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Mike Baehr's Blog
Description:
Flog posts by Fantagraphics' consumer marketing/web editor/hand model guy. Say, buy some books why don't you?
Archive >> June 2009

Daily OCD: 6/16/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under staffreviewsNell BrinkleyMiss Lasko-GrossLove and RocketsJordan CraneJasonHumbugGilbert HernandezGahan WilsonFrom Wonderland with LoveDrew FriedmanChris WareCarol Tyler 16 Jun 2009 12:43 PM

Your Online Commentary & Diversions return from a short vacation. More catch-up tomorrow.

• Review: "[C.] Tyler’s fluid, expressive linework, complemented by subtly overlaid watercolors, gives ideal visual expression to a narrative that’s at once sensitive and hard-nosed. [You'll Never Know, Book 1] is Tyler’s first book-length effort, but decades of drawing mostly autobiographical stories have honed her skills, enabling her to produce a work that ranks in quality with the graphic memoirs of Alison Bechdel (Fun Home) and Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis)." - Gordon Flagg, Booklist (Starred Review; no link)

• Review: "Norwegian-French cartoonist Jason’s new book [Low Moon] is the first premiered in hardcover in the U.S. and contains his most minimally formatted stories... If you’re into genre fiction, have a sense of humor but no time for condescension, and haven’t encountered Jason yet, wait no longer." - Ray Olson, Booklist (Starred Review; no link)

• Review: "This is the best thing I have ever been sent to review. I didn't think that this book would ever exist but now it does and it'd better than I could have imagined... The eleven issues of Humbug are faithfully reprinted in this two-volume hardcover set and it comes in a fancy and sturdy box. The magazines were funny and beautiful with art by Will Elder and Jack Davis and some other folks. If you don't buy this book then I don't want to know you... There is no excuse for not buying this right now. Sell your hair, blood, or skin to get it." - Nick Gazin, Vice

• Review: "Luba encompasses everything a turn-of-the-21st-century graphic novel should be: paraliterary or lowbrow tropes of comics, pornography, soap opera, blended seamlessly with a highbrow literary accomplishment of pathos and familial history. It is as profane as it is dense. Almost postmodern in its self-reference... and frequently silly in its blatant cartoonishness, Luba is surreal and bizarre and arousing and gut-wrenching and hilarious." - Dusty Horn, CarnalNation

• Review: "If you grew up 'different'... you’ll find a lot that’s familiar in A Mess of Everything. [Miss] Lasko-Gross is close enough to this material to keep it particular – she avoids the sweeping gesture and the grand statement at all times – and distanced enough from it to see it as part of her past, fodder for stories rather than a raw wound. It’s a fine book from a very talented creator, and I expect we’ll see much more from Miss Lasko-Gross as the years go on." - Andrew Wheeler, ComicMix

• Review: "...[Miss Lasko-Gross] displays... subtlety and balance in her portrayal of her teen-age years... [I]n its portrayal of the importance and tenuous nature of teenage friendships, [A Mess of Everything] glows with sharp recognition." - Chris Mautner, Robot 6

• Review: "One title I haven't been able to put down is The Brinkley Girls: The Best of Nell Brinkley's Cartoons from 1913-1940, edited by Trina Robbins... I was blown away by what I discovered within these pages... The images are sexy, glamorous, colorful -- Brinkley clearly appreciated and understood her subjects, and some of her work made me feel as if I were stepping right into the flapper era." - Whitney Matheson, USA Today Pop Candy

• Review: "[Uptight #3] is very very good... The plot [of 'Vicissitude'] is a bitter little thing, steeped in infidelity, alcohol, career dissatisfaction, hints of class self-consciousness, and frustration with the path your life has taken -- like a Pulp song, almost.... Crane's Sam and Jack stories unfold like the pipes and vents upon which this tale centers: they bend and twist and wind in comically baroque ways, yet Crane's control of his visuals and the story's tone are so self-assured that it all seems completely logical, like a mind consciously built it this way and if you have a little faith, it'll work like it's supposed to." - Sean T. Collins

• Review: "Just a quick mention of what may turn out to be my favorite damn cover of 2009... check out Uptight issue #3..." - Blair Butler, G4 Fresh Ink Online (video; review starts around 1:34)

• Plug: "Jason is really one of the best cartoonists at work today, and you should check out this reading." - Paul Constant, The Stranger, recommending last Saturday's appearance by Jason at our Seattle bookstore

• Interview: Brian Heater of The Daily Cross Hatch got some face time for a Q&A with Jason at the 2009 MoCCA Festival. Sample quote: "I think it’s fun to bring different genres together and try to bring in something new, to see it from a new angle, that it’s a bit more than just a pastiche."

