Johnny Ryan’s transgressive masterpiece Prison Pit has been the talk of altcomics circles since its debut in the summer of 2009. But before Prison Pit, Ryan garnered a considerable following via his one-man humor anthology (which doubled as a one-man War Against Political Correctness), Angry Youth Comix. Take a Joke collects many of the best stories from this inimitable series as well as many strips created for the wildly-popular Vice magazine, to which Ryan has contributed for years.
Unlike Ryan’s previous collections, which focused on very short stories, Take a Joke spotlights several of the artist’s longest humor pieces to date, notably: “Graveyard Goofs,” in which Ryan’s hapless antiheroes Sinus O’Gynus and Loady McGee exhume the corpse of the recently-deceased Santa Claus as part of a Top Secret experiment, fantasize an orgy with a collection of anthropomorphic condiment bottles (resulting in an unwanted pregnancy), and end up in Hell; “Boobs Pooter’s Jokepocalypse,” starring a coprophiliac version of Godzilla who destroys the world with hilarious jokes and crazy pranks; and “The World’s Funniest Joke,” a 24-page masterpiece that makes The Aristocrats look like a Nora Ephron film.
All this plus Cheesburg Chase, Omletta DuPont, "The Day The New Yorker Came to Town," and a handy index to help you find things like "ass angels," "s'mores crucifix" and "Yeti-tit earmuffs."
Download an EXCLUSIVE 14-page PDF excerpt (1.9 MB) including the Table of Contents.
After previous mentions in this space — see previous posts for additional blogger-blurbs — and possible early appearances at some comic shops, the following titles are on the official Diamond Comics Distributors shipping list for this week. Please check with your local shop to confirm availability. (Ordering in advance is always a good idea, too.) Previews and more info about each book, as always, at the links below:
200-page two-color 6.25" x 8" hardcover • $22.99 ISBN: 978-1-56097-892-3
"Wilfred Santiago's beautiful, intricately-told biography of the Pittsburgh Pirates icon manages to come out just in time for major league baseball's opening day. I think this is a work that people can return to a few times, meaning that if it's a novelty gift for someone -- something you buy for a baseball fan in your life that may not read a lot of comics, say -- it represents an enormous amount of value for that kind of book." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
"All I know about baseball is that there are some bases and a ball, but from this PDF preview it looks like one of those books that fools you into thinking you like a sport when you clearly don’t, just because it’s presented so beautifully... Wilfred Santiago’s... art is amazingly expressive. Looks like a good’un." – Gosh! Comics
"Then there’s 21, the new biography of baseball player Roberto Clemente by Wilfred Santiago, which looks pretty fantastic..." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
"Just in time for opening day, it's Wilfred Santiago's beautiful biography of baseball legend, Roberto Clemente." – Benn Ray (Atomic Books), Largehearted Boy
344-page black & white 8.5" x 7" hardcover • $28.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-438-2
"One thing that may be lost as we pore over this volume and the next few looking for a shift in tone or approach is that these books are deeply pleasurable and Schulz became in the golden afternoon of his career a highly confident and supremely reliable cartoonist." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
"...that Complete Peanuts Vol. 15 looks pretty spiffy as well..." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
"It's been a while since the book was previewed, but I remember the Sara Edward-Corbett cover-featured work being particularly strong, and I'm a fiend for what Josh Simmons is doing right now." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
"… I’d have to make some tough decisions this week. Do I spend my initial $15 on the latest volume of Mome or on [other titles]...?" – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
"CONFLICT OF INTEREST RESERVOIR: Okay, a lot of this might have shown up in earlier weeks, but Diamond says it’s now. R.I.P.: Best of 1985-2004 collects works by Thomas Ott, reviewed by Sean T. Collins at this site here; $28.99. 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente is a new sporting biography by Wilfred Santiago; $22.99. The Complete Peanuts Vol. 15: 1979-1980 is a collection of superhero comics by Todd McFarlane, introduction by Al Roker; $28.99. And MOME Vol. 21 complies artists summarized by the link, although I’d be particular interested in new stand-alone Josh Simmons and a piece by Sergio Ponchione; $14.99."
• Review: "Technically (or so says Fantagraphics!) [Toys in the Basement] is a children's book. A children's book by way of your worst adult nightmare. Seriously if there's a child out there who could read this all the way through without pissing his pants, I would like to meet that child and lock him up before he does the rest of society some harm. Because this 'children's' book is twisted. And that's why I enjoyed it so much." – P.D. Houston, Renderwrx Productions
• Review: "...[Unlovable] is crushingly funny and achingly sad. [...] Drawn in a two colour, faux-grotesque manner (you can call it intentionally primitive and ugly if you want) the page by page snapshots of a social hurricane building to disaster is absolutely captivating. [...] Both these big little hardbacks... comprise a delightful and genuinely moving exploration of something eternal... and like those other imaginary diarists Nigel Molesworth, Bridget Jones and Adrian Mole Tammy Pierce’s ruminations and recordings have something ineffable yet concrete to contribute to the Wisdom of the Ages. Modern and Post-Ironic, Unlovable is unmissable; and now that the entire sorry saga is available in this superb and substantial collectors boxed set, you have the perfect opportunity to discover the how and why of girls and possibly learn something to change your life." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!
One of the very first autobiographical graphic novels to come from France, Lewis Trondheim’s Approximate Continuum Comics set the standard for the honest, often hilarious chronicling of a cartoonist’s life. Trondheim’s typically graceful, confident cartooning shows him wrestling with his own demons (sometimes, in dream sequences, literally) and an often malevolent world, while trying to maintain his rising career as one of Europe’s most beloved cartoonists.
Approximate Continuum finally brings American readers the first portion of the “Trondheim autobio trilogy” that also comprises the Eisner-nominated “At Loose Ends” meditation serialized in Mome and the “Little Nothings” series of short slice-of-life stories.
This volume contains the first three chapters serialized in The Nimrod comic book (praised as "A rewarding, pleasurable and entertaining read from a fine talent... well worth the cover price" by The Comics Reporter), the last three (never-before-translated) chapters, and a hilarious “rebuttal” section in which Trondheim’s family and cartoonist friends (including Epileptic creator David B. and Trondheim’s mom) dispute (or ruefully agree with) Trondheim’s depictions.
Excellent and welcome news: On his The Ruined Cast blog Dash Shaw announces: "The 13th volume of Wholphin, the McSweeney’s quarterly DVD anthology, will have my 2009 IFC series The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century A.D. on it." That's artwork from the animated series in the lower quadrant on the cover there; of course, much more artwork from the series, as well as a bunch of Dash's short stories, can be found in our companion book of the same name, and the series is still available to watch at IFC.com.
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