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“I was fifteen in 1942, and I was five foot three, which is the tallest I ever was. I had jet black hair and a smile as big as day.”
Readers and moviegoers have read and seen many growing-up-in-the-bigcity- then-being-drafted-into-World-War-II tales, both real and fictional, but none with the visual pizzazz and feisty humor of Lucky in Love.
Co-created by George L. Chieffet (script) and veteran cartoonist and animator Stephen DeStefano (plot and art), Lucky in Love is almost the flipside to dramatic works on the same theme such as Alan’s War and You’ll Never Know. Elegantly drawn in a supremely confident, lively, cartoony black-and-white style that recalls Milt Gross as well as classic Disney animation and comics, Lucky in Love is a unique coming-of-age story that follows its lovable eponymous hero Lucky Testatuda from his rascally teen years in Hoboken, New Jersey’s Little Italy to his induction into the air force and subsequent wartime experiences.
Lucky in Love shows what happens when a feisty young man merges his erotic fantasies with 1940s film myths: Moving from the ’40s to present day (from which an aged, present-day Lucky looks back on his life), the book contrasts Lucky’s vivid fantasy life with the darker reality of World War II (including a masterful set-piece sequence that echoes Harvey Kurtzman’s classic EC war comics) as well as his first fumbling, cash-on-the-barrelhead sexual experiences. Ultimately the poignant discoveries Lucky makes on his way to adulthood bestow upon him a very different kind of heroism than that of which he had dreamed...
The second and concluding volume, Lucky in Love: Lucky for Life will be released in 2013.
“We’re all lucky when Stephen DeStefano draws comics. With scriptwriter George Chieffet, he’s produced his sharpest, most poignant work. DeStefano’s agile cartooning evokes the seeming simplicity of an earlier time, yet Lucky reads like the story that was really going on behind the heroism and glamour of the ‘golden age’ strips.” — David Mazzucchelli
Download an EXCLUSIVE 8-page PDF excerpt (414 KB) of the book's Prologue.
From Shadow to Light: The Life & Art of Mort Meskin is a coffee table art book, biography, and critique of one of the 20th century’s most influential and unjustly neglected Golden Age comic book artists.
Mort Meskin’s comics career spanned almost 30 years, from the 1940s to the 1960s. His drawing, chiaroscuro technique, and storytelling are considered by connoisseurs of the form to be among the most sophisticated of his time — on a par with peers such as Joe Kubert and Steve Ditko. His passion for his drawing was equaled by his skill, and the consistently high quality of his oeuvre in the disreputable comic book format blurs the distinction between high and low art. Yet he is known mostly among hard-core aficionados today, eclipsed in the history books by many of his peers, some of whom he profoundly influenced. Among Meskin’s fans and admirers are Jim Steranko, Alex Toth, Carmine Infantino, and Jack Kirby. From Shadow to Light: The Life and Art of Mort Meskin finally gives this neglected artist the recognition he’s due.
The first artist to draw Sheena of the Jungle, Meskin worked in such diverse genres as romance, crime, and Western comics. Following World War II, he formed a studio with Jerry Robinson. He later worked for Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, and later still with Stan lee at Atlas (Marvel). During the 1950s and ‘60s he helped DC Comics define their mystery and science fiction lines. From Shadow to Light compiles for the first time the best of Meskin’s art from his comic book career, his post-comics advertising career, and his fine art — including many pages reproduced from original art.
