• Commentary: We're pleased (really) to see Adult Video News picking up on our announcement of The Complete ZAP Comix, despite some glaring fact-checking errors in their report (see if you can spot 'em!)
• Review: "The coolest reprints of the year have hit the shelves as Fantagraphics tears it up by releasing Floyd Gottfredson’s run on the comic strip Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse. To start with, this is a great edition of the material. It looks great, the black and white art is classically bold and pops right off the pages at you, and it’s over 200 pages and bound in a nice hardcover. Readers of this column and site know I can be a little judgmental about the quality of reprints, but there is no need for frowns here as they have done an A+ job. They even packaged it with essays on the strip and artists, and even gave us Mickey’s jungle adventure which ran in the strip before Gottfredson stepped aboard.... Each stroke of ink is perfect under Gottfredson’s direction, and the best years of the comic strip result entirely from the genius of his that lies in these pages." – Drew McCabe, ComicAttack.net
• Plug: "An icon in the animation world, Gottfredson is accredited with making the Mickey strip into a masterpiece, and an imaginative series that is still greatly sought-after by comic fans and collectors.... While the first volume will include some of the series’ more rough and experimental ideas that came before the characters had really found their proper place, this seems like a worthwhile purchase for the traditional Mickey-lover. After all, there is something to be said for the origins of Mr. Mouse and his incredible transformation over the years." – Amanda Correia, The Disney Blog
• Review: "Weathercraft feels like a day-in-the-life story. It’s a weird and wild one, but you don’t have to know anything going on, you just experience it. ...Weathercraft has an arc and a story and all that, but it’s probably not exactly what you’d think if you’re more used to traditional comics. Still, it’s a great piece of fiction to pick up and really experience..." – T.J. Dietsch, United Monkee (via Sean T. Collins)
We just announced our EC Comics Library series less than a week ago and already we're full steam ahead on the books: Straight from editor Gary Groth, here is the lineup of stories for the first book in the series, Corpse on the Imjin and Other Stories, collecting the war stories written by Harvey Kurtzman and drawn by Kurtzman and others:
Drawn by Kurtzman:
November - December 1950 - Two-Fisted Tales #18 - Conquest
January - February 1951 - Two-Fisted Tales #19 - Jivaro Death!
March - April 1951 - Two-Fisted Tales #20 - Pirate Gold!
September 1951 - Frontline Combat #2 - Contact!
September - October 1951 - Two-Fisted Tales #23 - Kill!
November 1951 - Frontline Combat #3 - Prisoner of War!
November - December - Two-Fisted Tales #24 - Rubble!
January -February 1952 - Frontline Combat #4 - Air Burst!
January - February 1952 - Two-Fisted Tales #25 - Corpse on the Imjin!
April 1952 - Frontline Combat #5 - Big ‘If'!
