• Review: "It’s the details that distinguish what Jordan Crane does. He’s not breaking any conceptual or thematic or formal ground in the two stories comprising this fourth issue of his old-school solo-anthology alternative-comic-book series [Uptight]... ["Dark Day"] is part of your basic “kid explores a magical world beyond the watchful eyes of adults” set-up, while ["Trash Night"] presents love and sex through a sordid, hate-fucky lens, an approach I’ll always associate with the 1990s filmography of Jeremy Irons. But none of that accounts for the sticky, unexpected images he pours into these familiar templates. [...] At this stage in his career it’s quite clear how impeccable Crane’s technique is, both as an artist and as a designer; I think it’s equally important to note that what he does with that technique is just as considered and just as well-executed." – Sean T. Collins, Attentiondeficitdisorderly
• Plug: "...Fantagraphics are offering up a preview of Joe Daly’s Dungeon Quest 2. I’d actually forgotten that this book was coming out, otherwise I’d probably have included it in my list of essential purchases for 2011. The first Dungeon Questbook was a hell of a fun read, and contained a heady blend of stoner philosophy and hardcore roleplaying action. It’s a bit like what you’d get if Kevin Smith reinvented Dungeons & Dragons!" – Edward Kaye, Hypergeek
• Plug: "...Fantagraphics are offering up a preview of The Arctic Marauder, a reprint of one of Jacques Tardi’s earliest and most distinctive graphic novels. From the preview, the book looks pretty damn fantastic! I’m a real sucker for a steampunk story, and this looks right up my alley!" – Edward Kaye, Hypergeek
From our colleagues at Dargaud comes this video footage of Jean Schulz at the opening of the Peanuts exhibit at the Angoulême Festival yesterday with U.S. Ambassador to France Charles Rivkin and other dignitaries in attendance. Vive le Snoopy! (Via Bleeding Cool.)
Roger Ash of Westfield Comics conducted a very informative Q&A with David Gerstein, co-editor (along with Gary Groth) of our forthcoming series of Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse by Floyd Gottfredson. It's a must-read for anyone who's been looking forward to these reprints! A sample: "Mickey’s brave, witty, imaginative and incredibly daring in Gottfredson’s stories. He’s a scrapper, ready to fight for what he believes in; but he’s not always right about what he thinks is right, so he can create a mess for himself and have to do some great soul-searching afterwards – serious and funny at once (which is hard to pull off as well as Gottfredson did it!)."
When I created Critters back in the 1980s, it was largely so that I'd have a publication in which I could publish the work of cartoonists within the funny-animal genre that I liked (Stan Sakai, Freddy Milton, J. Quagmire, and Steven Gallacci), as well as on occasion chiseling some work out of other cartoonists in the same ballpark (Jim Engel, Mike Kazaleh, Ty Templeton, and Mark Armstrong). A side benefit was that as the comic became better known, I started to receive submissions from other cartoonists, several of whom became regulars in the magazine.
One of my very favorites was "Fission Chicken," a hilariously deadpan super-hero parody written and drawn in a sort of Scott-Shaw!-meets-Paul-Coker-Jr. doodly style by John P. Morgan. "Fission Chicken" ran in a number of Critters (including as a solo feature in one of the late, one-feature-per-issue issues), and when I pulled the plug on Critters I was especially sad to leave ol' Fish homeless.
John continued to produce the occasional "Fission Chicken" story, released a book collection of some of the Critters material, and eventually started serializing new Fission Chicken stories on his website, while also "reprinting" classic older material. I'd lost track of him for years until Edd Vick passed along the unfortunate news that John had died last December 30th.
Another good guy, gone far too soon. Although none of his work is in print, several "Fission Chicken" stories can be downloaded and read from his still-extant website, fissionchicken.com -- have a look. Enjoying John's work one more time (or for the first time) would be the best way of honoring him.
Since its inception in February 2008, the Georgetown Second Saturday Art Attack has warmed the hearts of Seattle art patrons. This lovely showcase of adventurous visual and performing arts enters its fourth year on February 12, just in time for Valentine's. What better way to celebrate this romantic occasion than with boisterous revelry in the heart of Seattle's historic Georgetown industrial arts quarter?
