You won't believe how many debuts we're bringing with us to Bethesda for the 2012 Small Press Expo on September 15th & 16th! Here's your SPX shopping list -- bring extra bags to carry everything:
• The Lost Art of Ah Pook Is Here: Images from the Graphic Novel by Malcolm McNeill (not officially out 'til October!) In 1970, William S. Burroughs and artist Malcolm McNeill agreed to collaborate on a book-length meditation on time, power, control, and corruption that evoked the Mayan codices and specifically, the Mayan god of death, Ah Pook. McNeill created nearly a hundred paintings, illustrations, and sketches for the book, and these, finally, are seeing the light of day in The Lost Art of Ah Pook.
• Observed While Falling: Bill Burroughs, Ah Pook, and Me by Malcolm McNeill (not officially out 'til October!)Observed While Falling is an account of the personal and creative interaction that defined the collaboration between the writer William S. Burroughs and the artist Malcolm McNeill on the graphic novel Ah Pook Is Here. The memoir chronicles the events that surrounded it, the reasons it was abandoned and the unusual circumstances that brought it back to life.
• Barack Hussein Obama by Steven WeissmanIt’s neither a biography nor an experiment, but a whole, fully-realized parallel America, a dada-esque, surrealistic satirical vision that is no more cockeyed than the real thing, its weirdness no more weird, its vision of the world no more terrifying, where the zombie-esque simulacra of Joe Biden and Hillary and Newt and Obama wander, if not exactly through the corridors of power, through an America they made and have to live in, like it or not. NOTE: Steven Weissman will be signing at SPX!
• Blacklung by Chris Wright (not officially out until October!) 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. NOTE: Chris Wright will be signing at SPX!
• Came the Dawn and Other Stories (The EC Comics Library) by author: Illustrated by Wallace Wood; written by Al Feldstein et al.; edited by Gary Groth (not officially out until October!) Working within the horror, war, crime, and science fiction genres, publisher William Gaines and editor/writer Al Feldstein combined a deliciously disreputable, envelope-pushing sensibility with moments of genuine, outraged social consciousness, which shone a hard light onto such hot-button topics as racism, anti-Semitism, mob justice, and misogyny and sexism.
• The Cartoon Utopia by Ron Rege, Jr.(not officially out until October!) Ron Regé, Jr. is a very unusual yet accomplished storyteller whose work exudes a passionate moral, idealistic core that sets him apart from his peers. The Cartoon Utopia is his Magnum Opus, a unique work of comic art that, in the words of its author, "focuses on ideas that I've become intrigued by that stem from magical, alchemical, ancient ideas & mystery schools." It's part sci-fi, part philosophy, part visual poetry, and part social manifesto. Regé's work exudes psychedelia, outsider rawness, and pure cartoonish joy.
• Corpse on the Imjin! and Other Stories (The EC Comics Library) by Harvey Kurtzman, et al.; edited by Gary Groth(not officially out until October!) Corpse on the Imjin! is rounded off with a dozen or so stories written and laid out by Kurtzman and drawn by “short-timers,” i.e. cartoonists whose contributions to his war books only comprised a story or two — including such giants as designer extraordinaire Alex Toth, Marvel comics stalwart Gene Colan, and a pre-Sgt. Rock Joe Kubert... and such unexpected guests as “The Lighter Side of...” MAD artist Dave Berg and DC comics veteran Ric Estrada — as well as a rarity: a story by EC regular John Severin inked by Kurtzman.
• Naked Cartoonists: Drawers Drawing Themselves Without Drawers by Various Artists; edited by Gary GrothIn an irreverent twist to the fine art tradition of The Nude, this unique and original collection presents a “stripped” down version of the infamous “Gallery of Rogues” exhibit of cartoonist self-portraits at Ohio State University. Here you’ll find a cornucopia of cartoonists’ nude self-portraits from the collection of Mark J. Cohen and Rose Marie McDaniel.
• Heads or Tails by Lilli Carré(not officially out until November!) The creator of 2008’s acclaimed graphic novel The Lagoon — named to many annual critics’ lists including Publishers Weekly and USA Today’s Pop Candy — is back with a stunningly designed and packaged collection of some of the most poetic and confident short fiction being produced in comics today. These stories, created over a period of five years, touch on ideas of flip sides, choices, and extreme ambivalence. NOTE: Lilli Carré will be signing at SPX!
