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Mike Baehr's Blog
Description:
Flog posts by Fantagraphics' consumer marketing/web editor/hand model guy. Say, buy some books why don't you?
Archive >> January 2012

Daily OCD: 1/12/12
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Tony MillionairereviewsPeter BaggeMickey MouseMichel GagneJoe SimonJoe DalyJacques TardiJack KirbyinterviewsFloyd GottfredsonDisneyDave McKeanDaily OCDCarl BarksBest of 2011 12 Jan 2012 7:22 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the AndesCelluloid

List: Comics Bulletin names Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes the Best Archival Reprint of 2011, with Jason Sacks saying "Universally acclaimed as one of the finest reprints of Barks's works by even the most exacting Duckophiles, Lost in the Andes finally presents an English-language collection of Duck stores behind two hard covers and with the typical exacting standards for which Fantagraphics is justifiably famous. The good people at Fantagraphics outdid themselves with this reprint, which will undoubtedly be a treasure enjoyed by fans for many years."

...and they also name Dave McKean's Celluloid the Best Erotic Graphic Novel of 2011, with Daniel Elkin saying "Dave McKean is a tremendous artist. He creates work of enormous emotional impact with a deftness and subtlety that is so often missing in modern art. McKean can tell an entire novel's story in a single picture. He's that good.... Celluloid is beautiful and it is powerful and it is mysterious and engaging. It is art as defined by every iteration of the word. It is also another example of what comics can do that no other form of media can match."

 The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec Vol. 2: The Mad Scientist and Mummies on Parade

List: Forbidden Planet International's Joe Gordon names The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec Vol. 2 one of his Best of the Year: "For my money Jacques Tardi is one of Europe’s great comics creators, a true maestro... This second helping collects two of the original French albums and serves up a heady cocktail of conspiracies, secret societies, black magic practicioners, mad scientists (and boy does Tardi do a great, cackling mad scientist – he even brings in some from his brilliant The Arctic Maruader into this) and all set against a beautifully realised backdrop of Belle Epoque, pre-war Paris. Fantagraphics are translating a huge swathe of Tardi’s work and in fact I’d recommend and and everything they have so far translated and republished, but for the sake of this piece I’ll go with the wonderful Adèle."

Dungeon Quest, Book 2

List: One more Best of the Year list at Forbidden Planet International, with festival organizer Clark Burscough putting Joe Daly's Dungeon Quest Book 2 at the top of his Graphic Novels list: "Childish, purile, hilarious, brilliant. I am completely in love with Joe Daly’s series at this point, and the second volume continues in the same vein as the first; namely, silly stoner-esque humour, with a love for RPGs at its heart."

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

Review: "...[Young Romance] is a real treat, an inexpensive way to read a nice sampling of some Kirby comics that any Kirby fanatic has to be curious about. Michael Gagne did a great job assembling a fun cross-section of stories, and noted romance comics historian Michelle Nolan provides an insightful introduction. These might not be the first classic Kirby comics that you would choose to pick up, but they are a lot of fun to read. Rating: ★★★★★" – Jason Sacks, Comics Bulletin

Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1: Race to Death Valley

Review: "The art is evocative and detailed, still in a very Ub Iwerks-ian rubber-hose style... The character of Mickey [Mouse] -- and the simple fact that he has a character, and isn't just the waving silent mascot of the last couple of decades of Disney -- will be surprising to most readers, but this mouse was a tough little guy, ready for both adventures and fun at any minute, and he's deeply enjoyable to read about." – Andrew Wheeler, The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

Tony Millionaire 1

Profile: The Portland Mercury's Matt Stangel catches up with Tony Millionaire on working the illustrator's beat (as documented in 500 Portraits): "'Making a living off comics is almost impossible,' says Millionaire, musing on the illustration work that's kept him fed through the years."

Peter Bagge

Interview: Here's a Q&A with Peter Bagge en Español at El Cultural (via Entrecomics)

Fantagraphics Books logo - shield emblem by Daniel Clowes

Plugs: Graphic Policy, who broke our well-received response to SOPA yesterday, suggests supporting us for our public stance on the bill by buying some recommended titles

Nancy is in the building
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Ernie BushmillerComing Attractions 12 Jan 2012 7:13 PM

Nancy Is Happy

Just arrived via FedEx this evening, the first advance copy of Nancy Is Happy: Complete Dailies 1943-1945 by Ernie Bushmiller! We're all pawing at it excitedly, admiring Jacob Covey's above-and-beyond design job. Wait'll you see it, folks, seriously.

