The cuddliest cat at the shelter of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:Body Literature reviews The Last VispoAnthology: Visual Poetry 1998-2008 edited by Nico Vassilakis & Crag Hill. Stephan Delbos writes "The Last Vispo Anthology is strange. It is also challenging, eclectic, confounding, erudite, punchy, and, by turns, beautiful. . .overall there is an elegiac note to this anthology, which extends from the title to the feeling, put forth by several of the essays, that visual poetry is facing a turning point.. .visual poetry is the bastard hermaphrodite of arts and letters. In a good way."
• Review:David Fournol looks at The Cavalier Mr. Thompson by Rich Tommaso, a rough translation states, "Exemplified by its beautiful design and the use of only two colors gives the book a slightly dated, authentic look. . . Describing and illustrating people's lives is a major talent of Rich Tommaso's. It is a process that has already been perfected in another of his works. . ."
• Review:Los Angeles I'm Yours gets Barack Hussein Obama by Steven Weissman in a big way. Kyle Fitzpatrick says, "The novel follows a gangly Barack Hussein Obama who is a constant prankster and has absolutely no manners. . . It’s a dark world and Obama is the smarmy asshole king. . . It’s a great pre-election graphic novel with some great, dark laughs."
• Review:Comic Book Resources and Tim Callahan looks at two books from the 'W' section of his library.Barack Hussein Obama by Steven Weissman "seems part of a larger movement (from IDW's Artist's Editions to years of Kramers Ergot) to signify the artwork as the end result rather than as a means of producing an end result. . . And Weissman's work demands ingestion and interpretation rather than declaration. Oh, it's good, too, if that has any meaning after all that abstraction." On Wallace Wood's Came the Dawn from the EC Library, Callahan posits, "This is a serious-looking, important comic, for serious-minded, important people. This isn't some lascivious spectacle. Heck, there's only one female on the cover, and she's facing away from us. No one is carrying around any chopped-off heads or limbs. There's no blood anywhere. No shrieking to be seen."
• Plug: Chris Mautner of Robot 6 looks through our next season catalog. The Endby Anders Nilson, I tend to consider this book. . . to be his best work to date, an absolutely shattering and deeply moving account of dealing with loss and grief." On The Cabbie Vol. 2by Marti, Mautner mentions, "Oh man, I seriously love me some Cabbie. I don’t think the first volume exactly sold like hotcakes, but I’m glad to see their continuing on with Marti’s ultra-dark Chester Gould homage." In reference toStorm P.: A Century of Laughter: "Kim Thompson is going to school us all in the world of Eurocomics or die trying. I, for one, am always eager to learn, however. This coffee-table book features the work of Danish gag cartoonist Robert Storm Petersen, whose work is reminiscent of O. Soglow and other New York cartoonists from the same era."
• Plug:Boing Boing covers a few of their favorite books. Mark Frauenfelder enjoyed flipping through Weird Horrors and Daring Adventuresby Joe Kubert, edited by Bill Schelly. "Best known for Sgt. Rock,Tarzan, and Hawkman in the 1960s and 70s, this anthology of Kubert's 1940s work reveals his versatility in a variety of genres, including horror, humor, and romance." In regards to the Is That All There Is? by Joose Swarte Frauenfelder admits, "I prefer his work over Hergé's (don't shoot me). This anthology of Swarte's alternative comics from 1972 showcases his famous clean-line style that makes reading his work a pleasure."
• Review: Jason Sacks of Comics Bulletin interviews Justin Hall, editor of No Straight Lines, on queer comics, teaching comics and preserving history. Hall says, "I think in general the queer comics underground is – if you could categorize it with anything, there is a directness and honesty to the work – a real rawness that's quite impressive. I think that comes out of the feminist underground comics: Wimmen’s Comix, Tits and Clits, etc."
• Review:Gay Comics List talks about No Straight Lines, edited by Justin Hall. Francois Peneaud says, "Hall wisely chose to follow a (more or less) chronological path instead of anything fancier, but that doesn’t mean he has nothing interesting to say, far from it. The tension between specialized comics (by which I mean comics made by and for a specific group of people) and mainstream audience, the evolution from the urgent need for visibility to the creation of complexified issues and characters, all these and more are covered in a few pages."
• Review: Editor Kim Thompson speaks to World Literature Today about translating Nicholas Mahler's Angelman and other books in the Fantagraphics library. "Humor is far more difficult to translate than anything else. If you translate a dramatic sequence and your words or rhythm aren’t quite right, it still can work."
• Review:Page 45 enjoys Special Exits by Joyce Farmer. "No punches are pulled, this is life, specifically the twilight years and subsequent demise of elderly parents, told with such honesty, candour and compassion that I actually find myself welling up again as I'm typing this. . . SPECIAL EXITS becomes a testament to the human spirit and the value of a positive outlook on life, especially in one's latter years when faced with failing health," says Jonathan.
