My old pal, Stevie Knight a.k.a. "Ribs" Weissman, seemed a bit sheepish when he first suggested contributing a series of Guns 'n' Roses-related strips to MOME 22. I would have liked to think he knew me better than that. I mean, c'mon, Steven, you had me at "Appetite for Delicatessen."
What's particularly odd is that Weissman is one of two MOME regulars who independently decided that Vol. 22 would be the right time to get their Axl Rose on. More on that later...
With only one issue left to put together, I knew going into MOME 22 that I had to make a last-ditch effort to fit in a few cartoonists that I'd been meaning to reach out to for while. Count Chuck Forsman on that list. I've been enjoying Chuck's Snake Oil comics and others for a few years now, and as such was thrilled when he jumped at the chance to do something for the final hurrah. His story, "Francis," highlights one of Forsman's unique talents: a pitch-perfect ear and eye for the 1980s. Which is a bit weird for someone who wasn't even born until 1982.
Another never-before-translated classic from the Golden Age of Franco-Belgian comics, finally brought to American readers. Imagine the beautifully crisp images of Hergé (Tintin) put in service of a series of wise-cracking, fast-paced detective stories — punctuated with scenes of spectacular vehicular mayhem (including in this volume a dockside pursuit via car and bulldozer) — and you’ll see why 50 years later Gil Jordan is still considered a masterpiece in Europe.
Gil Jordan is a nattily-dressed but tough-as-nails private eye, seconded by his trusty ex-burglar assistant Crackerjack and his eccentric friend Inspector Crouton (as well as the invaluable Miss Midge).
Fantagraphics’ first Gil Jordan book combines two of Gil’s finest yarns in one splendid hardcover. In “Murder by High Tide,” Gil and his associates are hired to investigate the suspicious disappearance (death?) of an antiques dealer, while in “Leap of Faith” they get involved in trying to protect an attorney from Joe the Needle, a mysteriously escaped convict with apparent superhuman powers who has sworn vengeance.
This week's comic shop shipment is slated to include the following new titles. Four of our biggest releases of the summer all dropping at once! 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.
(Diamond's PREVIEWSworld website also spotlights some of our books that are now back in print and available again.)
282-page full-color 7" x 9.25" hardcover • $35.00 ISBN: 978-1-60699-440-5
"It's been a while since we've heard from Dave McKean in comics, and his new book is a not-very-plot-heavy thing involving a lot of large images and a lot of very stylized nudity and sex. Not Cages II, in other words." – Douglas Wolk, Comics Alliance
"And for my splurging this week, I’ll... go... with... Celluloid, the new erotic book from Dave McKean." – J.K. Parkin, Robot 6
"...I do admire McKean’s work, and am therefore pretty interested in seeing what this looks like." – James Fulton, Inside Pulse
"I wish I could tell you if this $35 book was good. I don't know, because I don't have it. But I have good reason to [suggest] it.... Cages was great, I can attest to that. And anyone who ever admired a cover to Gaiman's Sandman was admiring McKean's art." – Stephen Totilo, Kotaku
"I’m especially looking forward to Dave McKean’s Celluloid." – Brian Hibbs, Savage Critics
"Dave McKean... gives us his first solo graphic novel since that aforementioned weighty tome. It’s called Celluloid and it’s got rude bits in." – Gosh! Comics
"comic elves unpacking week's new goodies, spotted @DaveMcKean's Celluloid from @fantagraphics... it will be mine, oh yes" – Forbidden Planet International
"Celluloid is beautiful. Gripping and genuinely arousing, with some of @DaveMcKean's best art. Well done to everyone involved." – Ace Comics
104-page black & white 7.25" x 9.75" hardcover • $19.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-437-5
"Jim Woodring's extraordinary new Frank book (this time concentrating on Frank himself again, rather than Manhog as in last year's Weathercraft): whimsy on top, fabulism in the middle, collective-unconscious terror extending from the bottom layer straight through to the center of the universe. Even if there were anyone else doing anything like his comics, he'd still be the best at it." – Douglas Wolk, Comics Alliance
