• List: On her Pop Candy blog, USA Today's Whitney Matheson gives The Brinkley Girls the #10 spot on her Top 10 comics/graphic novels of 2009, saying "this beautiful book introduced me to a new heroine: Nell Brinkley, an early 20th century newspaper cartoonist. Her drawings of flappers and glamour gals are sexy, strong and ahead of their time. I can't believe I hadn't seen her work before, but I'm so thrilled to know it now." Matheson also lavishes praise on Lilli Carré, who "continued making must-see work" and lands at #69 on Matheson's Top 100 People list, and whose book from Little Otsu lands at the #2 spot on the comics Top 10.
• Review: "The Wolverton Bible... is -- no pun intended -- a revelation. Though his serious work is a bit stiffer and more restrained than the Wolverton art you might be used to, it's more powerful. ... What sets [the drawings in] The Wolveton Bible apart from Crumb's Genesis... is that they come from a true believer. ...Wolverton's drawings have an intensity and sincerity that reveal something connecting him to those stories in a way Crumb just can't duplicate." – Will Pfeifer, "Books of the Year"
• Review: "...[Supermen! is] magical, memorable [and] just plain wonky... The stories range from action-packed to barely-sensible, but they all have a crazed energy you just can't fake. ... They read like the sort of stories imaginative kids would think up -- which might be why they appealed so much to kids in the first place." – Will Pfeifer, "Books of the Year"
• Review:The Hooded Utilitarian's critical roundtable on Ghost World continues with Richard Cook: "The most appealing aspect of Ghost World was the main characters, Enid and Rebecca. And much of their appeal is due to how effectively Daniel Clowes panders to a specific demographic that I belong to: geeks."
• Plug:The Beat's Heidi MacDonald, picking up on Tony Millionaire's Billy Hazelnuts and the Crazy Birdsneak peek, comments "In all the talk about comics for kids recently, we’re probably very bad for not mentioning Millionaire’s non-child-averse work more prominently. His work is not for the faint-hearted, but children generally prefer tales that are not faint-hearted." Right on.
• Plug: "Portable Grindhouse: The Lost Art of the VHS Box... is a fetishized art object/coffee table-style compendium of great VHS jackets, ranging from the campy to the sleazy to the so-bad-it's-good. Highly recommended as a gift idea for the B-movie lover on your holiday shopping list." – Audrey Hendrickson, The SunBreak
• Interview:Walrus Comix, who say "Not only is [The Pain — When Will It End?] the funniest comic strip ever, but, well, that’s it: it’s the funniest comic strip ever," talk to the strip's creator, Tim Kreider, who says, among many things, "I don’t know why you’d want to be a cartoonist if you didn’t enjoy drawing funny, cool things. If I had to draw an entire graphic novel of people sitting around talking I think I’d hang myself." (Via Journalista)
• Things to buy: Folks in Portland this weekend can purchase handmade arts-n-crafts from Andrice Arp and a bunch of other Portland artists at the Creative Creatures Bazaar at Cosmic Monkey Comics, reports Andrice on her blog
Fantagraphics is storming APE this weekend in San Francisco. Come check out a slew of new books and get 'em signed by some amazing cartoonists!
FANTAGRAPHICS SIGNINGS AT APE:
11AM - 1PM: Jon Vermilyea (MOME) & Frank Santoro (MOME)
12PM-12:45PM: SPOTLIGHT ON DASH SHAW
1PM - 3PM: Dash Shaw & T. Edward Bak (MOME)
3PM - 5PM: John Pham
5PM - 7PM: Renée French & Andrice Arp (MOME)
11AM - 1PM: Jon Vermilyea (MOME), Frank Santoro (MOME) & Dash Shaw
1PM - 3PM: T. Edward Bak (MOME) & John Pham
3PM - 5PM: Renée French (MOME) & Andrice Arp (MOME)
NEW BOOKS INCLUDE:
The Troublemakers by Gilbert Hernandez
In the Service of the Hypothetical by Robert Williams
Pim & Francie by Al Columbia
Sublife #2 by John Pham
The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century A.D. by Dash Shaw
MOME Vol. 16 by various
The Great Anti-War Cartoons by Craig Yoe
Ganges #3 by Kevin Huizenga!
As an added bonus, DASH SHAW is an official APE guest this year and will be signing copies of his new book, THE UNCLOTHED MAN IN THE 35TH CENTURY A.D. For anyone who buys the book at one of his Fanta signings during APE, Dash will do an original PAINTING on the front cover! You will not want to miss out.
