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Category >> Best of 2010

Daily OCD: 1/6/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under reviewsJohnny RyanJim WoodringDaniel ClowesDaily OCDBest of 2010Basil WolvertonAbstract Comics 6 Jan 2011 4:30 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

The Culture Corner

List: At The Forbidden Planet International Blog Log, Wim Lockefeer's top 10 Best of the Year includes The Culture Corner by Basil Wolverton: "This book got me laughing out loud across the decades."

FUC_ __U, _SS __LE: Blecky Yuckerella Vol. 4

Review: "I’m not sure how exactly one goes about recommending a book like [FUC_ __U _SS __LE], as it’s not only not for everyone, it’s kind of sort of not for anyone, which ironically makes it perfect for some someones. (Panel four of page 9 is perfect for 21st century comics historians; as it is surely the most intentionally provocative comics image of the decade)." – J. Caleb Mozzocco, Newsarama

Abstract Comics: The Anthology

Plug: Author Anne Germanacos (surveyed by fellow writer Ravi Mangla) calls Abstract Comics "gorgeous and fascinating" (Via the Abstract Comics blog)

Ghost World [Softcover Edition]

Analysis: At The Comics Journal's new group blog The Panelists, Isaac Cates locates, in a single panel of Ghost World, a turning point in the narrative strategy of Dan Clowes

Nibbus Maximus

Interview: At Wired, Scott Thill talks to Jim Woodring about Sunday's impending public debut of Jim's giant pen

Daily OCD: 1/5/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Usagi YojimboStan SakaistaffreviewsPeanutsMoto HagiomangaLove and RocketsJoe DalyJasonJaime HernandezJacques TardiDaily OCDCharles M SchulzCarl BarksBlazing CombatBest of 2010 5 Jan 2011 4:20 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

List: David Wolkin names some memorable comics he read this year:

It Was the War of the Trenches

"It hurts to read [It Was the War of the Trenches], but Jacques Tardi’s renderings are still quite beautiful as far as I’m concerned, which makes the whole thing that much more painful."

Blazing Combat [Softcover Ed.]

"Blazing Combat blew my mind. [...] The only thing this book has to say is that war is always terrible and people always die... Most of the stories are written by Archie Goodwin, but are duties are handled by a whole mess of the greats, including John Severin, Gene Colan, Wally Wood and Alex Toth, Goddamn Alex Toth. This book is worth buying just for the 3-4 Toth stories."

(The following 6 links are via Sandy Bilus at I Love Rob Liefeld:)

A Drunken  Dream and Other Stories [Pre-Order]

List/Review: "Notable shoujo mention: A Drunken Dream and Other Stories by Moto Hagio... There is fantastic imagery, and fantastic stories. [...] As a translation and publishing choice, I commend Fantagraphics. For anyone who wants to read what is considered to be a classic gem of shojo then this is it." – Anime Diet (see also their review)

List: Melinda Beasi of Manga Bookshelf names A Drunken Dream and Other Stories one of the two Best Classic Manga of 2010: "...Moto Hagio’s collection of short manga... focus[es] particularly on issues of family, delving deep into some of the ugliest impulses of our biological tribes and the damage they can do to their least valued members..."

List: Patrick Markfort of Articulate Nerd counts down his top 10 Favorite Comics of 2010:

Complete Peanuts Boxed Set 1975-1978 [NORTH AMERICA ONLY]

"7. The Complete Peanuts 1975-1976, The Complete Peanuts 1977-1978, by Charles M. Schulz... After the fascinating early years of the strip in the 50's and its evolution and refinement into one of the all-time great strips in the 60's, it was a delight to rediscover these wonderful 70's strips, which to my mind strike a perfect balance between the ever present serious and silly sensibilities of Peanuts. Schulz's life's work is all things to all people, with a cuteness and sweetness on the surface, a razor sharp wit just underneath, and depths of poetry and sadness at its heart.  The Platonic ideal of a comic strip."

A Drunken  Dream and Other Stories [Pre-Order]

"5. A Drunken Dream and Other Stories, by Moto Hagio – I've been waiting years for someone to publish something by Moto Hagio, and I was not disappointed in the slightest by this book. In fact, I loved everything about it, from the drop-dead gorgeous design work by Adam Grano, to the fine selection of stories by editor Matt Thorn, to the reprint of Thorn's definitive interview with Moto Hagio... None of this would mean much if the stories weren't any good, of course. Fortunately, they're exceptional. These exquisitely drawn short narratives across a variety of genres spanning Hagio's decades-long career are terrific reads in and of themselves, and provide a fascinating glimpse into a tradition of comics-making we've still seen very little of. More like this, please."

Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

"1. 'Browntown' and 'The Love Bunglers, Parts One and Two,' by Jaime Hernandez, from Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 - Jaime Hernandez is my favorite living cartoonist, and these short stories, which MUST be read in conjunction with each other, are my favorite thing he's ever done. What a thrill to witness first hand the publication of a certain All Time Great Comics Work from an artist whose place in the canon is secured ten times over. [...] Read my full review of Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 here."

List: "Love and Rockets New Stories #3 – [...] Jaime has this wonderful gift to make his characters seem real and natural. It’s been almost 30 years that he’s been writing and drawing the stories of Maggie and Hopey but they feel more like old friends now than ever before." – Scott Cederlund, Wednesday's Haul, "The Best of 2010"

Usagi Yojimbo: The Special Edition [Pre-Order]

List: "A giant, two volume hardcover edition with a solid slipcase, this excellent collection [Usagi Yojimbo: The Special Edition] features the first seven volumes of the series and a ton of extra content. Probably the most beautiful book on this list." – Aaron Colter, Fearing Americans, "The Best Comics of 2010"

Dungeon Quest, Book 1

List: "Best Pop Culture Satire: [...] An award winning comic that made me laugh out loud a little too much while reading at the local cafe. [...] Full of shamans, reanimated pirate skeletons and hysterical pop culture nods, Dungeon Quest Book One is one of my favorite pieces of comic satire to come out in a long time." – Ian Gonzales, Unwinnable, "The Best Comic Books of 2010"

List: At The Forbidden Planet International Blog Log, the contributor identified only as Michael places Jason's Werewolves of Montpellier on his top 3 Best of the Year: "...[A]s usual Jason’s art is beautiful in its very unusual style with super thick line work and flat and bright colouring. The story is more of a drama, which again is a change from the usual comedy route and the addition of a romance sub-plot makes this book one of Jason’s most complex and best."

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec Vol. 1: Pterror Over Paris and The Eiffel Tower Demon [Pre-Order]

Review: "Jacques Tardi's Adèle Blanc-Sec is a longtime favorite French anti-heroine... The over-the-top parody of the monster-hunting adventurer, combined with a whiff of innate French superiority to the source material, ...may appeal to the extremely casual reader of comics, or one with deep knowledge and interest, but probably not to a reader who enjoys picking up the latest zombie comic." – Mike Rhode, Washington City Paper

Reynolds by Jim Blanchard

Survey: The Beat's year-end/looking-forward survey of comics pros (part three) includes incisive commentary from our own Eric Reynolds

Carl Barks

Coming Attractions: More reporting & commentary on our Carl Barks news from MTV Geek and Ambrosia (in Portuguese)
Daily OCD: 1/4/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Tony MillionaireTim LaneSupermenRory HayesreviewsPaul HornschemeierMoto HagioMegan KelsomangaLove and RocketsLos Bros HernandezLinda MedleyJim WoodringJaime HernandezGilbert HernandezDisneyDaniel ClowesDaily OCDCarl BarksBest of 2010 4 Jan 2011 6:10 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions from Publishers Weekly, John Porcellino and other sources:

List: Publishers Weekly Comics Week posts the results of their Fifth Annual Critics Poll, with 5 of our titles placing with 2 votes each (and a bunch of honorable mentions):

Castle Waiting Vol. 2

"Castle Waiting Volume 2 by Linda Medley... The simplest actions — moving into another room, raising a child — are enlivened by being placed in an exceptionally illustrated fantasy environment, full of unusual outcasts who've formed a family. The cast is immensely appealing, both visually and through well-written dialogue. [...] Always a pleasurable read underlined by a genius level of artistic skill." – Johanna Draper Carlson

A Drunken  Dream and Other Stories [Pre-Order]

"A Drunken Dream, Moto Hagio [...] Beautiful, gripping and delightfully weird, reading this book you can see her fingerprints all over shojo manga as we know it. At the same time it works as a solid refutation of the old canard that shojo is nothing but sparkly 14 year-olds with love-angst and magical powers." – Kate Fitzsimons

Love and Rockets Book 25: High Soft Lisp [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

"High Soft Lisp, Gilbert Hernandez... Rosalba 'Fritz' Martinez is one of the loopier characters from Hernandez's expansive Love and Rockets universe, but her ditzy, oversexed antics are peppered with poignant moments of loneliness and longing. As always, Hernandez sticks a beating heart at the center of his raunchy pulp adventures." – Jason Persse

Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

"Love and Rockets: New Stories #3, The Hernandez Brothers... Los Bros. Hernandez show they are still at the peak of their cartooning form. In 'Browntown' Jaime mines family history, cruelty and the hinted-at pasts of his well known cast for an unforgettable story of innocence lost." – Heidi MacDonald

Weathercraft

"Weathercraft, Jim Woodring... Jim Woodring first hit his bullseye so long ago, and has been splitting his own arrow right down the middle so many times, that he's easy to take for granted. Don't. Weathercraft is a magnificent and slightly wicked little book: a whimsical farce about some of the nastiest, darkest metaphysical stuff there is, a banquet for the eyes that starts growing tendrils once it's inside you." – Douglas Wolk

A Drunken  Dream and Other Stories [Pre-Order]

List: Also at Publishers Weekly, Moto Hagio's A Drunken Dream and Other Stories is selected by Kai-Ming Cha for Critic's Picks: Manga in 2010: "Most of shojo manga today are derivative of Hagio and her contemporaries — and pale in comparison. This collection of stories takes from the oeuvre of Hagio, one of the first in a pioneering generation of manga to be created by women."