Drawn by others (note that stories may not appear in the order listed here):
November - December 1950 - Two-Fisted Tales #18 - Hong Kong Intrigue! (Feldstein)
January - February 1951 - Two-Fisted Tales #19 - Flight from Danger! (Craig)
July - August 1951 - Frontline Combat #1 - Marines Retreat! (Severin & Kurtzman)
July - August 1951 - Frontline Combat #1 - O.P.! (Heath)
September - October 1952 - Frontline Combat #8 - Thunderjet! (Toth)
September - October 1952 - Two-Fisted Tales #29 - Fire Mission! (Berg)
November - December 1952 - Two-Fisted Tales #30 - Wake! (Colan)
March - April 1953 - Frontline Combat #11 - Rough Riders! (Estrada)
March - April 1953 - Two-Fisted Tales #32 - Lost Battalion! (Craig)
March - April 1953 - Two-Fisted Tales #32 - Tide! (Kubert)
May - June 1953 - Frontline Combat #12 - F-86 Sabre Jet! (Toth)
May - June 1953 - Two-Fisted Tales #33 - Pearl Divers! (Kubert)
October 1953 - Frontline Combat #14 - Bonhomme Richard! (Kubert)
October 1953 - Two-Fisted Tales #35 - Memphis! (Crandall)
January 1954 - Two-Fisted Tales #36 - Battle! (Crandall)
February - March 1955 - Two-Fisted Tales #41 - Mau Mau! (Krigstein)
• Review: "...I’ll admit it: I did not expect to read a Frank book whose final panel made me go 'Awwww!' ...[T]he journey [in Congress of the Animals] takes Frank so far afield that at some point (probably when he gets lost at sea and washes up on some distant shore) he ends up outside the Unifactor’s confines. New information can now enter his world... And at that point all hell breaks loose…which in a Frank comic is to say it doesn’t break loose at all." – Sean T. Collins, Attentiondeficitdisorderly
• Review: "I don't think I'll ever stop marveling at the amazing artwork [Woodring] fills his books with. It contains some of the most solid and tangible representations of fantastical objects and events I've ever seen, along with a deeply unsettling atmosphere, something that either creeps me out or turns my stomach to look at it. There's something about the plantlike growths on animal creatures, the gaping orifices, and the plentiful eyeballs that, while obviously unnatural, goes a step further into a visceral gut-punch, somehow keying into a subconscious urge to look away. This aspect of the work has been present in other Frank stories I've seen, but Woodring seems to crank it up to near-unbearable levels [in Congress of the Animals]..." – Matthew J. Brady, Warren Peace Sings the Blues
• Review: "I recently read the first volume of Jules Feiffer's collected Village Voice comic strips [Explainers], from the 1950s and early 1960s. Reading ten years' worth of weekly strips in a few days probably wasn't the best idea, but I was still amazed at how well Feiffer's early work has aged. Not just the stuff about relationships, but the stuff about politics still works. I guess that's not surprising, since relationships and politics haven't changed much in fifty years." – This Is So Gay
• Scene:Comic Book Resources' Sonia Harris recaps the Love and Rockets anniversary panel at Comic-Con, and in plugging the article (and commenting on Gilbert's revelations) at CBR's Robot 6 Sean T. Collins calls it "pure L&R-nerd heaven for a whole bunch of reasons," which is 100% accurate
• Interview:Bust Magazine's Erina Davidson has a Q&A session with Megan Kelso: "I try not to fall into the trap of thinking something is interesting simply because 'it happened to ME.' Personal memories and experiences are wonderful catalysts, and I think essential to making work seem believable and relatable, but they are rarely enough. One needs also to do some embroidery."
• Interview (Audio): Our Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds appeared on Ed Wenck's program on Indianapolis news radio station WIBC to talk about our forthcoming EC Comics and ZAP Comix reprint projects — listen to the segment here
Tom Spurgeon of The Comics Reporter had first crack at reporting on our EC Comics Library series and talked to our chief and editor of the series, Gary Groth: "The intention, says the publisher, is to present the material to a new generation that may not have been exposed to the EC Comics except in fits and starts, and to better underline specific artistic achievements of creators like Harvey Kurtzman, Wally Wood and Bernard Krigstein.... 'I'm leaning toward treating each individual book as an individual book, customized to the individual artist,' Groth stated. 'I want to get away from treating EC Comics as this kind of cultist monolith. I want the stories to stand on their own.'" Be sure to read the whole thing for many more details.
Meanwhile, over at Robot 6 Chris Mautner broke the news about The Complete ZAP Comix and posted an exclusive Q&A with Gary Groth: "We’re going to reproduce it in a facsimile form, the book will have the covers interspersed throughout, so it will be each issue of the comic chronologically published in the same format as the comic itself, but simply in book form. We’re going to be printing it a little larger than the comic, I don’t know the exact dimensions. It will be oversize, a little larger than the comic itself. The covers will be reproduced in full color, as they were in the original comics." Head over there for the full scoop.
