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Category >> Best of 2011

Daily OCD: 12/5/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Walt KellyTony MillionaireShimura TakakoRichard SalareviewsPaul NelsonMickey MousemangaLove and RocketsLinda MedleyKevin HuizengaKevin AveryJoe KubertJacques TardiJack DavisinterviewsFloyd GottfredsonDisneyDave McKeanDaily OCDCarl BarksBill SchellyBest of 2011Al Jaffee 5 Dec 2011 8:04 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Love and Rockets: New Stories #4

List: The Austin American-Statesman's Joe Gross names Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 the best comic of 2011: "One of the wonderful things about seeing a masterpiece in the making is the mysterious feeling, the racing of the soul that takes place when it hits you that you are, in fact, seeing a masterpiece in the making.... Symphonic, tragic, revelatory, exciting and devastating as only great art can be, 'The Love Bunglers' is one of the best comics ever made."

Celluloid

List: Paste ranks Dave McKean's Celluloid at #5 on The 10 Best New Comics of 2011: "The visionary art director behind The Sandman’s covers creates a coital masterwork that elicits beauty and excitement in equal measure.... Celluloid is a treasure of technical finesse and sensual mystique that transcends its potential controversy."

Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1: Race to Death Valley

List: Paste's list of The Ten Best Reissues/Collections of 2011 includes Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1: Race to Death Valley by Floyd Gottfredson at #9 ("Gottfredson had an animator’s knack for storytelling, and his layouts remain clear no matter how busy they get. Much of the humor is stilted by modern standards, but you’ll be too enthralled by the exciting plots and likable characters to care"), Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture – A Career Retrospective at #7 ("Fantagraphics has finally given him the grand and serious treatment he deserves, without minimizing his goofy sense of humor"), and Walt Disney’s Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes in the #1 spot ("Barks’ strips combine high adventure with humor and subtle cultural commentaries, but they remain grounded in character... Lost in the Andes is a gorgeously packaged collection of some of the finest comics ever made.")

Reviews (Video): On the new episode of the Comics-and-More Podcast, hosts Dave Ferraro and Patrick Markfort discuss Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1: Race to Death Valley by Floyd Gottfredson and Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes by Carl Barks (two-part video at the link)

Ganges #4

List: At Poopsheet Foundation, Justin Giampaoli names Kevin Huizenga's Ganges #4 one of the "Best Mini-Comics & Small Press Titles of 2011": "It’s the continuing adventures of Glenn Ganges and his latest nocturnal outing, as he navigates his sleepless existence on a seemingly endless night. With the degree of interactivity occurring between the page and the readers, there’s as much technique on display here as there is original storytelling."

List: Leeds, UK comic shop OK Comics posts their Top Ten Graphic Novels of 2011: "9. Like a Sniper Lining Up His Shot by Jaques Tardi published by @fantagraphics. A hitman's reluctance to perform one last job leads to an emotional breakdown. Legendary French comics artist Jacques Tardi on fine form."

Pogo Vol. 1

List: The Globe and Mail includes Pogo - The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips Volume 1: Through the Wild Blue Wonder by Walt Kelly in their "2011 gift book guide": "Fans of what for many is the greatest of all comic strips have waited a long time for this, the first of a projected 12 volumes (1949-1950) from the brilliant Walt Kelly. The congenial Pogo Possum and his swampland friends... spring to life in this collection of daily and Sunday comics, filled with Kelly’s characteristic wordplay. One hopes this will introduce a new generation to this comic, satiric masterwork."

Review: "Pogo: The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips: Volume 1—Through the Wild Blue Wonder proves to be worth the wait.... Overall, the package serves Pogo well.... The biggest revelation of reading the first two years of Pogo is how polished and funny the strip was right from the start, and also how nearly every Pogo panel is a delight unto itself. Kelly didn’t necessarily build to big punchlines; he’d slip funny sight gags and memorable lines everywhere there was room. ...[T]here’s a classic Pogo moment on just about every page of this book." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club

Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes

Review: "Even now, Barks’ stories are clever and funny, as he leads the ducks into impossible situations and then gives them unexpected ways out. And they’re poignant in their own way, too.... What’s impressive about Fantagraphics’ Lost in the Andes is that it encourages both a fannish and an intellectual approach to the material. For those who want to skew highbrow, the book includes an appendix with scholarly analysis of each story.... And for those who just want to curl up with more than 200 pages of some of the best-written comics ever published, Lost in the Andes has all the square eggs, rubber bricks, golden Christmas trees, and races around the world that any kid or grown-up could ever want." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club

