With the Great Depression looming and about to define America's next decade, three strong-minded women related by marriage form an uneasy household in the summer of 1929. Forced by her husband Harry to uproot their two small children from Illinois and take up residence in East Texas, Marie Hennessey struggles to find a place not only within her mother-in-law's home but in a Southern town whose troubling unfamiliarities compound her marital woes and homesickness.
Maude Hennessey has little patience for Marie and her children, and even less for her pretty but petulant daughter, Rachel, who fights and flirts with a dashing pilot from New Orleans. Colliding issues of faith and sexual mores, racial proprieties and class distinctions, fuel a constant bickering through the narrow corridors of the house, all three women heedless of the love that has brought them together. Maude seems cold and distant except toward the ladies of her club; Rachel's affection for her doting aviator rises and falls capriciously; and Maude seeks to understand an absent husband, while deciding how to receive her employer's slow seduction.
As summer wears on, the conflicts among these women are exacerbated by a child murder that sends shockwaves of fear and mistrust throughout the community, particularly between the town's white residents and a black shantytown across the river. An ever-increasing sense of dread culminates in the arrival of a terrible storm whose aftermath reveals poignant and unexpected truths these three women living at a time when America was poised on the brink of economic catastrophe.
In The Last Rose of Summer, Monte Schulz has created a story about three women and their interior and exterior lives, each of whom symbolizes quintessential American notions of family, love and community. In so doing, he reminds us all of where we come from and how we got here. With an elegiac voice that evokes an era in its final bloom, and a thoughtful rendering of the public and private contentions that ruled the day, The Last Rose of Summer becomes an instant American classic.
As Fantagraphics’ ambitious plan to reprint every single Sunday Krazy Kat page created by George Herriman for close to three decades (this being the penultimate book) careens toward the finish line, this volume features another three years’ worth of Sunday strips — over 150 little masterpieces by the greatest cartoonist of all time, featuring the greatest comic-strip love triangle of all time: “kat,” “mice” and “pupp.” Each page is a hilarious, poetic masterpiece crackling with verbal wit and graphic brilliance. Those were the days…!
In the introductory essay, editor Bill Blackbeard chronicles Krazy Kat’s ascent from its earliest days as a tiny pendant for Herriman’s earlier strips The Dingbat Family and The Family Upstairs to its own full feature. A second major article in this volume is Bob Callahan’s “Geo. Herriman’s Los Angeles,” a fascinating look at Herriman’s pre-Krazy Kat days as a journalist/illustrator, covering such things as a Mexican bullfight (Herriman was appalled), the opening of a new “bums’ jail” (Herriman’s sympathies were clearly with the vagrants), and UFO sightings — all accompanied by Herriman’s virtuoso cartoons, of course.
As usual, the cover is designed by Chris Ware, featuring a striking two-color look that will set this latest volume apart from the previous eleven.
Roy Crane created the adventure comic strip with Wash Tubbs, and many a superhero owes a debt to Crane’s square-jawed, hard-hitting adventurer Captain Easy. But during World War II, he left the Captain Easy strip to create a more realistic fighting man, a Navy pilot named John Singer Sawyer, who fought in the Pacific Theater from 1943 until V-J Day in 1945.
This book, the first in a series reprinting the Buz Sawyer strip, reprints all of the daily strips published during World War II. Buz serves aboard an aircraft carrier, flies combat missions against the notorious Japanese Zeros, crash lands behind enemy lines, and is captured by a Japanese submarine.
The book also includes a selection of the best of the Sunday strips, which featured Buz Sawyer’s pal and gunner, Rosco Sweeney, presented as fold-out pages.
Everywhere Buz goes, he finds high adventure and beautiful women—in fact, his fellow flyers kid him about his ability to find romance on even the most hostile Pacific island, where he meets a dangerous spy named Sultry (!). And when he goes home on leave, it is only to be caught up in a rivalry between rich heiress Tot Winter and girl-next-door Christy Jameson.
It features some of Crane’s most atmospheric drawing, aided by his expert use of Craftint tones, luscious romance, and exciting action scenes. These stories amply illustrate why Peanuts artist Charles Schulz called Roy Crane “a treasure.”
Also featured in this handsome archival volume: an introductory essay by comics historian Jeet Heer and a selection letters to and from Roy Crane (including one from "Al Toth").
“[Roy Crane] is a treasure. There is still no one around who draws any better.” — Charles Schulz
“Every time I thought I had come up with something that I had thought no one else had done, damn it, I’d find that Crane or Foster had already done it!” — Al Williamson
“Roy Crane did adventure with a beautiful combination of cartooning and storytelling. Every panel was an entertaining panel, with something to look at. When you combine his storytelling ability, with or without balloons, with his action and those great panels, you can’t fail.” — John Severin
Comica, the London International Comics Festival, announces:
"On Saturday March 12th, mesmerising Italian maestro Lorenzo Mattotti makes a rare visit to London to discuss his career in comics and beyond, including his latest graphic novel Stigmata, translated by Fantagraphics, and his collaborations, from his animated terrors in the movie Fear(s) of the Dark to illustrating Lou Reed’s concept album The Raven. Joining Mattotti in conversation will be his friend and fellow artist Dave McKean, famed for his multi-media solo projects, most recently the erotic graphic novel Celluloid, and his works with Neil Gaiman notably on The Sandman. Introduced and hosted by Comica Director, Paul Gravett, don’t miss this opportunity to witness a unique encounter between two of the world’s greatest contemporary visionaries from 6 to 7.30pm followed by book signings at Goldsmiths University in South-East London."
Purchase advance tickets and get more information here.
I'm enjoying the flow of decontextualized absurdity and sight gags at the anonymous Nancy Panels Tumblr page, which is exactly what it says it is. Perhaps it will tide you over while you patiently (or impatiently) await Nancy Is Happy, our first collection of Ernie Bushmiller Nancy strips, which is now rescheduled for December 2011.
Gerhard speaks: an epic interview on the craft behind Cerebus; Matthias Wivel attends the mammoth Moebius retrospective in Paris; Rob Clough begins a series on comics as poetry and reviews The Broadcast; Gavin Lees reviews Oji Suzuki’s A Single Match anthology; and Rich Kreiner immerses himself in The Simpsons Ultimate Episode Guide.
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