* Other People's Publications ** Yeah, You Know Me.
"Down with OPP" spotlights excellent titles from other publishers that you can find at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery. And this week, I present to you Make Me a Womanby Vanessa Davis (Drawn & Quarterly).
This week's column ain't exactly for the ladies. I'm sure we all bought this book when it first came out, gleefully pouring over this collection of sketchbook drawings that Davis did from 2004 to 2010. Some of these stories were originally published online in a monthly column she did for Tablet magazine, but they were new to me.
No, this column is for the fellas. I see you walking by our tables of new releases, your eyes darting across the covers, and some of you seem to flinch at the exuberantly girlish cover here. Really? It makes me wanna hit you in the face with this book, and it's a $24.95 hardcover, so it's gonna sting. How's THAT for being a woman?
Davis has a wonderful drawing style, somewhere between the frame-eschewing style of Ellen Forney (and with all the similar tiny anecdotal notes!) and the energetic spirit of Julie Doucet. Some drawings are slapdash pencil sketches, while others are beautifully watercolored, with exquisite attention to floor tiles, curtains, and book spines.
And, sure, some of you boys aren't gonna appreciate the awesome way she draws clothes and hairstyles as much as I do (I reaaaally appreciate it), but there's so much more about this book to enjoy. Maybe you went to Fat Camp, too. Maybe you'll agree with her opinions on R. Crumb'sThe Book of Genesis. Maybe you can relate to her Jewish upbringing. And actually, as a woman, I couldn't relate to any of that, but I still enjoyed this book. Look, I don't pee in jars, but I still enjoyed reading Peepshow!
So, be a man, and get Make Me a Woman.
We've also got another Davis book in stock, Spaniel Rage #1 (Buenaventura Press). It, too, is a collection of diary comics and sketchbook drawings, but from 2003 to 2004. And it's softcover, so I won't hit you with it.
[Um, and that "Cheri" t-shirt on the cover of Spaniel Rage? Well, it pops-up again in Make Me a Woman, in a scene where she's drawing with Gabrielle Bell and Michel Gondry -- Yeah, don't think I didn't notice!!!]
Both Make Me a Woman and Spaniel Rage #1 are currently in stock at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, located 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. See you soon!
• List: At Seen, Sam Humphries names Love and Rockets: New Stories #3The Best Comic of 2010: "While it’s astonishing to see Los Bros Hernandez deliver some of their greatest work at this stage in their careers, at the same time, it should be no surprise at all. They’ve been killing it for nearly 30 years. [...] Both brothers are digging deep into the psyche and hearts of the human condition. The results are powerfully moving."
• List: "[It Was the War of the Trenches] burns with a sense of outrage at the meaningless slaughter and sheer injustice of the events of almost a century ago. A century ago, perhaps, but we should never, ever forget and works like Trenches serve both as a fascinating piece of comics work and also an accessible reminder of history that has now all but passed from living memory and relies on books, film and other media to remind us." – Joe Gordon, "Best of the Year," The Forbidden Planet International Blog Log
• Plug: "It Was the War of the Trenches by Jacques Tardi (Fantagraphics) – Tardi is, simply put, one of the most important and influential French comic artists of the last 30 years. This welcome translation of his harrowing and haunting first World War narrative is as good a place as any to start." – John Byrne, The Irish Times (via Robot 6)
• Review: "Several artists have the ability to capture some physical element of a city or a time; Tardi summons all of that with a fealty to detail and a consistency that eventually yields a more rounded, complete experience. Go all in, and by [The Extraordinary Adventures of Adéle Blanc-Sec Vol. 1]'s final 20 pages one can feel the air hit people in the face when they stumble out of doors, sense the temperature, smell the panoply of city-borne scents. ...[B]oth stories reprinted here with Kim Thompson's droll translation positively whip at the notion of competence in higher places, the rationality of power, that anyone rich ever pays for anything, and the law-driven society generally, all until the skin shows, raw and bleeding. It's a gas... I could personally read 10,000 pages of this material, stopping to stare at the prettier parts, returning to such a book over an entire summer. [...] It's a rare work that makes you like it and wish others would, too, that's for sure." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
