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Jen Vaughn's Blog
Description:
Cartoonist, journalist and lover of all comics! Here to encourage you to read Fantagraphics books and then pass them on to your friends AND family. Especially those Eros ones. Graduate of The Center for Cartoon Studies.

Nijigahara Holograph is coming
Written by Jen Vaughn | Filed under pressMatt ThornmangaInio AsanoComing Attractions 17 Jan 2013 2:21 PM

Nijigahara Holograph

Nijigahara Holograph

by Inio Asano; translated by Matt Thorn

February 2014

$26.99 Hardcover • 200 pages

Black-and-white • 7" x 9.25"

ISBN: 978-1-60699-583-9

Fantagraphics continues its line of acclaimed literary manga with new classic Nijigahara Holograph by Inio Asano. As society slowly spirals into darkness an unexplained explosion in the butterfly population is just the first of many curiosities in the town where rumors of a creature in a tunnel under the school spread like wildfire. A curse haunts the town as the story follows the scapegoat, Arié, who is plunged into the tunnel's horrors and offered up to the creature. Many other characters harbor secrets, grudges, suicidal thoughts, and the physical scars of battles lost. How are they all linked and can the citizens of the town live with what they've done as the years creep by? Asano's mysticism and slow terror take over the town in the span of a decade as told in two timelines.

Nijigahara Holograph

NijigaharaHolograph is scheduled for release in February 2014 and Asano joins Shimura Takako (Wandering Son) and Moto Hagio (The Heart of Thomas, A Drunken Dream and Other Stories) in the Fantagraphics line of premium manga by the world's greatest cartoonists. Translated by Matt Thorn, this 200 page book of beautiful black and white comics will be printed in gorgeous hardcover edition and presented in original "right to left" manga style for an authentic reading experience. Inio Asano's previous translated works include Solanin and What a Wonderful World and he continues to create new work in Japan as one of the young voices of his generation.

 

Fantagraphics Books logo

 

Digital Adventures of Venus for you and your kiddo
Written by Jen Vaughn | Filed under Gilbert HernandezDaily OCDcomiXology 16 Jan 2013 12:28 PM

The Adventures of Venus ipad

Fantagraphics and comiXology are ready to show you something fit for a kid or any fan of Gilbert Hernandez! The Adventures of Venus is super-affordable little book collects all the previously uncollected “Venus” stories from Measles in which Luba’s niece creates and collects comic books, walks through a scary forest, plays soccer, schemes to get the cute boy she likes, laments the snowlessness of a California Christmas, catches measles, and travels to a distant planet (OK, the last one may be a dream). Plus a new story done just for this book!

Pick up this lovely little read at comiXology today and continue to read the Palomar series about Venus, Luba and the rest of the family.

"I love that this graphic novel is full of characters from different cultures with different appearances. Venus and her sister live with their bodybuilder-like mom and no dad, Venus's rival, Gilda Gonzalez, is Hispanic and her crush, Yoshio, is Asian. It's refreshing to see all these different types of people together and getting along normally." – Sheena McNeil, Sequential Tart

Daily OCD 1/15/13
Written by Jen Vaughn | Filed under Wally WoodTom KaczynskiRichard SalaPaul NelsonNico VassilakisMoto HagioMichael KuppermanMalcolm McNeillLinda MedleyLast VispoKevin AveryJohnny RyanJaime HernandezHarvey KurtzmanGary PanterDisneyDaniel ClowesDaily OCDCrag HillCharles BurnsCarl BarksBasil Wolverton 15 Jan 2013 6:58 PM

The gnarliest gnome of Online Commentaries and Diversions:

Castle Waiting 1 Softcover

• Review: Zack Davisson of Comics Bulletin reads the weighty Castle Waiting Vol 1 (softcover) by Linda Medley. "It is whimsical, unexpected, packed with a deep knowledge of folklore and fairytales, irreverent, interesting and a whole lot of other adjectives that add up to something great… I would rank it up there with Bone in terms of just being a sheer delight to read…I'm a 40-year old guy, and I don't really see gender issues coming into play here --  Castle Waiting is just a great comic, with interesting characters and an addictive story for everyone who likes charm and wit and fantasy."

Delphine   The Hidden

• Review: Richard Sala's latest fairy tale of woe Delphine gets a starred review from Publishers Weekly. "…Sala’s era-conflating fairy tale is coated in the kind of atmosphere the artist is known for: a creepy, gnarled darkness that evokes German Expressionism, Universal horror films of the 1930s, and secrets hiding in dank old mansions and haunted forests."