Among the programming on February 12: Rat City Brass in concert at the 9 Lb. Hammer; the first annual "Freakfest" at the Mix featuring Ramona the Band, burlesque acts, DJs and more; "The Chair Project" at Seattle Design Center with works by Laura Ward, Steve Jensen, Chris McMullen, Larry Calkins, Tom DeGroot, Piper O'Neill, Romson Bustillo, Brian Murphy, Jared Rue and Judith Kindler; "Lovesick" at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery with recent works by Bureau of Drawers cartoonist collective including Breanne Boland, Nikki Burch, Tom Dougherty, Scott Faulkner, Billis Helg, Tyler Hill, David Lasky, Calamity Jon Morris, Marc Palm, Sean Robinson, Mark Stockbridge, Ed Trumbule, Adam Watson, Dalton Webb, and Stevie VanBronkhorst; drawing and paintings with sculptural inclusions, found objects, and fiber by Joseph Larkin at Nautilus studio; a group exhibition at Calamity Jane's with Richard Olmsted, Micheal Shephard and Anne O' Neill; painter and illustrator Anson Maddocks at Krab Jab studio; a blacksmithing demonstration by Andy Blakney at Firelight Forge and other open studios in the Equinox building; the Georgetown Arts and Cultural Center commemorates its fourth anniversary with resident artists Angelina Torrentino, Ed Lebel, Tiphoni, Lee Holcomb, Loie Gong, Breinna Hartman and Ted Wallace; Fonda La Catrina, Georgetown's soon-to-open Mexican restaurant hosts an exhibition by Angielena Vitale Chamberlain with the premiere of large paintings, live music, and DJs; a group show of heart art curated by Marq Dean, Amanda Dellinger, and Mary Enslow at All City Coffee; ArtCore Studios presents a new series of stencil paintings by Sullivan Giles focusing on the machines used by tattoo artists; Georgetown Trailer Park Mall features new work and live painting by muralist Henry Ward and friends along with a romantic collection of vintage trailers full of gifts, and sweet & savories by guest culinary artists Street Treats & Fusion on the Run; new works by Shawn Zeiger at the Firm; and the usual assortment of exotic characters and cuisine in one of Seattle's most colorful neighborhoods.
The Georgetown Second Saturday Art Attack is a monthly production of the Georgetown Merchants Association. For more information contact Art Attack coordinator Larry Reid. For a printable participants map visit: www.georgetownartattack.com .
[The Comics Journal interns Laura Pieroni and Chi-Wen Lee put together a series of discussion questions about Linda Medley's Castle Waiting Vol. 2 for use in book clubs. As these questions are intended for those who have read the book, please be warned that they may contain mild spoilers. – Ed.]
Linda Medley's fairy-tale misfits are back in the second volume of Castle Waiting. While some of Castle Waiting's residents reminisce, a Hammerling pair ventures to the castle for assistance in putting together a woman's wardrobe. In return for Lady Jain's help with the clothes, the Hammerlings assist in the unearthing of a secret passageway. Castle inhabitants' pasts are revealed through flashbacks: Dr. Fell's dark history with the plague, Lady Jain's childhood experiences with her betrothed and evil half-sisters, and the story of Simon's father are brought to light.
Genre and History
What are some of the ways that Linda Medley stays faithful to the "fantasy" genre, and in what ways does she break from it?
The second volume reveals Dr. Fell's past as a doctor during the Black Plague; what effect does incorporating historical events/facts into the story have?
What part does Christianity play in the series?
How does Sister Peace interpret the role of the nun? How is she the same or different from a traditional nun?
What is the relationship between Leeds and Sister Peace?
How has Pindar affected those living in the castle?
What can the reader infer from Jain's relationships with Tylo and Pindar's father?
What is the relationship between the Hammerlings and humans?
What is the relationship between Jain and her (half?) sisters?
