• Review: "Crude but powerful drawings; an eye-shattering color palette; helter-skelter plotting, often with anticlimactic, fall-off-a-cliff endings; unintentionally manifested author obsessions; stupendous indulgence of schadenfreude, terror and glee at the misery of humanity, salted with some token morality. Yes, that's the Fletcher Hanks formula for a unique, unforgettable, Golden Age comics masterpiece, and all these bizarro traits are indeed on glorious display here [in You Shall Die by Your Own Evil Creation!]..." - Paul Di Filippo, Sci Fi Wire
• Plug: "I'm very impressed with Fantagraphics's restart of this wonderful series [Prince Valiant]. The reproduction quality is much improved over their old softcover series; it's the best I've seen... This is the perfect series to introduce kids to great comics adventure." - Bud Plant
• Plug: "Abstract Comics: The Anthology: I'm one of those who considers the first two words of this title to be an oxymoron. That, ironically, probably makes me a good candidate for reading this book... You can’t argue with the list of contributors..." - J. Caleb Mozzocco, Newsarama
In this second big omnibus collection of his ongoing tales of the “Locas,” Jaime Hernandez continues telling stories featuring his main characters Maggie, Hopey and Ray. This volume picks up shortly after Maggie and Hopey’s long-awaited reunion at the end of the first Locas.
Even though her love life remains as chaotic as ever, Hopey takes her first few steps toward responsible adulthood with a real job (as a teacher), while a demoralized, divorced Maggie ends up as the manager of a fleabag apartment building where she continues to wrestle with the demons of her past — most prominently in the stunning centerpiece of the volume, the graphic-novel-length “Maggie” serial, with its stunning, hallucinatory dream finale.
Meanwhile, Ray still carries a major torch for Maggie, but falls in with the “Frogmouth,” the volatile bombshell whose ties to local thugs cause him no small amount of grief.
Of course, Maggie, Hopey, and Ray’s paths continue to intersect in Hernandez’s increasingly complex, intricate, and always vitally realized world.
This omnibus volume compiles stories originally printed in the pages of the comics Penny Century, the one-shot special Maggie & Hopey Color Fun (presented here in black and white), and Love and Rockets Vol. II, and was formerly collected in the volumes Dicks and Deedees, Locas in Love, Ghost of Hoppers and The Education of Hopey Glass.
Abstract comics? Don’t all comics tell stories? How can a comic be abstract? Well, as it happens, beginning with the experiments of Saul Steinberg, through some of the more psychedelic creations of R. Crumb and Victor Moscoso, and with increasing frequency in recent years, cartoonists and other artists have played with the possibility of comics whose panels contain little to no representational imagery, and which tell no stories other than those that result from the transformation and interaction of shapes across the layout of a comic page. Reduced to the most basic elements of comics — the panel grid, brushstrokes, and sometimes colors — abstract comics highlight the formal mechanisms that underlie all comics, such as the graphic dynamism that leads the eye (and the mind) from panel to panel or the aesthetically rich interplay between sequentiality and page layout.
Abstract Comics, edited by Andrei Molotiu, an art historian as well as one of the best-known contemporary abstract-comic creators, is the first collection devoted to this budding genre. It gathers the best abstract comics so far created, including early experiments in the form by cartoonists primarily known for other types of comics, such as Gary Panter, Patrick McDonnell, or Lewis Trondheim, and pieces by little-known pioneers such as Benoit Joly, Bill Boichel and Jeff Zenick, as well as by recent creators who have devoted a good part of their output to perfecting the form, such as Ibn al Rabin, Billy Mavreas, Mark Staff Brandl, and many others. It also features first attempts, commissioned specifically for this anthology, by well-known cartoonists such as James Kochalka, J.R. Williams and Warren Craghead. Comprehensive in scope, Abstract Comics gathers work not only from North America, but also from France, Switzerland, Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand, showing the rise in popularity of the genre to be a true international phenomenon. In the process, the anthology highlights the wide variety of approaches taken to the combination of abstraction and sequential art — approaches resulting in work that is not only graphically bold, but also often proves to be surprisingly humorous or emotionally disturbing.
