16 takes the form of a 24-page comic book ($3.95), Krazy & Ignatz 1922-1924: At Last My Drim of Love Has Come True wraps up a longstanding softcover reprint series complete with a memorial for preservationist Bill Blackbeard ($24.99) and Krazy & Ignatz: The Complete Sunday Strips 1916-1924 weighs in as a 600-page hardcover alternative to collecting less supple things ($95.00)." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
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