How do you follow up a one-two punch like Jaime Hernandez’s stunning two-part masterpiece “The Love Bunglers” from LRNS #3 and #4, which sent Maggie and Ray’s relationship in a startling new direction, as well as providing some mind-blowing revelations about Maggie’s (and her family’s) past?
If you’re Jaime, you deftly move sideways and switch focus to other characters, specifically Ray’s ex, the rambunctious “Frogmouth.” In “Crime Raiders International Mobsters and Executioners,” Tonta, the Frogmouth’s half-sister, comes to visit for a weekend and sees what kind of life the Frog Princess is living with Reno and Borneo — as well as a brand new character or two.
On the other-brother side, Gilbert Hernandez celebrates the 30th anniversary by bringing one of his current characters (“Killer,” granddaughter to the legendary Luba) into the Palomar milieu in a story that showcases a fictionalized “movie” Palomar (starring Fritz as a combination of Luba and Tonantzín), even as it brings back a number of the classic Palomar characters for real. This will be a much-anticipated homecoming for fans of the “classic” Love and Rockets of the 1980s.
Thirty years in, Love and Rockets continues to surprise and delight.
By appropriating and subverting Tintin creator Hergé’s classic “clear line” style, Joost Swarte revitalized European alternative comics in the 1970s with a series of satirical, musically elegant, supremely beautifully drawn short stories — often featuring his innocent, magnificently-quiffed Jopo de Pojo, or his orotund scientist character, Anton Makassar.
Under Swarte’s own exacting supervision, Is That All There Is? will collect virtually all of his alternative comics work from 1972 to date, including the RAW magazine stories that brought him fame among American comics aficionados in the 1980s. Especially great pains will be taken to match Swarte’s superb coloring, which includes stories executed in watercolor, comics printed in retro duotones, fiendishly clever use of Zip-a-Tone screens, and much more. (There’s even a story about how to color comics art using those screens, with Makassar as the teacher.)
Other noteworthy stories include Swarte’s take on an episode from Hergé’s early days, a Fats Domino story, a tribute to the legendary “Upside-Downs” strip, and a story titled simply “Modern Art.”
“I’ve loved Joost Swarte’s perfect cartoons, drawings and designs for decades and it’s nothing short of ridiculous that a comprehensive edition of this brilliant artist’s work has never been available in America until now. Swarte is considered a national treasure in his native Holland, and if you open this book, you’ll understand why.” — Chris Ware
When confronted with his girlfriend’s request that they have a child together, Samuel fled that relationship. But now, a year later, when he receives a letter from Alice announcing she is expecting a baby, old emotions flare up and he embarks on a long journey to see Alice again — to re-open, or perhaps close forever, that important chapter of his life. The Crackle of the Frost is the story of what he sees, hears, experiences, and learns during that journey.
In 2011, Fantagraphics presented the extraordinary Stigmata, a stunning display of Mattotti’s whirling, emotional, black and white linework put in the service of a devastating story — as well as his painted illustrations for Lou Reed’s The Raven. The Crackle of the Frost ups the visual ante even on those masterpieces, combining the narrative drive of the former with the lush color illustrations of the latter to create a graphic-novel masterpiece with panel after panel of sumptuous full-color paintings, as if Edward Hopper had suddenly decided to jump into comics.
"Mattotti is a master. It's obvious at one glance. His colors are music one can't help but dance to. Draw in closer, and Zentner's story conjures the psychic and emotional depth of Marguerite Duras and Murakami." – Craig Thompson (Blankets, Habibi)
Welcome To Big Spring, Texas and The Cavalier Hotel. A place brimming with all manner of colorful characters – horse thieves, roughnecks, shady lawmen, con men, oil barons, gamblers, bootleggers, flappers, dappers, wildcatters, railroad men, drunkards and murderers...
But Frank Hill, the proprietor of The Cavalier, has a new hotel dick (Nick Ford) to keep a sharp eye on folks who may cause trouble. Along with number one son, Sam Hill, The Cavalier should have been easy to patrol and kept duty free of any sort of criminal or unsavory activity.
That is, until Ross Thompson – a slick operator from Chicago — came into their humble abode and turned everything upside down. Not just the hotel, but the whole damn town! Big Spring was a just string of yarn for Mr. Thompson to pull and pull at, until the entire community came unraveled! Now you’ll have to crack open this here book for yourself to find out just how he done it...
Have you seen this man? We want to include this historical portrait of Juan Seguín in our upcoming book Jack Jackson's American History: Los Tejanos & Lost Cause, as we did on the back cover of our original edition of Los Tejanos (which predates the era of digital production by many years). We're in a hurry and high-res images aren't available online. We would just scan it from a file copy of the book but, as you can see, our file copies are in pretty rough shape. If you have a pristine copy of the book (or another source for the image) and can send us a high-res scan (300 dpi), we'll send you a free copy of the new Jack Jackson book when it comes out if we use your scan! (And we won't use it but it would be nice to have a clean digital copy of the front cover as well.) Please send your scan(s) to our "fbicomix@" email address. The race is on!
In case Prison Pit: Book 1 isn't enough to hold you, now available from comiXology is Prison Pit: Book 2 by Johnny "Prisoner number 206" Ryan.
This 118 page digital book continues with Cannibal Fuckface, the shirtless outer space barbarian antihero who remains damned to the Prison Pit (a vast wasteland beneath the crust of a barren planet, populated by the worst of the worst, where violence is the only law and evil creatures roam free). In this second volume, CF tries to get revenge against the evil behemoth that took his arm, and then winds up playing an unwilling participant in an elaborate escape attempt from the Pit.