Weathercraft

List: Ryan Sands of Electric Ant Zine names Weathercraft by Jim Woodring one of his Favorite Comic Reads of 2010 (via Sean T. Collins)

List: John Porcellino's Favorite Comics of 2010 include some of our older books:

Supermen! The First Wave of Comic Book Heroes 1936-1941

"Supermen!: The First Wave of Comic Book Heroes 1939-41 ... What happens when you throw a bunch of sometimes-talented, always-desperate cartoonists in a room and force them to churn out page after page after page of comics at a deviously inhuman rate? [...] Oh my Lord.  This sooper-fun and enjoyably bizarre collection of early 'Pre-Code' superhero comics features work by Jack Kirby, Basil Wolverton, Will Eisner, Fletcher Hanks, and Jack Cole, among many more lesser-known artists..."

Abandoned Cars [Hardcover Ed.]

"Abandoned Cars by Tim Lane... [Lane's] excellent, down and out, Beat-inspired tales of post-war/modern day America are unique to the form, and his grappling with what he calls the 'Great American Mythological Drama' yields some of the most literate, stark, and surreal comics I've ever read. [...] Great book."

Where Demented Wented: The Art and Comics of Rory Hayes

"Where Demented Wented: the Art and Comics of Rory Hayes... The comics themselves, though undeniably crude in the early years, have a rock solid EC-inspired prose style, which when combined with the brutal/cute drawings makes for some compelling reading. As time goes on, Hayes' imagery becomes more and more refined, and there are pages in here that are just simply beautiful. A real surprise, and a book that kept me thinking for days afterward."

Caricature (softcover)

"Caricature by Dan Clowes... Reading [these stories], I was immediately taken back to the good old glory days of Alternative American Comics. I remember reading stories like 'Immortal, Invisible' and 'Blue Italian Shit' with my jaw hanging open...  you could feel the boundaries of comics expanding with each panel. These particular comics remain some of my favorites of all time."

Billy Hazelnuts and the Crazy Bird

Review: "The story itself is absolutely insane. [...] There's no real rhyme or reason to the proceedings, and that's a big part of the fun. You don't know what outrageous scenario will greet you at the end of the next page. [...] Millionaire keeps his foot on the gas and writes with the spirit of Chuck Jones and the rest of Termite Terrace lurking in his pen. [...] If you're looking for madcap action, Billy Hazelnuts and the Crazy Bird should be right up your alley. It certainly was for me." – Rob McMonigal, Panel Patter

Love and Rockets Library (Locas Book 1): Maggie the Mechanic

Plug: Illustrator Eric Orchard shares his love for the work of Jaime Hernandez: "There's an unbelievable charm to his characters and an intoxicating rhythm to his panels. They are some of the best, most enjoyable comics to come out in the last thirty years."

Paul Hornschemeier

Anecdote: At Gapers Block, Ruthie Kott presents a funny story told to her by Paul Hornschemeier: "On two separate occasions I've had people argue with me that I am not me. There is apparently some existential comedian writing the script of my life for moments like these..." (Via Robot 6)

Megan Kelso

Survey: The Beat's year-end/looking-forward survey of comics pros (part two) includes input from Megan Kelso and Shaenon Garrity calling our publication of Moto Hagio "the biggest story in comics in 2010"

Carl Barks

Coming Attractions: More reporting & commentary on our Carl Barks news from ICv2, Augie De Blieck Jr. at Comic Book Resources, and Graeme McMillan at Robot 6

Nibbus Maximus

Events: Boing Boing, USA TODAY Pop Candy and Comics Alliance all get in on the excitement for the debut of Jim Woodring's Nibbus Maximus

Daily OCD: 1/3/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Usagi YojimboTim HensleyStan SakaireviewsPrince ValiantPirus and MezzoPeter BaggeNoah Van SciverNate NealMoto HagioMegan KelsomangaLove and RocketsLos Bros HernandezJoyce FarmerJohnny RyanJim WoodringJasonJaime HernandezJacques TardiHal FosterGilbert HernandezFour Color FearEdward GoreyDrew WeingDavid BDaily OCDCathy MalkasianCarol TylerCarl BarksBest of 2010Ben SchwartzAlexander Theroux 3 Jan 2011 6:47 PM

Time for lots more awkwardly-formatted year-end lists, a review from The Washington Post and much more in what might be the longest Online Commentary & Diversions ever:

List: For the Las Vegas Weekly, J. Caleb Mozzocco counts down his top 5 comics of 2010:

Temperance

#3: Temperance by Cathy Malkasian: "Blessed with a Dr. Seuss-like ability to evoke the most serious problems and bleakest emotions in personalized, original, timeless fantasy elements, Malkasian has constructed a graphic epic involving a handful of colorful, tragic characters and their interlocking lives."

#5: Werewolves of Montepellier by Jason: "A successful jewel thief disguises himself as a werewolf during heists, eventually attracting the attention of real, actual werewolves in Jason’s latest deadpan dramedy masterpiece. While that might sound like the protagonist’s most urgent problem, his doomed crush on neighbor-turned-friend Audrey is the only thing truly eating him."

List: The bloggers at Robot 6 count down their choices for the best comics of 2010:

Set to Sea

"7. Set to Sea: The story of a would-be poet who is shanghaied and learns about life at sea the hard way, Set to Sea is drawn in a series of single panels, each of which is a miniature masterpiece on its own. It’s a singularly economical way of telling a story, and Drew Weing makes each of his panels into a tight little world of its own." – Brigid Alverson

You'll Never Know Book 2: Collateral Damage [Pre-Order]

"4. You’ll Never Know, Book Two: Collateral Damage: [...] Tyler skillfully handles multiple strands of her story, using a variety of styles and formats for different episodes, slowly building a complete picture from several different sources." – Brigid Alverson

It Was the War of the Trenches

"16. It Was the War of the Trenches, by Jacques Tardi: French master Tardi does to the Great War what the Great War did to the bodies of millions of young soldiers: blow it wide open and root in the mess. Depicted primarily in an unyielding onslaught of widescreen panels, it’s like a slog through the trenches itself. Furious and full of contempt for war and its masters." – Sean T. Collins

"6. It Was the War of the Trenches by Jacques Tardi: Reading Trenches, you realize just how far afield, just how dead wrong most American (and British) had it in their depiction of war. Even Kurtzman’s war comics (which I love) seem like kiddie sermonizing, an overly sweet, sanitized warning, next to Tardi’s uncompromising depiction of WWI. You want to know how brutal war can be? You want to know how war should be depicted in comics – how to look the utter savagery, inhumanity and square in the eye using only pen and ink? This is how you do it." – Chris Mautner

A Drunken  Dream and Other Stories [Pre-Order]

"15. A Drunken Dream and Other Stories, by Moto Hagio: I gasped aloud repeatedly while experiencing the sheer loveliness of this book, a collection of short stories from throughout the decades by shoujo-manga pioneer Moto Hagio. Best of all, there’s a cake beneath all that icing, as Hagio’s stories are frequently sophisticated, moving, and unwilling to pull punches." – Sean T. Collins

Prison Pit: Book 2  [Pre-Order]

"13. Prison Pit Book 2, by Johnny Ryan: Johnny Ryan journeys deeper than ever before into his inner ickiness and returns with an action-horror hybrid it’s almost impossible to 'enjoy' in the traditional sense of the word — and which thereby takes those two genres in stunning new directions." – Sean T. Collins

Artichoke Tales [Pre-Order]

"11. Artichoke Tales, by Megan Kelso: A war comic like none you’ve ever read, Megan Kelso’s ambitious alt-fantasy is concerned not with conflict’s immediate carnage, but with its lasting effects on the societies engaged in it — economic, cultural, religious, familial, even geographical. I found it humanistic, unsparing, and fascinating." – Sean T. Collins

