It's time for your Online Commentary & Diversions:
• Review: "[Editor Andrei] Molotiu has created a fun and accessible anthology here, one that’s smart and well-researched but not in the slightest bit obtuse. You don’t need to be an art snob to appreciate it; you just need an open mind. With that, the reward for Abstract Comics is quite lovely. And quite possibly a good opportunity for you to increase your appreciation for the comics format exponentially." - John Hogan, Graphic Novel Reporter
• Review: "...Giraffes in My Hair is a pleasure to read. The insights are genuine and the humanity is quite bare. Once I started reading, I didn’t stop until the book was over. This survivor’s tales were well worth the journey, once again, through two well-trodden decades." - John Hogan, Graphic Novel Reporter
• Review: "West Coast Blues... gets under your skin and remains impossible to resist from start to finish... Darkly amusing and undeniably entertaining, West Coast Blues keeps the mystery and interest alive by carefully doling out pieces of the story and introducing intriguing characters with loads of personality... Tardi does an excellent job of adapting what must be a massively entertaining book into a graphic novel form for all who seek a slightly different but no less thrilling mystery/adventure story to enjoy." - Avril Brown, Comics Waiting Room
• Review: "The Squirrel Machine should be called nothing less than a masterpiece: a true culmination and maturation of illustrative style and story. The atmosphere portrayed in black and white is meticulous and unsettling. Even the banal moments of the story have depth and direction... [a] lovely and blasphemous affair." - R.M. Rollston, Panel to Panel
The proceeds will go to Democracy for America Now, a national advocacy group running television ads to push the Public Option in democratic swing districts and offering support to congressional members who take a stand for the policy.
Cool cover on the current issue of Seattle alternative weekly the Stranger featuring hand cut art from Eroyn Franklin's Xeric award-winning graphic novel Another Glorious Day at the Nothing Factory. This amazing new book, limited to a numbered edition of 1,000 copies, is available exclusively at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery.
A short-n-sweet Online Commentary & Diversions update:
• Review: "While Prison Pit does, in fact, have a definable story throughout, it’s one that feels as though it were crafted in the margins of a spiral-bound notebooks stowed safely away in some backpack littered with the Sharpie penned names of metal bands. And though Ryan didn’t go so far as to in append a listening soundtrack to the back of this volume, one can almost certainly be assured that it contains its share of Cannibal Corpse and Slayer tracks." - Brian Heater, The Daily Cross Hatch
• Events: The Seattle Weekly recommends that you see the "dark, cynical, ornery, a tad cantankerous" Comics Savants exhibit at our Bookstore & Gallery today
"Monte Schulz's novel This Side of Jordan shows that Like Father Like Son -both superb!"- RAY BRADBURY
"Schulz proves himself to be a handy wordsmith in this literarily ambitious novel of pre-Depression America. Hand this straight-faced and multifaceted almost-satire to fans of the southern gothic tradition, all the way from Flannery O'Connor to John Kennedy Toole."- BOOKLIST, Sept. 2009
"I just finished reading a review copy, and I think this is a truly great American novel. Certainly I have not read anything by a modern American (white male) that I have so thoroughly enjoyed in my 13+ years at Tsunami Books. I won't go into the tale; suffice to say those who read this book will bear witness to the beginnings of a great new (American) voice that upholds the power of innocence in a long, dark era."- SCOTT LANDFIELD, TSUNAMI BOOKS
ABOUT THIS SIDE OF JORDAN:
In the idyllic last American summer before the great stock market crash of '29, nineteen year-old farm boy Alvin Pendergast somehow decides he can escape a fatal relapse of tuberculosis by accepting the offer of a job across the Mississippi River from a slick-talking stranger who seems everything poor Alvin is not: smart, sharply-dressed, well-acquainted, and without a worry in the world. But beneath appearances Chester Burke is also a gangster and a sociopathic killer. On their traveling road through the small towns of the Midwest, Alvin quickly discovers how ignorant he is of life beyond the farm.
Fortunately, he finds another companion for this harrowing journey, a curious and clever dwarf whose own pathetic life has offered little resistance to fate, until the circumstances of Chester's cruel itinerary forces both him and Alvin to seek another path, if they hope to survive.
This Side Of Jordan is a story of another America, eighty years distant yet familiar, too, a vibrant and scandalous tapestry of eccentric characters from a nation embroiled in criminal liquor traffic, thrilled by Jazz Age fads and frolic, drunk amid the glittering showgrounds of a booming circus whose flag-topped tents are about to come down. Through mayhem and merriment, past the violence and hypocrisy of Prohibition, along miles of dirt roads and busy Main Streets, we see in this wonderfully evocative narrative a simple yearning for love and hope. This Side Of Jordan is about the distance we travel in America to find our rightful place.
This Side of Jordan is Monte Schulz's second novel. His first, Down by the River, was published by Viking in 1991. Library Journal raved that it compared to Stand by Me and Twin Peaks, and seemed "ready-made for Hollywood." He spent ten years writing Crossing Eden, from which This Side of Jordan is drawn as the first of three interconnected novels; the second and third, Fields of Eden and The Big Town, will be published in 2010 and 2011.
