As part of the Atomic Fiction Series, Stephen Dixon will be reading from his new collection of stories, What Is All This? (Fantagraphics) and Megan Snyder-Camp wil read from her new book of poems, The Forest of Sure Things (Tupelo Press). This should be a rare treat for Dixon fans, his first reading in some time and the first-ever from his new book.
Online Commentary & Diversions, back from a short vacation:
• Review: "In the first volume of Tyler's planned trilogy of graphic memoirs [You'll Never Know], she dug into the eruptive, violent memories of her father's WWII experiences while simultaneously dealing with a husband who decided to go find himself and leave her with a daughter to raise. This second volume is no less rich and overwhelming. [...] While the language of Chicago-raised and Cincinnati-based Tyler has a winningly self-deprecating Midwestern spareness to it, her art is a lavishly prepared kaleidoscope of watercolors and finely etched drawings, all composed to look like the greatest family photo album of all time. The story's honest self-revelations and humane evocations of family dramas are tremendously moving." – Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
• Review: "Friedman's hyper-realistic pen-and-ink and water-color portraits of show business and political luminaries have made their way into the likes of Entertainment Weekly, The New Yorker and Rolling Stone over the years, and a stunning new collection has just been published by Fantagraphics Books — Too Soon?: Famous/Infamous Faces 1995-2010. [...] To say that Friedman's drawings are unsentimental or unsparing is just to scratch the surface. Known for depicting every last liver spot, burst capillary and wrinkle, his work is truly a Warts and All procedure. [...] You might say the super-realistic portraits are loving ones, but only in the sense that you love your own family members, whose soft spots and selfishness one is forced to forgive. Drew Friedman's heart is as big as his capacious eye for the telling detail. Seek him out or forever hold your peace." – David Weiss, Life Goes Strong
• Review: "...Four Color Fear offers some of the finest pre-code comic book horror tales ever produced. Extensively researched, complete with story notes, editor Sadowski compiled a superior collection of non-EC tales, many of which rarely reprinted in color. A 30-page cover art section and a fascinating article by historian John Benson, who also supplied the book's intro, about the little remembered, but prolific Ruth Roche, round out this sensational historical tour of the Golden Age of Horror Comics. Highly recommended!" – Rick Klaw, The SF Site: Nexus Graphica
• Review: "The wait [for Love and Rockets: New Stories #3] has been long, no doubt, but I dare say that it was not only worthwhile, but it has proved an inspiration to continue to have faith in mankind, because with artists like these, it is worth living. For the third annual issue..., Beto gets really wild and Xaime creates a stunning tapestry of memories and narrative levels." – Mauricio Matamoros, Iconoctlán (translated from Spanish)
• Interview: As part of his ongoing "Love and Rocktoberfest," Sean T. Collins posts his 2007 Wizard interview with Gilbert & Jaime Hernandez at Attentiondeficitdisorderly: "I liked drawing rockets and robots, as well as girls. [Laughs] It really was no big game plan. It was almost like, 'Okay, I'll give you rockets and robots, but I'll show you how it's done. I'm gonna do it, and this is how it's supposed to be done!' I went in with that kind of attitude." (Jaime)
• Review: "Like much of Hernandez’s work, there’s light amongst all this darkness, particularly later in this section of Fritz’s story. But [High Soft Lisp] remains a bleak book, with Fritz’s own cheerful optimism one of the few beacons of hope amongst a cast of incidental characters whose main purpose seems only to exploit her. Hernandez rarely performs below his best and this is no exception..." – Andy Shaw, Grovel
• Review: "Vast swaths of Wally Gropius appear — at least to my eye — to be visual homages to images that Hensley particularly loves. (The alternative is that he lays his panels out in his static, staccato rhythm just for that feeling, which is close to the same impulse.) It's all very loud and manic and bright and bizarre, veering towards and away from coherence often within the same panel. [...] The end result has that go-go energy and restless heat of the authentic products of the era Hensley sets his story in..." – Andrew Wheeler, The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.
• Interview:Illustration Friday talks to Jim Woodring: "Names and labels don’t matter much. Besides, there are things that cannot be said in words. So if you say them in pictures, are they not things being said? If I draw a hill that looks like a woman, it works differently that if i write 'there’s a hill that looks like a woman.' Also there are clues that one doesn’t want discovered too quickly, or not at all. Because one wants the emanations to proceed from an unknown source."
• Plug: "Nate Neal's first graphic novel [The Sanctuary] is dumbfoundingly ambitious: it takes as its subject nothing less than the invention of comics, in the sense of narrative-in-pictures, meaning that its cast is a bunch of cave-people. Cave-people who speak a cave-person language that Neal has invented himself (he offers the translation of a few key words on its jacket copy, but that's it). The working title of the book was a drawing of a bison. A man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?" – Douglas Wolk, Comics Alliance
Richard Sala has revealed a delightfully ghoulish new series of all-new artwork on his blog: "Unmasked" is a Halloween portrait gallery, inspired by old-time ads for monster masks, of the fiends and creeps who may be behind the "masks" (meaning the actual faces) of the people you see every day (including, perhaps, the one in the mirror)! Richard will be posting a new set of faces every Monday, Wednesday & Friday for the rest of October. The first installment is here; stay tuned to Richard's blog, and we'll be sure to alert you to future entries in our periodic "Things to See" posts.
