Cartoonist, journalist, designer 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.
The Cleanest Mug in the Kitchen of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:Booklist reviews the Mysterious Traveler: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 3, by Steve Ditko and edited by Blake Bell. Gordon Flagg notes these horror stories feature "Ditko’s distinctly off-kilter drawings and boldly potent composition" and the "meticulous restoration means that the stories look far better here than they did upon their original appearances."
• Review:Booklist enjoys Mort Meskin's Out of the Shadows, edited by Steven Brower. "Meskin’s powerful compositions add a fitting dynamism to superhero tales featuring the Black Terror and Fighting Yank. His bold use of shadows and other solid black areas impart a moody atmosphere to horror and crime stories, and even the romance and sci-fi pieces included here benefit from his economic illustration style and attractive page designs," writes Gordon Flagg.
• Review:Black Gate picks up Linda Medley's Castle Waiting: Volume 2 for a good read. John O'Neill stated, "it retold the fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty (sort of), as seen by an odd cast of mostly minor characters. It was well written and beautiful, feminine in perspective and mood, incredibly slow-paced, and wholly original. I loved it."
• Interview: Gary Panter spent a whole hour talking to Benjamen Walker on the Too Much Information show at WFMU about life, Dal Tokyo, the evolving medium of comics and more.
• Interview: New Statesman interviews Chris Ware on Building Stories, Jimmy Corrigan and the time inbetween books. "Kim Thompson at Fantagraphics was really willing to experiment [with format]; I remember how much he and I sweated the idea of putting out a comic book that was just 1/2" shorter than the standard format in 1993."
Just in time for the presidential debates and November election season, Fantagraphics and comiXology are proud to release the brand new Barack Hussein Obama for digial download. Steven Weissman's surreal view on the time and the powerful man in the world is too funny to be true. This book represents a whole, fully-realized parallel America, a dada-esque, 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. The book twists and turns with regular beats and mini-adventures including a feathered-Obama.
Didn't Mitt Romney mention shutting down or killing a 'Big Bird' of some kind? Don't let Malia or Sasha Obama hear that. In Weissman's universe, they are unstoppable, punny forces of nature running around in a Nancy-Drew fashion.
This week it is time for terror in an uncomfortable way what only Hans Rickheit can create. All 161 pages of Folly: Consequences of Indiscretion is now available via comiXology to haunt you. This volume is a steam punk descendent of the counterculture comics of the '60s, and is as wildly imaginative and richly artistic as it is subversively sexual and violent.
This digital edition includes an exclusive story, "Sigmund Freud," a tribute to Jack Kirby which does not appear in the print edition! Originally distributed into the world as Xeroxed pamphlets, these "underground comix" reflect the true nature of its nomenclature: Here are the archeological findings of the subterranean ruins of the psyche. Finally, these scattered elements have been compiled into a compact, lushly illustrated bedside reader. Give your cerebellum a tug and become a spelunker of the subconscious as we trespass among the scorched archaic wastelands of the offspring of apes and fools. Here we find the profane, beautiful progeny of prurient ideals. Immerse yourself in the nocturnal meanderings of unnamed protagonists. Ponder the uncomfortable sexuality of the twins, Cochlea & Eustachia. Recoil at the doings of a dwarfish malefactor in "Hail Jeffrey," or simply stare at the pretty pictures. Suffice to say that readers of The Squirrel Machine will not be disappointed especially for only $18.99.
When asked about his work, Rickheit instructs you not misuse this tome. Keep it as your own cherished object; a shameful, guarded secret. The filter for reality’s blinding glare. Detritus of the Under-Brain. The Unspeakable Thing You Always Knew.
"It's as if other masters of visual bodyhorror — Cronenberg, Burns, Dan Clowes, Tarsem Singh — are weird by choice. Rickheit, it seems, just can't help it. There's a conviction to his creepiness, a compulsive nature even in his early draftsmanship." -S.I. Rosenbaum, The Boston Phoenix
• Review:Dal Tokyo by Gary Panter is listed in The Times of UK as one of the essential books for Chris Ware. Ware says "Gary Panter is the William Blake of comics; a true poet who sees and feels what the rest of us can't, and he's done more to expand the power of drawing in the medium thatn probably anyone else alive." Original article here.