• The Hypo by Noah Van Sciver The debut graphic novel from Noah Van Sciver follows the twentysomething Abraham Lincoln as he loses everything, long before becoming our most beloved president. Lincoln is a rising Whig in the state’s legislature as he arrives in Springfield, IL to practice law. As time passes and uncertainty creeps in, young Lincoln is forced to battle a dark cloud of depression brought on by a chain of defeats and failures culminating into a nervous breakdown that threatens his life and sanity. This cloud of dark depression Lincoln calls “The Hypo.” NOTE: Noah Van Sciver will be signing at SPX!
• Is That All There Is? by Joost Swarte[softcover & hardcover 2nd edition debut] Under Swarte’s own exacting supervision, Is That All There Is? will collect virtually all of his alternative comics work from 1972 to date, including the RAW magazine stories that brought him fame among American comics aficionados in the 1980s.
• Love and Rockets: New Stories #5 by Gilbert & Jaime HernandezIn Jaime's story “Crime Raiders International Mobsters and Executioners,” Tonta comes to visit for a weekend and sees what kind of life the Frog Princess is living with Reno and Borneo. On the other-brother side, Gilbert celebrates the 30th anniversary by bringing one of his current characters (“Killer,” granddaughter to the legendary Luba) into the Palomar milieu. NOTE: Gilbert & Jaime Hernandez will be signing at SPX!
• Prison Pit: Book 4 by Johnny Ryan(not officially out until November!) “Cannibal F***face discovers the only way to escape the Caligulon is to brainf*** the Slorge and create a giant, brainless oafchild that only knows how to annihilate everything in its path. And what happens when the Slugstaxx show up and use their nightj*** to turn this mindless monster against CF? Total F***ing Mayhem.”
• Ralph Azham Vol. 1: Why Would You Lie to Someone You Love? by Lewis Trondheim(not officially out until October!) Within his tiny village, Ralph Azham is considered an insolent good-for-nothing layabout, a virtual pariah — particularly since he was supposed to be a Chosen One. (Things didn’t work out.) Yet his odd azure coloration and a few unique abilities (he can predict births and deaths) suggest that there may be more to him than meets the eye.
• Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 4: House of the Seven Haunts by Floyd Gottfredson(not officially out until October!) Who says dead men tell no tales? When grim grinning ghosts come out to socialize, they’ll find fearless Mickey all ready to rumble — as soon as he’s done fighting gangsters, bandits, and international men of mystery, that is! From Africa to Eastern Europe, our favorite big cheese is in for terrifying thrills — and he’s bringing Goofy, Donald Duck, and that big palooka Pegleg Pete along for the ride!
• You'll Never Know Book 3: Soldier's Heart by C. Tyler(not officially out until October!) In one of the most eagerly-anticipated graphic novels of 2012, Soldier’s Heart concludes the story of Carol Tyler and her delving into her father’s war experiences in a way that is both surprising and devastating — and rather than trying to summarize this episode and thus possibly spoil it for readers, we prefer to simply offer a selection of comments on the first two installments of this autobiographical masterpiece.
Continuing right along with Wednesday digital comic releases Fantagraphics and comiXology are very proud and quite frankly, a little frightened, to give you Richard Sala's dangerous and deliciously frightening The Grave Robber's Daughter. Sold out in print, you can now enjoy this 97-page SCREAM of graphic novel for only 4.99 at comiXology.
The mystery starts out a little like this. Judy Drood, the highly strung and short-tempered girl sleuthomething can tell that something very wrong in the town of Obadiah's Glen. The streets are empty. The phones don't work. The cars are all gone ? and so are the people, at least most of them. The ones who are left are hiding and shivering in fear. They know it's only a matter of time before the clowns come and get them. Because the town of Obadiah's Glen now belongs to the clowns. And these clowns have a special secret, one that lies buried in the old cemetery on the hill...The Grave Robber's Daughter is a deliciously scary thrill ride from the author of the critically acclaimed horror graphic novel The Chuckling Whatsit ("A masterpiece!" ? Rue Morgue Magazine). The Grave Robber's Daughter is filled with Sala's unique blend of horror and whimsy that will please his many fans and new readers alike.
"To read a Sala comic is to walk into a baroque world of pen and ink, an experience both jarring and fun." – Publishers Weekly
"...Sala's brilliantly atmospheric art, full of shadows and spikes, is marvelously spooky." – Booklist
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.
