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Category >> Al Columbia

Daily OCD: 6/7/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under The Comics JournalRoy CranereviewsPeanutsMegan KelsoKim DeitchJim WoodringJeremy EatonGene DeitchDrew FriedmanDaily OCDCarol TylerBen SchwartzAl Columbia 7 Jun 2010 4:41 PM

Catching up with Online Commentary & Diversions:

Weathercraft

Review: "Over the last few decades, Jim Wood­ring has been drawing a series of wordless, blissfully cruel slapstick fables, set in a world of grotesque entities and psychedelic minarets: half unshakable nightmare, half Chuck Jones cartoon filtered through the Bhagavad Gita. Weathercraft... flows so smoothly and delightfully from each image to the next that it’s easy to ignore that it has its own idea of sense, which may not jibe with anybody else’s." – Douglas Wolk, The New York Times

Review: "For those who find the work involving enough, Weathercraft will resonate with them on some emotional level — there's moments that unnerve, moments that touch — and while it is an immersive experience, the comic, especially in its hardcover form, operates most like a testimony of events. It's a comic, through and through, but it hews closer to a religious tome than it does a Love & Rockets installment." – Tucker Stone, comiXology

Review: "It’s better to experience Woodring’s work than to try and understand it. Weathercraft focuses on Frank’s frequent nemesis Manhog — a representative of humanity at its morally weakest — as he goes through multiple stages of degradation on his way to almost achieving a higher consciousness. The humanoid mongrel Frank hangs around the edges of the story with his loyal pets, but Weathercraft is mainly about how Manhog — and by extension the reader — sees how sick, freaky, and beautiful the world can be… [Grade] A-" – The A.V. Club

Artichoke Tales [Pre-Order]

Review: "Megan Kelso is best known for elegant, small-scale comics... with a historical or memoiristic bent. So it’s surprising and wonderful that Artichoke Tales, her first novel-length work, is the sort of world-­building fantasy story that comes with a family tree and a map on its endpapers. ... Kelso’s ligne claire artwork is consistently sweet and airy, depicting blobby, dot-eyed characters whose body language says as much as their words. The approach provides a likable surface for a story with much darker and stickier depths, about a land whose cultural heritage is rotting away in the aftermath of a civil war." – Douglas Wolk, The New York Times

Dungeon Quest, Book 1  [Pre-Order]

Review: "South African comic book writer/artist Joe Daly’s Dungeon Quest: Book One takes a hilariously askew look at the madness of fantasy quest games. ...[R]eaders with a high tolerance for absurdity and a healthy sense of humor about the subject matter will probably love what's on offer here." – Matt Staggs, Suvudu

Wally Gropius

Review: "Watching [Wally] and his equally gangly, geometric cohorts stretch and sprint and smash their way across Hensley's brighly colored backgrounds and block-lettered sound effects is like reading your favorite poem — or even... Wally Gropius itself — as translated into a language with a totally different alphabet. ... And wonder of wonders, the book finds its own way to be really funny amid all these highfalutin hijinks..." – Sean T. Collins, Attentiondeficitdisorderly

Review: "[Wally Gropius] has quickly become one of my favorite graphic novels. ... The comic is too odd to be described as 'commentary.' It seems far more synthetic than parodic: it blends recognizable influences into something truly new... The plot of Wally Gropius has been described as surreal or random, but it’s coherent and far more complex than I first thought... The book is an encyclopedia of cartoony facial expressions and bodily gestures, and should be studied at the CCS as such. WG radiates a real sense of joy, of 'cartooning unfettered.' ... Hensley is one of the best, and most idiosyncratic, writers of text in comics." – Ken Parille, Blog Flume

Review: "[Daniel] Clowes isn’t as zany as he used to be, so there’s a void to be filled here, and Wally Gropius does that ably: The hardcover collects Hensley’s Gropius stories from the anthology series Mome (with a little extra material thrown in), and his immaculate, vaguely ’50s style owes as much to Mort Walker, Archie Comics, and other vintage teen-humor strips as it does to Clowes. ... [Grade] B" – The A.V. Club

Captain Easy, Soldier of  Fortune: The Complete Sunday Newspaper  Strips Vol. 1 (1933-1935)