Weathercraft

"10. Weathercraft, by Jim Woodring: It’s always darkest before the dawn, and the psychedelic body-horror of Jim Woodring has never been darker than it gets here. His hapless, villainous Manhog is made to suffer like you’ve seen few comics characters suffer before in any style or genre…only to emerge enlightened and overjoyed on the other side in a final act that feels like that first breath of fresh cool air after you’ve hidden your head under the covers in terror for minutes on end." – Sean T. Collins

"2. Weathercraft by Jim Woodring: [...] It’s a twisting, twisted, often bizarre, often disturbing but always gripping tale of one creature’s self-redemption and ultimate sacrifice told without words and often as enigmatically as possible. If you had any doubt that Woodring could still deliver after laying low for so long, consider them erased." – Chris Mautner

Special Exits [Pre-Order]

"7. Special Exits, by Joyce Farmer: ...[N]early every meticulously crosshatched panel [is] drawn as if [Farmer's] life depended on it. Maybe it did. This is a magnum opus no one expected to read, a brutally frank depiction of what it’s like for full lives you love to end, and it has the most painfully happy ending of the year. It made me cry. Don’t do what I almost did and ignore one of the year’s most moving comics." – Sean T. Collins

Wally Gropius

"3. Wally Gropius, by Tim Hensley: The first great comic of the Great Recession. Tim Hensley’s breakout graphic novel, previously serialized in the Mome anthology, seems like a send-up of silly ‘60s teen-comedy and kid-millionaire comics on the surface, but beneath lies as odd and accurate a cri de coeur about capitalism and consumerism as I’ve ever read. It also does things with body language I’ve never seen in comics, and is funny as hell to boot. There’s nothing else out there like it." – Sean T. Collins

"5. Wally Gropius by Tim Hensley: The funniest comic of the year, Gropius is both homage and raised middle finger to the kids comics of yore, chiding them for their superficiality and yet revealing in their sublime shallowness all the same. That Hensley managed to have his cake and eat it too in such a breezy fashion suggests he will be an artist to watch for in the coming years." – Chris Mautner

Love and Rockets Book 25: High Soft Lisp [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

"2. High Soft Lisp / Love and Rockets: New Stories #3, by Gilbert Hernandez and Jaime Hernandez: This year I read nearly every comic ever created by Los Bros Hernandez; what a pleasure to discover at the end of my immersion that their two most recent comics are also two of their best, and thus two of the best comics by anyone. Gilbert and Jaime both tear furiously into love and sex in these two collections; what they find inside is ugly; what they do with it is beautiful." – Sean T. Collins

Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

"3. Love and Rockets [New Stories] 3 by Xaime and Gilbert Hernandez: Gilbert’s contributions are great as usual (his work here and in the recently collected High Soft Lisp proves he’s no second banana brother), but it is Xaime’s 'The Love Bunglers/Browntown' that makes this volume so worthy of praise. A harrowing story of abuse, familial neglect and regret masterfully told, I defy anyone not to read this tale and not be devastated by its conclusion. Not a single line goes to waste here. To say it’s the best thing Xaime’s done is a stunning comment considering his lengthy and exemplary body of work, but there’s no question he’s raised the bar once again." – Chris Mautner

Lists: Jason, Megan Kelso and Nate Neal all weigh in with their 2010/2011 commentary and favorites in Robot 6's massive survey of comics creators; other mentions of our publications include Temperance by Cathy Malkasian (Matt Silady); Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 by the Hernandez Bros. (Jason, Sam Humphries, Evan Dorkin, Vito Delsante, Dan Nadel, Kat Roberts); Special Exits by Joyce Farmer (Sam Humphries); Prince Valiant Vol. 2 by Hal Foster (Evan Dorkin); Captain Easy Vol. 1 by Roy Crane (Jason, Evan Dorkin, Dan Nadel); Four Color Fear (Evan Dorkin), Lucky in Love Book 1 by Stephen DeStefano (Jamie S. Rich); Set to Sea by Drew Weing (Joey Weiser); Wally Gropius by Tim Hensley (Dan Nadel, Adam Hines, Jason Little, James Kochalka); The Search for Smilin’ Ed by Kim Deitch (Dan Nadel); Weathercraft by Jim Woodring (Dan Nadel, Jason Little, Kat Roberts, James Kochalka); It Was the War of the Trenches by Jacques Tardi (Dan Nadel); Castle Waiting Vol. 2 by Linda Medley (Janet Lee); Billy Hazelnuts and the Crazy Bird by Tony Millionaire (James Kochalka); Werewolves of Montpellier by Jason (James Kochalka); and Artichoke Tales by Megan Kelso (M.K. Reed)

List: The great Washington, DC bookstore Politics & Prose names their 2010 Graphic Novel Favorites, including:

The Sanctuary

"The Sanctuary by Nate Neal is one of the most adventurous, exciting, complex and beautiful graphic novels. [...] Nate Neal creates a language for the clan, and tells the entire story without any recognizable words, making The Sanctuary a quiet and dark collection of gestures and expressions."

King of the Flies Vol. 1: Hallorave

"Pirus and Mezzo’s King of the Flies is a dark romp through a strange drug filled, sex crazed world of small town Europe. [...] Pirus and Mezzo aren’t afraid to tell a story full of our darkest desires and needs, but they’re also startlingly poetic."

Weathercraft

"Weathercraft, by Jim Woodring, is a beautiful dream and a beautiful nightmare. [...] Weathercraft is page after page of utterly original, outrageous, wordless thrills. Somehow, in a place where confusion and chaos seem to reign, Woodring creates sense. The challenge and beauty of Weathercraft is taking hold of that sense, and letting it go when the dream becomes too beautiful to pass up."

You'll Never Know Book 2: Collateral Damage [Pre-Order]

"C. Tyler continues her inquiry into the true story of her father’s WWII experience with You’ll Never Know Book Two: Collateral Damage. Tyler’s colorful panels and line work is a welcome relief to the usual comics format; and her creative shifting of perspective and story... offer just the right amount of energy and relevance to make this book (and the previous volume) one of the best of the year."

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec Vol. 1: Pterror Over Paris and The Eiffel Tower Demon [Pre-Order]

"Hinging on one supernatural occurrence after another, the misadventures of Adele Blanc-Sec are surely one of the most welcome events this year. [...] This is a classic which should not be missed."

A Drunken  Dream and Other Stories [Pre-Order]

"...Moto Hagio’s story collection, A Drunken Dream, is a welcome and celebrated relief to the mainstream, translated Japanese comics, giving the reader a meaningful and deeply felt experience. ...Hagio’s exploration of loss... and identity... is equal to the best that any literature offers."

List: Brazilian site Ambrosia names The Best Comics Published in the U.S. in 2010 — Alternatives and Classics, including:

It Was the War of the Trenches

It Was the War of the Trenches by Jacques Tardi: "The French Tardi is a versatile artist, a thorough storyteller of historical fact and fiction. The clean lines and light of his drawings refer to the style of another Frenchman, the revered Moebius."

Prince Valiant Vol. 2: 1939-1940

Prince Valiant: 1939-1940 (Vol. 2) by Hal Foster: "Exquisite reissue of the adventures of Prince Valiant, with the magnificent original colors."

The Littlest Pirate King

The Littlest Pirate King by David B.: "Accustomed to living with sea monsters, plundering ships and murdering sailors, a group of scary undead pirates has its routine radically transformed when they are forced to care for a child. David B.... uses his beautiful and dark art to adapt a fun text by Orlan."

Castle Waiting Vol. 2

List: At Comics Worth Reading, Johanna Draper Carlson names Castle Waiting Vol. 2 by Linda Medley the Best Graphic Novel of 2010: "Exceptionally illustrated fantasy revolving around everyday life among a stunning cast of unusual characters who make their own unusual family in an abandoned castle."

Review: "Saucy, bold, enigmatic, gently funny, reassuringly romantic; brimming with human warmth and just the right edge of hidden danger Castle Waiting [Vol. 2] is a masterpiece of subtly ironic, perfectly paced storytelling that any kid over ten can and will adore. Moreover, if you’re long in the tooth or have been around the block a time or two, this fantastic place can’t help but look like home." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!

 

List: At The Casual Optimist, Dan Wagstaff names Jason's Werewolves of Montpellier one of his Favourite New Books of 2010: "Ostensibly the book is about a thief called Sven who disguises himself as werewolf to rob people’s apartments and incurs the wrath of the town’s actual werewolves. It is, however, as much about friendship, identity, loneliness, and, ultimately, Sven’s unrequited love for his neighbour Audrey. [...] The whole book is achingly brief, but Werewolves of Montpellier is possibly my favourite Jason book to date." (Via Robot 6)

List: At Comics-and-More (via Robot 6), Dave Ferraro counts down his Top 20 Comics of 2010, including:

Artichoke Tales [Pre-Order]

"14. Artichoke Tales (Megan Kelso) [...] Kelso's simple lines beautifully capture the emotional turmoil of the characters and move the action along fluidly. This title caught me by surprise with how much I enjoyed it — it looks deceptively simple, but there's a lot going on in this ambitious book."

