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Archive >> January 2012

First Look at the First Beer of the Apocalypse
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under merchCharles Burns 10 Jan 2012 11:21 PM

Our pals at the Elysian Brewing Company sent along these photos of the first batch of Nibiru, the first of the Twelve Beers of the Apocalypse produced in association with Fantagraphics and featuring the art of Charles Burns on the labels, being bottled and packaged up. Stay tuned for updates on the beer's debut, which will take place January 21. They tell us "We are working on making a giant piñata of Planet Nibiru to smash at the party — hopefully it works out!"

Daily OCD: 1/10/12
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Walt KellyShimura TakakoRichard SalareviewsOlivier SchrauwenMickey MouseMartimangaLove and RocketsJaime HernandezGahan WilsonFloyd GottfredsonFantagraphics historyDisneyDaily OCDCarl BarksBest of 2011 10 Jan 2012 5:44 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Love and Rockets: New Stories #4The Man Who Grew His Beard

List: Publishers Weekly announces the results of their 2011 Comics World Critics Poll, with these titles garnering 2 votes each...

"Love and Rockets: New Stories Vol. 4, Gilbert Hernandez and Jaime Hernandez: Jaime Hernandez tops his 30 years of peerless storytelling with the conclusion to 'The Love Bunglers' in which two characters we’ve watched stumble through life make a final lurch — that may bring happiness or doom. Heartbreaking yet without a trace of manipulation." – Heidi MacDonald

"The Man Who Grew His Beard, Olivier Schrauwen: This graphic novel is exceptionally inventive, with each story being so very different from the one before." – Glen Downey

...and the following books receiving an Honorable Mention with one vote each:

Nuts, Gahan Wilson
The Cabbie Vol. 1, Martí
Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse: Race to Death Valley, Floyd Gottfredson

Wandering Son Vol. 2

Review: "As [Wandering Son] volume 2 closes, the idyllic childhood Shuichi and Nitori have shared thus far, surrounded by exceptionally supportive family and friends, is showing signs of being breached by thoughtless outsiders.... In the insightful, not-to-be-skipped final essay, 'Transgendered in Japan,' translator (and manga scholar) Matt Thorn writes, 'Shuichi and Yoshino are coming of age, not in an idealized fantasy world, but in a contemporary Japan that poses unique challenges to children such as these.' Indeed, to quote a popular film, 'reality bites,' but in creator Shimura Takako's sensitive world, Shuichi and Nitori have better than a fighting chance at becoming strong, confident adults." – Terry Hong, BookDragon (Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program)

The Hidden

Review: "In spite of its depressive mood (you know, with it being about the end of the world and such), The Hidden exemplifies the effectiveness of Sala's application of a 'less is more' visual style to broad, complex stories.... I can't recommend Sala's books enough, and The Hidden is one of his best works to date. Be sure to pick up a copy if you're looking for something more than global plagues and cannibalistic zombies in your world-ending entertainment." – Tim Mitchell, Titans Terrors & Toys

Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the AndesPogo Vol. 1Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1-2 box set

List/Plugs: Andy Mansell of Heroes Aren't Hard to Find names a handful of "creme de la creme," "must-have" classic comic strip collections from 2011: "Do yourself a favor – next time you are in the store take a few moments and pick up a copy of Lost in the Andes or Pogo, either Mickey Mouse collection, ...[and] flip through it. Read a few strips.... These are rich, beautiful books and they deserve to be read by everyone."

Plug: The A.V. Club's Oliver Sava provides a guide to "What makes a good all-ages comic," saying "Animation-inspired art remains the most popular choice for an all-ages series... Carl Barks’ work with Disney’s duck characters is the pinnacle of this school: Barks’ experience as a Disney animator honed his talent for creating sprawling environments and distinct characters that are instantly charming and incredibly rich. Fantagraphics just published its first hardcover collection of Barks’ classic stories, Donald Duck: Lost In The Andes, a beautiful package collecting some of Barks’ most memorable duck tales."