Another batch of photo previews for you: Mome Vol. 15 - Summer 2009, which just hit stores last week. Watch the preview in the slideshow player embedded below; if it's not visible to you, or to see it full-screen (recommended), click here; if you don't like slideshows, browse here.
You know the drill: Check out our previews at the links above, give your local shop a ringle-dingle to confirm availability, and then give them your hard-earned money for these hefty hunks of comics heaven.
• Review: "An eye-opening cornucopia of visual storytelling styles traversing a wide variety of narrative avenues, this anthology [From Wonderland with Love] gives a strong representation of contemporary Danish comics as a thriving comics culture. Largely surreal, the work is tough to nail down, but much of it is lighthearted even when dealing with very dark issues; it's devoid of the self-conscious self-referentialism that so often dogs American comics both genre and literary... An essential volume for those interested in comics' global development and newest voices." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)
• Review: "...[R]idiculously imaginative... Grotesque is a comic book that might sound the 'more of these' alarm... An inhalation and reformatting of a classic trope here and there, that's not something the shelves are lacking, what's lacking is the skill with which Ponchione ejects them, creating something wholly his own." - Tucker Stone, The Factual Opinion
• Interview: Robot 6's Tim O'Shea talks with Carol Tyler. On the positive reviews for You'll Never Know: "I would like to kiss the reviewers because those comments uplift me during the weed pulling, wheelchair pushing, dog poop picking up moments that pepper my life."
• Analysis: At Comics Comics, Jeet Heer looks back on the history and formative influences of The Comics Journal: "It’s difficult for anyone now to understand how baffling and upsetting the Journal was in its early years."
• Plug: "Jaime Hernandez, as far as I'm concerned most days, is the best cartoonist in America. I know a few people who've been scared off exploring his work by the amount of stuff he's published, but part of the beauty of it is that you can jump in almost anywhere. Like, say, this volume [Locas II]... I envy anyone getting to read this for the first time, either way." - Douglas Wolk, Comics Alliance
• Plug: "Some serious coffee-table-book action here: an Andrei Molotiu-edited anthology of comics [Abstract Comics] that are just abstract images in sequence, by people from the fine-art and art-comics world, as well as some people I wouldn't have expected: Patrick McDonnell? Mark Badger? Of course, a lot of the fun of reading this is noticing your mind automatically trying to impose narrative on these abstractions." - Douglas Wolk, Comics Alliance (same link as above)
• Plug: "Abstract Comics: The Anthology: You wanted this. You may not have known it, and you probably didn't say it, but your heart was read, your soul scoured, your eyes met to understand what your mind could only scream in silence. Abstract comics. Wednesday is almost here. Let them in...; your $39.99 gets you what's looking like the most intriguing comics anthology of 2009." - Joe McCullough, Jog - The Blog
• Plug: "Making [Abstract Comics] my pick of the week isn’t going to do anything to alleviate my reputation as Snooty McSnootenstein, mayor of Snobville, but this is one hell of a gorgeous book... I liked this book very, very much." - Chris Mautner, Robot 6
• Plug: "[Locas II] is a lot of really, really great comics for a pretty decent price. [Ghost of] Hoppers in particular is one of the best things Hernandez has ever done." - Chris Mautner, Robot 6 (same link as above)
Flog readers, here's the official word on our big Comicon news...
FANTAGRAPHICS TO PUBLISH ERNIE BUSHMILLER'S NANCY
As announced at last week's Comic-Con International, Fantagraphics Books - the leading publisher of classic strip reprints including The Complete Peanuts, Popeye, Krazy & Ignatz, Prince Valiant, Captain Easy, Dennis the Menace, Zippy the Pinhead and others - has acquired the rights from United Media to publish Nancy by Ernie Bushmiller, beginning in Spring 2010.
According to Co-Publisher Gary Groth, who inked the deal, Fantagraphics has contracted to publish the first 24 years of Nancy dailies, beginning in 1938 (when Nancy took over the strip from its former star, Fritzi Ritz) through 1961. "If the demand is there," Groth noted, "we will of course want to continue into the 1960s and beyond, if for no other reason than to run all those great 'hippie' Nancy episodes. But we'll cross that bridge in 2016 when we finish publishing the books we've contracted for."
