• Reviews:Robot 6's Chris Mautner looks at our 3 newest Golden Age collections:
"...[W]hile I enjoyed [Action! Mystery!] Thrills[!] (I’m especially grateful for being exposed to the neon-color stylings of L.B. Cole, who seems to prefigure the era of black velvet paintings), it’s definitely the slightest — the most coffee tableish — of Sadowski’s books so far. It feels like a book designed more to flip through than to mull over.... That’s not necessarily a bad thing — there’s certainly pleasures to be had in re-examining these covers..."
"What’s exciting for me about this book is watching Everett develop as an artist and storyteller and figure out the medium in relatively rapid fashion.... The material in Amazing [Mysteries] in no way represents Everett’s strongest work, though they do point to his potential — those thrilling Sub Mariner stories were just around the corner. What you see here are the glimmers of an artist struggling to comprehend the potential of this relatively new medium [and] how he can push it to match his own interests."
"Though modern readers may wince at some of the sexual stereotypes on display, not to mention the occasional forced happy ending, Young Romance underscores Simon and Kirby’s keen storytelling skills. Adhering to a mostly six-panel grid, the duo manage to produce work that is visually arresting and dramatic... It’s also worth mentioning that editor Michel Gagne’s [restoration] work is stellar... For Kirby fans and those who just love to explore comics from generations past, it’s a rather essential read."
• Review: "It’s hard to imagine a comic that’s more ambitious and less pretentious; it’s reader-immersive and reader-friendly. Huizenga’s style recalls the 'big nose' school of cartooning — Glenn Ganges' schnoz is one of the comic’s stars. This unaffected old-timey style lends the narrative a sense of charm and elegance... Perhaps we should judge 2012’s comics according the standard set by Ganges #4." – Ken Parille, The Comics Journal
• Plugs: Martha Cornog of Library Journal Reviews spotlights a few of our upcoming releases in the latest "Graphic Novels Prepub Alert":
Buz Sawyer, Vol. 2: Sultry’s Tiger by Roy Crane: "World War II has ended, and flying ace Buz Sawyer has snagged a civilian job at last: troubleshooter for International Airways, which has him traveling to hotspots all over the world. Of course, he always flies into adventure, here visiting a dangerous woman he first met during the war, taking on the Mad Baron, discovering Mayan treasure, and being kidnapped by mysterious thugs. But whatever the adventure, somehow Buz always gets mixed up with a pretty girl. This volume includes both daily and full-color Sunday strips, originally published between 1945 and 1947, drawn in Crane’s clean, realistic style that in retrospect looks remarkably European."
Kolor Klimax: Nordic Comics Now, ed. by Matthias Wivel: "This lavish sampler of work from Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden offers a wide variety of artistic styles and short plots, some with a more adult focus. See samples here; click 'Expand' for the wonderful cover plus 20 pages. Wivel is a veteran of the Danish comics scene who currently lives in New York."
Black Images in the Comics by Fredrik Strömberg: "First published by Fantagraphics in 2003 and nominated for an Eisner Award, this history of racial depictions in comics has been updated in both its content and its source list. Over 100 entries, each featuring a representative illustration and an instructive short essay, cover an international range of comics, from Moon Mullins through Tintin, Will Eisner, R. Crumb, Peanuts, Boondocks, and beyond. Strömberg is a Swedish comics journalist, editor, and educator who has published numerous books in several languages."
Jewish Images in the Comics by Fredrik Strömberg: "Another of Strömberg’s books, in a similar format: over 150 entries from internationally-originating comic strips, comic books, and graphic novels stretching back 'over the last five centuries' that feature Jewish characters and Jewish themes. The works of Art Spiegelman and Will Eisner are well known to comics aficionados in the United States, but many of the other examples, some 'far less savory,' may not be."
• Feature: Jennifer Anderson, one of the participants in the PDX2GulfCoast project along with Steve Duin & Shannon Wheeler which resulted in Oil and Water, writes for the Beaverton Valley Times: "As the newspaper reporter character in the book, I can attest — 100-percent objectively, of course — that the book is at once tragic, funny, poignant and thought-provoking," and talks to some local experts and Duin himself about the book (via Bleeding Cool of all places)
• Plugs: At Blog Martins Fontes Paulista, Raphael Fernandes runs down "10 Must-See Comics from Fantagraphics for 2012," saying (translated from Portuguese) "Possessing an enviable catalog of experimental and underground comics, Fantagraphics Books is an American publisher that deserves special attention."
