The most symmetrical cake slice of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:Publishers Weekly occasionally lets smart and famous people recommend books. Jeopardy Master Ken Jennings "skipped the obvious Marjane Satrapi and Alison Bechdel entries in favor of this lesser-known three-volume masterpiece, about Tyler’s complicated relationship with her distant dad, a World War II vet. With her playful, fluid brush line and busy patchwork of watercolor woodgrain, Tyler’s art looks like the past feels." Carol Tyler's complete series You'll Never Know is available.
• Review:Booklist Online cooks up a review from some Pogo (The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips Vol. 2: "Bona Fide Balderdash"). Ian Chipman writes, "[Walt Kelly's] hallmarks of deft wordplay, daft swamp critters, and poisonously sharp sociopolitical satire are in full blossom here. The highlight is the 1952 election season that saw Pogo’s first and entirely reluctant presidential run and the birth of the “I Go Pogo” slogan. Mimicking “I Like Ike. . . A must for all collections of comic-strip history."
• Plug:Forces of Geek throws out some good gift recommendations for kidslike Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge "Only a Poor Old Man"by Carl Barks. "Comic books have always been an excellent gateway into reading, and when it comes to smart, imaginative and engaging, you don't have to go much further than Carl Barks. . . What better way to introduce your own Huey, Dewey or Louie to comics?"
• Review:Paste Magazines's 10 Best Collections of 2012 include two Fantagraphics titles. Hillary Brown loved Young Romance, by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby edited by Michel Gagné who "painstakingly restored them (without making them look exactly new, thus giving the book the feel of a vintage compilation that just happens to be in amazing shape). . . Simon and Kirby tried to bring as much excitement to primarily psychological and interpersonal goings-on as to punching and flying." And this might be the last year anything by Carl Barks is on the list, "We’ll just grant it permanent honorary status as the best of the best, like when John Larroquette removed himself from Emmy consideration after winning four straight for Night Court. . . [Walt Disney's Donald Duck "A Christmas for Shacktown] once again proves Barks to be one of the finest draftsmen and storytellers we’ve ever had." Well put, Garrett Martin.
• Plug:The Scotsman lists some of the Best of 2012 as told by the best scotsman. Withered Hand's singer/songwriter Dan Willson has eyes only for Ron Rege, Jr. and states, "[The] Cartoon Utopia , his magnum opus, is quite a head-trip. Thousands of very dense little drawings and words resemble a psychedelic illuminated manuscript peppered with themes of spiritual redemption and good versus evil. It’s a very unusual and beautiful work."
• Plug: From Boing Boing's list of the Best Damn Comics of 2012, compiled by Brian Heater. On Ron Rege Jr.'s The Cartoon Utopia , "The first esoteric text of the new century. The harbinger of the New Aeon. This book will be a staple of Esoteric Lore for millennia to come."
• Plug:Boing Boing makes my job easy by providing the Best Damn Comics of 2012. Compiled by Brian Heater, a lot of creative people offered up their favorite books of the year. Nick Abadzis thinks Kolor Klimax (edited by Matthias Wivel), "feels startling and vital to me and features a wide variety of styles, each as absorbing as all the others contained within these pages. I don't think I've enjoyed an anthology as much as this one in years."
• Plug: From Boing Boing's list of the Best Damn Comics of 2012, compiled by Brian Heater. Box Brown on Barack Hussein Obama, "Steven Weissman does stuff with actual analog comic materials that most dudes can't even do with photoshop." Jeffrey Brown chimes in on BHO, "Strange, funny and beautiful. Weissman reinvents his comics with the kind of book I wish I would make." Will Dinksi agrees, "Barack Hussein Obama is pretty much my favorite book of the year. . . I get a better appreciation for Weissman's craft in the printed collection where it can feel like you're actually looking at the finished artwork." Mari Naomi says,"I just love what this book is. If I didn't know better, I wouldn't even recognize this as Weissman. And I like that."
• Review:Paris Review checks out The Last Vispo, edited by Nico Vassilakis and Crag Hill. Nicole Rudick states,"it makes sense that in visual form poetry would elicit a kind of motion, an unfolding over the space of a page, and that even its sound would be voiced as a series of discoveries. Movement disrupts the continuity of a sentence, a phrase, a word. And language, unsettled, is unbound."