Here's a roundup of more reaction to both announcements from around the web:
Boing Boing's David Pescovitz: "First published in 1968, Zap Comix is considered to be the freaky forefather of the underground comix movement that still thrives today. Created by R. Crumb, the Zap #1 solely featured his work with subsequent issues introducing such groundbreaking artists as S. Clay Wilson, Robert Williams, Gilbert Shelton, Rick Griffin, Victor Moscoso, Paul Mavrides, and 'Spain' Rodriguez. Today, Fantagraphics Books keeps the Zap spirit alive and so I was thrilled to learn that they’ve just announced the forthcoming publication of The Complete Zap Comix. The 800 page, two-volume, slipcased, hardcover set will hit stores in Fall 2012."
The A.V. Club's Noel Murray: "Continuing Fantagraphics’ master plan to separate comics fans from their life savings, the company announced two new archival projects at Comic-Con last week... Both the Zap book and the EC series are due to arrive in 2012, joining Fantagraphics’ other archival lines — like the series collecting the newspaper stripsPeanuts, Popeye, Krazy Kat, Mickey Mouse, and soon Pogo and Nancy — as well as the ongoing work of such modern masters as Peter Bagge, Jason and Los Bros Hernandez. So… all the more reason for congress to work together to avert a catastrophic meltdown of the global economy, yes?"
Sean T. Collins at Attentiondeficitdisorderly: "I’m excited about this [EC] project, not just because with Peanuts and Mickey Mouse and the Disney Ducks and Popeye and Krazy Kat and so on Fantagraphics has established itself as the best publisher of archival material, but because their approach here sounds like it’ll be more along the lines of what they’ve done for Jacques Tardi recently, or even the Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez Love and Rockets digests. They’re very good at that sort of thing, too."
Collins also reports for Robot 6: "What sets the Fantagraphics reprint project apart is that individual creators’ work will be culled from the series in which it appeared and presented in a series of black-and-white solo spotlight volumes."
Comic Book Resources' Augie de Blieck: "Fantagraphics has picked up the license to reprint EC Comics. These will be black and white editions, most interestingly broken up by creator. Some of the purists may sputter at that, but I think it's a smart thing. Anthologies don't sell well in this market, even as reprints. I think targeting specific creators in an industry filled with fans who follow creators is the best way to maximize the license."
Chris Marshall at Collected Comics Library: "Well here’s some news we’ve been waiting for a long time.... I admit that I’m a little disappointed that the color Gemstone [EC Archives] books won’t be finished, but I’m confident that Fantagraphics will to a wonderful job and I’ll be sure to collect them."
The latest print available from Drew Friedman's online Fine Art concern is this magnificent portrait of one of Drew's artistic heroes and a subject near and dear to our own hearts: Will Elder, the Mad Playboy of Art himself. Drew depicts Villy in his studio, brushes at the ready. These suckers are limited-edition, signed by Drew and perhaps will provide you with your own artistic inspiration.
• Review: "Macherot’s animals are cute and full of character, from the porcupine sheriff to the cigar-smoking, shop-keeping bird. Visually they resemble Walt Kelly’s Pogo, with backgrounds that will look familiar to anybody who ever watched The Smurfs cartoon.... There might be more slapstick than the average post-elementary school reader can appreciate, but the adorable art, amiable characters, and a thrilling late-story air battle will keep you interested until the end. Best of all are the brief glimpses at domestic country mouse mundanity, like Sibyl-Anne’s love for baking pies and the aside where she and Boomer talk about how nice a certain table and its parasol are." – Garrett Martin, Paste
• Review: "This series [Wandering Son] is beautiful, perfectly capturing that time at the age of 10 or 11 where naivety and confusion meet in the formative years of your young identity. Where androgyny is a fine thing, defined by its ambiguity and as distinct as any sex." – Tom Rosin, Page 45
• Review: "The Willie and Joe cartoons and characters are some of the most enduring and honest symbols of all military history.... Alternating trenchant cynicism, moral outrage, gallows humour, absurdist observation, shared miseries, staggering sentimentality and the total shock and awe of still being alive every morning, this cartoon catalogue of the Last Just War [Willie & Joe: The WWII Years] is a truly breathtaking collection that no fan, art-lover, historian or humanitarian can afford to miss. …And it will make you cry and laugh out loud too." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!
