Spurgeon's comments on the book: "Santiago brings the same playful complexity to the story of the Puerto Rican baseball slugger and humanitarian that he's put on thrilling display in previous comics. Many of the pages are to die-for gorgeous, and Santiago routinely finds compelling visual solutions to communicating the physicality and grace of a player whose heyday was long enough ago we have more stories than film to go by. The insights into the man's personal life are perhaps even more engagingly portrayed. As biography, 21 is admirably restrained and leaves a lot to the reader's interpretation of what they're seeing on the page. It is a book bristling with intelligence that will bear re-reading in the same way that Roberto Clemente continues to invite our regard and admiration for his accomplishments on and off the field."
From Wilfred: "To an extent, that's Clemente. Clemente didn't waste much time. Everything was urgent to him. The pace of the book tried to capture that sort of non-pause, that sort of way of going forward without slowing down. He does have what you just said -- exuberance -- and that's such an important part of his life. So you approach it the same way. When you think about it, that's exactly the way he died, too. He could have slowed down."
• Plug: "A shooting star that brightened the game in the '70s, Roberto Clemente broke cultural divides and game records and grasps on just what a baseball athlete could accomplish inside a long-storied sport. Writer and cartoonist Wilfred Santiago brings a graphic novel  that details the bio of a beloved player still, decades after his abrupt death." – Mark Ruffin, Examiner.com
• Plug: "In his comics, the Swiss illustrator [Thomas Ott], 44, usually begins with a pencil drawing, then copies it with tracing paper. Then transfers the image to black paper and scrapes with the aid of a stylus. Too much work? Yes, but the technique, known as scratchboard, impresses. Check out... a small sample of the new album [R.I.P.: Best of 1985-2004] — a selection of nearly 20 years of work by the author — and dare to disagree. The images are disturbing, but beautiful." – Telio Navega, O Globo (translated from Portuguese)
As we've been working on M. Tillieux's Murder by High Tide I've become gripped by Tillieux's cartooning, especially his panel composition and pitch-perfect, push-pull blend of "naturalist" and "cartoony" figure work. What follows are a series of panels from Catch as Catch Can (the second story featured in Murder by High Tide) that I've been particularly struck by. Note: these panels, in their finished form, will be colored and lettered.
This panel reminds me of Toth or Xaime, what with how the acting, lighting and composition leads the eye to read Gil Jordan's darkened face and arm as he slowly creeps the door open to… what???
That's Gil Jordan dashing into the shadows as he's hot on the heels of Joe The Syringe. This panel stopped me cold.
I love this panel. I half expect to see my reflection in the rearview mirror. I used to think panels like this didn't work… or that you had to be Xaime to make them work, but time and time again Tilleux subtly or overtly places the reader's sightline in such a way to immerse your eye into Gil Jordan's four color world.
What could've easily been a throwaway panel graciously offers Tillieux's masterful drawing as acting equals cartooning!
Bonus! Six panel action sequence from Catch as Catch Can. (Click to see bigger.)
Tillieux's best work stands tensely between Hergé's ligne claire and Franquin's reverent bounce. It's the hearing-the-ice-crack tension of Tillieux's ink that brings it for me as it flawlessly meets the gestalt of the mystery thriller genre. And if that weren't enough, Tillieux, like American film director Howard Hawks, is a master of characterization and letting the scene play out. As a fan of the comfortable character interaction of Hawks' Rio Bravo and Hatari, I could spend all day hanging out with Gil Jordan and his assistant, Crackerjack!
In the '60s, Paul Nelson pioneered rock & roll criticism with a first-person style of writing later coined "New Journalism." During a five-year detour at Mercury Records, he signed the New York Dolls to their first recording contract, and then settled back down to music criticism at Rolling Stone. Through his writing, Nelson championed the early careers of artists like Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne, Rod Stewart, Neil Young, Warren Zevon, The Sex Pistols, and The Ramones.
But in 1982, he walked away from it all. By the time Nelson died in his New York City apartment in 2006, everything he'd written had been relegated to back issues of old music magazines.
"My original idea for this book was simply to anthologize Paul Nelson's best work so that today's readers could discover, as I had in my youth, his elegant and brilliant writings," explains author Kevin Avery. "But I soon realized that, in doing these pieces, Paul was ultimately telling his own story. And his story was so damn compelling it was impossible for me not to write about it."
American journalist, biographer, and poet Nick Tosches wrote the foreword to this landmark work of cultural revival, which stands as a tribute to and collection of one of the unsung critical champions of popular music.