Monte Schulz received his M.A. in American Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara. He lives in Northern California. He is the eldest son of Charles M. Schulz (PEANUTS).
Today's Online Commentary & Diversions starts with a bang:
• Review: "...[A]n astonishingly rich and convincing picture of uncertain, developing human relationships. Besides the masterful storytelling, [Locas II: Maggie, Hopey & Ray] is notable for superb black and white artwork. Panel by panel and page by page, it's a delight to watch darkness crowding into open space, while supple linework dances freely in its allotted territory. This is a landmark in comics literature." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)
• Review: "From Wonderland with Loveis anexcellent introduction to the part of the Danish comics scene that tries to push the boundaries of the medium – and in particular to the “wild bunch” that emerged at the beginning of this millennium. If you’re an open-minded reader, there’s no getting past this book, even if it – as a Dane – at times feels a bit odd to read Danish comics in English. […] If you love the place where art challenges the status quo and moves the fence posts, gaining new land in the process, you’ll feel right at home here." - Ulf Reese Næsborg, tegneseriesiden (updated with new translation from the author - thanks Ulf)
• Review: "[From Wonderland with Love] is a beautiful book, full of very different temperaments and different styles. All comics are from the 21st century and together they show both the great width and breadth of Danish comics. There are quiet, direct, hard hitting stories... And there are more poetic, allegorical, dreamy stories... And if you want new, interesting and strange, look no further." - Fredrik Strömberg, Sekventiellt (books by Strömberg)
• Interview: At Marvel.com, Sean T. Collins continues his series of Strange Tales MAX contributor interviews with Michael Kupperman: "People are going to be very interested in the changes I've made to the Marvel canon. They're probably going to have to scrap everything they've ever published and start over. The new version of SECRET WARS is going to be called OVERT WARS."
• Interview: The Daily Cross Hatch's Brian Heater kicks off a 3-part talk with Jordan Crane: "Well, I’m trying to make [Uptight] less sporadic. I want to do it two times a year, solid. It’s been kind of a chaotic last couple of years. So now I’m focusing everything I can on it."
NOTE: BECAUSE OF OUR CONTRACT WITH THE LICENSOR THIS BOOK CANNOT BE SOLD OUTSIDE OF NORTH AMERICA. IF YOU RESIDE ANYWHERE OTHER THAN THE U.S. OR CANADA PLEASE DO NOT TRY TO ORDER IT FROM OUR WEBSITE; YOUR ORDER WILL NOT BE PROCESSED.
A SAVAGE NOIR THRILLER REUNITING A MASTER CRIME NOVELIST AND A SUPERLATIVE FRENCH CARTOONIST
George Gerfaut, aimless young executive and desultory family man, witnesses a murder and finds himself sucked into a spiral of violence involving an exiled war criminal and two hired assassins. Adapting to the exigencies of his new life on the run with shocking ease, Gerfaut abandons his comfortable middle-class life for several months (including a sojourn in the countryside after an attempt to ride the rails turns spectacularly bad) until, joined with a new ally, he finally returns to settle all accounts... with brutal, bloody interest.
Originally released in 2005, West Coast Blues (Le Petit bleu de la côte ouest) is Tardi’s adaptation of a popular 1976 novel by the French crime writer Jean-Patrick Manchette. (The novel had been previously adapted to film under the more literal title Trois hommes à abattre, and was released in English by the San Francisco-based publisher City Lights under the English version of the same title, 3 to Kill.)
Tardi’s late-period, looser style infuses Manchette’s dark story with a seething, malevolent energy; he doesn’t shy away from the frequently grisly goings-on, while maintaining (particularly in the old-married-couple-style bickering of the two killers who are tracking Gerfaut) the mordant wit that characterizes his best work. This is the kind of graphic novel that Quentin Tarantino would love, and a double shot of Scotch for any fan of unrelenting, uncompromising crime fiction.
What is the squirrel machine? Is it a rodent ensnarement device? A mechanism for concealing one’s guarded harvest? An anachronistic fable? A meaningless diversion?
Set in a fictional 19th Century New England town, the narrative initially details the relationship and maturation of Edmund and William Torpor. But the two brothers quickly elicit the scorn and recrimination of an unamused public when they reveal their musical creations built from strange technologies and scavenged animal carcasses. Driven to seek a concealment for their aberrant activities, they make a startling discovery. Perhaps they will divine the mystery of the squirrel machine.
What is The Squirrel Machine? • An immutably strange and haunting narrative that transcends known logics and presumptive dream-barriers; • A distillation of subconscious beauty and inspired madness; • A dangerous object for the incautious; • A revelation for the undernourished crypto-seeker; • The virgin caress of unconsummated apocalypse; • The unspeakable thing that you always knew.
It’s also the legendary obscurantist cartoonist Hans Rickheit’s most ambitious graphic novel to date. Exquisitely rendered, strange, and hauntingly beautiful, this evocative and enigmatic book will ensure the inquisitive reader a spleenful of cerebral serenity that will require vast quantities of mediocrity to banish from memory.
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