We are pleased to be distributing the new self-published issue of Sammy Harkham's great comic book series Crickets to comics specialty shops, scheduled to arrive today!
We have a very limited number of copiesavailable for order through our website for those of you who don't have a shop in your local area. (While we don't necessarily want to discourage you from ordering it from us, we do encorage you to obtain it from your local shop if at all possible.) We will also have a handful of copies available at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery starting tomorrow.
Crickets #3 dedicates the bulk of its oversized pages to the first part of a new story, "Blood of the Virgin," which tracks the upside down world of exploitation movie making in Los Angeles in the early seventies through the eyes of an ambitious young film editor who catches a big break. Rounding at the issue are handful of short strips, letters and gags featuring Franz Kafka, boxing, Yale University, and pregnant wives. Crickets Lives!
"Being the latest comic book release by Sammy Harkham, now self-publisher of an oversized 48-page showcase for self-contained material, some of it published online by Vice. The showpiece is 'Blood of the Virgin,' a fascinating stretch of time from the life of a 1970s exploitation movie studio functionary, constantly seeing his desires swapped out like spicy footage cut from one picture for the benefit of another. Smartly detailed, keenly observed lit comics stuff. Note that the serial from issues #1 and #2 does not continue. I reviewed it here..." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics
"As somebody who's been known to call things 'Crickets' myself, I am extra-fond of Sammy Harkham's extra-intermittent anthology for all things Sammy Harkham-related." – Douglas Wolk, Comics Alliance
"I picked up a copy of this at the Brooklyn show but if you weren’t there, then the third issue of Sammy Harkham’s Crickets is easily the pick of the week, at least as far as I’m concerned. Harkham has seemingly abandoned, at least for now, his tale of wandering golems and invulnerable men for two self-contained pieces, each with a decided literary bent (the first one is rather cheekily titled 'The New Yorker.'). Both tales show a slight movement towards more introspective, character building work, with the second tale 'Blood of the Virgin,' offering a nice homage of sorts to the late 1960s and early ’70s era of Roger Corman-style cheapie b-films, or at least how they were produced. Definitely one of the nicer surprises at the Brooklyn show this month and highly recommended." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
#71: Werewolves of Montpellier by Jason: "Every time Jason dives into an age-old genre he finds a way to make it seem alien. His cast of animal characters feel like an emotionally suppressed oven full of loaded guns. His expedition into werewolf tales brings all of these elements together throughout its rooftop chases and playful approach to the supernatural." – Brian Warmoth
#67: It Was the War of the Trenches by Jacques Tardi: "You want to know how brutal war can be? You want to know how war should be depicted in comics — how to look the utter savagery, inhumanity and square in the eye using only pen and ink? This is how you do it." – Chris Mautner
• List: Comics writer/commentator Kevin Church selects Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 for his "Not A Best Of: Comics in 2010" list: "I’ll just add my voice to the chorus: 'Browntown' is likely the best comic that Jaime Hernandez has done, period. The fact that it’s bookended by Gilbert’s masterfully bleak sociosexual sci-fi story of first contact, 'The Love Bunglers' makes this possibly the highest-potency dosage of quality comics that came out this year. Like the Coen Brothers are for film, I am pretty convinced that I could read just comics by Los Bros Hernandez and feel immensely satisfied."
• List: In MTV Geek's poll "Comic Book Creators Pick Their Favorite Top 3 Comic Stories of 2010," Michael Fiffe chooses Johnny Ryan's Prison Pit Book 2 ("This may be one of the most romantic stories I've ever read. The entire world should read this book") and the Hernandez Bros.' Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 ("I'll never get tired of saying that if you don't like this comic, then you hate comics and thus, you hate life")
• List: Matthew Rosenberg of Ashcan Press ranks Prison Pit Book 2 at #15 on his Best of 2010 list: "Johnny Ryan’s Prison Pit may be everything a 12 year old me liked about comics boiled down to its essence and then pumped full of crystal meth. The book reads like hitting someone in the face… in a good way."
• Review: "Written with impressive empathy and obviously heartfelt, angry frustration even years later, this memoir confronts issues that will affect every single one of us whether or not we have the guts to face it, and the light airy art and terrific supporting cast — especially Ching the cat — keeps the tone hopeful and ultimately upbeat even through the worst of all times. This is a book you must read. Like Robert Crumb, I too found tears in my eyes at the book’s end — and so will you. [...] Unsentimental, educational and inspirational Special Exits is a tale no rational mortal can afford to miss." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!
• Coming Attractions/Commentary: At Robot 6, Graeme McMillan uses the occasion of our forthcoming Summer 2011 publication of "what might be, for me, the most eagerly-anticipated book of 2011, Dave McKean’s Celluloid" to ruminate on the subject of pornographic comics
Inspired by our recent graphic memoir triumphs You'll Never Know and Special Exits, and prompted by a reader request or two, we've gathered our memoir and autobiographical titles into their own section on our website. (The link can also be found under "Interests" in our "Browse Shop" menu.) Note that these are comics whose main content is autobiographical in nature; you can still find autobiographical strips and stories in other titles found elsewhere. It's also possible we've missed one or two titles, so if you notice any omissions, please let us know.
