A Mess of Everything is the second volume in Miss Lasko-Gross's semi-autobiographical trilogy, picking up where the first volume, Escape from "Special," left off: self-effacing non-conformist Melissa is now in high school, where the stakes are higher as she copes with an anxiety-induced drug habit and an anorexic best friend. Melissa finds herself negotiating the kinds of everyday problems facing young adults today — such as alienating her friends with her uncomfortable honesty and accidentally breaking her best guy friend's heart. Eventually, her woes cause her to nearly flunk out of school, and by the end of the book Melissa faces the choice that we all do at some point: to take the risk and pursue her dreams or settle for a safer, more secure routine.
The unsentimental truthfulness that is the hallmark of Lasko-Gross's work is coupled with a raw but increasingly refined visual vocabulary. A Mess of Everything is an intense, honest, and funny memoir that holds appeal for anyone who is navigating, or who has ever grappled with, these issues. She expresses the awkward naïveté and inexperience of a young girl with the keen insights of a mature artist.
Despite being mentioned by other sources, Paul Hornschemeier's Mother, Come Home is not on the official list, but you never know! Contact your local shop to confirm availability of these titles, and hit those links to see previews and gather more info. Happy shopping!
It's a honker today! Lots of good stuff out there:
• Review: Blogger Fionnchú considers the place of Alexander Theroux's Laura Warholic in the pantheon of "big, long, thick" maximalist novels (e.g. Wallace, Joyce, DeLillo, Pynchon)
• Review: The Tearoom of Despair pens a loving ode to The Comics Journal: "...[I]t remains the best magazine about comics I’ve ever had the pleasure to read, offering in-depth analysis that has changed my entire opinion of certain comics... And it has some of the best interviews with comic writers, artists and editors that have ever peen published in any medium... Overall, it is still an absolute pleasure to sit down with a new issue of The Comics Journal and read about the craft and love for the medium that is out there... It has recorded the history of comics with style and panache, has published the liveliest letter page in magazines and has been unfailing in its bid to raise comics as an art form."
• Review: Rob Clough has a typically thoughtful take on The Complete Peanuts 1971-1972: "The latest volume of The Complete Peanuts finds Charles Schulz still at his peak... a perfect blend of fantasy, whimsy, jokes, heartbreak, topical references and sturdy characterization."
• Blurb: The Seattle Times' roundup of notable new local books includes a mention of Humbug: "Includes satirical takes on highway congestion, time travel, consumer reports and perspiration."
• Preview: Fictional or not, The Rack's Lydia recommends Mother, Come Home by Paul Hornschemeier ("Paul Hornschemeier's comics always make me miserable, and in a good way. This is a new edition of my favorite work he's done so far.") and Ho! The Morally Questionable Cartoons of Ivan Brunetti ("I like him a lot, but I think that Johnny Ryan should be cutting Ivan Brunetti a check every month and this collection of gag cartoons will show you why") from this week's new comics
• Preview: The Comics Reporter, same tune, different lyrics: on Boody, "Some of the greatest, oddest comics of all time"; on Ho!, "relentlessly naughty... I like these quite a bit"; and on Supermen!, "I liked this book quite a bit... a bunch of frequently weird, hallucinatory adventure fantasies"
• Preview: Atomic Romance also anticipates Supermen!: "In your face golden age stories by some of the greats of comic book history... I love this because it’s a time of experimentation. The writers and artists are learning their craft and there aren’t any established rules yet. Sure to please fans of I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets."
• Preview: Yet more blurbage about this week's new comics, this time from Blog @ Newsarama: on Boody, "comics super-genius Boody Rogers’ work... is almost as beautiful as it is weird. Or almost as weird as it is beautiful. At any rate, it’s really weird and really beautiful"; on Supermen!: "[A] must-read... I can’t recommend this one highly enough"
• Interview: Publishers Weekly chats with C. Tyler about her new book You'll Never Know, Book 1; of the book they say "[Tyler] recreates the experience of thought, in which past and present, parents and children, relationships and variations of the self co-mingle, intersect, and layer over one another. Evocative words and images appear in the background or the margins of Tyler’s panels, drawing out subtleties of the story, or clueing us in to unspoken emotional tones."
