Some major comics writing out there over the holiday weekend making for an extra-beefy (and late) Online Commentary & Diversions update:
•Review/Profile: "Sure I'd read [Hal] Foster before, but I'd never found a way in. Fortunately, Fantagraphics recently released Prince Valiant Vol. 1: 1937-38, and I was able to absorb the material in a wholly new way.... I found this first book completely engrossing. Prince Valiant opens up a world that I wanted to stay in -- a wide-eyed early 20th century approach to fantasy with a now-vanished sincerity and wholesomeness. It's an all too rare pleasure in comics." - Dan Nadel, Comics Comics
• Review: "Medieval swordplay and adventure have never been as glorious as in Foster's Sunday-only comic strip. Although much reprinted (including an earlier version from the same publisher), this edition has been reproduced from pristine printer's proofs to give the gorgeous artwork its crispest version ever.... Foster's script is literate and full of vivid characterizations, like the headstrong but cunning Val and carefree Sir Gawain. But nothing surpasses his artwork—rich with details of armor, weapons and dress, the story comes to life with a palpable sense of magic and danger. Each drawing is a flawless illustration, perfectly composed; even a battle of 20 men comes alive in a tiny panel, with every action clearly delineated. Prince Valiant is one of the best-drawn comics ever, and this new edition does ample justice to its achievement." - Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
• Review: "Underneath the screaming and plagues, the giddy joy that [Basil Wolverton] seems to take in his art radiates off the page, just like it does in his secular work.... His creatures from sci-fi and horror, his fascination with grotesque bodily exaggeration, his devout Christian faith -- here it all comes together into an operatic and apocalyptic peak.... The Wolverton Bible might seem like a paradox to its religious audience and its alt-comics fans -- even if Wolverton himself never saw the contradiction." - Martyn Pedler, Bookslut
• Review: "As an historical object, sure, great. I think it should be in print. Kurtzman was a very important figure in comics, and the art and design of the pieces here are of an exceedingly high quality. I'm glad I can see more examples of Jaffee's, Elder's and Davis' work." Otherwise, Chris Allen gives up on Humbug
• Review: Joe McCulloch of Jog - The Blog has a major review of Tardi & Manchette's West Coast Blues -- I've read through it three times and it's too complex for a simple pull quote
• History/preview/profile/analysis: "The 300th issue of The Comics Journal is soon to hit the stands, and the magazine everyone in comics loves to hate rattles on, chugging and sputtering and picking up disreputable beardy guys like a Toonerville Trolley of spite.... In some Inglourious Basterds-like alternate history, the 1990s ended with the twisted faces of Kim Thompson and Gary Groth hovering, laughing maniacally, over the charred and bullet-riddled corpse of Wizard magazine." - Shaenon K. Garrity, comiXology
• Analysis: du9 presents a new translation by Derik Badman of a 2006 piece by David Turgeon on Poison River by Gilbert Hernandez: "What first strikes the reader about this work is its narrative density. It isn’t uncommon for a single page to show as many places, times, and situations as there are panels." (Via Journalista)
• Interview: Jason Thibault of Optimum Wound talks to Tim Lane as part of their "Masters of Ink" series: "You do what seems the impossible and most absurd: you learn to breathe underwater, and revel in it. Get drunk on the water in your lungs. Cultivate a functional level of positive insanity. And develop tough skin. Stick with it if only because your reasons are inexplicable."
• Interview: The Daily Cross Hatch wraps up presenting Brian Heater's chat with Jordan Crane: "I was in Portugal and I saw a really tiny kid with a really giant cat. He looked exactly like the kid in The Clouds Above. The kid was so small that the cat was the same size as him — it’s not a big cat, but next to him, he was huge. And then I just kind of went from there."
• Plug: At Super I.T.C.H., Steven Johnston takes note of Humbug ("much of it is prime satire from the creators of MAD!") and The Wolverton Bible ("particularly including some genuinely horrific scenes from the Book of Revelations").
Join MoCCA for a discussion about Abstract Comics: what they are, who is making them and why. Abstract Comics explores what is essential to the medium of comics - panel rhythm, page layout, the sequential arrangement of formal elements - and tells us how comics function and where they can go. This talk is held in conjunction with the exhibition Silent Pictures at James Gallery, CUNY, opening on Thursday, September 10th and the new book Abstract Comics, edited by Andrei Molotiu from Fantagraphics Books.
Event: PERSONALITY PARADE "Pop Cult® Paintings by Jim Blanchard" What: Art Opening Host: Jim Blanchard Start Time: Friday, September 11 at 6:00pm End Time: Friday, September 11 at 9:00pm Where: Roq La Rue Gallery, Seattle, WA
Jim Blanchard debuts a dozen new portrait paintings and who knows what else at the Roq La Rue Gallery in Seattle this Friday, September 11 (and through October 3). Jim says, "This series of paintings was done using a technique that simulates the grid effect of the 'sticker paintings' I did for Roq La Rue years ago-- The subjects are: Lee Marvin, Klaus Kinski, Diana Rigg, Clint Eastwood, Marty Feldman, Agnes Moorehead, Karen Black, Sharon Tate, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Robert Mitchum, and Pam Grier." Hot cha cha!
Next week's Not To Be Missed Event: Paul Karasik and "The Fletcher Hanks Experience," an illustrated tour over the brutally surreal Hanks mindscape narrated by the late Fletcher Hanks, Jr.
Part visionary lunatic, part vengeful alcoholic, part cartoonist, Fletcher Hanks created the weirdest comic book stories of all time. And he did them back before anyone even knew what a comic book really was.
Hanks worked during the first three years of the comic book industry and then vanished leaving behind 51 twisted tales of omnipotent superheroes and sexy jungle godesses. Unlike most comic book artists, Hanks was a genuine auteur: he wrote, pencilled, inked, and lettered his own stories. His work is even undiluted by the hand of an editor.
Cartoonist/editor, Paul Karasik, has edited two volumes of Hanks work. The latest, "You Shall Die By Your Own Evil Creation!" has just been released. Using evidence found at the scene of the grime he has created a composite profile of Hanks the man. The man makes the work and the work makes the man.
"The Fletcher Hanks Experience" is a multi-meda safari over the cragyy harsh landscape of the psyche of Fletcher Hanks. Combining archival audio of Hanks' son with comic book panels, Karasik takes the audience into the mind of the man whom R. Crumb called, "A Twisted dude".
Have a great holiday weekend in the USA; Online Commentary & Diversions updates will resume on Tuesday.
• Review: "If there is a 'true truth' in relation to Jason it is that the Nordic author can resist no genre. From Western noir to science fiction of manners, everything passes through his own personal, non-transferable filter to offer these stories, parsimonious in words but full of 'depth charge.'Low Moon... is no exception to this maxim." - Alita Cómics (translated from Spanish)
• Review: Chris Mautner of Robot 6 says Nikoline Werdelin's story "Because I Love You So Much" in From Wonderland with Love is "one of finest comics I've read this year."
• Interview: Paul Karasik always gives good interview, as you'll find out when you tune in to his chat with the Inkstuds radio program
• Preview: Robot 6 guest-blogger Sean T. Collins has the scoop on this Fall's releases from the Cold Heat crew, including the prequel stories in Mome Vol. 16
• Tweet: "Bottomless Belly Button is a great read. started it last nite, finding it to be patient and inventive. nice!" - Zack Gonzales (zg512)
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