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 freshest fried-this-morning Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review: Tucker Stone on The Comics Journal gives a thumbs-up to Dungeon Quest Vol. 3 by Joe Daly. "Dungeon Quest–the mumbling stoner counterpart to its methed up metal freak cousin, Prison Pit–has a whole new stack of penis-obsessed pages to play with. It’s tempting to single out one part of this volume to label as best, but that temptation dissipates upon the realization that it’s going to be impossible to pick a winner."
• Review:BookGasm raves about Jacques Tardi's New York Mon Amour. JT Lindroos says, "It shuffles in elements from Tardi’s other books, but distills those familiar ingredients into a wholly unique concoction. . . It’s a love letter to an imaginary city bursting with life, depression and death, a city you love to observe from a distance."
• Plug:Noah Van Sciver finished out the TCJ Comic Diary week with a visit by Gary Groth. Heidi MacDonald of The Beat said nice things about The Hypo: "an extremely well researched look at Abraham Lincoln’s early days as a depressed young lawyer, will be one of the buzz books of the fall."
• Plug:Bleeding Cool and Rich Johnston show off some pages from Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life by Ulli Lust, coming out this fall.
• Plug:Robot 6 and Bridget Alverson are excited for both the upcoming Wilfred Santiago books on Michael Jordan and John Brown. "If the images are any indication, Santiago is busting out from the limited palette he used for the Clemente book to full, brilliant color, applied in a bold, painterly style."
• Plug: The Covered blog continues to highlight new versions of Love and Rockets covers. This time it's L&R #50 drawn by Robert Goodin. Check out Goodin's eerie treatment of a classic.
• Plug: The Love and Rockets Northeast Tour is mentioned on BoingBoing. Thanks, Marc!
• Interview:Casey Burbach interviews editor John Benson on fanzine Squa Tront's issue #13 (forty years after issue #1 came out) and the EC collections that have been published: "I thought that the color in the latest “EC Archives” series was pretty bad, at least in the book that I saw – not appropriate for comics of that era. . . The Fantagraphics series will be produced with quality and taste, I’m sure. Hopefully, with a different distribution set-up, going into bookstores, they may also reach a new audience."
• Review (audio): The Comic Books are Burning in Hell podcast recently chatted up Johnny Gruelle's Mr. Twee-Deedle edited by Rick Marschall. Around the 38 minute mark is where they predict ". . . it'll wind up a real contender for 2012's 'thru the cracks' award for most sadly obscure release. . ." Let's avoid ANY books falling through the cracks, check out this broadsheet-sized wonder today!
• Review:The Australian checks out Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons, edited by Kelly Gerald. Owen Heitmann says, "Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons is primarily of historical interest, documenting the early development of the first postwar female writer to merit inclusion in the Library of America series. Editor Kelly Gerald has taken this archival approach to heart, reproducing apparently every extant example of O'Connor's cartooning, even doodles from later handwritten letters."
The fresh-popped Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:Publishers Weekly discusses The Hypo by Noah Van Sciver, "Van Sciver’s psychologically astute examination of what might be termed Abraham Lincoln’s “lost years” (1837–1842) is as gripping and persuasive as the best historical fiction. . .This characterization of Lincoln is thoroughly human and identifiable, tracking a shadowy but formative period in the very uneven life of a man who shows little signs of becoming known as one of the greatest Americans. A thoroughly engaging graphic novel that seamlessly balances investigation and imagination." Wow!
• Plug: Noah Van Sciver's diary comics are showing up at The Comics Journal. Enjoy Day #1, Day #2 and Day #3.
• Plug:Comics Alliance JUMPED at the chance to be the first to comment on Naked Cartoonists. Senior writer Chris Sims comments, "Have you ever wanted to see Dilbert creatorScottAdams naked? Yeah, we haven't either, but apparently [Gary Groth] thought that was a good idea . . . joining artists like Will Eisner, For Better Or For Worsecreator Lynn Johnston, Jeff Smith (feel free to make your own Bone joke here) and . . . legendary MAD artist Sergio Aragones."
• Review:The Mary Sue names Moto Hagio's A Drunken Dream and Other Stories one of the 10 Feminist Manga to Read, that is licensed in the USA. Kellie Foxx-Gonzalez says,"Hagio is not only a storyteller, she is undoubtedly a feminist author, using her manga to explore gender, power, and women’s issues. If extended metaphors in manga as an avenue to explore philosophical questions is as appealing to you as it is to me, please, don’t hesitate to pick up this anthology."
