• Review: "...[The Search for Smilin' Ed is] a massive comedic epic of demonic possession and ventriloquism — it’s an explosion of the kind of thing Deitch does best. ... I defy anyone to read this and keep pace with Deitch’s ideas — somewhere between hippie psychedelics and virtual reality futurism is where Deitch’s brain lies. His wacky cartoon art style reveals a complex universe that meditates on the nature of reality itself, and your personal place within it as filtered through the isolated impressions of your own brain." – John Seven, Reverse Direction
• Review: "Malkasian’s tale is like something out of a fairy tale Book of Revelations, with a strangely similar vibe to the final season of Lost. ... With Temperance, Malkasian has heightened the depth of her ideas and demanded more from her audience. It’s a religious parable, to be sure, but it doesn’t stop right there, instead going into the territory of the motivations of belief, including the roles of fear, wrongdoing and falsehoods." – John Seven, Reverse Direction
• Plug: "[Johnny] Ryan in Prison Pit proves to be a master of precise composition and pacing. Though there's nothing redeeming about any of the characters in Ryan's hellish world, I still want to follow them for the artist's drawing virtuosity. There isn't a misplaced line, or a poorly chosen composition in this book, and it leads to a visually compelling, well-paced piece of work." – Charles Brownstein, in an interview with The Comics Reporter
• Interview: At his blog Hardboiled Wonderland, author Jedidiah Ayres talks to Tim Lane about Abandoned Cars, about which Ayres says "A collection of graphic short stories linked by theme and style that modulate between a sharp, gritty focus and dream-sense stream of consciousness, it reads like the book Jack Kerouac may have written with oh, say Donald Ray Pollock, populated by characters outrageous and familiar, out of their minds and so far down to earth that they're actually beneath it. And that's not saying anything about the visuals. Tim's gorgeous illustrations are why I bought the damn thing. That he could write worth a crap was gravy. His style is batter-dipped Americana with a generous dose of film-noir aesthetics and if I knew anything about graphic artists, I'd blow your mind with some mash-up comparison, (please insert your own dream team here and then assume that he tops it)." A bit from Tim: "I'm also very interested in creating a hint of pre-comics code comic illustration style in my work — especially the crime/horror comics of the late 40's and early 50's — because, beyond the fact that I love that stuff, I think it represents something ideological that is still pertinent today and resonates with my own attitude toward life."
• Interview: Chris Reilly of TCJ.com's Guttergeek has a Q&A with Michael Kupperman. Reilly says "Kupperman weeds out all the NARCs at the party — meaning that if his work does not make you laugh, go back to Omega House and spank some pledges, you joyless freak. Seriously, this man is one of the all-time great comic book satirists (in that he’s so funny that he may be satirizing comedy). ... Through his lens the most mundane thing become seriously funny." Kupperman says "Why should you read Tales Designed to Thrizzle? To experience the liberating power of laughter. Of course, if you don’t find it funny then there’s really no reason to read it. If you have no sense of humor, stay away."
For 35 years, Hal Foster created epic adventure and romantic fantasy in his legendary Sunday strip, Prince Valiant. Realistic in its visual execution and noble in its subject, depicting a time in which the fabled warriors of history and legends fought together for the greater good, it remains one of the great masterpieces of the medium.
In this second volume, Prince Valiant helps his father reclaim his throne in the kingdom of Thule, fights alongside King Arthur, and is made a knight of the Round Table in recompense for his bravery and wit. Bored by the peace he helped to create, Val decides to independently pull together the forces to battle the Huns’ descent on Southern Europe. When Val’s army breaches the Huns’ stronghold, however, he discovers that corruption reigns still further west in Rome. Thus Val sets off with Sir Gawain and Tristam of Arthurian legend fame, and the familial kinship of the trio sees them through chivalrous escapades, false imprisonment and daring escapes. By the end of this volume, they go their separate ways, and Val boards a ship to Sicily—yet a storm approaches, throwing him off-course, as adventure follows him everywhere.
Fantagraphics is proud to present these strips, which, thanks to the use of original proof sheets and advances in printing technology, are even brighter and crisper than when they were originally published 70 years ago. Foster’s work, painterly and sweeping, is finally treated to the grand depiction it deserves. These illustrative, time-honored comic strips will enthrall old readers and just as easily awe new ones.
Download an EXCLUSIVE 12-page PDF excerpt which includes Mark Schultz's Introduction and 9 strips (6.55 MB). Also, read editor Kim Thompson's Afterword from Vol. 1, detailing the production and restoration of these new editions, right here on our website.
Come see readings by Jim Woodring (Weathercraft), Megan Kelso (Artichoke Tales), Lucy Morehouse (Ong Ong), Greg Stump (Dwarf Attack), Zach Mandeville (Funwater Awesome), Max Clotfelter and Kelly Froh (Stewbrew), Raleigh Briggs and Julia Lipscomb. Live music by Helen Parson! [Ed. note: our own Jason T. Miles will also be there with his Profanity Hill zine distro!]
I wish I had time to Flog all that I'd like to Flog but until I manage to write some decent design-related posts (as if anyone wanted my take on the history of the illuminated Bible up through the Wolverton Bible), here's a quick bit of editorializing promotion for a few talented people:
• There's a new interview with Andy Smith over on James Morrison's Caustic Cover Critic book cover blog (which is a good place to hang out if you care about such things). Andy is a UK illustrator who does a lot of distinctive book cover design work. He also makes silkscreened comics by way of a kids-book format (one illustration per page/spread). The work is lively and really satisfying to hold. Frequently his books use typography as a narrator's voice but also as a kind of character and setting. I'm always impressed with people who can pull off messy, loose drawing styles with total confidence and Andy manages to do it with deceptive sophistication. These are comics meant to be a joy and they are.