• Review: The Hidden by Richard Sala is reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux on I Reads You. "This graphic novel is essentially a parable about ethical-free, morality-light, cutting-edge science. Why do anything? Why play God? The answer to both questions is 'because we can.' 'Damn the consequences' is The Hidden’s unspoken refrain."

You'll Never Know Book 3

• Plug: Chris Mautner of Robot 6 writes the list for the 6 Most Criminially Ignored Books of 2012. Carol Tyler's You'll Never Know Book 3: Soldier's Heart lands on the list. "While Tyler’s discursive, homey storytelling style might not appeal to everyone, she proves in these pages she is a cartoonist capable of producing sequences of exquisite beauty and deep emotional heft. It’s a book — and a series — that deserves more attention than it’s gotten so far."

• Plug: Paul Gravatt releases his Best of 2012 list and for Best Autobiography/Biography..."in the end what floored me, in its level of craft and care, complexity and clarity, was the third and final book of Carol Tyler’s You’ll Never Know."

Pogo Vol. 2 Corpse on the Imjin! Came the Dawn

• Review: The Complete Syndicated Pogo Vol. 2 "Bona Fide Balderdash" gets reviewed by the Chicago Tribune. Michael Robbins trills on about Walt Kelly, "As brilliant as Kelly's political satire is, it's only one reason 'Pogo' might be the greatest comic strip of all time (its only rivals are 'Krazy Kat' and 'Peanuts,' both of which Fantagraphics has also been reprinting in gorgeously designed editions)."

• Review: Bookgasm doubles their pleasure by reading TWO of our EC books. JT Lindroos starts with Corpse on the Imjin! by Harvey Kurtzman. "The ability of Kurtzman to have conflicting viewpoints to the myriad stories and situations within this volume is what makes it so rich." Lindroos continues onto Came the Dawn by Wallace Wood, "His line is much more precise and realistic than anything in the Kurtzman volume, but he has a flair for a dynamic layout and positioning of characters that pulls the art to the kind of pulpy mayhem for which EC is best known."

The Lost Art of Ah Pook Beta Testing the Apocalypse

• Plug: Chris Mautner of Robot 6 writes the list for the 6 Most Criminially Ignored Books of 2012. Malcom McNeill's The Lost Art of Ah Pook is on there. "Ten or 20 years ago the release of an long-lost and unfinished comic by [William Burroughs] would generate a lot more heat than the release of this work…did. Perhaps now that comics have garnered more respect from the outside world, this sort of thing impresses us a lot less…Still, there’s some amazing, hallucinatory imagery here (and in McNeill’s companion memoir, Observed While Falling), to marvel at and make you wish the project had reached some better form of completion."

• Interview: Tom Kaczynski of Beta Testing the Apocalypse is interviewed on Rumpus by Greg Hunter and answers deep questions like "throughout the book we see instances of an object or system standing in for an even larger system—worlds upon worlds of simulacra. Do you believe in any sort of binary between authentic and inauthentic modes of experience?"

Love and Rockets New Stories 5

• Interview (audio): Ross Reynolds of KUOW interviews Jaime Hernandez on the secret to 30 Years of Love and Rockets. Did you know BLUE FOOD was a title in the running for L&R? Jaime mentions the influence of the punk movement and DIY culture on their work.

Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge: Only a Poor Old Man  The Heart of Thomas  Spacehawk

• Review: Comic Book Daily reads the masterful Carl Barks stories in Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge: Only a Poor Old Man. Anthony Falcone states "I would like to see more companies take Fantagraphics’ approach to the reproduction and presentation of material.…These are true 'all-ages' stories that can be enjoyed by adults and with your children at story time."

• Plug: Kuriousity plugged Moto Hagio's The Heart of Thomas as it "is probably the best example of the earliest of boys’ love works. It helped define the genres of shoujo and boys’ love as we know them today, and I couldn’t wish for anything more substantial as a starting point," writes Lissa Pattillo.

• Plug: Spacehawk by Basil Wolverton gets the hi-how-are-ya? from the D&Q Bookstore. Jade says "This is one cool book folks, with intense colors, funny looking characters, and very weird plots…Even the end papers are extraordinary!

