|Written by Eric Reynolds | Filed under misc||14 Jul 2009 6:24 AM|
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Archive >> July 2009
Back to the Online Commentary & Diversions:
• Review: "[Fletcher] Hanks' groove, taken back to back like this, is unsettling... It can be downright creepy. Generally, when you talk about a comic auteur's 'issues,' you're talking page count, not whether he has his head screwed on straight. It's multiplied by Hanks' art style, which at first seems crude but is actually quite stylized and consistent. Many images, such as troupes of unfortunates flying in hurtling, screaming weightlessness, have the impact of nightmares... And the twisted comics universe once inhabited by Fletcher Hanks is eerie and unsettling, and fascinating in what it reveals about the man with the pen." - Burl Burlingame, Honolulu Star-Bulletin
• Review: "Tales Designed to Thrizzle Vol. 1, [Michael] Kupperman's recent collection, is brimming with such a dense compilation of Dada-inspired plots, fake ads and comic book covers that it takes a repeated read-through to absorb the book's potent aura of absurdity... Reading Thrizzle is an expeditious experience, and like all treks you will feel exhausted and somehow improved by this entire gut-busting experience... Tales Designed to Thrizzle is beyond recommendation..." - Ascot Smith, examiner.com
• Review: "Jason is one of the relatively few working artists that even a jaded, cynical, complain-first critic like me will happily declare a true master cartoonist, without reservation. Jason is—how to put this?—good. Really, really, really good... So, Low Moon? It’s Jason. It’s new. It’s obviously really, really good, you know?" - J. Caleb Mozzocco, Newsarama
• Review: "Low Moon takes 'funny animals' comics in a disturbingly deadpan direction. The bipedal canines and birds that populate these five short tales somehow convey with their blank eyes, flat expressions and minimal movements a whole seething current of emotional subtext. The title story, first serialized in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, mixes Gary Cooper frontier heroics with chess, and it is no less strange or hilarious than the other vignettes, which play with tropes lifted from science fiction, film noir and Jazz Age romance." - "The Best in Comic Books," Michael Berry, San Francisco Chronicle
• Review: "The new Prince Valiant crackles from the page with an energy and enthusiasm that positively dares anyone to deny this strip’s rightful place in the history of the form. Yes, this is another great day for comics history and most definitely a venture worth supporting into the future." - Guttergeek
• Review: "Uptight #3 -- This comic book made me nuts... Look how goddamned beautiful that cover is... That cover illustrates the first part of a new story Crane is working on, 'Vicissitude,' and Holy Jesus it is one of the best stories I've read this year. I'm a tough sell when it comes to out-and-out fiction in comics, but the unbelievably compelling artwork totally drew me into this fantastic story... damn if that cover and those first few, tantalizing pages aren't like some new, more addictive form of crack cocaine you ingest through your eyeballs. By looking at this comic book. God DAMN, I want more 'Vicissitude.' Don't let another day go by without making sure you're getting Uptight #3." - Alan David Doane
• Interview: "I've long felt Peter Bagge is a significant figure in American comedy in addition to deserving his lofty stature in alternative comics, and I'll interview him any chance I get." - Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter; "I was never allowed to play fast and lose with the truth, much to my occasional creative chagrin! Other than that they allowed me to express myself pretty freely, even if some folks on their staff disagreed with some of the points I was making." - Peter Bagge, from the interview, discussing the Reason editiorial process
• Plug: "I don’t always agree with [Peter Bagge's] position [in Everybody Is Stupid Except for Me], but his exploration is always great. And hearing other opinions and positions (especially well-informed like his), is almost always worthwhile." - Corey Blake
• Plugs: "I am slowly making my way through three recent reprints from Fantagraphics... the three books in question are Humbug, Blazing Combat, and Prince Valiant. Humbug’s easily the best of the three, as it includes so many all-time great cartoonists (Kurtzman, Jaffee, Elder, etc.) at the peak of their powers and ambitions, but the other two are worthwhile, too. With people like Wood, Toth, and Heath involved, I knew the art would be fantastic in Blazing Combat, but I’ve been surprised at the quality of Archie Goodwin’s writing... it’s much more satisfying than expected. I’ve barely begun with Prince Valiant... So far, it’s much more fluid and enjoyable than I would’ve guessed — beautiful work..." - guest columnist Timothy Hodler (Comics Comics), Robot 6
• Events: The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin reports that a new Peanuts exhibit, "Snoopy as the World War I Flying Ace," just opened at the Museum of History and Art in Ontario, CA (via The Daily Cartoonist)
• Things to see (and buy in the future): Some teasers for the next batch of Stinckers are debuting. Do you like Johnny Ryan? Do you like horror movies? Then Johnny has a sneak peek for you. And the Stinckers blog gives a glimpse of Esther Pearl Watson's Unlovable series!
