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Category >> Alexander Theroux

Daily OCD 3/22/13
Written by Jen Vaughn | Filed under The Comics JournalSpain RodriguezspainRoy CraneRobert CrumbPeter BaggePaul NelsonNoah Van SciverMoto HagioMort MeskinMichael KuppermanLinda MedleyKim ThompsonKevin AveryJulia GfrörerJanet HamlinJaime HernandezJack JacksonGuy PeellaertGeorge HerrimanGary GrothEd PiskorDaily OCDcomics journalChuck ForsmanChris WrightB KrigsteinAlexander Theroux 22 Mar 2013 3:45 PM

The longest, unabridged edition of Online Commentaries & Diversions:

Tales Designed to Thrizzle Volume Two

• Review: The Village Voice is almost hospitalized while reading Michael Kupperman's Tales Designed to Thrizzle Vol. 2. "Kupperman heaps absurdity upon absurdity…The result is a jubilant rococo, the strips all thrilling ornamentation…No exaggeration: I coughed hot soup out of my nose while reading the new hardbound volume of deadpan dadaist Michael Kupperman" states Alan Scherstuhl.

• Review: Comic Book Resources looks at Tales Designed to Thrizzle Vol. 2 by Michael Kupperman. Brian Cronin loves the Moon 69 story. "The devolution of the ads as the story continues might be my favorite part…The second collection of Kupperman’s individual Thrizzle issues JUST came out and it includes [Moon 69]! So go buy it, dammit!"

• Review: Tales Designed to Thrizzle Vol. 2 by Michael Kupperman shines at The AV Club. "Kupperman's work only gets funnier when read in bulk... Kupperman's comics take pre-existing popular culture-TV shows, advertising, other comics-and tweak them just a little until they become hilariously absurd," states Noel Murray.

• Plug: Time Out New York analyzes Tales Designed to Thrizzle Vol. 2 with one interactive panel. Cool!

The Comics Journal #302

• Review: Glen Weldon reviews The Comics Journal #302 on New Republic, exclusively the Maurice Sendak interview conducted by Gary Groth. "Why on earth would I want to read 100 pages of caustic carping? Because Sendak is funny.  Deeply, passionately so. Read in full, Sendak’s zingers lose their venom and evince a sincere and surprising warmth. He comes off as bitter, but not embittered—a fine distinction, perhaps, but a real one."

• Plug (video): Mark Judge made a music video for TCJ #302. Trust me, you'll want to see this.

• Plug: USA Today's Pop Candy mentions TCJ #302. "This week I've been reading the wonderful (and massive) issue No. 302, which contains a huge Maurice Sendak tribute as well as his final interview"

• Revew: Chris Estey of KEXP writes on some of our new titles like The Comics Journal #302, edited by Gary Groth, Kristy Valenti and Michael Dean. "Probably my favorite single issue magazine of 2013, it is actually a freakily-elevated edition of the long-running only-trustable trade magazine devoted to comics…it gives us a chance to sample the gamut of an ever-evolving and surprisingly inspiring art-form."

The Grammar of Rock

• Revew: Chris Estey of KEXP reviews our newest book of music criticism The Grammar of Rock by Alexander Theroux. "Ripping through this hilarious rage on banality and unexpected pleasures I thought, they don’t make writers like this anymore…Drop that boring band biography and fetch this, if only for the mountains of lists of rarely-heard missing gems he has sampled and tasted beforehand for you."

• Review: Pop Matters has to tune into The Grammar of Rock by Alexander Theroux. John L. Murphy writes, "Naturally, the fun of The Grammar of Rock lies in its acerbic prose as well as its aesthetic insight…You’ll either laugh or you won’t. I laughed."

• Review: Washington Independent Review of Books also looks at Alexander Theroux's The Grammar of Rock. "Reading Alexander Theroux’s The Grammar of Rock is like hitching a ride with a suspiciously awake truck driver who talks endlessly for hours…All in all, this book is a very cold love letter," says DJ Randy Cepuch.

Sketching Guantanamo

• Plug: Wired runs 10 sketches by Janet Hamlin featured in her upcoming book, Sketching Guantanamo. Hamlin remembers sketching Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, "He would turn and pose — a deliberate turn, facing me, holding very steady." 

Julio's Day

• Review: Julio's Day by Gilbert Hernandez gets reviewed on on The AV Club. "Julio's Day(Fantagraphics) is as much about what's not on the page as what is...Fashions, mores, and technologies change; but desires and disappointments do not," writes Noel Murray.

Los Tejanos and Lost Cause

• Review: Nerds of a Feather give an outstanding rating and review a recent reprint of Jack Jackson's work. Philippe Duhart writes, "Los Tejanos and Lost Cause are the products of serious historical research, and as such they are clear exhibitions of comics' potential as a viable media for academic and journalistic work…I appreciate that Johnson sticks with the perspective of the “losers” -- Juan Seguin's struggles against racism following Texas’ rebellion and Texan Confederates' struggle to regain a sense of honor following the defeat of their cause."

Castle Waiting Vol. 1

• Review: Fingers on Blast reads Linda Medley's Castle Waiting Vol. 1. "The tales weave their way together seamlessly thanks to Medley's art.  There is no simple way to describe it, but to say it draws you ever deeper into the story."

Peter Bagge's Other Stuff

• Revew: Chris Estey of KEXP writes on some of our new titles Peter Bagge's Other Stuff which" features Bagge doing some sharp-witted journalism (on comedy festivals, especially) and historical stories…it is an electric, howlingly funny, bona-fide classic mangle of manic music history, prickly satire, and perfectly rendered cartooning."

The Heart of Thomas The Adventures of Jodelle   

• Review: Novi Magazine picks apart feminist storytelling in Moto Hagio's The Heart of Thomas. "While Thomas depicts male characters, Hagio codes femininity into every element of the story, with every effort towards drawing in her assumedly female audience…" writes Dan Morrill.
 
