Acclaimed cartoonist Lucy Knisley (French Milk, Relish) got an opportunity that most only dream of: a travel-expenses-paid trip to Europe and Scandinavia, thanks to a book tour. An Age of License is Knisley's comics travel memoir recounting her charming (and romantic!) adventures. It’s punctuated by whimsical visual devices (such as a "new experiences" funnel); peppered with the cute cats she meets along the way; and, of course, features her hallmark — drawings and descriptions of food that will make your mouth water. But it’s not all kittens and raclette crêpes: Knisley's experiences are colored by anxieties, introspective self-inquiries, and quotidian revelations — about traveling alone in unfamiliar countries, and about her life and career — that many young adults will relate to. An Age of License — which takes its name from a French saying — is an Eat, Pray, Love for the alternative comics fan.
"Woven through the pages, impressing lightly on Helen’s still child-like mind, are issues such as transgenderism and isolation, appearance and identity, the harsh truths surrounding the commercialisation of nature and the issue of suicide among struggling farmers." – Tom Murphy, Broken Frontier
"Davis notes in the book's opening pages that 'this is not a book about how to be happy,' and I agree. How to Be Happy is a book that shows people living with despair, grief, and unhappiness. It is a book about how people fail and sometimes succeed in calming the harsh storm inside ourselves." – Sequential State
Interview:Scout Books profiles Eleanor Davis: "Initially I think I tried to water down my stuff too much, which was a mistake. Now I try to be as much of my own voice as I can get away with. The art directors tell me when it’s too much. What I’ve found is that if I enjoy myself making a piece, people will respond to it. If I’m bored making a piece folks won’t like looking at it either."
"Friedman is known for adroitly capturing gesture, mood, and psychological nuance in vivid portraits somehow combining elements of caricature and realism…Each of his portraits feels so alive, it is like being welcomed into each artist’s private world." – Steven Heller, The Atlantic
"I knew that [Glenn Bray] was the first person to seek out and collect the work of the great Donald Duck comic book artist writer Carl Barks back in the 1960s, that he published some small books about grotesque-artist Basil Wolverton, and that he was the champion of forgotten genius Stanislav Szukalski…He was probably the first real comic book art collector, buying original work in an era when everyone else considered it to be worthless." – Mark Frauenfelder, Wink
Commentary:Comic Book Resourcesrecaps Fantagraphics' SDCC Panel, "Fantagraphics Forward": "Groth said that what sets Fantagraphics apart from other comics publishers is the fact that 'almost everything we publish is written and drawn by the same person,' an approach which has contributed to defining the Fantagraphics aesthetic."
At Comic-Con last week, we completely sold out of our booth copies of Lucy Knisley's upcoming travellogue, An Age of License! For those of you who weren't able to snag a copy then, here is a peek inside Knisley's latest memoir. More photos and video to come soon, and the book is due to land on bookstore shelves and at our warehouse in September.
"…the in-process method of writing and drawing her adventures as they happen gives a vibrant immediacy to situations and sensations. Belying her relatively simple but charming cartooning style, Knisley pages are a cornucopia of information and detail: oversized seagulls, bilingual schoolchildren, and lying sat-navs populate her travels." – Publishers Weekly
"In Twelve Gems, Milburn has created a playful homage to the genre that also incorporates some of the “Marvel-isms” that were injected into the form in the '60s and '70s by Jack Kirby (primarily in The Fantastic Four and Thor) and Jim Starlin (during his stints on Captain Marvel and Warlock). The result is a work that can be enjoyed by a diverse body of comics readers, ranging from old school fans of the form all the way through to newbies who just saw the Guardians of the Galaxy movie." – Bill Boichel, Comics Workbook
"Graham Ingels is the poet laureate of the EC horror comics. His stories are some of the most iconic of the entire line, full of newly revived corpses, horrific villains and some of the scariest moments that have ever been put down on the comics page." – Jason Sacks, Comics Bulletin
"Buddy’s life paralleled my own in some sense (crap jobs, weirdo roommates), but essentially I am not, nor will I ever be like Buddy Bradley. I certainly know the type, however, and therein lies the appeal of Buddy as a main character. The revolving cast of nut jobs that Buddy attracts to himself, and is attracted by, doesn’t hurt the appeal or comic potential either, nor does the sharp wit, great dialogue and Bagge’s unique style of rubbery, quavering limbs, popping eyes and massive pie holes shouting and swearing off the pages." – Chris Auman, Sound on Sight