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec Vol. 1: Pterror Over Paris and The Eiffel Tower Demon [Pre-Order]

"10. The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec (Volume 1) (Jacques Tardi) [...] This story is full of broad characters and is really silly, but it's a really riveting, often funny book that you can't help but love to spend time with, featuring some of Tardi's best art period. Plus pterodactyls in Paris!"

Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

"6. Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 [...] The Hernandez Brothers' third annual release of Love and Rockets is their best yet. Gilbert Hernandez has long been a favorite artist of mine and he offers some pretty dynamic stories this time around as well... Jaime develops his characters effortlessly as he produces what may be one of the best offerings of his career."

Castle Waiting Vol. 2

"4. Castle Waiting (Volume 2) (Linda Medley) [...] This book is overflowing with great characters, the story unfolding cinematically to Medley's beautiful cartoony art. The domestic life that readers glimpse with these volumes is an absolute pleasure to behold, and I really enjoy the time I spend with the people in this title, as they explore the castle and unlock some of its mysteries while settling in. A real treasure."

The Littlest Pirate King

"1. The Littlest Pirate King (David B. & Pierre Mac Orlan) – My favorite comic that I read this year is David B.'s comic adaptation of the prose story by French writer Pierre Mac Orlan. ...David B. elaborately illustrates this world with amazing mastery of the craft. The coloring, the pacing and panel arrangements, and the world of these pirates pillaging ships and being general menaces all make for a fun, engaging experience. This book contains some of the most beautiful panels that I've seen in years, and confidently sits at the top of my list for best of the year."

Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

List: On his MadInkBeard blog, Derik Badman lists Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 as one of the Best Print Comics of 2010: "This is Jaime doing what he does best, advancing the lives of his characters, adding to their histories, introducing side characters, and generating an emotional impact." (Via Robot 6)

Set to Sea

List: On The Forbidden Planet International Blog Log, Martin Steenton of Avoid the Future names his top 3 Best of the Year: "...Drew Weing’s Set to Sea is one of the most beautifully-rendered graphic novels you could hope to see ever, let alone from within the past twelve months. [...] From start to finish, Set to Sea feels like a true classic; the graphic novel equivalent of Treasure Island, if you will. If you’re the sort of parent that doesn’t mind exposing your children to a few gory moments, I like to imagine that this is the book you’ll give them to usher them into their lives as comic readers. Think what a cool mum/dad you’d be."

The Best American Comics Criticism

List: At Imprint, Michael Dooley names the Best American Comics Criticism panel at Skylight Books one of "the best speaker events that involved comics and graphic design" in L.A. last year

Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950s [Pre-Order]

Review: "Four Color Fear is editor Greg Sadowski's commemoration of horror publishers other than dominant Entertaining Comics ... [T]his volume contains many... complete tales, giving the reader a sense of how hard it was to meet the genre's three main requirements: sudden fear, ample gore and twist endings, all in the space of six to 10 pages. [...] One leads off with this fraught question: 'Have you ever heard a strange voice whisper, "Come with me into the Blackest depths of evil"?' To which I would have answered in the 1950s, 'What took you so long to ask?'" – Dennis Drabelle, The Washington Post (via Newsarama)

FUC_ __U, _SS __LE: Blecky Yuckerella Vol. 4

Review: "Johnny Ryan is in my mind is one of the best modern humorists in comics today. It's not the kind of humor that's gonna get him invited to lots of prestigious awards ceremonies, but you can not deny that this shit [is] funny! Seriously for all those people who have not read a Johnny Ryan book for whatever stupid reason, pick [FUC_ __U _SS __LE] up. There's gonna be something in here that will make you laugh or puke or laugh and puke at the same time. It's an awesome awesome book. Loved it all the way through." – P.D. Houston, Renderwrx Productions

King - A Comics Biography: The Special Edition

Review: "Taking quotes from people who met King, journeyed with him, and experienced his teachings and shortcomings firsthand, the book gives readers an honest and refreshing take on the man that became a legend. The art in King is a sight to behold... While some will undoubtedly walk away with the impression that this take on King’s life somehow lessens his impact on society, others will hopefully find that the humanistic aspect enhances the appreciation of his determination to make a change. Rating: ★★★★1/2" – Matt Peters, Pads & Panels

Mascots

Plug: "Mascots is a beautiful new book by Ray Fenwick collecting a series of color paintings on found book covers. [...] You must all surely concur that this new book establishes Ray Fenwick as the foremost satirist-illustrator-typographer-poet-designer of our time." – Matt Forsythe, Drawn

Plugs: At The Moviefone Blog, David Brothers recommends "Comic Books for Movie Buffs"; his picks for war movie fans and samurai movie fans, respectively:

It Was the War of the Trenches

"...It Was the War of the Trenches shows how war simultaneously dehumanizes and strengthens our connection to life. The dehumanization derives from the fact that soldiers who die in this book tend to do so alone, or by surprise, and life just goes on. The strengthening point, however, is due to how the soldiers eagerly grasp what life they have left, despite their situation. It Was the War of the Trenches is heartbreaking and maybe a little funny, but more than anything, it's fulfilling."

Usagi Yojimbo: The Special Edition [Pre-Order]

"...Usagi Yojimbo is not only deadly serious, but a fantastic read. Sakai clearly knows the era he's writing stories about very well, and his research shows. If not for the funny talking animals, this series would be fantastically realistic. With them, though, it's a series that hits many of the same high points as classic Kurosawa, but often from a fresh angle."

Peter Bagge

Survey: The Beat's year-end/looking-forward survey of comics pros (part one) includes a classic Peter Bagge quip ("What was the biggest story in comics in 2010?" "No one has any money") plus input from Noah Van Sciver

What I Did [Pre-Order]

Analysis: In an academic paper published in the University of Florida's interdisciplinary comics studies journal ImageTexT, Joel Simundich examines "Translation, Transparency, and Genre" in Jason's The Iron Wagon (recently reprinted in What I Did)

Frank Vol. 1

Interview: On his Princess Sparkle Pony blog, Peter Huestis presents a transcription of his 1995 interview with Jim Woodring which was published in Hypno Magazine: "I never use any of my dreams in the Frank stories. I've evolved a way of writing those stories that I adhere to pretty much all the time. I go down into this ravine near my house and hide in the bushes and write in my notebook. I write the stories out in words. I'll write an opening line like, 'Frank has a heavy heart.' If I like that for an opener, I will ask why he has a heavy heart. Sometimes I get an answer and sometimes I don't."

The Strange Case of Edward Gorey [Expanded Hardcover Edition]

List/Plug/Coming Attractions: The Millions names among their Most Anticipated books of 2011 two by Alexander Theroux: this month's The Strange Case of Edward Gorey ("Part biography, part artistic analysis, and part memoir of a long friendship, with exclusive interviews conducted shortly before Gorey’s death, this book is generally accepted as the most comprehensive portrait of Gorey ever written") and July's Estonia ("The book emerges from Theroux’s time spent in the former Soviet republic while his wife was on a Fulbright Scholarship. Ever observant, Theroux uses Estonia and its people as a lens through which to look back at America"); elsewhere at The Millions, Theroux himself weighs in on his Year in Reading

Carl Barks

Coming Attractions: Various sources weigh in on our Carl Barks news, including Douglas Wolk at TIME.com – Techland, Laura Hudson at Comics Alliance, somebody at The Beat, Alan David Doane at Trouble with Comics, and Arthur at Disney Comics Worldwide

Daily OCD: 12/30/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under staffreviewsNewaveMoto HagioMomeMichael KuppermanmangaLove and RocketsLos Bros HernandezJoyce Farmerhooray for HollywoodDash ShawDaily OCDBest of 2010 30 Dec 2010 3:18 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

List: At Entertainment Weekly, Ken Tucker names The 10 Best Graphic Novels and Comics of 2010, including:

A Drunken  Dream and Other Stories [Pre-Order]

"Ostensibly Japanese comics aimed at the adolescent-girl market, these so-called Ten Stories of the Human Heart are lush mixtures of dreamlike imagery and realistic depictions of young people’s yearnings, hopes, reveries, and fears. Gathering representative work from four decades of publication, A Drunken Dream [and Other Stories] exerts a hypnotic pull on the reader, Moto Hagio knows both her commercial audience and her ideal audience — which is to say, the world."

Special Exits [Pre-Order]

"A long-form narrative about the decline of her parents’ health, Special Exits avoids cheap pity and piousness by doing what any good art should: focusing on specifics — the ways in which Farmer’s parents slide into old age and ill health; the care they require and receive. That this is also a portrait of a strong marriage is an added benefit. Frank, never shying away from the awkward indignities of aging, Special Exits illuminates two lives, as well as that of the author’s."

Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

List: Comic Book Resources ranks Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 in the 7th spot on their Ten Best Comics of 2010:

"The best volume since Los Bros went with this yearly anthology, New Stories #3 has exemplary work from both, but Jamie's story of the young Hoppers is one of his best comics ever." – Timothy Callahan

"Love and Rockets properly hits its stride and the two brothers use their unique approach to do something quite insane. Surrealism and realism in equal doses." – Sonia Harris

"This year, I read nearly every comic ever created by Los Bros Hernandez; what a pleasure to discover at the end of my immersion that their two most recent comics are also two of their best, and thus two of the best comics by anyone. Gilbert and Jaime both tear furiously into love and sex; what they find inside is ugly; what they do with it is beautiful. I'll never forget that panel." – Sean T. Collins

Review: "Is there a comic that's run longer than Love and Rockets and maintained the same level of quality? ...[T]his year's annual is as good or better than anything Los Bros. have yet produced. It starts off with a strange sci-fi story — fans will recognize this as one of Rosalba 'Fritz' Martinez's many B-movies, but you don't have to be in on the gag to find Gilbert's story weird and funny and disturbing. Jaime's contribution to the volume is a story about would-be couple Maggie and Ray having a first date, with an interstitial tale about Maggie's childhood that sheds heartbreaking light on her relationship with her brother. ...Los Bros. are plain-spoken and sympathetic, finding pathos in even the grimiest character." – Sam Thielman, Newsday

Newave! The Underground Mini Comix of the 1980s

List: Josh Blair of Candy or Medicine names Newave: The Underground Mini Comix of the 1980s one of the Top Ten Mini Comics of 2010: "Ok, ok, I realize this isn't actually a mini-comic, rather than a gigantic collection of mini-comics, but it's definitely a book worth owning."

Tales Designed to Thrizzle #6

List: Brian Cronin of CBR's Comics Should Be Good chooses Tales Designed to Thrizzle #6 as the first entry on his Top Ten Comic of 2010 countdown: "Another hilarious issue by Michael Kupperman."

Mome Vol. 20 - Fall 2010

Interview: At The Comics Journal, part 2 of Chris Mautner's Q&A with Mome editor Eric Reynolds (part 1):  "I’m not a real ballbuster when it comes to deadlines from issue to issue, so I’ll invite people to contribute and they’ll take their time, whether they hit the next issue or the following issue. They’re just juggling all these things, and it happens to come together every issue."

Dash Shaw artwork from Rabbit Hole

Analysis: At Cinematical, John Gholson examines the role of Dash Shaw's comic artwork in John Cameron Mitchell's new film Rabbit Hole

Daily OCD: 12/29/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Tim HensleyreviewsMoto HagioMichael KuppermanMegan KelsomangaLove and RocketsLos Bros HernandezLinda MedleyJoyce FarmerJohnny RyanJim WoodringJasonJacques TardiDrew WeingDavid BDaily OCDCathy MalkasianCarol TylerBest of 2010 29 Dec 2010 6:32 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions gets crazy with the Best-Of lists:

List: At comiXology, Tucker Stone counts down the top 20 Best Comics of 2010:

Wally Gropius

#19: Wally Gropius by Tim Hensley: "In a more unstable world, Wally Gropius would end up shelved alongside the Harvey/Dell comics it's so visually reminiscent of, working like a diabolical physical delivery device for absurdism: Dick and Jane couldn't ask for better."

Prison Pit: Book 2  [Pre-Order]

#8: Prison Pit Book 2 by Johnny Ryan: "...Ryan's nasty tech-mammal beatdown looked like baby's first cyberpunk Kamandi, and it ably maintained the promise of this comic's initial volume. This, as they should say, is what we all should be getting down with: pure comics."

It Was the War of the Trenches

#5: It Was the War of the Trenches by Jacques Tardi: "Trenches was the angriest comic released this year, and while the specifics of its subject matter may be historical, its philosophy hasn't aged a day. War is a brutal, ugly thing, and while some may excel at depicting its horrors with excited doses of adrenaline, Tardi's tale never allows for a moment of escape. For him, political extermination destroys us all, and there's no reason why the bystander should be permitted to participate merely as casual audience."

Weathercraft

#3: Weathercraft by Jim Woodring: "It's a comic that stays behind when it's closed, twisting in memory until you're not sure you caught what it said, a demanding experience that's unusual and unique. There's no other medium that could tell the kinds of stories that Woodring prefers; luckily, he's come back to stay."

Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

#2: Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 by the Hernandez Bros.: "An incomparable installment in their storied career, New Stories 3 saw Gilbert attacking his oldest obsessions with more humor than ever before, while Jaimie shocked a legion of fans with the most refined (and masterful) chapter in his Locas saga to date..."

List: NPR's Glen Weldon lists "The Most Memorable Comics and Graphic Novels of 2010," including (with links to his past reviews):

Werewolves of Montpelier by Jason: "The deadest of deadpan cartoonists returns with a meditation on relationships, burglary and lycanthropy. In France."

Special Exits [Pre-Order]

Special Exits by Joyce Farmer: "Yeah, this one got to me."

Temperance

Temperance by Cathy Malkasian: "I've said my piece on this ambitious, wonderfully unpredictable fantasy epic grounded in very real, and not altogether pleasant, emotions."

Set to Sea

Set to Sea by Drew Weing: "Weing's largely wordless pages of maritime adventure are gorgeous things, and the tale they tell unfolds with the lulling, implacable rhythm of the sea."

Artichoke Tales [Pre-Order]

Artichoke Tales by Megan Kelso: "Kelso sets up an intriguing tension between the cartooniness of her art and the serious, adult themes of war and racism that fuel her thoughtful story."

Tales Designed to Thrizzle #6

Tales Designed to Thrizzle #6 by Michael Kupperman: "I attempted to verbalize my deep, abiding love for Kupperman's series on one of the first episodes of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour. Not sure I did it justice, so let me take another whack at it: PICK UP THIS BOOK. VOLUME ONE IS ONCE AGAIN IN PRINT. IT IS FUNNY. BUY IT BUY IT BUY IT."

You'll Never Know Book 2: Collateral Damage [Pre-Order]

You’ll Never Know, Book 2: Collateral Damage by C. Tyler: "Volume I of Tyler's comics memoir was one of the books I singled out for praise last year at this time, and the next volume only deepens and enriches the work she did in that book. What's more, volume II sees her opening up her scrapbook-style approach, pushing at its boundaries in small, satisfying ways."

A Drunken  Dream and Other Stories [Pre-Order]

A Drunken Dream by Moto Hagio: "For the first time, the shorter works of this master of shojo manga ('comics for girls') have been published in English, and it's a deeply impressive — and immersive — piece of work that's full of complex emotional truths. And deep weirdness."

It Was the War of the Trenches

It Was the War of the Trenches by Jacques Tardi: "Tardi constructs a series of vignettes around World War I, inspired by battlefield photographs. Finally available in English, the work is harrowing and ruthlessly affecting."

List: Comic Book Resources continues counting down their Top 100 Comics of 2010. In today's batch:

Weathercraft

#36: Weathercraft by Jim Woodring: "It's a twisting, twisted, often bizarre, often disturbing but always gripping tale of one creature's self-redemption and ultimate sacrifice told without words and often as enigmatically as possible. If you had any doubt that Woodring could still deliver after laying low for so long, consider them erased." – Chris Mautner

You'll Never Know Book 2: Collateral Damage [Pre-Order]

#34: You’ll Never Know, Book 2: Collateral Damage by C. Tyler: "One of the most heartfelt books of the year and also one of the most beautiful." – Alex Dueben

Special Exits [Pre-Order]

#29: Special Exits by Joyce Farmer: "This is a magnum opus no one expected to read, a brutally frank depiction of what it's like for full lives you love to end, and it has the most painfully happy ending of the year. It made me cry. Don't do what I almost did and ignore one of the year's most moving comics." – Sean T. Collins

Set to Sea

#28: Set to Sea by Drew Weing: "Weing strapped the heart-rending quest of a simple poet onto a book sporting the energy of a Popeye cartoon and the beastly human proportions of an R. Crumb comic. It's a book that manages to read with the lightness of a feather while simultaneously keeping its audience keenly aware of mortality and the fickle nature of fate on the high seas." – Brian Warmoth

Wally Gropius

#26: Wally Gropius by Tim Hensley: "The first great comic of the Great Recession. Tim Hensley's breakout graphic novel, previously serialized in the Mome anthology, seems like a send-up of silly '60s teen-comedy and kid-millionaire comics on the surface, but beneath lies as odd and accurate a cri de coeur about capitalism and consumerism as I've ever read. It also does things with body language I've never seen in comics, and is funny as hell to boot. There's nothing else out there like it." – Sean T. Collins

(The following 5 bullet points via Sandy Bilus at I Love Rob Liefeld:)

The Littlest Pirate King

List: Joshua Malbin ranks David B.'s The Littlest Pirate King at #4 on his Best Comics of 2010: "A children’s tale with a deeply messed up, traumatic ending and beautiful art."