•Review: BookDragon plugs The Heart of Thomas by Moto Hagio. "…it’s certainly proved its lasting effects. Never mind the rockets, sometimes turbulent feelings can take you much, much further…" writes Terry Hong.
 
• Plug: Comics Forge is looking foward to The Adventures of Jodelle by Guy Peellaert as much as we are! "This was one of the trend setting 1960’s comics that you will see echoed worldwide during that time and when this style of pop art was raging as the most important thing since sex was invented…It looks like it is going to be a beautiful book, like most of the books that Fantagraphics puts out, you can feel the love."

Buz Sawyer: Vol. 2 Out of the Shadows

• Review: Scoop covers Buz Sawyer Vol. 2: Sultry's Tiger by Roy Crane in one hell of a history lesson on newspaper and adventure comics. "Buz Sawyer may be the peak of the adventure strip as a genre…Crane’s ability to walk a fine line between hyper-realism while still incorporating an easy to read and understand style places him among the greats in comic history," says Mark Squirek. 

• Review: Scoop covers Mort Meskin's Out of the Shadows. "He is so skilled at body language that without reading a single word you can see the kid’s enthusiasm for his grandfather’s story grow across the first three panels," writes Mark Squirek.

Beta Testing the Apocalypse The Hypo Black Lung

• Interview: Comic Book Resources and Alex Dueben interview Tom Kacyznski about his books. Kacyznski says, "There's an easy willingness to imagine the collapse of everything instead of small changes in the political system that could fix a lot of the problems that we're having. Those kinds of themes interest me."

• Review: Beta Testing the Apocalypse by Tom Kaczynski gets a look-see on B-Sides & Rarities. Elizabeth Simins writes, "Kaczynski’s style involves a pretty dedicated commitment to setting scenes with lyrical descriptions as much as imagery, which is something I associate with the space between “regular” fiction and comics…You should read it."

• Review: Grovel reviews The Hypo by Noah Van Sciver. "It’s a surprising but fascinating insight into the psyche of a man that outsiders would normally assume to be a sort of political superhuman, but Sciver adds depth and soul to the two-dimensional image of the man with half a beard and a top hat," penned Andy Shaw.

• Review: Comic Pusher enjoys their read of Chris Wright's new book: "In Black Lung Wright presents a world of ceaseless violence and pain, his reflectively brutal cartooning interwoven with elegiac prose, with the very syntax of comic storytelling breaking down under the memory and transformative agony of loss and obsession," says Jeffrey O. Gustafson. 

Everything is an Afterthought Your Vigor for Life Appalls Me  

• Review: Warren Leming over at Logos Journal reviews Everything is an Afterthought: The life and times of Paul Nelson. "Author Kevin Avery has done us a great service in bringing Paul Nelson’s woefully neglected story and life on the music culture scene into focus. This is a book for all those interested in what made 20th Century American music an anthem for the world."

• Plug: Jade at D&Q Bookstore digs into Your Vigor for Life Appalls Me by R. Crumb. "The extraordinary title is only matched by the incredible insight into the iconoclast’s mind and the ultra-snazzy portrait of an early Crumb on the cover, sporting a corduroy jacket and tie… A definite must-read for any Crumb fan."

Black is the Color The End of the Fucking World Hip Hop Family Tree
• Review: The Comics Journal digs Black is the Color by Julia Gfrörer. Sean T. Collins writes, "Gfrörer’s most moving comic to date, Black Is the Color eroticizes suffering not to glamorize it, but to endure it."

• Interview: Robin McConnell interviews Julia Gfrörer about her webcomic and soon-to-be-in-print book, Black is the Color on Inkstuds.

• Review: Comics Bulletin loves Charles Forsman's The End of the
Fucking World
. Geoffrey Lapid writes "Instead of allowing you to step back and look at James and Alyssa through wistful adult hindsight, Forsman's fluid and subdued linework take us right into those moments that you only understand when you're 17 years-old, proudly oblivious and doomed…James and Alyssa feel like real, substantial characters rather than simple broad strokes alluding to a deeper history."

• Interview: Ed Piskor is interviewed by Jackie Mantey for Columbus Alive during his Ohio art residency and on Hip Hop Family Tree. "The purity of intent is something that’s important to me with anything I come across," Piskor believes. 

Love and Rockets New Stories 5 Cruisin' with the Hound

• Interview: Kelli Korducki interviews Jaime Hernandez on behalf of Hazlitt about Love and Rockets. Jaime answers, "I like the way women react to situations. Guys in a certain situation mostly try to keep it cool, keep their cover, keep things in control. With a lot of women I know, you get eight different reactions to a situation."

• Review: Jon Longhi looks at Spain Rodriguez in Having a Book Moment. Cruisin' with the Hound, a recent collection, is "it's all gang fights, hot rods, teenage mayhem and its wonderfully entertaining and beautifully illustrated."

Messages in a Bottle Krazy and Ignatz

• Plug: Craig Fischer on the Heroes Online Blog now looks at Messages in a Bottle: Comic Book Stories by B. Krisgstein. "Thanks to Sadowski, I’m now crazy for Krigstein."

• Plug: Earth Science Picture of the day is Elephant Feet, Arizona, (shot by Stu Witmer) as seen in the comic pages Krazy Kat by George Herriman

• Plug: Heidi MacDonald over at The Beat enjoyed Tom Spurgeon's interview with Gary Groth. Tom also put up a visit of Fantagraphics in pictures, but you know, didn't include the new office.

• Plug: The LA Times and David Ulin say some touching things after the announcement of Kim's cancer diagnosis. Thank you.

