• 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
A woman arrives at an apartment, but her partner can’t get away from work. She is disappointed and settles in for a night alone, but finds a film projector with a reel of film loaded. The film is scratched and blurry, but she can make out a couple making love. When the film burns out, a door is revealed which leads to a misty town square... and a series of fantastical sexual encounters.
But the plot doesn’t really matter. Celluloid is a rare instance (especially among Anglo-Saxons) of a top-flight cartoonist working within erotic — even pornographic, to embrace the word — parameters, with the intent of creating a genuine work of art.
As the artist says: “There are so many comics about violence. I’m not entertained or amused by violence, and I’d rather not have it in my life. Sex, on the other hand, is something the vast majority of us enjoy, yet it rarely seems to be the subject of comics. Pornography is usually bland, repetitive and ugly, and, at most, ‘does the job.’ I always wanted to make a book that is pornographic, but is also, I hope, beautiful, and mysterious, and engages the mind.”
Bringing to bear the astonishing range of illustrative and storytelling skills that have served him so well on his collaborations with Neil Gaiman and such solo projects as the (recently re-released) epic graphic novel Cages, Dave McKean forges into new territory with this unique work of erotica.
We are victims of our own success! Demand for The Comics Journal #301 is greater than we estimated and advance orders for the issue exceeded what we printed, so we have gone immediately back to press for a second printing. Since we couldn't fill all the orders from the first printing and didn't want to short any one segment of the market — comics stores, bookstores, subscribers — we decided to wait until we receive the second shipment before releasing the book, resulting in a 3-4 week delay, pushing the release to early July. It's been delayed so long already, what's another month? The lucky dozens who have managed to buy advance copies from us at MoCCA and TCAF will tell you, it's worth the wait!
This also gives you some extra time to get on board with a money-saving 3-issue subscription, which also gets you access to the online TCJ back-issue archives at TCJ.com!
(Note that this sale is not in effect at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, but there is always a great selection of TCJ back issues available there for half off in our legendary back room of damaged books!)
128-page black & white 7.5" x 11" softcover • $18.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-413-9
"This is probably the release I’m most excited to see this week." – J. Caleb Mozzocco, Newsarama
"...let me suggest Eye of the Majestic Creature, a lovely little collection of comics by relative newcomer Leslie Stein... I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked this up, but Stein quickly won me over with her charm and good humor." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
"Leslie Stein's comics are a blend of the autobiographical and the fantastic, with a wonderfully psychedelic style that binds the two together delightfully. And early entry for one of the best graphic novels of the year." – Benn Ray (Atomic Books), Largehearted Boy
"I was surprised how much I enjoyed my first reading of this very odd series of real-life/fantastically-flavored vignettes from Leslie Anne Mackenzie Stein, although I'm not certain how much of my reaction is "it has a quality" and how much is "it's quality." Not yet, anyway. I'm going to read it again soon." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
And as ever, from Joe McCulloch at The Comics Journal: "CONFLICT OF INTEREST RESERVOIR: ...Adding to the mystery, a whole bunch of Fantagraphics releases imminent to Midtown Comics are not listed — Johnny Ryan, Lewis Trondheim stuff — save for Eye of the Majestic Creature, a 128-page collection of stories by Leslie Stein..."
• Review: "This book [Eye of the Majestic Creature] isn't easy to describe, and that's exactly why I love it. Leslie's surreal, funny style is a welcome addition to comics; her world includes a talking guitar and thrift-shop treasures. Though sometimes it's a compliment for me to say I read a book in one sitting, I'll be honest and say this one took me weeks — and that's because my eyes lingered over the detailed panels for perhaps much longer than the author intended. I envy her worldview, though I'm thrilled to have 128 pages of it." – Whitney Matheson, USA Today Pop Candy
• Interview:The Daily Cross Hatch continues serializing Brian Heater's MoCCA panel conversation with Gahan Wilson: "I fit right in [at the National Lampoon]. The minute I walked in and we started talking, I knew 'this is wonderful!' They would egg you on. You would do something that was distasteful or you would attack something, and they’d say, 'oh, you can do worse than that, can’t you?' That sort of thing."
• Plug: "After decades of continually breaking new ground and pushing the boundaries of music, Lou Reed is still as much of a sonic innovator as he ever was. But in the coming months, the Velvet Underground legend is setting aside that aspect of his career in favor of revisiting a couple points in his illustrious career in some rather interesting ways. ...Reed is... readying a collection of drawings that re-interprets his 2003 concept album, The Raven. The 188-page hardcover book, done as a collaboration with Italian illustrator Lorenzo Mattotti, will add another layer to Reed’s reworking of Edgar Allan Poe’s words by giving the songs 'vivid, abstracted and enigmatic paintings.'" – Chris Coplan, Consequence of Sound
On Monday, June 27 at 7pm, join Lou Reed for a very special reading and question and answer session for his book with Lorenzo Mattotti, The Raven, in the Rare Book Room at the Strand bookstore in New York City. This is a reserve seating event with advance tickets costing $35, which includes a copy of the book, a Strand tote bag, and the chance to meet Lou. Tickets are limited so get yours NOW!
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
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."
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.
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