• Review: "...[Willie & Joe: Back Home] features some of the most powerful assaults on the appalling edifice of post-war America ever seen. The artist’s castigating observations on how a society treats returning soldiers are as pertinent now as they ever were; the pressures on families and children even more so; whilst his exposure of armchair strategists, politicians and businessmen seeking to exploit wars for gain and how quickly allies can become enemies are tragically more relevant than any rational person could wish. ...[W]e have here a magnificent example of passion and creativity used as a weapon of social change and a work of art every citizen should be exposed to, because these are aspects of humanity that we seem unable to outgrow." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!
• Review: "Visually, Tyler's style is unique in the comics world.... The scrapbook design of [You'll Never Know, Book 2: Collateral Damage] is just one of many remarkable decorative touches she adds. Color is tremendously important both in a narrative sense (identifying key times and characters) and an emotional sense (modulating feelings felt on a page in an expressive style). The complexity of her page design (changing formats on an almost page-to-page basis) is brought to earth by the simplicity of her character design. The result is what feels like an ornate, powerful and cohesive sketchbook/journal.... Most impressively, Tyler manages to bring a static kind of craft (a sketchbook) to life with panels that crackle with energy and movement. There are no easy outs or answers in Tyler's attempts to create, maintain and understand connections with her loved ones..." – Rob Clough, High-Low
• Essay:The Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon on Jaime Hernandez's The Death of Speedy, written for Team Cul de Sac's Favorites zine: "Hernandez's evocation of that fragile period between school and adulthood, that extended moment where every single lustful entanglement, unwise friendship, afternoon spent drinking outside, nighttime spent cruising are acts of life-affirming rebellion, is as lovely and generous and kind as anything ever depicted in the comics form."
• Commentary: "It could be seen as frustrating that I've still got five years to wait to complete the Peanuts collection, ...but in some ways it's nice. If they came out more quickly, there would be more of a feeling of urgency about ploughing through the strips, whereas I'm able to take a more leisurely approach, reading bits here and there. After all, they were only really meant to be read once a day. I don't buy many books these days, preferring to download them to my Kindle, but these books are definitely going to be a part of my life for as long as they'll last (or as long as I'll last, whichever comes first) and I do look forward to seeing 50 years of Schulz magic lined up on my shelves. I just need to work out where I'll put them all... Such is the life of a completist!" – James Ellaby, Lullabies from a Giant Golden Radio
• Analysis: At Robot 6, Matt Seneca examines a page from Ganges #2: "Kevin Huizenga is one of the cartoonists whose work addresses comics’ conflict between the abstract and the literal most frequently and interestingly. Huizenga’s attempts at using comics to mimic the visual effect of video games are especially notable: rather than creating the simulacrum of reality that the vast majority of comics do, what is brought forth instead is a simulacrum of a simulacrum, a copy of a copy, something already abstract abstracted further, its ties to reality stressed and stretched about as close to the breaking point as they can go."
• Interview:The Daily Cross Hatch's Brian Heater wraps up his 4-part conversation with Mome editor Eric Reynolds: "I think Mome actually got better as I actively stopped worrying about who the readership might be, and actively indulged my own interests.... I think that began to happen as early as the fifth or sixth issue. And I think, by the end of it — you can point to a lot of things that we probably would have leaned against publishing at the beginning."
• Profiles: Following the news that the Xeric Foundation is discontinuing its publishing grants, the writers of Robot 6 spotlight some of their favorite past grant recipients, including Megan Kelso and John Kerschbaum
• Awards:The Oregonian's Steve Duin congratulates his Oil & Water collaborator Shannon Wheeler on Wheeler's Eisner Award win last weekend
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.