Daily OCD 3/7/13
Written by Jen Vaughn | Filed under Richard SalaNo Straight LinesNancyJustin HallJulia GfrörerJohnny GruelleJames RombergerJacques TardiGary GrothErnie BushmillerDavid WojnarowiczDaily OCDChuck ForsmanChris WrightAlexander Theroux 7 Mar 2013 5:24 PM

The first peak of sun of Online Commentaries & Diversions:

7 Miles a Second

• Review: Noah Berlatsky on Slate reviews 7 Miles a Second by David Wojnarowicz, James Romberger, and Marguerite Van Cook. "That feared and desired encounter is in part the collision of comics and art—but it's also, and emphatically, the intermingling of queer and straight…7 Miles a Second still represents a road largely avoided…even if 7 Miles a Second never went mainstream, this new edition remains a stirring reminder that everything pushed to the side isn't gone."

• Review: Full Page Bleed and Tom Murphy read 7 Miles a Second by David Wojnarowicz, James Romberger, and Marguerite Van Cook. "Like David Wojnarowicz's vision of himself, this is a volume that has an impossible amount of energy and emotion packed into its slim dimensions. It's a blistering book that, having been revived by Fantagraphics in the format it deserves, should now take its rightful place in the comics/graphic memoir canon."

Delphine

• Review: The North Adams Transcript blog reviewed Delphine by Richard Sala. "Prince Charming’s journey is creepy and jarring, and the trappings of the likes of the Grimm Brothers take on a heightened presentation that becomes more personal than you would ever expect them to be," John Seven.

The Grammar of Rock

• Plug: The D&Q bookstore is ready to read prose book The Grammar of Rock by Alexander Theroux. Jade writes, "Cliché lyrics, diva meltdowns, and inarticulate diction are all up for close examination in Theroux’s comprehensive exploration of language in pop, rock, jazz, folk, soul, and yes, even rap (Ghostface Killah!)."

No Straight Lines

• Plug: LAMBDA announces nominees for awards and includes Justin Hall's No Straight Lines. Lambda Literary Awards celebrate achievement in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) writing for books published in 2012. More information here!

Love from the Shadows

• Review: The Savage Critic looks at Gilbert Hernandez's Love from the Shadows. "It’s the work of a comics master tearing into the stained brown paper parcel of his unconscious, and finding a piping hot slurry composed of decades of pop culture detritus."

Nancy Likes Christmas

• Plug: The Daily Optimist shows off a few panels of Nancy Likes Christmas by Ernie Bushmiller. Dan Wagstaff writes, "I do have a strange and peculiar love of Ernie Bushmiller’s ‘Nancy’ comic strips… Fantagraphics are doing a great job of collecting them properly into books (designed by Jacob Covey)."

• Plug: Tom Heintjes on Cartoonician gives a short and concise history of Fritzi Ritz aka Aunt Fritzi from Ernie Bushmiller's Nancy. She was the star of her own strip before that created by Larry Whittington. "A young cartoonist named Ernie Bushmiller took the reins and went with his strength: the simple gags that would forever earn both the scorn and admiration of millions of comics fans."

Gary Groth

• Interview: The Comics Reporter and Tom Spurgeon interviews Publisher Gary Groth: "I can look at most books and come up with a pretty accurate estimate as to how it will sell. Occasionally I'm wrong."

Chris Wright's Black Lung Black is the Color

• Plug: Fantagraphics fan and friend, JT Dockery has a fundraising campaign/pre-order for his Despair book which features art from Chris Wright and Julia Gfrörer. I hope they are on a ship.

The End of the Fucking World

• Plug: Sam Costello at Full Stop lists The End of the Fucking World by Charles Forsman as one of the most anticipated books of 2013. "While there’s certainly violence and horror here, Forsman handles the subject as a character study, not a lurid glorification, making James sympathetic and his deeds all the more monstrous."

Mr. Twee Deedle

• Review: Michael May reviews Mr. Twee Deedle by Johnny Gruelle on School Library Journal. In reference to Good Comics for Kids, "There’s plenty for children to enjoy in the collection, but parents and educators will be even more rewarded. Not only by the history and context that Marschall provides, but by the sheer sweetness and transportive beauty of the illustrations as well. Each of the full-page, full-color strips is something not only to linger over, but to revisit often."

West Coast Blues

• Review: The Weekly Crisis looks at West Coast Blues by Jacques Tardi. "The narrative is almost a ‘dark twin’ of Hitchcock’s North by Northwest as George is forced to adapt and go on the run as the forces arrayed against him close in."

• Plug: Jessica Abel posted some cool ideas on visual scripting and laying out your ideas she learned from Alison Bechdel. 

Fantagraphics January 2013 New Arrivals Recap
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Tom KaczynskiThe Comics JournalRobert CrumbPrince Valiantnew releasesMichael KuppermanJames RombergerJack JacksonHal FosterDavid WojnarowiczAlexander Theroux 5 Feb 2013 12:39 PM

Well folks, it's our first batch of 2013 releases and a swell batch it is.

In the past month we've received the gorgeous new definitive edition of the '90s cult classic 7 Miles a Second; Tom Kaczyinski's acclaimed short story collection Beta Testing the Apocalypse; the mammoth new issue of The Comics Journal; a reprint of a Complete Crumb Comics volume loaded with Fritz the Cat classics (and a sweet deal on multiple volumes); Alexander Theroux's encyclopedic, entertaining rant The Grammar of Rock (with Crumb on the cover); true Tejas tales in Jack Jackson's American History: Los Tejanos & Lost Cause; an essential new volume of Hal Foster's Prince Valiant; and the new 2nd hardcover collection of Michael Kupperman's hilarious Tales Designed to Thrizzle!

Remember, our New Releases page always lists the 20 most recent arrivals, and our Upcoming Arrivals page has dozens of future releases available for pre-order.

(Want these updates in your inbox every month? Subscribe!