Review: "Fantagraphics’ initial release of its new series of Carl Barks books is titled, Walt Disney’s Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes and reprints one of the most famous, and most BELOVED, comic book stories which Carl ever wrote and drew! ...I’m impressed with the quality of the publication. In my estimation, the coloring is excellent and the format engaging…. The critical essays composed by a number of Barks scholars are also insightful and well written.... In my opinion, as a Carl Barks fan, this initial volume is well worth acquiring!" – Carl Barks Fan Club Newsletter

The Art of Joe Kubert

Reviews: "Two... giants of American illustration get the handsome coffee-table-book treatment with Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture and The Art of Joe Kubert... The Kubert book — edited by Bill Schelly — is more text-heavy, covering Kubert’s early years as a journeyman penciler and inker on a slew of indistinct superhero and adventure comics, then exploring how Kubert developed the fine shading and gritty realism he’d become famed for starting in the late ’50s. The Davis book saves most of its biographical detail and critical analysis for the intro and appendix, filling the intervening 200 pages with full-sized examples of the half-cartoony/half-photographic approach that Davis brought to Mad magazine and countless movie posters. Both offer ample visual evidence of how two men found the 'art' in commercial art, turning work-for-hire assignments into opportunities to express their particular visions of the world." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club

 Everything Is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson

List: Springfield, Massachusetts The Republican columnist Tom Shea has Everything Is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson by Kevin Avery in a tie for "music book of the year"

Review: "To (re-)discover a first-rate critic, and read about a life that went wrong in a harrowing way, you must read Everything Is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson, by Kevin Avery.... This volume is exhilarating. Avery tells with great energy Nelson’s tale, with copious details about the active period of his subject’s life, and in so doing limns a portrait of a certain kind of pop-culture/bohemian existence in the late-70s. And Avery’s generous selection of Nelson’s writings are certainly among Paul’s best..." – Ken Tucker (Entertainment Weekly), The Best American Poetry

Wandering Son Vol. 1

Review: "What makes Wandering Son work is its slow-burn pace and calm atmosphere. It takes a delicate subject – transgender children- and explores it slowly and carefully. Much like its characters, it moves at its own pace, easing the reader into the characters’ lives.... I am really eager to read volume two of Wandering Son, though a little hesitant as well. I know that the road in front of Shu and Yoshino isn’t going to be an easy one and I don’t want to see them get hurt. But the fact that I’m talking about the characters as though they’re real people just shows how deep this manga has gotten under my skin." – Shannon Fay, Kuriousity

The Hidden

Review: "Richard Sala is one of those creators that holds a fairly unique voice in comics. Many people have tried to replicate his off-beat brand of horror, but ultimately nothing out there quite like his. So with a new graphic novel called The Hidden out, the question for most people won’t be, 'Should I read it?' but 'When should I read it?'... The Hidden isn’t perfect... but what Sala does well, he does very well indeed. There’s quite a lot to love in The Hidden, with some scenes in particular that will stick with the reader for a long time." – Greg McElhatton, Read About Comics

500 Portraits

Plug: "This new book of portraits from @tonymillionaire is exquisite: a wonderful Xmas gift!" – Peter Serafinowicz

Plug: Laughing Squid's Rusty Blazenhoff spotlights Tony Millionaire's 500 Portraits

Castle Waiting Vol. 1

Plug: "Have you ever wondered what happened after 'Happily Ever After'? This graphic novel [Castle Waiting] is a modern tale that incorporates fairytale characters and settings. Funny, thoughtful and not at all what you'd expect." – The Victoria Times Colonist

Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture - A Career Retrospective

Interview: Wall Street Journal subscribers can read a Q&A with Jack Davis conducted last week in NYC by Bruce Bennett here: "Every time you went in to see Bill Gaines, he would write you a check when you brought in a story. You didn't have to put in a bill or anything. I was very, very hungry and I was thinking about getting married. So I kept the road pretty hot between home and Canal Street. I would go in for that almighty check, go home and do the work, bring it in and get another check and pick up another story." [Update: A clever reader has pointed out that non-subscribers can read the article in Google's cache]

Humbug

Profile: CNN's Todd Leopold profiles the great Al Jaffee: "After a bumpy several years in which he bounced like a pinball between his parents -- moving from Savannah, Georgia, to Lithuania, to one borough and then another of New York City, back to Lithuania and back again to New York -- art was something to hold on to, a way to establish an identity. He had no idea it would lead anywhere."