“Mort shifted gears/viewpoints/emphasis and methods throughout his career, each on another switch back, sidestep or leap ahead which brought just one more entertaining facet of his talent to the fore. Mort invented, questioned, assessed, discarded, tested, reached out... more than ten other cartoonist of his time — ever searching, finding, losing, winning... ah, but always learning. His restlessness kept him facile... as he learnt, tested, and applied... so did we, his observers and students.” — Alex Toth
“Mort Meskin was a consummate professional, dedicated to his work. A great talent.” — Jack Kirby
“Like so many others, Mort is one of comics’ unsung heroes, but time often has a way of resolving the situation.” — Jim Steranko
“The guy was terrific and had an influence, not only on me but on a hell of a lot of other guys that were in the industry. Carmine Infantino. Alex Toth. All they guys who came into the business at my time knew of Mort and knew of Mort’s stuff and loved it.” — Joe Kubert
“Mort Meskin was a genius.” — Jerry Robinson and Carmine Infantino
Hot Stuff by Jonathan Bennett Random Access by Charles Burns Anemone and Comics masthead by Lilli Carré Boy’s Club by Matt Furie Eric Gill’s Busy Day by Tom Gauld Giorgio & Dimitrius by Leif Goldberg I Have No Idea by Lisa Hanawalt Race Murdock by Eric Haven Sketchbook by Anders Nilsen Plut by Emelie Östergren Goof Ballz by Andrew Jeffrey Wright
Them's good comics. The issue is also the only place you'll find interviews with both Wallace Shawn and "Weird" Al Yankovic. Order it here and tell 'em we sent ya.
• Reviews: "Both of these books — Blake Bell's Fire and Water: Bill Everett, The Sub-Mariner, and the Birth of Marvel Comics and Steven Brower's From Shadow to Light: The Life and Art of Mort Meskin — do fine jobs of chronicling the artists' lives and careers. [...] The Everett book... is beautifully designed by Adam Grano and as much an art book as biography. Filled with great examples of Everett art — some of which is from the Everett family's own archives — this book opens up a whole new arena for appreciation of this almost lost seminal artist. The Mort Meskin book is fascinating, too. Brower and the Meskin sons do a great job in capturing what the artist was really like, both in his career and his home life. [...] Again, it's an impressive package (something I think Fantagraphics has become famous for) and a welcome addition to any comics fan's library." – Gary Sassaman, Innocent Bystander
• Review: "Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950s is... a cool collection of stories that definitely would have given me nightmares if I read them as a kid. ...Fantagraphics... puts together a wonderful package once again. Some of these stories are almost unreadable, but all of them are enjoyable and strange and wonderful in their own way." – Gary Sassaman, Innocent Bystander
• Review: "The Best American Comics Criticism, edited by Ben Schwartz, is a fascinating collection of assertion, appraisals, debate, reconsiderations, and recollections about comics. This thick, superbly-selected anthology features extremely well informed, exceptional voices... With a fantastically rendered cover by Drew Friedman (spot the critic!), this is a huge assortment of fantastic writing about a field that has had many parallels with and tendrils in rock and pop. If you’re yearning to own a non-music comics book of criticism that isn’t something from the academe yet still creates an alternate world of popular culture magic to teach how to rail and rave and expose and detail, The Best American Comics Criticism is the book to buy." – Chris Estey, The KEXP Blog
• Review: "Fantagraphics always produces beautiful books, but this is one of my favorites they have ever published. [...] A few weeks ago, I carefully slid You’ll Never Know off the shelf. I was ready for it. It was time. It was a deeply emotional read. [...] The art and lettering is stellar in You’ll Never Know, filled with little details that make every page - especially full page panels. [...] You’ll Never Know is excellent example of autobiographical/biographical non-fiction sequential art, and has made my short list of favorite graphic non-fiction..." – Syndicate Product Covert HQ
• Plug: "Norman Pettingill is an underground cartoonist's underground cartoonist. His obsessive linework, his out-of-control hillbilly wonderland — and even his medium — wood, all make for a fascinating experience. And yes, the cover of this book is plywood." – Benn Ray (Atomic Books), Largehearted Boy
• Feature:Seattle Weekly's Brian Miller previews the "Counterculture Comix" exhibit at Bumbershoot and talks to curator Larry Reid
• Coming Attractions: "For me, and I admit I have specialized taste, the best news coming out San Diego was the announcement that Fantagraphics is going to reprinting Floyd Gottfredson’s Mickey Mousecomic strips, which really was during the 1930s one of the great adventure strips. This will be hard for anyone who hasn’t read Gottfredson’s work to believe, but his Mickey Mouse was as rousing as Roy Crane’s Captain Easy and as rich in invention as Barks’ longer Duck stories." – Jeet Heer, Comics Comics
One of our most anticipated books of the year is scheduled to hit comic shops this week. Read on to see what comics-blog commentators are saying about our releases this week, click the book links for more info and previews, and contact your local shop to confirm availability.