Review: "...Captain Easy follows a mysterious agent-for-hire as he travels exotic lands, battling bad guys. ...Crane’s art is stunning, combining simple cartoony figures with richly detailed backgrounds in clever, colorful layouts. It isn’t even necessary to read the dialogue or captions to follow the action; just scan Crane’s dynamic lines, which make every panel look like a unique work of pop art… [Grade] A-" – The A.V. Club

The Best American Comics Criticism

Review: "I was pretty excited when I found out that Fantagraphics was publishing an anthology of The Best American Comics Criticism. ... Editor Ben Schwartz did a great job selecting pieces that comprise a vibrant narrative of the industry. From graphic novels with literary aspirations to comics about capes, the breadth of content in here is really fantastic. ... But of all the essays in the book, only one is written by a woman. That’s a big let down." – Erin Polgreen, Attackerman

Too Soon? - Drew Friedman

Plug: "Drew Friedman is the master American caricaturist of our time. Not only are his portraits of the famous so realistic, they induce double takes, but he also captures truths about personality and draws out (pun intended) the funny in everyone." – Michael Simmons, LA Weekly

The Complete Peanuts 1969-1970 (Vol. 10) [NORTH AMERICA ONLY]

Plug: G4 drops a nice mention of "the ongoing and lovingly assembled Complete Peanuts series" in their review of the Snoopy Flying Ace game for Xbox 360

Pim & Francie: The Golden Bear Days

Interview: Comics Comics' Nicole Rudick sat Al Columbia down for his most candid and revealing interview ever: "So, yeah, I can still draw Pim and Francie. They’re a lot of fun to draw. Almost too much fun. You start to get intoxicated working on them. It’s like, 'This is too much fun. This shouldn’t be allowed. This shouldn’t be legal.' I always put it aside because it just gets me too . . . they’re very intense and fun and maybe fun upsets me."

Jeremy Eaton

Interview: David-Wasting-Paper subjects Jeremy Eaton to his Cartoonist Survey

Gene Deitch

Interview: The Daily Cross Hatch's Brian Heater concludes his conversation with Gene Deitch: "I hate the term '2D.' That’s bullshit. They put us in that category. They say they’re making 3D. They’re not 3D. What Pixar does is not 3D because it’s shaded. The screen is flat. It’s a flat picture. It’s just an illusion."

C. Tyler - photo by Justin Tepe, The News Record

Profile: Taylor Dungjen of University of Cincinnati student newspaper The News Record profiles U of C faculty member C. Tyler: "You might say Tyler is a proud American. You might even call her a patriot. She says she is a liberal hippie chick who supports American troops."

Kim Deitch & Bill Kartalopoulos at Desert Island

Scene: Flickr user Essrog posts a photo and brief report from Kim Deitch 's recent appearance at Desert Island in Brooklyn

It Was the War of the Trenches

Roundtable: The Comics Journal presents parts two and three of their roundtable discussion on comics translation featuring our own multilingualist Kim Thompson

Daily OCD: 5/17/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Walt KellyRoberta GregoryreviewsPeanutsMiss Lasko-GrossLove and RocketsLos Bros HernandezJoe SaccoJim WoodringJasonHans RickheitDaniel ClowesCharles M SchulzCarol TylerBen SchwartzAlexander TherouxAl ColumbiaAbstract Comics 17 May 2010 3:07 PM

Online Commentary & Diversions:

Ghost World [Softcover Edition]

List: Graphic Novel Reporter's "2010 Core Graphic Novels List" includes Ghost World, Safe Area Gorazde, and You'll Never Know; the "Expanded List" includes Abstract Comics, The Complete Peanuts , I Killed Adolf Hitler, It Was the War of the Trenches, Love and Rockets, Pim and Francie, Pogo, The Squirrel Machine, West Coast Blues, and You Are There

It Was the War of the Trenches

Review: "Many books have been written about World War I, but few can truly worm their way into your head like Jacques Tardi’s It Was the War of the Trenches. … The tales here are devastating and heartbreaking, and often disturbing, but readers will nonetheless have a hard time putting it down." – Holly Scudero, Sacramento Book Review  

