With his wholesome approach, Jack Kamen stood out amongst the grand-guignol grunge, gritty realism, or futuristic dazzle of his fellow EC cartoonists — but his brilliant editor/writer Al Feldstein found a way to exploit the surface innocence of his style with seemingly nice stories of romance gone horribly wrong, or future fantasies with an unexpectedly brutal twist. And nowhere did Kamen'’s clean-but-lush graphics work better than in the stories he created for EC's science-fiction comics.
The title story, "Zero Hour" (one of three in this book adapted from works by Ray Bradbury), set in a Spielbergian suburban idyll, is particularly well served by Kamen's surface innocence; "A Lesson in Anatomy" works similar magic, with its Mayberry-esque setting veering into alien-invasion terror.
If there was any devil in Kamen, it came out in his loving depiction of the female face and form, and you could see why his hapless heroes were often fatally entranced with them — as in "Punishment Without Crime" (Bradbury again), "He Who Waits!" (a scientist finds an extreme way of rejoining his eight-inch-tall inamorata), and "Miscalculation!" (the lucky recipient of a package from the future literally brews his own harem); even the supercomputer in "Only Human!" proves vulnerable to a beautiful woman's charms.
Zero Hour and Other Stories contains 22 classic EC yarns — plus the usual all-new biographical, historical, and critical essays that have made Fantagraphics' EC Library series the ultimate version of these classics.
Even sixty years after their original release, in a post-Saw-and-Hostel era of explicit horror, EC Comics superstar Graham "Ghastly" Ingels's grisly pages retain the power to shock.
His loving depictions of the endless corruption of flesh and nature made him the go-to guy for stories involving swamps, maniacs, and dismemberment — and all three combined to best effect in one of the standouts of this collection of his stories: "Horror We? How’s Bayou?" — considered the single most spectacularly drawn of all of EC’s horror stories, with a climax that would give body-horror king David Cronenberg nightmares.
Ingels specialized in depicting the unimaginable. If you ever wondered what the vengeful, decaying corpse of an elephant stomping a woman to death would look like, it's in here ("Squash...Anyone?"). Or living rats sewn into the bodies of a tyrannical king and queen ("A Grim Fairy Tale")... or the results of injecting a "poison-pen" letter writer with literal poison and reducing him to, in the words of Al Feldstein's script, a "foul-smelling, oozing pool of putrescence" ("Notes to You!"). One of the two Ray Bradbury adaptations in the book, "There Was an Old Woman" (about a deceased crone who simply refuses to stay dead) provides the closest thing to a note of sweetness that you'll find here — perhaps with the exception of the genuinely romantic "A Little Stranger!" and its loving marriage between a dead vampire and a dead werewolf.
Sucker Bait and Other Stories features 25 classic stories from Tales from the Crypt, Shock SuspenStories, Vault of Horror, and Ingels and his "Old Witch" character's special showcase Haunt of Fear — plus the usual fascinating historical, critical, and biographical material.
"Reflecting the domestication of his big-screen incarnation, the mischievous scamp of the earlier strips is giving way to a more decorous rodent who increasingly turns the broad humor over to his dim-witted sidekick, Goofy. In contrast to the daily episodes, which largely featured adventure-oriented story lines that extended for weeks, these Sunday installments are mostly self-contained gags... With their retro appeal, Gottfredson's buoyant drawings might just look even better now than they did when they were fresh." –Gordon Flagg, Booklist
Free Comic Book Day has rolled out the silver sponsor books so get your free comic book grabby hands ready! Hip Hop Family Tree Two-In-One by Ed Piskor is a full color delight that clocks in at 32 pages. It is the perfect introduction and bridge to Piskor's fun and crtitically acclaimed 5 volume book series. This full-color comic book offers 2 self contained stories form Hip Hop Family Tree Vols 1 & 2 as well as new guest pin-ups and content just for FCBD! Lovingly produced and designed in homage to Marvel Comic's beloved "Marvel Two-In-One". Make mine Hip Hop!
