The chest rackiest cough of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review: Andy Shaw reviews Chris Wright's Blacklungon Grovel. "The characters have enormous depth, and the book explores interesting themes on the nature of violence. It’s particularly strong on class structure, exploring the different levels of what’s acceptable to different people in different walks of life…While extremely dark this is definitely one of the most sophisticated horror books I’ve read in some time."
• Review: Blacklung by Chris Wright makes another best of list on Comic Book Resources. Greg Burgas writes "Wright’s pirate comic is a strange animal – it’s extremely graphic, both violently and sexually, yet it’s a bizarre meditation on religion and good and evil, all with characters who don’t look quite human.… Blacklung is a comic that deserves a lot of thought, so you might as well read it and think about it!"
• Review: Page 45 looks at Problematic by Jim Woodring. And "whilst there is indeed the odd everyday observation, the vast majority of it is Frank-related musings, thumbnails and roughs," pens Jonathan Rigby.
• Review:Page 45 enjoys the newest Richard Sala book, Delphine. "Truly this is the stuff of nightmares: a frantic evocation of being lost, misled and out of your depth in surroundings which barely make sense – except when they do after which you dearly wish that they hadn’t," says Stephen L. Holland.
• Plug:Graham Chaffee's Good Dog was singled out on Wired to be one of THE books of 2013. "The world does not have nearly enough graphic novels told from the perspective of adorable dogs. Let alone graphic novels that have a good chance of making you feel delighted on one page, then maybe like you might cry a little bit on the next page…it has all the polish and purpose borne by most books put out by fancy-pants publisher Fantagraphics," writes Erik Henriksen.
• Review: Page 45 enjoys Castle Waiting Vol. 1 (softcover) by Linda Medley. "Life in these stories gently flows along at the same pace as the early Bone stories, and the timing is as perfect as Linda’s art is impeccable…From what appear to be stock fairy-tale archetypes, Medley creates life and energy," writes Tom Rosin.
• Review: Johanna Draper Carlson of Comic Worth Reading reads I Love Led Zeppelin after catching Ellen Forney fever with Marbles. "it’s an entertaining, spicy read. For me, it provided new context for the background behind her story, fleshing out a decadent life in strong, distinctive lines."
Coming back into print in a new softcover edition after being sold out for a few years, it's The Cat on a Hot Thin Groove, the super-snazzy collection of the great Gene Deitch's super-jazzy cartoons & illustrations for Record Changer magazine 1945-1951. All spiffed up from its original release 10 years ago and sporting a ginchy new cover design, this oversized art book is off to the printer for release later this Spring. If you dig mid-century art & design, this book is a must for your Noguchi coffee table! Why not pre-order your copy now?
Fantagraphics continues its line of acclaimed literary manga with new classic Nijigahara Holograph by Inio Asano. As society slowly spirals into darkness an unexplained explosion in the butterfly population is just the first of many curiosities in the town where rumors of a creature in a tunnel under the school spread like wildfire. A curse haunts the town as the story follows the scapegoat, Arié, who is plunged into the tunnel's horrors and offered up to the creature. Many other characters harbor secrets, grudges, suicidal thoughts, and the physical scars of battles lost. How are they all linked and can the citizens of the town live with what they've done as the years creep by? Asano's mysticism and slow terror take over the town in the span of a decade as told in two timelines.
NijigaharaHolograph is scheduled for release in February 2014 and Asano joins Shimura Takako (Wandering Son) and Moto Hagio (The Heart of Thomas, A Drunken Dream and Other Stories) in the Fantagraphics line of premium manga by the world's greatest cartoonists. Translated by Matt Thorn, this 200 page book of beautiful black and white comics will be printed in gorgeous hardcover edition and presented in original "right to left" manga style for an authentic reading experience. Inio Asano's previous translated works include Solanin and What a Wonderful World and he continues to create new work in Japan as one of the young voices of his generation.
* Other People's Publications ** Yeah, You Know Me.
