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 cuddliest cat at the shelter of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:Body Literature reviews The Last VispoAnthology: Visual Poetry 1998-2008 edited by Nico Vassilakis & Crag Hill. Stephan Delbos writes "The Last Vispo Anthology is strange. It is also challenging, eclectic, confounding, erudite, punchy, and, by turns, beautiful. . .overall there is an elegiac note to this anthology, which extends from the title to the feeling, put forth by several of the essays, that visual poetry is facing a turning point.. .visual poetry is the bastard hermaphrodite of arts and letters. In a good way."
• Review:David Fournol looks at The Cavalier Mr. Thompson by Rich Tommaso, a rough translation states, "Exemplified by its beautiful design and the use of only two colors gives the book a slightly dated, authentic look. . . Describing and illustrating people's lives is a major talent of Rich Tommaso's. It is a process that has already been perfected in another of his works. . ."
• Review:Los Angeles I'm Yours gets Barack Hussein Obama by Steven Weissman in a big way. Kyle Fitzpatrick says, "The novel follows a gangly Barack Hussein Obama who is a constant prankster and has absolutely no manners. . . It’s a dark world and Obama is the smarmy asshole king. . . It’s a great pre-election graphic novel with some great, dark laughs."
• Review:Comic Book Resources and Tim Callahan looks at two books from the 'W' section of his library.Barack Hussein Obama by Steven Weissman "seems part of a larger movement (from IDW's Artist's Editions to years of Kramers Ergot) to signify the artwork as the end result rather than as a means of producing an end result. . . And Weissman's work demands ingestion and interpretation rather than declaration. Oh, it's good, too, if that has any meaning after all that abstraction." On Wallace Wood's Came the Dawn from the EC Library, Callahan posits, "This is a serious-looking, important comic, for serious-minded, important people. This isn't some lascivious spectacle. Heck, there's only one female on the cover, and she's facing away from us. No one is carrying around any chopped-off heads or limbs. There's no blood anywhere. No shrieking to be seen."
• Plug: Chris Mautner of Robot 6 looks through our next season catalog. The Endby Anders Nilson, I tend to consider this book. . . to be his best work to date, an absolutely shattering and deeply moving account of dealing with loss and grief." On The Cabbie Vol. 2by Marti, Mautner mentions, "Oh man, I seriously love me some Cabbie. I don’t think the first volume exactly sold like hotcakes, but I’m glad to see their continuing on with Marti’s ultra-dark Chester Gould homage." In reference toStorm P.: A Century of Laughter: "Kim Thompson is going to school us all in the world of Eurocomics or die trying. I, for one, am always eager to learn, however. This coffee-table book features the work of Danish gag cartoonist Robert Storm Petersen, whose work is reminiscent of O. Soglow and other New York cartoonists from the same era."
• Plug:Boing Boing covers a few of their favorite books. Mark Frauenfelder enjoyed flipping through Weird Horrors and Daring Adventuresby Joe Kubert, edited by Bill Schelly. "Best known for Sgt. Rock,Tarzan, and Hawkman in the 1960s and 70s, this anthology of Kubert's 1940s work reveals his versatility in a variety of genres, including horror, humor, and romance." In regards to the Is That All There Is? by Joose Swarte Frauenfelder admits, "I prefer his work over Hergé's (don't shoot me). This anthology of Swarte's alternative comics from 1972 showcases his famous clean-line style that makes reading his work a pleasure."
• Review: Jason Sacks of Comics Bulletin interviews Justin Hall, editor of No Straight Lines, on queer comics, teaching comics and preserving history. Hall says, "I think in general the queer comics underground is – if you could categorize it with anything, there is a directness and honesty to the work – a real rawness that's quite impressive. I think that comes out of the feminist underground comics: Wimmen’s Comix, Tits and Clits, etc."
• Review:Gay Comics List talks about No Straight Lines, edited by Justin Hall. Francois Peneaud says, "Hall wisely chose to follow a (more or less) chronological path instead of anything fancier, but that doesn’t mean he has nothing interesting to say, far from it. The tension between specialized comics (by which I mean comics made by and for a specific group of people) and mainstream audience, the evolution from the urgent need for visibility to the creation of complexified issues and characters, all these and more are covered in a few pages."