• Interview: "Frankly, I think it's a losing game to try to generalize about the relationship between biography and literature." - Chris Ware, interviewed by Joan Luna at 13 Milliones de Naves (translation from Google)

• Preview: ICv2 takes a peek at our upcoming collection Gahan Wilson: 50 Years of Playboy Cartoons

• Preview: The Geek Curmudgeon looks forward to From Wonderland with Love: Danish Comics in the Third Millennium 

• Events: Zane Austin Grant of PopMatters reports from the "Ah, Humbug!" panel with Al Jaffee and Arnold Roth at the 2009 MoCCA Festival

• Things to see: At Truthout.org, a Drew Friedman illustration from Time illustrates a Bill Maher editorial from the Los Angeles Times

• Staff news: Fantagraphics warehouse manager and noted practitioner of visual poetry Nico Vassilakis has a new book, Protracted Type, which can be purchased or downloaded here

C. Tyler audio & video
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under videoCarol Tyleraudio 11 Jun 2009 5:13 PM

C. Tyler interview video

Two great C. Tyler multimedia features to share with you: first up, the Inkstuds radio programme has an extensive and lively conversation with Carol in downloadable and streaming audio. Next, the American Legion website presents a series of video interviews with Carol and her University of Cincinnati students detailing the program whereby the students collaborate with veterans on graphic memoirs of the veterans' combat experiences. Click here for the introductory article and here to jump straight to the video (screencap above).

Daily OCD: 6/11/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Paul HornschemeierLove and RocketsJim FloraJasonJaime HernandezDaniel ClowesBill Mauldin 11 Jun 2009 4:50 PM

The Online Commentary & Diversions never end:

• Review: "The Alack Sinner stories are an accomplished example of crime fiction in comics, but that's not all they are."  - Robert Stanley Martin, Pol Culture

• List: "I would recommend the Love and Rockets series by Jaime Hernandez. I liked seeing the progression and development of the series (it was started in the 80s). The art is fantastic and H.O.P.P.E.R.S. stands as a complete world unto itself." - Jillian Tamaki, on CBC Radio's Canada Reads: The Book Club "Top 10 Graphic Novels"

• List: "Ghost World by Daniel Clowes [is p]robably one of the most haunting comics about the quiet frustrations of teenage life I've ever read."- Mariko Tamaki, on CBC Radio's Canada Reads: The Book Club "Top 10 Graphic Novels" (same link as above)

• Interview: The Portland Mercury has a brief Q&A with Jason. Sample quote: "Everybody likes zombies, I guess."

• Profile: Elaine Raines of the Arizona Daily Star recounts a 1963 visit to the newspaper paid by Bill Mauldin

• History: Irwin Chusid notes that yesterday was the 66th anniversary of the opening of Jim Flora's first NYC gallery exhibit

• Feature: For Largehearted Boy, Paul Hornschemeier details his musical playlist for Mother, Come Home and discusses the graphic novel's creation. Sample quote: "But stories you need to tell have weird claws. They make their way back up to the front of your skull, or wherever it is in there that gets the most attention."

