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 most checked-out book of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review: Prison Pit Book 4 by Johnny Ryan is getting the hits this week. Gene Ambaum of Unshelved writes,"This reminds me of nothing as much as the violent, disturbed drawings I’ve seen in some middle-school boys’ notebooks. Next year, I’m going to tell [my daughter] it’s like a mind-map for her male classmates. If she believes me, I hope we can put off conversations about her dating for a few extra years."
• Review: Mark L. Miller of Ain't It Cool News enjoysJohnny Ryan's latest Prison Pit Book 4. "This is the kind of sick shit that would warrant a trip to the school counselor if you found this crudely etched into the back of your child’s Trapper Keeper. Johnny Ryan once again taps into something primal and pure with his crude drawings of gore, sex, and violence."
• Review:The Quietus and Mat Colgate leaf through some of the best books of 2012 including Prison Pit Book 4 by Johnny Ryan. "Every second spent reading 'Prison Pit' is a joy. A violent, scatological, faecal matter, blood and pus smeared hoot.…There's something brilliantly subversive about 'Prison Pit'," chuckles Colgate.
• Review: The AV Club checks out some new releases like The Comics Journal 302, co-edited by Kristy Valenti and Mike Dean. Noel Murray states, "Business as usual for a publication that was treating the cultural significance of comics as a known fact decades before graphic novels were making the bestseller list."
• Review:The Quietus and Mat Colgate leaf through some of the January releases including 7 Miles a Second by David Wojnarowicz, James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook. Colgate states, "Wojnarowicz was fearless about his artistry and aware that the mere facts of a life are barely a percent of the whole, preferring to reveal the truth through dreams, violent fantasy and allusion. 7 Miles a Second is a shocking book, but for all the right reasons."
• Review: Forbidden Planet's Daily Planet looks at some new releases from Fantagraphics like 7 Miles a Second by David Wojnarowicz, James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook. Matthew Rosenbery states, "The stories serve as beautiful and brutal snapshots of a brilliant life lived too hard and extinguished too soon. It is not too much to say that we all owe a great cultural debt to Mr. Wojnarowicz and picking up this book and trying to understanding his life is a good first step toward understanding that debt."
• Review: Comics Bulletin looks at Tales Designed to Thrizzle Vol. 2 by Michael Kupperman. Daniel Elkin finds it smirk-worthy: "Tales Designed to Thrizzle Volume Two has its place in the construct. It is 'silver and exact' like Sylvia Plath's Mirror and reflects the 'terrible fish' that has become our understandings of the world."
• Review: The Heart of Thomas by Moto Hagio gets the a full styling by Manga Bookshelf. Melinda Beasi writes "…teens and pre-teens who go to regular, modern public schools essentially live in their own society that is very much separate from the rest of the world, and it’s a society that is, frankly, terrifying…it views that kind of sacrifice as… well, ultimately pointless…Hagio makes it clear that running away is not the answer." Melinda continues on the book as a whole, "I also expected it to be very dated and I thought the story might not appeal to my tastes as a modern fan. Instead, I found it to be both beautiful and emotionally resonant to an extent I’ve rarely experienced—especially in [Boy's Love] manga. This is a book I’d wholeheartedly recommend to any comics fan, without reservation. It’s an absolute treasure."
• Review: The AV Club checks out some new releases like The Heart of Thomasby Moto Hagio. "with small cliffhangers at the end of each chapter to pull readers deeper into Hagio’s fantasyland. The intrigue deepens page by page (and this is a 500-page novel, mind), while Hagio develops her bracingly radical vision of a mini-society where homosexual attraction is so commonplace as to be the norm…" writes Noel Murray.
• Review:You'll Never Know Book Three: A Soldier's Heart by Carol Tyler gets a thorough and thoughtful review from Rob Clough on High-Low. "…this sounds a bit all over the map, that's because it is, but Tyler slowly pulls the strings of her narrative taut in some astonishing ways, especially in the third volume…It's a remarkable example of an artist being totally honest about their own feelings of grief and joy in a manner that provokes growth and fully embraces the relationship between the two."
