Missed it: yesterday was the 2nd anniversary of the relaunch of our website in its current form. Whoopee! Thanks to everybody who has visited, shopped, and offered feedback during this time.
One modification we've recently made to the site is that now we can list items in our web shop without offering them for sale (in other words, without the "add to cart" button). We did this for a couple of reasons: one, so we can continue to have info about certain of our books available online even if they go out of stock (and other sites can continue to link to them); and two, so that we can bring you information about upcoming books sooner, since we are often not able to start the pre-sale on books until just a few weeks before they're released. You should be able to start enjoying the fruits of this in the near future.
• Review: "I opened [West Coast Blues], got sucked in and blew through it in one sitting. Then I went back a few weeks later, in preparation for this review, and re-read it. I found that I liked it even better the second time around, as I was able to spend a little more time with it and take in the subtleties of the work. I suspect I will read it again soon and I would definitely recommend it. Fans of great artwork and crime stories should give this book a shot." – Chad Derdowski, Mania
• Review: "Now, as a teacher and father, I see that Schulz' reflections on childhood were more accurate than I could have understood from a younger perspective. Some characters I either didn't like or didn't understand when I was a kid are much more sympathetic now, and I still love Schulz' clean cartooning style. ... The most recent [Complete Peanuts] release covers the years 1973 and 1974, which are good years for Peanuts." – Quinn Rollins, Epinions.com
• List: Sandy Bilus of I Love Rob Liefeld names Ganges #3 by Kevin Huizenga #7 on his top 10 Best Comics of 2009: "Huizenga's comics are just really enjoyable to read. The full page image of Glenn inside his own head is really something else."
• List: Our own Eric Reynolds (and some other small press folks) tells The Morning News's Robert Birnbaum 4 books he wishes we'd published last year
Now available for preview and pre-order: Newave! The Underground Mini Comix of the 1980s. This chunky little hardcover weighs in at nearly 900 pages of the best small press cartoonists to emerge in the 1970s, documenting the explosive, unrestrained output of underground comix' DIY second generation with comix galore as well as several informative interviews. Click here to read the full Table of Contents, and here to read the Introduction by editor Michael Dowers. Download an exclusive 36-page PDF excerpt with samples from throughout the book right here (2 MB). This book is scheduled to be in stock and ready to ship in early February and in stores roughly the same time (subject to change).
View a photo & video slideshow preview of the book embedded here. Click here if it is not visible, and/or to view it larger in a new window (recommended).
If, like me, you enjoy baseball almost as much as comics, this is one of the coolest posts I've seen in awhile. Wezen-ball uses The Complete Peanuts to calculate the Peanuts gang's baseball record from 1950-1970. I love the idea of Kim Thompson's awesome Complete Peanuts indexes being useful to sabermetricians.
• List: On Random House's Suvudu blog, Dallas Middaugh selects 2008's Bottomless Belly Button by Dash Shaw as #3 on the Top 10 Graphic Novels of 2009: "This book came from out of nowhere to great critical acclaim, and it pushed young Mr. Shaw in the spotlight as one of the most exciting new cartoonists in the field. ... This haunting story of a dysfunctional family twists and turns and stuck with me long after I read it."
• List: At Comic Book Galaxy, Marc Sobel counts down "The 15 Best Back Issues I Read Last Year," including Birdland by Gilbert Hernandez ("vastly underappreciated") and the entire run of Hate by Peter Bagge ("This series gets better with age")
• Review: "Dreams are probably the second most popular subject for autobiographical comics, however distantly they lag behind the events of waking life. But no one, to my knowledge, has attempted to create comics arising from the hypnagogic netherworld that lies between the sleeping and the wakeful states. Until now. Or maybe not. It’s hard to say precisely, which is what gives Kevin Huizenga’s Ganges #3 so much of its unique charm." – Rich Kreiner, The Comics Journal
• Review: "What the hell is going on here? What is this book, anyway? ...[Pim and Francie] is like the inexplicable artifact of a deranged mind... Columbia has a flair for the grotesque, which, when mixed with such cute cartooniness reminiscent of old-school Disney, makes for an especially creepy juxtaposition. ... It's a cascade of horror, page after page of mostly-unfinished nastiness, enough to stick in the mind and cause nightmares for weeks." – Matthew J. Brady
• Review: "At long last, a handsome, two-volume, slipcased set [of Humbug] brings back into print a pivotal, neglected portion of the oeuvre of Harvey Kurtzman and that of a cadre of gifted pranksters bent on smart satire." – Rich Kreiner, The Comics Journal
• Review: "With a new exhibition currently on view at Tony Shafrazi Gallery in Chelsea and his remarkable inclusion in the 2010 Whitney Biennial, Robert Williams seems more than ever the most likely candidate to represent the ways that late decadent American culture will be remembered by history. ... This is a late career artist at the top of his game, a shamefully overdue entry into still meaningful discourse of what art can be when it refuses to play by the rules, a monster of the imagination whose time has finally come." – Carlo McCormick, artnet
• Review: "Portable Grindhouse celebrates the sleazy kick of killing time in a slightly crappy video rental store, minus the inevitable arguments about what to rent or the possibility of your VCR eating the tape." – Dave Howlett, Living Between Wednesdays
• Plug:Robot 6's Chris Mautner is reading his stack of Comics Journal back issues "starting with #291, which features interviews with Tim Sale and Josh Simmons, as well as a great critical thinkpiece by Gary Groth on Ralph Steadman and Hunter S. Thompson. That alone was worth the cover price."
• Plugs: Some fun and appreciated name-drops from Tom Neely and Charles Bernstein in the 5th part of The Beat's year-end survey of comics pros
• Plug/Coming Attractions:Comic Book Resources' Greg Burgas comments on the January issue of Previews (our listings from which can be seen here): "Jacques Tardi's It Was the War of the Trenches, from Fantagraphics on page 256, sounds keen. It's a World War I book, so I'm sure it will be utterly depressing, but it still sounds worthwhile!"
• Interview: The final part of Brian Heater's interview with C. Tyler at The Daily Cross Hatch: "To me, it’s underground, and there’s other people who think, 'no way, it’s Mad Magazine.' Everyone has their place where it starts. There’s people now who say, 'Kramer’s Ergot is when it started for me.' Everyone has their place when they jumped off the diving board, into the pool of comics. The fact is, it’s continual."
• Profile: Gurldoggie takes a quick look at Joe Sacco in advance of his appearance in Seattle this week
• Events: The Covered blog celebrates its 1st anniversary and announces an art show at Secret Headquarters in L.A. in March
Art Clokey, creator of Gumby and a significant torch-bearer for stop-animation, passed away on Friday at the age of 88. In July of 2006, I was excited to have the opportunity to meet him and his son, Joe Clokey (above). Below are some photos I took of Gumby artifacts in the exhibit that was touring at the time, in celebration of Gumby's 50th Anniversary. Art Clokey was very sweet and the family was clearly excited to have their father getting this public recognition for his iconic creation. Gumby has a long life outside of the great film shorts, including a recent line of comic books from Bob Burden and Rick Geary. Plus he oversees the production of all of your favorite Fantagraphics books, hanging from a lamp on Adam Grano's desk here in the Art Department.
R.I.P. Mr. Clokey.
* I've posted a larger image of the exhibition photo on my Flickr page here.
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