7 Miles a Second by David Wojnarowicz, James Romberger & Marguerite Van Cook

7 Miles a Second
by David Wojnarowicz, James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook

68-page full-color 9" x 12" hardcover • $19.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-614-0

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7 Miles a Second is the story of legendary artist David Wojnarowicz, written during the last years before his AIDS-related death in 1992. Artists James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook unsentimentally depict Wojnarowicz's childhood of hustling on the streets of Manhattan, through his adulthood living with AIDS, and his anger at the indifference of government and health agencies. A primal scream of a graphic novel, 7 Miles a Second blends the stark reality of Lower East Side street life with a psychedelic delirium that artfully conveys Wojnarowicz's sense of rage, urgency, mortality and a refusal to be silent.

Originally published as a comic book in 1996 by DC's Vertigo Comics, 7 Miles a Second was an instant critical success and has become a cult classic amongst fans of literary and art comics, just as Wojnarowicz's influence and reputation have widened in the larger art world. This new edition finally presents the artwork as it was intended: oversized, and with Van Cook's elegant watercolors restored. It also includes several new pages created for this edition.

"Revolutionary.... a runaway, over-the-top circus... An excursion into areas few, if any, comics creators have tread." – Jim Steranko

"Seven Miles a Second veers between an almost unbearably gritty naturalism and the incendiary heat of surrealist hallucination." – The New Yorker

"A revelatory work of art." – Art in America

"A cult classic... both a celebration of the unlimited potential of the comic book form, and a perfect melding of inspiring, iconoclastic imaginations." – Jim Jarmusch


Beta Testing the Apocalypse by Tom Kaczynski

Beta Testing the Apocalypse
by Tom Kaczynski

136-page two-color 6.5" x 9.25" softcover • $19.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-541-9

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It would be easy to call Tom Kaczynski the J.G. Ballard of comics. Like Ballard, Kaczynski’s comics riff on dystopian modernity, bleak man-made landscapes and the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments. Yet while Kaczynski shares many of Ballard’s obsessions, he processes them in unique ways. His visual storytelling adds an architectural dimension that the written word alone lacks.

Kaczynski takes abstract ideas — capitalism, communism, or utopianism — and makes them tangible. He depicts and meditates on the immense political and technological structures and spaces we inhabit that subtly affect and define the limits of who we are and the freedom we as Americans presume to enjoy. Society and the individual, in perpetual tension. Once you’ve read Kaczynski’s comics, it should come as no surprise to learn that he studied architecture before embarking on a career as a cartoonist.

Beta Testing includes approximately 10 short stories, most notably "The New," a brand new story created expressly for this book. It’s Kaczynski’s longest story to date. "The New" is set in an unnamed third-world megalopolis. It could be Dhaka, Lagos or Mumbai. The city creaks under the pressure of explosive growth. Whole districts are built in a week. The story follows an internationally renowned starchitect as he struggles to impose his vision on the metropolis. A vision threatened by the massive dispossessed slum-proletariat inhabiting the slums and favelas on the edges of the city. From the fetid ferment of garbage dumps and shanties emerges a new feral architecture.


The Comics Journal #302 - Maurice Sendak cover

The Comics Journal #302
edited by Mike Dean & Kristy Valenti; Gary Groth, Executive Editor

672-page black & white/color 7" x 8.5" softcover
ISBN: 978-1-60699-603-4

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The newly formatted, 600+ page Comics Journal proved a resounding success with 2011’s edition. 2012’s Volume 302 is sure to prove just as essential and exciting to comics readers worldwide.

This edition’s cover feature is a long, intimate interview-portrait with and of Maurice Sendak, the greatest and most successful children’s book author of the 20th — and 21st — century, the author of Where the Wild Things Are, In the Night Kitchen, Outside Over There, Higglety Piggelty Pop, and the illustrator of works by Herman Melville, Leo Tolstoy, and Randall Jarrell. In his longest published interview (and one of the last before his death in 2012), Sendak looks back over a career spanning over 60 years and talks to Gary Groth about art, life, and death (especially death), how his childhood, his parents, and his siblings affected his art and outlook, his search for meaning — and also, on the lighter side, about his love (and hate) of movies. And his unbridled comments on the political leadership of the previous decade have already garnered national media attention and controversy.

Sharing equal billing in this issue's flip-book format: Kim Thompson conducts a career-spanning interview with French graphic novel pioneer Jacques Tardi. The two explore the Eisner Award-winner’s genre-spanning oeuvre comprising historical fiction, action-adventure, crime-thriller, “icepunk” and more, focusing on Tardi's working methods (with step by step illustration), collaborations and other media (such as film and animation), and his fascination with World War I. Plus, Matthias Wivel examines Tardi's adaptation of Léo Malet's 120, Rue de la Gare.

Also in this issue, Art Spiegelman conducts a wide-ranging aesthetic colloquy on classic kids’ comics (Carl Barks’s Donald Duck, John Stanley’s Little Lulu, Sheldon Mayer’s Sugar and Spike, and many more) with a group of comics critics and historians. Bob Levin provides a revelatory investigation of the twisted history of the "Keep on Truckin’" litigation and a fascinating biographical portrait of R. Crumb’s lawyer, Albert Morse. Warren Bernard writes a ground-breaking historical investigation of the 1954 Senate Subcommittee Hearing on Juvenile Delinquency. R.C. Harvey looks at Bill Hume's Babysan and Donald Phelps examines Percy Crosby's Skippy. And a tribute to the late Dylan Williams from his peers and the artists he published.

Plus: “How to Draw Buz Sawyer” by renowned newspaper cartoonist Roy Crane (and a previously unpublished interview), a new comic by Joe Sacco and one by Lewis Trondheim in English for the first time, Tim Kreider on Chester Brown, Tom Crippen on Mort Weisinger and Superman, Rich Kreiner on "difficult comics," and a visual gallery of and commentary on proto-comics.