The Crackle of the Frost Stigmata Heads or Tails

• Plug: Holy hot suit, did you see Lorenzo Mattotti's NEW YORKER cover? Damn. If you like that, check out his most recent graphic novel The Crackle of the Frost (written by Jorge Zentner) or 2011's Stigmata (written by Claudio Piersanti).

• Plug: Maria Popova's Brain Pickings features animation and comics pages from Lilli Carré's Heads or Tails which is "a sublime collection of Carré’s short story comics from the past five years, was published last November and is an absolute treat."

Everything is an Afterthought Ghost World The Last Vispo

• Plug: All About Jazz looks at Kevin Avery's Everything is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson. "Avery's account of Nelson's life reveals an almost claustrophobic existence of the writer in general…Paul Nelson may have only been equaled by Greil Marcus for sheer love of music and music writing. He went entirely too gently into that good night, leaving the majority of us in the shadows…" writes C. Michael Bailey.

• Plug: Harriet Staff of the Poetry Foundation reads The Last Vispo edited by Nico Vassilakis and Craig Hill. "… the anthology highlights the way the digital and computerized tools of visual poetry are transforming not only visual poetry, but how we experience all poetry," notes Staff and Alison Watkins.

• Plug: TV superstar Lena Dunham's ideal bookshelf on Vulture includes Daniel Clowes' Ghost World

• Plug: Buzzfeed cracks open Sean T Collins' David Bowie sketchbook and out jumps some of your favorite artists: Tom Kaczynski, Michael Kupperman, Jaime Hernandez, Gilbert Hernandez, Gary Panter, Charles Burns and Johnny Ryan. GO LOOK! 

CBLDF 2013 features Jaime Jaime Jaime
Written by Jen Vaughn | Filed under Jaime Hernandezart 11 Jan 2013 2:15 PM

Jaime Hernandez CBLDF Card

Here's a preview of the sassy Libby aka Lady Liberty as drawn by THE Jaime Hernandez for the 2013 Comic Book Legal Defense Fund's card. And they must have answered my prayers because I've been wanting a new baseball tee for a long time. I'll let Deputy Director Alex Cox tell you more below:

Legendary cartoonist Jaime Hernandez rings in 2013 for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund by providing the art for this year's membership program!  CBLDF protects the freedom to read comics by providing legal aid, resources, and education in the service of protecting the comics medium's First Amendment rights.  Members provide the monetary foundation CBLDF needs to protect perform that important work, and this year every member is being rewarded with a membership card designed by Hernandez.  Members who can afford to join at higher levels will also be able to receive exclusive items featuring Hernandez's striking art, including a member exclusive t-shirt, a limited letterpress print, and more!
Baseball ringer

Jaime Hernandez is best known as the co-creator (with brothers Gilbert and Mario) of the of the epoch defining masterpiece Love & Rockets. His characters Maggie and Hopey among the most iconic characters in the history of independent comics.  This year marks the 30th Anniversary of LOVE AND ROCKETS' debut, and the CBLDF is proud to have Mr. Hernandez's insightful take on Lady Liberty as the mascot for our 2013 membership program. When discussing helping the CBLDF, by creating this extraordinary piece of art, Mr. Hernandez stated simply, "It's pretty much a no brainer. We need the CBLDF."

This year we're asking everyone who supports the freedom to read comics to become an intellectual freedom fighter and join the CBLDF!  As a member, you will be an active part of the field's most proactive advocacy group, and ensure that our important work protecting the right to read, create, own, and sell comics can continue to grow.  Your support will help advance our important legal and education work from courtrooms to classrooms and beyond. Your membership contribution makes you an essential part of the team that helps protect and advance the rights of this incredible art form.

CBLDF hoodie
All members will receive the 2013 membership card by Hernandez.  When you join at the $100 Advocate Level, you will receive an exclusive long sleeve t-shirt, available only to members, as well as button pack and sticker set! This shirt features the gorgeous Jaime Hernadez line art, and will only be available to members who join the CBLDF in 2013! Other levels offer other incentives, including a limited edition signed and numbered letterpress art print, and CBLDF branded items including sports bottles, hooded sweatshirts, and embroidered polo shirts. All of these premiums thank our members for their generosity, and let them show that they're a proud member of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund team, who are always ready to stand up for the freedom to read comics!


To view all of the membership levels and learn more about CBLDF's important work, please visit:
http://cbldf.myshopify.com/collections/memberships

 So get involved and get some hot Jaime merchandise! We'll keep our eyes peeled for a Jaime-CBLDF inspired tattoo.