The Complete Peanuts 1950-1952 (Vol. 1) [NORTH AMERICA ONLY]

Review: "Perhaps there is something in Charlie Brown, that the longer I read his adventures, the more I become a fatalist. I look at the history of Europe and I know that there are frequent periods of relative peace, such as the past 60 years in Poland. And since they are rare, sooner or later they can suddenly end." – Konrad Hildebrand, Motyw Drogi (translated from Polish)

Love and Rockets Book 06: Duck Feet [Softcover]

Review: "This, then, was my introduction to the idiosyncratic and fantastically imagined worlds of Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez. ... While the stories and art of each Hernandez brother is unique, they shine extra bright by being juxtaposed, one to the other. Altogether: these rambling, lingering tales are bewitching." – Anna Clark, Isak

A Mess of Everything

Review: "...[In A Mess of Everything, Miss] Lasko-Gross covers the usual Holden Caulfield territory with brevity and an eye for detail. Her cartooning is very expressive and the book is coloured in subdued wash-like tones of brown, grey and blue that enhance the emotional impact of her cringe-worthy struggles for independence and individuality." – Bryan Munn, Sequential

Life's a Bitch

Plug: "[Roberta] Gregory is the cartoonist responsible for the comic series Naughty Bits, which is one of the best comic series I've ever read. Seriously, Life's a Bitch is one of my favorite comics ever. It's basically a biography of one normal — albeit kinda hateful — woman, and it's insightful, funny, and true." – Paul Constant, The Stranger (previewing an event on Saturday that, alas, we didn't know about in advance)

Weathercraft

Plug: Ragged Claws Network gives you a heads-up about Weathercraft by Jim Woodring

The Best American Comics Criticism

Contributor notes: Bob Andelman, whose interview with Howard Chaykin about Will Eisner is included in The Best American Comics Criticism, talks about the book

Reviewer: Laura Warholic author Alexander Theroux looks at a new biography of Jack London for The Wall Street Journal: "Readers can be pardoned for thinking it seems not improbable that London, given the chance, would punch Mr. Haley in the nose."

Daily OCD: 4/5/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under reviewsPrince ValiantPopeyePeter BaggePeanutsNell BrinkleyMichael KuppermanLove and RocketsKevin HuizengaJohnny RyanJoe DalyJim WoodringJaime HernandezJacques TardiHumbugHans RickheitHal FosterGilbert HernandezEC SegarDaily OCDCharles M SchulzCarol TylerBest of 2009Al Columbia 5 Apr 2010 4:56 PM

Online Commentary & Diversions:

List: Look out, it's Tom Spurgeon's Best of 2009 list at The Comics Reporter. Fantagraphics category rankings are listed below, with complete lists and Tom's commentary to be found at the link above:

Best Archival/Reprints:
14: Everybody Is Stupid Except for Me by Peter Bagge
13: The Red Monkey Double Happiness Book by Joe Daly
12: The Complete Peanuts 1971-1974 by Charles M. Schulz
10: The Brinkley Girls: The Best of Nell Brinkley's Cartoons 1913-1940
8: You Are There by Jacques Tardi & Jean-Claude Forest
7: Luba by Gilbert Hernandez
4: Locas II: Maggie, Hopey & Ray by Jaime Hernandez
3: Popeye Vol. 4: Plunder Island by E.C. Segar
2: Humbug by Elder, Kurtzman, Jaffee, Roth et al.

Best Comics (First Run Or Definitively Collected):
23: Prison Pit Book 1 by Johnny Ryan
18: "Ti-Girl Adventures" by Jaime Hernandez in Love and Rockets New Stories #2
14: The Squirrel Machine by Hans Rickheit
12: Tales Designed to Thrizzle Vol. 1 by Michael Kupperman
11: You'll Never Know, Book 1: A Good and Decent Man by C. Tyler
10: Ganges #3 by Kevin Huizenga
3: Pim & Francie by Al Columbia

