Today's Online Commentary & Diversions (with one carried over from yesterday's post-less day):
• Review: "Normally I wouldn’t put in a spoiler warning for a few blog notes, but this is a special case. I’m going to be talking about Love and Rockets: New Stories #3, which contains what is arguably one of the best comics stories ever... It’s so easy to take the Hernandez Bros. for granted: they’ve been around so long, put out work regularly, and often use the same characters. So the temptation is to just think that they’re a stable public resource, like the library or a museum: they’ll always be there and we can ignore them for years, checking in on them only when we need to. But really, these guys are among the best cartoonists who have ever lived. Like Seth, Chris Ware, Dan Clowes, and Kim Deitch, they are constantly pushing themselves to do better work, and are now at a career peak. We need to give thanks for this, loudly and publicly." – Jeet Heer, Comics Comics
• Review: "Really, it’s hard to know what to make of [Norman Pettingill:] Backwoods Humorist, the first time you flip through its lovingly-curated pages. [...] I fell in love with it almost immediately, first caught completely off guard by the amateurish art in a book compiled by Fantagraphics. Why, precisely had the publisher chosen to compile these works in such a beautiful volume? There is, however, something disarmingly bewitching amongst Pettingill’s grotesque caricatures of country life. [...] In the great scheme of 20th century art, it’s difficult to imagine that Pettingill’s work will ever be regarded as much more than a somewhat high profile curiosity. For those seeking to discover an utterly fascinating body of work, however, that curiosity is certainly worth the price of admission." – Brian Heater, The Daily Cross Hatch
• Review: "Greg Sadowski and John Benson did a superb job on this collection of early 1950s horror stories [Four Color Fear]... In addition to Greg's attractive design throughout, he delivers meticulous, pixel-perfect restorations... There are 25 pages of fascinating, informative notes by both Greg and John. [...] This book is like time-traveling, a document of an era. [...] This will stand as an important reference work that should be shelved alongside David Hajdu's The Ten-Cent Plague." – Bhob Stewart, Potrzebie
• Review: "...Mome 19... is the best volume of the series so far. [...] Josh Simmons' 'White Rhinocerous Part 1'... is short, makes sense, is funny: great comic. The rest of Mome 19 doesn't fall apart on the job either... But the real prize here is DJ Bryant... Alongside a group of contemporaries who possess some of comic's most innovative talents, he chose refinement. It fucking worked." – Tucker Stone, The Factual Opinion
• Plugs: "Fire & Water... is a look at the life and body of work created by Bill Everett, the man who created the Sub-Mariner - the character upon which Marvel Comics would be built. [... In] The Sanctuary [Nate] Neal uses a cave-dwelling tribe to explore themes of communication and language and reveals himself to be a master storyteller. [...] Ding Dong Daddy from Dingburg... is the newest collection of comics legend Bill Griffith's Zippy the Pinhead comic strip. In this volume — Joan Rivers, Charles Bukowski, God, riboflavin, and more! Surreal and absurd yuks abound." – Benn Ray (Atomic Books), Largehearted Boy
• Plug: "...[I]f you’re in the mood for some dazzling, filthy violence then perhaps Johnny Ryan’s Prison Pit Volume 2 is... up your alley. It’s got CF the barbarian from outer space on the cover, dripping in blood and wearing nowt but pants." – The Gosh! Comics Blog
• Plug: At Comix 411, Tom Mason, profiling Leslie Turner, Roy Crane's successor on Captain Easy, notes "For those interested in the origins of Captain Easy, you can’t do better than Fantagraphics Books which is reprinting Roy Crane’s classic strip, starting at the beginning."
• Almost Plug: The 1930s "Human Centipede" image that Mark Frauenfelder Boing Boinged today happens to be found in our book Catalog No. 439: Burlesque Paraphernalia and Side Degree Specialties and Costumes
Periodic clips & strips — click for improved/additional viewing and possible artist commentary at the sources:
• Jason presents two cover illustrations: one for a biography of Henrik Ibsen, the other for a 1989 issue of a Norwegian fanzine (oh yeah, and the cover for his next Fanta collection What I Did is in there too)
"Greetings, stranger of the future. If you are reading this, it means the written word has survived, that the world of tomorrow still exists, and that for some reason my ramblings are still considered worth reading. My name is Mark Twain, and I write these words to you in the good old days of August 2010."