CBLDF Jaime Hernandez







Daily OCD 1/9/13
Written by Jen Vaughn | Filed under Wilfred SantiagoTom KaczynskiSteven WeissmanNoah Van SciverLove and RocketsJohnny RyanJames RombergerJaime HernandezGreg SadowskiGilbert HernandezFour Color FearErnie BushmillerDavid WojnarowiczDaily OCD21 9 Jan 2013 6:17 PM

7 Miles a Second

• Review: Publishers Weekly gives a starred review to 7 Miles a Second by David Wojnarowicz, James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook. "The author’s prose is poetic, arriving with a light touch while delivering a heavy, dark, and understandably angry message. Part of what makes the book unusual is that it does not go out of its way to be uplifting… Romberger and Van Cook’s art is hyperactive, with splattery color that suggests the out-of-body acid-trip world of contradictory values and constantly shifting danger that Wojnarowicz lived in."

• Preview: Publishers Weekly also posted a preview of the comic 7 Miles a Second by David Wojnarowicz, James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook, compiled by Ada Price for your prereading pleasure.

Beta Testing the Apocalypse

• Review: Beta Testing the Apocalypse by Tom Kaczynski gets reviewed on Publishers Weekly. "Kaczynski’s range is wide, and in these chronologically arranged stories, we can trace an artistic development that begins as self-satisfied…and becomes more searching and curious…although his worldview won’t connect with everyone, there is plenty of smart humor and honest perspective.

 Barack Hussein Obama

• Interview: The Writing Disorder interviews Steven Weissman on his Barack Hussein Obama graphic novel, process and original art he owns. Weissman says, "I never had a scientist’s desire for the truth. I’ve always been comfortable not knowing things."

Love and Rockets: New Stories 5

• Interview: Shelf Life of EW.com interviews Jaime Hernandez on the 30th Anniversary of Love and Rockets . Solvej Schou asks, "So how do you and your brothers get along, being involved in the same project?" Jaime admits, "Our secret is why we can still do it is we don't collaborate." Read more!

• Plug: Bob Temuka at Tearoom of Despair lists Love and Rockets: New Stories #5 by Gilbert Hernandez and Jaime Hernandez as part of his Top 13 of '12.

The Hypo

• Plug: Noah Van Sciver's The Hypo receives an excellent rating on the Lone Star Book Review. "… an interesting look at young Abe Lincoln and his melancholic. This is a side of Lincoln that is often overlooked…"

Nancy Likes Christmas   Prison Pit Book 4

• Plug: Josh Bayer draws his Best of 2012 Books for Atomic Books Blog and includes Nancy Likes Christmas by Ernie Bushmiller and Prison Pit Book 4 by Johnny Ryan. 

21: The Story of Roberto Clemente Four Color Fear

• Plug: Comics go to school at the Chicago Tribune. Diane Prado compiles a list of all subjects and 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente by Wilfred Santiago fills in the sports slot.

• Review: Four Color Fear edited by Greg Sadowski continues to generate reviews after two sold out printings. Kitty Sneezes' Rev. Syung Myung Me writes "Greg Sadowski put together a wonderful collection complete with in-depth notes in the back of some of the best from comics that tend to be thought of dismissively as also-rans…if you’re a type who has the complete EC horror libraries along with a subscription to Creepy, this will slot in real well in your collection.  And, well, even if you’re not that type, it’s still a great collection of some unjustly overlooked comics from the 1950s."

Eleanor Davis wins Gold Medal
Written by Jen Vaughn | Filed under Eleanor Davisawards 9 Jan 2013 1:11 PM

SOI Gold Medal

No, no, not the Olympics but something just as awesome. Mome Vet Eleanor Davis recently recieved a GOLD Medal from the Society of Illustrators. The Society of Illustrators site gives more informatoin on the art show and medals. "The first of the two-part annual exhibition Illustrators 55 will be held at the Museum of American Illustration at the Society of Illustrators January 4 to January 26, 2013. The exhibit features works by leading contemporary illustrators worldwide, juried by a prestigious jury of professionals.  Sequential/Series work includes multi-image projects for which a sequence of images is necessary to fully convey an idea or story. Examples include work produced for comic books, art journalism or graphic novels. This year's Gold Medal winners include Eleanor Davis for her work titled In Our Eden."