• Plug: From Boing Boing's list of the Best Damn Comics of 2012, compiled by Brian Heater. Box Brown continues to wax poetic on Josh Simmons' The Furry Trap, "Funny, even as it makes your hair stand on end and your skin start to crawl... Horror comics that gash their way below the surface."
• Plug: From Boing Boing's list of the Best Damn Comics of 2012, compiled by Brian Heater. Shaenon K. Garrity says that The Heart of Thomas by Moto Hagio "is a book I've been awaiting for over ten years, and it exceeds my expectations."
• Plug: From Boing Boing's list of the Best Damn Comics of 2012, compiled by Brian Heater. Nate Powell on Interiorae by Gabriella Giandelli, is "just what I look for in a narrative: patient, dreamy, full of seemingly endless layers of shadow, slowly revealing the sweetness inside the rotten, all within the confines of a single high-rise apartment building, surrounded by snow and static."
• Review:Slate finds themselves choosing Heads or Tails, going for broke. Dan Kois says, "Lilli Carré’s short stories are dreamy, unlikely, and unsettling. What transforms the stories from nightmares to fables is Carré’s artwork, which varies with each story. . ."
• Review:Page 45 looks at Heads or Tails by Lilli Carré. "The art reminds me a little of Lynda Barry and the flow of the pages reminded me a little of Walt Holcombe. . .I recently recommended this book to a customer who named their favourite film as Amelie (good choice!) precisely because it has that feeling of whimsy about it."
• Plug: From Boing Boing's list of the Best Damn Comics of 2012, compiled by Brian Heater. Jeremy Tinder on Heads or Tails by Lilli Carré, "A nice encapsulation of many of the ways Lilli has been pushing herself both narratively and stylistically over the last few years. If only there was a way to squeeze her animation in there too." Will Dinksi comments on Heads or Tails by Lilli Carré, "Beautiful artwork. Thoughtfully paced. "Of The Essence" is one of the best comic book short stories I've ever read."
• Plug: From Boing Boing's list of the Best Damn Comics of 2012, compiled by Brian Heater. Robert Kirby on No Straight Lines edited by Justin Hall, "Long overdue, this beautifully-produced, sharply edited retrospective may usher in a new era of respect and recognition for a long-neglected realm of the alt-comics world."
• Review:Nate's Broadcast enjoyed The Hypo by Noah Van Sciver in addition to the recent film, Lincoln, and book America Aflame. "Van Sciver’s contribution to the Lincoln mythology is perfect for those who like their heroes a little troubled and messy, but good at their core- not a bad way to interpret the American ideal."
• Plug: From Boing Boing's list of the Best Damn Comics of 2012, compiled by Brian Heater. Will Dinski continues with The Hypo. "[Noah] Van Sciver is pretty prolific, but this is his best work to date. The line art just drips with anguish." Brian Heater thinks it "puts the cartoonist's brimming angst to a different use entirely, in a book that does precisely what a good piece of historical non-fiction should: finding a fascinating way to tell a story we were convinced we already knew."
• Review: Blacklung by Chris Wright is whittled on by Tucker Stone at TCJ. It's called "the big, trippy brother to Drew Weing’s Segar influenced Set To Sea. . . . [and] Gore saturates this comic. . . Brutality for its own sake is the point of some entertaining movies, no reason it can’t be the point of some entertaining comics as well."
• Review: On Filth and Fabulations, Jeppe Mulich states that Chris Wright's "[Blacklung is] not a work of splatter punk or mindless gore, but rather an engaging, breathless, and humorous tale of the dregs of the sea, including a colorful assortment of pirates and madmen, quite clearly drawing inspiration from both Melville, Stevenson and Peckinpah."
• Review: Paste Magazine reviews Charlie Brown's Christmas Stocking by Charles M. Schulz. "Seeing this work isolated and expanded only reinforces the sheer timelessness and brilliance inherent; Schulz was a master of mood and line in equal measure. . . it’s some of the finest nostalgia porn you can put under the tree," quips Sean Edgar.
•Review:Pheonix New Times unwraps their present early and Jason P. Woodbury interviews Nat Gertler on Charlie Brown's Christmas Stocking by Charles M Schulz. "[Schulz] had done a Christmas book, Christmas is Together-Time, using red and green," Gertler says, explaining the minimal color palette. "We wanted to keep that simplicity and Christmas-sense in there." The stable of Schulz characters transcend fads and time because as Gertler points out "It's not the way kids talk, but they way they feel is the way that kids feel."
