No lie: just a couple days ago I was wondering when they were going to announce this year's Ignatz Award nominees, and lo and behold, here they are today! Our artists & books received 8 nominations in 5 categories, and as per our typical M.O., we've put all the nominated titles on sale for a limited time! Congratulations to all; see the complete list of nominees here.
After Jaime’s two-part super-hero epic from Love and Rockets: New Stories #1 and #2, we return to the enthralling minutiae of the “Locas” cast’s lives for the first time in three years. In the main story "The Love Bunglers" (presented in two parts) Ray finally gets his date with Maggie: The couple goes to an art opening and to dinner, they discuss the crazy world of dreams, and Maggie asks Ray for a huge favor. Also in this volume, “Brown Town, Blue Sun,” a new installment in Jaime’s beloved “little kids” flashback series: A ten-year-old Maggie and her family move away from Hoppers to a desert ghost town…
And on the Gilbert side of the ledger, “Scarlet by Starlight” is a story of humans exploring alien terrain, one of whom gets caught up in the natives' mating season with a furry creature who bears a striking resemblance to Fritz (of High Soft Lisp fame). “Killer/Sad Girl/Star” picks up the “Sad Girl” character from LRNS #2, and how no one in her family takes her budding film career seriously.
All this, plus: a letters page!
Download an EXCLUSIVE 12-page PDF excerpt (930 MB) with glimpses of each story.
• Review: "Set to Sea's one-panel-per-page layout lets Weing's visual storytelling shine, but only if you resist the urge to tear through the pages quickly. Go too fast, and you'll miss the touching, wordless way Weing communicates the death of a supporting character. Or, worse, you'll skim over a gorgeous arctic sunset clearly inspired by theGustave Dore engravings for Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner." – Glen Weldon, NPR
• Plug: "Drew Weing’s graphic novel debut [Set to Sea] is a Popeye-esque delight. Weing’s linework — and abundant crosshatching — is a visual feast that well serves the story of a deadbeat poet who is shanghaied and learns to live and love the yarns he’s been spinning." – Benn Ray (Atomic Books), Largehearted Boy
• Plug: "I don't know Drew but I've been reading [Set to Sea] online and I think it's a damn fine yarn worthy of your dollars and a place on your bookshelf." – Steve Rolston (Queen & Country, The Escapists, Ghost Projekt)
• List: "Featuring riotous fake ads, and strips like 'Snake and Bacon,' TDTT is subversive, twisted and awesome. With the 'can comic books be funny?' debate ever-raging, Tales Designed to Thrizzle answers a glorious 'Yes!'" – Max Minor, "Comic Books You Should Be Reading," Nerd City
• List:io9's Cyriaque Lamar recommends the Love and Rockets "Maggie the Mechanic" storylines as one of "5 comic books that will see you through Scott Pilgrim withdrawal," saying "these initial forays into scifi strongly resemble the unexplained weirdness of Pilgrimverse." (via Newsarama)
• Commentary: "Love and Rockets is spectacular, and amazingly approachable (What brought me over to the dark side of actually reading it was free time and finding Locas in my local library...), and the kind of thing that I feel embarrassed to have been reticent to read in the first place, which explains why I admit to it in public like this." – Graeme McMillan, Robot 6
• Commentary:The Hooded Utilitarian's critical roundtable on Popeye concludes with Robert Stanley Martin: "I perceive Segar’s Popeye as a period piece, but I can’t summon a rigorous aesthetic basis for that view. All I can muster is my own idiosyncratic opinion."
From Shadow to Light: The Life & Art of Mort Meskin is a coffee table art book, biography, and critique of one of the 20th century’s most influential and unjustly neglected Golden Age comic book artists.
Mort Meskin’s comics career spanned almost 30 years, from the 1940s to the 1960s. His drawing, chiaroscuro technique, and storytelling are considered by connoisseurs of the form to be among the most sophisticated of his time — on a par with peers such as Joe Kubert and Steve Ditko. His passion for his drawing was equaled by his skill, and the consistently high quality of his oeuvre in the disreputable comic book format blurs the distinction between high and low art. Yet he is known mostly among hard-core aficionados today, eclipsed in the history books by many of his peers, some of whom he profoundly influenced. Among Meskin’s fans and admirers are Jim Steranko, Alex Toth, Carmine Infantino, and Jack Kirby. From Shadow to Light: The Life and Art of Mort Meskin finally gives this neglected artist the recognition he’s due.