In Our Eden

Heidi MacDonald at The Beat states," And in case you haven’t noticed she’s been on a real tear lately." Here, here!

Weathercraft transports you and your tablet to the Unifactor
Written by Jen Vaughn | Filed under Jim Woodringdigital comicscomiXology 9 Jan 2013 12:01 PM

Weathercraft on iPad

FINALLY! Jim Woodring and his throbbing universe lead character Frank into the digital realm at comiXology. Weathercraft is Woodring's first full-length graphic novel set in the world of his most beloved character, Frank -- indeed, Woodring's first graphic novel, period! -- and it features the same hypnotically-gorgeous linework and mystical iconography. As it happens, Frank has only a brief supporting appearance in Weathercraft, which actually stars Manhog, Woodring's pathetic, brutish everyman (or everyhog). What happens when we are stretched to our limit? Will we come out the other end a changed person (or hog)?

A 2010 Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Weathercraft is not to be missed. Head over to comiXology now and get yourself a one-way ticket. 

"It’s always darkest before the dawn, and the psychedelic body-horror of Jim Woodring has never been darker than it gets here. His hapless, villainous Manhog is made to suffer like you’ve seen few comics characters suffer before in any style or genre…only to emerge enlightened and overjoyed on the other side in a final act that feels like that first breath of fresh cool air after you’ve hidden your head under the covers in terror for minutes on end." – Sean T. Collins, Comic Book Resources

"Merely calling Jim Woodring’s comics surreal is selling them short. …Woodring’s vivid draftsmanship and narrative linearity operate just as easily as parable, gospel, and even slapstick. …Weathercraft… pushes his iconography and storytelling into new areas of grotesquerie and revelation, all without his characters uttering a word." – Jason Heller, The A.V. Club

 

Daily OCD 1/7/13
Written by Jen Vaughn | Filed under Shimura TakakoRon Regé JrRichard SalaPat ThomasMoto HagioLove and RocketsLilli CarréJosh SimmonsJoost SwarteJohnny RyanJoe KubertJoe DalyJim WoodringJasonJames RombergerJaime HernandezJacques TardiInio AsanoHal FosterGilbert HernandezGary PanterDavid WojnarowiczDaily OCDCrockett JohnsonChris WrightBasil Wolverton 7 Jan 2013 3:54 PM

The sweetest tea of Online Commentaries & Diversions: 

The Heart of Thomas

• Review: The Atlantic writes on The Heart of Thomas by Moto Hagio. Noah Berlatsky looks at it from every angle, "The boys' love genre, then, freed Hagio and her audience to cross and recross boundaries of identity, sexuality, and gender…Bodies and character flicker in and out, a sequence of surfaces, tied together less by narrative than by the heightened emotions of melodrama—jealousy, anger, trauma, desire, friendship, and love in the heart of Thomas."

• Plug: David Brothers and Comics Alliance posts a preview of The Heart of Thomas plus a few thoughts on Moto Hagio that works outside of his comfort zone. "What there is, though, is drama. No -- it has melodrama…the sheer level of theatrical drama in this book is enough to keep a skeptic hooked…Heart of Thomas is a trip, and a good one. I wasn't expecting to enjoy it as much as I did, and it was nice to enjoy something outside of my usual comfort zones."

• Plug: Johanna Carlson of Comics Worth Reading is ready for the world to read The Heart of Thomas by Moto Hagio. "This solid hardcover contains the entire classic shojo series, and it’s a must-read for anyone interested in the development of the genre. It’s also surprisingly gripping in its own right…"

• Plug: Brigid Alverson starts the year off right with The Heart of Thomas by Moto Hagio on MTV Geek.

Problematic 7 Miles a Second

• Review: Chris Mautner interviews Jim Woodring's Problematic on Robot 6. "Problematic is both a stroll through Woodring’s unique imagination and an opportunity to see his working process" and Woodring thinks "having a pocket sketchbook on me at all times means fleeting impressions and ideas that might otherwise be lost are capturedEverything I draw is reality-based."

• Plug: BoingBoing is ready for Jim Woodring's Problematic to come out. "There are many reasons to be grateful to be alive, and owning this brand new facsimile edition of artist Jim Woodring's Moleskine sketchbooks is as good as any," says Mark Frauenfelder.