Available today: Volume 1 of The Cloudy Collection, a folio of 7 letterpress prints by Steven Weissman (above), Tom Kaczynski (below) and 5 other sooperstar illustrators. Fantastic looking, love that colorway, and only $35! Buy it unless you're poor or hate excellent things.
Now available for preview and pre-order: Luba, the long-awaited hardcover sequel to Palomar by Gilbert Hernandez. This 600-page tome collects over 100 stories chronicling the experiences of the imposing matriarch and her extended family in America. This book is scheduled to be in stock in early April and in stores approximately 4 weeks later.
View a photo & video slideshow preview embedded here. Click here if it is not visible, and/or to view it larger in a new window (recommended). And at our product info page you can download a PDF of an exclusive 26-page excerpt!
• Review: For Robot 6's "What Are You Reading?" column, guest contributor Kevin Church says of Sam's Strip, "It was either going to be the biggest success in the world or end within two years. Since it’s all collected in one volume now, you can likely work out how it went down."
• Review: Las Vegas Weekly gives Sam's Strip 4 stars: "How on earth did Sam's Strip... fail to set the funny pages on fire back in 1961...? The answer -- provided through this complete collection of 500 strips -- is that the time just wasn't right. Well, it's certainly right now."
• Review: Thought Balloonist Charles W. Hatfield examines Bottomless Belly Button by Dash Shaw: "Shaw is very good and getting better... With Bottomless Belly Button he has pulled off something remarkable: a 700-plus page book that doesn't feel like a stunt but rather is perfectly proportioned, intimate, and subtle, a privileged entryway into a private world that nonetheless feels universal in its emotive resonance and applicability... Bottomless Belly Button has depths. It evokes the power of memory and the phenomenal richness of ordinary experience with the sort of Proustian precision of observation and recall that alternative comics have been chasing since Spiegelman."
• Review: The title of The Washington Post's Express Night Out review of The Complete Peanuts 1971-1972 makes what is surely the first reference to Spin¨al Tap in a Peanuts review. From the review: "[These] volumes... are a spectacular tribute to Schulz's work... References to Bob Dylan's age aside (one strip mentions his 30th birthday — yikes!), Peanuts remains surprisingly fresh and timeless. Although Charles Schulz wrote these strips over 20 years ago, the ongoing popularity of the made-for-TV holiday specials... means that the Peanuts gang continue to remain relevant in popular culture. It would be a pity, however, to relegate Peanuts to special occasions only — Schulz's work should and can be enjoyed all year round."
• Review: Sacha Peet says "I finally read Unlovable by Esther Pearl Watson the other day. I love it. The drawings are great, and the life of Tammy Pierce is enthralling."
• Review: The A.V. Club gives Humbug an A-minus: "Fans of vintage Mad will immediately be at home thanks to familiar artists and attitudes, although Humbug ultimately feels a bit like an alternate-universe Mad, one 1950s grown-ups could stack between Playboy and Harper’s on the coffee table... Humbug remains a fascinating showcase for a group of artists operating at the height of their powers and inspiration. The lovingly assembled package — beautifully reprinted and filled out with extras like a long Roth and Jaffee interview — doesn’t hurt either."
• Review: The A.V. Club says "The Wolverton Bible shows the often-surprising result of [the] collaboration between a pulpit-pounding televangelist organization and one of the loopiest cartoonists of his era.... it features some of [Basil] Wolverton's most breathtaking art, and he finds plenty of opportunities in Bible stories and end-times predictions for his sense of the grotesque and horrific... for Wolverton fans, it's a must-see, and a look at a truly surprising chapter of the man's career."
Next, an unexpected turn of events in this week's installment of Steven Weissman's in-progress pages from "Blue Jay," an epic 50-page story from Chocolate Cheeks, the next collection of the Yikes! gang's adventures.
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