• Review: Editor Kim Thompson speaks to World Literature Today about translating Nicholas Mahler's Angelman and other books in the Fantagraphics library. "Humor is far more difficult to translate than anything else. If you translate a dramatic sequence and your words or rhythm aren’t quite right, it still can work."
• Review:Page 45 enjoys Special Exits by Joyce Farmer. "No punches are pulled, this is life, specifically the twilight years and subsequent demise of elderly parents, told with such honesty, candour and compassion that I actually find myself welling up again as I'm typing this. . . SPECIAL EXITS becomes a testament to the human spirit and the value of a positive outlook on life, especially in one's latter years when faced with failing health," says Jonathan.
• Review:The Comics Reporter enjoys Buz Sawyer Vol. 2: Sultry's Tigerby Roy Crane. Tom Spurgeon says, "To get the obvious out of the way, this book has some almost impossibly beautiful cartooning in it. Even for someone like me that finds the basic visual approach of Buz Sawyer less thrilling than the more rugged, crude cartooning of Crane's Wash Tubbs work, there are several panels of stop and whistle variety."
Last night in Los Angeles at the Public Image Ltd show, Pat Thomas ran into John Lydon backstage (aka Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols). The two have worked together on some album reissues and Lydon was excited to get a copy of Thomas' book, Listen, Whitey! The Sounds of Black Power. In fact he said, "it's like Christmas." Thomas' book moved Lydon to start "digging out my Last Poets and Gil Scott-Heron records again." A good read guaranteed.
We're reminding you to check out The Art Institute of Chicago's exhibition entitled Rarely Seen: Contemporary Works on Paper, that is up from now until January 13, 2012. Organized by the Prints and Drawings Department of the museum, the show also includes comics from the Ryerson Library collection including Blexbolex, Mat Brinkman, Charles Burns, R. Crumb (Zap and Weirdo), Hairy Who, Humbug magazine, Al Jaffee, Rory Hayes, Jay Lynch, David Sandlin, Art Spiegelman, S Clay Wilson (Zap), and issues from Raw magazine.
The non-comics but still amazing part of the show includes artists such as Ed Ruscha, Martin Kippenberger, Carrol Dunham, Jim Nutt, and Romare Bearden and the whole show is located in Galleries 124–127.
"Whether centuries old or the latest contemporary creations, works on paper are extremely light sensitive and can only be displayed in the galleries for short and infrequent periods of time before they must be returned to the safety of the dark, climate-controlled vault."
So jump on the chance, Chicago, to see some brilliant works on paper in THIS lifetime. The museum is open daily from 10:30am-5pm, open late until 8 on Wednesdays. Admission to the Art Institute of Chicago is free to Illinois residents the first and second Wednesdays of every month.
The kissiest babyface on a campaign of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review: The Las Vegas Weekly breaks out their ballots and their copies of Barack Hussein Obama by Steven Weissman. J. Calob Mozzococco says, "Weissman’s delicate line work and fine-art design style further remove the narrative from the caricature-style visuals usually associated with comics about politicians, and is perfectly suited to the meandering, poetic, almost meditative comic."
•Interview (audio): Steven Weissman talks about comics, math and trying to identify with such public, political characters on the Inkstuds podcast with Robin McConnell. Weissman talks about the impotes impotus for Barack Hussein Obama. "Initially, it was just his name and. . . the dreams his followers had for him. . . I started to treat Hillary Clinton as a Lucy van Pelt character."
• Interview: On the quest to The Cartoon Utopia, Ron Regé Jr. is interviewed by Ryan Ingram on Comic Book Resources. Regé states,"Similar to Lynda Barry's "What It Is," [The Cartoon Utopia] should be approached slowly, as a textbook would. It might also be useful when read via bibliomancy, opening the book to a random page to access the information in a magical way."
• Review (audio):Comic Books are Burning in Hell talks about Johnny Ryan and Prison Pit 4 with all the usual suspects: Joe McCullough, Matt Seneca, Chris Mautner and Tucker Stone. "While visually Prison Pit is very clean, composed and controlled, plotwise, I think, its the ultimate noise comic. Its fucking total destruction and nothing else. And I value the hell outta that."