• Interview/Review: Publishers Weekly looks at 7 Miles a Second, and Grace Bello interviews artists James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook on writer David Wojnarowicz, the gay activist who wrote the comic before dying of AIDS-related complications. Romberger is quoted, "It really is so much about what David was about, channeling his anger into a statement…" "The gay experience is not only 'less invisible'—it’s on prime time TV. But the feral energy and raw hunger in 7 Miles a Second still resonate" states Bello.

Weird Horrors and Other Stories

• Review: Jason Sacks of Comics Bulletin presents 20 Facts and Opinions on Joe Kubert's Weird Horrors & Daring Adventures, edited by Bill Schelly. "Schelly and the always sterling Fantagraphics production team do a nice job of preserving the look and feel of these comics…the master cartoonist was equally at home doing broad humor as intense action/adventure as well as lighter, Archie-style teen humor."

Prison Pit 4

• Review: Comics Alliance and Caleb Goellner continues their Best of 2012 series with Prison Pit Book 4 by Johnny Ryan. "It was like looking at a baby book of bad ideas from boyhood as an adult who'd learned to function in polite society…it's bliss to kick back and watch humankind's most immature impulses play out in the safety of Ryan's Prison Pit."

• Review: The Weekly Crisis lists its Top 10 books of 2012 and Johnny Ryan's Prison Pit Book 4 lands at #2. Taylor Pithers states "he is interested in is fighting and hyper violence, which to be fair, would be more acceptable to the masses if it was drawn by Ivan Reis or another one of Geoff Johns' collaborators…Honestly, there isn't a comic that has given me more belly laughs in my entire life."

• Review: Comiks Debris posts its Best of 2012 books and Johnny Ryan's Prison Pit Book 4 comes in as #8. Marc-Oliver Frisch writes "structurally, Prison Pit reminds me a lot of Jarmusch's The Limits of Control… The artwork looks ugly, crude and perfunctory. The characters eat, shit, fuck and, most of all, fight their way through the book…It's one mean, sick motherfucker of a comic, and I can't wait what happens next."

• Plug: Tucker Stone on The Comics Journal rates his top comics of 2012. Prison Pit Book 4 by Johnny Ryan comes in at 18. "…it’s hard to explain how intense the surprise was for a follower of Angry Youth and Ryan’s humiliation comics to open that first Prison Pit…"

Delphine Spacehawk

• Review: Delphine by Richard Sala gets reviewed on Comic Book Resources. Kelly Thompson claims, "One part comic book and one part fever dream…Rare is the opportunity that I'm so engaged I consider yelling at an inanimate object such as a book…Delphine is also a nice contrast to the unrelentingly bright and happy fairy tales that are so often seen when it comes to modern reinterpretations of those early dark tales."

• Review: The New York Journal of Books thumbs through Spacehawk by Basil Wolverton. "Basil Wolverton rises to the occasion and gives the reader a detailed and hilarious look at megalomania while throwing in some fantastic aerial fight scenes…Fantagraphics Publishing brings Wolverton’s art to the reader in as detailed and perfect a form as possible. Each wave of space, every geometric shape and all the incredibly ugly aliens look better than they ever have in their entire lives," writes Mark Squirek.

• Review: Crave Online looks at Spacehawk by Basil Wolverton. "This is the medium when there were no rules, no event series and no giant corporations standing watch over what the creators were doing. If you love the Golden Age, science fiction and adventure, nothing compares to the world Basil Wolverton put together for Spacehawk," writes Iann Robinson.

The Furry Trap  Heads or Tails   

• Review: The Weekly Crisis lists its Top 10 books of 2012 and Josh Simmon's The Furry Trap ranks as #1. Taylor Pithers writes, "The Furry Trap is pure exploitation; violent, disgusting, and bound to make you feel uncomfortable but it also does what the best fiction is meant to, it stays with you long after you have put the book down…Simmons is a cartoonist of the highest caliber. This is not a book for the faint hearted, but if you can stomach it will be a true experience."

• Review: NPR and Glen Weldon write on Books of 2012 they haven't told you about. Heads or Tails by Lilli Carré "The whole collection has the feel of a dream in which remembering how to fly is as simple as forgetting that you can't."

 • Review: Noel Murray and The A.V. Club write about the Top 10 Fiction books of 2012. Heads or Tails comes in at #7. "Lilli Carré’s stories are like dreamy what-ifs that take the familiar and tweak it."