• Commentary: Shannon O'Leary of Publishers Weekly says,". . . with No Straight Lines , the most definitive collection of queer comics to date, [Justin] Hall and Fantagraphics have made the voluminous but largely hidden history of LBGT (lesbian, bi-sexual, gay, transgender) comics finally visible as well."
• Review:The Awl and Kim O'Connor talk about autobio comics and include such underground greats like Aline Kominsky Crumb, Carol Tyler in addition to Chris Ware and Joe Sacco. While on the subject of Aline: "An important part of her project was to promote self-loathing as normal and even funny in an era when to do so was extremely unfashionable." O'Connor touched on the rawness of Chris Ware's work,"there's this sense of playful geometry that's deeply satisfying, even if it sometimes gives you the impression the artist's memory palace looks a lot like the Container Store. But the central delight in reading Jimmy Corrigan, as in all of Ware's work, is how it's painfully awkward and incredibly cool at the same time."
• Review: Rob Clough on the High-Low reviews Jim Woodring's Congress of the Animals: ". . . is interesting because it's much more linear a narrative than most of his comics.. . .Unlike the typical Frank story, there's a greater sense of urgency to Frank's wanderings, as he encounters many temptations and pitfalls along his journey to a destination unknown to even him."
• Review:The Critcal Mob released their short list of summer reads and a few Fantagraphics titles made the cut. Paul Guie looks at Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons: "O'Connor's artwork is frequently abstract and raw-looking. . .Nevertheless, her cartoons are always pleasing to look at thanks to the author's strong sense of composition. Panels are rarely cluttered by unnecessary lines, and O'Connor frequently frames her characters with an eye toward visual balance." Peanuts latest volume is also on Guie's radar: ". . . these later comics remain consistently witty and entertaining, and reflect Schulz's continued mastery of comedic timing within a four-panel layout.. . .Consistently subtle yet always timely, after 30 years, Schulz still had a winning formula on his hands." Last but not least, Guie takes Buddy Does Seattle to the beach,"Bagge's artwork [takes] the public's perception of '90s youth as angry and volatile and pushed it to hysterical levels. Heavily influenced by late-'60s counterculture cartoonists like Crumb, Bagge's drawings are fluid and grimy-looking, with frequent use of exaggerated facial expressions helping to cultivate an atmosphere of chaos."
• Commentary: Best Cover EVER on Forbidden Planet according to Richard: "The absolute iconic image. The raw power. Jaime’s incredible use of black in his art. The faces of the crowd. The stagediver (in heels) who’s just left the stage. But most of all, it’s the best comic cover ever because I swear that I’ve never looked at this cover and NOT heard the music they’re playing." The next best thing for Richard? Buying the new shirt featuring the cover of Issue 24.
• Plug:Comics Alliance and Caleb Goellner collect the most recent Adventure Time covers. James Hindle PLAYS an homage to Jaime Hernandez's distinctive cover. Check it out!
• Review:io9 recently created a list of the 10 Comic Characters Cooler than Batman. Jaime Hernandez's Maggie (the Mechanic) and Jacques Tardi's Adele Blanc-Sec topped the list. "Maggie is a survivor, who never stops kicking ass even she's dealing with depression and heartbreak." says Charlie Jane Anders and in reference to Adele Blanc-Sec:"She's a writer in pre-World War I Paris, which automatically makes her cool. . . She's not afraid to shoot guns, drink the hard stuff, or smoke like a man. She spent World War I in cryogenic suspension and then rocked the 1920s."
• Plug:The Last Vispo's editor Nico Vassilakis recently curated an online group of visual artists called Ten Turkish Visual Poets at Trickhouse.
• Interview: The powerful and deft Friedman brothers were interviewed about Any Similarity to Persons Living or Dead is Purely Coincidental by William Michael Smith of the Houston Press. Josh Alan Friedman talks about his brother's artwork,"Originally [Drew Friedman] worked with stippling technique, using a rapidograph pen. Bent over a desk like a watchmaker, doing thousands of dots. A technique made famous by 'Sunday in the Park with Georges' Seurat, but strictly shunned by art schools in the 20th century."
• Plug: Ron Regé, Jr. is up to something sneaky! At We Can Do It.