• Interview: Cartoonist and creator of Jimmy Corrigan, The Smartest Kid on Earth Chris Ware is interviewed by Phawker by Rita Book.
• Commentary: ArtVoice visits the Spain Rodriguez retrospective at the Burchfield Penney Center in Buffalo, NY. Jack Foran says,"Rodriguez was a kind of incorrigible rebellious type. . . when abstract expressionism with its two-dimensionality principle was dogma—he was into three-dimensionality, in spades—and his blue-collar employment in Buffalo area manufactories, where the curriculum was the much more interesting subject to him of simmering socioeconomic class warfare."
• Review: Rob Clough of High-Low reposted his Seqart post on Megan Kelso and The Squirrel Mother. Cough states, "What makes Kelso one of my favorite artists is her total devotion to the medium and a constant desire to improve. . . Kelso's art is all about the narrative. Every word and every line advances the story; there are no extraneous pyrotechnics. Indeed, Kelso's line is more elegant than spectacular."
• Review:Publishers Weekly enjoys Love and Rockets New Stories #5. "In the 30 years they’ve been writing and drawing Love and Rockets, Los Bros Hernandez have created wonderfully complex story lines and characters. . . This web of superior magical-realistic storytelling involves readers in the perplexed yearnings of a huge cast of unforgettable characters unaware of their own capacity for general self-delusion and occasional self-discovery."
• Commentary: Hannah Means-Shannon contines her SPX coverage with more on the Bros on The Beat. On the "Life After Alternative Comics" panel, Jaime Hernandez and Daniel Clowes spoke about the past and present of their comics-making environment. "Dan Clowes addressed the 'wasteland' of comics in the early 1980’s and the origin of his LLOYD LLEWELLYN series and the strange, often intriguing piles of fan mail he received from readers and prison inmates."
• Interview: Also on Phawker is an interview of Charles Burns, creator of Black Hole. He weaves stories by "paying close attention to the way my brain functions. I sit and write every day and it amazes me how often I repeat myself – come up with the same “brilliant” solution to a plot thread only to discover notes from years earlier where I’ve already clearly laid out the same ideas."
Cartoonist Jem Eaton is messing with our minds in a creepy way! With his Cartoon Jumbles, Eaton is mashing up all of the best comic characters for an upcoming APOPALYPTIC AMERICA show as we mentioned before but this time, its personal. Jim Woodring personal!
To quote Jem, "Woodring’s enigmatic Frank is reborn into the boneyard skin of EC Comics’ The Crypt Keeper, the transcendent meeting the corporal, the material decay of the parochial burial tradition finding itself at odds with the ephemeral grace of the Unifactor, where the notion of 'end' and 'beginning' walk arm-in-arm along fate’s mystical path, lost to each other’s definition, the terror of the Christian resting place illuminated in its absence, the Keeper’s haunted visage set upon his accompanying jiva, itself bound to the skeletal vocabulary of the golgotha, Frank’s animated stride now the dutiful march of the gravedigger’s parade, the earth’s bosom rupturing the toils of his collected trade, the minions of his progressive existence on display, momentary artifacts of entropy’s ever-racing beauty."
The APOPALYPTIC AMERICA exhibit in Seattle, Saturday the 13th, 6-9pm, at One Night Stand Gallery, 6004 12th Ave South, Suite 13A. You can head over there after stopping by the Fantagraphics Store for the THE HORROR: From the EC Comics Library. since it it located in the building RIGHT above the Fantagraphics Store! It's bound to be a frightful night in Georgetown and Seattle!