Daily OCD: 12/2/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Walt KellyThe Comics JournalreviewsPaul NelsonMickey MouseMichael KuppermanKevin AveryFloyd GottfredsonDisneyDaily OCDBest of 2011 2 Dec 2011 11:42 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Mark Twain's Autobiography 1910-2010

List: Graphic Novel Reporter's John Hogan gives Mark Twain's Autobiography 1910-2010 by Michael Kupperman an honorable mention on his Best of 2011 list

Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 2: Trapped on Treasure Island

Review: "Uncut, uncensored and politically incorrect – these tales are from an alternate Disney universe, where Mickey is a red-blooded, two-fisted adventurer; they are fun to read and a delight to view. Gottfredson’s comics are as classy, funny and as slick as the Disney shorts from the same period. And as usual, co-editor David Gerstein provides a plethora of 'bonus materials'... A fine package, a full meal, and a perfect follow-up to volume 1, Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse Vol. 2: Trapped on Treasure Island fills a gap long-neglected in animation history. Buy it." – Jerry Beck, Cartoon Brew

Pogo Vol. 1

Review: "I think I’ve been waiting for this book my entire life.... At long last the complete Pogo has been compiled, lovingly, ...in the miraculous new hardcover, Pogo: The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips, Vol. 1: Through the Wild Blue Wonder. Buy this book.... Kelly’s drawings are just magnificent, and his sophisticated writing style was far ahead of its time. Its time has come – and Fantagraphics has gone out of its way to ensure the best possible copies of these rare strips were found, restored and preserved perfectly here for all time... A great gift for anyone – especially you." – Jerry Beck, Cartoon Brew

Review: "Walt Kelly’s Pogo... is justifiably hailed as one of the great achievements of the postwar comic strip. In theory, it belongs to the 'funny animal' genre; in practice, it was a personal, whimsical combination of comedy and mood, dressed in linguistic wordplay and laced with sociopolitical satire.... This wonderful first volume of a projected 12-volume series contains the strip’s first two official years (plus its early pre-syndication stint in a single New York paper), with the Sundays reproduced in color, and with Kelly’s topical references annotated by scholar R.C. Harvey.... I salute this launch... [Rating] 9/10" – Michael Barrett, PopMatters 

 Everything Is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson

Review: "Small wonder that Jonathan Lethem modeled Chronic City’s protagonist on [Paul] Nelson: Nelson’s bohemian eccentricities... make his biography a more gripping read than the criticism that makes up [Everything Is an Afterthought]’s second half.... In the end, Nelson’s best epitaph comes from a sprawling essay that portrays the writer as a hermeneutic gumshoe hired to suss out the meaning of Dylan’s oeuvre: 'I know we need people like you because a world filled with romantics would be a disaster, but a world without them would be worse.'" – Jonah Wolf, The College Hill Independent

The Comics Journal #38 [Sold Out]

Review: At The Factual Opinion, Tucker Stone examines The Comics Journal #38 (from 1978). A highlight: "Kim Thompson gets to review the Spider-Man television special and one of the Hulk television movies. He likes the Hulk one more than the Spider-man one, but then, he doesn't like the Spider-man one at all. (It sounds really fucking weird.) He's also really ticked off about Stan Lee re-writing the comic strip Spider-man's origin to better match the television show. Fists are shaken!" (Incidentally, this seminal issue is considered one of the magazine's historic best by both Kim Thompson and the bloggers of Love & Maggie.)

Fantagraphics Books logo - shield emblem by Daniel Clowes

Profile: Alec Berry of West Virginia University's The Daily Athenaeum introduces its readers to Fantagraphics in an article on independent comics publishers: "These innovative works could be characterized as dramatic, journalistic or satirical. Really, what happened was Fantagraphics stepped up and presented the thoughtful analysis that could be done on comics by publishing the trade magazine The Comics Journal, and Fantagraphics published the actual work that inspired the thought."

Daily OCD: 12/1/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Willie and JoeWilfred SantiagoWalt KellyreviewsOlivier SchrauwenMickey MouseJoe SaccoJacques TardiGreg SadowskiGahan WilsonFloyd GottfredsonFBI MINIsDisneyDaily OCDCarl BarksBill MauldinBest of 2011Alex Toth21 1 Dec 2011 7:42 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Setting the Standard: Comics by Alex Toth 1952-1954 

List: Rick Klaw and Mark London Williams of The SF Site start counting down their top 10 favorite comics of 2011 in their "Nexus Graphica" column, with Rick placing Setting the Standard: Comics by Alex Toth 1952-1954 at #10 ("mandatory reading for any fan of the medium") and Like a Sniper Lining Up His Shot by Jacques Tardi at #6 ("one of the finest examples of the genre")

FBI•MINI #20: The Road to Wigan Pier

Review: "In an historical moment when a cross-section of the population is waking up to the reality of brutal inequalities and the limited set of levers by which that might be expected to change, being reminded of past permutations of those same societal ills may prove hopeful or unbearable. It's hard to say. Either way, these are effective comics. The Road to Wigan Pier never manages the dead-on power inherent in much of Sacco's best work, but it's certainly worth any comics fan's time." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter

Nuts

Review: "...[I]t is thrilling to see such a vital, and nearly forgotten, work of comics coming back into print, cleaned up and reorganized and ready to surprise a new generation of former kids.... Nuts is one of the best works, and one of the few single book-length works, by one of our time's best and most idiosyncratic cartoonists -- ...it is for everyone who really remembers how terrible and lonely and infuriating it can be to be a child." – Andrew Wheeler, The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1-2 box set

Plugs: Robot 6's ongoing "Holiday Gift-Giving Guide" survey of comics creators rolls on,  with Joey Weiser suggesting "For the comic strip enthusiast: Mickey Mouse by Floyd Gottfredson – Super engaging strips that are full of life and very funny. I’m very glad that Fantagraphics is publishing these." Caanan Grall also recommends "Fantagraphics’s Floyd Gottfriedson Mickey Mouse and Carl Barks Donald Duck libraries."

Pogo Vol. 1

Plugs: Graphic Novel Reporter's "Holiday 2011 Gift Guide" features The Man Who Grew His Beard by Olivier Schrauwen, Pogo: The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips Vol. 1 - Through the Wild Blue Wonder by Walt Kelly, Willie & Joe: The WWII Years & Willie & Joe: Back Home by Bill Mauldin, 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente by Wilfred Santiago, and Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1 + 2 Boxed Set by Floyd Gottfredson

Gahan Wilson: Fifty Years of Playboy Cartoons

Plug: Heroes Aren't Hard to Find's Andy Mansell rounds up some gift ideas for their upcoming holiday sale this weekend, including Gahan Wilson: Fifty Years of Playboy Cartoons: "This is one of the best books of the past year (or so). Gahan Wilson is the true heir apparent to New Yorker comic weirdo Charles Addams. His comics are twisted, macabre, beautifully rendered and above all–laugh out loud funny. This 3 volume set belongs in every serious comic fan’s library."

21 by Wilfred Santiago & The Arctic Marauder by Jacques Tardi on Library Journal's 'Best of 2011'
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Wilfred SantiagoJacques TardiBest of 201121 1 Dec 2011 4:15 PM

21: The Story of Roberto Clemente by Wilfred SantiagoThe Arctic Marauder by Jacques Tardi

Library Journal Best Books 2011

Library Journal has named two of our releases to their top-10 Best Books of 2011: Graphic Novels list!

21: The Story of Roberto Clemente by Wilfred Santiago: "The Puerto Rican slugger overcame family poverty, racial prejudice, and the language barrier to become the 1966 National League’s Most Valuable Player. Santiago superbly captures the kinetic excitement of baseball as well as Clemente’s skill and warm humanity on and off the diamond."

The Arctic Marauder by Jacques Tardi: "An eccentric steampunk parody of turn-of-the-century pulp, beautifully rendered with amazing scratchboard art that mimics the look of engravings. Tardi favors the puckish over the grim, for a surprising sf comedy involving mad scientists, sea monsters, and weird machines."

(You may recall that LJ has already honored one of our other books, Everything Is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson by Kevin Avery, as one of its Best Books 2011.)

Daily OCD: 11/29/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Wilfred SantiagoShimura TakakoRichard SalareviewsPaul NelsonmangaLove and RocketsLos Bros HernandezKevin AveryJohnny RyanJasonJaime HernandezinterviewsGilbert HernandezDisneyDaily OCDcontestsCarl BarksBest of 2011 29 Nov 2011 8:36 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Wandering Son Vol. 2

List: At MTV Geek, Brigid Alverson names Wandering Son by Shimura Takako one of The Best Manga Series of 2011: "Wandering Son is a delightful, quiet manga about a girly boy and a boyish girl.... This is not your typical gender-bender manga playing a gender switch for laughs (and fanservice); it's a quiet, subtle story of a boy coming to terms with himself."

 Everything Is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson

Review: "Believe it or not, music criticism was responsible for some of 2011's finest books, with Kevin Avery's impeccably researched Everything Is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson leading the pack.... Avery has done an outstanding job assembling a collection of the writer's work, fully illustrating why he was such an influential presence in his time. But, sadly, especially in our time, it also reads as something of a cautionary tale — ...you might wonder why on earth anyone would ever choose rock criticism as a career in the first place." – Bill Holdship, Detroit Metro Times

Prison Pit Book 3

Review: "I have no idea if it was part of cartoonist Johnny Ryan's overall plan for Prison Pit, but this latest book in the growing-to-classic-status series strikes me as a 'step-back' installment. This is where a series that was once less certain in the market place eschews some of the instant gratification of its first couple of books for the sake of layering in additional plot elements that look like they'll pay off further down the line. It's the kind of work that makes you think that its creator is thinking of the long-term as opposed to focusing solely on the short. Prison Pit had some of that particular swagger from the very beginning; this book seems even more settled and confident.... As was the case with the first two books, Johnny Ryan makes his case for mastery at a second, very specific genre, connected to the first through the extremes of expression involved." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter

Love and Rockets: New Stories #4

Reviews (Audio): The November 20 episode of Easy Rider, the radio show for "rock, punk rock, country, power pop, garage and comics" from Radio PFM out of Arras in northern France, features Johnny Ryan's Prison Pit Book 3, Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 by the Hernandez Bros., and Jaime Hernandez's Esperanza among their Comics of the Week

21: The Story of Roberto Clemente

Interview: At Memory Is Fiction, Craig Staufenberg talks with Wilfred Santiago: "Any subject or theme can work in comics, the narrative has unique, endless breakdowns. It’s a unique prism, anything that’s seen through it is distorted in a comic book way. The author, the cartoonist, just brings to light a particular side of that prism. I try to quit comics but it keeps pulling me back."

Invisible Hands - Richard Sala

Interview: Network Awesome Magazine has a fun Q&A with Richard Sala about the Invisible Hands animated shorts: "They used stop-motion.  The staff would blow up my drawings onto colored paper and then cut out all the figures and  movable parts.   The pieces were then positioned on three layers of glass – to give depth – with the camera looking down.  Next, the director, Denis Morella, carefully moved the pieces around – including the mouths, to match the dialogue – for each click of the camera.  I grew up loving stop-motion – everything from Ray Harryhausen to Gumby – so, I thought doing the animation that way was pretty cool."

Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes

Plug: Comics writer Jeff Parker reveals that Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes by Carl Barks is at the top of his holiday wish list at Robot 6

I Killed Adolf Hitler

Contest: Over at The Beat, Heidi MacDonald is giving away her spare copy of Jason's I Killed Adolf Hitler to one lucky winner

Daily OCD: 11/25/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Wilfred SantiagoWalt KellyUsagi YojimboStan SakaiShimura TakakoreviewsMickey MouseMaurice TillieuxmangaJack DavisinterviewsFloyd GottfredsonDisneyDaily OCDCarl BarksBest of 201121 25 Nov 2011 8:26 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Pogo Vol. 1

Review: "The good news: it’s here, it’s real. The better news: it’s incredible. Walt Kelly’s lively, robust, and poetic world is faithfully and lovingly produced in this, the first of a proposed twelve volume series. The hardcover is printed horizontally, maintaining the integrity of the 'strip' format, with ample margins to avoid any gutter-loss. Fantagraphics knew this first volume would be scrutinized by hardcore Pogo fans, and they’ve outdone expectations, dating each strip, providing historical context for the more esoteric 1940s references, and even reproducing the color Sunday strips.... Through the Wild Blue Wonder is one of our Best Comics and Graphic Novels of 2011, and there might not be a better gift this holiday for the historical and literary comics fan." – Alex Carr, Omnivoracious (Amazon.com)

Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1-2 box set

Review: "The usually tight-gripped Disney empire agreed to turn over their most treasured property to Fantagraphics (yes, again!). The results are eye-opening, featuring a Mickey that might be unfamiliar to most present-day fans. The stories are dense, packing plenty of dialogue into the strips — and the themes are darker than the bright-eyed, factory-sealed tales of today. Mickey is multi-dimensional in the first volume, Race to Death Valley, making rash decisions without much concern for everyone’s safety. Thankfully, Minnie is by his side to both reign him in and sometimes encourage his recklessness. The reproduction is crisp — the black inks are meticulous in their separation, and the book is augmented with over 50 pages of essays and Mickey esoterica. Volume 2, Trapped on Treasure Island, published last month, and Fantagraphics has a gift edition slipcase that contains both volumes. This dynamic look is a revelation in the life of the character who started it all for Disney." – Alex Carr, Omnivoracious (Amazon.com)

Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes

Review (Audio): Washington DC comics shop Big Planet Comics looks at Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes in the latest episode of their podcast

Plug: At Comic Book Resources' "Black Friday Comics Shopping Guide": "Fantagraphics is all over the legacies of some of the best artists ever to work for the Walt Disney company with Floyd Gottfredson's Mickey Mouse, vol. 1 ($29.99) and Carl Barks' Donald Duck ($24.99). Disney's most famous characters need no introduction, but their modern incarnations are so far from their roots that these collections will surprise anyone seeing these strips for the first time. Any of these volumes is a guaranteed smile."

Wandering Son Vol. 2

Plug: Deb Aoki's Manga Gift Guide at About.com Manga includes Wandering Son Vols. 1 & 2 by Shimura Takako: "This critically acclaimed series is available as over-sized hardcovers, which makes them especially gift-worthy, but the story is also charming and sensitive in a way that doesn't bash the reader over the head with a preachy agenda. Volume 2 is due out soon, so get that too if you can."

Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture - A Career Retrospective

Plugs: The Comics Reporter's indispensable "Black Friday Holiday Shopping Guide 2011" (in progress) makes mention of some of our publications (Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture and Gil Jordan, Private Detective: Murder by High Tide among them) and affiliated artists

21: The Story of Roberto Clemente

List: Robert Birnbaum, a.k.a. Our Man in Boston, names 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente by Wilfred Santiago one of his favorite books of the year on "The Best List of 2011"

Stan Sakai, at the 2007 San Diego Comic-Con

Interview (Video): School Library Journal's Eva Volin caught Stan Sakai on camera at Comic-Con in San Diego for a quick Q&A

Daily OCD: 11/23/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Walt KellyVictor MoscosoSteve DuinShannon WheelerreviewsPaul HornschemeierOil and WaterMomeMichael KuppermanLove and RocketsLos Bros HernandezJaime HernandezinterviewsGilbert HernandezFBI MINIsDaily OCDBest of 2011Alexander Theroux 23 Nov 2011 9:56 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Pogo Vol. 1 Love and Rockets: New Stories #4

List: After appearing on Amazon.com's Best Books of 2011 — Comics and Graphic Novels top 10, Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 and Pogo Vol. 1 show up on Amazon.ca's list of the same name, in the #5 and #4 positions respectively

Plug: At NPR's Monkey See, Glen Weldon recommends Pogo Vol. 1 as a "tryptophan-tastic tome" for your turkey-coma reading enjoyment: "Walt Kelly's seminal, satirical, exquisitely rendered, hugely influential (and, not for nothing, actually funny) comic strip is getting a deluxe treatment by Fantagraphics. Crisply reproduced at a generous size that makes it easier than ever to marvel over Kelly's marvelous linework, this book is everything fans and comics historians were hoping for."

Tales Designed to Thrizzle #7

Review: "...[Tales Designed to] Thrizzle returns to form with lucky number seven — and of all things, it seems like Christopher Nolan’s Inception provided the catalyst.... I’ve described director Christopher Nolan’s movies as what stupid people think smart movies look like; Michael Kupperman’s comics are the opposite, stupid comics made by a smart person for smart people, so perhaps there’s some yin-yang resonance there. Regardless, Kupperman recognized Inception‘s Russian-nesting-doll structure of dreams within dreams within dreams as natural connective tissue for his stream-of-consciousness comedy... It’s nice to hold documentary evidence of Kupperman’s comic genius in my hands again." – Sean T. Collins, The Comics Journal

Oil and Water

Review: "The authors [of Oil and Water] show admirable self-awareness in portraying their semifictional companions (and by implication, themselves) as naive voyeurs whose presence mostly irritates their subjects. 'Lemme get this straight,' says one character. 'They white. We black. They blue. We red. They rich…and I got $53 to buy a week’s worth of groceries. And they gonna tell our stories?' Actually, they do a fine job." – Ruth Brown, Willamette Week

Estonia

Review: "Full of endnotes, translating many phrases he quotes in their original languages, and graced by a few of the couple’s photos and Sarah’s plein air oil paintings, [Estonia: A Ramble Through the Periphery] provides a suitably quirky introduction to Theroux as an essayist and critic.... As the author of two Fantagraphics short studies on Al Capp and Edward Gorey, Theroux’s elliptical style and elongated perspective delineates an American tradition of satire that connects him to Thomas Nast’s political and cultural caricatures of a century and a half ago.... Catch the wit and the venom, the depth and the breadth, of this honest account of 'a strange, unlooked-for place at the back of beyond' where 'the fascination of its strangeness' renders it a fitting subject for a curious report by a memorably talented, ever off-kilter, chronicler of oddity. [Rating] 8/10" – John L. Murphy, PopMatters

FBI•MINIs

Plugs: Our FBI•MINIs have garnered attention from Tom Spurgeon at The Comics Reporter ("I want as many as I can get my hands on"), J.K. Parkin at Robot 6 ("The big chain stores might have cheap TVs this weekend, but how many of them come with a Tony Millionaire mini-comic? Not nearly enough, I tell ya"), Alan Gardner at The Daily Cartoonist ("If you're already planning on picking out some titles for the holidays, might as well get the rare or unpublished work as well"), Paul Constant at The Stranger ("These books are a great idea; a special gift for your special comics fan")

The Girl from HOPPERS

Scene: At The HeroesOnline Blog, read a recap of the Love and Rockets discussion group which we previously spotlighted here

Mome Vol. 17

Interview: "I talked on the phone with Adam Witt of Comics Will Break Your Heart about the early days of the Mome anthology, serializing work, collaboration with other artists, film, and my inability to remember the dates of anything. I apologize in advance for the mumbling bits," says Paul Hornschemeier on his blog

Sex, Rock & Optical Illusions

Analysis: At Robot 6, Matt Seneca examines the sequential imagery in a poster by Victor Moscoso: "The poster Moscoso created for SF-based motion picture company Pablo Ferro Films... is a watershed moment in the artist’s oeuvre, the place where his works in comics and posters unify with perfect elegance. It’s also a fascinating, formally audacious piece of comics, one that breaks rules and innovates furiously without giving up an iota of visual beauty."