Daily OCD: 6/10/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under The Comics JournalSteve DitkoRichard SalareviewsPeanutsMort WalkerLos Bros HernandezLilli CarréJordan CraneJohn PhamJim FloraJim BlanchardJasonJacques TardiFletcher Hankseventscomics industry 11 Jun 2009 12:34 AM

I think we're all caught up on our Online Commentary & Diversions now:

• Review: "It's impossible not to love Jason's hapless cartoon characters; they're dog-faced descendants of Charlie Chaplin in that way, usually placed into situations far beyond their control or understanding... The five stories that make up Low Moon, Jason's newest collection of comics, hark back to the classic golden age of film... Each story reverberates with the little eccentricities that Jason has built a career on (instead of gunfights, the cowboys in the title story battle over long games of chess). Remarkably, none of them seem over-the-top or manipulative." - Paul Constant, The Stranger

• Review: "From Jordan Crane and Fantagraphics, Uptight #3. One of the best covers of the year and the last time, I suspect, that the guys in the crowd will read 'Back soon' and not feel that chill at the back of the neck." - Steve Duin, The Oregonian

• Review: Jog's extensive MoCCA wrapup includes a good look at our second Fletcher Hanks book You Shall Die by Your Own Evil Creation!

• Review: "Sublife weaves a tighter, more focused narrative with intelligently ornate Chris Ware inspired design..." - Raina Lee, Lunch

• Review: "The current issue of the Comics Journal (#297) has a wonderful in-depth interview with cartoonist Mort Walker, creator of Beetle Bailey, as well as a stable of other strips including Hi and Lois, Sam and Silo, and Boner's Ark that's a fun read." - Randy Reynaldo, WCG Comics

• Plug: Inkwell Bookstore's "Cover Art Cavalcade: Charming Cheesecake" recommends the Hernandez Brothers and our collections of vintage pin-up cartoons

• Commentary: Looking at our recent spate of Special Edition releases at examiner.com, Spencer Ellsworth says "the notes, interviews and annotations give a look into some of the most innovative of the new generation of movers and shakers in the current comics renaissance."

• List: Industry news & analysis site ICv2 ranks sales of The Complete Peanuts at #3 on the list of "Top 10 Humor Properties Q1 2009"

• List: The Comics Reporter reports that at BEA a panel of librarians chose a list of "Hot Fall Graphic Novels," including our forthcoming titles Strange Suspense: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 1 and West Coast Blues by Manchette & Tardi

• Preview: Parka Blogs presents images from The Curiously Sinister Art of Jim Flora

• Preview: The Casual Optimist notices the forthcoming The Sweetly Diabolic Art of Jim Flora

• Events: More MoCCA buzz from Sean T. Collins; Brian Heater at The Daily Cross Hatch (with photos); and Book By Its Cover with a pic of our table 

• Things to see: Richard Sala illustrates his process with the cover of Peculia

• Things to see: A portrait of Bully by Lilli Carre

• Things to see: Lemmy Kilmister gives Jim Blanchard's portrait of him a "10"

Abstract Comics looky-loo
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under previewsAbstract Comics 10 Jun 2009 9:12 PM

Abstract Comics

If you weren't able to peruse our advance preview copy of Abstract Comics at the MoCCA festival, now you can check out an extensive photo preview posted by editor Andrei Molotiu over at the Abstract Comics blog.

Luba: Collectors Edition is sold out
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Love and RocketsGilbert Hernandez 10 Jun 2009 4:02 PM

Luba sketch by Gilbert Hernandez

All 30 copies of Luba: Collectors Edition are spoken for. The Gilbert Hernandez sketch above is in copy #2/30, owned by Ty Buttars, a.k.a. Twitter user grendel33, who shared this snapshot on Twitpic. If you've received your copy, we'd love to see your sketch too -- post it somewhere on the web and let us know in a comment here!

The regular edition of Luba is, of course, still available.

Now in stock: Tales Designed to Thrizzle Vol. 1 by Michael Kupperman
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under new releasesMichael Kupperman 10 Jun 2009 3:48 PM

Tales Designed to Thrizzle Vol. 1 by Michael Kupperman

Tales Designed to Thrizzle Vol. 1
By Michael Kupperman

Fans and comedy cognoscenti alike, basking devotedly in the glow of Tales Designed to Thrizzle, have made it the smash hit humor comic of the decade. And now the first four issues of Michael Kupperman’s revered series are finally collected into one deluxe hardcover. Even better, Kupperman has taken the original two-color printing and made the entire book full color! These tales are more thrizzling than ever!