Locas II: Maggie, Hopey & Ray

Review: "Somehow, some way, Jamie Hernandez is getting better and better. ...Locas, the first gigantic hardcover compilation of Jamie’s 'Maggie and Hopey' stories, stands as one of the highlights of my life as a reader. Now, unbelievably, Locas II exceeds the original’s standard. ... In Locas II: Maggie, Hopey and Ray, he’s crafted perhaps his most universal work to date, a saga of three people who’ve left behind the postures of their youth to stumble, unsure and hesitant, across the landscape of their adult lives. It’s strange and scary, funny and sweet, confused and enlightening. Locas II is a master as the top of his game, and a true comic book classic." – Michael C. Lorah, Newsarama

Prince Valiant Vol. 1: 1937-1938

Review: "It is interesting to see the rapid evolution of the graphics and drawings [in Prince Valiant Vol. 1: 1937-1938], a little reticent and schematic at first, but soon becoming highly detailed and expressive. Adventure prevailed in the stories, but there was room for humor, romance and tragedy." – Top Comics (translated from Portuguese)

The Portable Frank

Review: "OK sure but trust me it's not for those who just want to look at dumbed down pictures and drool on themselves as anorexic telepathic women parade in wonder bras nor is this Babar's color by number. [The Portable] Frank is engaging on all levels and asks the reader to not just lose themselves but to participate fully and that's why this is my pick of the week!!" – Coast City Comics

The Frank Book

Plug: "This book is amazing and bat%$#* crazy.  There are no words, just check it out of the library asap." – Cold Bullets















Daily OCD: 3/31/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under SethreviewsNewaveLove and RocketsJaime HernandezJacques TardiGilbert HernandezDaily OCDChris WareChip KiddCharles BurnsAl Columbia 31 Mar 2010 1:45 PM

Online Commentary & Diversions:

Love and Rockets Book 25: High Soft Lisp

Review: "The quality of [Gilbert] Hernandez's cartooning is unassailable. Part of the reason [High Soft Lisp] is so hard to quantify is his uncanny ability to shift focus on a moment's notice, effortlessly jumping from one character to another, suggesting whole thought processes and histories with just a handful of images." – Jason Michelitch, Comics Alliance

Pim & Francie: The Golden Bear Days

Review: "The sort of horror Columbia presents in Pim & Francie works even better without the trappings of recitation and the cause and effect on which they depend. This sort of dread-inducing fright functions without regard to the recognizable comforts of logic and the niceties of narration. This is visceral, elemental terror that generally festers below — or alongside invisibly — human reckoning. ... Frontwards, backways, sneak-a-peek sideways, it all packs a monumentally disturbing wallop." – Rich Kreiner, "Yearlong Best of the Year," The Comics Journal

Love and Rockets Library (Locas Book 4): Penny Century It Was the War of the Trenches

Plugs: The Gosh! Comics Blog highlights recent arrivals Penny Century by Jaime Hernandez ("This volume picks up right after Perla La Loca left off, beginning with the now out-of-print graphic novel Whoa Nellie! which is probably the best female wrestling comic in town") and It Was the War of the Trenches by Jacques Tardi ("Since only a fraction of Trenches was ever available to us English-speaking folk it’s a nice to see the whole lot of it in one place.")

Skin Deep [Softcover Ed.]

Panel: The Comics Journal presents the first part (of three) of a never-before-published panel discussion between Charles Burns , Chip Kidd, Seth and Chris Ware, moderated by Jeet Heer, that occurred October 29, 2005 at the International Festival of Authors in Toronto, Canada

Newave! The Underground Mini Comix of the 1980s

Interview: The Daily Cross Hatch 's Brian Heater, who says "Released late last month, Fantagraphics’ massive collection, Newave, has already made a strong case for its place on 2010’s list of most essential reissues," talks to the book's editor Michael Dowers: "I’ve always been into art and stuff, so I thought that [minicomics] would be fun to do. I used to do paintings, I did a bunch of wood carving, I built a few stringed instruments. I was always doing things with my hands. It wasn’t until I discovered minicomics that it just all came together. I never dreamed that, 30 years later, I would be writing a book about this stuff."