• Reviews: "Locas ll collects a huge amount of comics featuring a more mature Maggie, finding and losing romance with people like Ray (one part Chandler victim, another part mod hobo), 'Frogmouth' (painfully sexy but achingly annoying), and reunions with Hopey and others in a strange relational ballet set in SW America. It’s a weird, flat plain of bizarre sex and twisted circumstance that would be the first collection of comics I would recommend for any adult wanting to get a handle on the aesthetics of the art form since it became culturally relevant to do so.... Meanwhile, Fantagraphics has also just put out a new issue of the Comics Journal #299, which has an incredible narrative by lawyer-outsider art-underground advocate Bob Levin... Levin is the writer of several books on the struggle of comics and the counter-culture and transgressive fringes, and because of him #299 of TCJ is THE book about comic art to buy this year.... Mome... is the current multi-artist series that has critics in the comics world and outside of it regularly amped.... The last few issues of Mome have really hit a hot-run of quality, and though some stories are more straightforward and others are expressionistic, all the art is always sweet." - Chris Estey, KEXP
• Review: "Comics journalism is mostly an oxymoron, but The Comics Journal, on the eve of its 300th issue, is a scholarly, intellectual publication.... [F]or intelligent discussion of current and past graphic storytelling and its creators (the current issue features an incredible story of an ahead-of-its-time genre-spanning anthology from the seventies that was never published), this is indeed an oasis of comics journalism." - Richard Pachter, The Miami Herald
• Review: "...[A]wesome to behold.... When life and love, of a sort, finally do reassert themselves at [The Squirrel Machine]'s end, it's horrifying and drawn in a fashion that makes it look less like a natural thing and more like a terrible apparition, or a special effect." - Sean T. Collins
• Review: "From Wonderland with Love collects some of the last decade's best Danish comics in one big beautiful book.… You'll happily leave the book 'accidentally' lying around on your coffee table, as it is exquisitely designed and invites being leafed through and studied.… From Wonderland with Love at times is very avant-garde and goes where we are talking less comics and more comics-inspired art. But if you are ready to be challenged, it is hard not to be seduced by this work.… From Wonderland with Love might be a bit of an advertisement, but this exposure certainly is deserved, because why should the rest of the world be cheated out of such an assured demonstration of comic's many forms of expression and artistic potential?" - Christian Rasmussen, Litteraturnu (translated from Danish)
Today's hot batch of Online Commentary & Diversions:
• Review: "...[T]he furtive griminess that Jason wrings from his stock character designs is impressive to behold... [Y]ou'll enjoy any number of his typical moments of storytelling grace..." - otherwise Tom Spurgeon is unfortunately somewhat sparing in praise for Jason's Low Moon at The Comics Reporter
• Review: "Miss [Lasko-Gross]' previous book, Escape from 'Special,' launched her fearless plan to produce an autobiographical trilogy. [A] Mess [of Everything]tackles the high-school years, which involve mean girls, mean boys and plenty of awkward social situations. Each anecdote is super-short with cringeworthy dialogue that you'll identify with and will remind you of how fortunate you are to have lived through that rough period." - Whitney Matheson, "Three Graphic Novels You Should Read Immediately," USA Today Pop Candy
• Review: "I’ve read some crazy comix, and while he won’t scare you under the sheets like S. Clay Wilson, [John] Kerschbaum can be as raw as R. Crumb, Peter Bagge, and [Johnny] Ryan, who may be his closest comix cousins... No fan of adult funny animal comics (like Fritz the Cat) will want to miss Petey & Pussy... Petey & Pussy is some funny shit." - Leroy Douresseaux, Comic Book Bin
• Plug: "Fantagraphics is shortly to publish a new edition of Prince Valiant, Hal Foster's legendary, Golden Age comic strip of knights, swashbuckling, romance and chivalry... Foster's artwork is amazing. Foster was an exceptional talent in an era of exceptional talents." - OK Erok
• Plug: "The fifth issue of Tales Designed to Thrizzle is in and it's even weirder than the last one. See aliens give a bloke sexy lady legs! Twain plus Einstein plus enraged badger! Hobo fashion! If you've not read any of Michael Kupperman's stuff before now's yer chance..." - Gosh! Comics
The 15th issue of Mome is now available for pre-order. This issue boasts one new beginning (T. Edward Bak's "Wild Man"), two conclusions (Gilbert Shelton's "Last Gig in Shnagrlig" and Tim Hensley's "Wally Gropius"), new work from Dash Shaw, Andrice Arp (who also provides the cover), Sara Edward-Corbett, Conor O'Keefe, Noah Van Sciver, Robert Goodin, and Paul Hornschemeier, PLUS a bound-in minicomic by Spanish master Max! This book is scheduled to be in stock and ready to ship in June and in stores approximately 4 weeks later (subject to change).
On our product detail page we've got a free PDF preview with pages from almost every contributor, plus the full table of contents so you can see exactly what's in the issue. Photo and video previews are still forthcoming -- watch this space.
Due to the somewhat obsessive nature of my link gathering, I had the idea to start calling these posts "Daily OCD: Online Commentary & Diversions." What do you think, readers? Too cutesy-poo? Offensive to sufferers of real OCD?