If you're "friends" with Johnny Ryan on Facebook, chances are you've seen quite a few of these drawings before: in 2012, he waged a six-month-long artistic-battle against Frédéric Fleury (founder of Frederic Magazine), with each gentleman retaliating with drawings even more obscene than the one before it!
Italian publisher The Milan Review has collected their illustrated insults into this fine 140-page book (140 pages?! Wow, guys...), which we now have in stock at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery! Is this the most penises ever drawn in one comic book? I'm inclined to believe it is!
You can choose from two covers: “America Wins!” by Johnny or “France Wins!” by Frédéric.
The Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale Street in Seattle's Georgetown district. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone: (206) 658-0110.
Working in comic books for just over a decade in the 1940s and '50s, Bernard Krigstein applied all the craft, intelligence, and ambition of a burgeoning "serious" artist, achieving results that remain stunning to this day. While his legend rests mostly on his landmark narratives created for EC Comics, dozens of stories for lesser publishers equally showcase his singular draftsmanship and radical reinterpretation of the comics page.
Harvey and Eisner Award-winning Krigstein biographer Greg Sadowski has assembled the very best of the artist’s work, starting with his earliest creative rumblings, through his glory days at EC, to his final daring experiments for Stan Lee’s Atlas Comics — running through nearly every genre popular at the time, be it horror, science fiction, war, western, or romance.
This edition reprints the out-of-print 2004 hardcover B. Krigstein Comics, with a number of stories re-tooled and improved in terms of reproduction, and several new stories added. Legendary EC colorist Marie Severin, in her last major assignment before her retirement, recolored 20 stories for this edition. The remainder has been taken from printed comics, digitally restored with subtlety and restraint. Original art pages, photostats from Krigstein's personal archives, and an extensive set of historical and editorial notes by Sadowski round out this compelling volume.
Ever since we first got our hands on the original German edition of Ulli Lust's highly-acclaimed Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life (winner of the 2011 Angoulême "Revelation" prize), we've known we wanted to publish the English version. Now that's a big step closer to actuality as we've just sent the files, with Kim Thompson's translation, off to the printer. In this autobiographical tale, told with a keen eye for events, environments and emotions, Lust traces the steps of her teenage self and her wild friend Edi as they hitchhike across Italy one summer, a trip fraught with sex, drugs and some violence, and all the danger and excitement they entail. The book is due in April — previews are in the works, and pre-order is on now.
Fantagraphics and comiXology are ready to show you something fit for a kid or any fan of Gilbert Hernandez! The Adventures of Venus is super-affordable little book collects all the previously uncollected “Venus” stories from Measles in which Luba’s niece creates and collects comic books, walks through a scary forest, plays soccer, schemes to get the cute boy she likes, laments the snowlessness of a California Christmas, catches measles, and travels to a distant planet (OK, the last one may be a dream). Plus a new story done just for this book!
Pick up this lovely little read at comiXology today and continue to read the Palomar series about Venus, Luba and the rest of the family.
"I love that this graphic novel is full of characters from different cultures with different appearances. Venus and her sister live with their bodybuilder-like mom and no dad, Venus's rival, Gilda Gonzalez, is Hispanic and her crush, Yoshio, is Asian. It's refreshing to see all these different types of people together and getting along normally." – Sheena McNeil, Sequential Tart
We're busily working away on Volume 7, covering the years 1949 and 1950, which we expect to have out in May or June, trying to catch up from the slightly delayed Volume 6, and thereby aiming for three volumes this year. (By the way, our Free Comic Book Day comic for this year will feature an advance excerpt from Volume 7. Be sure to grab one -- if only to see how we managed to break down Foster's lush, oversized tabloid pages to comic book format.)