• Review: Dylan Thomas of Minneapolis' Southwest Journal looks at Tom Kaczynski's Best Testing the Apocalypse. "Kaczynski uses science fiction as a microscope, poking at contemporary anxieties like blooming bacteria in a Petri dish. The genre provides the room he needs to examine the systems that shape our lives, whether they be architecture, urban design or capitalism."
• Review: Hillary Brown of Pasteenjoys the dark ride of Delphine by Richard Sala. "Sala’s rules; like testing gravity by dropping a penny from a building, the coin’s never going to fall up. Delphine is worth reading at least twice. Sala’s spell is strong."
• Review: SF Signal looks at Ralph Azham Volume 1: "Why Would You Lie to Someone You Love?" by Lewis Trondheim. "His humanoid animals, a staple of his work, place the story squarely into fantasy – along with the medieval-esque village and the magic – but the wry humor gives the story a modern feel" says Carrie Cuinn.
• Plug:Paste Magazine looks forward to the most anticipated books of 2013. These include Lost Cat by Jason. "The cranky Norwegian has seemed to soften a bit as he’s aged, and the description (detective searches for potential soulmate) goes along with that impression," write Hillary Brown. On Dash Shaw'sNew Schooland 3 New Stories. "In a few short years, Dash Shaw has proven himself a restless artist, committed to pushing what comics can do and what his own talents can accomplish… it’s nice to see him return with two works, no less."
• Plug: Publishers Weekly also released a list of the most anticipated books of 2013 which included Dash Shaw's New School. "The art disorients the reader and brings you right inside the troubled protagonists’ mind."
• Interview (video): Speaking of Dash, he recently spent a few days at Sundance for his Sigur Ros animated music video. A very short interview awaits you.
• Interview: Alexander Theroux is interviewed on Rain Taxi by Paul Maliszewski. Theroux, author of Estonia , The Strange Case of Edward Gorey , Laura Warholic and more states, "Revenge—I have written about this somewhere before—is the main subject of the modern novel, if it isn’t that of literature in general."
• Review:The Los Angeles Review of Books looks at Gary Panter's Dal Tokyo. Nicole Rudick writes "Panter’s medium is comics rather than architecture, but the effect of his work is the same: Dal Tokyo questions accepted notions of structure and meaning — taking them not as truth but as convention — and, taking Brecht’s advice, builds not 'on the good old days, but on the bad new ones.' "
• Review:The Weekly Crisis dissects the first panel of "Landscape!" a comic within Blazing Combat and how it contributed to the end of the series coinciding with the Vietnam War. Dan Hill states "At a time when an anti-war stance was tantamount to being a traitor to your country, it was also the beginning of comics beginning to tackle the uglier aspects of war, telling us exactly ‘how it is’. It showed us that comics could discuss and show issues more related to the real world than capes, tights and outlandish fantasy."
• Review:Paste Magazine looks at Linda Medley's Castle Waiting Vol. 1 (softcover). Sean Edgar writes, "Ultimately, Castle Waiting is an elegantly-written, uplifting take on European folklore supported by sterling art. As long as voices as talented and creative as Medley’s are around, stories like this will always be timeless."
• Interview: Robin McConnell of Inkstuds interviews Chris Wright for a second time, this time on his most recent graphic novel, Blacklung.
• Plug:The GLBT Roundtable's Rainbow Project lists best books for teens that encapsulate the GLBT-community issues. The Rainbow Project lists Shimura Takako's Wandering Son series as part of the Top Ten Books of 2012 as the characters "tackle problems such as gender identity, love, social acceptance, and puberty."
• Plug: The GLBT Roundtable also released a list of the best books for adults, Over the Rainbow, and the comics anthology No Straight Lines, edited by Justin Hall,was listed in the top ten.
