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."
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!
Literally, a traffic jam — but figuratively, his whole life is a mess. A dream job turned nightmare at the biggest animation studio in the world. A love affair that is not what he imagined. And possibly someone with a life-threatening grudge against him...
In his first new graphic novel since 2001’s acclaimed Mail Order Bride, Mark Kalesniko compresses an entire life into a single day as the frustrated animator, stewing on a pitiless California freeway, alternately rages, reminisces, fantasizes, and hallucinates — intercut with a series of imagined moments from two generations ago, the Golden Age of animation, when an earlier Alex made his entry into a much different professional world.
Loaded with fascinating insider gossip and historical details on two different eras of animators, skipping seamlessly among the present and several different pasts, reality and fantasy, Freeway is another step forward for a major cartooning talent.
“Kalesniko is an expert at sophisticated, visually efficient narrative renderings of complex emotions. His drawings are spare and cinematic, and each panel underscores the characters’ psychological isolation or another revealing detail.” — Publishers Weekly on Mail Order Bride
• List (Audio): On the Inkstuds radio programme, listen to Chris Butcher, Bill Kartalopoulos, Tucker Stone and host Robin McConnell discuss the Best of 2010, including Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 by the Hernandez Brothers — we haven't had a chance yet to listen ourselves but Robot 6 reports that Stone in particular has good comments on L&R
• List: At TIME.com – Techland, Douglas Wolk lists "15 Excellent Things Happening in Comics Right Now." First on the list: Jim Woodring's Nibbus Maximus and the coming of his Congress of the Animals ("If you are wise, you will not miss it"). Third on the list: "Cathy Malkasian's Temperance came out in the middle of last year, and I still don't know quite what to make of it, which is probably a good sign. [...] It's lovely to behold, rather difficult, terribly sad, very frustrating in some ways, and absolutely worth looking at."
• Review: "Since the appearance of Hey Wait…, Jason's first book to be translated into English, the Norwegian-born cartoonist has remained one of the most distinctive voices in comics. What I Did is the latest omnibus collection of Jason's work… into a beautiful hardcover volume… Grade: A" – Mike Sebastian, Campus Circle
• Review: "Stacked with surprising twists and intricate plotting, [The Search for] Smilin’ Ed revels in Deitch’s increasingly complex personal universe, threading new characters into the established histories of his previous protagonists. Densely detailed and creatively laid out, the art can absorb a reader’s eye for days, with tons of nods, winks and subtle touches embedded in nearly every scene." – Michael C. Lorah, Newsarama
• Review: "Steve Ditko has produced a disproportionate amount of my favourite, formative fiction over the decades. His is a unique voice wedded to an honest heart blessed with the captivating genius of a graphic master. The tales [in The Ditko Collection Vol. 2] have seldom been seen elsewhere; never often enough and always with little fanfare. If you can find this volume and its predecessor you’ll see a lot of his best work, undiluted by colour, and on lovely large white pages. Even if you can’t find these, find something – because Steve Ditko is pure comics." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!
• Coming Attractions: At Robot 6, Chris Mautner looks at "Six potentially great 2011 comics you haven't heard of," leading off with The Man Who Grew His Beard by Olivier Schrauwen (coming in late Summer): "If you’ve had the lucky opportunity to read Schrauwen’s My Boy, or perused his work in the anthology Mome, then you’ll know this Belgian artist is the real deal — a true, utterly unique and frequently inspired cartoonist who draws upon century-old cartooning styles (McCay, Outcault) to create something contemporary and frequently bizarre."
• Coming Attractions: At Examiner.com, Richard Lipski looks ahead to our Fall 2011 publication of Oil & Water, a chronicle of the Gulf Coast post-Deepwater Horizon oil spill, written by Steve Duin and drawn by Shannon Wheeler
• Review: "I’d say 'you can’t make this shit up,' but you can, or Ryan can at least, and watching him frogmarch his characters through the outlandish scenarios needed to give birth to these you-gotta-be-fucking-kidding-me ideas is Guffaw City. And as I always point out, he’s a fine, fine cartoonist; ...his buoyant brushwork... is what sells the childlike glee of everything that’s going on [in FUC_ __U _SS __LE]." – Sean T. Collins, Attentiondeficitdisorderly
• Interview:Comicdom's Tomas Papadimitropoulos talks to Richard Sala (in English after the Greek introduction): "I hesitate to reveal too much about The Hidden at this point. It will be a somewhat different from things I’ve done before. On one hand it’s almost like an action-packed monster movie. But, at the same time, it may be more personal than my Peculia and Judy Drood books. There is some reflection or looking back on my life as an artist involved." (via Spurge)
Dave Cooper hangs out with our Canadian counterparts at Librairie Drawn & Quarterly and signs copies of his new book Bent on Thursday, January 20th at 7:00 PM. On their 211 Bernard blog they write: "Cooper continues to obsess and fixate over his bizarre procession of milky figures as they crawl and wriggle into hidden meadows, jungles and cities." Soyez là ou vous serez carrés.
As Fantagraphics’ ambitious plan to reprint every single Sunday Krazy Kat page created by George Herriman for close to three decades (this being the penultimate book) careens toward the finish line, this volume features another three years’ worth of Sunday strips — over 150 little masterpieces by the greatest cartoonist of all time, featuring the greatest comic-strip love triangle of all time: “kat,” “mice” and “pupp.” Each page is a hilarious, poetic masterpiece crackling with verbal wit and graphic brilliance. Those were the days…!
In the introductory essay, editor Bill Blackbeard chronicles Krazy Kat’s ascent from its earliest days as a tiny pendant for Herriman’s earlier strips The Dingbat Family and The Family Upstairs to its own full feature. A second major article in this volume is Bob Callahan’s “Geo. Herriman’s Los Angeles,” a fascinating look at Herriman’s pre-Krazy Kat days as a journalist/illustrator, covering such things as a Mexican bullfight (Herriman was appalled), the opening of a new “bums’ jail” (Herriman’s sympathies were clearly with the vagrants), and UFO sightings — all accompanied by Herriman’s virtuoso cartoons, of course.
As usual, the cover is designed by Chris Ware, featuring a striking two-color look that will set this latest volume apart from the previous eleven.
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