• Plug:Drawn blog tops off another the Best of 2012 list with some Ernie Bushmiller. John Martz points out, "Nancy seems to be a love-it-or-leave-it strip, and I am firmly in the Love It camp. . . Often surreal, and always impeccably drawn, there is nothing quite like it. . . these books are a virtual masterclass in cartooning."
• Review: From Boing Boing's list of the Best Damn Comics of 2012, compiled by Brian Heater. Tom Kaczynski on Ernie Bushmiller's Nancy is Happy, "The minimalism of the art, the quirky humor, the amazing consistency, it all started with these strips."
• Review: Getting ready for the hardback release of Delphine by Richard Sala, Carrie Cuinn of SF Portal reviews the tale complete with "dark duotone inking style, little dialogue, and gothic, shadowy, art. . . Overall I think that Sala’s retelling of that well-known love story is affectingly tragic. . . It is, in a word, creepy."
• Review: If MTV Geek knows about The End of the Fucking World then the secret is out: Charles Forsman is amazing! "[It] pulls you in like no other comic this year. Stunning in its simplicity and brave in its subject matter. Charles Forsman is a future force. . . [it] is like stumbling onto the ultimate secret in comic books, but based on how great TEOTFW is, it won't be much a secret longer."
• Review: Ashley over at Bibliophibien looks at Wandering Son series by Shimura Takako, "While the story is focused on transgender topics, I think that this is a wonderfully moving coming-of-age story and captures the complexities of sexual identity, friendships, and family that teens face."
• Review: Rick Klaw at SF Site enjoys the glossy glory of Action! Mystery! Thrills!, edited by Greg Sadowski. "As in his previous volumes. . . Sadowski supplies copious end notes and annotations. Though this time, the information additionally reads as an entertaining history of early comics. . . Sadowski once again delivers an essential book for anyone with an interest in comics history."
• Plug: John McMurtrie of SF Gate (San Francisco Gate) lists Listen, Whitey! by Pat Thomas as one of the Music Books to Buy of 2012.
Hal Foster's masterpiece of adventure enters its second decade as Valiant and Aleta journey to "The New World," a 16-month epic that allows Foster to draw some of his spectacular native Canadian backgrounds, and during which Aleta gives birth to Arn and acquires her Indian nurse, Tillicum. Most of the rest of the book is taken up with the action-packed five-month sequence "The Mad King," during which Val, back at Camelot, confronts the evil, fat little King Tourien of Cornwall.
This volume is rounded off with an essay by Foster scholar Brian M. Kane (The Prince Valiant Companion) discussing Foster's depiction of "Indians" as it relates to other interpretations of the times, accompanied by various graphic goodies including our most spectacular bonus feature yet — a double-sized fold-out page reproducing a strip hand-colored by Foster — plus a previously unpublished camping cartoon by Foster from circa 1915, some of Foster's Mountie paintings, Foster's own map of Val's voyage to/from the New World, and more rare photos and art.
As always, this volume is shot directly from Foster's personal collection of syndicate proofs, their glorious colors restored to create an unprecedentedly sumptuous reading experience.
Looking for that special something to give to special someone you love? (In my case, that would be me.) Order a commission directly from an artist! Josh Simmons of The Furry Trap, House and Jessica Farm is one of the many artists offering his service to you. Simmons said he is very flexible and can tailor things to peoples' budget, or something like the Witch-King of the Nazgul painting above is the most time-consuming, would go for the highest price. When I asked if the highest price was money, the soul or a bucket of blood, he agreed any of the three would do. Horrifying.
But like most cartoonists, artists, people of note, Simmons can create for children too! So for the parent who wants an original drawing but needs G-rated content, Simmons has a sweet side too. Well, it's still spooky.
We're thrilled to host a rare Seattle performance by gifted French Canadian cartoonist, artist, and musician Geneviève Castrée at Fantagraphics Bookstore's 6th anniversary gala on Saturday evening. She'll present her experimental Ô Paon music project as we celebrate 30 years of Love & Rockets. We'll offer a variety of small press publications and indie recordings from this Drawn & Quarterly Showcase and Kramer's Ergot contributor. Listen to Sainte-Patronne de Rien Panttoute from her 2010 LP Courses. Oui.
