It's been a while since we featured a fan tattoo here, and here's a good one: a somewhat-faded old-school Lloyd Llewellyn, surrounded by a more recent banner that reads "Commemorating 15 Years Of This Tattoo." That may be the first meta-tattoo I've ever seen. Thanks to Joe Garden, who works behind the scenes at The Onion, for sending this in.
Our biggest Bay Area booster Chris Diaz has passed along this video for us to share with you: the Daniel Clowes spotlight panel at last year's Alternative Press Expo, with host/inquisitor Dan Nadel. It's an epic Dan-à-Dan! Chris has some more great clips up on his Vimeo page too. Thanks Chris!
Well here's a pretty sweet illustration gig: Paul Hornschemeier's cover for the super-buzzy book The F***ing Epic Twitter Quest of @MayorEmanuel, which collects the super-buzzy @MayorEmanuel Twitter feed. Paul talks a bit about it on his blog.
Zak Sally's Kickstarter project for his self-published, self-printed edition of Sammy the Mouse Vol. 1, collecting the first 3 Ignatz Series issues, has met its funding goal with plenty of time to spare! You still have 16 days to put in your pledge, and you'll be guaranteed a copy of the book and some great pledge incentives at various funding levels. Happy news!
We thought that the image on the inside covers of the new book by Jason & Fabien Vehlmann, Isle of 100,000 Graves, might make a spiffy desktop background image... and we were right! Things are about to get real interesting for this band of bored, presumably tipsy pirates. Just click on the size that matches your monitor resolution and the image will open in a new window; if you're on a PC, right-click the image and select "Set As Background"; if you're on a Mac, control+click and select "Set As Desktop Background." For lots more wallpaper selections, find recent ones here and older ones here.
[In this installment of our series of Editors Notes, Kim Thompson interviews himself (in a format he's dubbed "AutoChat") about Isle of 100,000 Graves by Jason & Fabien Vehlmann, now available to pre-order from us and coming soon to a comics shop near you. – Ed.]
I was surprised to see that the new Jason book was written by someone else. It concerned me a bit, and then I read the story and it reads like every other Jason book! If you hadn't told me it was written by someone else I'd have assumed it was pure Jason. Did Jason heavily adapt it or something?
No. The only thing Jason changed in the entire script was one panel: Fabien wrote the last shot of Gwenny to have a tear trickling down her cheek, and Jason decided to keep her expression more blank and ambiguous.
That's amazing. The whole book is just so... Jason.
Yeah, Fabien Vehlmann is a great French comics writer who works with a lot of people, and he has these chameleonic skills. The great Belgian comics editor Yvan Delporte (who shepherded Spirou through its best years and wrote The Smurf King) called him "the René Goscinny of the third millennium" and it seems appropriate: Goscinny was also a virtuoso at switching his style to match each cartoonist, if you read Asterix and Lucky Luke you'd never know it was the same guy. Vehlmann wrote the 7 Psychopaths book for the Sean Phillips-drawn BOOM! book, too.
The story is, Fabien and Jason met and got to talking, Fabien told him he had an idea for a book he thought Jason could really make something out it, Jason told him to write it, and he did.
One of the benefits of working in Jason's abstract style is that something that could be really, really gross (the academy for torture) is pretty benign.
Yeah, although much of that is how cleverly Fabien keeps the grisly stuff off panel. If you read closely the only torture you see actually going on is the scene where they're beating the bell with the guy's head inside it, which is sort of cute. And the heads all get chopped off off-panel, you just see the severed heads rolling into the panel with funny expressions on their faces. As Bill Gaines would say, it's all done in good taste! Oddly, it's arguably the most kid-friendly Jason book. I mean, it's less violent than Harry Potter.
I don't have many questions. It's just another great Jason book. Reminded me a little of True Grit.
Yeah, the plucky, mouthy little girl. I think it's just a standard character, really. You could probably just as well cite Addie Pray from Paper Moon.
Or Pippi Longstocking, from Jason's neck of the woods.
Kinda, although Pippi is Swedish and Jason Norwegian. Us Scandinavians hate it when you Americans confuse our dinky little countries.
It seems appropriate for this to be the shortest of these interviews, Jason himself being a man of few words.
What's next for Jason?
Actually if you go to Jason's blog, Cats Without Dogs, he's been keeping his fans apprised in great deal as to the progress of his next book, Athos in America. He's already told me what his next book will be, but I'm not supposed to tell. And he hopes to visit the U.S. again in the next year or two.
Five years ago, little Gwenny’s father found, inside a bottle, a map with instructions on how to reach the mysterious Isle of 100,000 Graves and its legendary treasures — and then he vanished. Now Gwenny, having stumbled across another bottle-shipped map, enlists the dubious help of a shipful of pirates, sets out to find the island, and her long-lost dad.