64-page full-color 8.5" x 11.25" hardcover • $16.95 ISBN: 978-1-60699-452-8
"Fantagraphics is bringing some acclaimed Post-Herge all-ages comics to American audiences, and this week sees two of them coming to stores that people should be watching for: Gil Jordan, Private Eye: Murder by High Tide by M. Tillieux, a funny fast-paced detective story, and Sibyl Anne vs. Ratticus by R. Macherot, featuring a mouse in a story that's described as a Pixar version of Wind in the Willows." – Dave Ferraro, Comics-and-More
"Fantagraphics also presently has an initiative to translate post-Tintin Franco-Belgian comics for English-speaking audiences, so they're releasing Maurice Tillieux's crime cartoon Gil Jordan, Private Detective: Murder by High Tide." – Cyriaque Lamar, io9
"I love learning about classic Eurocomics, so my next purchase would be one of two new books from Fantagraphics: either Gil Jordan: Murder by High Tide ($18.99) or Sibyl-Anne Vs. Ratticus ($16.99). I know nothing about either book or the creators (M. Tillieux and R. Macherot, respectively) and am eager to be schooled." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
"CONFLICT OF INTEREST RESERVOIR: Europeans draw the comics. The Raven sees Lorenzo Mattotti interpret Lou Reed’s channeling of Poe; $22.99. Gil Jordan, Private Detective: Murder by High Tide collects a pair of classic Belgian albums by Maurice Tillieux; $18.99. And Sibyl-Anne Vs. Ratticus similarly presents work by Raymond Macherot; $16.99."
We'll be catching up on the past week's Online Commentary & Diversions over the next several days.
• Review: "Fantagraphics Books, which has previously done such an amazing job of collecting other classic comic strips like Prince Valiant and Peanuts , once again hits it out of the park with this collection [Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1].... From the beautifully reproduced strips to the densely packed ancillary features, this must be the book that editors David Gerstein and Fantagraphics’ co-founder Gary Groth wanted for years for their own libraries. Their enthusiasm shows in the wonderfully designed package. This book is highly recommended for any Disney fan and fans of America's rich comic strip history." – Rich Clabaugh, Christian Science Monitor
• Review: "Murder by High Tide introduces Maurice Tillieux’s private detective Gil Jordan to America, collecting two 1950s stories from an acclaimed series that has never before been translated into English. Tillieux isn’t quite Hergé, but he’s adept at writing and drawing suspenseful detective stories with brief flurries of action. ...Tillieux’s plotting and deft hand at action, figures, and environments make Murder by High Tide a thrilling read." – Garrett Martin, Paste
• Review: "...Fantagraphics is always a good place to start if you’re worried about trying something new. The venerable comics publisher is a stamp of quality, a guarantee that the vetting process has been serious and that, at very least, the book you hold in your hands will have been beautifully printed. Wandering Son [Vol.] 1 bears all that out.... It’s a lovely, tactile-y rich object, but it’s also a sweet book in terms of content. ...[T]he characters are pleasant to spend time with, the art is emotive and expressive (embarrassment comes up a lot), and there is a gentleness to the whole project that is welcome." – Hillary Brown, Paste
• Review: "...Shimura Takako's Wandering Son, with its direct treatment of transgenderism, feels simultaneously natural and singular in the world of manga.... The true distinction of Wandering Son is not its subject matter so much as Shimura Takako's quiet and sensitive handling of it. Fifth grade is a difficult time and age for any author to handle well, and throwing transgenderism into the mix merely adds to the challenge. By keeping the story's focus on the intensely personal thoughts, experiences, and emotions of the characters, Shimura avoids both heavy-handed preachiness and overly melodramatic scenes, keeping the tone of the story sympathetic and realistic and — most importantly — a story." – Caleb Dunaway, Otaku USA
