When MAD became a surprise hit as a comic book in 1953 (after the early issues lost money!) other comics publishers were quick to jump onto the bandwagon, eventually bringing out a dozen imitations with titles like FLIP, WHACK, NUTS, CRAZY, WILD, RIOT, EH, UNSANE, BUGHOUSE, and GET LOST. The Sincerest Form of Parody collects the best and the funniest material from these comics, including parodies of movies (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, From Here To Eternity), TV shows (What's My Line, The Late Show), comic strips (Little Orphan Annie, Rex Morgan), novels (I, the Jury), plays (Come Back, Little Sheba), advertisements (Rheingold Beer, Charles Atlas), classic literature ("The Lady or the Tiger"), and history (Pancho Villa). Some didn't even try for parody, but instead published odd, goofy, off-the-wall stories.
These earnest copiers of MAD realized that Will Elder's cluttered "chicken fat" art was a good part of MAD’s success, and these pages are densely packed with all sorts of outlandish and bizarre gags that make for hours of amusing reading. The "parody comics" are uniquely "'50s," catching the popular culture zeitgeist through a dual lens: not only reflecting fifties culture through parody but also being themselves typical examples of that culture (in a way that Harvey Kurtzman’s MAD was not).
This unprecedented volume collects over 30 of the best of these crazy, undisciplined stories, all reprinted from the original comics in full color. Editor John Benson (who wrote the annotations for the first complete MAD reprints, and interviewed MAD editor Harvey Kurtzman in depth several times over the years) also provides expert, profusely illustrated commentary and background, including comparisons of how different companies parodied the same subject.
Artists represented include Jack Davis, Will Elder, Norman Maurer, Carl Hubbell, William Overgard, Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers, Bill Everett, Al Hartley, Ross Andru & Mike Esposito, Hy Fleischman, Jay Disbrow, Howard Nostrand, and Bob Powell.
Casual comics readers are probably familiar with the later satirical magazines that continued to be published in the '60s and '70s, such as Cracked and Sick, but the comics collected in this volume were imitations of the MAD comic book, not the magazine, and virtually unknown among all but the most die-hard collectors. For the first time, Fantagraphics is collecting the best of these comics in a single, outrageously funny volume.
Download and read a 14-page PDF excerpt (6.1 MB) which includes the Table of Contents.
• Plugs: Cynthia Clark Harvey of the Phoenix New Times looks at "Noteworthy Graphic Novels by Women," including C. Tyler's You'll Never Know — "The first two installments of Tyler's wonderful trilogy, a memoir about her father's WWII soldiering and its effects on her family, were on best and award lists. I liked Book 1 and loved Book 2, leaving me on tenterhooks for Book 3..." — and Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons — "...as I look at O'Connor's early cartoons, I'm sure I'll be thinking: What if she were working today? What if she'd been able to fully express her literary vision with her first love, comics? What if Flannery O'Connor wrote Wise Blood as a graphic novel? Imagine that."
• Review:VICE's Nick Gazin looks at some of his favorite strips from The Complete Peanuts 1983-1984: "There's this one where Schroeder actually tries to communicate his understanding of beauty to Lucy. Of course Lucy doesn't really care about his inner world, she's just a groupie and wants the idea of Schroeder. It answers the question of what would happen if Schroeder actually gave Lucy the time of day. This is a moment where it seems like Sparky is really opening up to us about his own personal ways of relating to women, falling in love with distant princesses. It also harkens back to that scene in Citizen Kane when a guy mentions that he never forgot a beautiful girl he saw crossing the street decades earlier."
• Review: "Complete Crumb Comics Vol. 1 by Robert Crumb — This is a newly revamped edition of the inaugural volume, featuring some new, (I’m assuming) just discovered art... The real discovery here is the Jim and Mabel story, as Crumb is able to wring an amazing amount of depth and characterization from this seemingly simple story of a surly twenty-something woman bringing lunch to the elementary school kid who’s got a crush on her. As raw and awkward as it is at times it’s also rather poignant and shows how skilled he was at an early age." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
• Review (Audio): Washington, DC (and environs) comic shop Big Planet Comics also has a podcast and call Kolor Klimax: Nordic Comics Now "one of the best anthologies I've ever read" on the Feb. 24, 2012 episode (review starts at 35:40; thanks to KK editor Matthias Wivel for the info)
• Plug: "Having read and reread and rereread the previous Nancy strip collections and nearly committing all their contents to memory, having some new (relatively speaking) material to enjoy really is a treat." – Mike Sterling, Mike Sterling's Progressive Ruin
• Book Reports: For a fresh critical perspective, check out the student reviews of many graphic novels published by us and others collected at the Graphic Novels Reading Rainbow blog (and the accompanying photos and illustrations can be a hoot too)
We're excited to announce the great Daniel Clowes will be the special guest at the Kadist Art Foundation this Wednesday, March 28th!