"New Jim Woodring! This... is Woodring’s second graphic novel, and the first to star his Frank character." – J. Caleb Mozzocco, Newsarama
"Jim Woodring’s follow-up to last year’s Weathercraft has landed. In Congress of the Animals Frank’s left home and is dealing with all manner of horrific realties, though I don’t see him crying over his tax returns... it’s a funny and absurd story..." – Gosh! Comics
"After what seemed like a lengthy drought, Jim Woodring seems to have jumped back into comics full steam, releasing the second graphic novel, Congress of the Animals... in two years.... Woodring fans will be more than pleased at this latest tale involving the ever unperturbed Frank and his adventures in the Unifactor, which, I should note, take an interesting left turn 2/3 of the way through." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
"The master of psychedelic cartoon storytelling is back with another fantastic collection. It is impossible to look at a page of this book and not immediately be drawn in to each panel by Woodring's line work, where the world fades away from around you and suddenly you feel like a character in the Unifactor." – Benn Ray (Atomic Books), Largehearted Boy
56-page full-color 7.25" x 10.25" softcover • $14.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-442-9
"The awesome Norwegian cartoonist Jason works with a separate writer for the first time I can remember: Fabien Vehlmann, who gives him a deadpan story about pirates and buried treasure that's right up his alley." – Douglas Wolk, Comics Alliance
"...I’m hopeful that I’ll finally get to read this pirate story and forget my disappointment about On Stranger Tides." – Michael May, Robot 6
"And for my splurging this week, I’ll... go... with Isle of 100,000 Graves, the new Jason/Fabien Vehlmann collaboration..." – J.K. Parkin, Robot 6
"New Jason! This... trade is unique among Jason’s other works in that he’s working, for the first time, with a co-writer, Fabien Vehlmann." – J. Caleb Mozzocco, Newsarama
"There's no better feeling than holding a copy of a brand new Jason book in your hand. Eeee!" – Secret Headquarters
"Jason... has enlisted a writer for the first time in Fabien Vehlmann, a well known name in France but the Sean Phillips illustrated Seven Psychopaths is his only translated work so far, except for this new one of course.... It’s about pirates, obviously." – Gosh! Comics
"If you haven’t already got a copy yet..., allow me to point you towards Isle of 100,000 Graves, the latest comic from the Norwegian artist Jason, this time working with writer Fabien Vehlmann. Rest assured this new collaboration sees no drop in quality and is a worthy addition to his catalog." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
288-page black & white/color 10.5" x 8.75" hardcover • $29.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-441-2
"In which Fantagraphics begins its complete reprint of Floyd Gottfredson's classic run on the Mickey Mouse newspaper comic strip (actually beginning a few months earlier, with the initial strips, in whose creation Disney himself participated). Nicely designed? But of course." – Douglas Wolk, Comics Alliance
"Of course, there’s also Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse, Volume 1: Race to Death Valley featuring early stories of Mickey as a two-fisted adventurer. That sounds impossible to pass up..." – Michael May, Robot 6
"That Mickey Mouse book is probably the book of the week — although you can never, ever look past Jim Woodring — as it's practically a billion-dollar casino of gut-level, inky thrills." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
"Another one from Fantagraphics is Disney’s Mickey Mouse Volume 1: Race to Death Valley, a hardcover collecting old strips all fully remastered and shot directly from the proof sheets of Disney and private collections. They’re by Floyd Gottfredson, who was employed at Disney as an apprentice animator and in-betweener in the early ‘30s. He was temporarily put on the Mickey Mouse strip and somehow ended up drawing it for the next 45 years." – Gosh! Comics
"...Fantagraphics’ Mickey Mouse vol. 1, Race to Death Valley... promises to show us a different side of the familiar rodent. I have read about Mickey having a personality, which he really doesn’t now, so I’m curious about what he was like in the early days." – Brigid Alverson, Robot 6