Love and Rockets

Links: Love & Maggie compiles another round of Love and Rockets-related links from around the web

Fantagraphics Books logo - shield emblem by Daniel Clowes

History: Read Sean T. Collins’s profile of Fantagraphics, originally published in Wizard a few years ago

Things to See: Tim Lane illo for the NYTBR, new story page
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Tim LaneThings to see 10 Jan 2012 3:19 PM

New York Times Book Review illustration - Tim Lane

Above, a recent illustration by Tim Lane for the New York Times Book Review; below, a new page from the story "Meat" for his upcoming short story collection Folktales.

[Follow our Tumblr blog for lots more Things to See every day.]

Meat page 3 - Tim Lane

The Incomparable Tony Trillionaire!
Written by Larry Reid | Filed under Tony MillionaireFantagraphics BookstoreeventsCharles Burns 10 Jan 2012 11:27 AM

MillionaireBurnsSmall 

We were privileged to host another delightful evening with our friend Tony Millionaire at Fantagraphics Bookstore on Saturday. A wonderful cast of characters assembled to celebrate the publication of his exquisite new book 500 Portraits. We were pleasantly surprised to receive a visit by the legendary Charles Burns, whose portrait is among those featured in the exhibition. It was also nice to see comix scholar Hillary Chute, who interviews cartoonists in The Believer, where many of Tony's portraits first appeared. (Hillary also notably edited Art Spiegelman's new book  Meta Maus.) Our colleagues from the University of Mississippi Press were on hand, as well as comix authority Charles Hatfield. A host of luminaries, along with a screening of a Drinky Crow film short by bookstore curator Larry Reid, made Millionaire's most recent appearance truly extraordinary. And that's not all.

Tony Millionaire's "Portraits" exhibition continues through February 8. Don't miss out. For updates on all the action, simply "Like" Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery on Facebook.

This Week in Fantagraphics Events: 1/9-1/15
Written by janice headley | Filed under Michael Kuppermanevents 10 Jan 2012 10:31 AM

Thanks to all the Northwest Tony Millionaire fans who kicked off the new year with us last week by getting your copies of 500 Portraits signed! Here's what's going on this week:

Mark Twain's Autobiography 1910-2010 by Michael Kupperman

Wednesday, January 11th

Brooklyn, NY: Join the mighty Mr. Michael Kupperman for a visual presentation on the jacket art he designed for NY-based publisher Solid Objects! He'll be joined by the respective authors of those attractive tomes, Jake Bohstedt Morrill and Jim Shepard, starting at 7:30 PM at Greenlight Books.  Not only will those guys be reading from their books, but Michael will be doing a reading from Mark Twain's Autobiography 1910-2010! It's a jam-packed night of art and literature and, hey, there will even be a wine and food reception! (more info)

And that's it. Stay tuned to the Flog for more excellent events, always!

Is That All There Is? by Joost Swarte - Previews, Pre-Order
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under videopreviewsnew releasesJoost Swarte 10 Jan 2012 12:06 AM

Is That All There Is? by Joost Swarte

Is That All There Is?
by Joost Swarte

144-page full-color 7" x 9.5" hardcover • $35.00
ISBN: 978-1-60699-510-5

Ships in: February 2012 (subject to change) — Pre-Order Now

Order this book and receive this FBI•MINI comic shown at left as a FREE bonus! Click here for details. Limit one per customer while supplies last.


By appropriating and subverting Tintin creator Hergé’s classic “clear line” style, Joost Swarte revitalized European alternative comics in the 1970s with a series of satirical, musically elegant, supremely beautifully drawn short stories — often featuring his innocent, magnificently-quiffed Jopo de Pojo, or his orotund scientist character, Anton Makassar.

Under Swarte’s own exacting supervision, Is That All There Is? will collect virtually all of his alternative comics work from 1972 to date, including the RAW magazine stories that brought him fame among American comics aficionados in the 1980s. Especially great pains will be taken to match Swarte’s superb coloring, which includes stories executed in watercolor, comics printed in retro duotones, fiendishly clever use of Zip-a-Tone screens, and much more. (There’s even a story about how to color comics art using those screens, with Makassar as the teacher.)

Other noteworthy stories include Swarte’s take on an episode from Hergé’s early days, a Fats Domino story, a tribute to the legendary “Upside-Downs” strip, and a story titled simply “Modern Art.”