Review: "The Littlest Pirate King is easily one of the best comics of 2010. [...] What sells it — what sells the whole tale, really — is David B’s superb art. These are overwhelmingly colorful pages, with scenes from strange angles in compressed perspective." – Joshua Malbin

It Was the War of the Trenches

List/Review: "A brutal guts-and-all look at the short life of the average French soldier in the trenches, with gritty artwork that straddles the fence between cartooning and illustration perfectly, It Was the War of the Trenches ranks up there with All Quiet on the Western Front in the ranks of WWI literature." – ranked #3 on The Best Comics of 2010 by Brad Manfully at Memories Fade

Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

List: Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 tops The Institute of Idle Time's Top 5 Comics of 2010 list: "Thank god for the Hernandez brothers. Anytime I need to convert someone to the medium, I pull out a volume from the longest-running and most successful alternative comic series of all time. [...] These two cartoonists embody everything comics fans love about the medium. They are master storytellers first and foremost, and the language of comics is never more beautiful." – Mike DiGino

Castle Waiting Vol. 2

List: Alicia K. of Wordnerdy includes Castle Waiting Vol. 2 by Linda Medley ("...Castle Waiting is a great look at... I don't know, the lighter side of fairy tales? It's very character based...") and Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 ("Jaime Hernandez's stories in this are his best work ever, and since he's one of my top-two all-time-favorite comics dudes, that is saying a lot") on her Best Comics of 2010 list

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec Vol. 1: Pterror Over Paris and The Eiffel Tower Demon [Pre-Order]

Review: "The chief reason to recommend [The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec] is Tardi’s art. ...[H]is photorealistic vistas of early 20th Century Paris are lovely, especially in the pastels and autumnual hues used here, and his cartoonish characters with their bulbous noses and waxed moustaches are a treat. Best yet is the design of Adele, with her period pulled-up hair, slit eyes and only top lip visible, which makes her appear more business-like and asexual, yet somehow more alluring because of the barriers presented." – Christopher Allen, Trouble with Comics

Young GODS and Friends

Review: "Created as a light-hearted and wittily arch tribute to Jack Kirby’s majestic pantheon of cosmic comic deities Young GODS and Friends... slowly builds and spreads into a mythico-graphic Waiting for Godot... On a purely artistic level this collection and extrapolation is a sheer delight; with superb art, splendid writing and all sorts of added extras, but the story-consumer in me can’t help but yearn for what might have been and how much has been lost. Beautiful wry, witty and completely enchanting — and tragically disappointing because of that." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!

Special Exits [Pre-Order]

Interview: In the intro to Alex Dueben's talk with Joyce Farmer about Special Exits at Comic Book Resources, he says of the book "It’s a story told without the fake, heartwarming nonsense that colors so many stories about this topic. The book is both funny and heartbreaking, sometimes on the same page, dealing with the quiet hopeful moments and the nerve-wracking agony that come from a situation that is all too common and spoken of far too little." Joyce goes in depth about the process of the book: "I had wanted to do a big project for a long time. A few months before, I had realized that maybe my parents’ story was a worthwhile project. I was on vacation and I decided to write out the various stories that I remembered. This was three years after they died, so I’d had some time for some stories to die away and other stories to stick in my mind. I had one hundred stories, approximately, and I thought well, this is a book."

A Drunken  Dream and Other Stories [Pre-Order]

Some previously-missed links on A Drunken Dream and Other Stories, via Deb Aoki at About.com: Manga:

List: "For giving us context, for showing us beautiful stories, and for delving into the work of a woman that changed girls comics forever, A Drunken Dream reaches #2 on my list." – Alexander Hoffman, Manga Widget "Top 10 of 2010"

List: Named one of the Best Graphic Novels 2010 by Deb Walker of the Markham Public Library

Plug: "The Prettiest, Shiniest Thing You Can Buy For That Special Someone Who Likes Pretty, Shiny Things: [...] It makes a fantastic read and an excellent coffee table book for someone who loves manga." – Daniella Orihuela-Gruber, All About Manga

Plug: "This collection of short stories spanning the career of shoujo pioneer Moto Hagio offers a poignant look into the author’s mind, both as a young artist and an established creator, focusing especially on themes of family and personal identity." – Melinda Beasi, Manga Bookshelf

Daily OCD: 12/28/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under reviewsMoto HagiomangaLove and RocketsLos Bros HernandezJoyce FarmerJohnny RyanJasonJacques TardiDave McKeanDaily OCDBest of 2010 28 Dec 2010 4:38 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

List: Comic Book Resources continues counting down their Top 100 Comics of 2010. In today's batch:

#71: Werewolves of Montpellier by Jason: "Every time Jason dives into an age-old genre he finds a way to make it seem alien. His cast of animal characters feel like an emotionally suppressed oven full of loaded guns. His expedition into werewolf tales brings all of these elements together throughout its rooftop chases and playful approach to the supernatural." – Brian Warmoth

It Was the War of the Trenches

#67: It Was the War of the Trenches by Jacques Tardi: "You want to know how brutal war can be? You want to know how war should be depicted in comics — how to look the utter savagery, inhumanity and square in the eye using only pen and ink? This is how you do it." – Chris Mautner

A Drunken  Dream and Other Stories [Pre-Order]

List: At Manga Worth Reading, Johanna Draper Carlson ranks A Drunken Dream and Other Stories #4 on her Best New Manga of 2010 list, calling it "an historically important overview of Moto Hagio’s short shojo."

Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

List: Comics writer/commentator Kevin Church selects Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 for his "Not A Best Of: Comics in 2010" list: "I’ll just add my voice to the chorus: 'Browntown' is likely the best comic that Jaime Hernandez has done, period. The fact that it’s bookended by Gilbert’s masterfully bleak sociosexual sci-fi story of first contact, 'The Love Bunglers' makes this possibly the highest-potency dosage of quality comics that came out this year. Like the Coen Brothers are for film, I am pretty convinced that I could read just comics by Los Bros Hernandez and feel immensely satisfied."

List: In MTV Geek's poll "Comic Book Creators Pick Their Favorite Top 3 Comic Stories of 2010," Michael Fiffe chooses Johnny Ryan's Prison Pit Book 2 ("This may be one of the most romantic stories I've ever read. The entire world should read this book") and the Hernandez Bros.' Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 ("I'll never get tired of saying that if you don't like this comic, then you hate comics and thus, you hate life")

Prison Pit: Book 2  [Pre-Order]

List: Matthew Rosenberg of Ashcan Press ranks Prison Pit Book 2 at #15 on his Best of 2010 list: "Johnny Ryan’s Prison Pit may be everything a 12 year old me liked about comics boiled down to its essence and then pumped full of crystal meth. The book reads like hitting someone in the face… in a good way."

Special Exits [Pre-Order]

Review: "Written with impressive empathy and obviously heartfelt, angry frustration even years later, this memoir confronts issues that will affect every single one of us whether or not we have the guts to face it, and the light airy art and terrific supporting cast — especially Ching the cat — keeps the tone hopeful and ultimately upbeat even through the worst of all times. This is a book you must read. Like Robert Crumb, I too found tears in my eyes at the book’s end — and so will you. [...] Unsentimental, educational and inspirational Special Exits is a tale no rational mortal can afford to miss." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!

http://www.fantagraphics.com/images/flog/mike/201012/celluloid.jpg

Coming Attractions/Commentary: At Robot 6, Graeme McMillan uses the occasion of our forthcoming Summer 2011 publication of "what might be, for me, the most eagerly-anticipated book of 2011, Dave McKean’s Celluloid" to ruminate on the subject of pornographic comics

Palestine

Commentary: Fantagraphics Warehouse Manager/Poet-in-Residence Nico Vassilakis passes along a link of possible interest: an overview of graphic nonfiction by Christy Rowe at Reconfigurations: A Journal for Poetics & Poetry / Literature & Culture

Daily OCD: 12/27/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under reviewsRand HolmesR Kikuo JohnsonPeanutsPatrick RosenkranzMoto HagiomangaLinda MedleyKim DeitchJoyce FarmerJordan CraneJohnny RyanJasonGilbert HernandezDavid BDaily OCDCharles M SchulzBest of 2010audioAnders Nilsen 27 Dec 2010 3:44 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

List: Comic Book Resources begins counting down their Top 100 Comics of 2010. In the first batch:

Prison Pit: Book 2  [Pre-Order]

#87: Prison Pit Book 2 by Johnny Ryan: "Absurd, crude, lewd, funny, entertaining, twelve kinds of wrong, one of the most effed-up books I've ever read. It's burned into my brain and I can't get it out. And I love it." – Chad Nevett

A Drunken  Dream and Other Stories [Pre-Order]

#99: A Drunken Dream and Other Stories by Moto Hagio: "I'd never heard of Moto Hagio until Fantagraphics published this best-of collection of her stories, and it's easy to see why Hagio is one of the queens of shojo manga in Japan. The short story 'Iguana Girl' (about a girl who grows up with her mother treating her like she is an iguana) is strong enough to make you feel like you've gotten your money's worth, but the remaining nine stories are also all excellent to boot." – Greg McElhatton

List: Dave Ferraro of Comics-and-More ranks Moto Hagio's A Drunken Dream and Other Stories at #6 on his 10 Best Manga of 2010: "Moto Hagio's artwork is stunning.  Her storytelling is fluid, her characters expressive, and her drawings in general are beautifully arranged and look effortless. Each and every one of the ten stories in this 'best of' collection of short stories... are enchanting, full of warmth and wonderful characters, and brimming with emotion. [...] A very necessary project, done right."