• Review: "[Newave: The Underground Mini Comix of the 1980s] was a treasure to find for me, because I got to read some of the stuff I was reading in the Chicago burbs being all 'punk rock' and 'rebel rebel.' You have to live it to understand it, and while I’ll look at 1960’s underground comics as a history tour, this comic brought back live living memories of awesome underage shows, best friends forever, hard dancing, stage diving, and all the other fun things that these comics represented to us. Rating this an enthusiastic five of five, it holds a place of honor on my book shelf, and oh you betcha, I’m reading this to my grand children. You need to go buy this one, because it is totally special." – Dan Morrill, Comics Forge
• Review: "This anthology [God's Bosom and Other Stories] is an interesting take on early American history and Texas.... Overall, this was a bizarrely wonderful journey through some of the things I missed because I was essentially a very small child during the time, and I doubt anyone would really have brought a four year old to a free love in concert in a park that goes horribly wrong.... I am rating this comic book five of five stars, because it is extraordinarily well done, and is an interesting and approachable way of getting a look at early underground comic books. This one is well worth owning, and loving in your physical comic book collection." – Dan Morrill, Comics Forge
We just want to acknowledge that we're not taking active part in the anti-SOPA/PIPA internet strike today, but we are opposed to the bills — here's the statement Gary Groth gave to Graphic Policy about it last week — and we want to thank everyone who's expressed their support of our position. (Image, of course, from Gilbert Hernandez's Heartbreak Soup.)
While researching this book project in Oakland, archivist Pat Thomas discovered rare recordings of speeches, interviews, and music by noted activists Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Elaine Brown, and others that form the framework of this definitive retrospective. Listen, Whitey! also chronicles the forgotten history of Motown Records’ Black Power subsidiary label, Black Forum, which released politically charged albums by Stokely Carmichael, Langston Hughes, Bill Cosby and Ossie Davis, among others. Obscure records produced by African-American sociopolitical organizations of the period are examined, along with the Isley Brothers, Nina Simone, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Watts Prophets, Roland Kirk, Horace Silver, Angela Davis, H. Rap Brown, Stanley Crouch, and others that spoke out against oppression. Thomas will give a slide and music presentation, and limited number of advance copies of the book will be available to the public. Also making its debut is a companion CD of the same title from Seattle-based Light in the Attic records. The album features rare tracks from African-American activists like Dick Gregory, Eldridge Cleaver, Last Poets, and others, with protest music by Bob Dylan, John and Yoko Ono, Gil Scott-Heron, Roy Harper, and more.
The Silence of Our Friends is the semi-autobiographical tale of Mark Long. Set in 1967 Texas against the backdrop of the civil rights struggle, a white family from a notoriously racist suburb and a black family from its poorest ward cross Houston’s color line, overcoming fear and violence to win the freedom of five black college students unjustly charged with the murder of a policeman. Co-authored by Jim Demonakos (founder of Seattle’s Emerald City Comicon), and drawn by award-winning cartoonist Nate Powell, The Silence of Our Friends is a new and important entry in the body of civil rights literature.
Join these remarkable authors on Saturday, February 4 from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, located at 1201 S. Vale St. (at Airport Way S.) in Seattle’s colorful Georgetown neighborhood. Phone 206.658.0110.
Glitz-2-Go finally collects nearly 40 years of comics stories by Diane Noomin, best-known for her work as cartoonist and editor of the women comics anthology Twisted Sisters.
Noomin’s career in underground comix began in 1972 and included appearances in Wimmen’s Comix, Young Lust, Short Order, Arcade, Real Girl, Lemme Outta Here, El Perfecto, True Glitz, Aftershock, Mind Riot, Titters, and Weirdo.
Glitz-2-Go stars Noomin’s signature character, DiDi Glitz, the frustrated middle-aged glamour-puss and anxiety-ridden suburban Sisyphus. All of her stories, beginning with her debut “Restless Reverie” in 1974’s Family Fun Comics, are finally back in print for the first time in over 30 years.