At last, a girl-centered comic book that actually appeals to girls (and even their parents)! Co-created by comics living legends Peter Bagge (Hate) and Gilbert Hernandez (Love and Rockets) on writer and artist duties respectively*, Yeah! is a unique masterpiece of all-ages fun. Originally published as a nine-issue comic book series from 1999-2000 by DC’s Wildstorm imprint, this all-ages gem (approved by the Comics Code Authority, no less!) is collected here for the very first time.
Krazy (vocals and guitars), Honey (drums) and WooWoo (keyboards) are the members of the pop band Yeah! They’ve achieved intergalactic superstardom on every planet but their own (Earth), where they live in anonymity and suffer indignities in their home of suburban New Jersey. The girls struggle with bad gigs (struggling to win $200 amateur-night contests despite playing to packed crowds of adoring fans on Uranus), aliens who have crushes on them, and rival boy band The Snobs.
* Fans of Peter Bagge's artwork, don't fret: he breaks out the ol' pencil for a 4-page backup story starring The Snobs (inked by Fantagraphics' own Eric Reynolds). And Love and Rockets fans take note: this comic features perhaps the longest-ever collaboration with Gilbert and his brother Jaime, who inks a whole chapter!
"Reading YEAH! is a bit like reading my life story, as told in an alternate universe. The story is about a kick-ass all-girl band that are truly like a family. They have gigs, adventures, boyfriends and pets, and a manager that is flawed but lovable. Not so dissimilar to the Go-Go's! Of course, YEAH! get to be HUGE rock stars on every other planet but Earth, which is something I dearly would have loved in my career!" — Jane Wiedlin
Download a 25-page PDF excerpt (1.9 MB) including an intro to the book by Peter Bagge and the entire first issue!
Ooh, McSweeney's took one of Renee French's trap drawings and turned it into a t-shirt that you can buy. (They just have the one small image, and Renee said it was too dark so I brightened it up for posting here.)
• Review: "Wilfred Santiago’s reverent comic biography 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente respectfully portrays both the player and the humanitarian without ever devolving into hagiography. [...] Santiago’s pleasantly cartoonish art defuses the sort of stifling sincerity that often turns well-intentioned works like this into ponderous bores. His dynamic layouts during the excellently rendered game scenes are tremendous, amazingly capturing the tension and euphoric release of a successful at-bat. [...] Santiago makes the sport exciting for even the most die-hard anti-baseball lout, but more importantly reminds us of the man behind one of the most inspirational figures in sports." – Garrett Martin, Paste
• Review: "...Jacques Tardi is one of the world’s greatest living cartoonists... [The Arctic] Marauder's standout attraction is Tardi’s art, particularly the complex ways Tardi combines black ink, gray tones and white space to delineate the frozen Atlantic Ocean expanses that open and close the book. ...Marauder‘s story is a pleasure to read. [...] Tardi’s handling of this milieu is perfect." – Craig Fischer, The Panelists
• Review: "Here [in Krazy & Ignatz 1919-1921] you’ll find Krazy moved to tears by the plight of a caged canary denied all the joys of free-flying fowl which he demonstrates one by one… outside of his cage. You’ll see him creep around on behalf of a pig begging for pennies after Ignatz dobs him in, the sneak. You’ll witness the sublime stupidity of Pupp and Ignatz investigating a dark cave with eyes, right under (or above) Krazy’s nose. But most of all, there’s them thar bricks aflyin’. [...] Regardless of gender, it’s probably the strangest love triangle in the world." – Page 45 (via The Comics Reporter)
• Review: "Krazy and Ignatz, as it is dubbed in these lovely collected tomes from Fantagraphics, is not and never has been a strip for dull, slow or unimaginative people who simply won’t or can’t appreciate the complex multilayered verbal and pictorial whimsy, absurdist philosophy or seamless blending of sardonic slapstick with arcane joshing. It is the closest thing to pure poesy that narrative art has ever produced." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!
• Interview (Audio): Your must-listen of the day: our own Kim Thompson joins Inkstuds host Robin McConnell and Dr. Bart Beaty for a discussion of all things Euro-comics
• Feature: At the Drawing Words & Writing Pictures blog, Best American Comics series co-editor Jessica Abel spotlights Nate Neal's "Delia's Love" from Mome Vol. 15 as a 2010 Notable Comic: "Clearly structured, despite somewhat-complex flashbacks, 'Delia’s Love' is a story of down-and-outness and complicated romantic and sexual history. It’s told sensitively, and with subtlety, despite the sometimes harsh subject matter. No character comes off as either entirely hero or victim, and that’s how I like it."
• Plug: "This collection [Take a Joke] will feature some of the longer humor pieces from Johnny Ryan's Angry Youth Comix and, while it is NOT family friendly, it is funny as shit. [...] REMEMBER THAT THIS IS NOT FAMILY FRIENDLY ENTERTAINMENT." – Forces of Geek
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