Exhibition of Original Art from 50 Years of Charles M. Schulz’s PEANUTS
This just in from Ben Saunders, Professor of English, at the University of Oregon about an upcoming show of original Charles Schulz artwork at U. of O.'s Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art (JSMA) on exhibition from September 1st, 2012 through December.
Charlie Brown is nowadays immediately recognizable as an archetype of pop-existentialism. He is a loser-everyman, a cartoon representation of perennial human disappointment; but even at his most desperate, he has somehow never lost the capacity to make us laugh. His canine companion, Snoopy, by contrast, can be read as an emblem of imaginative vitality --- compelling our attention with his exuberant flights of fantasy.
These great characters did not spring from Schulz’s pen fully realized. They took shape gradually, over years of disciplined, daily creative exercise. And even once they found their iconic forms, the themes of the strip continued to evolve, reflecting the changing circumstances of the second-half of the 20th century. We can detect the traces of this tumultuous history --- and sometimes glean Schulz’s personal values --- in these certain works, with their subtle invocations of the Civil Rights struggle, Women’s Liberation, the litigious society, and the fragility of the natural world.
Debuting on October 2nd, 1950, Peanuts ran for fifty years, until February 13th, 2000. Schulz took only one extended holiday during that entire period (for a month, in the winter of 1997). Otherwise, he worked consistently on the comic until his death --- passing away just a day before the last episode saw print. In total, he produced an astonishing 17,897 Peanuts strips.
In choosing just twenty-five examples from this lifetime’s work, the sin of omission is unavoidable. Instead of pretending to an impossible comprehensiveness, we offer a series of revealing snapshots spanning the five decades of Peanuts, to produce a kind of “time-lapse” effect --- allowing the viewer to take in the origins, maturation, and final years of the strip, in a slow tour of the room. Although necessarily incomplete, we believe this exhibition proves one thing. Charles Schulz’s Peanuts is not merely the most successful newspaper comic strip in the history of the medium. It is also a modern American masterpiece.
In the third series of comics to be released digitally after Love and Rocketsgoing digital, Johnny Ryan's favorite thing to draw in public restrooms and critically-acclaimed humor series Angry Youth Comix #1-4 are now available to download via comiXology. Taboo-tackling cartoonist Johnny Ryan raises the bar on what you can and can't do in comics, so much so that these titles too extreme for iTunes. The ground-breaking issues of this series are pillars --- wait, sinking cement blocks of exactly how low you can go and are available for $1.99 each at the comiXology store.
Join friends like Loady McGee and Synus O'Gynus and of course, Blecky Yuckerella in their politically-incorrect mishaps. From stories like "The Whorehouse of Dr. Moreau" to Hot-Headed Cyborg Ass-Kicker the reckless space bad-boy superhero, there's something for everyone to love and be insulted by.
"Each frame of the first five issues of Johnny Ryan's Angry Youth Comix is more patently offensive than an entire episode of South Park. Highly recommended!" – The Toilet Paper
Cartoonist Josh Simmons of The Furry Trap, House and the on-going Jessica Farm recently got behind the camera. Soon to be released, The Leader features the same home-brewed style of horror as Simmons' comics, the kind that happen in your backyard or the parking lot of your local grocery store. Watch the trailer now and start counting your sleepless nights until this short film is released.
Today the loverly interns, Matt and Mike, helped me set up the Geek Girl Con table. YES, we do have geek girl interns but they were working on some comic book stuff at home base. Ain't I lady enough?
Geek Girl Con is from 9am-6pm on Saturday and 9-5 on Sunday. Stop by the booth 214 for some EXCELLENT Saturday signings at Noon to 2pm with Megan Kelso and Ellen Forney and from 3-5pm with Justin Hall, Roberta Gregory. GGC is at The Conference Center, located at 8th and Pike in downtown Seattle, WA, right across the street from the Washington State Convention Center (where Emerald City Comicon is held).
Later that night is GAME OVER at the Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery featuring game box art of 'failed video game adaptations' of your favorite graphic novels. You never knew a MEAT CAKE video game could look so good, did you? See you there!
Wednesday, Sept. 19 • Philadelphia Free Library, Philadelphia, PA
Friday, Sept. 21 • The Rock Shop, Brooklyn, NY
Sunday, Sept. 23rd • Brooklyn Book Festival, Brooklyn, NY
September 14th-23, the seminal Love and Rockets creators Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez will tour from Washington D.C. to Brooklyn as part of the 30th Anniversary of Love and Rockets. Signings and readings await the Northeast this fall.