• Review:The Comics Reporter enjoys Buz Sawyer Vol. 2: Sultry's Tigerby Roy Crane. Tom Spurgeon says, "To get the obvious out of the way, this book has some almost impossibly beautiful cartooning in it. Even for someone like me that finds the basic visual approach of Buz Sawyer less thrilling than the more rugged, crude cartooning of Crane's Wash Tubbs work, there are several panels of stop and whistle variety."
This week's comic shop shipment is slated to include the following new titles. Read on to see what comics-blog commentators and web-savvy comic shops are saying about them (more to be added as they appear), check out our previews at the links, and contact your local shop to confirm availability.
"This is a super-strong week for the Seattle-based alt-comics mainstay publishing house. In fact, that would be a strong season for a lot of publishers." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
240-page black & white/color 7.25" x 10.25" hardcover • $28.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-545-7
"If I could splurge, I’d snatch up EC: Wally Wood – Came the Dawn and Other Stories. I’ve been aware of Wally Wood for a almost two decades now, but I tend to go through periods of simply floating around before I consume and learn more about him in short but voracious periods." – Chris Arrant, Robot 6
"...I feel like I haven’t read enough Kurtzman, so I’d like to read [Corpse on the Imjin]..." – Brigid Alverson, Robot 6
"I’m pretty excited for the new Fantagraphics EC books..." – Brian Hibbs (Comix Experience), The Savage Critics
"Fans of the old, influential genre stuff will enjoy Corpse on the Imjin! and Other Stories and Came the Dawn and Other Stories, two b&w collections of EC material focused on, respectively, Harvey Kurtzman and Wally Wood..." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
"The EC books I'm looking forward to devouring on some rainy afternoon in the next three or four weeks. I find that work pleasurable, and I look forward to seeing if reading these comics arranged by author (mostly) changes my opinion about any of the artists in question." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
"These @fantagraphics EC Libraries are slick!!" – Pulp Fiction
144-page black & white 10.25" x 12.25" hardcover • $24.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-596-9
"...I’ll first mention The Cartoon Utopia, a 144-page 'part sci-fi, part philosophy, part visual poetry, and part social manifesto' hardcover by the always-interesting Ron Regé, Jr." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
"Ron Regé Jr. is one of those special cartoonists where I buy everything he does without asking questions first." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
200-page full-color 7" x 9" softcover • $22.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-597-6
"Poetic short fiction pieces from an artist Chicago is proud to call its own." – Quimby's Bookstore
"...Heads or Tails [is] a nice-looking collection of short stories by up-and-comer Lilli Carré (The Lagoon), most of which ran in the Mome anthology..." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
"Lilli Carré returns after 2008′s The Lagoon with Heads or Tails, a 200-page collection of short stories..." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
"On the strength of this latest collection, with which I'm only about halfway done, Lilli Carré may join that group of [special] cartoonists [where I buy everything she does without asking questions first] much sooner than I thought possible, and I really liked her previous work. There's nothing about Heads or Tails that has to be processed through the 'promising cartoonist' filter, if that makes any sense." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
336-page full-color 8" x 10" softcover • $39.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-626-3
"Finally, The Last Vispo Anthology: Visual Poetry 1998-2008 presents 336 pages of visual poetry to tickle your image/text fancy." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
"I'm not even sure what Last Vispo Anthology is, but I'd look at it -- I assume it's the visual poetry thing that's been a big part of the lives of several people that have worked the last 20 years." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
• Seattle, WA: It's your last chance to see our exhibit The Horror: from the EC Comics Libraryat the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery! I wrote myself a note about this in my calendar that just read "The Horror Ends," which cracked up my friend who saw it out of this context. (more info)
Thursday, November 1st
• Seattle, WA: Our own Jason T. Miles is just one of many awesome local artists in the show Handbound: Exploring the Process of Short Run Small Press Fest Exhibitors at SOIL Gallery. This group show explores the creative process of exhibiting book artists through a combination of original art, sketches, ephemera and books. It's high-brow, low-brow and everything in between. Reception is from 5:00-8:00 PM, and the show runs through December 1st. (more info)
Chris Wright’s Blacklung is unquestionably one of the most impressive graphic novel debuts in recent years, a sweeping, magisterially conceived, visually startling tale of violence, amorality, fortitude, and redemption, one part Melville, one part Peckinpah. Blacklung is a story that lives up to the term graphic novel, that could only exist in sequential pictures — densely textured, highly stylized, delicately and boldly rendered drawings that is, taken together, wholly original.