• Plug: Whitney Matheson of USA Today's Popcandy mentions her favorite things including Heads or Tails by Lilli Carré: "…a lovely volume from one of my favorite cartoonists that includes several beautifully strange short stories. I'm a longtime fan and even have a framed Carre print hanging in the baby's room."

• Plug: Chris Mautner of Comic Book Resources lists his Best reprint/reissue series of 2012 with many Fantagraphics titles: Spacehawk by Basil Wolverton as #1. "I had more fun reading this than just about anything else this year." #2 was Dal Tokyo by Gary Panter, # 3 was Is That All There Is? by Joost Swarte. #5 was Heads or Tails by Lilli Carré. The Furry Trap by Josh Simmons made the list at #10.

The Cartoon Utopia Blacklung Athos in America

• Interview: The Comics Journal interviews Ron Regé, Jr. on The Cartoon Utopia, evolving comics and more. Regé on his book, "People should use bibilomancy—randomly opening to a page—to access the information if they’d like. Nothing in the book tells you to treat it that way, but I think people will get the idea anyway."

• Interview (audio): Erik Davis and Expanding Mind interview Ron Regé, Jr. on the radio about The Cartoon Utopia! Adventure indeed. 

• Review: Comics Bulletin and Jason Sacks investigate Blacklung. "Chris Wright seems to channel Melville or Conrad in this book as he explores the uniquely idiosyncratic world that he creates…nobody has ever created characters that look like the characters in this book, with their strange faces and lumpy, malformed bodies…This slim graphic novel is a dense read unlike anything else you've read in comics."

• Review: Noel Murray and The A.V. Club write about the Top 10 Fiction books of 2012. Athos in America is #5. "Jason’s blank-faced animal-headed characters reveal unexpectedly deep passion via deadpan tales of dislocation."

Love and Rockets: New Stories #5

• Review: Sonia Harris of Comics Book Resources places Love and Rockets: New Stories #5 by Jaime Hernandez and Gilbert Hernandez as #5 of her Top 16 Books of 2012. Harris says, "Watching these people’s lives change on the page, along with the gradual evolution of the Hernandez brother’s art and writing is the closest thing to real life created in a comic book. Nothing on the screen could ever compare to the life and complexity these two men breathe into their characters year after year with such consistent quality and affection."
 
• Plug: Tucker Stone on The Comics Journal rates his top comics of 2012. Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez have cause to celebrate as Love and Rockets:New Stories #5 makes it at #13. "It was great, and of course it was, because it’s them, and it was great for all the same reasons you’d expect it to be…
 
Wandering Son Volume 1 Wandering Son Volume 2 Wandering Son Volume 3

• Review: NPR and Glen Weldon write on Books of 2012 they haven't told you about like Wandering Son by Takako Shimura. "Wandering Son is not the kind of manga in which a happy ending is guaranteed… You'll thus be grateful for the moments of realistic, untempered joy Shimura allows her two protagonists here, as you wait with nervous anticipations for the travails that lie ahead for them…"

• Review: Manga Bookshelf recounts its Favorite Manga Series of 2012 including Wandering Son by Takako Shimura. "This series about two transgender children in modern-day Japan has been a favorite since it debuted last year thanks to its delicate, truthful storytelling and understated artwork…Its most recent volume (three) goes a bit darker and deeper, only heightening my interest in the series" says Melinda Beasi.

Corpse on the Imjin! Nancy Likes Christmas

• Review: Noel Murray and The A.V. Club write about the Top 5 Archival books of 2012. Harvey Kurtzman's Corpse on the Imjin! landed at #1. "Kurtzman book is especially stunning, almost like a coffee-table art-book combined with a literary collection…an anthology with a strong individual perspective that tries to tell the truth about what war is like from the point of view of the people on both sides of the battlefield."

• Review: Noel Murray and The A.V. Club write about the Top 5 Archival books of 2012. Ernie Bushmiller's Nancy Is Happy: Complete Dailies 1946-48: "bristle-headed Nancy and poor slob Sluggo inadvertently irritate the grown-ups in their lives, in scenarios that Bushmiller illustrated with absurd visual gags—so basic that anyone, anywhere, at any time, could get the joke."

The Clouds Above Prince Valiant Vol. 1

• Review: Nick Gazin of VICE has a pretty fuckin' fancy (his words) edition of The Clouds Above by Jordan Crane. "Jordan Crane is a cartoonist with supreme abilities. He's great at making lines, hand text, and backgrounds and stuff…This is beautifully colored also. Did I mention Jordan Crane's great color sense? His colors are good."

