• Review: "...Freeway is often stunning. Kalesniko spent 10 years on the book, and the time and care is evident in the structural complexity. [...] One of the unique properties of comics — utilized well by artists like Chris Ware and Richard McGuire — is the ability to connect disparate pieces of information using the page like a chart. Kalesniko doesn’t draw any arrows or experiment with layouts, but he does convey the impression of a man dealing with his daily frustrations by letting every sight, sound, and sensation send him on a trip through his own head. And in Freeway, Alex Kalienka’s head is as vivid as the book’s depiction of key Los Angeles landmarks. Kalesniko renders both the exterior and interior spaces with a mix of loving care and impassioned disgust." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club
• Review: "This mesmeric saga [Freeway] is deliciously multi-layered: blending compelling narrative with tantalising tidbits and secret snippets from the golden age of animation with rosy reveries of the meta-fictional post-war LA and the sheer tension of a paranoid thriller. Kalesniko opens Alex mind and soul to us but there’s no easy ride. Like Christopher Nolan’s Memento, there’s a brilliant tale here but you’re expected to pay attention and work for it. Illustrated with stunning virtuosity in captivating black line, Alex’s frustration, anger, despair, reminiscences and imaginings from idle ponderings to over-the-top near hallucinations are chillingly captured and shared in this wonderful book..." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!
• Plug: "Freeway by Mark Kalesniko (published by @fantagraphics) is one of the best graphic novels I've read this year." – Ted Adams (founder/CEO, IDW Publishing)
• Plug:Grovel previews Freeway: "This 400-page epic looks set to be a stunning piece of work, as Kalesniko squeezes a lifetime of events into the mental wanderings of a single car journey."
• Review: "Dungeon Quest is unlike anything I have ever seen in the comic world. The closest comparison is some old comic strips in Dungeon Magazine from the mid-eighties but Dungeon Questtakes the level of insanity in those strips and adds +100 in delirium bonuses. If you know a manic dice roller, go out and purchase them both editions without thought. They will love you forever. [...] The story sounds a little like Bilbo Baggins' quest, right? Well, take Bilbo and drag him through a funhouse filled with drag queens and stand-up comedians from the eighties and you might end up with Dungeon Quest. The filth that spews from this book will make you blanch and make you laugh your lungs up." – Martin John, The Outhouse
• Review: "In short, The Arctic Marauder is pure fun, silly and dark camp. It’s a beautiful book, with an appealing cover and a sturdy hardcover binding. Tardi’s narrative voice keeps the proceedings puckishly light and pleasant, while the plot itself explores oceanic depths and throws out characters rife with madness and egocentrism. There aren’t many books quite like it; comics readers are better off for having Tardi available here in the States." – Michael C. Lorah, Newsarama
• Review: "The fun of getting caught up in a story that’s convoluted for its own sake, or the dazzle of pictures that preen the skill and effort that went into crafting them — they’re the hallmarks of a book that one reads to relax. Books that require an effort are ultimately more satisfying, but the smaller satisfactions are occasionally what one needs. The Arctic Marauder is fun, and it was nice to sit down with it after a long day." – Robert Stanley Martin, Pol Culture
• Review: "Screenwriter and novelist Claudio Piersanti's dark tale of a man driven to the depths of despair is beautifully captured in Mattotti's astonishing art [in Stigmata]. No artist is better suited to capturing all the intense violence, anger and despair this character suffers through." – John Anderson, The Beguiling blog
• Review: "Daddy's Girl is a comic book with a difference. Debbie Drechser uses mostly black and white illustrations to openly deal with the dark subject of abuse. [...] This is simply put, a masterpiece. The deeply disturbing subject matter of sexual abuse is brought to life with a startling brutality. It's impossible not to be impacted by the experiences within the pages. [...] It's a memorable, moving, bold, and — at times — emotionally challenging read that definitely rates a 5/5 from me." – Charlene Martel, The Literary Word
• Review: "Because Theroux knew Gorey personally — and remains a fervent fan — The Strange Case [of Edward Gorey] jumps from memories of the man to a more generalized biography, in between astute analyses of what makes Gorey books like The Hapless Child and The Gashlycrumb Tinies so haunting. The Strange Case isn’t organized like a conventional bio or critique; it’s more rambling and personal, working carefully past the psychic blockades of a man who once explained away the darkness of his work with the non-committal comment, 'I don’t know any children.'" – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club
• Review: "Rendered in an incomprehensibly lovely panorama of glowing artPrince Valiant is a non-stop rollercoaster of stirring action, exotic adventure and grand romance; blending realistic fantasy with sardonic wit and broad humour with unbelievably dark violence... Beautiful, captivating and utterly awe-inspiring the strip is a World Classic of storytelling and something no fan can afford to miss." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!
• Review: "These superb oversized... hardback collections are the ideal way of discovering or rediscovering Segar’s magical tales. [...] There is more than one Popeye. If your first thought on hearing the name is an unintelligible, indomitable white-clad sailor always fighting a great big beardy-bloke and mainlining tinned spinach, that’s okay: the animated features have a brilliance and energy of their own... But they are really only the tip of an incredible iceberg of satire, slapstick, virtue, vice and mind-boggling adventure… [D]on’t you think it’s about time you sampled the original and very best?" – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!