A massively overdue collection of Online Commentaries and Diversions, now on a weekly (or so) basis:
Review: the Absolute on The Amateurs by Conor Stechschulte. "Where The Amateursand Stechschulte truly shine are the moments of calm reflection that heighten the tension between episodes of violence and dismemberment. The butchers continually discuss their predicament, shifting between sorrow, fear, rage, and exhaustion." – Marie Anellothe Absolute
Review: Comics Worth Reading recommends An Age of License by Lucy Knisley. "Like the best travelogues, An Age of License shows you what it would be like to visit a place while reminding you that you can never have the same experience. If you liked her last book, Relish: My Life in the Kitchen, you should definitely check this out — there are some food mentions you’ll appreciate, but where Relish focused on past events, An Age of License gives more insight into the person Lucy Knisley is now." – Johanna Draper Carlson, Comics Worth Reading
Review: The Irish Times discusses how The Love Bunglers by Jaime Hernandez exemplifies the strengths of the graphic novel format. "As ever with Hernandez, it’s funny, complex, unsettling and beautifully drawn. It’s also a reminder that a graphic novel can do things that a novel told in straightforward prose simply can’t." – Anna Carey, The Irish Times
"That's the fascinating paradox of John Severin's war comics, and of Kurtzman's war comics in general. A story like "Night Patrol!" may have all the details of the soldier's uniforms correct, portray their formations precisely and even be photo-referenced from the landscape of the region in which these men hike. But what really stands out here (maybe my favorite piece in the book due to its noir feel) is the sense that the men are trapped by their surroundings and their job, oppressed by the desolate landscape, unfeeling sky and cold rain that conspire to make their lives miserable." – Jason Sacks, Comics Bulletin
Review: The Comics Alternative examines the political and historical contexts of Wallace Wood's Cannon. "For anyone familiar with spy fiction, the stories serialized in this collection are fairly standard, often serving as political mirrors that reflect the disillusionment felt by soldiers and veterans exiting the Vietnam War. In the course of the book, Cannon fights South American insurgents (led by Hitler in disguise, of course), domestic terrorists, right-wing militias, emasculated conmen, and neo-Nazis (but not the ones led by Hitler in disguise)." – Kenneth Kimbrough, The Comics Alternative
Check out this amazing video on S. Clay Wilson, with highlights from the upcoming Pirates in the Heartland: The Mythology of S. Clay Wilson Vol. 1:
Review: Comics Bulletin on Mickey Mouse Outwits the Phantom Blot by Floyd Gottfredson. "This is a gorgeous, surprising, wonderful package of stories full of thrills, surprises and a heady level of quality cartooning. The twists and turns that the masterful Floyd Gottfredson delivers are wonders to behold. If you think that Mickey is just a boring corporate icon, you need to read his battles with the Phantom Blot." – Jason Sacks, Comics Bulletin
Review: Comics Bulletin on M.K. Brown's collected works in Stranger than Life. "Brown is one of those rare cartoonists who's been able to follow her own muse for most of her career, and while some of the material presented in this book has the sort of off-center approach that many of the bestNew Yorker cartoonists take (as in the excerpts above), other pieces are more freeform, more of what seems like a reflection of Brown's unique inner life; all bulbous people drifting through life, doing faintly ridiculous things for pretty much no good reason." – Jason Sacks, Comics Bulletin
Review:Comics Alliance looks at Inio Asano's Nijigahara Holograph and it's legacy of violence. "Nijigahara Holograph manages to do many things very well. It's a sprawling story that never loses its focus on characters. It's symbolically laden without being heavy handed...It carries a palpable dread that will haunt you well after you put it down." – Kevin Church, Comics Alliance
Review: HTML Giant on Cosplayers by Dash Shaw. "This comic looks to both examine and excise our notions of otaku, nerds, geeks, and the like. Cosplayers will strike a chord with anyone who turns to reading as an escape, be they lit-nerd, comic geek, messageboard troll, or a little mixture of all of the above." – HTML Giant
August just keeps looking better and better! Among the dizzyingly beautiful books we're excited to bring to you in two months is best-selling cartoonist Lucy Knisley's newest book, a travelogue documenting her trip throughout Europe in the fall of 2011.
An Age of License follows Lucy as she navigates new countries, new experiences, and new romance, all rendered in an often-whimsical, sometimes stream-of-consciousness style that perfectly captures her moments of introspection between the memories she captures on the road. This part narration, part sketchbook format takes us right into Lucy's thoughts and revelations.
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