“I’ve loved Joost Swarte’s perfect cartoons, drawings and designs for decades and it’s nothing short of ridiculous that a comprehensive edition of this brilliant artist’s work has never been available in America until now. Swarte is considered a national treasure in his native Holland, and if you open this book, you’ll understand why.” — Chris Ware

Download and read an 18-page PDF excerpt (4.3 MB).

Video & Photo Slideshow Preview (view in new window):



Daily OCD: 1/9/12
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Zak SallyTony MillionaireThe Comics JournalRobert CrumbreviewsPrince ValiantPeanutsMichel GagneMatthias WivelLove and RocketsJoe SimonJim WoodringJaime HernandezJacques TardiJack KirbyinterviewsHal FosterGary GrothGahan WilsonFantagraphics historyFantagraphics BookstoreDaily OCDCharles M Schulz 9 Jan 2012 7:29 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Young Romance: The Best of Simon & Kirby's Romance Comics

Review: "...Young Romance: The Best of Simon & Kirby’s Romance Comics isn’t just a book of some minor historical interest; it’s a genuinely entertaining and artful set of comics, and in some ways more readable than Simon and Kirby’s adventure stories.... Simon’s plots deal with jealousy, class conflict, mistaken identity, selfishness, and selflessness — the romance staples — while Kirby’s art makes these tales of passion and deceit especially dynamic, with deep shadows and a mix of the glamorous and the lumpen. ...Simon and Kirby... depict[ed] a world of darkness and heavy emotion, inhabited by clean-looking people in pretty clothes." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club

The Life and Death of Fritz the Cat

Review: "Though not a novel per se, The Life and Death of Fritz the Cat does tell a story of sorts, about Crumb’s evolution as an artist, from the mild-mannered greeting-card designer who drew cheeky doodles in his spare time, to the prickly satirist who’d use Fritz as a way to comment on the sick soul of the ’60s and his own at-times-unwieldy success." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club

Nuts

Review: "Nuts wasn't action-packed or boldly satirical. Just the opposite, in fact -- it was subtle and thoughtful, with what I'm guessing was a heavy autobiographical element on the part of Mr.Wilson.... You might not have grown up when Wilson did, or when the [National Lampoon] was published, or when I first read these strips years ago, so the details have changed. But I'm willing to bet the emotions our hero felt remain almost exactly the same, no matter what generation is reading about him. And, of course, Gahan Wilson's cartooning is what makes the strips special." – Will Pfeifer, X-Ray Spex

Prince Valiant Vol. 4: 1943-1944

Review: "There are few collections of comics that you can truly describe as 'beautiful art'; however, Fantagraphics’ series of Prince Valiant trades is absolutely stunning to look at and is easy to write flattering things about, because it is so flattering for a reader’s eyes to behold Foster’s artwork crisp, clear, and huge in all its splendor. The fourth volume of Prince Valiant, which collects all the Sunday pages in full color from 1943 to 1944, is just wonderful, whether you are 4 or 94; it is a totally engrossing experience to dive into the world of the adventurous prince on these pages." – Drew McCabe, ComicAttack.net

Zak Sally author photo, 2009

Interview: The Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon talks with Zak Sally about his new self-published, self-printed collection of Sammy the Mouse: "I've gotten out three issues of Sammy in five years, and in that five years I've had two kids, I've been married. My life has changed extraordinarily. That's just the way art works, you know. I was doing issue #2 -- maybe #3, I can't remember -- and there was stuff going on in my life. Six months later I look at that issue and I was like, 'Oh my sweet God.' It was absolutely reflective of what had been going on at the time, and I was completely unaware of it. I just think that's part of it, and that's the way it works."

Kolor Klimax

Interview: At Nummer 9, Erik Barkman has a Q&A (in Danish) with Johan F. Krarups (editor Matthias Wivel describes it as a "commentary track") about his contribution to the Kolor Klimax: Nordic Comics Now anthology

God and Science: Return of the Ti-Girls

Plug: Heidi MacDonald of The Beat looks forward to Jaime Hernandez's God and Science: Return of the Ti-Girls: "We can’t help but think that all of the people calling for great superhero stories featuring women will find Ti-Girls a masterpiece, as well, an entire superhero universe made up of nothing but superheroines of various shapes and sizes. It’s jaunty Jaime to be sure, but even so probably one of the best superhero stories of the last decade."