First stop on the Love and Rockets train are signings at Politics and Prose Bookstore in D.C. Experience the plush bookstore and lush linework of the Hernandez Brothers starting at 7pm on Friday, September 14th.
Heading back to the small press scene, Jaime and Gilbert are special guests at the Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Sept 15 and 16th, with several signings at the Fantagraphics table at the convention throughout the weekend.
The following Tuesday, September 18th, the Hernandez Brothers will be signing at Atomic Books in Baltimore. Love and Rockets: New Stories #5 features a letter from Atomic Books' Ringmistress, Rachel Whang, who is also available for signing.
The Philadelphia Free Library proudly hosts Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez for a presentation in the Free Library's Montgomery Auditorium starting at followed by a Q & A session. After the talk, fans and friends can get their Love and Rockets books signed in the Library Lobby from 8:30-10:30 at night.
Friday nights may never be the same especially after September 21st when the avid fans of punk, the Hernandez Brothers, bring the house down at The Rock Shop starting at 7:30pm.
The Love and Rockets East Coast Tour will end with a stop at the Brooklyn Book Festival on Sunday, September 23rd. Gilbert Hernandez will join many other creators on The Sex Panel: Taboo in Pictures featuring obscenity, art and the area between the two. Meanwhile Jaime Hernandez stars on a panel called Worlds Built Over Time: Panel to Page, Book to Series on world building and character development in the long term. Book signings will follow each panel discussion.
More details to come on this rare opportunity to see the creators of such favorite characters as Hopey, Maggie, Ray, Luba and Fritz on the Love and Rockets 30th Anniversary Northeast Tour.
The sweetest smelling Online Commentaries & Diversions:
•Review: Partially and fully-reviewed on Em & Lo and SUNfiltered respectively is new book Significant Objects by Joshua Glenn and Rob Walker. Em and Lo said, "The book also organizes the stories and objects into groups that will be more familiar to thrift-store shoppers, based on the items’ original intended use: novelty items, figurines, kitsch, toys, etc."
•Review:Detroit News takes a look at No Straight Lines, edited by Justin Hall. Eric Henrickson wrote, "If 'No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics' isn’t the definitive look at the world of GLBT comics, it surely must come darn close. . . I knew there was a lot out there, but I was surprised at the depth of the genre — in sheer quantity and in quality. It’s also a great volume for comics historians."
•Review:Wandering Son, Volume 3 by Shimura Takako is reviewed on Experiments in Manga. Librarian Ash Brown says, "Shimura deals with her characters and with identity, particularly gender identity, with a tremendous amount of sensitivity. Wandering Son is one of the few comics that I have had the opportunity to read that has accomplished this as a fictional work rather than as a memoir." But that isn't all Wandering Son is about: "The fact that the characters aren't characters per se but actual individuals is one of Wandering Son's greatest strengths. Ultimately, the story isn't about the 'issues' surrounding personal identity so much as it is about the people themselves."
•Review: Hillary Brown of Paste Magazine examines Flannery O'Conner: The Cartoons, edited by Kelly Gerald. "Fantagraphics has done us a service of scholarship in publishing these early linocuts, executed for O’Connor’s high school and college newspapers, and the essay by editor Kelly Gerald that follows their reproduction makes some interesting connections to her later literary works, but most of them don’t stand on their own."
•Commentary:Drew Friedman visited MAD Magazine almost 40 years ago and wrote a little about his trip, picked up by Boing Boing.
•Plug: The MOST OCD-happy site of Hernandez Brothers mentions, Love & Maggie, lists the newest mentions of the month.
•Review:Pornokitsch goes WAY back to a sold-out Jules Feiffer illustrated novel, Harry, the Rat with Women. Jared says,"Everything is there and familiar, but somehow drawn and thin and somewhat ethereal; delicate but distorted." Now you know to get it when at Half-Price books!
A near duel is what let Denver cartoonist Noah Van Sciver to the trail of a book that eventually became the graphic novel, The Hypo. This week Van Sciver writes about his creative process and findings at Forbidden Planet.
Van Sciver writes,"Most books I would find on the bookstore shelves flew through Lincoln’s bachelor years on their way to the Civil War. I gathered as much as I could from the first few chapters of as many books as I could find, but most told the same anecdotes over and over again offering me only slightly different wording. The book that fixed that problem for me was 'Lincoln’s Melancholy' by Joshua Wolf Shenk."
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