Today is Wednesday, you know what that means! Michael Kupperman is back with Tales Designed to Thrizzle Vol. 1available to download on to your iPad, smartphone and e-readers thanks to comiXology. Fans and comedy cognoscenti alike have made Thrizzle the smash hit humor comic of the decade. The first FOUR issues of non-stop sur-reality plus new pages! These tales are more thrizzling than ever!
What are tales designed to thrizzle? Tales designed to thrizzle are about evil girls and their owls. They are about Jesus' half-brother Pagus, Dick Crazy, scary snakes, delicious bacon, Private Eye Johnny Silhouette, Murder She Didn't Write, the Mannister, portraits where the eyes move, Pablo Picasso, sex blimps (and their logical inverse, sex holes), the hot boy band Boybank, soccer joust, Underpants-On-His-Head Man, Hercules the Public Domain Superhero, Cousin Granpa, Mister Bossman, Mark Twain, and more. The stories in Tales Designed to Thrizzle made their debut in 2009 on the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim program as Snake 'N' Bacon. The show, a mix of live-action, puppetry and animation, stars David Rakoff (This American Life), Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live), Kristen Schaal (Flight of the Conchords), James Urbaniak (The Venture Brothers), and Dan Bakkedahl (The Daily Show), and is produced by Kupperman, Robert Smigel (SNL, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog), Scott Jacobson (The Daily Show) and Rich Bloomquist (The Daily Show).
Grab your digital copy today because you might laugh hard enough to mess yourself .
"It has become cliché to say I laughed until I cried, but when I'm done reading one of these underground comics my shirt is literally soaking wet. This guy may have one of the best comedy brains on the planet right now." – Conan O'Brien, Entertainment Weekly "Must List"
"Destined to be a comedy classic... truly one of the funniest books in years." – Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
Shout it out! Last month, Northwesterners got the chance to experience The Last Vispo Anthology: Visual Poetry 1998-2008 in person, and it was indeed, a hoot and a holler! (That's editor Nico Vassilakis leading the call, and Fantagraphics co-founder Mike Catron helping out in the background!)
A fleet of poets descended upon the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery on Saturday, November 24th, and throughout the evening, they performed small batches of readings.
Contributor Gustave Morin traveled all the way from somewhere in Southern Ontario -- "Let's just say, Detroit," he told us -- for his performance.
Another Canadian, poet Donato Mancini, braved the border crossing for a reading with us. He had a very touching moment when he was flipping through the book to find his piece, and just exclaimed, awestruck, "I still can't believe this thing exists!"
In between the batches of readings, we were fortunate to have musical performances from Lori Goldston (former Nirvana and Earth cellist, and recent Stranger “Genius Award” recipient) with former Black Cat Orchestra band mate Kyle Hanson.
Sadly, this evening was also a farewell party for Nico, a longtime co-worker of ours, who is moving to New York with his new bride. This shot is blurry, but I love the proud round of applause he's getting from Gary Groth here. We'll miss you, Nico!!!
Warehouse hero Ajax Wood prepares to bitchslap the young Conrad Groth. Just kidding, I have no idea what is going on. You can see more photos from the opening reception at the Fantagraphics Flickr.
Thank you to all the poets for participating in this very special weekend for a very special book!
Our exhibit of prints from the anthology will continue to be on display at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery through tomorrow Thursday, December 6th, and are for sale for the ridiculously low price of $25 each. Drop by to see them at 1201 S. Vale Street in Seattle's Georgetown district. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone: (206) 658-0110.
Another fascinating collection of early work from one of America's most original, trenchant, and uncompromising artists. "Some More Early Years of Bitter Struggle" features several key stories from Crumb’s pre-underground, homemade comics of the early 1960s (such as Farb and Arcade), with stories featuring early Crumb characters Fritz the Cat, Jim, Mabel, and Little Billy Bean. It also includes "Roberta Smith, Office Girl," Crumb's charming 4-panel strip for the American Greetings employee newsletter; a full-color section of cover illustrations; copious reproductions from Crumb's sketchbooks; and more of the biographical introduction by Crumb confidant Marty Pahls.
