|Things to See: STUPID IS LIKE UGLY - A Yikes Cartoon|
|Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Things to see, Steven Weissman, animation||13 Jan 2011 1:06 PM|
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Archive >> January 2011
[In this installment of our series of Editors Notes, Kim Thompson interviews himself (in a format he's dubbed "AutoChat") about King of the Flies Vol. 2: The Origin of the World by Mezzo & Pirus, now available to order from us and coming soon to a comics shop near you. – Ed.]
Congratulations on King of the Flies Volume 1 being named one of the 10 best graphic novel releases of the year by Amazon.com.
Thanks, that was a nice surprise. Not because I didn't think King of the Flies deserved it, but because I thought it had kind of flown in under everyone's radar.
Well, no one had heard of these guys before here...
Actually, that's not entirely true. Nobody remembers this, but back in 1998, in its death throes as part of the genetically spliced corpse of Tundra, Kitchen Sink released Pirus and Mezzo's Armed and Dangerous. You can find it for about fifty bucks on Amazon if you want. I wouldn't recommend it, the production on it is kind of screwed up, wait for someone to reprint it properly.
King of the Flies is a really odd book. It takes place in France, people pay stuff in Euros and Germany is just a few miles away but...
...But somehow all the names and cultural references are English or American, yeah. I mean, aside from the Gustave Courbet references in this new volume (including the title, and the cover, which is a pop-art parody of the painting of that title, by the way — look it up on Wikipedia, but be warned, NSFW). In case anyone was wondering, that's how it is in the French version, it's not the translator and me changing all the references from Serge Gainsbourg and Johnny Hallyday or anything — although obviously it would've been tough to graphically edit in the Rolling Stones, Jarvis Cocker, and Jan and Dean. King of the Flies basically exists in a weird globally neutral pop-culture realm, which these days means Anglo-American. It's one of its charms. Another charm is that you start off thinking it's realistic, but as you'll see in Volume 2 it starts going pretty far off the rails into the supernatural. It's a really cunningly constructed piece of writing that pulls you down the rabbit hole quite unexpectedly at times...
Have you read the third volume?
No. Mezzo and Pirus are only a dozen or so pages into it — they got sidetracked with some other projects — so I'm just as much in the dark as anyone.
King of the Flies really wears its influences on its sleeve at times...
I've heard that said less gently. There's no doubt that Mezzo — whose earlier work looks quite different, I might add, see the abovementioned Armed and Dangerous — absorbed a number of stylistic and structural tricks from Charles Burns in general, and Black Hole in particular, for this project. The very first time I saw King of the Flies I was a little taken aback myself. But the more I read it the more I realized that Mezzo and Pirus were bringing an enormous amount to the table themselves, and the writing and breakdowns really ultimately don't feel like Burns at all. David Lynch is discernable in there too, of course, but these days Lynch is virtually a genre. There's also some Watchmen DNA in there, I think, in the methodical, gridlike, writer-driven approach to panel breakdowns — and some thematic elements in the second volume. And the funny thing about the Burns connection is that Charles himself has moved so far away from his Black Hole style now that his recent X'ed Out — which borrows heavily from Hergé — looks nothing like King of the Flies. It's all grist for the mill.
The second volume is coming out just 10 months after that first. That's unusually quick.
Well, it's very much a continued story, and I didn't want people to forget it.
Did you consider waiting for the trilogy to be complete and publish it in one volume?
I briefly did, but I was concerned that doing that big of a book would make the price point too high. It's also so dense — I think readers need a breather. And I like the "serial" aspect to it, I want readers to worry about what's going to happen next. Anyway, Americans are getting a better deal than the French, for whom the books have been appearing with three-year gaps. That said, I do plan to release a special edition of the whole damn thing at some point. As I'm sure the French will.
This is one of the few European books you didn't translate yourself. How come?
I'd started realizing that I wouldn't be able to translate every single book we were doing indefinitely, so when I decided to do King of the Flies I had already started to think in terms of hiring a translator. I'd really liked the work Helge had done for Drawn and Quarterly, and she was game, she loved the book when I sent it to her, so it was game on! I've actually hired translators for a couple of other upcoming books next year, so there will be more of our releases that I'm not doing.
How involved are you in the translation?