• Review: Grovel enjoys the comics, yes literary but still comics of Lorenzo Mattotti and Jorge Zentner in The Crackle of the Frost. Andy Shaw states, "It’s a wilfully arty book – more of an essay in mood that just happens to have a plot, than a traditional story – but the writing is interesting and the artwork is stunning. . . so is one for the literary, rather than the mainstream comics enthusiast."
• Interview:Comic Book Resources coverage on the APE panel featuring all three Hernandez Brothers. Steven Sautter writes,"There was no set plan in those early days, no grand storyline or over-arcing plot; the Hernandez brothers simply told the stories they felt like telling, none of them counting on the eventual longevity of "Love and Rockets."
• Plug: Liv Suddall of It's Nice That thoroughly enjoys the content and design of Is That All There Is? by Joost Swarte. "With a more-than-just-a-nod nod to Tintin creator Hergé, this surprisingly raunchy book is a big slice of aesthetic pleasure from start to finish and should probably be on everyone’s wish list this Christmas."
Children reveling in piles of leaves, the sharp intake of breath with the brisk morning chill. Just the other day, I was gazing out the window at the prismatic display of fall, we love the colors and splendor even though it represents the slow annual death of our tree friends. But thank god for that because Richard Sala is creating some gorgeous new work inspired by this time of the year.
"Autumn and Evil" is a alphabetic collection of 26 drawings (if you go by the English Human alphabet) Sala is gradually posting on his blog. Drawings for letters A-I have gone up so far. It's hard not to love his dirty denim color-palette, asymetrical demon faces and ladies who rock thighs of size. Gargoyles and Forgotten Ones lurk above and below. A fan of 'J' myself, I hope to see a Jersey Devil next!
Consider all this Sala's lead up to his next book from Fantagraphics, DELPHINE, which is slated to be thrilling and chilling readers in bookstores this February. Can't wait? Order a copy of The Hidden for a frightful Halloween.
• Review: Brigid Alverson and Chris Mautner speak on the CBR about what comics they'd spend their money on, including You'll Never Know Book 3: A Soldier's Heart. "Tyler’s superb storytelling makes this a book to read over and over again," says Alverson while Mautner thinks "Tyler is a great cartoonist and woefully under-appreciated, so here’s hoping this final volume gets her some of the recognition she so richly deserves."
• Review:Ralph Azham Vol. 1 "Why Would You Lie to Love" by Lewis Trondheim is reviewed by Rob Clough of High-Low. "What's interesting about this book is that what starts as a seemingly lightweight exercise winds up going to some pretty dark places. . .There's never been a cartoonist as versatile as Trondheim who was able to work on virtually any kind of project and certainly not one who could blend his funny animal-style into any genre."
• Plug: Tom Spurgeon at The Comics Reporter gives a good reason or three to get Ralph Azham. "Lewis Trondheim is a wonderful, prolific and very mainstream-oriented cartoonist -- by the last I mean he has books in print that I can give to just about anybody on my Christmas shopping list, with everyone getting a different book. I liked this one quite a bit on the first read; the writing seemed way more measured than a lot of fantasies in comics form usually seem to me."
• Interview (audio):Pat Thomas of Listen, Whitey! is interviewed on WFMU's Gaylord Fields show and they spin some tunes together. The interview is spliced between great songs by The Patridge Family, Amiri Baraka and Shahid Quartet.
• Review:Whisperin' and Hollerin' reviews a recent Pat Thomas talk on music and the Black Panther movement as discussed in his book Listen, Whitey! "Pat shows us a very cool and funny clip from that with actual Black Panthers playing violins with the Partridge Family for added surreality."
• Plug: Martin Eden on the Forbidden Planet International lists his "Best Cover EVER?" as Love and Rockets #1. "It’s such a simple idea, but so well crafted, so beautiful to look at. And Jaime Hernandez’ art on this cover hints at the stunning artwork we are to be treated to over the next few decades – the effortless character dynamics and the lifelike poses and the general amazingness. So good."
Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2012, the complete Love and Rockets library is finally going digital with this series of compact, thick, affordable, mass-market volumes that present the whole story in perfect chronological order. Fantagraphics and comiXology release the next book in Gilbert Hernadez' Love and Rockets series Human Diastrophism (following Heartbreak Soup, already available to download). Keeping with the uncomfortable themes that only October can bring, a serial killer stalks the idyllic Central American town of Palomar through 256 pages. This group of stories is Gilbert's sweeping exploration of the importance of individual human actions in a social and political environment, of our need to make our presence felt in the world, to impact the whole of humanity for the better, or just to establish a livable existence.
"Human Diastrophism," named one of the greatest comic book stories of the 20th Century by The Comics Journal, and continuing on through more modern-day classics. At $14.99 you can save that shelfspace and travel in reading style and ease.
Also included are all the post-"Diastrophism" stories, in which Luba's past (as seen in the epic Poison River) comes back to haunt her, and the seeds are sown for the "Palomar diaspora" that ends this dense, enthralling book.
"I don't think there's ever been a greater cartooning talent in terms of what he brings the serial comic book form." – The Comics Reporter
"There's no denying that Beto's comics reflect one of the highest peaks the comics medium has yet achieved." – The Onion A.V. Club
FANTAGRAPHICS BOOKS ANNOUNCES NEW GRAPHIC NOVEL AND COMIC BOOK FROM DASH SHAW
Fantagraphics Books is proud to announce that it has acquired the new graphic novel, NEW SCHOOL, from acclaimed cartoonist Dash Shaw, who previously created the graphic novels BOTTOMLESS BELLY BUTTON (Fantagraphics, 2008) and BODYWORLD (Pantheon, 2010).
To be published in April 2013, NEW SCHOOL is an all-new, 340 page work of fiction that was loosely inspired by Shaw's experience as a teenaged foreign exchange student. "New School is my most personal book. It's all true (sort of). I dramatized and changed things to make everything closer to how it felt. The book took years of difficult work to make. Now I can't wait to hold it in my hands!" says Shaw.
"Dash is one of the most intellectually curious and fearless cartoonists I've ever known," says Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds. "He created one of the past decade's most acclaimed graphic novels -- BOTTOMLESS BELLY BUTTON -- and pushed himself to experiment with the form even further in the books BODYWORLD and THE UNCLOTHED MAN IN THE 35TH CENTURY A.D. NEW SCHOOL feels something like the apotheosis of all three of those books. It's a major work by a cartoonist in full control of his still-flowering potential."
NEW SCHOOL stars a likeably earnest if naive young man, Danny, who was raised on '90s pop culture like Jurassic Park and X-Men. Danny's story starts when his brother Luke fails to return from a trip to a remote island where he was hired to teach English to the employees of a new amusement park called ClockWorld. Built by wealthy industrialists but staffed by island natives, ClockWorld is an ambitious theme park that recreates historical events from throughout history.
Danny is given the charge of bringing his brother home, and is initially overwhelmed by his new and exotic surroundings. His initial infatuation quickly shifts to disillusionment, and his sense of "being different" grows to alienation, especially after he discovers that Luke has made a new life, new family, and even a new personality for himself on ClockWorld. How Danny and Luke's relationship resolves is the heart of NEW SCHOOL. NEW SCHOOL is at once funny and deadly serious, naturalistic and fantastic, easily readable while wildly artistic, personal and political, familiar and completely new.
Shaw adds, "I love Gary and Eric and Jason and the people at Fantagraphics. New School is extremely important to me and I know they'll do a stellar job with it."
Additionally, Fantagraphics will also publish in April an all-new comic book by Shaw titled 3 NEW STORIES. This stand-alone work will feature three all-new, full-color short stories that explore varied dystopian societies. From a Sherlock Holmes-style investigator who must complete his high school degree to filmed "voluntary" nudity to prison camps full of jaded children, Shaw pens each story with his signature style and unique spin, all in 32 pages.
Currently Shaw is working on a feature-length animation called "Shell Game", complete with his complex live-painting style and poetic sensibilities. He recently directed an animated music video for Sigur Rós, which is now available to watch online.