Noomin was a pioneer in the emergence of women cartoonists in the 1970s. Along with cartoonist and co-editor Aline Kominsky-Crumb, she edited and contributed to Twisted Sisters Comics in its original incarnation as an underground comic book in 1976, and in the early 1990s edited the celebrated collections Twisted Sisters: A Collection of Bad Girl Art and its sequel Twisted Sisters: Drawing the Line, featuring the work of a generation of women cartoonists.
Like many women who wrote and drew underground and alternative comix in the ’70s, Noomin’s contribution to the form has been unjustly overlooked. This book goes toward rectifying that by collecting all of Noomin’s best comics as well as spotlighting Noomin’s other creative outlets such as reproducing set and costume designs and cast photos of I’d Rather Be Doing Something Else: The DiDi Glitz Story, performed by the women’s theatre company, “Les Nickelettes” in San Francisco in 1980 and photos of a larger-than-life DiDi papier-maché sculpture of DiDi that Noomin did for San Francisco’s Little Frankenstein Gallery in 1994.
Fantagraphics has been at the forefront of preserving the best comics by the groundbreaking “underground” generation of cartoonists who revolutionized the form in the ’60s and ’70s. Glitz-2-Go is the first solo collection by Diane Noomin.
“Diane developed characters in an altered reality to express her alienation, with her scathing black sense of humor and an incredible eye for detail. Her visual universe is so kitsch, so stupefyingly overdone, something like a mixture of Liberace, Joan Rivers and Jackie Mason — Graceland on the Borscht Belt.” – from the Foreword by Aline Kominsky Crumb
“Tarty, naive Glitz is part Barbie Doll, part Alice in Wonderland and part Madonna.” – ArtForum
“Diane Noomin has been producing some of the most hysterically funny comics on the market.” — Hypno Magazine
This week's comic shop shipment is slated to include the following new title. Read on to see what comics-blog commentators and web-savvy comic shops are saying about it (more to be added as they appear), check out our previews at the link, and contact your local shop to confirm availability.
392-page black & white/color 8" x 10" softcover • $35.00 ISBN: 978-1-60699-482-5
"My splurge this week would probably be Bill Griffith: Lost and Found, an 'odds and sodds' collection of work by the Zippy creator, mostly done prior to that strip’s creation. I’m not actually certain what’s included in this book, but a good deal of Griffith’s non-Zippy material is pretty great, even better than the strip in some cases." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
"Recommended - Bill Griffith's Lost and Found - Beautifully drawn underground humor from the creator of Zippy!" – Danger Room Comics
"I've always enjoyed Bill Griffith's not-Zippy work whenever I've encountered it, and actively sought some out when some of his underground comics were praised by various cartoonists back in the Fantagraphics office in the mid-1990s. This volume is a welcome surprise, and I hope it's not totally buried in the forthcoming year's worth of archival work ahead. For this week at least, it's the belle of the new comics ball." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
"CONFLICT OF INTEREST RESERVOIR: I remember reading a Bill Griffith strip about Rory Hayes in the ’08 Hayes compilation Where Demented Wented and being really impressed by Griffith’s graphic style, something I’d only really had much exposure to in newspaper strip form via Zippy. Among its 392 pages, Bill Griffith: Lost And Found – Comics 1969-2003 aims to present many various comics, underground and otherwise, along with reflections from the artist and some added Zippy stuff, including an unfinished comics adaptation of Griffith’s screenplay to the never-produced movie of the character; $39.99."
UPDATE: Download an exclusive 5-page sneak peek at PREVIEWSworld!
• Commentary: "...I have to pay homage to Richard Sala’s incredible and overlooked book, The Hidden. Sure we reviewed it here on the site, but I only just read it, and it’s really quite incredible. Sala’s kind of a pro himself, turning out at least a book a year (much like another visionary, Gilbert Hernandez), and this twist on Frankenstein reads, not unlike that gothic romance, as an allegory for artistic ambition gone wrong, or, maybe because I’m currently reading Simon Reynolds’ Retromania, like a tale of collector psychosis." – Dan Nadel, The Comics Journal
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