• Review: "...Fantagraphics' edition is beautifully presented as a full-sized hardcover with excellent print and paper quality. The volume is just as lovely to behold as it is to read.... Instead of following a strictly linear narrative, Wandering Son provides a somewhat fragmented view. To me, it seems more like a collection of memories, glimpses of important and influential moments in the characters' lives. Though told chronologically, the story has an impressionistic quality to it. Wandering Son is lovely and quiet with tremendous emotional depth.... I was very pleased with the first volume of Wandering Son and greatly look forward to the release of the second volume." – Ash Brown, Experiments in Manga
• Review: "Brought straight to your chamber door from the ever-awesome Fantagraphics, we finally have The Raven graphic novel. Personally commissioned by Reed, legendary illustrator Lorenzo Mattotti (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Stigmata) has sketched some remarkably vivid scenes for what amounts to the definitive bard of Baltimore project from New York City’s own poet laureate.... Hardcovered, with a jacket by Grammy-nominated designer Jesse LeDoux, the whole presentation is indeed first-class." – Logan K. Young, Paste
• Review: "...Taking Punk to the Masses: From Nowhere to Nevermind... is a dense tome... packed with beautiful photos of EMP’s vast collection of instruments, posters and flyers and assorted rock and punk memorabilia, with commentary and excerpts from the oral history project, featuring testimonials from people like Greg Ginn and J Mascis and Grant Hart and Novoselic, on facing pages. The effect is that of taking a guided tour through the museum, exhibit by exhibit, with headphones on.... There’s an awful lot to look at here, and the book stands up to repeated readings.... Taking Punk to the Masses is a definite keeper for anyone who loves the bands of the Pacific Northwest or the history of rock in America." – John G. Nettles, Flagpole
• Review: "Simply put, if you’ve enjoyed any of Alex Chun and Jacob Covey’s series of glamour-girl cartoon retrospectives they’ve assembled for Fantagraphics over the years, you’ll want — if not need — their latest, The Pin-Up Art of Humorama.... As with Chun and Covey’s previous collaborations, the captions to the cartoons rarely matter — sometimes, they don’t even match what’s depicted. All that matters is the art, full of lovely, curvy, super-sexy women whose bra sizes run deep into the alphabet. It may not come in a brown paper wrapper, but yeah, this book’s hot. It spills over with an abundance of retro tease to please." — Rod Lott, Bookgasm
• Reviews: At his High-Low blog, Rob Clough looks at several of our translated volumes of the work of Jacques Tardi: "Tardi is an interesting figure because he felt comfortable writing mainstream material like detective stories, mysteries, fantasy and even science-fiction (though usually of a period nature; The Arctic Marauder, for example is a steampunk book) as well as more experimental and mature fare. No matter what the subject, his books always have a density and meatiness to them that rewards multiple readings. I'll briefly examine each book roughly in order of narrative complexity."
• Plug:Library Journal's Martha Cornog spotlights Diane Noomin's Glitz-2-Go in the latest Graphic Novels Prepub Alert: "Retro-glamgirl DiDi Glitz, Noomin's signature character, originally appeared in the women's comics anthology Twisted Sisters and other collections. Hypno Magazine described her as a 'shamelessly campy, mai-tai-swilling swinger with a voracious appetite for polyester, poodles, and doomed relationships.' Also, 'hysterically funny.' This volume collects nearly 40 years of Noomin comics. Catch this transcript of a Noomin presentation about her work, with sample strips, some NSFW."
• Interview:Jaime Hernandez reveals what kind of music he listens to while he's working in a survey on the topic by the Village Voice's R.C. Baker: "When told that one artist interviewed didn't want a fondness for a particularly 'retarded' pop song revealed, he cracks up. 'They don't want you to know they have a heart,' he says. 'I was never afraid to show mine — I put it out there in the comic every time.'"
• Scene: From Whitney Matheson's rundown of "50 Things I Learned at Comic-Con" at USA Today Pop Candy: "23. Johnny Ryan aims to scare us all. One of the most frightening moments on the convention floor came when a bloody, shirtless man walked up to the Fantagraphics booth and started screaming. Turns out he was portraying a character in Ryan's Prison Pit."
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