Buried in one of the longest threads on TCJ (this year), our commander-at-the-helm Gary Groth released the list of stories to be included in our fourth Carl Barks Library publication. Currently, it clocks in around 240 pages, full-color splendor and as always, a perfect gift book for Disney fans
The next Barks book will be titled “The Old Castle’s Secret” and will contain the following stories:
“The Old Castle’s Secret” (natch) “In Darkest Africa” “Wintertime Wager” “Watching the Watchman” “Wired” “Going Ape” “Spoil The Rod” “Bird Watching” “Horseshoe Luck” “Bean Taken” “Rocket Race to the Moon” “Donald of the Coast Guard” “Gladstone Returns” “Links Hijinks” “Sorry to be Safe” “Sheriff of Bullet Valley” “Best Laid Plans” “The Genuine Article” “Pearls of Wisdom” “Foxy Relations” “Wintertime Wager” first appearance of Gladstone Gander “Watching the Watchman” “Going Ape” “Spoil The Rod” helloooo Pulpheart Clabberhead “Donald of the Coast Guard” “Pearls of Wisdom” “Foxy Relations”
Johnny Ryan and Monster Worship are proud fathers of these new GLOW-IN-THE-DARK figurines based on Prison Pit characters. These sweet-but-mostly-sour vinyl figures are coming out this weekend at NYCC. Now you can scare yourself at night when you stumble to the bathroom as a luminescent Cannibal Fuckface or Rottweiler Herpes (above) greets you. Want to read the fan-fucking-tastic adventures of CFF and RH? Check out Prison Pit in print or as ebooks via comiXology.
The weekend's newest Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Plug: The best footnote IN THE WORLD? appeared on Grantland's excerpt of Marvel Comics: The Untold Story written by Sean Howe. It refers to Marvel's idea of hiring Gary Groth. . . Look for footnote 7.
•Review: Johnny Ryan'sPrison Pit: Book 4 is reviewed on Nick Gazin's Comic Book Love in #73 and Mr. Ryan himself is interviewed. . . via text. "There's no point in trying to explain Prison Pit. You can only experience it to understand it. Start buy buying all of them at once if you haven't yet. . . It wears its intentional stupidness and violence on its sleeve while also showing off Johnny Ryan's sophisticated sense of composition and black and white ink prettiness."
• Review: Comics Bulletin likes Rich Tommaso's The Cavalier Mr. Thompson. Nick Hanover says, "Tommaso's distinctly minimalist, animation-influenced style adds another seemingly disparate element that actually serves to enliven the material all the more, finding some sweet spot between the Coen Brothers and Popeye."
• Plug:Comics Alliance lists their favorite covers of the month and include Rich Tommaso's The Cavalier Mr. Thompson. Andrew Wheeler says,"I'm drawn to the graphic simplicity of this cover. It plays with scale, line and color in creative ways, and the composition pulls it all together."
• Review: Rick Klaw at RevolutionSF flips through Dungeon Quest 3 by Joe Daly ". . .rousing adventure and ass-kicking action — all staged in front of fantastic backdrops replete with strange vegetation, ancient ruins and steampunk imagery."
• Commentary:The Beat reports on an SPX panel with Daniel Clowes and his editors, Alvin Beaunaventura and Ken Parille, for The Daniel Clowes Reader. Hannah Means-Shannon states,"Clowes, who appeared energetic and amused by such a large crowd commented that working on the retrospective book with Buenaventura was a welcome thing because he’s 'lonely and working all the time'so it was 'fun to have someone to hang out with'. . . Little details provided by Buenaventura and Clowes about the research process set the scene for comedy, including Buenaventura rifling through Clowes’ closets constantly and 'measuring his art' while Clowes wondered what dirty laundry the writer might dig up that he had forgotten about."
• Review: Rob Clough of High-Low picks up The Squirrel Machine, which is being reprinted in soft cover next spring, by the creeptacular Hans Rickheit. "Rickheit's stories tend to take place in a more upscale, reserved and even Victorian setting, which befits his delicate, sensitive line. . . Rickheit strikes at the heart of what it means to be human: connecting with other emotionally and physically, seeking to express oneself through art, investigating the world around us--in other words, to be emotionally and intellectually curious."
• Review: Chad Parenteau reviews Hans Rickheit's newer Folly on We Got Issues. "Rickheit clearly wrestles with the meaning and purpose of his work with every page he creates, as other artists do. Hans might be consider rude for speaking so out loud about it if more people hung around long enough to listen. Me, I’m so ensconced in his Underbrain, I’m taking notes."
• Review:Comic Impact soaks up The Crackle of the Frost by Jorge Zentner and Lorenzo Mattotti. John Mueller states, "Frost is a sharply written book that takes the reader deeper into a character’s psyche more than any other comic in recent memory. Still, as well-written as the book is, what will undoubtedly get people to pick it up is the sensational art by the acclaimed Mattotti. . . the styles of the art can jump from impressionism to expressionism, symbolism to Hopper-esque realism often within the space of just two panels."