• Interview: Tim O'Shea interviews Lilli Carré for Comic Book Resources on her process with Heads or Tails. "I went through all my stuff and arranged them not chronologically, but by how they each fed into each other… I don’t know if the dialogue I write or the way I draw is particularly well-crafted or not, but with both the art and dialogue I go with my gut and do what feels natural to me."
• Review: New York Journal of Books takes a turn around the room with The Complete Syndicated Pogo Vol 2 "Bona Fide Balderdash" by Walt Kelly. Mark Squirek writes, "Like the greatest of myths and fables, Pogo travels across time and ages. It is a world much like that of Aesop and trickster tales. It is a world capable of making a six year old smile with glee, a hipster smirk whether they want to or not, and a college professor laugh out loud… So graceful is his work with pencil and pen that you could loose yourself for hours in shear artistry of the panels he constructs."
• Plug:Westfield Blog suggests some books for you likeThe Complete Syndicated Pogo Vol 2 "Bona Fide Balderdash" by Walt Kelly."Walt Kelly’s art is a joy to look at and his dialogue and word play is just stunning. Pogo is a strip that you get more and more out of the more you read it," states Wayne Markley. And for Basil Wolverton's Spacehawk, "In the history of comics, there are very few, if any, that had such a unique style as Wolverton which, while as far away as you can get from classic illustrators like Raymond or Foster, it is every bit as good in its own unique way."
• Review: HeroesOnline looks at the latest Prince Valiant Vol. 6: 1947-1948. Andy writes "…the pace is fast, the action and intrigue are plenty and the violence is un-apologetically bloody. In addition, Foster was a stickler for historical accuracy in depicting everyday life in the 6th century."
• Review: Ryan Sands of Same Hat writes his 'belated' best of list which inludes Nancy Likes Christmas by Ernie Bushmiller and The End of the Fucking World by Charles Foresman.
• Plug: Tom Spurgeon announced the Peanuts Every Sunday book on Comics Reporter. More information tomorrow.
• Plug: Robot6 talks about Great but Forgotten anthologies. Fantagraphics' "Zero Zero ran for 27 issues, a longer run than most of the anthologies on this list received, but I don’t think it’s ever gotten its due as the truly great anthology of the ’90s." Chris Mautner continues with Blab, "I do think people have forgotten how cutting edge and exemplary an anthology Blab was, at least initially. For a while there it was running some seriously incredible work, like Al Columbia’s apocalyptic The Trumpets They Played, and the Jimmy Corrigan story that eventually became Acme Novelty #10, easily the most harrowing and darkest material Ware has produced to date." And finally Blood Orange, "Lasting a mere four issues, Blood Orange offered a mind-bending array of cutting-edge comics." WORRY NOT, we still have issues from someofthese.
This Thursday, Dr. Ana Merino will give the first lecture in spring series at the Ohio State University. "Comic Books and Latino Identities: The Power of Los Bros Hernandez" is the title of her talk on Thursday, January 31st at the Cartoon Room of the Ohio Union. Join this comics scholar, who has worked as an ICAF Executive Committe member, professor at Dartmouth College and the Center for Cartoon Studies and much more, from 4-5:30pm for her critical analysis of culture, identity and the printed page.
From the OSU press release: In the 1980s, Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez transformed the way most comic characters were developed by adding a crucial landscape of alternative identities and cultures to the white mainstrem American. Both Brothers projected aspects of their own experience growing up as Latinos in the USA with "Love and Rockets" They consolidated a rich and inspiring way to develop graphic fiction in their work, strong women, especially US Latina and Latin American characters, became the cornerstone of a new vision for comics. DIversity in every sense was added to the space of comics, bringing a much needed multiethnic vision.
Gilbert, Jaime and Mario Hernandez started something grand 30 years ago that Beto and Jaime still produce. Should Dr. Merino's talk spark an interest in a new reader, you know where to find us. Heck, we even made a handy dandy reading guide .