What are tales designed to thrizzle? Tales designed to thrizzle are about evil girls and their owls. They are about Jesus’ half-brother Pagus, the Mysterious Avenger, Dick Crazy, scary snakes, delicious bacon, Private Eye Johnny Silhouette, the Silver Knight, Murder She Didn’t Write, the Mannister, the Space Patrol, portraits where the eyes move, Pablo Picasso, sex blimps (and their logical inverse, sex holes), the hot boy band Boybank, soccer joust, Underpants-On-His-Head Man, Hercules the Public Domain Superhero, Cousin Granpa, Mister Bossman, Mark Twain, the silent robot Citobor and, of course, the Thirties.

The stories in Tales Designed to Thrizzle made their debut in 2009 on the Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim program as Snake ’N’ Bacon. The show, a mix of live-action, puppetry and animation, stars David Rakoff (This American Life), Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live), Kristen Schaal (Flight of the Conchords), James Urbaniak (The Venture Brothers), and Dan Bakkedahl (The Daily Show), and is produced by Kupperman, Robert Smigel (SNL, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog), Scott Jacobson (The Daily Show) and Rich Bloomquist (The Daily Show).

160-page full-color 7.5" x 10" hardcover • $24.99
Add to CartMore Info & Previews

Now in stock: Low Moon by Jason
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under new releasesJason 10 Jun 2009 3:48 PM

Low Moon by Jason

Low Moon
By Jason

The acclaimed graphic novelist Jason returns with his most eagerly awaited book yet, thanks to the inclusion of the title story, the world’s first (and likely last) chess western, originally serialized in 2008 in the New York Times Sunday Magazine “Funny Pages” section.

This 216-page hardcover book features five yarns — all brand new with the exception of the aforementioned “Low Moon,” which is collected into book form for the first time.

The new stories lead off with “Emily Says Hello,” a typically deadpan Jason tale of murder, revenge and sexual domination. Then, the wordless “&” tells two tales at once: one about a skinny guy trying to steal enough money to save his ill mother, and the other about a fat guy murderously trying to woo his true love. The reason we follow these two parallel stories becomes obvious only on the very last page, in Jason’s inimitable genre-mashing style.

“Early Film Noir” can best be described as The Postman Always Rings Twice meets Groundhog Day. But starring cavemen. And finally, “You Are Here” features alien kidnappings, space travel, and the pain and confusion of family ties, culminating in an enigmatic finale that rivals Jason’s greatest twists.

Funny, poignant, and wry, Low Moon shows one of the world’s most acclaimed graphic novelists at the absolute peak of his powers.

216-page full-color 6.5" x 8.75" hardcover • $24.99
Add to CartMore Info & Previews

Now in stock: The Comics Journal #298 (Gabriel Bá & Fábio Moon, etc.)
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under The Comics Journalnew releases 10 Jun 2009 3:47 PM

The Comics Journal #298

The Comics Journal #298
Edited by Mike Dean & Kristy Valenti; Gary Groth, Executive Editor

In this issue: Brazilian twins Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon on The Umbrella Academy and breaking into U.S. comics; Perry Bible Fellowship's Nicholas Gurewitch talks about love; brutally honest Thriller artist Trevor Von Eeden on his professional and romantic struggles; Percy Crosby's Skippy rediscovered; Jiro Taniguchi's A Distant Neighborhood previewed; a cartoon interview of Peter Bagge by Noah Van Sciver; and much more!

208-page color/b&w 7.5" x 9.5" squarebound softcover magazine • $11.99
Add to CartMore Info & Previews

Daily OCD: 6/9/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under reviewsPrince ValiantPeter BaggeNell BrinkleyMichael KuppermanJasoneventsDaniel ClowesCarol TylerBlazing CombatBasil WolvertonaudioAbstract Comics 10 Jun 2009 1:47 AM

Hoo-ee, it's time for our post-MoCCA Online Commentary & Diversions catch-up. It's going to take a while to sift through 4-5 days of the comics blogosphere, so to start with these are mostly links that have been sent to me:

• Review: "In what is obviously a labor of love, [C.] Tyler tells the story of her father's time during WWII and her parents' early relationship, skillfully interweaving it with Tyler's own story... provid[ing] a moving, personal portrait of one member of what's become known as 'the greatest generation.' Tyler's use of colored inks gives the line drawings an inviting depth of emotion... The drawings speak with an even greater richness thanks to the evocative words that appear within and around them, commenting upon and adding to the action portrayed in the panels. An important contributor to independent comics since the 1980s, Tyler has made a name for herself with the quirky warmth of her autobiographical stories, and this wonderful book [You'll Never Know Book 1: A Good and Decent Man] is a thoughtful work that greatly adds to the language of the graphic memoir." - Publishers Weekly (Starred Review; scroll to end of page)

• Review: "Jason’s books have always had a cinematic feel, and he seems to examine this more than ever with direct tie-ins to film concepts playing major roles in several of the stories... [A]ll of the stories in Low Moon are entertaining, and fans of Jason should be more than happy to digest five new comics from one of the best in the business." - William Jones, Graphic Novel Reporter

• Review: "Now, Fantagraphics has brought out The Wolverton Bible... I love that Wolverton's Adam and Eve look like Cary Grant and Rita Hayworth, and that the images of Noah’s Ark have the beautifully clean look of a wood carving. Dramatic scenes such as Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac, the devastation brought by locusts, and Samson’s blinding, showcase the artist’s talent for visceral, visual storytelling." - Leigh Stein, The New Yorker

• Review: "...[T]he newest issue of Michael Kupperman's mind-bending humor mag, Tales Designed to Thrizzle #5. Six Reasons Why Michael Kupperman Is A Genius (A bullet-pointed review...)" by Rob Clough, High-Low

• Review: "I’m almost finished [with] The Brinkley Girls: The Best of Nell Brinkley’s Cartoons, 1913-1940, edited by Trina Robbins. ...Brinkley is a supremely talented artist with enough eccentricities to make her stand out from the crowd (the weaves of hair she piles on top of her heroines could rival the folds in Spawn’s cape)." - Chris Mautner, Robot 6

• Review: "Peter Bagge's Neat Stuff saw the cartoonist at the height of his expressionistic style, and marked the beginning of the mature work he would exhibit in Hate and elsewhere... required reading for Hate fans... Anyone interested in fearless pop-culture satire, not just Peter Bagge, should have a look." - Luke Arnott, suite101.com

• Review: "Blazing Combat reprints all 4 issues of the ground-breaking war series... These are fascinating stories... drawn by some of the top talent in comics... [who] did some of their finest works for this short-lived publication. This new package from Fantagraphics Books is a handsome hardcover... the design work is A+, this time by Adam Grano." - Gary Sassaman, Innocent Bystander

• Interview: Jornal de Notícias talks to Libri Impressi publisher Manuel Caldas about our carrying of his black & white edition of Prince Valiant

• Interview: Comic Book Resources' Shaun Manning talks to editor Andrei Molotiu about the forthcoming anthology Abstract Comics. Sample quote: "I think that, oftentimes, abstract comics do end up maintaining more of that graphic energy [of superhero comics], and I think that they can draw attention to this very powerful tool in the vocabulary of comics that may have been lost in a number of art and alternative comics."

• Interview: Cartoonist Scott Nickel asks 20 questions of "one of the best cartoonists of his generation," Peter Bagge. Sample quote: "The idea of being a cartoonist was an appealing one to me as a kid, though not as appealing as being a rock star or baseball player."

• Interview: I can't remember if we've linked to this 2008 North Shore News Q&A with Peter Bagge before: "Anyone who claims they're speaking for an entire generation should be stoned to death!"

• Events: Thanks to Comic Book Resources' Timothy Callahan for picking some stuff up at our table at MoCCA and posting a photo of Miss Lasko-Gross signing A Mess of Everything; CBR's Kiel Phegley picks up some of the festival buzz; Publishers Weekly has some Fantagraphics scoop in their MoCCA report as well

• Things to see: Spain's Entrecomics presents a gallery of all of Daniel Clowes's front and back covers for Eightball. Clowes's back cover strips are some of his funniest work, and the later issues feature some stunning wraparounds, so it's well worth checking out. Here's Part I and Part II


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FREE exclusive FBI•MINI comics with qualifying mail-order purchases! (More details here.)

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