"I hope that the stories you have read in the Duck and Scrooge books have helped to give you a broader understanding of life, as well as entertainment. I always tried to write a story that I wouldn't mind buying myself. In my attempts to make comics worth 10¢ or 12¢ or 15¢ I seem to have produced some passages that were even worth remembering. If more of my readers grow up to sit in the Senate chamber than to sit in the gas chamber, I'll have been richly rewarded for trying to turn out a good product."
This week's comic shop shipment is slated to include the following new titles. Read on to see what comics-blog commentators and web-savvy comic shops are saying about them (more to be added as they appear), check out our previews at the links, and contact your local shop to confirm availability.
168-page black & white 7" x 9.25" softcover • $19.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-459-7
"A new edition of the long-out-of-print collection of Megan Kelso's early work, mostly from her self-published Girlhero series. I love Kelso's stuff — her book Artichoke Tales from last year is tremendous — and the neat thing about the short stories collected here is that you can watch the young Kelso surprising herself, testing out her power and interests, figuring out what kinds of stories she wants to tell and what her art looks like." – Douglas Wolk, Comics Alliance
208-page black & white/color 7" x 9.5" hardcover • $19.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-416-0
"A sophisticated and literary manga, addressing an important subject with a delicate touch — pretty much a guaranteed winner for me. That this book--about two transgendered teens coming to accept their identities and their place in the world--is also popularly and critically acclaimed, a bestseller in Japan, and has already spawned anime adaptations? Icing on the cake. Really looking forward to this!" – Chris Butcher, The Beguiling
"While most manga about cross-dressing involve lots of shrieking and embarrassment, Wandering Son takes a quieter, more introspective approach.... It's a very sweet manga with realistic characters — no dead parents or crazy teachers, just ordinary, loving families and supportive friends. This manga is a beautifully produced, hardcover book, and... it's worth every penny." – Brigid Alverson, MTV Geek
"If I had $30, the world becomes a brighter place, because now I can afford the first volume of Wandering Son ($19.99), Shimura Takakao’s quiet, sensitive story of a boy who wishes he was a girl and a girl who has already started dressing like a boy. Fantagraphics has produced this in a beautiful hardbound edition as part of their lit-manga line, and it’s a must-have." – Brigid Alverson (again), Robot 6
"This literary/alternative manga is about two 5th graders with a secret: one is a boy who wants to be a girl, the other is a girl who wants to be a boy." – Benn Ray (Atomic Books), Largehearted Boy
"CONFLICT OF INTEREST RESERVOIR: A new English-language hardcover release kicks off for artist Shimura Takako’s 11-books-and-counting chronicle of a boy that wants to be a girl and a girl that wants to be a boy with Wandering Son Vol. 1; $19.99. Also: a new edition of an early works collection for Megan Kelso with Queen of the Black Black; $19.99."
Oh lord, here comes Comic-Con! Robot 6's J.K. Parkin runs down the 20+ titles we'll be debuting (or at least selling pre-release copies of) at the big show in San Diego. Bring your wheelbarrow! (Note that there's still a question-mark on one or two of those titles pending confirmation from the printers. We'll be posting a definitive list of debuts, our signing schedule, and more information as the date approaches.)
• List:School Library Journal names Linda Medley's Castle Waiting Vol. 2 one of "39 Graphic Novels That Kids Can't Resist": "Both volumes of Castle Waiting are vivid and enchanting, as any good fairy tale should be. Handsomely bound and printed on rich, creamy paper, the most important element — the story — is charming, filled with slowly building plots and compelling characters, and the slow pace means readers can spend the summer hours with some good company.... With clean black-and-white art and impeccable pacing, Castle Waiting remains a favorite for older kids and younger teens."
• List: Rick Klaw's "Top Ten of the Half Year '11" at The Geek Curmudgeon includes Joe Daly's Dungeon Quest at #9 ("Littered with violence, inappropriate sexual innuendos, misguided bravado and infused with hilarity, Dungeon Quest... promises a uniquely entertaining graphic novel experience.") and 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente by Wilfred Santiago at #3 ("In this emotionally moving biography, the Puerto Rican Wilfred Santiago magnificently chronicles the often tragic life of this icon.... Santiago expertly traverses Clemente's tribulations, losses, and success with ease and skill. His portrayal of the baseball games rank among the finest ever attempted in this medium. Under the masterful hands of Santiago, 21 evolves into far more than just a biography of a sports figure. It showcases a life worth emulating.")