The Comics Journal has been for 37 years the world’s foremost critical magazine about comics. It is now more vital than ever, a gigantic print compendium of critiques, interviews, and comics.


The Complete Crumb Comics Vol. 2: Some More Early Years of Bitter Struggle (New Softcover Ed.)  by Robert Crumb

The Complete Crumb Comics Vol. 3: Starring Fritz the Cat (New Softcover Ed.)
by Robert Crumb

128-page black & white/color 8.5" x 11" softcover • $19.99
ISBN: 978-0-93019-375-1

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Starring Fritz the Cat includes Crumb's classic original Fritz stories from 1965, including "Fritz Bugs Out" and "Fritz the Cat, Special Agent for the CIA," the first two "real" stories in the Fritz canon, as well as "Fritz the Cat, Ace Statesman," four pages of a previously unpublished Fritz story, and several Fritz illos never before printed in color. Plus: Crumb's first published work from Help! and Yell, including the "Harlem Sketchbook" and the "Bulgarian Sketchbook," most never before reprinted; two dozen of his Topps trading cards, plus extremely rare promotional items, as well as many creeting cards done for American Greetings, several in full color; and many pages of strips from Crumb's 20-year-old sketchbooks. Plus more of Marty Pahls's ongoing Crumb biography, including the story of Crumb's first acid trip, with more rare photos of the young Crumb!

1989 Harvey Award Winner, Best Domestic Reprint Project

Buy Two, Get One Half Off! When ordering this volume, add any two other available volumes from The Complete Crumb Comics series and the third volume will be half price! See product page for more details.


The Grammar of Rock: Art and Artlessness in 20th Century Pop Lyrics by Alexander Theroux

The Grammar of Rock: Art and Artlessness in 20th Century Pop Lyrics
by Alexander Theroux

352-page 6.25" x 9.25" hardcover • $28.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-616-4

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National Book Award nominee, critic and one of America’s least compromising satirists, Alexander Theroux takes a comprehensive look at the colorful language of pop lyrics and the realm of rock music in general in The Grammar of Rock: silly song titles; maddening instrumentals; shrieking divas; clunker lines; the worst (and best) songs ever written; geniuses of the art; movie stars who should never have raised their voice in song but who were too shameless to refuse a mic; and the excesses of awful Christmas recordings. Praising (and critiquing) the gems of lyricists both highbrow and low, Theroux does due reverence to classic word-masters like Ira Gershwin, Jimmy Van Heusen, Cole Porter, and Sammy Cahn, lyricists as diverse as Hank Williams, Buck Ram, the Moody Blues, and Randy Newman, Dylan and the Beatles, of course, and more outré ones like the Sex Pistols, the Clash, Patti Smith, the Fall (even Ghostface Killah), but he considers stupid rhymes, as well — nonsense lyrics, chop logic, the uses and abuses of irony, country music macho, verbal howlers, how voices sound alike and why, and much more.

In a way that no one else has ever done, with his usual encyclopedic insights into the state of the modern lyric, Theroux focuses on the state of language — the power of words and the nature of syntax — in The Grammar of Rock. He analyzes its assaults on listeners’ impulses by investigating singers’ styles, pondering illogical lunacies in lyrics, and deconstructing the nature of diction and presentation in the language. This is that rare book of discernment and probing wit (and not exclusively one that is a critical defense of quality) that positively evaluates the very nature of a pop song, and why one over another has an effect on the listener.


Jack Jackson's American History: Los Tejanos & Lost Cause

Jack Jackson's American History: Los Tejanos & Lost Cause
by Jack Jackson

320-page black & white 7.5" x 10.25" hardcover • $35.00
ISBN: 978-1-60699-504-4

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Jack Jackson loved American history and creating comics. He combined these into a single vocation and created a legacy of historical graphic novels that has never been equaled.

Jackson is credited with creating what many consider the first underground comic, God Nose, in 1964. He co-founded Rip-Off Press in 1969, and made some of the most scathing satirical comics about contemporary America ever seen. But, Jackson was a Texan, and in the 1970s he returned to his roots and began writing and drawing short historical comics about Texas history. He then went on to produce six graphic novels chronicling 19th century Western history focusing on his beloved Texas and the Plains Indians. Fantagraphics, which published Los Tejanos originally in 1981, is proud to bring his graphic histories back into print in a series of three volumes, each reprinting two of his long narratives.

The first volume features Los Tejanos, which Fantagraphics published as a solo book in 1981, and Lost Cause (1998) — chronicling Texas history before and after the Civil War.

Los Tejanos is the story of the Texas-Mexican conflict between 1835 and 1875 as seen through the eyes of tejano (literally Texan of Mexican, as distinct from anglo, heritage) Juan Seguín. It is through Seguín, a pivotal and tragic figure, that Jackson humanizes Texas’ fight for independence and provides a human scale for this vast and complex story.

Lost Cause documents the violent reaction to Reconstruction by Texans. As Jackson wrote, “Texas reaped a bitter harvest from the War Between the States. Part of this dark legacy was the great unrest that plagued the beaten but unbowed populace.” The tensions caused by Reconstruction are told through the Taylor-Sutton feud, which raged across South Texas, embracing two generations and causing untold grief, and the gunslinger John Wesley Hardin, who swept across Texas killing Carpetbaggers, Federal soldiers, and Indians.

Jackson’s work is as known for its rigorous research — he became as good an historian as he was a cartoonist — as well as its chiseled, raw-boned visual approach, reproducing the time and place with an uncanny verisimilitude.

This edition includes an essay by and interview with Jackson about the controversy Lost Cause generated, and an introduction by the novelist Ron Hansen.


