Thanks to Mome and Comics Journal contributor Noah Van Sciver for sending me the new issue of his self-published comic Blammo after I half-jokingly entreated him to. I'm happy to report that it's a real good read! There's something for everyone: an excellent character study of a juggalo loser; heartfelt self-deprecating autobio stuff; weirdo funny-animals; ultraviolent action pitting punk rockers vs. giant lizards; and the proverbial much more. Noah's artwork is appealingly sketchy and hits all the right notes. If you have a hankering for the golden age of alternative comics and the one-person-anthology periodical, Blammo will hit the spot.
• Review: "His wordless tale filled with an eerie landscape and creatures that are both familiar and horrifyingly alien evokes dread and mystery. Equal parts parable, fable and surreal (and perhaps at times unfathomable) vision, Weathercraft further cements Woodring's reputation as one of the true geniuses of comics." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
• Review: "The pace of this tale [Billy Hazelnuts and the Crazy Bird] is relentless; once Millionaire pushes you down the hill you don’t stop for many miles, and you’ll hit many bumps along the way…it’s one of the most fun stories I’ve read in quite some time, full of humor and odd characters and vividly realized by Millionaire’s art... ...[I]f you like high-spirited and whimsical fun, I think this is as good an example of that as any you might come across." – Johnny Bacardi, Popdose
• Plugs: "The two new Fantagraphics releases are both highly recommended, envelope-pushing works of art — the wordless Weathercraftfollows Manhog through Jim Woodring's psychedelic and symbolically substancial alternate universe... while Wally Gropius is a clever, absurd, funny and offputting work that evokes 1950s teenage humor comics with a twist (make that a bunch of twists actually). ... Wally Gropius is a book you'll come back to often, in hopes of getting it more and more each time. ...Weathercraft is a haunting, beautiful and epic story..." – 211 Bernard (Librairie Drawn & Quarterly)
10:00-11:00 Publishing Comics— Four publishers—Matt Gagnon (BOOM!), Gary Groth (Fantagraphics), Dallas Middaugh (Del Rey Manga), and Mark Siegel (First Second Books) -- each from a different part of the comics industry, discuss what's involved in running a publishing company and in creating and fostering a unique comics ideology. Moderated by Graeme McMillan (Techland). Room 8
10:30-11:30 Spotlight on Moto Hagio— Comic-Con special guest Moto Hagio is considered to be the mother of shōjo (young girl) manga. Her large body of work is renowned the world over, and Fantagraphics Books is publishing a new collection of her short stories, Drunken Dreams. Celebrate her first-ever visit to the U.S. at this special Q&A session, moderated by Matt Thorn, associate professor in the department of manga production at Kyoto Seika University in Japan. (Thorn decided to translate shōjo manga into English after reading Thomas no Shinzō by Moto Hagio in the mid-1980s). Room 5AB
12:00-1:00 Spotlight on C. Tyler— Comic-Con special guest C. Tyler is known for her personal brand of storytelling. Her latest book, You'll Never Know, Book 1: A Good and Decent Man chronicles the story of her father's life during World War II and interweaves it with her own story. Fantagraphics publisher Gary Groth interviews Tyler about her work. Room 4
2:00-3:00 Graphic Novels: The Personal Touch— You know when you read it: that certain something that sticks out in a graphic novel. It's the personal touch, a work that draws on the life of the creator or the people around him or her. Call the work autobiographical, call it reality—many times it results in truly personal and inspiring comics. Comics creator and journalist Shaenon Garrity (Narbonic, Skin Horse) talks to Comic-Con special guests Gabrielle Bell (Cecil & Jordan in New York), Howard Cruse (Stuck Rubber Baby), Vanessa Davis (Make Me a Woman), Larry Marder (Beanworld), Jillian Tamaki (Skim), and C. Tyler (You'll Never Know Book 1: A Good and Decent Man) about their very personal work. Room 4
2:00-3:00 Peanuts Turns 60— On October 2, 1950 the Peanuts comic strip launched in seven American newspapers. Little did anyone know the impact this comic strip would have around the world for decades to come. Nearly 60 years later, Peanuts appears in over 2,200 newspapers, in 75 countries and 21 languages. The animated specials have become a seasonal tradition and thousands of consumer products are available in every country around the world. Moderator Jerry Beck (animation historian/cartoon producer/consulting producer to Warner Bros., Universal, and Disney), Comic-Con special guest Jeannie Schulz (widow of Peanuts creator Charles Schulz), Paige Braddock (creative director of Charles M. Schulz's studio in Santa Rosa), Andy Beall (fix animation lead for Ratatouille, Wall-E, UP), Stephan Pastis (creator of Pearls Before Swine), and Marge Dean (general manager, W!ldbrain Animation Studios), present an in-depth foray into the work of Charles M. Schulz and what new things fans can look out for from Peanuts. Warner Premiere is joining the celebration with a sneak peek of something all new from Peanuts that fans won't want to miss. Room 25ABC