Little does she realize that the Isle comes by its ominous name honestly, as the location of a secret school for executioners and torturers, where apple-cheeked youngsters are taught the finer points of extracting information from prisoners… and then putting an end to their lives in a wide variety of gruesome ways. And they’ve reached the point in their studies where theory should ideally give way to practice, so an influx of uninvited visitors comes as a blessing to the faculty.
And yes, this story is a comedy. Albeit a dark one.
For the first time in his career, Jason has enlisted a writer: Fabien Vehlmann. (Vehlmann has written a number of graphic novels for the French and American markets, including an installment of the legendary Spirou series and the three-volume Green Manor continuity, of which two volumes have been released in English.) Vehlmann has managed to interiorize Jason’s deadpan style and wit perfectly, creating a uniquely smooth and successful collaboration.
Exclusive Savings: To celebrate the new book from Jason and give some recognition his undersung regular colorist Hubert, we are pleased to offer 25% off all of Jason's other full-color books for the rest of the month! Browse all Jason books here.
• List: Joe McCabe of FEARnet names "Five Horror Graphic Novels You Need to Read," including:
"The black-and-white scratchboard art of German comics creator Thomas Ott is without peer among today's comics artists. That Ott can also tell one helluva fun horror short story is almost icing on the cake.... This omnibus volume [R.I.P.: Best of 1985-2004] collects his three out-of-print albums... I've never read a Thomas Ott tale that was anything less than fantastic. Highly recommended."
"...[Richard Sala] has carved his own niche as perhaps the most twisted but brilliant cartoonist working in comics today.... Labyrinthine in its complexity and endlessly imaginative in its designs and characterizations, [The Chuckling Whatsit] tells the story of Broom, an unemployed writer who gets mixed up in a murder plot and the Ghoul Appreciation Society Headquarters (GASH), whose membership boasts more creepy eccentrics than the collected works of Edward Gorey."
• Review/Interview: After reviewing Yeah!, Vice's Nick Gazin asked writer Peter Bagge about some things that troubled him about the comic:
[Gazin:] The main feeling that the comic left me with was a crushing sense of hopelessness. With the exception of the cover art, the girls usually seem unhappy.
[Bagge:] Why?!? Well, I gave them troubled backstories, but they sure have a lot of fun at the same time.
[Gazin:] I guess I feel like Krazy, Honey, and Woo Woo don't usually look like they're having fun. They look troubled, upset, or angry in almost every panel. They go to other planets, but they usually don't enjoy it. Even when Woo Woo gets to date her rockstar crush, Hobo Cappiletto, she's too racked with guilt to be able to enjoy it. It seems like they're only having fun on the front and back cover.
[Bagge:] Good point! I guess I simply enjoy their misery. I'm a monster!
• Opinion: Help put Yeah! in perspective by reading Peter Bagge's essay "Raiding Hannah's Stash: An Appreciation of Late '90s Bubblegum Music" at Scram magazine
• Interview: At Comic Book Resources, Shaun Manning talks to Jason and Fabien Vehlmann about collaborating on their new graphic novel Isle of 100,000 Graves. Says Vehlmann: "I love his incredible and unusual style, and I didn't want to change it totally... So even if I created the entire story and the characters of Isle of 100,000 Graves, I also did kind of a 'forger-job,' trying to write as if I was Jason but also bringing my own private topics (death, childhood, etc...), which was a very exciting challenge." Manning says of the book, "Displaying all of the keen wit, sharp twists and disarming sincerity readers have come to love in books like Werewolves of Montpellier, I Killed Adolf Hitler and others, Isle of 100,000 Graves teams the artist known as Jason with writer Fabien Vehlmann for a wholly original adventure tale that pushes both creators in an intriguing new direction."
• Plug: "Get ready, because if you like comics in which monsters and barbarian wrestlers beat the living shit out of each other (and who doesn’t?), [Prison Pit Book Three] is probably going to be the best book you’ve read since Prison Pit Book Two." – Ben Spencer, Nerd City
Over on Flickr, I've uploaded over 100 pics from my recent visit to Stockholm, Sweden, to attend the Swedish SPX Festival. I want to thank our hosts, especially Johannes Klenell of GALAGO and Kristiina Kolehmainen of the Stockholm SERIETEKET (that's "comics library" to you Yankees), for a wonderful trip. Five days in Sweden, hanging out with old pals like Dash Shaw (greatest roommate a guy could ask for), Gabrielle Bell, Brett Warnock, and others? It would have been impossible not to have a great time. Came home with a huge pile of great-looking comics (see the photo set for examples); now Kim Thompson gets to read them all for me! Oh, Kim, how I envy you.
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