"A former student of the genius artist-seer-cartoonist Gary Panter, Dash, it's fair to say, is something of a genius as well." — Chris Ware
"Dash Shaw is an utterly brilliant young cartoonist who has, in a few short years, advanced from the academic experiments of his earlier work... into a formalist genius whose skills encompass both a natural gift for color and a feel for subtle, indirect characterization." – Bill Howard, Only the Cinema
"Kaleidoscopic... Shaw has a deft touch... Like the very best illustrated fiction, Shaw's work moves between pathos and humor, between the fantastic and the familiar." – The Christian Science Monitor
The fantastically newest Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review: Over at Read About Comics, Greg McElhatton cracks open a copy of Lewis Trondheim's newest English translation. "Ralph Azham Vol. Oneis a nice little surprise; what initially looks cute and fun is dark and enjoyable, and Trondheim’s gradual reveals of the story’s contents are strong enough that it makes reading the next volume a must. . . I’m definitely back for Book Two; this was a great deal of fun."
• Interview (audio): Robin McConnell of the Inkstuds podcast interviews Noah Van Sciver on The Hypo and his newest work online, Saint Cole on The Expositor.
• Interview:AV Club caught up with Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez during this year, the 30th Anniversary of Love and Rockets! Jaime could not see a future without Love and Rockets: "The only thing I can see in the future is I picture Love And Rockets number whatever way down the road and they have to explain: 'This special issue, Jaime died halfway through doing it. So there’s going to be some pages with just pencils on it and some blank pages. But we thought we owed it to him to finish it, to print it.' A half-issue and then, well, that’s it."
• Review: Steven Heller writes about Dal Tokyo by Gary Panter on The Atlantic: "Dal Tokyo might best be seen as a combination of nightmare, daydream, ramble, and sketch, with a decided stream-of-consciousness tone, which is not unlike Panter's own Texas lilting manner when talking. In fact, for all its eccentricity, Dal Tokyo is akin to a Texas tall tale."
• Plug (video): The short film Objects of Our Desire focuses on the project Significant Objects as part of the The Future of Story Telling series. The book is edited by Joshua Glenn and Rob Walker. “Stories are the foundation of what we do everyday,” Richelle Parham, the vice president and chief marketing officer of eBay.
• Review:Read About Comics and Greg McElhatton looked at Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge: Only a Poor Old Man by Carl Barks. "The more I see of Barks’ comics, the more I kick myself for having taken this long to read them. . . If you haven’t experienced Barks’ Duck comics yourself, I think this is a great a place as any to begin. Definitely check it out for yourself. Highly recommended."
• Review:Blog Critics's Sixy Minute Manga reviews and summarizes Shimura Takako's Wandering Son Vol. 2. Lesley Aeschliman states ". . . the more minimal and simplistic art works for the story being told in this series. . . I would recommend this manga series to readers who have an appreciation for literature that concerns LGBT issues."
• Review (audio):Deconstructing Comics podcast spend the full hour discussing A Drunken Dream and Other Stories. Tim Young and Kumar Sivasubramanian argue and agree on Moto Hagio's work in the book with stories that "dwelt on not fitting in, losing what you love, and other themes that could be depressing, but were usually expressed in innovative and compelling ways."
•Review: Gene Ambaum of Unshelved enjoys his read of Wilfred Santiago's 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente. Ambaum says, "I was intrigued how the author would fit his life story into a brief, illustrated book. It emphasized the major events that shaped his life, and the powerful, stark images made me feel like I experienced the tragic and poignant moments."
• Commentary:ComicBooked talks about the 90s and Fantagraphics' place within the context of pushing out music and the amazing album art of Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes and Peter Bagge.
For one of the first times, Flannery O'Connor gets to hang out with some contemporaries but not of the prose world, the art world. Spotted for sale in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Flannery O'Connor shares shelf space with painters like Amedeo Modigliani, Giorgio Morandi, and Georgia O'Keeffe (yes, yes, alphabetically). You'll enjoy her ideas and experimentation, they laid the groundwork for her future fiction and she joins the ranks of other writers who played around in the visual arts like E. E. Cummings and William Blake. Pick up a copy of her book of linocuts and cartoons, edited by Kelly Gerald, today to shelve along with some of YOUR favorite artists in your bookshelf.
(L to R: Georgia O'Keeffe flower, Modigliani's muse, and Morandi's still-life objects)
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