Join Dan at 6:00 PM as he is interviewed by Rene de Guzman, Senior Curator of Art at the Oakland Museum of California. Don't miss the chance to hear them talk about Dan's career, as well as his upcoming exhibition opening at OMCA on April 14.
• Northridge, CA: Gilbert, Jaime, & Mario Hernandez will be speaking to Professor Charles Hatfield's class on Monday, March 26th at the California State University, Northridge (in greater Los Angeles). This event is open to the public, not just students! (more info)
Tuesday, March 27th
• New York, NY: Get ready for another editior of The Crime Stoppers Club with Michael Kupperman and co-host Kate Beaton! This month, they welcome Dave Hill, Victor Vardnado, Domitille Collardey, Jim Torok, and Corey Pandolphfor a night of laughter and imagery. This free event starts at 7:00 PM at Luca Lounge. (more info)
• San Francisco, CA: Daniel Clowes will be interviewed by Rene de Guzman, Senior Curator of Art at the Oakland Museum of California, at the Kadist Art Foundation! More details coming to the FLOG very soon!
But do you know about his other secret obsession? ... I'll give you a clue. It rhymes with "nascar," and, um, it's NASCAR.
The Wright Exhibition Space in Seattle has blown Larry's cover with their latest exhibition Collecting: Art is a Slippery Slope, a look at what art collectors, dealers, and artists themselves collect when they're not collecting, y'know, art. Everything from folding chairs to mixers are on display alongside Larry's auto-racing lunchboxes and model kits.
The Wright Exhibition Space is located at 407 Dexter Avenue North in Seattle. The exhibit runs through May 26th, and is free.
And it's free to visit Larry at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, located at 1201 S. Vale Street in Seattle's Georgetown district. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone: (206) 658-0110.
Kim will be on a panel alongside Matt Madden, Miriam Katin, Lauren Redniss, and Ariel Schrag this Thursday, March 29th at 3:00 PM! Join them at Elebash Recital Hall at the CUNY Graduate Center [ 365 Fifth Avenue, New York City ].
There's panels going all day long, and they're all free and open to the public! Reservations are not required, and seating is first come, first served.
The Tokyo exhibit opens today (Monday, March 26th) in Tokyo at Shibuya Parco B1F LIBRO, and when the show closes on April 8th, all three gentlemen (pun not intended) will be at the store for a signing!
And then on April 4th, a simultaneous show will open at the Trancepop Gallery in Kyoto featuring different artwork from the Tokyo show! Archer, Eric & Sam will be there for the opening reception for a signing, as well. The exhibit will run in Kyoto until April 22nd.
Hmm, how about a Seattle show?? Whaddaya say, Presspop?!
Sorry this slipped through the cracks last week, everyone!
Last Wednesday's comic shop shipment included the following new titles. 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.
336-page black & white 8.5" x 8.5" flexibound softcover • $24.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-360-6
"This is lovely material, lovingly presented, as satisfying a production-style execution of a strip collection as I've seen in a long while. And that's not exactly a category light on well-executed books." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
"A big fat square brick of Ernie Bushmiller's poker-faced masterwork. Fantagraphics has had this on the schedule for eons; good to see it finally coming out!" – Douglas Wolk, ComicsAlliance
"I’ve never really delved into Ernie Bushmiller’s iconic creation before but I know there are plenty of folk who consider it a near-Zen masterpiece and I’m curious as to the effect sitting down with a sizable block of Nancy strips will have on me. Perhaps my third inner eye will finally open!" – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
"If you didn’t see it last week, gird your loins for Nancy Is Happy: Complete Dailies 1943-1945, presenting the Ernie Bushmiller classic from materials scanned mainly from the collection of Dan Clowes, who provides an introduction..." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
"The new @fantagraphics Nancy collection is so goddamn funny I can barely handle it." – Secret Headquarters
"There are other new comics out today, too, I guess, but I don’t know why they bothered." – Mike Sterling
* Other People's Publications ** Yeah, You Know Me.
Once Upon A Time... the FLOG kicked off an occasional column titled "Down With OPP," where we spotlighted books from other publishers that you can find at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery in Seattle. And this week, we're looking at The Brothers Grimm's Snow White, as illustrated by our own Camille Rose Garcia, out now on Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins.
I love the way Camille captures the classic story with her whimsical watercolor illustrations! The colors are vibrantly reproduced on glossy pages in this petite hard-bound book, with some fanciful font treatments narrating the story. You can watch video of Camille working on the book here.
Camille will be celebrating the release of Snow White with a signing at Roq La Rue here in Seattle this Saturday, March 31st. And then join us down the street at Shorty's [ 2222 2nd Avenue ] for the Emerald City Comicon Pinball Party! Camille will be a special guest, and a signed copy of her wonderful Fantagraphics title, The Magic Bottle, will be just one of our many excellent prizes!
And find your "happily ever after" at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, located at 1201 S. Vale Street in Seattle's Georgetown district. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone: (206) 658-0110.
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