"I was a late Nancy convert," admits Co-Publisher Kim Thompson, who will be editing the series. "It wasn't until Denis Kitchen published his Nancy collections in 1989 and 1990, after people like Bill Griffith and Scott McCloud had been touting it for years, that I finally 'got' it. It's one of the all-time greats -- way ahead of its time in its own goofy way. Ever since then it's been at the back of my mind to do a more extensive reprinting, and our ongoing successes with classic reprint series these past five years told me the time is now ripe."
Each volume of dailies will contain four years per volume and be designed by Fantagraphics Art Director Jacob Covey. Cartoonist Daniel Clowes (Ghost World) will provide the introduction to the first volume. Each volume will be 8" x 8" in flexibound format and retail for $29.99. Information regarding collections of Nancy Sunday strips will be announced at a later date.
"I envision Nancy being influenced by pop art and constructivist design in a way that will complement the geometric style of the strip and also give a nod to Mark Newgarden's deconstruction of Nancy's forms," says Covey, whose designs on books like Popeye, Willie & Joe and Beasts! have garnered numerous awards. "In a word: ‘POP'. Like Popeye, I want it to seem fun so kids can connect with it but smart so adults can look at it more deeply. But where Popeye has a Victorian nod, this will be modernist."
Fantagraphics will begin with the "second" volume, 1942-1945. According to Thompson, "While we have access to great, nearly complete runs for most of the 1940s dailies, it looks like it will be far more trouble to collect the 1938 and 1939 material. So we'll be putting out a call to Nancy fans, both over the internet and in the first book itself, until we eventually secure the missing strips to double back and release the best possible 1938-1941 volume."
The character of Nancy, a precocious eight-year-old girl, first appeared in the strip Fritzi Ritz. After Larry Whittington began Fritzi Ritz in 1922, it was taken over by Bushmiller three years later. In 1933, Bushmiller introduced Fritzi's niece, Nancy. Soon she dominated the strip, retitled Nancy in 1938. At its peak in the 1970s, Nancy ran in more than 880 newspapers.
In addition to being one of the great comic strips of the 20th Century, Nancy is a bonafide pop culture icon, having captured the imagination of such artists as Andy Warhol, Joe Brainard, Scott McCloud, Bill Griffith, Mark Newgarden, and many others.
In Spring 2010, Fantagraphics will also publish an revised and expanded book edition of cartoonists Mark Newgarden and Paul Karasik's seminal 1988 essay, "How to Read Nancy." In addition to explicating the brilliance of Bushmiller's cartooning, it also has become a landmark educational essay about visual storytelling through the analysis of Bushmiller's work.
To quote from How to Read Nancy: "To say that Nancy is a simple gag strip about a simple-minded snot-nosed kid is to miss the point completely. Nancy only appears to be simple at a casual glance. Like architect Mies Van Der Rohe, the simplicity is a carefully designed function of a complex amalgam of formal rules laid out by the designer. To look at Bushmiller as an architect is entirely appropriate, for Nancy is, in a sense, a blue print for a comic strip. Walls, floors, rocks, trees, Ice-cream cones, motion lines, midgets and principals are carefully positioned with no need for further embellishment. And they are laid out with one purpose in mind - to get the gag across. Minimalist? Formalist? Structuralist? Cartoonist!"
The wait is over! Love and Rockets: New Stories #2, which debuted to a sell-out response at Comic-Con, is now available for pre-order. The second issue of L&R's new annual 100-page format features the conclusion of "Ti-Girls Adventures" by Jaime and two brand new stories, "Hypnotwist" and "Sad Girl," by Gilbert. You can download a 10-page PDF sneak peek, featuring 5 pages from each brother, at our product page, which also has all the other info you need to know about the book. Pre-order now for late-August delivery; it will be in stores in September (subject to change).
PLUS! We've reformatted Gilbert's striking cover image into a desktop & mobile wallpaper for your FREE enjoyment -- choose your size below!
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