At one point in the story, Flora is trapped in the armory pen to keep her from chewing out of the wooden one; how does this reflect Jain's situation in the castle?
Sister Peace, Simon and Mr. Rackham exhibit traits that are atypical of traditional gender roles. What are these characteristics, and how does this affect their interactions with the other members in the castle?
What does this say about the author's view on traditional roles?
• Review: "[The Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec] is Tardi riffing on the sensational and wordy mysteries of the era just removed from the Victorian period. [...] So it's intentionally silly and comically austere. [...] This, for me, is all about the art, the cartooning, and the post-Victorian subject matter. While the stories are somewhat light, with intentionally flat dialogue, it's all a wonder to behold. A fantastic looking book to tuck next to my Tintins." – Paul Montgomery, iFanboy
• Review: "...I bring to you my second choice for best of 2010: Werewolves of Montpellier by Jason. [...] A lot of Jason books tend to do this to me: I’ll be in the middle of some ridiculous story about werewolves, or time traveling to kill Hitler, and in the middle of it I get dragged out and remember a stupid or wonderful moment in my own life. Which is kind of wonderful writing, in my opinion." – Jay Bodnar, Wednesday's Child
• Interview:Comic Book Resources' Alex Dueben talks to Tony Millionaire: "That's why I called it 'Maakies.' I was thinking about calling it 'Drinky Crow,' but I thought, well, I'm drinking a lot right now, but what if I'm not drinking in five years? Then what? Of course, I still am. But if you just call it a nonsense name, like Schultz calling his strip 'Peanuts,' it can be about anything and you can go anywhere with it. If you call your strip 'Dick Tracy,' you'd better have the detective in it."
Millennium Boy, Steve, Lash Penis, and Nerdgirl continue on their twin mystical quests to find the missing parts of the Atlantean Resonator Guitar, as well as to locate the prophet and poet Bromedes and return his borrowed penis sheath, in this second hilarious, violent, and rip-roaringly entertaining installment of Joe (The Red Monkey Double Happiness Book) Daly's role-playing-game-inspired graphic novel series.
Fortified and empowered with a brand new collection of weapons and resources (including the magical Egyptian Book of Thoth, the Iron Crocodile badge, and the rectally transported Gliding Charger of the Eel), the valorous quartet must contend with river trolls, a leaf monster, glo-babies, and copious amounts of killer weed and serious blow.
Will they succeed in one or more of their noble quests? Or are the dice of fate loaded in their disfavor? You'll have to read Dungeon Quest Book Two to find out!
• List: The number ten original graphic novel on Greg Burgas's "Best Ten of 'Ten" at Comic Book Resources is Cathy Malkasian's Temperance: "Malkasian’s odd fable is a haunting book about hiding your true self, coming to grips with deceit, and the necessity of striking out from the safety of home to discover new and possibly dangerous things. [...] Temperance is an amazing comic, always a bit oblique but never impenetrable... It’s a weird book that feels like a dream, which allows Malkasian to use metaphor to reveal fundamental truths. Malkasian is a superb creator, and this is a good example of what she’s capable of."
• Review: "Most of the content [in Unexplored Worlds] is in the Sci-Fi genre that features unexplored worlds, alien attacks...standard stuff of the era but in Ditko’s talented hands nothing is ever standard. When Ditko steps away from the science fiction material he comes up with some truly unusual stories... Besides the stories there are over a dozen Ditko covers reprinted and a fascinating introduction by Blake Bell. Bell provides an outstanding overview of this period of Ditko’s career." – Tim Janson, Newsarama
• Review: "This isn't a book of men achieving medals and glory, rather it is a book of men trying to live to see the next sunrise. With a book so realistically downbeat full marks must go to Fantagraphics for translating and publishing it in an American market that it so fixated on the generally upbeat fantasy of superheroes. For all its depressing tone It Was the War of the Trenches leaves you with a sense of accomplishment of getting to the end and of having read something worthwhile, and that perhaps is what sets it apart from so many other war stories." – Jeremy Briggs, downthetubes.net
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