• Review: "...Castle Waiting has been one of the most joyous comics discoveries for me of the last couple years. ...[D]espite this volume clocking in at 375 pages I read the whole thing in one sitting…and enjoyed every freaking second of it. I laughed repeatedly and more often than not was caught just smiling like an idiot as I read about these beautifully crafted characters and their completely boring but somehow also completely fascinating lives. It doesn’t hurt that Medley is truly an incredible illustrator." – Kelly Thompson, Comic Book Resources
• Review: "I frequently gasped, out loud, at the beauty of this goddamn thing. [...] Most of [the stories in A Drunken Dream] remind me of Jaime Hernandez, of all people, in that the force of the narrative is toward the protagonists coming to terms — with the damage done by a cruel mother, with the inspiration that arose unexpectedly from a childhood tragedy, with the sudden loss of a friendship through a shared mistake in judgment, with the death of a hated rival, with a necessary but traumatic decision, with the death of a parent. Or not! [...] Each story’s big narrative and emotional moments seem to swell within and explode out of these textures and lines, like they’ve actualized the potential energy there all along. [...] Reads like a dream, looks like a dream." – Sean T. Collins, Attentiondeficitdisorderly
• Review: "The back cover of Unexplored Worlds loudly proclaims, 'This is where Steve Ditko became Steve Ditko.' Indeed, in this second chronological volume of the Steve Ditko Archives, collecting 39 stories from 1956-57, we see the influential American cartoonist come into his voice. ...[I]t's fascinating to witness Ditko grow as a storyteller, to see the first hints of the layouts and compositions that would make his 1960s work on Spider-Man and Doctor Strange set the standard for decades to come." – Claude LaLumiere, The Montreal Gazette
• Review: "I think what ultimately struck me the most about The Littlest Pirate King (which B. adapted from a story by Pierre Mac Orlan) was how it weaves back and forth between innocent and grim. ...[I]t’s a gorgeous book. Even at its most nightmarish, there’s always something to admire within The Littlest Pirate King." – Greg McElhatton, Read About Comics
• Review: "[Rip M.D.] ...will delight monster-fans of all ages and signals a welcome return to upbeat and clever kids’ fiction. ...[T]his spectacular, spooktacular romp is a fabulously punchy, action-packed, wickedly funny treat for kids of all ages that will leave every reader voraciously hungry for more." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!
Longtime Bagge fans will remember the Buddy Bradley Lookalike Contest from the pages of Hate. This image comes from artist Brian Clarke, a.k.a. Les Toil, who remarks on the Peter Bagge Facebook fan page, "Man, if Peter was responsible for the casting of a real-life Bradleys sitcom, I hope he'd consider this kid for the part."
The Economist's Glenn Fleishman reports on the debut of Jim Woodring's giant nib pen: "Resplendent in a purple smoking jacket, an artist's conception of facial hair appropriate to an artist, and an enormous reserve of patience and guts, Mr Woodring made his first strokes. At first, the ink would not flow. 'It was a failure! Go home!' he said. 'I can't think of a worse or more horrible way to do drawing than in front of hundreds of people,' he said with a grim smile."
I'd never seen this Crumb painting before. I entertained the notion that it might be a fraud for a moment, but I think the telltale signs are the building facades and cars, which are classic "Harlem"-era Crumb. Available on eBay for a mere $100K.
Blake Bell (who brings us The Steve Ditko Archves and his recent bios of Ditko and Bill Everett) needs your help with his new project, The Bill Everett Archives! Blake is seeking collectors in possession of the original Golden Age comics which printed Everett's artwork so we can include scans of the stories in the books. You could get free copies of the books out of the deal (not to mention our eternal gratitude), and a portion of Blake's royalties goes to The Hero Initiative, so you'll be indirectly helping a good cause too. See Blake's blog for the list of comics needed and all the other details!
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