Aieee! We've fallen so behind on things that we've been neglecting our weekly webcomics updates for a while now. Our apologies to our readers and to the wonderful artists who agreed so generously to let us present their work. But enough groveling, here's a brand new batch!
Picking up where we left off: Chubby's horror is our horror in this week's installment of Steven Weissman's in-progress pages from "Blue Jay," an epic 51-page story from Chocolate Cheeks, the next collection of the Yikes! gang's adventures....
From Wonderland with Love: Danish Comics in the Third Millennium
In all the excitement over manga from Japan and bandes dessinées from France, it’s easy to forget that other countries have a thriving comics culture all their own. This eye-popping anthology, assembled by Danish publisher/editor/ translator Steffen P. Maarup, introduces adventurous readers to 19 exciting talents, most of whom are taking their first bow on the English-speaking stage.
One centerpiece of the book is Nikoline Werdelin’s stunning “Because I Love You So Much,” a Doonesbury-style slice-of-life daily strip about a suburban Danish couple who discover their daughter is being molested — is it happening at her daycare center, or, horrifyingly, closer to home? Other major revelations include Julie Nord’s elegantly drawn “From Wonderland With Love” (which gives the collection its title), a modernistic riff on Alice in Wonderland, and Ib Kjeldsmark’s “Sloth,” a riotously punk-inflected day-glo duo-toned road trip.
The book also spotlights the snarky and surreal single-panel work and gags by HuskMitNavn, Christoffer Zieler, and Johan F. Krarup; the visually explosive silent comics of Mårdøn Smet and Peter Kielland; cover artist T. Thorhauge’s spectacular philosophical piece “M”; and many other stories in a wide variety of styles from the sinister black and white Lynchian surrealism of Simon Bukhave’s wooden robot story “All that I Hold in My Hand” to the watercolored animal-fable extravaganza “Tomb of the Rabbit King” by Allan Haverholm, from Søren Mosdal and Jacob Ørsted’s meticulously delineated and colored nightmare yarn “Dog God” to Zven Balslev’s slashing, black and white, Panter-esque “Cadarul Zombie.” Vibe Bredahl, Jan Solheim, Maria Isenbecker, Signe Parkins, Zven Balslev and G.R. Mantard round out the list of contributors to this smorgasbord (OK, that's actually Swedish) of exuberantly creative graphic narratives by Denmark's premier comics artists.
Heading into the weekend, here's your Online Commentary & Diversions:
• Review: "Carol Tyler’s You’ll Never Know [Book 1: A Good and Decent Man] mines similar territory to women graphic novelists before her -- the life of her father and its relationship to her own foibles -- and manages to make a work entirely her own, neither derivative nor overly familiar... with genuinely gorgeous illustration... It’s a gripping mix of biography and autobiography... There’s more for Tyler to explore in another volume, and she manages to make this one immensely satisfying on its own terms while alternately leaving you with anticipation for the next." - John E. Mitchell, North Adams Transcript
• Review: "...[Y]ou could do much, much, much, much, much, much worse than to spend 25 bucks and an inch on your bookshelf on yet agoddamnnother collection of murderously bleak and astonishingly well-executed high-concept existentialism [Low Moon], drawn with an unimpeachable clean line and colored like unto a thing of beauty. Time and time again during these five stories I was almost physically impacted by Jason's skill as a storyteller ...his skill and his bravado left me shaking my head with amusement and/or amazement time and time again. He's one of the best, as is this book." - Sean T. Collins
• Interview: Seth talks a bit about his design work for The Complete Peanuts in an interview with Alex Carr at Amazon's Omnivoracious blog. Sample quote: "The series was meant to be a setting for the jewel that is Schulz's masterpiece. I wanted to make sure that Schulz's work was treated with the utmost seriousness and dignity."
