• Review: "The different techniques — ink on paper, watercolor, pencil, black or color, collage, digital manipulation, minimalist drawing, patchwork, cartoony lines... — associated to the different strategies and presences of 'comics' elements in these variations will make us wonder, on the one hand, on a progressive dilution of any formal determination in relation to this art (bringing it closer, thus, to freer or more conceptual artistic disciplines, in which the gesture is more important than, say, talent, virtuosity, technical prowess), and, on the other hand, in the phantasmatical emergence of an unifying idea (a name: 'abstract comics'), but which is, in the last instance, irreducible to something directly analyzable." – Pedro Vieira de Moura, SuccoAcido
• Review: "I wish to add my voice to the chorus of those who really, really like Johnny Ryan's left-hand turn into violent fantasy with the promise of more to come, Prison Pit. ... Prison Pit should help anyone paying attention to appreciate how carefully Ryan designs and executes his work. You could not achieve the gruesome effects and consistent energy Ryan does here without being absolutely on top of that style... Ryan's general intelligence — I think he's one of the smartest cartoonists — is also on display in how quickly he picks up the rhythms of the kind of sprawling manga and art-comics fantasies that this book frequently recalls. ... Crucially, I never knew exactly where Ryan was headed but every scene in Prison Pit seemed to flow naturally from the previous one right up to the brutally funny, icky and appropriate ending. I hope there are ten more." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
• Review: "Unlike anything Ryan's done thematically, or really, unlike anything Fantagraphics has published before, Prison Pit is a non-stop action comic. It's pretty successful in that regard, with imaginative character designs and some surprising battles, full of many odd transformations and characters surviving the loss of limbs, even a head. And although the genre is different, Ryan can't seem to deviate from a fascinating mix of sex and violence and bodily fluids." – Christopher Allen, Comic Book Galaxy
• Plug: "[Pim & Francie] is an arrangement of drawings — sometimes preparations for drawings — generally honed in on the journey of two old-timey animation-looking kids. Sometimes there's dialogue, sometimes there's 'scenes,' but most of the work's interest comes from wrenching you though time and space as the narrative stretches just thin enough to part in spots, only to gum together again for a little while, until it's pulled again." – Joe McCulloch, Jog - The Blog
• Things to see: Several vintage Jim Flora illustrations (including possibly some previously unpublished ones) ran in last Sunday's UK Telegraph Sunday jazz supplement — the Jim Flora Art blog has a link to a PDF
Now available for preview and pre-order: the momentous 300th isssue of The Comics Journal, our biggest issue ever, with an unprecedented collection of "intergenerational dialogues" between some of the best and brightest of the comics and cartooning world. It's a lineup that truly must be seen to be believed — which is why we're showing you right here, with a teaser of each and every conversation! View a photo & video slideshow preview of the book embedded below. Click here if it is not visible, and/or to view it larger in a new window (recommended so you can read them). This issue is scheduled to be in stock and ready to ship sometime later this month and in stores approximately 4 weeks after that (subject to change).
And here's an extra bonus: better late than never, a preview slideshow of the current issue of the Journal, #299 (with Bob Levin's incredible history of The Someday Funnies):
The ever-industrious Jim Flora-philes Irwin Chusid & Barbara Economon have announced the release of 4 more silkscreen prints in the Jim Flora Art "Primer for Prophets" series. "Cool Flora illustrations of the American family during the Atomic Age, when grocers employed stockdogs, crows fought tug-of-war over lingerie, and cigarettes were allowed in the obstetrics ward."
A 16-minute video documentary of Hans Rickheit from 2005 has just recently been posted on Facebook. At his blog, Hans provides background information, apologia, and a photo of a real-life squirrel machine (warning to the squeamish: complete with carcass) given to him by a friend at his Squirrel Machine signing in Cambridge, MA.