In a night of piratical treachery when an arrogant school teacher is accidentally shanghaied aboard the frigate Hand, his fate becomes inextricably fettered to that of a sardonic gangster. Dependent on one another for survival in their strange and dangerous new home, the two form an unlikely alliance as they alternately elude or confront the thieves and cutthroats that bad luck has made their companions and captors. After an act of terrible violence, the teacher is brought before the ship’s captain and instructed to use his literary skills to aid him in writing his memoirs. He is to serve as scribe for a man who, in his remaining years, has made it his mission to commit as many acts of evil as possible in order to ensure that he meet his dead wife in hell. As the captain’s protected confidant, finding his only comfort in the few books afforded him, the teacher bears witness to monstrous brutality, relentless cruelty, strange wisdom, and a journey of redemption through loss of faith.
“I could not have imagined how impressive a work Blacklung would turn out to be. It’s a graphic novel, both in its vernacular term and in a more literal sense, violent and horrible and poetic at the same time – the sort of thing McCarthy might write if he were more interested in pirates than cowboys or Appalachians. Blacklung is a great book; canonically great.” —Chris Schweizer (Crogan’s Adventures)
“A truly organic and interesting way to cartoon, the complete package of verbal cadence and informative visual style.” – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
Last night in Los Angeles at the Public Image Ltd show, Pat Thomas ran into John Lydon backstage (aka Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols). The two have worked together on some album reissues and Lydon was excited to get a copy of Thomas' book, Listen, Whitey! The Sounds of Black Power. In fact he said, "it's like Christmas." Thomas' book moved Lydon to start "digging out my Last Poets and Gil Scott-Heron records again." A good read guaranteed.
Daylight Savings is upon us this weekend, which means those of us in the Northwest can look forward to darker evenings and some good ol' Seasonal Affective Disorder.
What better time to burrow under the blankies with The Hypo: The Melancholic Young Lincoln, a documentation of Abraham Lincoln's crushing cloud of depression by Noah Van Sciver! Reading Noah's sensitive look at Lincoln's irrepressible ambition despite his troubled times is even better than one of those sun lamps. After all, Lincoln made it through the darkness, and so will you...
Short Run runs (heh) from 10:30 AM - 5:30 PM. A little advice, if I may: get there early! There is so much to do and see at Short Run, and this year's fest is even bigger, if you can believe it!
There's nearly 100 small press exhibitors offering their comics, zines, and art books, from $.50 to $50.00! Plus, enjoy local animation screening all day, featuring Seattle Experimental Animation Team (SEAT), Reel Grrls, and other independent filmmakers. Exhibitors will be showing off all the ways they blend genres, such as advice expert Nicole Georges, writer/professional barber Zach Mandeville who will be giving free haircuts, and puppet master Erin Tanner. You can participate in live silk-screening where you can screen print a comic drawn by local artists or print one of our designs onto clothes you bring yourself. And like last year, there will be another decadent bake sale with donated goodies from Macrina Bakery, Grand Central Bakery, The Bang Bang Cafe, Stumptown Coffee, and our exhibitors and supporters!
It's been an honor watching this book unfold from local fellas, cartoonist David Lasky and writer Frank M. Young, and the finished product is even more beautiful than I could've imagined!
Don’t Forget This Songis more than just an "graphic novel" bio on country music legends The Carter Family; it's a really lovely, sensitive look at the bond of family. As our own Kim Deitch says on the back of the book, "Young and Lasky do a winning job presenting this absolutely charming tale of romance, compulsion, anthropology, great meteoric success, and all the ironic baggage that usually goes with that kind of success."
The dialogue is written in the Southern dialect of the time, which gives the book an added dreamy, transportive feel. And the whole dang thing even comes with a CD of rare Carter Family radio recordings, so you can listen to the music as you follow their lives!
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale Street in Seattle's Georgetown district. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone: (206) 658-0110. Um, don't forget this event!
We're reminding you to check out The Art Institute of Chicago's exhibition entitled Rarely Seen: Contemporary Works on Paper, that is up from now until January 13, 2012. Organized by the Prints and Drawings Department of the museum, the show also includes comics from the Ryerson Library collection including Blexbolex, Mat Brinkman, Charles Burns, R. Crumb (Zap and Weirdo), Hairy Who, Humbug magazine, Al Jaffee, Rory Hayes, Jay Lynch, David Sandlin, Art Spiegelman, S Clay Wilson (Zap), and issues from Raw magazine.
The non-comics but still amazing part of the show includes artists such as Ed Ruscha, Martin Kippenberger, Carrol Dunham, Jim Nutt, and Romare Bearden and the whole show is located in Galleries 124–127.
"Whether centuries old or the latest contemporary creations, works on paper are extremely light sensitive and can only be displayed in the galleries for short and infrequent periods of time before they must be returned to the safety of the dark, climate-controlled vault."
So jump on the chance, Chicago, to see some brilliant works on paper in THIS lifetime. The museum is open daily from 10:30am-5pm, open late until 8 on Wednesdays. Admission to the Art Institute of Chicago is free to Illinois residents the first and second Wednesdays of every month.
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!