|Things to See: Jim Blanchard's Osama bin Laden for The Stranger|
|Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Things to see, The Stranger, Jim Blanchard||4 May 2011 3:46 PM|
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Archive >> May 2011
104-page black & white 7.25" x 9.75" hardcover • $19.99
Ships in: May 2011 (Subject to change) — Pre-Order Now
Readers of the “Frank” stories know that the Unifactor is in control of everything that happens to the characters that abide there, and that however extreme the experiences they undergo may be, in the end nothing really changes. That goes treble for Frank himself, who is kept in a state of total ineducability by the unseen forces of that haunted realm. And so the question arises: what would happen if Frank were to leave the Unifactor?
That question is answered in Congress of the Animals, Jim Woodring's much-anticipated second full-length graphic novel following 2010's universally acclaimed Weathercraft, and first starring his signature character Frank. In this gripping saga an act of casual rudeness sets into motion a chain of events which propels Frank into a world where he is on his own at last; and like so many who leave home, Frank finds himself contending with realities of which he had no previous inkling.
In Congress of the Animals we are treated to the pitiful spectacle of Frank losing his house, taking a factory job, falling in with bad company, fleeing the results of sabotage, escaping the Unifactor in an amusement park ride, surviving a catastrophe at sea, traveling across hostile terrain toward a massive temple seemingly built in his image, being treated roughly by gut-faced men and intervening in an age-old battle in a meadow slathered in black and yellow blood. And when he finally knocks on opportunity's door he finds... he finds...
Suffice to say he finds what most of us would like to find. Can he bring it back with him? Will the Unifactor accept him as he has become? Are his sins forgiven? Is love real? Is this the end of Frank as we know him?
Download an EXCLUSIVE 10-page PDF excerpt (819 KB).
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Exclusive Savings: Order Congress of the Animals together with Weathercraft and save 20% off the combined cover price!
Boy, ever since we got on that Tumblr thing we've been seeing vintage Hernandez Bros. goodies left and right. Case in point: the above sketch by Gilbert from 1988 depicting an imagined meeting in which a certain familiar figure is about to get a hammer to his noggin. On a hunch I just looked in my copy of the Love & Rockets Sketchbook Vol. 1 and found it on page 170 with the caption "Rejected from Blab! #3 (due to space restrictions)."
For more video action from Paul, check out this video trailer for Life with Mr. Dangerous which he commissioned from director Bruce Parsons. It's beautifully produced and depicts a bit of "offscreen" backstory in live action. Nice. And Paul shows off someone else showing off his forthcoming postcard set from Chronicle, So-So Heroes, here. Busy guy, that Paul.
Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:
• Review (Audio): On the inaugural episode of Boing Boing's Gweek podcast, co-host Mark Frauenfelder talks about Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1: Race to Death Valley by Floyd Gottfredson: "Gottfredson really turned Mickey into this adventuring character who has really fun experiences... It's got that great '30s look to the art... It is very dense, but well-done, with a good sense of composition, so it flows along. The characters really have great emotion. There's nothing stiff about it — it's really lively... it's just beautiful. ...Carl Barks is always the first artist most comic book aficionados think of when they think of great Disney artists, but Gottfredson — this book might give him a chance to be up there with Barks and have people be able to fully appreciate how cool his stuff is."
• Review: "The story is spooky and confusing in ways that aren’t boring or stupid. Gilbert is one of the best people out there at telling stories with dream logic and this one bonks you over the head with it, so if you are a nut for dream logic then [Love from the Shadows] is right up your dream alley. This book reminds me very much of David Lynch’s movies Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive. It also reminds me of Carnival of Souls. It might even remind me of those things too much. I’m not sure yet but I have yet to read a comic by either Jaime or Gilbert Hernandez that made me feel bored, cheated, or like I wasn’t given something to think about at the end. Gilbert’s art is simple but never generic." – Nick Gazin, Vice
• Interview: Nick Gazin follows his Vice review above with a Q&A with Gilbert Hernandez: "Fritz is a character that rarely shows who she really is inside, and the characters she plays reveal bits of her we can’t normally see. She’s not necessarily passive aggressive, but there’s a lot of anger and viciousness that comes out in her roles. Fritz has become my favorite character to write and draw because she has no restrictions to where I can take her. And she’s willing to go the distance.... Dude, she’s nuts, I’m not shittin’ you."
• Review: "Johnny Ryan’s one of the best and only people making funny comics these days.... I don't know if he cares what people thought, but I do know that once you master something it gets boring. Johnny's modern comics are dark and based more in a mixture of Lovecraftian horror and certain manga sensibilities. What's in [Take a Joke] is the bend before the break.... It seems like Johnny has turned to the dark side and is trying to make comics that are more upsetting." – Nick Gazin, Vice
• Review: "There are many, many nicely taken photos of Kurt Cobain's guitars. I'm teasing a little because I think [Taking Punk to the Masses] is a goofy book but I like it and you probably will too. This book rules. It is very, very fun to read if you care about this stuff. I am not trying to tell you that this book isn't a good, easy read. There's something really silly to me about a full page photo of this shirt Kurt Cobain wore on the cover of Spin, lit dramatically like it's the Shroud of Turin.... I might be overthinking this. If you bought Fantagraphics' book about punk movies and have an interest in punk or the Seattle indie rock scene then you'll love this thing to death." – Nick Gazin, Vice
• Review: "Tardi's a drawing and storytelling genius and a quote of me saying as much is quoted in the press release for this book. It's fun to see Tardi draw highly technical fantasy machines, but I think [The Arctic Marauder] had too much text and the wood cut drawing style that Tardi uses here turns me off. Tardi's still great but this book didn't grab me the way his other books have." – Nick Gazin, Vice
• Review: "Perhaps the strangest revelation? In their own depraved way, the Bradleys have transformed into adults, with the interplay between Buddy and Harold especially heartwarming. Hate Annual #9, in fine, earns this column’s highest recommendation." – Bryan A. Hollerbach, PLAYBACK:stl
• Review: "I really think that Bagge’s artwork in this issue marks a high point of the series thus far, and I’m not just saying that. I actually dug out a few of my old issues of Hate, and a few of the annuals, and I swear that his style has become more and more refined over the years. Hate Annual #9 is a fantastic and unmissable chapter in the lives of Buddy, Lisa, and friends. Old feuds are put to rest, new friendships are made, and we are introduced to a slew of new characters and new storylines. I’m really excited to see were Bagge takes Buddy and co. next year! Here’s to another 26 years of Hate!" – Edward Kaye, Hypergeek
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