Prince Valiant Vol. 6: 1947-1948 by Hal Foster

Prince Valiant Vol. 6: 1947-1948
by Hal Foster

112-page full color 10.25" x 14" hardcover • $35.00
ISBN: 978-1-60699-588-4

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Hal Foster's masterpiece of adventure enters its second decade as Valiant and Aleta journey to "The New World," a 16-month epic that allows Foster to draw some of his spectacular native Canadian backgrounds, and during which Aleta gives birth to Arn and acquires her Indian nurse, Tillicum. Most of the rest of the book is taken up with the action-packed five-month sequence "The Mad King," during which Val, back at Camelot, confronts the evil, fat little King Tourien of Cornwall.

This volume is rounded off with an essay by Foster scholar Brian M. Kane (The Prince Valiant Companion) discussing Foster's depiction of "Indians" as it relates to other interpretations of the times, accompanied by various graphic goodies including our most spectacular bonus feature yet — a double-sized fold-out page reproducing a strip hand-colored by Foster — plus a previously unpublished camping cartoon by Foster from circa 1915, some of Foster's Mountie paintings, Foster's own map of Val's voyage to/from the New World, and more rare photos and art.

As always, this volume is shot directly from Foster's personal collection of syndicate proofs, their glorious colors restored to create an unprecedentedly sumptuous reading experience.


Tales Designed to Thrizzle Vol. 2 by Michael Kupperman

Tales Designed to Thrizzle Vol. 2
by Michael Kupperman

176-page full-color 7.25" x 10" hardcover • $24.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-615-7

See Previews / Order Now  

BARGAIN COMBO:
Tales Designed to Thrizzle Vols. 1 + 2 Gift Set
Price: $49.98 $39.98

Hot on the heels of his acclaimed Mark Twain’s Autobiography 1910-2010 comes Michael Kupperman’s second all-comics collection of surreal slapstick and crazy non-sequitur goofiness, all from the pages of his beloved comic book series Tales Designed to Thrizzle.

Tales Designed to Thrizzle Volume Two features two of Kupperman’s recurring duos: America’s favorite mustachioed physicist/writer double team of Twain and Einstein (solving new crimes and barreling through exciting new adventures), and the crime-fighting team of Snake and Bacon ("Sssssssssssss!") who make a special return just to star in Reservoir Dogs 2.

Elsewhere in this volume the crusty Quincy, M.E. makes his comic book debut, struggling through the fantastic landscapes of his own dreams in "Quinception" (in which St. Peter also gets his own comic book). And learn the true story of the first lunar landing, guest starring Woodward & Bernstein, Lt. Columbo and... Quincy again??... in "Moon 69."

Also: The Jungle Princess battles rhino traders... A story of Broadway theatrics in "All About Drainage"... Slightly cursed merchandise and other dubious products... Cockney grave robbers... Cowboy Oscar Wilde... McArf the Crime Dog takes a bite out of scum... The origin of The Hamanimal... A photocomic starring comedian Julie Klausner, "Voyage To Narnia"... Break out your crayons for the highly educational "Train & Bus Coloring Book"... The story of French national hero "The Scythe"... and "Murder, She Goat."

Plus! This volume contains a full issue's worth of never-before-published, brand new Thrizzle material featuring "Mandate the Magician," "Fart Boobs," "The Odd Couple of Draculas," "Skull Groin," "Gladiator & Snivolus," "Mr. Flopears," "Gordon Ramsay's Fairy Tale Toilet Kitchen Nightmares," "McGritte the Surrealist Crime Dog," a new Twain & Einstein adventure and ever so much more!

Daily OCD 1/29/13
Written by Jen Vaughn | Filed under Walt KellyTom KaczynskiThe Comics JournalShimura TakakoRichard SalaMoto Hagiomaurice fucking sendakLove and RocketsLos Bros HernandezLinda MedleyLilli CarréJohnny RyanJasonJames RombergerJaime HernandezHal FosterGilbert HernandezGary PanterErnie BushmillerDavid WojnarowiczDash ShawDame DarcyDaily OCDChuck ForsmanChris WrightCharles M SchulzCarol TylerBlazing CombatBlabBasil WolvertonAlexander Theroux 29 Jan 2013 6:30 PM

The most checked-out book of Online Commentaries & Diversions: 

Prison Pit Book 4

• 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 enjoys Johnny 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.

TCJ 302

• 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."

7 Miles a Second

• 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."

Tales Designed to Thrizzle Vol. 2 Tales Designed to Thrizzle Volume 1

• Review: Forbidden Planet's Daily Planet looks at some new releases from Fantagraphics. Tales Designed to Thrizzle Volumes 1 and 2 by Michael Kupperman makes Matthew Rosenberg laugh, "I easily put it alongside works like The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy or Calvin & Hobbes in terms of books I can revisit and still completely lose myself in over and over again."

• 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."

The Heart of Thomas

• 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 Thomas by 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.

You'll Never Know: Book 3

• 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."

Beta Testing The Apocalypse Delphine Ralph Azham Book 1

• 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 Paste enjoys 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.
 
Lost Cat New School

• 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's New School and 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.

 Estonia The Strange Case of Edward Gorey

• 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."

Dal Tokyo Blazing Combat

• 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."
 
Castle Waiting Blacklung
• 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.

Love and Rockets: New Stories #5
 
• Review (audio): Andy and Derek of the Comics Alternative podcast review Love and Rockets: New Stories #5 by Gilbert and Jaime Heranandez.
 Wandering Son 2 Wandering Son 3 No Straight Lines

• 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. 

Heads or Tails Pogo Vol. 2 Spacehawk

• 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 like The 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."

Prince Valiant 6 Nancy Likes Christmas The End of the Fucking World

• 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.

 Peanuts Every Sunday  Charlie Brown's Christmas Stocking

• Plug: Tom Spurgeon announced the Peanuts Every Sunday book on Comics Reporter. More information tomorrow.

• Review: Allyn Gibson reviews Charles Schulz Charlie Brown's Christmas Stocking. "The artwork for these stories is vintage 1960s Schulz…It’s a charming little piece of Peanuts ephemera, and Fantagraphics gives it a nice presentation."