"The new Mickey Mouse collection is the obvious pick of the week for me. Floyd Gottfredson has far too long ignored by comics and Disney fans and it’s nice to see Fantagraphics give the work the attention it deserves. They did a fantastic job too; this is easily one of the best designed reprint projects I’ve seen in awhile, and chock full of great extra essays and extra features. I really hope this goes a long way towards establishing Gottfredson in the comics canon (whatever that may be)." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
And on the batch:
"Top 4 picks of the week are all from @fantagraphics: Congress o/t Animals, Celluloid, Isle of 100000 Graves, and Mickey Mouse! Bravo, chaps!" – Danger Room Comics
And at TCJ.com it's Joe McCulloch's "CONFLICT OF INTEREST RESERVOIR: Ok, we all know who’s publishing this column, BUT – I think there’s some pretty strong stuff this week. Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse Vol. 1: Race to Death Valley introduces the awesome daily strip exploits of Floyd Gottfredson, as well as a bevy of collaborators and predecessors, including Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks themselves, with a whole lot of supplements... Congress of the Animals sees Jim Woodring send his Frank character into an odd new world... And Isle of 100,000 Graves marks Jason’s first collaboration with another writer, Fabien Vehlmann, for a tale of piracy..."
• Review: "Gottfredson's strips are jammed with incident and detail, energized with a loopy energy that matches the spunky determination of Mickey himself. Running pell-mell from one dangerous escapade to the next (spooky houses and runaway trains predominate), Mickey is all spit and fire as he confronts louts like Pegleg Pete and the Fox while protecting his risk-prone flapper girlfriend, Minnie: 'Give up?? Never!!' The quite visible specter of the Depression and occasional dark humor, as when Mickey tries multiple times to kill himself and fails comically, only add to the sense of heroic grit." – Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
• Review: "The first and probably best compliment that I can give to Wilfred Santiago, the writer and illustrator of 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente, is that I wish that I’d read it when I was a kid. In brilliantly transforming Clemente’s life into a graphic novel, Santiago creates an artwork that retells a story familiar to most baseball fans as a superhero legend and, in so doing, stands alongside the Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman comic books that many of us read in our youth." – Paul Gleason, Legacy Sports Ent.
• Interview:Legacy Sports Ent.'s Paul Gleason talks to Wilfred Santiago about 21: "Having never watched Clemente play, he was more of a legend to me growing up in Puerto Rico. After the release of the book, I can see how much Clemente has meant to the older generations who followed him and to the younger generations who learned to love him because of their parents. This inter-generational bond transcends gender and cultures, and it has been rewarding to witness people’s responses."
• Profile: Antolín Maldonado Ríos of El Nuevo Día introduces Wilfred Santiago to readers of Puerto Rico's largest daily newspaper: "'I have over a decade doing comic books, and most were superheroes. When I finished my first graphic novel, I had the idea of doing a biography, and thus had more potential subjects. Roberto Clemente was one of them,' said the Puerto Rican artist, a native of Ponce, to explain the background of his recent book, 21 - The Story of Roberto Clemente." (translated from Spanish)
In case you've been living under a rock, the 12" action doll of Daniel Clowes's The Death Ray goes on sale on Thursday. Fully posable, with ray gun accessory and snazzy packaging (natch). Manufactured by the enigmatic "Oakland Toy Corp.," distributed exclusively by our pals at Presspop, limited to 200, first come first served. All the details and more images are here.
Things are gettin' trippy over at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Artas they recently kicked off a set of tandem exhibits, “Us Versus Them” and “Masters of Collective Reality,” curated by Phoenix-based artist Jon Haddock.