The Complete Peanuts 1979-1980 (Vol. 15)

Plug: "Fantagraphics is still the gold standard for classy newspaper strip collections. I’m afraid people are getting jaded now about how the wonderful Peanuts volumes are chugging right along year after year, but it’s worth pointing out that they continue to be everything anyone could ever want from an archive edition. What’s more, Fantagraphics followed it up with these new Floyd Gottfredson Mickey Mouse collections." – Greg Hatcher, Comic Book Resources

Jim Woodring

Plug: Found this nice nugget in Laura Hudson's interview with Chris Onstad at ComicsAlliance: "Jim Woodring is great, and is one of those people who will honestly admit to you that, 'Yeah, my brain's a little f**ked up.' His comics are sort of a manifestation of his brain. It works for him. He's a really wonderful guy. He has this big three-story place with big, gothic abbey rope hanging in front of the front door. The rope rings a little bell to let you know that someone's at the door. One time it rings in the foyer so his wife opens the door, and there's this little cat there that came in from the road. So they let the cat in, shut the door, and we all go about our night. Then we watched Popeye for two hours. That's Jim. And he does all of his work based on hallucination. None of it's set in reality. Uncanny things that make me feel strange happen [in his comics]."

Like a Sniper Lining Up His Shot / West Coast Blues

Analysis: Jordan Hurder, Chance Press examines the collaborations between Jacques Tardi and Jean-Patrick Manchette: "Tardi is a fantastically celebrated cartoonist who has been at the forefront of the industry in France for 35 years. In contrast to his slow burn, Manchette shot out ten crime novels over the course of ten years, redefined and reinvigorated the French crime novel, became hugely influential, and died of cancer in the 1990s.... The compatibility between the two artists is uncanny; maybe a better critic could point out exactly why in just a few words, or maybe it’s one of those matchups that works without needing explanation." – Jordan Hurder, Chance Press

TCJ

Commentary: Gary Groth remembers Christopher Hitchens in "My Dinner with Hitch" at The Comics Journal

Fantastic Fanzine 10 cover

History: Speaking of our dear leader, David Hine presents some scans from an issue of Gary's pre-Fantagraphics fanzine, Fantastic Fanzine (hat tip to Dan Nadel at TCJ.com)

Portraits

Scene: Our own Stephanie Hayes has a quick recap and some great snaps from Tony Millionaire's appearance at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery this past Saturday

Weekend Webcomics for 1/6/12: Kupperman, Mahler, Weissman & more
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under webcomicsTony MillionaireSteven Weissmannicolas mahlerMichael KuppermanMaakiesLewis TrondheimKevin HuizengaJon Adamsjohn kerschbaumGabrielle BellArnold Roth 6 Jan 2012 9:32 PM

Our weekly strips from Kupperman, Mahler & Weissman (with something new!), plus links to other strips from around the web:

---

Black Classroom by Steven Weissman (view at original size):

Black Classroom by Steven Weissman

Up All Night by Michael Kupperman (view at original size):

Up All Night - Michael Kupperman

Angelman by Nicolas Mahler (view at original size):

Angelman - Nicolas Mahler

And elsewhere:

The All-New Cartoon Boy Adventure Hour by John Kerschbaum at ACT-I-VATE:

The All-New Cartoon Boy Adventure Hour by John Kerschbaum

Amazing Facts... and Beyond! with Leon Beyond by Kevin Huizenga:

Amazing Facts... and Beyond! with Leon Beyond

Humblug by Arnold Roth (6 updates this week, continuing serialization of his unpublished 1979 strip Downtown, including the Sunday strip excerpted here):

Humblug - Arnold Roth

Lucky by Gabrielle Bell :

Lucky - Gabrielle Bell

Maakies by Tony Millionaire:

Maakies - Tony Millionaire

Les Petits Riens by Lewis Trondheim (scroll down at the link for one additional new update):

Les Petits Riens by Lewis Trondheim

Truth Serum by Jon Adams:

Truth Serum - Jon Adams

What's in the Backpack by Victor Kerlow:

What's in the Backpack - Victor Kerlow

Daily OCD: 1/6/12
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Walt KellySteven BrowerShimura TakakoRichard SalareviewsPirus and MezzoOlivier SchrauwenmangaJohnny RyanDaily OCDBest of 2011 6 Jan 2012 4:26 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

King of the Flies Vol. 2: The Origin of the WorldThe Man Who Grew His Beard

List: Robot 6's Chris Mautner lists "The Six Most Criminally Ignored Books of 2011," including King of the Flies Vol. 2: The Origin of the World by Mezzo & Pirus...