Everything Is an Afterthought by Kevin Avery: one of Library Journal's Best Books 2011
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Paul NelsonKevin AveryDaily OCDBest of 2011 17 Nov 2011 4:23 PM

Everything Is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson by Kevin Avery

Library Journal Reviews has named Everything Is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson by Kevin Avery one of its Best Books 2011: "Chances are, even the most cultivated hipsters under 40 have never heard of Paul Nelson (1936–2006), who pioneered new journalism with noir undertones at Sing Out! and Rolling Stone. This lovingly constructed part biography, part anthology reanimates a self-defeating romantic and uncompromising critic who aspired to live inside his beloved films and music." Avery & Nelson share the list with the likes of J.G. Ballard, Jeffrey Eugenides, Tina Fey, David Foster Wallace... not too shabby!

Daily OCD: 11/11/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Willie and JoeMickey MouseLove and RocketsLewis TrondheimKevin HuizengaJaime HernandezinterviewsFloyd GottfredsonFlannery OConnorDisneyDaily OCDCarl BarksBill MauldinBest of 2011 11 Nov 2011 11:48 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes

Review: "...[L]ike Herge, another exemplary creator who made comics primarily for kids and later found an audience of devoted adults, Barks’ duck stories are richer, more compelling and smarter than a cursory glance might suggest... Most reprint projects worth their salt these days require some thoughtful essays and supplemental materials and [Walt Disney's Donald Duck:] Lost in the Andes is no different.... In short, this is exactly the book that Barks fans and the curious have been waiting for. ...Barks remains an exemplary cartoonist. His work is thrilling, funny and rather knowing about human nature without ever seeming trite or obvious, and despite the occasional pop culture reference it hasn’t aged much over the decades either. How good was Carl Barks? Pretty goddamned good." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6

Willie & Joe

Reviews: "First and foremost, Willie & Joe are funny. Fantagraphics has put the WW II years out in paperback, but I've got the also available hardcover, a great looking slipcase in army green with two fat volumes of his captivating artwork. Never having served (or even fired a gun), it's an absorbing glimpse into the day to day life of soldiers while it was happening and the end not known. It's easy to identify with: employees in any capacity gripe about their bosses. But the more specific Mauldin is, the more biting and fascinating his work is.... Finally, it's Willie & Joe: Back Home that moved me the most.... Mauldin is always funny, but those with a rosy image of WW II will be surprised by the complex world shown here... Fantagraphics has captured Mauldin's most enduring characters in two releases that do him justice." – Michael Giltz, Huffington Post

Approximate Continuum Comics

Review: "Trondheim is my favorite cartoonist.... it made me feel good to see Trondheim waste time playing video games and fail repeatedly to deal with his growing belly [in Approximate Continuum Comics]." – Gene Ambaum, The Unshelved Book Club

Love and Rockets: New Stories #4

Commentary: On Amazon's books blog Omnivoracious, Alex Carr looks at Amazon's list of Best Comics & Graphic Novels of 2011 and comments, "Perhaps most rewarding, though, are Jaime Hernandez’s short stories in Love and Rockets: New Stories Vol. 4. The longtime creator completes a long-running narrative without grandiose preening, and the art is full of expression and effortless charm. The final pages speed toward a finish that will satisfy new readers and bring bittersweet conclusion for fans. It’s the best feeling for a Love and Rockets devotee: not wanting the decades-long love story to end but being so pleased with the way it may have (if this truly is the conclusion)."

Ganges #4

Interview: Comics Bulletin's Jason Sacks talks with Kevin Huizenga about the new issue of Ganges: "I don't like [the term] 'experimental,' because it gives the impression that the usual qualities of a good story are less important to me than formal trickery. I'm trying to draw something that I want to read, that I haven't seen before and that is still nicely designed and readable."

Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons

Plug: At Buzzfeed, J.P. Moore spotlights our upcoming publication of Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons

Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 2: Trapped on Treasure Island

Plug: "I have just received my review copy of Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse: 'Trapped on Treasure Island' and as amazing as it sounds David Gerstein and Fantagraphics have managed to do it again: they have produced at the same time the best Disney comic book of 2011 and one of the best Disney history books of the year." – Didier Ghez, Disney History

Daily OCD: 11/8/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Walt KellyTony MillionairereviewsPirus and MezzoOlivier SchrauwenLove and RocketsLos Bros HernandezKevin HuizengaJoe SaccoJaime HernandezinterviewsGilbert HernandezGary GrothGahan WilsonDisneyDaily OCDCarl BarksBest of 2011 9 Nov 2011 2:18 AM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Pogo Vol. 1 Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 King of the Flies Vol. 2: The Origin of the World

List: Three of our titles have landed in Amazon.com's Best Books of 2011: Comics & Graphic Novels top 10: Pogo: Through the Wild Blue Wonder – Vol. 1 of the Complete Syndicated Strips by Walt Kelly at #5; Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 by the Hernandez Brothers at #7; and King of the Flies Vol. 2: The Origin of the World by Mezzo & Pirus at #8

The Man Who Grew His Beard

Review: "This collection of stories [The Man Who Grew His Beard] is a wonderful example of how an animator’s eye, artist’s hand, and storyteller’s vision can combine in a series of stylistic experiments that harken to a previous age of comics, but speak to the contemporary world we live in.... What’s impressive is the ease with which Schrauwen moves among various styles, affording him an extraordinarily wide range of visual tools... Sometimes looking like a throwback to vintage comics and sometimes like a clever homage to the Kama Sutra, this collection is, at all times, the work of a master storyteller." – Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

Ganges #4

Review: At Robot 6, Graeme McMillan compares and contrasts Kevin Huizenga's Ganges with the work of Eddie Campbell, concluding "Ganges #4 isn’t a quick read, and it isn’t necessarily an easy read. But it’s a great one, and it’s something that everyone should be picking up and reading. It’ll keep you awake at nights." McMillan also discusses Ganges #4 with co-host Jeff Lester on the new episode of the Wait, What? podcast

Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes

Interview: At Publishers Weekly, James Romberger (who also happens to be a contributor to Mome) talks with Gary Groth about our series of Carl Barks collections and all things Barks: "Barks’ comics somehow flourished within the strictures he was given. His imagination allowed him to either use or ignore those boundaries to his advantage, just as, in a more interior way, [Charles] Schulz’s imagination allowed him so much play within the strictures he chose. Barks’ work could be absurdist, satirical, or farcical within an adventure setting, a travelogue, a domestic comedy while maintaining those small, innate human values that reposed within his characters."

Nuts

Profile: At Publishers Weekly, Steve Bunche, who says "Fantagraphics has done readers a great favor by releasing the first full collection of Nuts, the hilarious cult strip by famed Playboy and National Lampoon cartoonist Gahan Wilson," chats with Wilson about the strip: "...[P]eople seal off as they become adults and are no longer open to understanding. It's really sad to see happening. They get to take in less and less of what's around them and become more isolated. I mean, you go to your high school reunion and see the once-alive faces of the people you grew up with and you say, 'My god! What happened to Bob and Susan!' and whomever and it's just incredibly sad. Neil Gaiman's phrase, 'being surrounded by mad giants,' pretty succinctly sums it all up."

Pogo Vol. 1

Plug: "A few weeks ago, I wrote a column about the comic strip Pogo. I lamented the lack of current Pogo anthologies — the old ones are practically rare books, and priced to match. Well, dog my cats, now comes a brand-new book, a compilation of the entire first year of strips, daily and Sunday, from Fantagraphics Books. Pogo: Through the Wild Blue Wonder by Walt Kelly may not be available in bookstores yet, but your friendly neighborhood bookseller would be happy to order it for you. It's a hefty volume, and will leave even the most dyspeptic Pogo fan wide-eyed with wonder and gratitude." – Jon Carroll, San Francisco Chronicle

Commentary: "Not sure I'd seen the final-final cover design for Fantagraphics' shot at a complete Pogo series. I think it looks nice, and it's strangely reminiscent of the covers from their previous attempt at reprinting the series. It's very odd to live in times where something as monumental as a complete run at Pogo can almost be greeted as just another reprint project." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter

500 Portraits

Plug: Last night when John Hodgman was in town on his current book tour we presented him with a copy of Tony Millionaire's 500 Portraits, in which a drawing of him appears and about which he subsequently had this to say in part: "This makes me astonished and happy and embarrassed, for Tony Millionaire is one of our true genii. And too, look, right there on the same page is my old friend John Sellers! And Borges! And you were there, too, Cthulhu! I don’t know how those other guys crashed our party, though. In any case, you should go out and get this book. It’s absolutely beautiful, painstaking, and weird, inside and out, just like I imagine Tony is himself: the ORIGINAL deranged millionaire."

Safe Area Gorazde: The Special Edition

Commentary: At Comic Book Resources, Laura Sneddon, who is documenting her experiences in the postgraduate Comic Studies program at the University of Dundee in Scotland, looks at Joe Sacco's Palestine and Safe Area Gorazde as the course turns its focus to "Documentary Comics"


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