New from Drew Friedman's Fine Art Prints concern is this portrait of John Lennon (originally published in TIME for a tribute to Lennon by Paul McCartney), released to commemorate what would have been Lennon's 70th birthday on October 9. Irwin Chusid's typically well-written description and ordering details can be found here.
Fans of Seattle's grunge era remember poet Jesse Bernstein as the erudite voice of that movement. His larger-than-life persona and charismatic presence made him a frequent subject of cartoonists documenting the period. Bernstein's brilliance was accompanied by depression, substance abuse, and an untimely death by suicide in 1991 that tragically foreshadowed events that would plague many artists in the grunge milieu.
A new documentary film celebrating Jesse Bernstein's legacy premieres Wednesday, October 6 at the Moore Theater in Seattle. I Am Secretly an Important Man features archival footage of the poet/performance artist at his peak and interviews with friends of Fantagraphics including musician Steve Fisk, Sub Pop founder Bruce Pavitt, and Fantagraphics Bookstore curator Larry Reid. Look for the film at festivals and art houses around the country in the next few months. It shares many of the qualities that made Crumb such a compelling documentary. (Click here for more info & screening tickets.)
At ComicAttack.net, Ken Meyer Jr. has posted another "Ink Stains" column featuring Gary Groth's pre-Fantagraphics Fantastic Fanzine — this time, number 11, focused on Jim Steranko, from 1970. The entire issue is available as a free PDF download, and Meyer provides some historical background and commentary: "How a high school kid managed to score so many amazing pieces of art points to Groth’s future success as a publisher and muckraker."
• Review: "The latest collection of Bill Griffith’s newspaper strip Zippy the Pinhead, Ding Dong Daddy from Dingburg is also my first exposure to the long-running underground. [...] Zippy is unlike any comic strip, or comic book for that matter, I’ve thus encountered. [...] Mixed into a steady stream of seemingly random silliness,... readers also uncover a singular worldview, a commentary on politics, religion, the stumbling newspaper industry and its technological replacements, and seemingly Griffith’s favorite windmill, pop culture. ...Griffith [is] a sublimely witty observer." – Michael C. Lorah, Newsarama
• Review: "I happy to announce the start of LOVE AND ROCKTOBER here at Attentiondeficitdisorderly. For the next month, I'll be devoting my regularly scheduled Comics Time reviews to as much of Los Bros Hernandez' work as I can get through, starting with the Jaime material I misguidedly maligned. I believe that Love and Rockets is all but unique in comics in the way it has taken advantage of serialization to slowly create a rich and enveloping world peopled with multifaceted characters who seem to be living lives on and off the page. And it did this twice, simultaneously! [...] First, let's start by revisiting sins past: My Comics Journal review of Locas, which I'd avoided re-posting here on the blog for years, waiting for precisely this sort of opportunity to serve as a corrective." – Sean T. Collins, Attentiondeficitdisorderly
• Review: "Weathercraft... is a nice showcase for Woodring's beautiful art, which often dips into the grotesque, but is always interesting and somehow pretty no matter what is depicted. He's a great cartoonist, which he shows off through his imaginative creatures and the curious monsters, and fully-realized alien world. It's a whimsical journey, completely silent, but unforgettable and haunting." – Dave Ferraro, Comics-and-More
HARLAN ELLISON - Wednesday, September 29 2010 18:36:3
Due to the (uh)(ahem) inordinately "strained" relations passim one of his publishers and me, I never got a chance to tell the astonishingly wonderful artist/caricaturist Drew Friedman that I am, and was from the beginning of his career, a cockeyed fan of his merciless honesty. He once did a caricature of me and I always wanted to tell him that I considered it a memento mori of exquisite meanness. His is absolutely imperial iconography, and next to his hilarious portrait of my friend Patton Oswalt, his two books of Old Jewish Comedians are so dear to me, that I had them Lucite-boxed. I mention this now, in hopes someone will impart yet another Old Jew's admiration, because I have just now finished gasping, giggling, guffawing and geshrying over his latest collection of portraits.
Being a bit of a bohkun myself, it has been delightful to watch Drew Friedman chase Hogarth, Kley, Nast and them guys over the hill. He is to fine art what Guernica was to human observation.
Register and Login to receive full member benefits, including members-only special offers, commenting privileges on Flog! The Fantagraphics Blog, newsletters and special announcements via email, and stuff we haven't even thought of yet. Membership is free and spam-free, so Sign Up Today!