 Blab Blood Orange

• 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 some of these.

• Plug (video): Dame Darcy makes a wicked mural.

The Grammar of Rock by Alexander Theroux - Now in Stock
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under new releasesAlexander Theroux 29 Jan 2013 5:33 PM

Just arrived and shipping now from our mail-order department: 

The Grammar of Rock: Art and Artlessness in 20th Century Pop Lyrics by Alexander Theroux

The Grammar of Rock: Art and Artlessness in 20th Century Pop Lyrics
by Alexander Theroux

352-page 6.25" x 9.25" hardcover • $28.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-616-4

See Previews / Order Now

National Book Award nominee, critic and one of America’s least compromising satirists, Alexander Theroux takes a comprehensive look at the colorful language of pop lyrics and the realm of rock music in general in The Grammar of Rock: silly song titles; maddening instrumentals; shrieking divas; clunker lines; the worst (and best) songs ever written; geniuses of the art; movie stars who should never have raised their voice in song but who were too shameless to refuse a mic; and the excesses of awful Christmas recordings. Praising (and critiquing) the gems of lyricists both highbrow and low, Theroux does due reverence to classic word-masters like Ira Gershwin, Jimmy Van Heusen, Cole Porter, and Sammy Cahn, lyricists as diverse as Hank Williams, Buck Ram, the Moody Blues, and Randy Newman, Dylan and the Beatles, of course, and more outré ones like the Sex Pistols, the Clash, Patti Smith, the Fall (even Ghostface Killah), but he considers stupid rhymes, as well — nonsense lyrics, chop logic, the uses and abuses of irony, country music macho, verbal howlers, how voices sound alike and why, and much more.

In a way that no one else has ever done, with his usual encyclopedic insights into the state of the modern lyric, Theroux focuses on the state of language — the power of words and the nature of syntax — in The Grammar of Rock. He analyzes its assaults on listeners’ impulses by investigating singers’ styles, pondering illogical lunacies in lyrics, and deconstructing the nature of diction and presentation in the language. This is that rare book of discernment and probing wit (and not exclusively one that is a critical defense of quality) that positively evaluates the very nature of a pop song, and why one over another has an effect on the listener.

What's in the January 2013 Diamond Previews
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Zippy the PinheadSamuel R DelanyPrince ValiantMichael J VassalloMia WolffLinda MedleyKim DeitchHal FosterDiamondComing AttractionsCathy MalkasianBlake BellBill GriffithAlexander Theroux 8 Jan 2013 5:19 PM

Shipping March 2013 from Fantagraphics Books

This month's Diamond Previews catalog is out now and in it you'll find our usual 2-page spread (download the PDF) with our releases scheduled to arrive in your local comic shop in March 2013 (give or take — release dates are likely to have changed since the issue went to press). We're pleased to offer additional and updated information about these upcoming releases here on our website, to help shops and customers alike make more informed ordering decisions.

We have two Spotlight items this month: The Secret History of Marvel Comics by Blake Bell & Dr. Michael J. Vassallo, revealing the tawdry pulp origins of the comic company that they'd like you to forget about, and Bread & Wine, a new edition of the unusual and groundbreaking love story/memoir by Samuel R. Delany & Mia Wolff. The new expanded and relettered Castle Waiting Vol. 2: Definitive Edition by Linda Medley is "Certified Cool," and we've also got Bill Griffith's new Zippy collection The Dingburg Diaries, Cathy Malkasian's sequel graphic novel Wake Up, Percy Gloom, Kim Deitch's brand new original graphic novel The Amazing, Enlightening and Absolutely True Adventures of Katherine Whaley, and the paperback of Alexander Theroux's mammoth prose novel Laura Warholic. All this plus our 2013 Free Comic Book Day offering (for May), Hal Foster's Prince Valiant!

See them all here!

The Grammar of Rock by Alexander Theroux - Previews, Pre-Order
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under videopreviewsnew releasesAlexander Theroux 12 Dec 2012 6:20 PM

The Grammar of Rock: Art and Artlessness in 20th Century Pop Lyrics by Alexander Theroux

The Grammar of Rock: Art and Artlessness in 20th Century Pop Lyrics
by Alexander Theroux

352-page 6.25" x 9.25" hardcover • $28.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-616-4

Ships in: January 2013 (subject to change) – Pre-Order Now

National Book Award nominee, critic and one of America’s least compromising satirists, Alexander Theroux takes a comprehensive look at the colorful language of pop lyrics and the realm of rock music in general in The Grammar of Rock: silly song titles; maddening instrumentals; shrieking divas; clunker lines; the worst (and best) songs ever written; geniuses of the art; movie stars who should never have raised their voice in song but who were too shameless to refuse a mic; and the excesses of awful Christmas recordings. Praising (and critiquing) the gems of lyricists both highbrow and low, Theroux does due reverence to classic word-masters like Ira Gershwin, Jimmy Van Heusen, Cole Porter, and Sammy Cahn, lyricists as diverse as Hank Williams, Buck Ram, the Moody Blues, and Randy Newman, Dylan and the Beatles, of course, and more outré ones like the Sex Pistols, the Clash, Patti Smith, the Fall (even Ghostface Killah), but he considers stupid rhymes, as well — nonsense lyrics, chop logic, the uses and abuses of irony, country music macho, verbal howlers, how voices sound alike and why, and much more.

In a way that no one else has ever done, with his usual encyclopedic insights into the state of the modern lyric, Theroux focuses on the state of language — the power of words and the nature of syntax — in The Grammar of Rock. He analyzes its assaults on listeners’ impulses by investigating singers’ styles, pondering illogical lunacies in lyrics, and deconstructing the nature of diction and presentation in the language. This is that rare book of discernment and probing wit (and not exclusively one that is a critical defense of quality) that positively evaluates the very nature of a pop song, and why one over another has an effect on the listener.

