• Review: "If your sense of humor is still intolerant of situations in which people embarrass themselves, whether or not they’re conscious of that embarrassment, Unlovable is pretty much your nightmare. [...] If there are flaws to point to here, they are: 1) that no one could possibly be as clueless and as unintentionally revelatory of that cluelessness as Tammy Pierce (i.e., that there’s too much authorial interpretation here), and 2) that, like any diary, it’s not particularly structured but instead consists of one damn thing after another (i.e., that there’s not enough shaping). That may well mean Watson’s hit the mark just right." – Hillary Brown, Paste
• Review: "In devouring the latest in Fantagraphics' fine, modern-day collections [of Prince Valiant...] , I was actually reminded more of Kirby's fellow Silver Age comic book titan Steve Ditko. Foster's young man seethes and overreacts and even plays the fool in the same way that Ditko allowed Peter Parker the human foibles inherent to those in the process of becoming an adult. (Spider-Man never got mad enough to lop off anyone's hand that I can remember, so point to Valiant there; they did operate in different centuries with their own definition of 'responsibility,' however.)" – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
• Review: "Love from the Shadows is weird even for Gilbert, who always seems to draw on the id more than his brother." – Hillary Brown, Paste
• Plug: "The first two Fritz books contained some of Beto’s finest storytelling, and I have really high hopes for this third volume. Love from the Shadows is purportedly a campy thriller, and the solicitation text make it sound like a hell of a lot of fun! Be sure to pre-order this one, so you don’t miss out!" – Edward Kaye, Hypergeek
• Plug: "Johnny Ryan's work isn't for everyone. But it most definitely is for me. [Prison Pit] is a book so batshit awesome it ought to be illegal (and maybe actually is). Ryan is as original as they come. Thank God for that, 'cause I don't think the world could survive two of them." – Jason Aaron (Scalped, Wolverine) at Comic Book Resources
Tim Kreider signs and reads from his new book Twilight of the Assholes: Cartoons & Essays 2005-2009 at the Strand Bookstore in New York City tomorrow, February 17, 2011 at 7 PM. "In a slideshow, talk and Q&A, he'll wax nostalgic about the endearing atrocities and deadly foibles of the Bush administration and have a fond chuckle over the deadpan haplessness of Obama and the fascist antics of the tea party." More info here.
Jordan Crane continues to display his mastery of adult drama and rollicking all-ages adventure equally in this issue of his acclaimed comic book series. This issue features the second chapters of Jordan's currently-ongoing, as-yet-untitled (as far as we know) stories introduced in the last issue. "Chapter 2: Trash Night" returns to the troubled relationship of Dee and Leo. Tensions continue to mount as Leo's suspicions about Dee reach a boiling point. Meanwhile, Simon & Jack, the boy and cat heroes from Jordan's classic tale The Clouds Above, are joined in their continuing adventure by Simon's intrepid classmate Rosalyn, who runs afoul of the sinister Principal Codswallop while Simon faces peril in the school cafeteria freezer in "Dark Day"!
Preview "Trash Night" (under its original title "Unraveling") and "Dark Day" at Jordan's webcomics site what things do.
This week's comic shop shipment is slated to include the following new titles. Read on to see what comics-blog commentators are saying about our releases this week, check out our previews at the links, and contact your local shop to confirm availability.