• Profile: "...21: The Story of Roberto Clemente... is drawn with a jagged whimsy that gets at the sudden sharpness of a baseball game's action, the frenzy that comes from out of nowhere to temporarily replace the long, slow stretches of waiting, scratching, spitting and eyeballing opponents that are endemic to the sport. The result is a captivating work that reflects the complexity of Clemente (1934-1972), a dedicated humanitarian as well as an uncommonly gifted athlete.... 'I knew the culture he came from, because I came from the same place,' [Wilfred] Santiago says. 'And there was a mythic aspect to him that was part of the story I wanted to tell. Comic books bring a different kind of narrative that's not possible in any other medium — not books, not movies.'" – Julia Keller, Chicago Tribune
• Review: "A little boy is mistaken for his older sister and is bewildered by the feeling that this stirs in him. Thus begins the story of the Wandering Son, a daring fairy-tale about two unusual children in the time before the riot of puberty and their struggles with who they are and who they want to be.... The artwork in Wandering Son is appealing and sensitive.... Wandering Son mercifully isn’t a political screed and its characters, equally mercifully, are not pressured into making political points out of their inner lives.... They are allowed under that protective charm 'kawaii' to explore their feelings and identity and are treated with the utmost compassion and dignity by their author. That makes Wandering Son a most compelling fantasy... Wandering Son chooses for the most part to dwell on the possibility of choice, of self-knowledge and the love of a friend who knows your secret." – Michael Arthur, The Hooded Utilitarian
• Review: At his High-Low blog, Rob Clough re-posts his Sequart review of the first 5 volumes of Mome: "I can't help thinking of Mome as the comics equivalent of a baseball farm league club. You know you're good if you're invited by the major league club to come on, but there's an expectation of getting better, of being productive, of working hard in order to become great. And the creators in this book seem to range across a wide variety of ages and levels of experience, much like a minor league baseball team. Some are raw rookies, others have been laboring in obscurity for years and are just now getting an opportunity at the big time."
• Interview:The Daily Cross Hatch's Brian Heater continues his conversation with Mome editor Eric Reynolds: "I don’t know if there’s an official reason. I just felt like the time had come. It had been over five years. I’m really happy with it. I’m proud of what we did. But at the same time, there are always compromises you make along the way. I felt I’d already run my course with it. I could have kept it going. I sort of set myself up with a template that was fairly easy to do, three or four times a year."
• Review: "Excellent quality reproduction of the cartoons, interesting texts...; a supreme book treatment by a 'bibliophile publisher': something that convinces even the most recalcitrant Disney collectors to buy something that they might already have seen and have read the contents of the first volume in multiple dressings and in multiple languages, and possess it in different forms." – Luca Boschi, Il Sole 24 Ore (translated from Italian)
• Plug: "Mickey Mouse 'Race to Death Valley' has the first MM strips from 1930-32 by Floyd Gottfredson, considered the finest of all the MM artists and much collected. Several complete episodes and a wonderful 68-page section devoted to essays, early Mickey artwork and special features. I'm eager to sit down and digest it all myself." – Bud Plant
• Review: "Schulz's jokes are fine; his characters are likable and instantly recognizable; and Peanuts is never dull. But, in these years, it settled for being a consistently entertaining standard comic strip rather than digging any more deeply than that into the sources of human sadness and discomfort." – Andrew Wheeler, The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.
• Plugs: The latest "Comics College" reader's guide from Chris Mautner at Robot 6 delves into George Herriman and Krazy Kat: "If you... want to dig deeper, the next logical choice is Fantagraphics’ lovely collection of Sunday strips, dubbed Krazy & Ignatz.... If all those books seem like too much shopping for you, Fantagraphics has collected much of the same material in two hardcovervolumes, with a presumed third one coming along the way sometime in the near future.... Fantagraphics has announced their intention to collect the daily Krazy Kat strips as well, but that’s down the line a bit. In the meantime, there are really only two ways to get a solid sampling of the daily strip, one of which is The Kat Who Walked in Beauty, an oversize tome that pairs together strips from the 1910s and 1920s, as well as some other Krazy-related ephemera."
• Plug: "Fantagraphics Books publishes one of my all-time favorites; Jason, short for John Arne Saerterøy. Jason’s animal people inhabit satirical but celebratory genre pieces. In about 50 pages, Jason’s The Last Musketeer tells the story of Athos, the last depressed musketeer in the 21st century. A meteor hits Paris, and Martians start invading. Before too long, Athos stows away to Mars to save the Martian princess in order to save Earth from total annihilation." – Victoria Elliott, The Daily Texan
"When you look at my stories in the comic books you'll see that I was trying to follow in the format that Gottfredson established, having Mickey and the other guys involved in funny situations at the same time as they were having serious problems. And [then] they solved their problems by funny means."