Daily OCD: 3/18/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Tony MillionaireTim LanetelevisionRobert WilliamsreviewsMaakiesJasonDrinky Crow ShowDaily OCDComing AttractionsAl Columbia 18 Mar 2010 1:41 PM

Online Commentary & Diversions:

Abandoned Cars [Softcover Ed. - Pre-Order]

Review: "It’s vaudevillian and it’s Old Hollywood. It’s rock n’ roll and beat poetry. It’s introspective and depressing and quite often funny, and depicts a world that exists on the fringes of society where the American Dream meets the cold, harsh reality of life as viewed through a grimy windshield. ... When you put all the pieces together, you don’t simply get a story or a group of stories, you get a book that pulls back the curtain on the collective unconscious of a nation. ... Like the myths that it is inspired by, Abandoned Cars lingers long after reading and grows in stature as you re-live and re-tell it." – Chad Derdowski, Mania

Pim & Francie: The Golden Bear Days

Review: "Part of Pim & Francies disconcerting effect is that it confounds easy categorization, leaving the reader uncertain what exactly this book is, or how to approach it. It doesn’t contain discrete, coherent stories, but it’s also more unified and linear than a sketchbook; there are continuing characters, recurring images and situations, even a discernable arc. It’s possible to piece together narratives from the fragments here, the way you might reconstruct a crime scene from bits of evidence, or a nightmare from fading details. These stories may even be all the more potent for having to be inferred, like the phantasms we imagine when we listen to horror stories on the radio." – Tim Kreider, The Comics Journal

Conceptual Realism: In the Service of the Hypothetical [Softcover Edition -  Exclusive Bonus Signed Plate]

Profile/Review: Thought Balloonists' Charles W. Hatfield has a doozy of a report from Robert Williams's March 10 lecture at Cal. State Northridge, with plenty of insight into the artist, the talk, and the Conceptual Realism exhibit at the CSUN gallery: "Williams and his academic audience met halfway; the bracing, not to say ass-kicking, potency of the paintings seemed to wow most of the crowd. This was a fine performance, enlivened from the start by Williams' genuine gratitude and enthusiasm for being there."

Werewolves of Montpellier by Jason (not final cover)

Plug: Library Journal spotlights Jason's Werewolves of Montpellier among notable July graphic novel releases: "Having subjected zombies to the witty vagaries of his goofy, humanized animals, Eisner Award winner Jason tackles werewolves mixed up in re-creational burglary and romance. It’s the pretender vs. the professionals — who are not happy about amateur competition."

The Drinky Crow Show

Television: Adult Swim will start re-running The Drinky Crow Show starting March 30, so mark your calendars and set your DVRs now. Even if you caught it the first time, it merits repeat viewings

Daily OCD: 3/4/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Trina RobbinsNell BrinkleyKevin HuizengaEsther Pearl WatsonDaily OCDCarol TylerBest of 2009Al Columbia 4 Mar 2010 1:01 PM

Spot the common thread in today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

You'll  Never Know Book 1: A Good and Decent Man

List: At The Truth About Comics Mario Z. Alipio (aka MZA) posts his top 11 comics of 2009, including You'll Never Know Book 1: A Good and Decent Man by C. Tyler at #6 ("A brilliant and disarmingly vulnerable historical memoir that converts a family's personal anguish into adult wisdom and grace. Part documentarian and part emotional wreck, Tyler examines her secretive father's WWII past and her own disintegrating marriage w/ an enviable balance between sensitivity and fearlessness"), Pim & Francie by Al Columbia at #9 ("Gorgeously reproduced — rough pencil marks, taped edges, discolourations, and all — this might be the sweetest thing to stare at, dumbly, in my whole library"), and Ganges #3 by Kevin Huizenga at #10 ("Huizenga conceives brilliant new methods of shorthand comix communication the way monkeys learn sign language to get the banana") (via The Comics Reporter)

The Brinkley Girls: The Best of Nell Brinkley's Cartoons  1913-1940

List: Library Journal's Martha Cornog names The Brinkley Girls: The Best of Nell Brinkley's Cartoons 1913-1940 as one of "27 Graphic Novels for Women's History Month," saying "Brinkley’s gloriously rococo line art introduced fun-loving, energetic gals who paved the way for modern American action heroines like Brenda Starr and Wonder Woman."