"...[T]his dark, disjointed story about an assortment of misfit suburban characters plagued by bad luck and their own poor choices is a compelling, bitterly funny read... Despite its obvious influences King never feels like a pale imitation, especially in the second volume, where the ante is upped considerably, both on an aesthetic and narrative level."

...and The Man Who Grew His Beard by Olivier Schrauwen:

"Color Engineering author Yuichi Yokoyama got all the attention this year, but to my eyes Schrauwen is just as innovative and wholly original a cartoonist as Yokoyama. The main difference between the two is that where Yokoyama is focused on expressing motion, machinery and discovery, Schrauwen prefers to explore differences in perception, especially between reality and that of the imagination.... Incredibly inventive and at times darkly funny, Beard is the work of a master cartoonist worth more attention."

Pogo Vol. 1Prison Pit Book 3

List: Patrick Markfort & Dave Ferraro discuss their favorites of 2011 on the Comics-and-More video podcast, with Patrick picking Pogo: The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips Vol. 1 – Through the Wild Blue Wonder as his Favorite Archival Comic Collection and Prison Pit Book 3 by Johnny Ryan as his Favorite Graphic Novel — see muti-part video at the link

The Hidden

List: Carol Borden of The Cultural Gutter names The Hidden by Richard Sala as one of "10 Comics I Liked in 2011": "The world is ending in madness and blood, as a bearded man flees to the countryside. But what does he know about the end and why is it mostly nubile young women who are being killed? Another tale of mayhem, mystery and mad science from Richard Sala."

Wandering Son Vol. 2

Review: "This volume [of Wandering Son] is absolutely wonderful. It has an overall very gentle feel to it, but it’s punctuated by moments of cruelty and sadness.... It’s a rare thing to get such simple realism in a manga, and Takako handles it exquisitely.... This series can be really harsh at times, but there are some great heartwarming moments, as well. That’s what makes it great." – Kristin Bomba, ComicAttack.net

Out of the Shadows

Bookmark: Steven Brower (author of From Shadow to Light: The Life and Art of Mort Meskin and editor of the upcoming Meskin collection Out of the Shadows) has a new blog for his writings, appropriately titled Steven Brower Writings

The Life and Death of Fritz the Cat by Robert Crumb - Previews, Pre-Order
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under videoRobert Crumbpreviewsnew releases 5 Jan 2012 9:44 PM

The Life and Death of Fritz the Cat by Robert Crumb

The Life and Death of Fritz the Cat
by Robert Crumb

96-page black & white 8.25" x 10.75" hardcover • $19.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-480-1

Ships in: January 2012 (subject to change) — Pre-Order Now

“I can express something [with animals] that is different from what I put into my work about humans... I can put more nonsense, more satire and fantasy into the animals...” — R. Crumb

Created by an adolescent R. Crumb in the late 1950s, Fritz the Cat rose to fame — along with his creator — during the underground comix revolution of the 1960s, and remains Crumb’s most well-known character and an internationally recognized icon of 1960s culture.

Fritz is a feline, freewheeling chiseler who allowed Crumb to express some of his most acidic commentary on American culture. Tragicomedy, farce and satire all rolled into one, The Life and Death of Fritz the Cat chronicles the very best of Fritz's adventures from his early days as an idealistic college student to his ultimate fate as a jaded, burned-out superstar, including Crumb’s infamous send-off of the character in the wake of Ralph Bakshi’s animated feature film, an experience and project that completely dissatisfied Crumb.

Finally collected in a single volume, these Fritz stories are a funny, insightful, authentic record of a tumultuous period in American life, with humor and compassion by the most well-respected cartoonist of all time.

Download and read a 9-page PDF excerpt (1.4 MB).

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