15 seasons. 1,072 games. 41,011 minutes of basketball. Every kid, fan and often other players wished they could "Be Like Mike." The man who inspired a generation of children to lace up their high-tops will be depicted in a kinetic graphic novel fit for the greatest basketball player of all time. Wilfred Santiago, the creator of the acclaimed and best-selling 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente, depicts Jordan's public successes, private struggles and all the noise in between in his dynamic full-color graphic novel called Michael Jordan: Bull on Parade.
Eric Reynolds, Associate Publisher and known ball-hog, had this to say on the upcoming release in March of 2014: "Wilfred's dynamism makes Jordan as visually electric as a Kirby superhero comic, but Santiago also brings a good biographer or documentarian's passion for getting at the essence of his protagonist. I can't believe there aren't more American comics like this, but few cartoonists have the skill and feel for the subject of sports to pull it off as artfully and maturely as Wilfred."
While reading Michael Jordan: Bull on Parade you will smell the sweat, hear every squeak on the parquet floor and feel the "swish" on every nothing-but-net shot. Jordan went from being a teenage and college superstar to leading the Chicago Bulls to six NBA Championships. To quote Santiago, "Michael Jordan is a once in a lifetime phenomenon. Add the exhilarating game of basketball and you get one hell of a graphic novel." We couldn't agree more. Coming to your home court in spring of 2014.
Just an FYI that we did indeed join another social media outlet for your enjoyment. Find us on Instagram as 'Fantagraphics' for more photos of your favorite books getting made, panels galore and my new favorite game 'count the razor blades found on the office floor.' While we can guarantee no brunch photos — unless someone makes us that Cannibal Fuckface waffle iron we've been wanting, we've got some mangy cats who love to pose with our books. Well anyway, it'll be some no filter fun and we can't wait to see how many of you like our photos from your workplace elevators and bathrooms. Follow Barnaby's advice and double-time it today.
Alright, people, party time. The lovely Arne Dus has posted a full on, four and half hour playlist of songs featured in Ed Piskor's Hip Hop Family Tree. From Fab Five Freddy to Tom Tom Club to even The Clash, Dus created the playlist to read Hip Hop Family Tree by or just dance. You can join in to on Spotify. Weekend Plans MADE.
Piskor's serialized strip from BoingBoing will be out this September in an exquisite print edition.
Fantagraphics' veteran Jeremy Eaton continues to draw his mashup characters or Jumbles since his show last fall in Seattle. Luba and Olive Oyl is one of our favorites, good thing that iconic Luba hammer exists for the sake of Olive Oyl's shoes (created by Gilbert Hernandez and E.C. Segar respectively). Jeremy's posted more than a few of his 'jumbles' onlineso check it out today! And try to name all the characters jumbled together below.
Today Fantagraphics and comiXology present Happy Hour in America issues 1-4 by Tim Lane. Featuring installments of Belligerent Piano, Folktales and experimental comics reminiscent of that old-timey newspaper comic strip. Lane's characters drive a cool highway until they gotta stop for gas and a quick diner breakfast but pulse and threaten to suck you into your tablet. If your shave kit consists of Brylcreem, burglarly and murder then these tales might mirror some hard-knocks in your life. Originally distributed through John Porcellino's Spit and Half Distribution, these tricked-up juke box and train-jumpin' tales can be yours for $2.99 a piece.
“Tim Lane’s stories resonate with a dramatic intensity and emotional life that’s genuinely rare in comics today. Heartache, hope, loss and redemption — all in their naked glory on every page. And his drawing is phenomenal!” – Glenn Head
“Fans of postmodern pulp auteur Charles Burns would do well to seek out Lane’s comics. What I love about Lane’s work is his eye for grotesquerie and surrealism combined with incredible precision of line.” – Illo Watch
The living will forever be obsessed with death and those who have started on that grand adventure before them. This Fall, Fantagraphics presents two books to capture the imagination and haunt each and every night by the young and talented Julia Gfrörer and Ben Catmull.