1989 Harvey Award Winner, Best Domestic Reprint Project
Starring Fritz the Cat includes Crumb's classic original Fritz stories from 1965, including "Fritz Bugs Out" and "Fritz the Cat, Special Agent for the CIA," the first two "real" stories in the Fritz canon, as well as "Fritz the Cat, Ace Statesman," four pages of a previously unpublished Fritz story, and several Fritz illos never before printed in color. Plus: Crumb's first published work from Help! and Yell, including the "Harlem Sketchbook" and the "Bulgarian Sketchbook," most never before reprinted; two dozen of his Topps trading cards, plus extremely rare promotional items, as well as many creeting cards done for American Greetings, several in full color; and many pages of strips from Crumb's 20-year-old sketchbooks. Plus more of Marty Pahls's ongoing Crumb biography, including the story of Crumb's first acid trip, with more rare photos of the young Crumb!
1989 Harvey Award Winner, Best Domestic Reprint Project
Buy Two, Get One Half Off! When ordering either of these volumes, add any two other available volumes from The Complete Crumb Comicsseries and the third volume will be half price! (Note that you will receive all 3 books in one shipment when they are all available in our warehouse.) See product pages for more details.
Cartoonist, animator and story teller Dash Shaw's animated music video for band Sigur Ros entitled "Seraph" will be shown at next year's Sundance Film Festival. This six and half minute film will appear in the animated short section of the festival. For those of you not attending, feel free to watch it here from home in your jam-jams.
Basil Wolverton is one of the greatest, most idiosyncratic talents in comic book history. Though he is best known for his humorous grotesqueries in MAD magazine, it is his science-fiction character Spacehawk that Wolverton fans have most often demanded be collected. The wait is over, as Spacehawk features every story from Spacehawk’s intergalactic debut in 1940 to his final, Nazi-crushing adventure in 1942.
Spacehawk is the closest thing to a colorfully-costumed, conventional action hero Wolverton ever created, yet the strip is infused with Wolverton’s quintessential weirdness: controlled, organic artwork of strangely repulsive aliens and monsters and bizarre planets, and stories of gruesome retribution that bring to mind Wolverton’s peer, Fletcher Hanks. Spacehawk had no secret identity, no fixed base of operations beyond his spaceship, and no sidekicks or love interests. He had but one mission in life: to protect the innocent throughout the Solar System, and to punish the guilty. He was a dark — yet much more visually playful — counterpart to Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon.
Spacehawk also includes the character’s final and rarely-seen Earthbound adventures. As the U.S. became involved in World War II, Spacehawk returned to 20th Century America to join the United States’ efforts in defeating fascism, which he does by patrolling the Earth’s stratosphere, looking for wrongdoing.
While supplies last, customers who order this volume can also receive the box set slipcase for Vols. 1 and 2 at no extra charge!
Even though Pogo had been in syndication for less than two years as this volume begins, Walt Kelly's long professional experience (including seven years creating Pogo stories for comic books) had him at the peak of his powers, and this book features page after page of gorgeously drawn, hilarious vaudevillian dialogue and action among the swamp denizens, as well as Kelly's increasingly sharp-tongued political satire — especially on display during the 1952 election season.
Kelly was famous for his prolific creation of recurring characters, and by the end of this second volume, the count will already have topped over one hundred. New arrivals include Tammanany the Tiger, the voluble P.T. Bridgeport, the sinister Sarcophagus MacAbre (with his funereal speech balloons), Uncle Antler the bull moose... and Bewitched, Bothered, and Bemildred, the adorable trio of bats.
The two years of daily strips in this volume (all the strips from 1951 and 1952) have been collected before but in now long out of print books; and even there they were not as meticulously restored and reproduced as in this new series. Bona Fide Balderdash also reprints, literally for the first time ever in full color, the two full years of Sunday pages, also carefully restored and color-corrected, shot from the finest copies available.
This second volume is once again edited and designed by the cartoonist’s daughter, Carolyn Kelly, who is also handling much of the restoration work. It includes a new introduction by the legendary author, recording artist, and satirist Stan Freberg, who was not only a friend of Kelly’s but the voice of Albert the Alligator in the I Go Pogo: Pogo for President movie. There are also be more extensive annotations by comic strip historian and expert R.C. Harvey, as well as additional historical information from writer Mark Evanier.
A boxed set of the first and second volumes of Pogo - The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips. Shipping shrinkwrapped, with Volume 1: "Through the Wild Blue Wonder" and Volume 2: "Bona Fide Balderdash" packed in a sturdy custom box designed especially for this set, it's the perfect gift book item. (For more information on the contents of each volume, see the individual product listings linked above.)
Already have Volume 1? Order Volume 2 and we'll include the box set slipcase at no extra charge! (While supplies last.)
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