Unlovable Vol. 2 - Esther Pearl Watson

Plug: Esther Pearl Watson's Unlovable Vol. 2 is a Pick of the Week at Meltdown Comics in L.A.

Things to see: 2/17/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under videoThings to seeSergio Ponchionefan artDerek Van GiesonDebbie DrechslerDave CooperAl Columbia 17 Feb 2010 3:05 PM

Your daily dose of eyeball kicks:

February - Dave Cooper

• Holy smokes, this Dave Cooper painting, titled February, is part of the group show The Devil Made Me Do It curated by Industrial Squid at WWA Gallery in Culver City

Helvella lacunosa - Debbie Drechsler

• I like the composition of this drawing of Helvella lacunosa in a cemetary by Debbie Drechsler

 

• Some Pim & Francie fan art by YouTube user Danny2113182

 

• Artwork by Sergio Ponchione is used in the stage set for the performance for which this video is the trailer; Sergio's blog post also includes a small newspaper spot illustration he did

I, Anonymous - Steven Weissman

Steven Weissman's latest "I, Anonymous" spot

Devil Doll outtake - Derek Van Gieson

A teaser panel and outtake page from the last chapter of Derek Van Gieson's Mome story "Devil Doll," plus a sketchbook page (not shown here)

Daily OCD: 2/16/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under reviewsHo Che AndersonDaily OCDaudioAline Kominsky-CrumbAl Columbia 16 Feb 2010 3:42 PM

Meaty Online Commentary & Diversions today:

List: The Browser's Roland Chambers talks to comics scholar and junior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows Hillary Chute about her top five graphic narratives, including Aline Kominsky-Crumb's Love That Bunch: "To me, Aline is one of the most important figures in comics, which isn’t to say that she’s one of the most well-known. She’s not. But her comics have inspired a legion of cartoonists working in comics autobiography: specifically women cartoonists, because Aline published the first ever autobiographical comic from a woman’s point of view."

Review: "King has long been a figure so ubiquitous in American culture that little of his true self remains in his frequently invoked image and words. Anderson does the man a favor by taking a spiky, fractured approach to his subject and refusing to plant a halo on his troubled head. ... Though all the great moments of his civil rights battle are here (from the March on Washington to his less-successful housing campaign in Chicago), Anderson doesn't resort to the cheap cinematic trick of success and fadeout. There is more disappointment here than celebration, suffused with the sorrowful sense of a long, long battle just barely begun. A crowning achievement, like the man it portrays." – Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

Review: "...Columbia's most disturbing material yet. ... he remains one of the finest horrorists (if such a word exists and I may be allowed to use it) working in comics today, far exceeding what is generally held to be the standard of excellence in the genre, via his ability to convey a terrible sense of dread and foreboding. ... As disjointed and narratively frustrating as Pim and Francie can be at times, it remains a stunning and haunting work that preys on your mind long after you've finished it. The successive wave upon wave of unsettling imagery builds upon subsequent page to suggest a world of constant pain and surreal terror, where hiding places are few and far between. ... The sheer level of craftsmanship and imagination on display makes this a book well worth reading for those who can bear its mordant message." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6

Interview: The Sidebar comics podcast chats with Ho Che Anderson about his new books King: The Special Edition and Sand & Fury as well as his transition into filmmaking, among other topics

Daily OCD: 2/2/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Steve DitkoreviewsNewaveIvan BrunettiEsther Pearl WatsonDaily OCDBlazing CombatBlake BellBest of 2009Al Columbia 2 Feb 2010 1:44 PM

Online Commentary & Diversions have seen their shadow:

List: Our pal Bully the Little Stuffed Bull has started his annual Fun Fifty countdown. In the first installment, coming in at #46, Blazing Combat: "War, huh! What is it good for? Absolutely nothin'... aside from bringing us this gorgeous archive edition of a classic comic every war comics fan oughta have in their library."