The push and pull, ebb and flow of the water calls out to all men. In this harrowing new graphic novella, Black Is the Color, Julia Gfrörer delicately hatches away this sailor-at-sea story until the reader drowns in imminent destruction. Gfrörer states, "Black Is the Color is my most ambitious single story comic to date, and I'm thrilled that Fantagraphics will be publishing it in a format that matches my vision for the work." Originally serialized at the Study Group web collective, Gfrörer's work is as seductive as the mermaids she draws beneath the waves.
Continuing his expanding Fantagraphics catalog, Ben Catmull's chilling compendium of long-forgotten and still-occupied haunted houses joins his 2006 critically-acclaimed Monster Parade. "For Ghosts and Ruins I wanted to take my obsessions with ghost stories, abandoned architecture, and forgotten history and illustrated them with images full of shadows, atmosphere, and texture. I'm looking forward to see how people react to a book that approaches the horror genre not with adrenaline fueled sadism or tongue in cheek goofiness but with haunting meloncholy and a little deadpan humor," Catmull summarizes. This coffee-table sized collection is the perfect gift for the future ghost in your life, and fans of Edward Gorey and Tim Burton are sure to enjoy these sweeping landscapes that echo of loss, dilapidation and dread.
Dash Shaw's animated music video for Sigur Ros entitled SERAPH is showing at Sundance this week. As part of the Film Festival Shorts, SERAPH is also promoted on the YouTube Screen Room Channel. Check out Shaw's animation and enjoy others like Catnip and What Do We Have in Our Pockets? Keep your eyes on the sky for a new Shaw animation coming soon along with his two new comics, New School and 3 New Stories.
The chest rackiest cough of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review: Andy Shaw reviews Chris Wright's Blacklungon Grovel. "The characters have enormous depth, and the book explores interesting themes on the nature of violence. It’s particularly strong on class structure, exploring the different levels of what’s acceptable to different people in different walks of life…While extremely dark this is definitely one of the most sophisticated horror books I’ve read in some time."
• Review: Blacklung by Chris Wright makes another best of list on Comic Book Resources. Greg Burgas writes "Wright’s pirate comic is a strange animal – it’s extremely graphic, both violently and sexually, yet it’s a bizarre meditation on religion and good and evil, all with characters who don’t look quite human.… Blacklung is a comic that deserves a lot of thought, so you might as well read it and think about it!"
• Review: Page 45 looks at Problematic by Jim Woodring. And "whilst there is indeed the odd everyday observation, the vast majority of it is Frank-related musings, thumbnails and roughs," pens Jonathan Rigby.
• Review:Page 45 enjoys the newest Richard Sala book, Delphine. "Truly this is the stuff of nightmares: a frantic evocation of being lost, misled and out of your depth in surroundings which barely make sense – except when they do after which you dearly wish that they hadn’t," says Stephen L. Holland.
• Plug:Graham Chaffee's Good Dog was singled out on Wired to be one of THE books of 2013. "The world does not have nearly enough graphic novels told from the perspective of adorable dogs. Let alone graphic novels that have a good chance of making you feel delighted on one page, then maybe like you might cry a little bit on the next page…it has all the polish and purpose borne by most books put out by fancy-pants publisher Fantagraphics," writes Erik Henriksen.
• Review: Page 45 enjoys Castle Waiting Vol. 1 (softcover) by Linda Medley. "Life in these stories gently flows along at the same pace as the early Bone stories, and the timing is as perfect as Linda’s art is impeccable…From what appear to be stock fairy-tale archetypes, Medley creates life and energy," writes Tom Rosin.
• Review: Johanna Draper Carlson of Comic Worth Reading reads I Love Led Zeppelin after catching Ellen Forney fever with Marbles. "it’s an entertaining, spicy read. For me, it provided new context for the background behind her story, fleshing out a decadent life in strong, distinctive lines."
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