"Jordan Crane's entry into the 'Last Alt-Comic Standing' sweepstakes is as gorgeous and affecting as past issues, and I can't imagine any fan of those kinds of works not wanting to at least try it out." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
"...[F]or me the must-grab item of the week is the fourth issue of Jordan Crane’s always excellent Uptight from Fantagraphics. It’s kind of fascinating to me how Crane has become one of the few indie guys to still be plugging away at the semi-regular pamphlet series, when so many of his peers and direct influences have given up on that format. I’m not sure what, if anything, it means, but he’s cranking out some of the best stuff of his career in these pages, let me tell you." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
"The newest issue of Jordan Crane’s Fantagraphics comic book, continuing the serials that started off last issue. A guy tries to cope with a woman he possibly only imagines is cheating on him — ambiguity in the visual presentation, I think — while the kid/animal characters from Crane’s The Clouds Above have an adventure in and out of the cooler at school." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics
"We last saw an issue of this one-man anthology series two (gah!) years ago. [...] It doesn’t really matter what Crane does from here on out – he’s already got a lifelong fan in me thanks to The Last Lonely Saturday, that weird little book about an old man going to visit his wife’s grave – so I’ll pretty much recommend everything he does. Uptight #4 looks amazing though... Thirty-six ad-free black and white pages of indie comics excellence to look forward to this Wednesday." – The Gosh! Comics Blog
288-page black & white 8" x 9.5" softcover • $28.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-398-9
"A self-explanatory book of works by Tim Kreider..." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics
"Twilight of the Assholes is the latest collection of Tim Kreider’s political cartoons... in which he is even more apocalyptic and deranged than usual. [...] It’s getting a mention here almost purely because of the quote on the press release from the late, great David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest) who said 'These cartoons are extremely, extremely f*cking good.'" – The Gosh! Comics Blog
• Review: "Ryan is in top form with his latest collection of Blecky Yuckerella strips, where every page brings a new round of vulgar, revolting, and offensive humor. Fans will welcome this installment of his no-holds-barred attack on polite sensibilities, while those who don't know his work will either embrace it or throw the book to the ground and run. Either way, Ryan's profane point of view, which entered the comics world with Angry Youth Comix in the mid-'90s, makes an impression. The Blecky Yuckerella strips here are brilliantly rude, their humor somehow sharp in spite of all the potty-mouthed fantasies. [...] Ryan's signature goofy old-school comic strip style mixed with the crudest of imagery works every time." – Publishers Weekly
• Interview:The Daily Cross Hatch's Brian Heater talks to Stan Sakai: "In that Fantagraphics collection, compare Usagi in the very begin with him after 1,200 pages, he’s changed. The character design has changed, he has a little bump for a nose, as opposed to the Roman-type of nose he had at the beginning—very straight. His proportions have changed. And he’s evolving even today."
One more new arrival in our warehouse among the deluge we informed you of yesterday — the first Fantagraphics edition was published in 2007, and now this perennial bestseller is already in its 5th printing:
"What do I have in common with the Jews? I don't even have anything in common with myself." Nothing could better express the essence of Franz Kafka, a man described by his friends as living behind a "glass wall." Kafka wrote in the tradition of the great Yiddish storytellers, whose stock-in-trade was bizarre fantasy tainted with hilarity and self-abasement. What he added to this tradition was an almost unbearably expanded consciousness. Alienated from his roots, his family, his surroundings, and primarily from his own body, Kafka created a unique literary language in which to hide away, transforming himself into a cockroach, an ape, a dog, a mole or a circus artiste who starves himself to death in front of admiring crowds. David Zane Mairowitz's brilliant text and the illustrations and comic panels of the world's greatest cartoonist, Robert Crumb (himself no stranger to self-loathing and alienation), help us to understand the essence of Kafka and provide insight beyond the cliche "Kafkaesque," peering through Kafka's glass wall like no other book before it. The book is a wonderful educational tool for those unfamiliar with Kafka, including a brief but inclusive biography as well as the plots of many of his works, all illustrated by Crumb, making this newly designed edition a must-have for admirers of both Kafka and Crumb.
The third in Gilbert Hernandez’s line of original hardcovers featuring Love and Rockets’ “Fritz” in her guise as a Z-movie actress (the first two were Chance in Hell and The Troublemakers) is a trippy thriller that stars Fritz in no fewer than three roles.
A beautiful waitress (Fritz, of course) and her hospital nurse brother (also Fritz) visit their estranged father, a once successful but now retired writer (amazingly enough, also Fritz), in order to find out the true reason why their mother committed suicide. When dad’s health fails, the siblings are then more concerned with the money he might leave them.
The story weaves in and out of reality and hallucination and possibly back in forth in time, and to complicate things further, the sister is sexually obsessed with a mysterious man throughout the tale — or is it her brother (at one point posing as his sister so that he might gain his and her inheritance) that is so hot and bothered by this mystery stud? And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. There’s also a venture into ghost territory, with frauds bilking the gullible and Fritz’s character(s) right in the middle.
To complete the pulp gestalt, the book's cover illustration is a painting by Pulp Fiction artist Steven Martinez (he painted the portrait of Marsellus Wallace's wife Mia Wallace [Uma Thurman] that hangs in their house and which Vincent Vega [John Travolta] scrutinizes while he waits for Mia).
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