220-page black & white 16.25" x 6.25" hardcover • $35.00 ISBN: 978-1-56097-886-2
"...I’d definitely splurge on Dal Tokyo, Gary Panter’s wonderful sci-fi/punk comic strip, now lovingly collected by Fantagraphics." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
"Is there a greater splurge purchase this week that Dal Tokyo, the collected version of Gary Panter’s off-kilter comic strip? I plugged this book last week, but it deserves another one. I’ve been waiting for this book for awhile." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
"Gary Panter‘s Dal Tokyo has been dangled at the end of Fantagraphics’ stick for some time now, and there are people who don’t believe it’s ever going to materialise.... Believe!... The sci-fi/punk mash-up masterpiece is in the building, collected in one volume for the first time." – Gosh! Comics
"People often ask me, 'Joe, why don’t you write substantively about the Fantagraphics and PictureBox releases you rudely shove into the bottom of your column?' My reply is never quite the same, since it’s damn rare to see a release like Dal Tokyo, a 220-page compilation of Gary Panter strips accumulating since 1983 in U.S. and Japanese forums, making this tour of Texas-Tokyo Martian terraforming a bona fide adventure into manga fusion, if drawn as only Panter can. I’d say more, but the cops totally snatched my copy – this thing’s been in the works since circa The Flames of Gyro, or so it feels; $35.00." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
"This is really the only book you need this week, the only book you need this week of the about five or six you need that are set to come out this calendar year. I've been wanting to read a collected version of Gary Panter's strip for a time longer than all about a dozen personal relationships I currently have. I almost gasped when I saw it for sale at San Diego. If your shop carries this please count yourself a lucky individual even if you need to go get it somewhere else." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
96-page full-color 10.75" x 14.25" hardcover • $29.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-553-2
"Fantagraphics have put together an oversized coffeetable book just for 'the porn classicist who knows his stag film history and lives by the credo, Veni ergo sum.' Is uh… Is that you? If so, this book is just for you. Fantagraphics said so. It’s a collection of remastered 70s porn posters, so if you like retro design or just saw that documentary Wadd once and want to see John Holmes in something other than a tragic pre-death interview: flick through this book. It’s a bit rude though, obviously." – Gosh! Comics
The cleanest picnic blanket of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:Heroes Online covers the twenty years of Peanuts covered so far in our Fantagraphics reprints. Andy Mansell states, "I strongly recommend the following volumes:1963-1964, 1965-1966. [and 1981-1982]. The highest point of the highest level of any cartoonist output in the last 60 odd years. Every strip is brimming with creativity, laughter, pathos and painful emotional truth."
• Review: On the High-Low, Rob Clough writes a tribute to Jaime Hernandez's collected editions; Maggie the Mechanic, The Girl from H.O.P.P.E.R.S., Perla La Loca. "Ultimately, there's an idealistic streak in Jaime's comics that burns through the hipster cynicism that permeates characters like Hopey and many of her friends. . . The best news about this volume is that it's only the beginning of Jaime's mature style, and he's only continued to get better."
• Review:Grovel gives the what's what on God and Science by Jaime Hernandez."While keeping the women attractive, Hernandez manages to keep them grounded too – these aren’t male fantasies but real, appropriately-proportioned women. . .and Hernandez’s superhero world is dripping with background and authenticity."
• Review:The Comic Attack sank its teeth into Prince Valiant Vol. 5 1945-1946 by Hal Foster. Drew said, "For the strip itself, Foster develops Prince Valiant into more of a mature man who we grow along with as he learns about love, women, and more than just going on adventures. . .Foster’s artwork is every definition of fantastic, still unmatched in its splendor."
• Plug:Spacehawk by Basil Wolverton mentioned on Comics Should Be Good by Comic Book Resources. Greg Burgas says, "Fantagraphics continues to do a nice job reprinting olde-tyme comix. . .very cool!" You can pre-order a copy today!
• Review: The Comic Forge covers a sold-out book Alphabetical Ballad of Carnality by David Sandlin that receives 10 shivers and shakes out of 10. Sharayah Read says, "I have never encountered a book this original, thought provoking and eye-opening. It presents a beautifully tormented tale in an entertaining and gritty fashion that will have any fan of obscure culture and works hanging onto every last syllable."
• Interview (audio):Mome veteran Gabrielle Bell talks to Wrestling Team podcast about life, comics and making it all work together.
Many of you were first exposed to Gary Panter through his early "Jimbo" comix in Slash and RAW magazines. Or maybe through his brilliant work as set designer for Pee Wee's Playhouse. Old school Seattle residents recall his ubiquitous posters for the Screamers, plastered all over town by the late punk performance artist Tomato du Plenty. An industrial-strength adhesive allowed this alluring image to remain visible for the better part of a decade, becoming one of the enduring motifs of the Northwest punk school. Panter's comix appeared prominently in the seminal Seattle music magazine The Rocket. (Coincidentally, he later married former Rocket art director Helene Silverman.) Come meet Gary at his Dal Tokyo art exhibition and book signing this Saturday, September 8 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery. We'll be taking attendance.
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