This month's issue of Booklist brings a nice batch of favorable reviews for four of our recent releases, excerpted below:
Approximate Continuum Comics by Lewis Trondheim: "The simple, unadorned black-and-white line drawings are agreeably loose and deceptively casual, compelling in their humorous expressiveness and economy. Trondheim’s autobiographical departure is of a piece with the rest of his sizable body of work, not only in its whimsical intelligence but also in that the characters are portrayed as anthropomorphic animals. Fans of Trondheim’s other efforts will enjoy viewing another facet of his work, and followers of graphic memoirs will appreciate seeing a comics master turn his hand to the genre." — Gordon Flagg
Celluloid by Dave McKean: "...McKean... tears through different artistic styles in explicit imagery that’s too striking for simple titillation, and while the dark edge in his work is palpable, it never turns disturbing (those with different sensibilities, however, may dispute both those assessments). For all its entwined body parts, unblushing exhibitionism, and surreal juxtapositions, this is both high art masquerading as pornography and transgressive erotica with lofty intentions, and it is respectful of both its subject and its audience." — Ian Chipman
Isle of 100,000 Graves by Jason & Fabien Vehlmann: "Norwegian cartoonist Jason works with a writer for the first time, and it’s a terrific match. His hollow-eyed, animal-faced characters deliver the deadest of deadpan humor ('Get out your leather gloves. The strangulation finals are about to begin.'). Like Tony Millionaire’s work, this comic shows that the line between cute and demented is perilously thin — and lots of fun to cross over. Despite the multiple beheadings and (mostly) jokey torturings, this is a fairly gore-free affair, so while some may choose not to foist it on kids, its sense of whimsical brutality is right up their alley." — Ian Chipman
Take a Joke by Johnny Ryan: "In Angry Youth Comix..., the [title] phrase is displaced from an interrogative into an imperative sentence — 'Take a joke, @#$%^&!' In Ryan’s comics universe, that means being cursed, sexually violated, soaked with ordure, dismembered, beheaded, and otherwise savaged. Ryan renders this wanton, pointless mayhem in a style descended from the ultraviolent, silent Felix the Cat animated cartoons and the big-nose school of joke cartoonists immortalized by those rude cocktail napkins you think you’ll never see again, but then you stop for a beer at some roadhouse, and voila! Vile beyond all credence, this stuff reduces its fans to teary, dribbling idiocy, others to nauseated indignation. If you can’t stand Tony Millionaire (Maakies) or the raunchiest of R. Crumb, you’ll hate it. High praise, indeed!" — Ray Olson
In 2000, veteran rock 'n' roller Lou Reed, legendary director Robert Wilson, and a cast of singers and actors premiered Reed's musical POEtry in Hamburg's Thalia Theater.
An ambitious combination of Edgar Allen Poe's poems and stories and Reeds reinterpretations of same (with a few classic Reed songs such as "Perfect Day" and "The Bed" integrated for good measure, POEtry bridged the centuries to provide a unique vision of beauty and horror for the dawning 21st century.
In 2003, Reed released (under the title The Raven) a double CD reprising the musical, featuring an all-star cast of singers and actors including Steve Buscemi, David Bowie, Laurie Anderson. Willem Dafoe, and the Blind Boys of Alabama, as well as an edited single-CD version focusing on the songs.
Now, for the definitive book version compiling the songs, verses and narratives that comprise POEtry/The Raven, Reed has personally commissioned legendary Italian illustrator and cartoonist Lorenzo Mattotti (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Stigmata) to visualize this extraordinary collaboration. Mattotti's vivid, abstracted and enigmatic artwork brings out all the terror and beauty of this centuries-spanning masterwork.
This beautiful hardcover volume boasts a jacket design by Grammy-nominated designer Jesse LeDoux.
Download a 16-page PDF excerpt (2.2 MB) which includes the Table of Contents and Reed's foreword.
Register and Login to receive full member benefits, including members-only special offers, commenting privileges on Flog! The Fantagraphics Blog, newsletters and special announcements via email, and stuff we haven't even thought of yet. Membership is free and spam-free, so Sign Up Today!