With the exception of the occasional pin-up-style shot of Princess Aleta (which are pretty hot, actually), Prince Valiant has always been considered a rather staid, conservative strip, but Val/Foster expert Brian Kane (author of a fascinating article about Foster's treatment of North American natives in the current volume, and of course the wonderful Prince Valiant Companion) pointed out two panels from the upcoming volume that suggest that Mr. Foster may have had a wicked sense of humor. In this sequence from 1950, young Arf is smitten with a "maid with flaming hair and eyes of blue" as he almost falls out of a tree. For his clothing to drape so that the pommel of his sword creates a huge bulge in the fabric in one panel can be dismissed as a graphic happenstance. But to see Arf back on ground with the end of his sword still "pitching a tent" is maybe a little... eyebrow-raising.
Well, maybe we're just seeing things. But as Fredric Wertham famously wrote, "In ordinary comic books, there are pictures within pictures for children who know how to look."
The gnarliest gnome of Online Commentaries and Diversions:
• Review: Zack Davisson of Comics Bulletin reads the weighty Castle Waiting Vol 1 (softcover) by Linda Medley. "It is whimsical, unexpected, packed with a deep knowledge of folklore and fairytales, irreverent, interesting and a whole lot of other adjectives that add up to something great… I would rank it up there with Bone in terms of just being a sheer delight to read…I'm a 40-year old guy, and I don't really see gender issues coming into play here -- Castle Waiting is just a great comic, with interesting characters and an addictive story for everyone who likes charm and wit and fantasy."
• Review: Richard Sala's latest fairy tale of woe Delphine gets a starred review from Publishers Weekly. "…Sala’s era-conflating fairy tale is coated in the kind of atmosphere the artist is known for: a creepy, gnarled darkness that evokes German Expressionism, Universal horror films of the 1930s, and secrets hiding in dank old mansions and haunted forests."
• Review: The Hidden by Richard Sala is reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux on I Reads You."This graphic novel is essentially a parable about ethical-free, morality-light, cutting-edge science. Why do anything? Why play God? The answer to both questions is 'because we can.' 'Damn the consequences' is The Hidden’s unspoken refrain."
• Plug: Chris Mautner of Robot 6 writes the list for the 6 Most Criminially Ignored Books of 2012. Carol Tyler's You'll Never Know Book 3: Soldier's Heart lands on the list. "While Tyler’s discursive, homey storytelling style might not appeal to everyone, she proves in these pages she is a cartoonist capable of producing sequences of exquisite beauty and deep emotional heft. It’s a book — and a series — that deserves more attention than it’s gotten so far."
• Plug: Paul Gravatt releases his Best of 2012 list and for Best Autobiography/Biography..."in the end what floored me, in its level of craft and care, complexity and clarity, was the third and final book of Carol Tyler’s You’ll Never Know."
• Review: The Complete Syndicated Pogo Vol. 2 "Bona Fide Balderdash" gets reviewed by the Chicago Tribune. Michael Robbins trills on about Walt Kelly, "As brilliant as Kelly's political satire is, it's only one reason 'Pogo' might be the greatest comic strip of all time (its only rivals are 'Krazy Kat' and 'Peanuts,' both of which Fantagraphics has also been reprinting in gorgeously designed editions)."
• Review:Bookgasm doubles their pleasure by reading TWO of our EC books. JT Lindroos starts with Corpse on the Imjin! by Harvey Kurtzman. "The ability of Kurtzman to have conflicting viewpoints to the myriad stories and situations within this volume is what makes it so rich." Lindroos continues onto Came the Dawn by Wallace Wood, "His line is much more precise and realistic than anything in the Kurtzman volume, but he has a flair for a dynamic layout and positioning of characters that pulls the art to the kind of pulpy mayhem for which EC is best known."
• Plug: Chris Mautner of Robot 6 writes the list for the 6 Most Criminially Ignored Books of 2012. Malcom McNeill'sThe Lost Art of Ah Pook is on there. "Ten or 20 years ago the release of an long-lost and unfinished comic by [William Burroughs] would generate a lot more heat than the release of this work…did. Perhaps now that comics have garnered more respect from the outside world, this sort of thing impresses us a lot less…Still, there’s some amazing, hallucinatory imagery here (and in McNeill’s companion memoir, Observed While Falling), to marvel at and make you wish the project had reached some better form of completion."