(Floyd Gottfredson on the left and Carl Barks on the right)
As we approach the release of the 22nd and final volume of MOME, this weekend I happened to read four recent tomes that assured me that the anthology format is alive and well, present company excepted. BLACK EYE is a remarkably well-curated and lovingly packaged book by editor Ryan Standfest, featuring a host of top notch cartoonists including some MOME regulars including Al Columbia, Olivier Schrawuen, Robert Goodin, Lilli Carré, and many others. SMOKE SIGNALS is the awesome tabloid newspaper produced by Gabe Fowler of Brooklyn's Desert Island Comics; it continues to get better and better and would be worth it for new Gerald Jablonski comics alone, but there's a slew of other great stuff as well (I particularly enjoyed seeing a great, new one-pager by Marcellus Hall). LINEWORK is a relatively new endeavor, the official anthology of the cartooning students of Columbia College in Chicago, as overseen by faculty advisor Ivan Brunetti. One of the students, Nick Drnaso, also contributes to the final volume of MOME. I recommend all three of these titles to anyone eager to explore the nooks and crannies of the contemporary comix scene.
Was I a riot grrrl? Er, not exactly. While the scene was emerging from Olympia, WA, I was a pre-teen, stuck in the boring suburbs of Fort Worth, TX. I had no scene, and I had nothing to rebel against, except maybe curfew and school dress codes. But I did happen to have a subscription to Sassy Magazine...
If you're too young to remember Sassy Magazine, I'm afraid I can't provide you with a current cultural comparison, because nowadays there isn't a publication like it around. (Hell, nowadays, magazines themselves hardly exist, but I digress...) But, let's just say it was the "alternative" to teen girl magazines at the time. The first issue I ever bought came with an R.E.M. flexi-disc attached to the front, a cover of Syd Barrett's "Dark Globe." Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth penned an advice column one month. Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love were cover stars another month.
Anyway, Sassy Magazine had a column titled “Zine of the Month," and I became absolutely mesmerized by zines and the concept of self-publishing. In a bold, ballsy act of naive confidence, I had somehow already landed myself a job writing about music for our local newspaper by the age of 14. But with zines, I can say anything I want? Hell yeah! Wait, I mean... fuck yeah! That's more like it! I started stuffing Hello Kitty envelopes with well-concealed cash, ordering zines every month.
From the introduction of Bikini Kill issue two: "And sometimes this is all very hard cuz this world doesn't teach us how to be truly cool to each other and so we have to teach each other." What outcast adolescent girl wouldn't be drawn to the Riot Grrrl movement and its message of female empowerment? Even decades later, I still feel moved by those words.
In 1996, I had started my own zine, copacetic -- yes, intentionally lowercased, and yes, named after the first Velocity Girl album, released on Sub Pop Records in '93 (although not "grunge" nor "riot grrrl"-ish). Sadly, by the mid-'90s, it felt like the Riot Grrrl scene had quietly disappeared, even though its influence on me hadn't.
So, as you might imagine, I'm really excited that we'll be celebrating the work of three artists from that scene this Saturday, July 9th: the girlish and commanding comics of Megan Kelso; the sly, stylized postcard art of Stella Marrs; and the beautiful and reflective silhouettes of Nikki McClure's work. See you there!
The Quiet Rrriot: Visual Artists from the Riot Grrrl movement by Megan Kelso, Nikki McClure, Stella Marrs
Opening Saturday, July 9th from 6:00 to 9:00 PM Artists talk with Megan Kelso and Nikki McClure at 7:00 PM, followed by a book signing. Exhibition continues through August 31, 2011
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery 1201 S. Vale Street (at Airport Way S.) Seattle, WA 98108 206.658.0110 Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM This event is free and all ages
Comics fans know Conor O'Keefe best for his contributions to MOME, but his primary artistic focus is as a painter of iconography in his adopted home of the Republic of Georgia. Check out his new website devoted to these paintings.
It was my birthday a couple of weeks ago, the big four-zero, and I thought I'd share this awesome little card given to me by my old pals, Peter & Joanne Bagge. Pete drew it, and in true Bagge tradition, Joanne colored it:
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