This Johnny Ryan graphic novel combines his love for WWE wrestling, Gary Panter’s “Jimbo” comics, and Kentaro Miura’s “Berserk” Manga into a brutal showcase of violence, survival and revenge. Imagine a blend of old-fashioned role playing fantasy games like Dungeons & Dragons crossed with contemporary adult video games like Grand Theft Auto, filtered through Ryan’s sense of humor.
Not only can you carry this book with you anywhere on your digital reading device but you can show gruesome panels to people encroaching on your personal space on the bus in backlit brillance for only $9.99 at the comiXology store.
"Prison Pit Two is one of the most gruesome and beautiful new comics I've seen. It's the comics equivalent of Voivod's Rrröööaaarrr. Buy buy buy. Die die die." – Nick Gazin, Vice
Hey look, it's the just-completed, totally eyeball-tickling final cover art for Tom Kaczynski's forthcoming story collection Beta Testing the Apocalypse, scheduled to arrive in November, which we describe as "a heady conflation of philosophy, fiction and comics that riffs on dystopian modernity, bleak man-made landscapes and the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments." If you've read Tom's stories in Mome, which are collected here (along with other material including a new story), you know the deal. You can learn more and pre-order a copy here, and of course keep it tuned here for more sneak peeks to come.
Fantagraphics spotlights the intersection of art and language in this innovative new collection — without peer in English — that gathers the work of visual poets from around the world into one stunning volume. The alphabet is turned on its head and inside-out and the results culminate in a compilation of daring and surprising verbo-visual gems.
The Last Vispo Anthology is composed of vispo (a portmanteau of the words “visual” and “poetry") from the years 1998 to 2008, during a burst of creative activity fueled by file sharing and email, which made it possible for the vispo community to establish a more heightened and sophisticated dialogue with one another. The collection extends the dialectic between art and literature that began with ancient “shaped text,” medieval pattern poetry, and dada typography, pushing past the concrete poetics of the 1950s and the subsequent mail art movement of the 1980s to its current incarnation. Rather than settle into predictable, unchallenged patterns, this vibrant poetry seizes new tools to expand the body of work that inhabits the borderlands of visual art and poetic language.
The Last Vispo Anthology features 148 contributors from 23 countries on five continents. It includes 12 essays that illuminate the abundant history and the state of vispo today. The anthology offers a broad amalgam of long-time practitioners and poets new to visual poetry over the last decade, underscoring the longevity and the continued vitality of the art form.
“The descriptor ‘visual poetry’ cannot begin to hint at the wealth of potent mystery that The Last Vispo contains. It knocked my mind right off its cozy little track and sent it sprawling through a myriad of brand new experiences. I can’t remember the last time I encountered something so charged, mysterious, deep and pleasurably upsetting as this book.” – Jim Woodring
“A delightful cornucopia of imaginary languagescapes, opening the eye to other alphabetic climes, beyond the ho-hum regimentation of linear normalcies. & all from (just about) the past decade. Visual poetries: alive and expanding. It’s positively viral.” – Charles Bernstein
“Staring your way into and through the letter as object — the letter as solitary sign, the letter as crowned king. Staring gives us the keys to the kingdom. This book is a glorious adjunct to the long history of concrete and visual poetry. Long live the king!” – Harry Mathews
Get haunted with the latest exhibit at Giant Robot's GR2 Gallery in Los Angeles, featuring our own John Pham alongside Rob Sato. Here's a sneak peek at one of John's paintings that I swiped from his Facebook page (sorry, John):
Haunts runs from September 8th through 26th at GR2 [ 2062 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles, CA ] with an opening reception event on Saturday, September 8th from 6:30 - 10:00 PM. Tell him we say hi!
The newly folded and stapled Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:The Quietus enjoys The Furry Trap. Mat Colegate says, "Put simply, [Josh] Simmons understands the pace of nightmare. That hideous inexorability that stops you from screaming yourself awake, the slow thudding heartbeat of moment on terrifying moment that, if you think about it, comics are a perfect medium to provide."
• Review:Indie Wire and Leonard Maltin take a look at Volume 3 of Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse: "High Noon at Inferno Gulch" by Floyd Gottfredson (edited by David Gerstein with Gary Groth): "The latest in this handsome, lovingly-edited hardcover series of Mickey Mouse daily comic strips (covering 1934-35) is, again, a tribute to the artistry and storytelling skill of the long-unappreciated Floyd Gottfredson."
• Review:Comics Heroes of the UK chimes in on some Hernandez Brothers books. After reading The Adventures of Venus by Gilbert Hernandez Matt Bielby says "...in fun little adventures full of rests, comic books, football and sci-fi daydreams. Kids may not love it, but we certainly did." In regards to God and Science by Jaime Hernandez, Bielby states, "It's a lightweight, bouncy superhero. . . but there's some touching stuff about madness, motherhood and the dangers of getting what you want along the way."
• Review: Tom Spurgeon of The Comics Reporter describes a variety of consumer options that come before purchasing the series Beyond Watchmen. These include buying Love and Rockets in addition to some Popeye or Barnaby from Fantagraphics. "These [Love and Rockets] paperback books they've been doing strike me as super-accessible, lovely little volumes. You can get them for cheap enough that I'm also tossing in the first four issues of the New Stories iteration of the title, which has included some of the best work anywhere over the last half-decade. Los Bros forever."
• Plug:Steven Weissman's got some graphic novel love art for you. Uncut vinyl sheets featuring campaign fun from Barack Hussein Obama are available to purchase here!
• Commentary: We missed this but more praise to Larry Reid for being an example on the Huffington Post on how to save bookstores! By effectively hanging regular shows and inviting guest community curators, you bring in new and/or different audiences. Yay, Larry!
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