Athos in America by Jason - Previews, Pre-Order
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under videopreviewsnew releasesJason 11 Jan 2012 11:25 PM

Athos in America by Jason

Athos in America
by Jason

196-page full-color 6.5" x 8.75" hardcover • $24.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-478-8

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

Another all-original collection of full-color graphic novellas in the format of Low Moon, Athos in America takes its title from the lead story, a prequel of sorts to the graphic novel The Last Musketeer, in which the seemingly ageless swashbuckler turns up in a bar in 1920 New York and relates the tale of how he went to Hollywood to play himself in a film version of The Three Musketeers. Another tie-in with a previous Jason story occurs in “The Smiling Horse,” in which the characters from the story “&” in Low Moon attempt to kidnap a woman.

Also in this volume: “The Brain That Wouldn’t Virginia Woolf,” a mashup of The Brain That Wouldn’t Die and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, told in reverse chronological order; the Bukowski pastiche “A Cat From Heaven” in which Jason works on his comic, has a reading in a comic book store, gets drunk and makes a fool of himself; the dialogue-free (all the text occurs in thought balloons) “Tom Waits on the Moon,” in which we follow four people (one of them a scientist working on a teleportation machine) until something goes wrong; and “So Long Mary Ann,” a prison-escape love-triangle story.

Download and read a PDF excerpt with 4 pages from each of 5 stories (2.3 MB). Read the first 5 pages of the title story at Robot 6.

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

Athos in America + Low Moon

Exclusive Savings: Buy Athos in America together with Jason's previous collection of original short stories Low Moon and save 20% (that's 10 bucks!) off the combined cover prices! Click here to order.

Daily OCD: 1/11/12
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Olivier SchrauwenMartiJasonGary GrothGahan WilsonDaily OCDBest of 2011 11 Jan 2012 5:33 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

The Man Who Grew His BeardThe Cabbie Vol. 1Nuts

List: Atomic Books asked comics editor/publisher Ryan Standfest for his Top 10 Comics of 2011, a list which includes The Man Who Grew His Beard by Olivier Schrauwen...

"A remarkable mélange of humor, silent interludes, beautiful pacing, coloration and composition. This is one to re-read."

...The Cabbie Vol. 1 by Marti...

"A reprint that reminds everyone of the neo-noir adventures of 'The Cabbie,' delivered with a great, black, deadpan sense of humor."

...and Nuts by Gahan Wilson:

"You want a great book that places you directly inside the psyche of a small boy confronting an insane adult world? This is it."

Prison Pit Book 3

List: Graphic Eye asks comics creator Ed Luce (Wuvable Oaf) for his Best of 2011, which includes Johnny Ryan's Prison Pit Book 3 at #2: "The Prison Pit series has produced some of the best gay erotic comics in recent memory (particularly Book One), without consciously setting out to do so. It could easily be subtitled 'A Complex Cycle of Penetration and Regeneration.' Johnny pumps this hyper-masculine orgy of violence and sex so far beyond bursting, it can't help but tip over to the queer side. It is a prison, after all."

Jason Conquers America

Plug: "...Fantagraphics’s Jason Conquers America one shot from last month... [has] got interviews with Jason, his colorist Hubert, some great Jason fan art, and more. Good stuff." – The Secret Headquarters

Fantagraphics Books logo - shield emblem by Daniel Clowes

Policy: The Graphic Policy blog asked Gary Groth for his statement on Fantagraphics' position on SOPA, the so-called Stop Online Policy Act (we're agin' it)

Video profile: Meet Joost Swarte
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under videoJoost Swarteinterviews 11 Jan 2012 12:28 PM

Now that you've seen the previews of our collection of Joost Swarte's comics Is That All There Is?, perhaps you would like to know more about the artist and his other work. Here's a nice brief English-language video profile commissioned by DutchDFA that spotlights not only Swarte's comics but some of his work in illustration, design and architecture, with a glimpse inside his drool-inducing studio space.

First Look at the First Beer of the Apocalypse
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under merchCharles Burns 11 Jan 2012 12:21 AM

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 6:44 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 4:19 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

Is That All There Is? by Joost Swarte - Previews, Pre-Order
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under videopreviewsnew releasesJoost Swarte 10 Jan 2012 1:06 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 8:29 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


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