• List:Flavorwire's Emily Temple names Daniel Clowes's Ghost World one of "10 Disturbingly Brilliant Graphic Novels" (a list which includes many of the usual suspects along with some off-the-beaten-path selections): "This novel is a cult classic for a reason (and no, the reason is not Scarlett Johansson): its frank depiction of teenage life, especially in boring, suburban towns, and the awkwardness of growing up garnered an instant following, along with its cynical, hilarious protagonists. It is intensely strange, and yet somehow universal in its strangeness — because who doesn’t think their teen years were completely weird? We know ours were."
• Review: "Trondheim (as depicted by Trondheim) is a mass of neuroses and tics. He's full of self-doubt and more than a little bit of anger. But what sets him apart from oh-so-many other autographical cartoonists is that he's also devoted to his life and his art. You might say that [Approximate Continuum Comics] is a book about beating yourself up in service of self-exploration, which itself is in service of creating great stories." – John R. Platt, Graphic Novel Reporter
• Review: "[Congress of the Animals] is wordless and flows from scene to scene with dream logic, so it’s a quick read. Woodring’s inking is so fabulous that I’ve already reread it, and opened it to specific pages to stare at the varying weights he gives his lines. I particularly liked the textures of the wood walls in the background of the factory where Frank works and how they make the machines stand out from the background." – Gene Ambaum, The Unshelved Book Club
Fantagraphics resident genius Jim Woodring outdoes himself in the new annual edition of The Simpsons' Treehouse of Horror. Li'l Bart discovers a shopworn copy of "Harvest of Fear" — an E.C. knockoff in the tradition of Four Color Fear — at a yard sale and all hell breaks loose. Woodring works within the Simpsons canon while cleverly incorporating his own idiosyncratic sensibilities. In the story, our mischievous protagonist sets out to solve the mystery of the mid-century comic book and finds the last page is the missing piece. Spooky.
Explore a world of comics! Columbus Day is upon us and we're celebrating the spirit of discovery (never mind the centuries of pillaging, genocide and other atrocities). From now through next Friday, October 14, 2011, take at least 30% offcomics and graphic novels by international creators! From manga to bandes desinées, classic to cutting-edge, if it's "furrin" it's on sale.
Our slogan is "Publisher of the World's Best Cartoonists Since 1976," and we mean it when we say THE WORLD. Beyond the U.S. and Canada our creators hail from such far-flung locales as Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, Mexico, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, and the UK.
• List: Jeff Newelt names Leslie Stein's Eye of the Majestic Creature to Heeb Magazine's "Best of 5771: Comics" list, saying "What a treat discovering a new 'voice' that speaks to you as much as longtime favorites."
• Interview:Shannon Wheeler talks about Oil and Water in a Q&A with Portland Monthly: "Fishermen couldn’t fish, plants were dying, scientists didn’t know what the effects were, and tourism was crippled. In addition to the environmental damage, there was damage to people’s lives that is profound. We very much wanted to tell the human story."
I took no pictures at APE this year save for the one above, of my pal Dan Shahin in his homemade Rory Root t-shirt (with Root's face comprised of a mosaic of hundreds of comic book covers). If I was to only take one photo, this strikes me as a perfectly appropriate one, as APE always reminds me of Rory, and his memory loomed large over the show for me (I wore my old Comic Relief t-shirt on Saturday in my own small attempt to honor the big guy).
This was the first APE I've attended since Rory passed away in 2008, and it didn't feel the same without him. Rory was a champion of the small press, a man with an omnivorous appetitie for the medium who could always be counted on to take a chance on a self-published mini that many other retailers would likely never make shelf space for. Comic Relief was a mecca for fans of cartooning, and its presence at APE always struck me as a vital component in the physiology of the show; no matter how few copies of your book you sold on the floor over APE weekend, if it was good, you could count on Rory to buy a few at the end of Sunday and help you leave on a high note.
Of course, APE was also missing another towering figure of the scene: Dylan Williams (who once worked at Comic Relief). Thankfully, Sparkplug Comics *was* there, honoring Dylan's memory in the one way I suspect he would approve: by selling and promoting good comics.
With that in mind, and for fear of sounding a bit maudlin, it really did feel to me that this year's APE was defined by who wasn't there as much as who was.
That said, my APE weekend was fun, and somehow a success despite the fact that attendance was invariably, adversely affected by gorgeous weather and a massive free concert in Golden Gate Park over the weekend. I enjoyed the company of many pals -- Richard Sala, Daniel & Erika Clowes, Adrian Tomine, Mario Hernandez, Jim Blanchard, J.R. Williams, Leslie Stein, John Pham, Terry Zwigoff, Martin Cendreda, Dan Nadel, Matthew Thurber, Renée French, Mark Kalesniko, Calvin Reid, Brett Warnock, Tom Devlin, Esther Pearl Watson, and many others -- and met a few new ones. That's all I could ask for, short of selling a ton of books, and things went well on that front. GANGES #4, POGO Vol. 1, OIL & WATER, MOME 22 and MARK TWAIN'S AUTOBIOGRAPHY 1910-2010 were amongst the books that flew off the tables by the end of the weekend.
I also came home with an entire suitcase full of books and minicomics, most of which I've only begun to wade thru and a roundup of which would require more time and effort than I'm willing to do right now. But I'm especially keen to dive into Jesse Moynihan's FORMING and Matthew Thurber's 1-800-MICE, which seemed to my eyes to be the books of the show.
I am personally so over-the-moon-excited about this weekend's event, and frankly, you should be, too! We are thrilled to present artist & women's comix "herstorian" Trina Robbins at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery this Saturday, October 8!
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