Our memoir & autobio books are from a diverse group of voices in a variety of styles. Sometimes the names are changed and details dramatized, but these stories based on true life will enthrall, amuse, shock, inspire and/or move you.
See an exclusive 7-page excerpt from King of the Flies Vol. 2: The Origin of the World at TIME.com – Techland! Introducing the pages, Douglas Wolk says "The first volume of European comics creators Mezzo and Pirus' King of the Flies, subtitled Hallorave, was one of the creepiest graphic novels of 2010... The follow-up, The Origin of the World, comes out soon, and it makes the story's vortex of terror spin even faster — the vibe is somewhere between Charles Burns' Black Hole and Blue Velvet, with a soundtrack of Misfits singles, Stones bootlegs and too-intense techno."
1954 and 1955 were tough years for the fledgling cartoonist: A life-threatening bout with tuberculosis sidelined him for almost a year, and his main client, Charlton Comics, suffered a devastating flood that forced it to shut its doors temporarily. Yet Ditko's enforced time off and subsequent need to seek out new clients (most particularly Marvel Comics, for whom he would go on to create Spider-Man), as well as his stubborn devotion to his craft, brought about an astonishing series of quantum leaps in his work — as displayed in this volume (following the best-selling Strange Suspense: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 1) of more than 200 pages' worth of never-before-collected horror and science-fiction stories from the early career of a comics great. Introduction by series editor Blake Bell.
#87:Prison Pit Book 2 by Johnny Ryan: "Absurd, crude, lewd, funny, entertaining, twelve kinds of wrong, one of the most effed-up books I've ever read. It's burned into my brain and I can't get it out. And I love it." – Chad Nevett
#99:A Drunken Dream and Other Stories by Moto Hagio: "I'd never heard of Moto Hagio until Fantagraphics published this best-of collection of her stories, and it's easy to see why Hagio is one of the queens of shojo manga in Japan. The short story 'Iguana Girl' (about a girl who grows up with her mother treating her like she is an iguana) is strong enough to make you feel like you've gotten your money's worth, but the remaining nine stories are also all excellent to boot." – Greg McElhatton
• List: Dave Ferraro of Comics-and-More ranks Moto Hagio's A Drunken Dream and Other Stories at #6 on his 10 Best Manga of 2010: "Moto Hagio's artwork is stunning. Her storytelling is fluid, her characters expressive, and her drawings in general are beautifully arranged and look effortless. Each and every one of the ten stories in this 'best of' collection of short stories... are enchanting, full of warmth and wonderful characters, and brimming with emotion. [...] A very necessary project, done right."
• Review: "Uptight #4 is an example of that increasingly-rare animal: a satisfying alt-comic book. [...] It speaks to Crane’s versatility that he can pull off a slice-of-life relationship story and a fable in the same comic book." – Rob Clough, The Comics Journal
• Review: "...[J]ust about the sweetest graphic novel imaginable... it's a lovely, positive collection, with fine drawing and characters that are well worth spending some time with. ...[T]his is a story about people and how they live together and support each other. That kind of story is so vanishingly rare in comics that it should be treasured when we do find it — particularly when it's as lovely and engaging as Castle Waiting." – Andrew Wheeler, The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.
• Review: "Deitch's mad brew of semi-psychedelic farce and skewed reality takes the actual (and factual) short-lived tenure of an obscure 1950s-era kiddie-show host as source material and extrapolates a fantastical set of circumstances with humans, demons, not-so-funny animals and other characters — including Deitch himself. Reading this book [The Search for Smilin' Ed] is a wild ride; Deitch's prodigious storytelling talents and graphic craftsmanship keep things moving — and compelling." – Richard Pachter, The Miami Herald
• Plugs: At Comics Comics, Jeet Heer singles out The Artist Himself: A Rand Holmes Retrospective and The Search for Smilin' Ed by Kim Deitch as two recent books deserving of more attention from critics and readers, calling the latter book "a delight not just because it gives us one of Deitch’s most deranged meandering tall tales but also because the whole handsome package was designed to highlight the cohesiveness of Deitch’s world-making project, the way his fictional universe and its large cast make up a single unfolding story."
• Opinion: At TIME.com – Techland, Douglas Wolk's "What I'm Grateful For in Comics, 2010" includes "Lots of long-gone creators have been returning to the new-comics trenches, and many of them are as limber and powerful as ever. [...] I... wouldn't have imagined that Joyce Farmer would be doing the best work of her career in 2010, but Special Exits knocked me flat," and "The fact that Jason puts out a book every nine months or so and has a substantical, enthusiastic readership makes me proud of the entire economic structure that makes that possible."
• Coming Attractions: More Douglas Wolk at TIME.com – Techland, this time listing "What We're Looking Forward To in 2011," including Love from the Shadows by Gilbert Hernandez ("the most twisted, perverse book he's ever created, which is saying something. It's lurid, hypersexual, violent, incredibly disturbing, and totally fun") and The Armed Garden and Other Stories by David B. ("gorgeous work, and unlike anything else in contemporary comics")
Mix-n-match comics panels to make your own story with the iPad app Comixer, created by the editors of the dearly-missed Nickelodeon magazine, which means it's kid-friendly, and drawn by Johnny Ryan, which means it's awesome! (Link via Janice via Jenny Ryan on Facebook.)
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