• Richard Sala presents a whole bunch of production, concept, and storyboard art from his animated serial "Invisible Hands" from MTV's Liquid Television, in 4 installments (so far) hereherehere and here, with commentary
This week's comic shop shipment is slated to include the following new titles. Read on to see what comics-blog commentators are saying about our releases this week, and contact your local shop to confirm availability.
Rip M.D. by Mitch Schauer & Michael Vosburg et al.
88-page full-color 7.5" x 9.25" softcover • $12.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-369-9
"[Rip M.D.] seems to be a comic more geared to a juvenile public, but should be pretty cool because there are a lot of monsters, really violent werewolves, zombies, and best of all, vampires that do not sparkle!" – Submundo Mamão (translated from Portuguese)
"Rip M.D. is a creepy, fun-filled all-ages adventure saga... [Mitch] Schauer told ICv2 that the inspiration for Rip M.D. was all those horror and monster movies he saw as a child — movies that made him care more about the fate of the colorful monsters and fiends than the B movies' human characters who always seemed to triumph in the end. Rip M.D. is the logical emotional outgrowth of those accumulated cinematic disappointments, the story of a boy who is able to help the horror and monster movie characters that he loves the most." – ICv2
"A 'full-color, all-ages adventure' with an animated cartoon series in development, a promising bet for reluctant readers." – Martha Cornog, Library Journal
208-page black & white 8" x 10" softcover • $22.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-388-0
"It’s probably insultingly reductive to refer to Nate Neal’s debut graphic novel as 'caveman comics,' but that’s generally the sort of two-word phrase that tends to get me excited to read something. The subject matter is indeed a 'Paleolithic cave-dwelling tribe,' but the way Neal handles the verbal aspects of a pre-linguistic, vocal communication seem to be a big part of the work as well." – J. Caleb Mozzocco, Newsarama
"Nate Neal's first graphic novel 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
104-page full-color 12" x 10.25" hardcover • $24.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-418-4
"Cartoonist C. Tyler continues her comics biography of her Greatest Generation father, wrapped in around a memoir of her own life at the time she was learning his story for herself. If it’s as good as the first book, I imagine it will be one of, if not the, best comics available this week." – J. Caleb Mozzocco, Newsarama
"Being the follow-up to one of the most widely appreciated comics of 2009, Carol Tyler’s expansive portrait of life rippling from the submerged stone of her father’s WWII experiences. I understand this volume will incorporate an expanded presentation of Tyler’s also-widely-appreciated 1994 short The Hannah Story directly into the larger work. [True. – Ed.]" – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics
"The best book of the week: a way to have your heart torn out while your eyes feast. The second volume of C. Tyler's project about discovering what her father did in World War II expands its scope to other painful parts of her family dynamics, and incorporates Tyler's extraordinary 1995 short story 'The Hannah Story.' If I started going off about how much I love Tyler's artwork and design and storytelling, we'd be here all afternoon--there's really nobody else doing what she does in comics..." – Douglas Wolk, Comics Alliance
"Your book of the week. I still think this is something that will read 10X better in one volume as opposed to these three serialized books, but wanting to get a book out when its subjects can still read and enjoy it is of course an admirable thing. Plus I'm disenfranchised when it comes to that particular vote. The scary thing is, these books are already stupendous. This new Carol Tyler supposedly has within its pages one of the 100 best comics of the 20th Century, and I practically guarantee you it won't be out of place." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
"I liked the first volume of Carol Tyler’s You’ll Never Know, the story of her father’s experiences in the war, but it left me wanting more, so I definitely want to read the second volume, Collateral Damage." – Brigid Alverson, Robot 6
Quite possibly the world's first Beat Poet action figure, now available to order from Presspop in Japan! The figurine, packaging and accessories were all designed by Archer Prewitt (also responsible for their previous figurines of music pioneers Raymond Scott and Robert Moog) and feature a cloth jacket, glasses, beaded necklace, papercraft Uncle Sam hat and book, and a CD of live poetry readings. It's adorable!
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