The first artist to draw Sheena of the Jungle, Meskin worked in such diverse genres as romance, crime, and Western comics. Following World War II, he formed a studio with Jerry Robinson. He later worked for Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, and later still with Stan lee at Atlas (Marvel). During the 1950s and ‘60s he helped DC Comics define their mystery and science fiction lines. From Shadow to Light compiles for the first time the best of Meskin’s art from his comic book career, his post-comics advertising career, and his fine art — including many pages reproduced from original art.
“Mort shifted gears/viewpoints/emphasis and methods throughout his career, each on another switch back, sidestep or leap ahead which brought just one more entertaining facet of his talent to the fore. Mort invented, questioned, assessed, discarded, tested, reached out... more than ten other cartoonist of his time — ever searching, finding, losing, winning... ah, but always learning. His restlessness kept him facile... as he learnt, tested, and applied... so did we, his observers and students.” — Alex Toth
“Mort Meskin was a consummate professional, dedicated to his work. A great talent.” — Jack Kirby
“Like so many others, Mort is one of comics’ unsung heroes, but time often has a way of resolving the situation.” — Jim Steranko
“The guy was terrific and had an influence, not only on me but on a hell of a lot of other guys that were in the industry. Carmine Infantino. Alex Toth. All they guys who came into the business at my time knew of Mort and knew of Mort’s stuff and loved it.” — Joe Kubert
“Mort Meskin was a genius.” — Jerry Robinson and Carmine Infantino
Our Summer 2010 Ignatz Series titles, which we just got in stock yesterday, are also scheduled to land in comic shops this week! Let's see what the comics bloggers are saying about their imminent arrival, collectively and individually:
"This summer's four new Ignatz releases from Coconino/Fantagraphics, and examples of one of the great comics formats of the last 15 years. I liked the Sammy the Mouse book the best, but they're all beautiful." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
"I've been digging Fantagraphics' Ignatz imprint for a while now, so I'm quite happy that Wednesday sees the release of four new books in that line." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
32-page duotone 8.5" x 11" saddle-stitched softcover with jacket • $7.95 (part of the Ignatz Series) ISBN: 978-1-60699-419-1
"...[A] suite of small character studies, mostly reprised from earlier issues, mostly concerning dissatisfaction over life’s elusive meanings – dynamic visuals both segregate Ponchione’s characters from one another (spatially, design-wise) and suggest a unity of anxiety across varied human experiences. Fun cartooning, at the very least." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics
"...[P]ossibly the most unjustly ignored book in the Ignatz line, just as surreal as Sammy [the Mouse], but more cartoony and cerebral, though no less haunting or effective a work. Constantly adventurous in its layout and narrative, it's one of those books that can be read multiple times and still make new discoveries." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
32-page duotone 8.5" x 11" saddle-stitched softcover with jacket • $7.95 (part of the Ignatz Series) ISBN: 978-1-60699-420-7
"...Gabriella Giandelli‘s story of an apartment building and the mystic cartoon forces that serve as its roving eyes and the roiling collective unconsciousness of its stressed, depressed, idle tenants." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics
32-page duotone 8.5" x 11" saddle-stitched softcover with jacket • $7.95 (part of the Ignatz Series ) ISBN: 978-1-60699-421-4
"[A] lushly scratched sociological allegory by Leila Marzocchi, not entirely unlike Anders Nilsen’s Big Questions in its gathering of woodland creatures to discuss odd happenings, but more whimsical and 'cartooned,' despite a real lingering atmosphere of threat." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics
32-page duotone 8.5" x 11" saddle-stitched softcover with jacket • $7.95 (part of the Ignatz Series) ISBN: 978-1-60699-426-9
"My first choice would be the new issue from Zak Sally, again following slightly mutated cartoon archetypes through a series of journeys and conversations apparently at the beck and call of persuasive, godly forces." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics
"The long-awaited new issue of Zak Sally's bleak, meticulous series, which I think is the only Ignatz title about an actual cartoon mouse." – Douglas Wolk, Comics Alliance
"...[A] grubby, disturbingly surreal, anthropomorphic tale involving a surly mouse, drunken duck and reclusive dog, not to mention a number of seemingly nefarious and supernatural elements that turn up from time to time. ...Sally is producing a real sharp, evocative and haunting work that manages to send a delicious chill up my spine upon reading it." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
- - -
Wolk also plugs Drew Weing's Set to Sea, even though it's not on the official shipping list — "I think the entirety of Drew Weing's wonderfully drawn comic about a frustrated would-be poet who basically becomes Popeye against his will is still online [Not quite – Ed.], but this little hardcover edition (one panel per page) is awfully handsome" — so it may be arriving at your shop if it hasn't already. Why not contact them to find out?