288-page black & white/color 7.25" x 9.75" hardcover • $24.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-377-4
"...[T]his much-anticipated 288-page hardcover Fantagraphics collection of assorted short comics by Japanese girls’ comics pioneer Moto Hagio is functionally (if not intentionally) a corrective of sorts. [...] This... is a new gold-hued Hagio for a Golden Age of Reprints in the mighty manga manner..." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics (extracted from a full review)
"The class of this week's offering, an engaging selection of stories from a very talented creator. The history, but the stories just work as weird, little stories." [I think there might be some words missing there – Ed.] – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
"Let’s go right to the pick of the week, shall we? That would be Moto Hagio’s A Drunken Dream and Other Stories, the first result of the Fantagraphics-Shogakukan team-up that’s being curated by Matt Thorn. It’s a deeply glorious book that brims with Hagio’s psychological and emotional insights." – David Welsh, The Manga Curmudgeon
"It’s a book with a great deal of historic and literary importance, but beyond that, it’s just a great read, and that’s good enough for me." – Brigid Alverson, Robot 6
"...[A] collection of short stories spanning several decades from a true pioneer and a cartoonist who helped shape the shape the face of manga, shojo manga especially." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
Jim Blanchard brings his Icon Soup art show to fancy-pants pizza joint Snoose Junction Part Dieu here in Seattle. Jim says "I'll have 18 recent paintings on their walls from September 10 through October 7 — Opening night is Friday, Sept 10 at 7 PM, and it should be a cool scene!" More info at Jim's Info Barn blog.
"I will be signing copies of my new book PRISON PIT BOOK 2 at MISHKA in Brooklyn on Friday, Sept. 10th at 7 PM. There will also be original art for sale (CHEAP), dolls, prints and this new shirt that I designed with MISHKA:"
And coming in October:
We've just confirmed the triumphant return of our own Ajax Wood as C.F.! More details on this one are To Be Announced.
Due to an inventory error we have 20 copies of the thought-to-be-sold-out Acme Novelty Library #12 by Chris Ware available to order at the cover price of $4.50! It's a 32-page full color 7.25" x 6" comic book.
[UPDATE: Whoa there, they went fast! All gone now, sorry!]
Who wrote this promo copy? It is magnificent:
Loyal Acme readers who were disgruntled at the previous two issues, in which THINGS ACTUALLY HAPPENED (time shifts, sex, dream sequences, super-heroes, death, maiming, architecture — my God, it was like Bob Dylan going electric all over again) will be delighted to discover that this chapter of the Jimmy Corrigan saga returns to the mind-numbingly claustrophobic eventlessness that distinguished earlier issues (such as the acclaimed, award-losing "32-pages-all-in-one-room" #9). In this issue Jimmy and his dad have lunch! In a diner! For the whole issue! Except in one sequence they walk outside! To talk to an old guy! Then they go back to his dad's apartment! Trust us, after you read this little gem, My Dinner with Andre will look like The Road Warrior by comparison.
In Zippy’s latest collection of daily and color strips (with additional pages!), the tour of “Dingburg” continues; we drop in on dozens of Dingburgers and observe them in their natural habitat. The city “inhabited entirely by pinheads” can be seen as a metaphor for the world we live in today — or not.
In any event, we watch as Zippy the Pinhead and his fellow Dingburg residents hunt and bag “Speedy Alka Seltzer,” hear voices in their refrigerators, become addicted to Riboflavin, enjoy fondling newsprint, believe that “wahoo bark” attracts the opposite sex, and worship Joan Rivers.
There’s also the extended series in which Zippy has a long (and donut-based) conversation with God and another in which we meet a pinhead poet who bears a striking resemblance to Charles Bukowski. Are we having fun yet?
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