A piping hot dish of Online Commentary & Diversions:
• Review: "...[T]his shaggy-haired collection of 15 years’ worth of artful zines and comics [Like a Dog]... reads at times like a history of psychological warfare. [Zak] Sally... tends toward richly dark, semiautobiographical, and tightly etched tales of tension and self-recrimination. Creepy dreams and images of anatomical self-analysis are recurring themes, along with the general sense of transience that marked Sally’s life while relentlessly touring with Low... At times the book... breaks out of that shell to address topics that are usually no lighter in tone though, as with his excellent retelling of Dostoyevski’s imprisonment, they benefit from the change in perspective. The art is equally claustrophobic when not downright disturbing. Revealing and witty, even when mired in darkness." – Publishers Weekly
• Review: "The Cold Heat material from Jones, Santoro, and Vermilyea is... imaginative and, particularly with Vermilyea at the drawing table, sharply delineated, as is Vermilyea's delightfully sick solo material. Josh Simmons impresses with his blackly comic strips... Tim Hensley kills it as always with the concluding chapters in his Wally Gropius saga, featuring peerlessly communicated body language perhaps the greatest anti-climax in comics history. I think this is some of the tightest material we've seen yet from Sara Edward-Corbett... Lilli Carré is alarmingly good at depicting male lust. Nate Neal's not-so-instant-karma piece in Vol. 16 is explicit and haunting. Dash Shaw is a restless talent, albeit so restless he never seems to settle down even in the middle of any given strip." – Sean T. Collins on Mome Vols. 14, 15 & 16
• Review: Lene Taylor of the I Read Comics podcast wonders if the humor in Jason's Low Moon exists in an alternate world (beware of spoilers)
• Review: Google Translate creates poetry out of this Portuguese review of Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron by Daniel Clowes at O Recíproco Inverso: "The art that is what Daniel Clowes you do best: people ugly. All the characters are people from day to day, dark circles, old-fashioned clothes, hair loss... out the freaks that appear, like the girl in the form of potato or the dog itself without holes, op. You see, the Daniel Clowes does not draw badly, he draws very well what he wants to show. That is, ugly people. I will not give star ratings do not pro book, this is very scrotum. Just know that it's cool."
• Plug: "One hell of a messed-up book. ... Pim & Francie are Columbia's pet subjects — a pair of cute kids who are always stumbling into horrific nightmare scenarios. This isn't quite a collection of stories about them: it's a collection of Columbia's rough and finished materials concerning them that keeps veering toward storyhood, then jerking the steering wheel and plunging over the nearest cliff." — Douglas Wolk, Comics Alliance
• Plug: Chris Mautner of Robot 6 rediscovers Zero Zero by way of our 99 Cent Comics sale (issues are selling out fast): "Re-reading this stuff, it really startles me just how good and how ignored this series was and continues to be. I mean, the level of talent in these pages is staggering. Kim Deitch's Search for Smilin' Ed! Dave Cooper's Crumple! Richard Sala's The Chuckling Whatsit! Joe Sacco's Christmas with Karadsic! Not to mention Max Andersson, Skip Williamson, Mack White, Sam Henderson, Michael Kupperman, David Mazzuchelli and so many more. This really was the best anthology of the 90s, bar none."
• Preview: The Comics Reporter spills the beans on one of our 2010 releases: Drew Weing's Set to Sea
Peter Clothier, host of The Art of Outrage podcast on ArtScene Visual Radio, gathers preeminent R. Crumb experts Todd Hignite (curator of the "R. Crumb's Underground" traveling exhibit), collector Eric Sack, and Rebel Visions writer Patrick Rosenkranz for a roundtable discussion about the Genesis exhibit at the Hammer Museum and other aspects of Crumb's work and context. Listen here.
The great Drew Friedman does what he does best on the cover of this upcoming collection of writing and art from the New York Observer. I'm not sure if this piece will be in Too Soon?, our collection of Drew's celebrity portraits coming out in Summer 2010, but it oughta be. Hit Drew's blog for more info and a larger image.
UPDATE: Drew writes in to say that this image won't be included in Too Soon? — dang.
See a slideshow of the entire exhibit (and more photos) here (or just browse here). Mike Allred was there but I missed him; hopefully more photos will turn up and we'll share those when we get them. Much fun was had by all; thanks to everybody who came out, and to Al for making the trip (and for kicking off volume 3 of my Yoda sketchbook). The show's up through December 9, so even if you missed the opening, come on down and check it out. Good pieces remain at very reasonable prices!
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