20-page excerpt (download 614 KB PDF):

Video & Photo Slideshow Preview (view in new window):



First Look: The Grammar of Rock: Art and Artlessness in 20th Century Pop Lyrics by Alexander Theroux
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Robert CrumbComing AttractionsAlexander Theroux 28 Nov 2012 1:46 PM

http://www.fantagraphics.com/images/flog/mike/201211/2012-11-27-10.19.45.jpg

http://www.fantagraphics.com/images/flog/mike/201211/2012-11-27-10.22.07.jpg

January will bring another of our occasional non-comics books, a unique work of cultural and music criticism from the prolific mind of Alexander Theroux: The Grammar of Rock: Art and Artlessness in 20th Century Pop Lyrics is a scathing and hilarious examination of stupid rhymes, dud lines, silly titles, and multifarious other aspects of popular recordings of the past century (with examples of quality included for contrast), from ABBA to Zappa. On the jacket, more fine work by designer Emory Liu (featuring a vintage Robert Crumb drawing) — and wait until you see the endpapers. Get a taste with a free 20-page excerpt, and pre-order a copy, right here.

Daily OCD 11/16/12
Written by Jen Vaughn | Filed under William S BurroughsRaymond MacherotPeanutsNoah Van SciverMickey MouseMalcolm McNeillLove and RocketsJoe SaccoJaime HernandezFlannery OConnorDrew FriedmanDisneyDaily OCDChris WrightCarl BarksAlexander Theroux 16 Nov 2012 8:05 PM

 The first bit of frost of Online Commentaries & Diversions:

The Lost Art of Ah Pook

• Review (video): Last Gasp's John Longhi reviews The Lost Art of Ah Pook by Malcom McNeill, a story originally created with William Burroughs. Longhi says, "I can see why Burroughs wanted to work with McNeill because he's one of the few guys who could capture the crazy wacked out details of his story writing. . . [It contains] all the wonderful social discord that made his writing fantastic."

Blacklung

• Review: Blacklung by Chris Wright gets high marks on Paste Magazine. Sean Edgar says, "Blacklung is a weird, compelling creation, telling a harrowing story of redemption and savagery through art that could initially pass as adorable before you get to the tongue necklaces. Highly recommended for those with strong stomachs." 

The Hypo

• Review: School Library Journal announces their BEST BOOKS OF 2012 and in the graphics novels section, Noah Van Sciver's The Hypo is listed. "Van Sciver makes Lincoln real by picturing one of the hardest times in his younger life. . . Dickens-style squalor and melodrama plus Austen-style romance, all done in gritty cross-hatching."

Flannery O'Connor

• Plug: The NY Times listed Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons at the top of the Best Bathroom Reads of 2012. Dwight Garner believes "the prints collected here are droll and strange." Two of our favorite words to describe Fantagraphics-style creators such as Flannery O'Connor.

Mickey Mouse Volume 4: House of Seven Haunts Donald Duck: A Christmas for Shacktown Charlie Brown's Christmas Stocking

• Plug: Ken Plume mentions some of our books on his 2012 shopping guide: "Alongside the Peanuts collection, [Walt Disney's Donald Duck: A Christmas for Shacktown and Mickey Mouse Vol. 4 "House of the Seven Haunts"] reinforce the assessment that no one is doing archival comic collections as well as Fantagraphics."

Drew Friedman

• Plug: Drew Friedman is Boing-Boing-ed thanks to his amazing drawings, this time of John Severin from MAD/EC/Cracked comics. 

Sibyl-Anne Vs. Ratticus Gil Jordan: Murder by High Tide

• Plug: Black and White adores Raymond Macherot's Gil Jordan, Private Detective: Murder By High Tide and Sibyl-Anne Vs. Ratticus . Miguel saw the English and French versions, "And I fell in love. . . [Macherot's] worlds are (usually) full of deceptively cute anthropomorphic animals, and in his best work, under that kids-friendly surface of pretty little animals there is real threat."

God and Science Spanish edition

• Review: Roughly translated from Ediciones La Cupula, Jaime Hernandez's God and Science: Return of the Ti-Girls is reviewed. "The excitement that overwhelms us after reading each of the installments of the saga of  [Ti-Girls] is directly proportional to its artistic excellence, his talent as a storyteller and human greatness that lives in his cartoons."

The Strange Case of Edward Gorey   Laura Warholic

• Review: Lanacion reviews the writings and works of Alexander Theroux (Laura Warholic, Estonia and The Strange Case of Edward Gorey) and translated, barely, Matias Serra Bradford states, "If left as an untreated rarity, Alexander Theroux seems mysterious to the fantastic and impossible point of determining the trajectory of a particle and its position."

Joe Sacco

• Review: The Snipe News looks at Joe Sacco's Journalism collection. "the decade’s worth of stories. . . are most notable not from any kind of torn-from-the-headlines sensationalism but for the empathy the author brings to his subjects. . . . Sacco has a feel for displaced persons in general."

Cover Uncovered: The Grammar of Rock by Alexander Theroux
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Coming AttractionsAlexander Theroux 18 Oct 2012 5:00 PM

The Grammar of Rock: Art and Artlessness in 20th Century Pop Lyrics by Alexander Theroux

If you like erudite and sharp-witted cultural criticism you'll want to get your hands on this forthcoming collection of essays by Alexander Theroux, titled The Grammar of Rock: Art and Artlessness in 20th Century Pop Lyrics, when it's released in January. Covering a century of pop music from Ira Gershwin to Ghostface Killah, Theroux deconstructs and evaluates the very nature of the pop song. We're just putting on the finishing touches and packing it off to the printer and, by gum, it's 160 pages longer than when we first announced it. And why yes, that is a vintage Robert Crumb drawing on the front cover.

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