• Review: Steve Donaghue enjoys Prince Valiant Vol. 1 by Hal Foster on Open Letters Monthly. "The ambition becomes most emphatic the more you scrutinize the work. Foster often said he put in between 50 and 60 hours a week on creating the strip, and it shows in these magnificent reproductions, done in a sturdy hardcover with oversized pages and entirely restored colors and shadings."

Listen, Whitey!

• Plug: Record Collector magazine (UK) picks Listen, Whitey! by Pat Thomas as one of the top 12 books of 2012. "A socio-polictal account of American racial struggles...an extraordinary study of the way the message of [the Black Panther] movement was recounted and defined on vinyl. "In-depth" doesn't begin to describe it."

Dungeon Quest Book Three Castle Waiting softcover

• Plug: Tucker Stone on The Comics Journal rates his top comics of 2012. Dungeon Quest 3 by Joe Daly makes the mark at 17. "in times like these, with sandwiches like mine, you have to root for the one who brung you, and that’s dick jokes. Dungeon Quest had so many of them, and they were all wonderful."

• Plug: Johanna Carlson of Comics Worth Reading notes the softcover edition of Castle Waiting Vol. 1 by Linda Medley. "The original hardcover was one of my best of 2006; it’s a gorgeous twist on fairy tales, concentrating on daily life instead of big events, which makes it charming."

• Commentary: Tom Spurgeon lists his top 50 positives about comics right now mentioning Fantagraphics several times. Lilli Carré's Heads or Tails was a hit, the flowering of Gary Groth, Kim Thompson's polyglotism, Mike Catron and Preston White Return to Fangraphics, Generation 3 (Jacq and me, Jen, pictured!), and of course, Love and Rockets 30th Anniversary.

• Plug: Everyone is excited about Nijigahara Holograph by Inio Asano. All Fiction, Anime News Network, and more. 

• Plug: Bleeding Cool reports on Jacques Tardi turning down an award from the French government, The Legion D'Honneur. Punk as shit.

Barnaby

• Plug: Barnaby love over at Forbidden Planet International.

SNL takes on Charlie Brown
Written by Jen Vaughn | Filed under videoPeanutsmiscellanyCharles M Schulz 3 Jan 2013 1:18 PM

We missed this in the holiday rush of making sure you got those beautiful Peanuts books but Saturday Night Live created a laugh-and-fart-out-loud parody of the beloved characters created by Charles M. Schulz. Hats off to Bill Hader's Al Pacino as Charlie Brown and Martin Short's Larry David as Linus.

Also, a friend sent us this odd text-based adventure of a future society that learned how to be through a Peanuts filter. Walk around the world in your mind (live an hut made of baseball gloves)! Read a little bit of Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the gang before immersing yourself.

Night Fisher casts out digital bait on comiXology
Written by Jen Vaughn | Filed under R Kikuo Johnsondigital comicscomiXology 2 Jan 2013 11:43 AM

Night Fisher

Fantagraphics and comiXology release R. Kikuo Johnson's debut graphic novel, Night Fisher , which tells the intimate tale of young teens verging into the alien territory of adulthood.

 The setting? First-rate prep school, S.U.V., and a dream house in the heights: This was the island paradise handed to Loren Foster when he moved to Hawaii with his father six years ago. Now, with the end of high school just around the corner, his best friend, Shane, has grown distant. The rumors say it's hard drugs, and Loren suspects that Shane has left him behind for a new group of friends. What sets Johnson's drama apart is the naturalistic ease with which he explores the relationships of his characters. It is at once an unsentimental portrait of that most awkward period between adolescence and young adulthood and that rarest of things: a mature depiction of immature lives.

Visually, Johnson captures the languid tropical climate and strip mall tackiness of Hawaii in a rich chiaroscuro style reminiscent of Milton Caniff combined with the sensual ink work of Paul Pope or Jessica Abel.
You can purchase this 145 page beauty over at comiXology today.

"Johnson's debut is not only remarkably assured but astonishingly fresh, one that refuses to trade in the usual hoary high-school cliches... Panels are shuffled together with a cinematic flair that highlights the florid emotions of adolescence far better than any battery of melodrama could. A dark, grand, sweeping dream of a book." – Kirkus Review

"The gritty coming-of-age story also delivers strong plot and dialog like a fistful of poi." – Book Collector



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