• List: The Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon names "The Ten All-Time Best Long-Running Comics Series," with Love and Rockets Vol. I at #2 ("The best long-running and organic artistic achievement in serial comic book form... The Hernandez Brothers inspired and outworked a greatest generation of comics auteurs. Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez are each among that handful of artists who must be given serious consideration when talking about the best cartoonists working. In Love & Rockets each created fictional worlds for the ages and used them as a vehicle for enormous artistic development, lapping the majority of their peer group. One so inclined could argue with seriousness a top 25 of American graphic novels where 1/3 of the titles listed came from this series") and Acme Novelty Library at #8 ("...a mind-bending achievement... ACME punched right in the scrotum the notion that every issue of a single comic book series had to look like the others... Its primary value is that it presented [Chris] Ware's giant talent to enough of an audience to bring him thousands of hardcore fans... Ware can dream up a single-page that if it were the only thing he ever published people might still know his name")
• List: The A.V. Club's Noel Murray offers commentary on Spurge's list ("There’s no one definitive L&R storyline; it’s just story after amazing story, accumulating over the past three decades like personal correspondence. [...] Ware... turn[ed] comic books into a kind of readable sculpture...") and lobbies for the inclusion of Johnny Ryan's Angry Youth Comix
• Review: "Miss Lasko-Gross' self-caricature in her autobio stories [in A Mess of Everything] is an interesting mash-up of a typical teen with low self-esteem and that of an indignant outsider determined to make her increasingly confident voice heard -- and loudly. [...] Lasko-Gross' greatest strengths as an artist are her character design, gesture and use of body language. It's the way she stages her characters that makes looking at each page interesting... I love the touch of the exaggerated and the grotesque that she injects into her drawings, distorting faces and bodies to reflect emotional tumult." - Rob Clough
• Review: "Formerly-suppressed, entirely classic, these stories [in Blazing Combat] are all solid examples of comic storytelling and craftsmanship... [T]he teams here make things look too easy. Not surprising since we’re talking about master artists like Toth, Frazetta, Severin, Crandall and others. The stories have all aged surprisingly well... Highly recommended..." - Matt Maxwell, Robot 6
• Events: Portland, your Free Comic Book Day cup runneth over, as Andrice Arp and the other contributors to the excellent free anthology comic Bird Hurdler will be appearing at various locations throughout town -- Andrice has the full itinerary and details on her blog
• Review: "If war is hell, Blazing Combat is heaven. ...[A]lthough the subject matter is bleak, the presentation it’s been given is beautiful. This is as good as war comics get." - Rod Lott, Bookgasm
• Review: "Adam Grano’s bold cover design is the perfect complement to Fantagraphics’ comprehensive collection of [Blazing Combat]... It’s remarkable how little these stories have aged, as many cover thematic ground that resonates to this day." - Kevin Church
• Review: "Anders Nilsen's comics have the rare power to generate queasy laughter... Random cruelty, futility, ennui, and an implied assault on human complacency are the order of the day [in Monologues for Calculating the Density of Black Holes]. When Nilsen wants you to feel his boredom, or taunt you for your own, he's merciless... Nilsen is a relentlessly interesting comics creator. ...I'm looking forward to his next performance in the wasteland." - Byron Kerman, PLAYBACK:stl
• Review: "The Lagoon is a peculiar book, continually confounding the reader's expectations. It starts out in many ways like a mystery or thriller novel does... But as the book progresses, it turns into a very different beast (no pun intended); a hidden romance, a story about longings, and family relationships... [T]his is a story that feels lush and moody in a way that comics often try to be but rarely succeed... The art in The Lagoon is a beautiful, lush, textured affair from [Lilli] Carré. It's almost like a cross between Charles Burns and Craig Thompson... The Lagoon is a beautiful graphic novel, ...a very solid, well-crafted book, and whatever Carré’s next project is, it’ll be one to keep an eye out for." - Greg McElhatton, Read About Comics
• Review: "I love love love Unlovable... The cover has glitter, too. LOVE it!... [Tammy] Pierce's earnest attempts to fit in at school and with her friends [are] funny and endearing, and sometimes embarrassing... Those days were such a pain in the ass, but they were the best." - MacKenzieLand
• Interview: SciFiPulse.Net talks to Greg Sadowski, editor of Supermen! The First Wave of Comic Book Heroes 1936-1941. Choice quote: "Some have written that I chose artists strictly for their name value, but the truth is that after you’ve gone through hundreds of golden age books, the same guys stop you time after time: Cole, Eisner, Everett, Fine, Hanks, Kirby, Wolverton, and every now and then a few others. That’s how they became 'name' artists in the first place - because they were the best."
• Things to see: Speaking of Flickr, here's a photo of Andrice Arp posing with a blowup of her cover art for Mome Vol. 15 (which I'm going to get up on the site here for pre-order real soon, I promise) from the good folks at Tugboat Press
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