• Review:Bookgasm reviews The Crackle of the Frost by Jorge Zentner and Lorenzo Mattotti. JT Lindroos thinks,"THE CRACKLE OF THE FROST is realistic in a manner very few graphic novels are, pinpointing a phantasmagorical and poetic vision of human relationship in its naturally nonlinear movement. It’s also a perfect example of a work that might appeal to someone not customarily interested in comics"
• Interview:The Chicago Tribune talks to Chris Ware about life, comics and Peanuts. "When he was a child, Ware connected deeply with Charlie Brown, he said. He remembers connecting so deeply that he sent Charlie Brown a valentine." Fitting that Fantagraphics has published work by both.
• Commentary: Hannah Means on The Beat comments on the SPX Ignatz Awards. "The presence of the Hernandez brothers at SPX this year brought a great deal of energy, and often hilarity, and the Ignatz awards were no exception."
• Commentary: Hannah Means covered the Brooklyn Book Festival on The Beat including the 'Sex and Comics' panel that included Gilbert Hernandez. She describes, "Hernandez was asked whether he has used sex in his works as a plot device, but countered this possibility rather precisely by explaining the undesirable tendency of depictions of sex to slow down plot movements rather than usher them along."
• Interview (audio): Sean T. Collins interviewed Gilbert Hernandezrecently at SPX. Check out the full interview today.
• Interview: Vince Brusio caught up with Jaime Hernandez on the Northeast Coast Tour and interviewed him for PREVIEWSworld.
• Plug: On Forbidden Planet's Desert Island series, Gary Northfield said he could not live without Buddy Does Seattle by Peter Bagge and I Shall Destroy All Civilized Planets by Fletcher Hanks, edited by Paul Karasik. "This guy knew exactly what he was doing; his panels are graphically stunning, boldly drawn in full manipulation of the crude 4 colour printing processes being used to churn out the pulpy monthly comics. Monthly adventure comic books were in their infancy and finding their feet and Hanks was ploughing his own crazy, psychopathic path" meanwhile "Peter Bagge’s deranged, yet no doubt closely auto-biographical soap opera is an expert lesson in slice of life story-telling and comic book narrative."
Ready to horrify Tom Spurgeon and many other people, Josh Simmons's short film, The Leader, is out for a frightful October. We couldn't even make this post at night, we were worried about the repercussions of night-time viewing. Don't say we didn't warn you.
Lincoln’s forlorn early years as a struggling lawyer and neophyte politician are sympathetically depicted in this graphic novel. Arriving in Springfield in 1837, the 28-year-old Lincoln starts a law practice . . . and becomes engaged to Mary Todd against her wealthy family’s wishes. But following a series of setbacks—his legal practice collapses, his debts accumulate . . . the melancholia, insecurity, and loneliness that had long plagued Lincoln spiral into a life-threatening nervous breakdown. Lincoln’s struggles to overcome the crippling depression he calls “the hypo” and . . . his career back on track are no less heroic than the political courage he would display as president during the Civil War. Van Sciver’s heavily crosshatched drawing style, a bit reminiscent of early Crumb with a touch of Chester Brown, is well suited for the material, conveying a slight awkwardness that mirrors Lincoln’s personal discomfort and a rough-hewn, old-fashioned quality reflecting the story’s era. —Gordon Flagg
With his strong coloration and curvy figuration, Mattotti can galvanize less-than-extraordinary scripts. . . He works his magic again on fiction writer turned psychotherapist Zentner’s text, the case history of a psychological breakdown. When Alice tells him she wants to have a baby with him, Samuel starts hearing “the noise”—which Mattotti, without cue from Zentner, strikingly depicts as manta ray . . . and drives her away. A year passes; she sends a note; he leaves to find her. Injured in bizarre circumstances en route and vastly delayed by recuperation, he finally proceeds to find Alice. . . The legend-like tales Samuel tells amid his travails provide Oriental fodder for Mattotti’s imagination, but, visually alluding to Cezanne, Chagall, Munch, Picasso, Botero, and others, the artist already dazzles us by employing so much modern Western art to make Samuel’s story come alive. —Ray Olson