Uptight #4 [January 2011]

Review: "Uptight #4 is an example of that increasingly-rare animal: a satisfying alt-comic book. [...] It speaks to Crane’s versatility that he can pull off a slice-of-life relationship story and a fable in the same comic book." – Rob Clough, The Comics Journal

Castle Waiting Vol. 2

Review: "...[J]ust about the sweetest graphic novel imaginable... it's a lovely, positive collection, with fine drawing and characters that are well worth spending some time with. ...[T]his is a story about people and how they live together and support each other. That kind of story is so vanishingly rare in comics that it should be treasured when we do find it — particularly when it's as lovely and engaging as Castle Waiting." – Andrew Wheeler, The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

The Search for Smilin' Ed!

Review: "Deitch's mad brew of semi-psychedelic farce and skewed reality takes the actual (and factual) short-lived tenure of an obscure 1950s-era kiddie-show host as source material and extrapolates a fantastical set of circumstances with humans, demons, not-so-funny animals and other characters — including Deitch himself. Reading this book [The Search for Smilin' Ed] is a wild ride; Deitch's prodigious storytelling talents and graphic craftsmanship keep things moving — and compelling." – Richard Pachter, The Miami Herald

Plugs: At Comics Comics, Jeet Heer singles out The Artist Himself: A Rand Holmes Retrospective and The Search for Smilin' Ed by Kim Deitch as two recent books deserving of more attention from critics and readers, calling the latter book "a delight not just because it gives us one of Deitch’s most deranged meandering tall tales but also because the whole handsome package was designed to highlight the cohesiveness of Deitch’s world-making project, the way his fictional universe and its large cast make up a single unfolding story."

Anders Nilsen

Interview (Audio): Anders Nilsen is the guest on the new episode of The Comix Claptrap podcast

R. Kikuo Johnson

Profile: New York magazine catches up with R. Kikuo Johnson in a new follow-up on a 2005 "ones to watch"-type article

The Complete Peanuts 1965-1966 (Vol. 8) [NORTH AMERICA ONLY]

Feature: At Robot 6, Chris Mautner takes you to "Comics College" with recommendations of how to approach the work of Charles M. Schulz (like which volumes of The Complete Peanuts to start with)

Special Exits [Pre-Order]

Opinion: At TIME.com – Techland, Douglas Wolk's "What I'm Grateful For in Comics, 2010" includes "Lots of long-gone creators have been returning to the new-comics trenches, and many of them are as limber and powerful as ever. [...] I... wouldn't have imagined that Joyce Farmer would be doing the best work of her career in 2010, but Special Exits knocked me flat," and "The fact that Jason puts out a book every nine months or so and has a substantical, enthusiastic readership makes me proud of the entire economic structure that makes that possible."

http://www.fantagraphics.com/images/flog/mike/201010/armed-garden.jpg

Coming Attractions: More Douglas Wolk at TIME.com – Techland, this time listing "What We're Looking Forward To in 2011," including Love from the Shadows by Gilbert Hernandez ("the most twisted, perverse book he's ever created, which is saying something. It's lurid, hypersexual, violent, incredibly disturbing, and totally fun") and The Armed Garden and Other Stories by David B. ("gorgeous work, and unlike anything else in contemporary comics")

Daily OCD: 12/21/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Zippy the PinheadStephen DixonMoto HagioMegan KelsomangaLove and RocketsLos Bros HernandezLinda MedleyKim DeitchJordan CraneJohnny RyanJoe DalyJim WoodringJasonJaime HernandezJacques TardiGilbert HernandezFour Color FearDestroy All MoviesDaily OCDCarol TylerBill GriffithBest of 2010audio 21 Dec 2010 5:43 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions from NPR, Techland–TIME.com, HTMLGIANT, Woot!, and elsewhere:

List: At Techland–TIME.com, Douglas Wolk names his top 10 Best Graphic Novels of 2010:

Weathercraft

#6: Weathercraft: "The first standalone Frank book from Jim Woodring is as gloriously mind-expanding as anything he's drawn. It's a wordless Hieronymous Bosch-via-Chuck Jones parable about cartoon animals in a cruel, psychedelic landscape, in which the wicked Manhog attains enlightenment, then sacrifices it again."

Artichoke Tales [Pre-Order]

#5: Artichoke Tales: "Megan Kelso's magnum opus is technically a fantasy — her characters live in an imaginary country, riven by a civil war between foragers and canners, and have artichoke leaves instead of hair on their heads. It's also a set of meditations on the way cultures establish their identities through stories, and how both political violence and personal connections can damage or repair those identities."

You'll Never Know Book 2: Collateral Damage [Pre-Order]

#3You'll Never Know, Book 2: Collateral Damage: "The second volume of C. Tyler's trilogy of family stories that crystallized around the revelation of her father's experiences in World War II turns personal tragedy into universal art. Everyone's stories deepen; everything is more complicated and sadder than it seems at first. And Tyler's incredible sense of design and color makes even her quietest images linger."

Weathercraft

List: Comics Alliance also ranks Weathercraft on their Top 10 Best Comics of 2010. Jason Michelitch writes: "Woodring is a cartoonist of frightening power, and Weathercraft is him performing at full strength, a high note sustained for every panel on 100 pages. His work is of a caliber where it's hard to know what to say about it, so struck dumb are you by the immensity of the rendering and storytelling skill on the page. [...] There is no other comic this year that so successfully creates such a viscerally compelling and hermetically individual fictional world, or which displays such a thorough mastery of visual storytelling, provoking complex thoughts and feelings with simple, beautiful strokes. Weathercraft is essential."

List: Oh mercy, it's The Daily Cross Hatch's epic and essential end-of-year top-five survey The Best Damn Comics of 2010 Chosen by the Artists. Below, in order of appearance, the books chosen, who chose them and how/if they ranked them; click over for any commentary:

Artichoke Tales [Pre-Order]

Artichoke Tales by Megan Kelso: Ellen Abramowitz (MoCCA Executive Director), #3; Darryl Ayo Brathwaite (Little Garden Comics), unranked;

Werewolves of Montpellier by Jason: Joe Decie (What I Drew), "Best European book"

Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 by the Hernandez Bros: Andrew Farago, (Cartoon Art Museum Curator), unranked

The Search for Smilin' Ed!

The Search For Smilin' Ed by Kim Deitch: Josh Frankel (Zip Comics), unranked; Brian Heater (The Daily Cross Hatch), #3

A Drunken  Dream and Other Stories [Pre-Order]

A Drunken Dream and Other Stories by Moto Hagio: Shaenon Garrity (Narbonic), unranked

Castle Waiting Vol. 2

Castle Waiting: Volume 2 by Linda Medley: Shaenon Garrity (Narbonic), unranked

Uptight #4 [January 2011]

Uptight #4 by Jordan Crane: Nathan Gelgud (Simon's Soup), unranked; J.T. Yost (Birdcage Bottom Books), "Top 5 mini-comics"

Locas II: Maggie, Hopey & Ray

Locas II by Jaime Hernandez: Tom Hart (Hutch Owen), unranked

Prison Pit: Book 2  [Pre-Order]

Prison Pit Book 2 by Johnny Ryan: Eric Haven (Tales to Demolish), unranked

Dungeon Quest, Book 1

Dungeon Quest: Volume One by Joe Daly: Eric Haven (Tales to Demolish), unranked

Weathercraft

Weathercraft by Jim Woodring: Brian Heater (The Daily Cross Hatch), #4; Gabby Schulz/Ken Dahl (Monsters), #4

Set to Sea

List: At Four Colours and the Truth, Tim Reinert names Drew Weing's Set to Sea one of his Favourite Comics of 2010: Best Original Graphic Novels: "A unique adventure story that skirts the line between high concept art book and ribald adventure tale quite well. Weing’s patient pacing, and unerring knack for maximizing panel space make him an interesting talent to watch out for."

List: At Attentiondeficitdisorderly, Werewolves of Montpellier by Jason is one of Sean T. Collins's Comics of the Year of the Day: "...to quote an Album of the Year of the Day, everybody knows he’s a motherfuckin’ monster."