• Interview: At Newsarama, Zack Smith talks to Hans Rickheit about Ectopiary ("one of those webcomics that has everyone talking"), future plans and coelocanths: "The story divides into three parts which do not resemble each other. I wanted to draw an exotic science fiction, although the first hundred pages will contain very little in that vein. These stories aren't written; they simply occur to me. I prefer it that way. Good science fiction writers write about strange and inexplicable things. My job is make the strange things they write about."
Here are some great photos of Robert Crumb at the opening of R. Crumb: Lines Drawn On Paper at the Society of Illustrators in NYC last Friday (March 25). The top two are by Rob Sussman; the bottom one, with Bob in a saucy pose with SOI director Anelle Miller, is by Jordin Isip; all were provided by Drew Friedman (thanks Drew!).
• Review: "...I can safely say that this graphic novel [Stigmata] offers a different experience (in a good way) from any I have read before. Lorenzo Mattotti's line-based art is a perfect expression of the mystical, sometimes demonic aspects of this tale. Instead of areas of solid black, he uses dense cross-hatching to create dark areas within frames full of swirling lines which suggest both Bruno's unsettled state of mind and also the very fluidity of experience. Scenes and characters appear and disappear out of these dense networks as if from a dense fog, and it all creates a sense that perhaps you don't entirely know what is going on at any time or even what constitutes reality." – Sarah Boslaugh, PLAYBACK:stl
• Profile: At The A.V. Club Chicago, Nicki Yowell profiles Lilli Carré: "Carré’s books and accompanying illustration are almost always from another world. They are a cross between a favorite storybook growing up as a child and the warped comedic sensibility of a favorite uncle. [...] She will table at the Chicago Zine Fest, and she views self-publishing as something that brings 'immediate gratification,' especially on 'a very inspired or caffeinated day.'"
• Plug: "I missed this series [Yeah!] the first time round, so I’m really looking forward to grabbing a copy of this collection. Peter Bagge and Gilbert Hernandez are two of my favourite comic creators, so the idea of the two of them creating something together just blows my mind!" – Edward Kaye, Hypergeek
If you're in Seattle, tune in to the Seattle Channel's Art Zone program tonight at 8 PM as they broadcast a feature on Jim Woodring! Check out a preview clip embedded above. If you miss the premiere airing, don't worry, there's a full schedule of repeats to follow, and/or if you're outside the broadcast area, video will be available online too (in fact, I think the player above might play the full episode after it broadcasts).
Here's a brief video profile from 2008 which introduces you to Eye of the Majestic Creature creator Leslie Stein. In it she discusses her creative processes and her comics inspirations, including Charles Burns and Peter Bagge (the latter of whom she'll be appearing with in NYC very soon — stay tuned for an announcement). It's part of a series of "video portraits" created by the website Etsy to spotlight artists who use the site to sell their wares — here's Leslie's page where you can buy her self-published comics and artwork.
• Review: "Luminous really is the right word for the visuals here [in R.I.P.: Best of 1985-2004]: Their pure-white-on-pure-black construction makes every line and reverse-negative shading — carved out with scalpel precision — practically shine forth from the glossy black and white pages. Like Charles Burns’s inks or Drew Friedman’s stippling, Thomas Ott’s scratchboard work is art to be marveled at as much as read." – Sean T. Collins, The Comics Journal
• Review: "This initial collection is the perfect means of discovering or rediscovering Crane’s second magnum opus — spectacular, enthralling, exotically immediate adventures that influenced generations of modern cartoonists, illustrators, comics creators and storytellers. Buz Sawyer: War in the Pacific ranks as one the greatest strip sequences ever created: stirring, thrilling, funny and moving tale-spinning that is unforgettable, unmissable and utterly irresistible." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!
• Review: "Deitch is one of the great originals of comics: wordy and discursive, but always compelling, with a detailed pen-and-ink style that incorporates a thousand grotesques while remaining essentially sunny and full of wonders. [...] Simply put, it's lovely to be in a world that not only contains a Kim Deitch, but celebrates him and lets him continue to create stories like [The Search for Smilin' Ed]; his continued career is almost enough to make me believe in his wilder flights of fancy." – Andrew Wheeler, The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.
• Plug: "Tardi created this sucker in 1974, and it’s amazing how modern and even slightly avant-garde [The Arctic Marauder] looks today. Man, those Frenchies can do some cool comics, can’t they?" – Greg Burgas, Comic Book Resources
• Plug:NME reports on EMP's upcoming Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses exhibit and mentions our accompanying Taking Punk to the Masses book
• Plug:Portable Grindhouse is the current Staff Pick of Strand Books' Miguel S.: "A deliciously low brow collection of VHS covers that should be in every artist or movie buff's bookcase. Witness in these pages gloriously smutty, cheesy art from days when one had to rewind your movies before returning them to the video store or face a $2 fine! Nostalgia indeed!"
Renowned Canadian singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn uses his guest editorship at Magnet magazine to espouse Franco-Belgian comics and Jacques Tardi in particular: "One of my favorites was Tardi’s series about a female private detective in fin-de-siecle Paris named Adèle Blanc-Sec. Fantagraphics has now released some of the Adèle stories in a form worthy of the original editions. They’ve put out other Tardi titles as well. This is exciting, even if I have them at home in French. It’s fun to think of a whole new audience discovering the work of such a great graphic novelist!"
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