Review: "Back in the days of Factsheet Five, I used to order tons of minicomix. Most were mediocre, but a few were terrifically good and that made it worth the risk to send in the fifty cents or so that they cost. ... Fantagraphics just released a massively thick (900 pages!) anthology of minicomix called Newave! The Underground Mini Comix of the 1980s , and it's a treat." – Mark Frauenfelder, Boing Boing

Review: "In Strange Suspense, Ditko already shines as a masterful designer of sinister mansions, ornate gateways and demonic doors and furnishings... And finally, there’s no mistaking those trademark Ditko faces, leering with evil or sweating and wide-eyed with terror, often lit or looking up from below. ... It is a pleasure to follow Ditko’s youthful artistic progression and there is a noticeable refining and streamlining of his drawing, going for greater clarity and impact. ... These morality fables are seldom subtle or surprising... but it’s Ditko’s artistry that elevates these mostly standard comic book nasties. ...[T]he $39.99 ticket is good value, and this is a weighty, hard-packed, deluxe package..." – Paul Gravett

Review: "Successful art engenders powerful emotion in its observers. How do I know that Al Columbia's Pim & Francie is an amazing work of art? Because it seriously made me feel ill. Uncomfortable. It made me question my sense of aesthetics; played havoc with my expectations. It's unquestionably an amazing book. ... Rating: 8/10" – Jeremy Nisen, Under the Radar

Plug: Boing Boing's David Pescovitz previews Esther Pearl Watson's upcoming painting exhibit and says "Unlovable is a terrific comic"

Commentary: At The Daily Cross Hatch, Box Brown reproduces the epochal letters page from Ivan Brunetti's Schizo #2 (reprinted in Misery Loves Comedy) as part of a new column on cartoonists' letters to cartoonists

Daily OCD: 1/21/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Trina RobbinsstaffRobert GoodinRichard SalareviewsNell BrinkleyMegan KelsoLove and RocketsLilli CarréLeah HayesJohnny RyanJaime HernandezJacques TardiCraig YoeComing AttractionsBest of 2009Al Columbia 21 Jan 2010 3:35 PM

Past, present and future in today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

List: Library Journal picks "Trina Robbins’s glam grab bag of Nell Brinkley serials," The Brinkley Girls: The Best of Nell Brinkley’s Cartoons from 1913–1940, as the best reprint on their Best Graphic Novels 2009 list

List: Thanks to Zack Soto for naming West Coast Blues by Tardi & Manchette, Prison Pit: Book 1 by Johnny Ryan, and Pim & Francie by Al Columbia amongst his Favorite Books of 2009 (via)

Review: "Imagine then what yesterday — or today's — right wingers would say about The Great Anti-War Cartoons... Sadly... what these cartoons have made us 'see' is how little things have changed 'round the planet, or within our species. ... And while being the spark for various brilliant cartoons over the decades doesn't justify the institutional addiction to war (or its always-looming threat), these cartoons can at least provide some solace. Or good fallout shelter reading." – Mark London Williams, The SF Site: Nexus Graphica

Review: "Jaime Hernandez’s side of the Love and Rockets anthology may have started in a world of futuristic fantasy, but [The Girl from H.O.P.P.E.R.S.] is the volume where he finds his feet and hits a groove. ... Jaime’s illustration is beautiful and effortless. His characters mix a near perfect clear-line style with cartoonish expression, used with particular aplomb when emotions are running high. It’s a masterclass in comic illustration." – Grovel

Review: "The illustrations [in Holy Moly] are so odd and random I burst out laughing at almost every page!" – Pop Culture Junkie

Plug: Library Journal features May 2010's Artichoke Tales by Megan Kelso in their inaugural Graphic Novels Prepub Alert: "A coming-of-age story about a young girl from a family caught between sides in a civil war, set in a world similar to ours but where people have artichoke leaves instead of hair. ... Its delicate, rather impish black-and-white line work comes from the creator of the subtle and poignant Squirrel Mother."

Things to see: Stills from Lilli Carré's new animation in progress

Things to see: Another great duck cover cover by Robert Goodin

Things to see: Richard Sala posts scans of his 1990s illustrations for Seventeen and Sassy magazines etc.... Teen Girl Squad!

Foreign Relations: Citizen reporter Mat Probasco of Allvoices approaches our own Jason T. Miles for expert analysis on the Hong Kong government's attempt to use comics to spur youth involvement


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