• Interview: Tom Kaczynski of Beta Testing the Apocalypse is interviewed on Rumpus by Greg Hunter and answers deep questions like "throughout the book we see instances of an object or system standing in for an even larger system—worlds upon worlds of simulacra. Do you believe in any sort of binary between authentic and inauthentic modes of experience?"
• Interview (audio): Ross Reynolds of KUOW interviews Jaime Hernandez on the secret to 30 Years of Love and Rockets. Did you know BLUE FOOD was a title in the running for L&R? Jaime mentions the influence of the punk movement and DIY culture on their work.
• Review:Comic Book Daily reads the masterful Carl Barks stories in Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge: Only a Poor Old Man. Anthony Falcone states "I would like to see more companies take Fantagraphics’ approach to the reproduction and presentation of material.…These are true 'all-ages' stories that can be enjoyed by adults and with your children at story time."
• Plug: Kuriousity plugged Moto Hagio's The Heart of Thomas as it "is probably the best example of the earliest of boys’ love works. It helped define the genres of shoujo and boys’ love as we know them today, and I couldn’t wish for anything more substantial as a starting point," writes Lissa Pattillo.
• Plug:Spacehawk by Basil Wolverton gets the hi-how-are-ya? from the D&Q Bookstore. Jade says "This is one cool book folks, with intense colors, funny looking characters, and very weird plots…Even the end papers are extraordinary!"
• Plug: Holy hot suit, did you see Lorenzo Mattotti's NEW YORKER cover? Damn. If you like that, check out his most recent graphic novel The Crackle of the Frost (written by Jorge Zentner) or 2011's Stigmata (written by Claudio Piersanti).
• Plug: Maria Popova's Brain Pickings features animation and comics pages from Lilli Carré's Heads or Tails which is "a sublime collection of Carré’s short story comics from the past five years, was published last November and is an absolute treat."
• Plug: All About Jazz looks at Kevin Avery's Everything is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson. "Avery's account of Nelson's life reveals an almost claustrophobic existence of the writer in general…Paul Nelson may have only been equaled by Greil Marcus for sheer love of music and music writing. He went entirely too gently into that good night, leaving the majority of us in the shadows…" writes C. Michael Bailey.
• Plug: Harriet Staff of the Poetry Foundation reads The Last Vispo edited by Nico Vassilakis and Craig Hill. "… the anthology highlights the way the digital and computerized tools of visual poetry are transforming not only visual poetry, but how we experience all poetry," notes Staff and Alison Watkins.
• Plug: TV superstar Lena Dunham's ideal bookshelf on Vulture includes Daniel Clowes' Ghost World.
• Plug: Buzzfeed cracks open Sean T Collins' David Bowie sketchbook and out jumps some of your favorite artists: Tom Kaczynski, Michael Kupperman, Jaime Hernandez, Gilbert Hernandez, Gary Panter, Charles Burns and Johnny Ryan. GO LOOK!
Hal Foster's masterpiece of adventure enters its second decade as Valiant and Aleta journey to "The New World," a 16-month epic that allows Foster to draw some of his spectacular native Canadian backgrounds, and during which Aleta gives birth to Arn and acquires her Indian nurse, Tillicum. Most of the rest of the book is taken up with the action-packed five-month sequence "The Mad King," during which Val, back at Camelot, confronts the evil, fat little King Tourien of Cornwall.
This volume is rounded off with an essay by Foster scholar Brian M. Kane (The Prince Valiant Companion) discussing Foster's depiction of "Indians" as it relates to other interpretations of the times, accompanied by various graphic goodies including our most spectacular bonus feature yet — a double-sized fold-out page reproducing a strip hand-colored by Foster — plus a previously unpublished camping cartoon by Foster from circa 1915, some of Foster's Mountie paintings, Foster's own map of Val's voyage to/from the New World, and more rare photos and art.
As always, this volume is shot directly from Foster's personal collection of syndicate proofs, their glorious colors restored to create an unprecedentedly sumptuous reading experience.
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