List: At The SF Site: Nexus Graphica, Mark London Williams and Rick Klaw each count down their Ten Best Comics of 2010 in tandem, in two parts covering #10-6 and #5-1 (with additional commentary from Mark at Guys Lit Wire):

Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950s [Pre-Order]

#8: (Rick) Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950s  

It Was the War of the Trenches

#3: (Rick) It Was The War of the Trenches by Jacques Tardi

Love and Rockets Book 25: High Soft Lisp [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

#1: (Mark) High Soft Lisp by Gilbert Hernandez

It Was the War of the Trenches

List: On Twitter, artist/designer Mark Burrier counts down his "top 5 favorite comic releases of 2010," with Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 at #4 and It Was The War of the Trenches at #3

Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

List: At Comikaze, Mauricio Matamores names Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 one of Los Mejores Cómics de 2010: "Published by Fantagraphics, this title presented top-notch storytelling by the Hernándezes and perfection with Xaime, specifically." (Translated from Spanish.)

I Killed Adolf Hitler

List: Also at Comikaze, Santiago Fernández names Yo maté a Adolf Hitler (I Killed Adolf Hitler) one of Los Mejores Cómics de 2010: "This [Norwegian] author seems to tell his story of time travel, Nazis and romance as though he were a 10 year old child, proof that this is a fun story even though it really is rather complex, complete with a message that provides sweetness. Great gift for the girlfriend." (Translated from Spanish.)

Bill Griffith

Interview (Audio): Mark Herz of Connecticut NPR affilliate WSHU visits with Bill Griffith in his studio to talk all things Zippy

Destroy All Movies!!!: The Complete Guide to Punks on Film [Pre-Order]

Interview: Jason Toon of Woot! talks to Zack Carlson & Bryan Connolly about Destroy All Movies!!! The Complete Guide to Punks on Film: "We can't stop even now. It's become a depressing compulsion. We can't enjoy a movie the way you would. Actually, it went beyond watching movies. We got so immersed in what we were doing, when we'd take a break to go get a pizza and see a kid riding by on a skateboard with blue hair, we'd try to pause reality."

What Is All This? Uncollected Stories

Plug: At HTMLGIANT, Kyle Minor calls us "heroes of literature" for publishing Stephen Dixon's What Is All This? Uncollected Stories, and for our publishing history in general... shucks!

Daily OCD: 12/20/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Usagi YojimboSteve DitkoStephen DeStefanoStephane BlanquetStan SakaireviewsPrince ValiantPopeyeLove and RocketsLos Bros HernandezJohnny RyanJaime HernandezJacques TardiHans RickheitGilbert HernandezDestroy All MoviesDavid BDaily OCDCathy MalkasianCarol TylerBlake BellBest of 2010 20 Dec 2010 5:57 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions from Vice, the Austin American-Statesman, Wired, Fangoria and elsewhere:

List: The Austin American-Statesman's Joe Gross lists his top 10 Best Comics and Graphic Novels of 2010:

You'll Never Know Book 2: Collateral Damage [Pre-Order]

#4 - You'll Never Know, Book 2: Collateral Damage by C. Tyler: "The first volume of Tyler's planned trilogy appeared on this list last year, and she hasn't missed a step, fleshing out her father's time in World War II with fresh details about its long-term aftershocks on the home front."

It Was the War of the Trenches

#3 - It Was the War of the Trenches by Jacques Tardi: "...French cartoonist Tardi's pitch-black World War I masterpiece, available in English for the first time. This is war as hourly apocalypse, Expressionist and agonizing."

Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

#1 - Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 by the Hernandez Brothers: "The first two [issues] were typically excellent, but the third was jaw-dropping, largely because of 'Browntown,' a story by Jaime Hernandez. Like his brother Gilbert, Jaime has been so good for so long that it's become very easy to take his obvious genius for granted. 'Browntown' brought that skill into brutal relief, a devastating story of a secret left to fester. Expertly paced, with not a line wasted, it was one of the year's best stories in any medium, a stunner from a guy who keeps finding new peaks."

List: Popdose's Johnny Bacardi (né David Allen Jones) names Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 one of his Best of 2010: "Featuring Jaime Hernandez's remarkable 'Browntown,' perhaps the best thing he's ever done. Which makes this absolutely essential."

List: At Attentiondeficitdisorderly, Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 is one of Sean T. Collins's Comics of the Year of the Day: "...career-best work from cartoonists with two of the best careers in the medium."

Love and Rockets Book 25: High Soft Lisp [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

List: Also at Attentiondeficitdisorderly, Gilbert Hernandez's High Soft Lisp is another of Sean T. Collins's Comics of the Year of the Day: "Gilbert Hernandez vs. Gilbert Hernandez, to the death."

Ectopiary - Hans Rickheit

List: MTV Splash Page names Hans Rickheit's ongoing Ectopiary the Best Webcomic of 2010

The Littlest Pirate King

Review: "...The Littlest Pirate King is gorgeously illustrated and quite intriguing. David B. has an unusual style which tempers the creepiness of undead pirates with an almost goofy look; but then those cartoony characters grin as they run swords through people. It’s a very odd juxtaposition that matches the story well..." – Jonathan Liu, Wired – GeekDad

Usagi Yojimbo: The Special Edition [Pre-Order]

Review: "...[Usagi Yojimbo] is probably one of the best comic stories ever made. The epic scope expected from historical fiction is there as are some of the most finely drawn characters in the medium. [...] While even the stories that are not particularly noteworthy are highly readable, the good stories in this collection are amazing. [...] I give this book the highest possible praises for quality." – J.A. Crestmere, Renderwrx Productions

Destroy All Movies!!!: The Complete Guide to Punks on Film [Pre-Order]

Review: "Destroy All Movies!!!, edited by Zack Carlson and Bryan Connolly, not only gives an great anthology-like overview... but provides a strong focus on the talent and punk-brains behind the art. [...] It’s the perfect summation of a 1980s American society that didn’t know how to handle the punk uprising, and a film industry that capitalized on it." – Dave McKendry, Fangoria

Unexplored Worlds: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 2 [Pre-Order]

Review: "Fantagraphics has finally presented the work of one of comics' greatest mystery men in dignity with beautiful color reproduction and informative introductions. [... Unexplored Worlds] shows off Ditko's work after the Comics Code Authority came onto the scene and turned every lurid story of horror and 'the macabre' into some lame morality tale in which everyone has a nice time. Still there's some strong content in this book..." – Nick Gazin, Vice

FUC_ __U, _SS __LE: Blecky Yuckerella Vol. 4

Review: "Johnny's new book [FUC_ __U, _SS __LE] is full of the yucky yuks, barfy larfs, and gags-that-make-you-gag that have made this shock comicker the Artie Lange of drawn funnies! [...] Do you like comics where dangling nutsacks are mistaken for pinatas and rich people shove DVDs into midgets' butt cleavage which causes them to act out the movies? A comic where summoning a Garfield Satan is possible by using the Lasagnanomicon? A comic where a little girl shoots the homelees in the brain, grinds them up, and feeds them to skunks for Thanksgiving? You don't? Neither does anybody else. Eat my balls, JR." – Nick Gazin, Vice

Review: "As with Ryan’s more recent work... the jokes [in FUC_ __U, _SS __LE] become have become more outrageous, absurd, disturbing and just plain odd. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing depends upon your appreciation for Prison Pit, not to mention your appreciation for Johnny Ryan’s comics in general. Me, I thought it was swell." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6

Temperance

Review: "Here’s another best of 2010 comics entry for you. Cathy Malkasian’s Temperance is like Franz Kafka’s The Castle meets Little House on the Prairie and goes drinking. No, it’s like rewriting Pinocchio as several Flannery O’Connor short stories, including (but not limited to) 'A Good Man Is Hard To Find' and 'Good Country People.' No, that’s not it either. [...] Anyway, it’s weird as hell. This stuff." – John Holbo, Crooked Timber

Toys in the Basement

Review: "Dosed with dry, mordant wit and just the right tone of macabre Ghost Train suspense Toys in the Basement is a simply terrific goose-bumpy thriller rendered magical by the wildly eccentric, brilliantly imaginative and creepily fluid artwork of Blanquet. This dark delight also has the perfect moral message for loot-hungry, attention-deprived youngsters – and their kids and grandchildren too." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!  

Lucky in Love Book 1: A Poor Man's History [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

Interview: The Daily War Drum talks to Stephen DeStefano about his Disney comics work and other topics: "I'm currently working on storyboards for Disney TV Animation, on a show called Kick Buttowski. I'm also drawing Spongebob Squarepants comic books, as well as drawing the second volume of my graphic novel (Volume One was published this past September) called Lucky in Love."

Prince Valiant Vol. 2: 1939-1940

Plugs: The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin's David Allen runs down a plethora of recent classic newspaper-strip reprints, including many of ours, natch, and counting Prince Valiant and Popeye among his favorites

Plugs: Hey Parisians! Librairie Apo (K) Lyps blogs that they just got a big shipment of Fantagraphics stuff last week — allez-y!


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