(P.S. There are also new comics — not from us — by Émile Bravo and Trina Robbins in shops this week! Ask your friendly neighborhood comic purveyor.)
• Review: "Underground feminist comic artist Farmer’s account of how she looked after her aging parents [Special Exits] is a quiet wonder. ... Farmer renders everything in busy, densely packed black-and-white frames whose cluttered look mimics the dusty house, its surfaces thick with cat hair and memories. The story is stunning for its antisentimental realism, as well as for the glimpses of fantasy... that flicker by like ghosts." – Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
• Review: "Billy Hazelnuts and the Crazy Bird is kind of horrifying, but hilarious nonetheless, and so lovingly detailed that one can’t help but enjoy reading it. ... It’s as crazy and weird as one would expect from a Millionaire story — and laugh-out-loud funny to boot. ... But it’s the humanity of his characters and their emotions that serve as our way into the story. ... The dense linework gives everything volume and weight, along with a leap-off-the-page energy. ... Millionaire’s narrative world is built on zany chaos, and a true storytelling wonder to behold. Yet, while it would be a scary and nightmarish place in which to live, it’s sure fun to spend some time there." – Matthew J. Brady, Indie Pulp
• Review: "Delving into the hidden world of secret societies of the Victorian Age in America, Charles Schneider blows the lid on the craziness... These revelations are culled from listings in DeMoulin Brothers Catalog No. 439... The actual catalog is a wishbook of possible DIY projects for the clever or crazy... As retail histories go, this is a vibrant one — if nothing else, it lets you know what foolishness your grandfather was up to when he looks back to the good old days and bemoans 'these kids today.' At least these kids today aren’t making a habit of using a Lifting And Spanking Machine on their friends." – John E. Mitchell, The North Adams Transcript
• Review: "Jack Cole was a brilliant artist and one of the most significant figures in American comics. ... In essence, these are single panel cartoons, beautifully composed and drawn as you would expect, accompanied by a gag or punchline. They are pleasing to look at and vaguely amusing, to be sure, but there is none of the surreal, chaotic, rollercoaster quality to be found in Cole’s comic book art. There is nothing too objectionable [in Classic Pin-up Art of Jack Cole] either, unless you regard cheesecake as commodification – which you’re perfectly entitled to do, of course." – P.P.O. Kane, The Compulsive Reader
• Interview:Comic Book Resources' Shaun Manning talks to Jason about his new graphic novel Werewolves of Montpellier: "Originally, I had thought the two werewolves would kill Igor, to make it more personal for Sven to go after them. But it just seemed so typical, it's what would have happened in any Hollywood film. It just didn't interest me. A conversation about looking at girls asses or the politeness of Frenchmen is more interesting."
• Interview:Caustic Cover Critic's Peter Lutjen talks to Bob Fingerman about book design: "My book Connective Tissue was my art, but the designer, Jacob Covey, completed it with his design and I was delighted. I really admire Jacob's work."
• Interview: At The Daily Cross Hatch, Brian Heater talks to Robert Pollard about his collage art: "It’s inspired by a recurring dream I used to have when I was in high school and college. In my dream was an unattended record store with racks and rows full of record sleeves by imaginary or dreamt rock bands. Needless to say, I was very disappointed when I awoke [and discovered] that it wasn’t real. Now it sort of is. At least slightly more real than the dream."
• Events:The Beat reports that Lilli Carré's short film "Head Garden" which you can watch here) is among the films selected for the first annual SPX Animation Showcase
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