When I work as a translator for an editor, as I have once in a while, I'm grateful for as much feedback as possible, so I did work a lot with Helge. I think we both agree that the final result is significantly better than what either of us could have done alone. But it's probably 95% Helge at least. And certainly every word I changed or fiddled with has been OK'd or approved by her, as well as by Michel Pirus, who speaks English quite well and was able to course-correct us when we missed some stuff. And he and Mezzo very nicely redid all the chapter-heading as needed for us, which is why it looks so perfect.
It's maybe the grimmest, darkest book you've released, except for War of the Trenches, which at least you could defend as historical. And it's hard to see how Volume 3 could in any way become more cheerful.
Yeah, but I love that kind of stuff, and I'm hoping enough other readers do. Besides which, it's often hilarious. The characters are all going to hell, but they're funny about it as they go.
Just arrived in our warehouse and ready to ship:
192-page black & white 7.25" x 9.25" hardcover • $19.99
He lives day to day and hand to mouth, this shambling lug of a man, wrestling with his demons, picking up work where he can, and drinking himself into oblivion. Until one days his palms begin to bleed… These newfound stigmata lose him his job, and he ends up as part of a traveling carnival, where he even finds love. But his past catches up with him — violently so. Has he lost his last chance at redemption?
This stunning graphic novel, executed in a mad, expressionistic swirl of black lines, is the result of a unique collaboration between the preeminent Italian cartoonist/graphist Lorenzo Mattotti (RAW, The New Yorker, and the graphic novels Fires and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) and the award-winning Italian screenwriter Claudio Piersanti.
"Wondrous... The reader can feel the main character's pain and redemption through Mattotti's raging fury of intense linework... A moving and thoroughly modern morality play." – Paul Gravett
Special Offer: Add Lorenzo Mattotti's Chimera #1 to your order for just $3.98 — that's 1/2 price! Make your selection with the menu above.
Chimera, with its intricate, hyper-expressive swirls of crisp line work, is a wordless fantasia of birth, death, gods, monsters, and humans, and one of the most astonishing visual narratives you'll ever see.
Just arrived in our warehouse and ready to ship:
64-page full-color 9" x 12.5" hardcover • $18.99
King of the Flies Vol. 1: Hallorave was named one of Amazon's Top 10 Graphic Novels of 2010. Now, here is the second installment in Mezzo and Pirus’s creepily sexy suburban soap opera — a French Twin Peaks graphic novel as written by Stephen King and drawn by Charles Burns.
Eric the fly-head-wearing teenager is back (as well as his hapless mother and her “fiancé”), as are not-quite-ingénue Marie, the worldly Sal, Denis the drug dealer and his now one-handed father, and of course the loopy retro bowling thug Ringo... plus several new cast members, including one who died at the very beginning of the first volume and has now returned to roam the earth.
Once again, the story is told through a series of seemingly unrelated short stories which eventually become intricately braided into one sprawling tale of a community haunted by obsession, rage, regret and despair — in sum, a graphic novel for the 21st century.
King of the Flies is designed as a trilogy of albums, which will combine to form a single graphic novel of stunning intricacy and intensity.
Exclusive Savings: Order King of the Flies Vols. 1 & 2 together for 20% off!
Just arrived in our warehouse and ready to ship:
104-page black & white 5.5" x 7.25" softcover • $11.99
"'Fucussle'?! What's that mean?"
"No, it's Fuck You, Asshole! by Johnny Ryan."
Thus begins the fourth and final collection of comic strips starring the stupidest, ugliest, stubbliest girl in grade number two. Blecky and her "pals" are back and so are the fountains of blood, urine, and other bodily fluids (not to mention profanity) in these riotously hilarious, eye-poppingly offensive four-panel gag strips. Co-starring the usual cast of Blecky's weirdo friends and enemies, plus douching robots, the Christmas barbarian, the world's most bad-ass Easter basket, the Spamfs, 69-11, sexy murder hunks, ass worship, glory holes, the Pizzazooka, Dizzy the herpes-sniffing dog, Sir Oreo Monocle and oh so much more. Over 100 pages of ridiculous absurdity, over-the-top grossouts, and scathing satire that could only come from the mind and pen of Johnny Ryan.
“A four-panel, newspaper gag strip.” — Columbus Alive
“It’s a collection of alt-paper strips that I believe also appear online.” — The Comics Reporter
“Johnny Ryan’s weekly strip... is... humor.” — Wizard
“This is a strip collection about a character...” — Heidi MacDonald
Exclusive Savings: Order all 4 Blecky Yuckerella books — the complete Blecky — together for 25% off... that's 4 for the price of 3! Click here to order.
Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:
• List: At Seen, Sam Humphries ranks It Was the War of the Trenches and The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec Vol. 1 by Jaques Tardi together at #4 on his Best of 2010: "Jaques Tardi is a badass. A titan of French comics, he writes and draws his comics with a relentless focus. Thick lines and dark shadows spill from a tide of incessant ink. Under his pen, sticky subjects must bend and yield to his cynical, humanist worldview. [...] Both books are thrilling to experience. [...] Regardless of country, these are amongst comics’ greatest treasures, and it’s intoxicating to have them in our hands."
• List: At The Forbidden Planet International Blog Log, Blank Slate Books publisher Kenny Penman places Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 at the top of his Best of 2010: "I’d started to take L&R for granted... This came up and gently whispered in my ear and I was deeply in love all over again. Comic of the year."
• List: Among London shop Orbital Comics' staff favorites for 2010, Jim Woodring's Weathercraft: "The book is every bit as beautiful, weird and mesmerizing as I expected, and serves both as great introduction to Jim Woodring’s wondrous world and a wonderful treat to those already familiar with it."
• Review: "What’s amazing is that [editor Glenn Head] found the comics anthologies of the days to be wanting in terms of having things he wanted to read and look at, and so he gathered up a huge cast of creators and proved that there was another way to go in assembling such books that had its own creative gestalt. That’s all any reader can ask of an anthology, whether or not its contents interest them in particular. Hotwire should have some stories that any alt-comics reader would find to be top-notch..., and for a certain segment might prove to be the anthology made just for them." – Rob Clough, The Comics Journal
NBC Chicago ran this news segment on the New Chicago Comics exhibit at the city's Museum of Contemporary Art last night, talking with Jeffrey Brown and Paul Hornschemeier about their work. (Via Paul's News and Head Lice blog, where Paul says "I am pleased to report that I managed to say 'fart' on the nightly news.")
We have very quickly sold out of our limited supply of Sammy Harkham's self-published Crickets #3, but there are still copies to be had out there. We're distributing it to comic shops through Diamond, so your local shop may still have it in stock, and if not, they can can order it for you. If you still want to mail-order it, it's available from Family Los Angeles.
288-page black & white 8" x 9.5" softcover • $28.99
Ships in: February 2011 (subject to change) — Pre-Order Now
Tim Kreider's first cartoon collection, The Pain — When Will It End? was one of the few bastions of sanity throughout the awful aberration in American history known as the Bush Administration. The end of his second volume of political cartoons, Why Do They Kill Me?, saw its author in despair over the 2004 election. In this new volume, Twilight of the Assholes, as reality gets ever bleaker, Kreider's humor becomes increasingly apocalyptic, deranged, and hilarious. He juxtaposes the Biblical Christ with His blonde, flag-draped, machine-gun-toting American incarnation in "Jesus vs. Jeezus," proposes a third political party that represents Americans' real values in "The Sex Party," draws the dead Saddam Hussein as a mischievous invisible imp still causing trouble, and envisions the officials of the Bush administration getting their comeuppance in the grisly fashion of Dick Tracy villains. And he finds two cartoons' worth of "Reasons to Look Forward to the Next Terrorist Attack." Also included is his infamous entry into Iran’s Holocaust cartoon contest, "Silver Linings of the Holocaust."
Kreider mocks not only the evil and hapless Bush but the fecklessness of progressives, the imbecile bigotry of radical Islam, and, most of all, the dumb bovine complacency of the American voter. His art has become even more dense with gags and his writing (most recently featured in The New York Times) has never been more astute and devastating. Twilight of the Assholes is an hysterical chronicle of the end of the Era of Darkness, and, believe it or not, a heartening document of one man’s loss and tentative restoration of faith in democracy.
"Tim Kreider is the funniest man alive." — Jenny Boylan (She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders)
"[Tim Kreider] is to the satirical cartoon what Stanley Kubrick was to cinematic satire." — Mark Crispin Miller (Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 Election)
"He is funny and crazy and brave enough to proclaim as truths the things the rest of us are too chickenshit to say out loud." — Myla Goldberg (Bee Season)
"These cartoons are extremely, extremely fucking good." – David Foster Wallace
"Kreider's stuff is not all political, but most of what he does packs outrage: at oppressors, bigots, overlords, fools. Not for the squeamish, unless they’re too passive and need a wake-up call." — The New Haven Advocate
Download an EXCLUSIVE 14-page PDF excerpt (725 KB).
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