"One of the greatest comic strips of all time and a peak in visual splendor and breathtaking adventure, the story of Prince Valiant's 30-plus year odyssey is getting a marvelous presentation in Fantagraphics' series of books…" – The Huffington Post
“Medieval swordplay and adventure have never been as glorious as in Foster’s Sunday-only comic strip. This edition has been reproduced from pristine printer’s proofs to give the gorgeous artwork its crispest version ever.... Prince Valiant is one of the best-drawn comics ever, and this new edition does ample justice to its achievement.” – Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"If you've never read Prince Valiant at all, I highly implore you to give it a shot with Fantagraphics' current hardcover reprints. They're huge, beautiful — the best these strips have looked since their original publication, if not exceeding them. They're world-spanning adventure comics of the highest order — in a pantheon of titles ranging from Corto Maltese to Kamandi to Tintin." – Joe Keatinge
Well, frankly, these stories must be told every-damn-where! But, starting January 16th, 2014, the Rutgers-Camden’s Stedman Gallery will become a haven for artists displaying comix versions of their life stories through a marriage of drawings to text.
Such as Carol Tyler, who shares on her blog that some pages of original art, including a few from You'll Never Know, will be on display! (She also shares that "Mr. Compulsive Narrative himself Justin Green shares some original Binky Brown pages," adding, "that alone is worth the effort to go see this exhibit.")
Original pages will also be on display from Ellen Forney, Julie Doucet, David Small, Gilad Seliktar, and many, many more!
BRRRT! CRACK! SPANG! RATAT! BRADAP! POW! SPLAT! WHUMP! BOOM! BADABALAM! VIP VIP VIP! KRUMF! BA-ROOM! These are the sounds of our downloadable 27-page excerpt of Wallace Wood's Cannon, and PLOP will be the sound of your jaw hitting the floor. Bullets fly, explosions blow stuff up, and a chiseled, square-jawed, killing-machine hero puts the hurt on the baddies in the name of the U.S. of A. Plus over half the pages also feature at least one panel of naked or partly-naked women. Just sayin'. It's Grade A unapologetic exploitation fare by one of comics' all-time greats, finally in a complete and definitive edition. Pre-order your copy now for February release!
• Portland, OR: Don't miss a reading and signing with Jesse Reklaw at Floating World comics tonight! From 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM, Reklaw will be signing copies of his graphic novel, Couch Tag. Let him know which of his 13 cats was your favorite. (more info)
Friday, December 20th
• Chicago, IL: Lilli Carré debuts a solo show at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, part of the MCA's Chicago Works series, focusing on new work being made by emerging and established Chicago artists. She's created all new work for the show, including projected animation, works on paper, and a series of ceramic pieces. The show will be up through April 15th, but why wait? Go today! (more info)
• Mexico City, MX: Esther Pearl Watson and Mark Todd launch a stunning new art show, titled Challengers of the Unknown, atGuru Gallery Shop tonight! Come see Esther's glittered saucer paintings and collaged foil/pencil drawings. Mark will be exhibiting a group of new comic-inspired works, and debuting a limited edition zine with original drawings. (more info)
These pages may look familiar to loyal readers of Peter Bagge's Hate Annual comic book, or maybe you haven't been keeping up with the latest tales of Buddy & Lisa's domestic "bliss." Either way, you'll be glad to know that those stories (most from out-of-print issues) are finally being compiled, along with a new 20-page concluding chapter, in the evocatively titled Buddy Buys a Dump. It'll be the first new Buddy Bradley collection to hit shelves in seven years when it's released in April, and you can pre-order it now!
Hold on to your horses, the howling wolves of great comics and design are baying. We don't want to unseat you but find you some seats! On February 19th, Chip Kidd & Chris Ware will appear before your very eyes at Town Hall in Seattle. Part of the Litarary\Arts Series, the two will engage in a coloful conversation (maybe even a fight to the death?) starting at 7:30pm.
There is a signing afterwards and their books will be on sale for those of you not clutching a well-loved copy already. Buy your tickets now and make it a great holiday gift; be it Christmas, Boxing Day, Valentines or Darwin Day!
Chris Wareis an award-winning comic book artist and cartoonist, whose work includes the celebrated graphic novel Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth and most recently Building Stories.
Chip Kidd, associate art director at Alfred A. Knopf, is a renowned graphic designer who recently released the book Go: A Kidd's Guide to Graphic Design and designed Tony Millionaire's Maakies treasuries. Seattle Arts and Lectures are excited to have these two artists talk with each other about the worlds of design and comics, as their conversation should make for a colorful evening.
Sponsored by Paper Hammer & Marquand Books, The Stranger's arts and performance quarterly, A&P, University Book Store.
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