3:00-4:00 Spotlight on Émile Bravo— Eisner Award 2010 nominee -- three nominations for My mommy is in America and she met Buffalo Bill (Fanfare/Ponent Mon) -- and Comic-Con special guest Émile Bravo makes an illustrated presentation: "Graphic Writing, Comics as Calligraphy," with Michele Foschini (BAO Publishing, Italy) and Stephen Vrattos (Captain Gravity; www.heroesinmycloset.com), followed by a Q&A. Room 4
3:30-4:30 Comics Design— How do pages of art become a book? Six designers -- Mark Chiarello (DC Comics), Adam Grano (Fantagraphics), Chip Kidd (Random House), Fawn Lau (VIZ), Mark Siegel (First Second Books), and Keith Wood (Oni Press)—discuss what's involved in the process of comics design, and the importance of design to a book's critical and consumer reception. Moderated by Chris Butcher (The Beguiling). Room 26AB
• Interview:The A.V. Club's Jason Heller talks to Jim Woodring about Weathercraft and his career in comics: "It still is a bit of a hustle, to be honest. I really never know what I’m going to be doing or how I’m going to be making money. It’s the life I chose for myself, so I’m used to it, and I can handle it. But sometimes I sit back and think, 'You know, how am I making a living here? I don’t even know what’s going on.'"
• Feature:The Guardian's Alex Rayner on the Significant Objects project: "The texts are good. Meg Cabot's acutely phrased teen tale reads like the perfect high-school diary entry, William Gibson's ashtray anecdote is filled with military-industrial intrigue, Sheila Heti pours a lot of sexual frustration into a miniature porcelain Cape Cod souvenir shoe, and Neil LaBute's golden-bunny-candle narrative is as sinister as you'd expect."
The Beat reports that Jon Vermilyea (along with Matt Furie and Louie Cordero) has a wallet (correction: two of 'em!) coming out from Poketo, along with comics and prints. We'll have more info as it becomes available.
Good heavens, look who's blogging! It's Jason, posting sketches and new pages like this one from his current work in progress, a book of short stories in the format of Low Moon. We'll bring you updates in our Things to See posts, but you'd be crazy not to bookmark it yourself!
• Review: "Exploration, thankfully, is precisely what Weathercraft is all about. Woodring’s latest graphic novel is a deep exploration of Unifactor, through looking glasses, behind tears in the world’s fabric, under sea and into space, this time all experienced through the beady eyes of Frank’s principle antagonist, Manhog." – Brian Heater, The Daily Cross Hatch
• Interview: At Newsarama, Michael C. Lorah discusses Weathercraft with Jim Woodring: "This is Manhog’s book. He’s a more interesting character than Frank in a lot of ways. He’s deep, whereas Frank is bottomless."
• Review: "Fantagraphics has done the world the great service of reprinting Basil Wolverton's Culture Corner... [T]hese strips will delight any Wolverton fan with their characteristic doggerel, gratuitous violence, and slapstick humor that pokes fun at the American self-improvement genre. ... [T]he Fantagraphics edition is well worth the price: it's a handsomely bound item, augmented with the sketches and a nice essay by Wolverton's son." – Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing
• Review: "Foster’s humorous, quick-moving stories charge relentlessly forward. ... Whether Val is plotting a way to upend a larger force or enjoying good times with old friends, Foster’s twist-laden narrative comes across with a casual warmth, as if telling of merry adventures around a campfire. Similarly, Foster’s detailed renderings enforce the earthy grounding of Prince Valiant and his cohorts. ... The artistry, the witty and creative plot twists, and the evocative and charming characters all make for a truly timeless, and utterly enjoyable adventure comic strip experience. Any reader who appreciates the innocent high adventure of yore needs to get on board with Hal Foster’s Prince Valiant." - Michael C. Lorah, Newsarama
• Interview: Mark L. Miller of Ain't It Cool News discusses Werewolves of Montpellier with Jason: "The opening concept, the guy who dresses up as a werewolf and then is chased by real werewolves, I had in my mind a long time. I thought it was a fun, silly concept. But something was missing. It was only when I got the idea to mix it with an Audrey Hepburn movie that the story really took off."
• Interview in the future:Matt Thorn wants to know what you'd like him to ask Moto Hagio at her spotlight panel at Comic-Con
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