• Plug: In an interview with Robot 6, MoCCA Festival organizer Karl Erickson singles out Humbug's Arnold Roth & Al Jaffee and Mome's Derek Van Gieson & Sara Edward-Corbett as highlights of the 2009 festival
Fletcher Hanks was the first great comic book auteur. That is, he wrote, penciled, inked, and lettered all of his own stories. He completed an astonishing 48 stories in three years from 1939-1941. As a one-man-cartooning-band, his work packs the wallop of a unique and unified artistic vision. He was a true comics visionary. In the earliest days of the comic book, before censorship, it was “anything goes!” — and in the tales of Fletcher Hanks, anything went!
The superhero Stardust gazes down at evil-doers from space and doles out ice cold slabs of poetic justice with his wizardry. A villain out to kidnap all the heads of state gets turned into a giant head, himself… no body, just a head! The jungle protectress, Fantomah, looks like Jean Harlow in a skin-tight black negligee. But when she sees an evil scientist drugging gorillas to become slaves, her head transforms into a flaming skull and she tosses the villain to the gorillas who proceed to graphically tear the guy limb from ragged limb.
Although the early comic books were meant for the kiddies, today’s mature readers are stunned by their pop surrealism and outright violent mayhem. The first volume of Fletcher Hanks stories, I Shall Destroy All Civilized Planets! (in multiple printings) was an Eisner Award-winning smash hit and a staple on “Best of the Year” lists.
Comics fans were thrilled to come upon a cartoonist of this caliber whom they had never heard of before. Non-comics fans who read about the book in The Believer and other journals were stunned to discover an Outsider Artist in comic book form. Edited by cartoonist Paul Karasik (who also provides an insightful introduction), this second volume, You Shall Die By Your Own Evil Creation!, collects all of the rest of Hanks's comic book work. That’s right... ALL! The 31 tales in this book (more than TWICE as many as in the first), when combined with the first volume, comprise The Complete Fletcher Hanks!
Order this book from us and get an exclusive FREE bonus: Color Me or Die!!, a black-and-white Fletcher Hanks mini-comic with a cover illustration by Charles Burns (pictured here with the dashing Mr. Karasik)! You will receive one of three randomly selected cover colors: yellow, orange, or hot pink. This offer is only available direct from Fantagraphics!
Another short Online Commentary & Diversons update... I guess everyone's too busy talking about Wednesday Comics to pay attention to us, boo hoo:
• Review/Interview: Chris Beckett of On the Fly Publications/Warrior27 looks at two recent releases by Jason and has a brief Q&A with "one of the most exciting cartoonists working today." From the reviews: "I heartily recommend The Last Musketeer for any fan of fantastic adventure yarns as well as anyone who enjoys a refreshing character study with a very real emotional tug at one’s heartstrings. Check this book out... [I Killed Adolf Hitler] is a masterful story that can be read on more than one level, which is always appealing. [It] is unique and tender and will challenge any preconceptions one might have about the book." Jason, from the interview: "I started doing comics when I was around 13 years old, and at that age I didn't have a camera, I didn't have a typewriter, but I had paper and a pencil."
• Plug: "Rejoice, a new Peter Bagge collection hits the shelves today from Fantagraphics, Everybody Is Stupid Except for Me and Other Astute Observations. I do like Bagge’s sarcastic, satirical style, offset by his very cartoony characters." - Forbidden Planet International Blog Log
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The Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale St., Seattle WA 98108. Tel: 206-658-0110.