• Last weekend I had the chance to put up Mome artist T. Edward Bak in our guest room and I really enjoyed talking with him about the research for his in-progress graphic novel about the life of G. W. Steller. With all the self-indulgent Kickstarter projects that feel like sad panhandling, Bak's book is a standout for what makes that site a great resource. Anyone who wants to support comics as a legitimate form of reportage/biography should fund this project on principle alone. Bak is doing a remarkable amount of background study to make this book not just some accessible story of an easy-to-glorify character but one that presents a new perspective on a legendary naturalist explorer. Sign on here.
• Then there's Lizz Hickey. I love the artwork of Lizz Hickey so if she wants to make a comic book out of copperplate etchings, then I can get behind her need to raise money for such an expensive endeavor. I'm not going to try to describe her work. She's unique, very unique.
• T. Edward Bak and I were also talking about the Facebook posts of Art Chantry. Chantry is an icon of contemporary graphic design and a wealth of popular culture knowledge (especially of the blue collar variety) as it relates to design. He's had a big impact on me over the years and his lengthy and entertaining Facebook posts are well worth enduring whatever makes Facebook supposedly evil.
• And speaking of Chantry, Mikey Burton did this smart poster for one of Art's speaking engagements. Mikey does some great design work and I was excited to talk to him recently about xerox transfer process but all he did is tell me I should quit it because it gave him spontaneous nosebleeds. What a killjoy.
[We're pleased to present the following report and photos fromRebel Visions author Partrick Rosenkranz. – Ed.]
I heard last winter that Crumb 's Genesis artwork was coming to the Portland Art Museum but I didn't see anything in the local press about it until just recently. When I received a letter inviting me to attend the opening night reception on Thursday, June 10th I eagerly accepted, and not just for the food and open bar. I wanted to examine the pages up close — how much whiteout did he use (not much); the size of the originals (just a bit bigger than the printed pages); how the museum would display them (on partitions painted different colors organized by chapters with portraits of the main characters above); and what would staid Portland supporters of culture think about having one of the world's most sexually obsessed artists hanging in their museum (some claimed to be unaware of all that hanky panky in the Bible).
Of course I was totally blown away by his superb draftsmanship and mastery of human anatomy, animals, landscapes, and architecture. I bought and read the book when it came out, but that crisp black ink on white art boards looked so much more precise than their reproduction onto printed pages. Even the crosshatching and shadowing was revealed in all its convoluted entirety. On the other hand I was a little disappointed that he didn't give Genesis the down and dirty Crumb treatment we've come to expect and love, but I'm consoled by some of the other drawings he's released here and there showing what he might have done, like this Adam and Eve strip that appeared in the Crumb Handbook.
• List: "A new, superb Frank book called Weathercraft came out a few weeks ago, but I treasured Frank as a periodical, and I'd love to sit down with a few hundred issues of it when I'm an old man. ... I think it's healthy for adolescent boys to have access to well-written, well-drawn comics about war, as long as the comics in question [like Blazing Combat] constantly pound home the message that war is futile, stupid and contemptible." – Douglas Wolk, "Ten Comics That Should Run Forever," TIME/Techland
• Review: "If you are in search for fresh ideas or even tried and true ideas presented in a fresh light, this is the book you've been yearning for. Werewolves of Montpellier is one of those true indie gems that make me glad I took a chance reading something outside of the mainstream. ... Werewolves of Montpellier is by far my favorite Indie Book of the Year so far. ... If you're a fan of the Coen Brothers or David Lynch, it's a safe bet that any work by Jason is going to be right up your alley. ...[I]n Werewolves of Montpellier, Jason takes his style of irreverence and perfects it. I guarantee if you take a chance with this book you will not forget it and seek out more Jason. It's one of those stories that sits with you long after page last comes to pass. Hilarious, profound, fun, and meaningful. Werewolves of Montpellier is filled with indie goodness." – Mark L. Miller, Ain't It Cool News
• Review: "Eisner Award winner Kim Deitch has been weaving a complex universe of ghosts, aliens, demons, puppets, spiritual leaders, and complicated animal characters for over 40 years, and in the tradition of Vonnegut, Deitch occasionally places himself in the middle of his own madness. If that sounds a bit meta, that’s only the barest tip of the squirmy, lascivious iceberg that Deitch has planned for you [in The Search for Smilin' Ed]. ... The lines between fiction and fact are so effectively blurred and made bizarre that I still retain a bit of paranoia and doubt about the veracity of any evidence that Smilin’ Ed was ever on TV... The images are so dense that it’s amazing they retain the clarity that they do, but it’s an amazing and unexpected study in the principles of positive and negative space." – Collin David, Graphic Novel Reporter
• Review: "By being both foreboding and accessible, menacing and friendly — and doing so without suffering from sort of comic book schizophrenia, Hensley manages to create something rather unique and deeply rewarding in Wally Gropius. This is a comic that rewards multiple readings and contemplation. It's also one of the best — and funniest — books of the year." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
• Review: "Speaking of strange, what an oddly delightful little book [Dungeon Quest Book 1] is, a mash-up of Dungeons & Dragons-type adventuring and stoner attitude... To some degree, this book is a distant cousin to Johnny Ryan's Prison Pit. The main difference being that Daly is more concerned with pot jokes than gore. Both though, are part of this seemingly new try to find ways to give the familiar fantasy genre a clever twist. And both are concerned with exploring different ways to portray action and violence in comics. ... Based on the strengths of this introductory volume... I'm willing to go where the adventure leads to." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
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