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Category >> Blake Bell

Amazing Mysteries: The Bill Everett Archives Vol. 1 - Previews, Pre-Order
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under videopreviewsnew releasesBlake BellBill Everett 22 Dec 2011 12:41 AM

Amazing Mysteries: The Bill Everett Archives Vol. 1

Amazing Mysteries: The Bill Everett Archives Vol. 1
by Bill Everett; edited by Blake Bell

240-page full-color 7.25" x 10" hardcover • 39.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-488-7

Ships in: February 2012 (subject to change) — Pre-Order Now

The 1939 creation of the Sub-Mariner for the first issue of Marvel Comics assures Bill Everett a place in history. Co-creating Daredevil, the Man Without Fear, for Marvel Comics in 1964 gave Everett a link to one of the most popular superheroes of the past 50 years. And producing over 400 additional pages of superhero-related work in the very early days of the Golden Age of Comics (1938-42) makes Bill Everett a legend.

This book collects over 200 pages of this never-before-reprinted work from titles such as Amazing Mystery Funnies (1938), Amazing-Man Comics (1939), Target Comics (1940), Heroic Comics (1940), and Blue Bolt Comics (1940). These titles feature an endless array of great vintage Everett characters such as Amazing-Man, Hydroman, Skyrocket Steele, Sub-Zero, The Chameleon, and many more, all produced by Everett’s shop Funnies, Inc. for such clients as Centaur, Novelty Press, and Eastern Color, and all displaying Everett’s brilliant cartooning and energetic storytelling.

Edited and compiled by best-selling author and comic-book historian Blake Bell (Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko), Amazing Mysteries: The Bill Everett Archives is a stunning companion to Bell’s 2010 critically acclaimed Everett biography and art book, Fire and Water: Bill Everett, The Sub-Mariner and the Birth of Marvel Comics. This volume follows the format of Bell’s Steve Ditko Archives series (see page 54 of this catalog); never-before-reprinted, beautifully restored, full-color stories from one of comic books’ greatest visionaries and most accomplished artists. Also includes an introduction by Bell that delves even deeper into Everett’s life, fiery personality, and the history of the era. The resultant package enhances Everett’s place in history as one of the first and best comic-book creators of all time.

Download and read a 23-page PDF excerpt (7.6 MB) with three "Hydroman" stories.

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



Daily OCD: 11/28/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Walt KellyTony MillionaireSteve DuinShimura TakakoShannon WheelerreviewsPaul NelsonOlivier SchrauwenOil and WaterMichael KuppermanMichael J VassallomangaLove and RocketsKevin AveryinterviewsGreg SadowskiGahan WilsonFour Color FearDrew FriedmanDisneyDaily OCDCarl BarksBlake BellAlex Toth 28 Nov 2011 7:42 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Oil and Water

Feature: At New Orleans-based website Gambit, Alex Woodward looks at Oil and Water — "As the book gets deeper south and deeper into the complexities and relationships of oil to the Gulf and its people, the stories get murky and collide, mimicking an ebb-and-flow that at first is much like oil and water, then gradually homogenizes. The Portlanders come to grips with their own misconceptions, and the characters that were once miles away from their lives become embedded into their own." — and talks to the book's creators (writer Steve Duin, artist Shannon Wheeler and editor Mike Rosen)

Mark Twain's Autobiography 1910-2010

Review: "...Mark Twain's Autobiography 1910-2010... is mainly an excuse to insert Twain, Zelig-like, into every decade between 1910 and today. Of course he made a lot of money in the 1920s and lost it all in the 1930s. Of course he and Albert Einstein were repeatedly struck in the head by a hammer-wielding monkey. And of course he sleeps with Mamie Eisenhower ('this lady was one hot dish.') It's all told in Kupperman's Marx Brothers-style absurdist deadpan voice, and if you like Tales Designed to Thrizzle, then you'll love this book. It's packed with laugh-out-loud moments..." – Paul Constant, The Stranger

Nuts

Review: "Gahan Wilson's Nuts features kids talking the way adults really talk... The kids in Nuts are vain, covetous, not so very bright, and they stagger around, reeling, from one unpleasant surprise to the next. They get their hair cut ('Sometimes I wonder if it's just that he's a lousy barber...') they look at some gory magazines, ('We're just not ready for that shit') and they attend funerals of uncles ('My God—I never saw them acting this way before! They've all fallen apart!'). Weirdly, by giving his kids the vocabularies of adults, he really captures the neuroses of childhood. We begin life as we live it now: Dazed, angry, and bitter at our own fundamental lack of control."  – Paul Constant, The Stranger

Pogo Vol. 1

Review: "Fantagraphics has a nice introduction giving a brief biography of Kelly, and describing many of the struggles he had with Pogo and syndication. There is also a fantastic notes section at the end, which points out historical trivia as well as giving the context for some of the strips.... It’s possible that the appeal of Pogo may be lost on folks who are so used to everything that it influenced, be it talking animal comedies or political satires. Doesn’t matter to me, though. This strip is funny, well-drawn, and features a huge mass of likeable characters doing entertaining things. Put it together with Fantagraphics’ excellent presentation, and you have a definite must-buy." – Sean Gaffney, Manga Bookshelf

Setting the Standard: Comics by Alex Toth 1952-1954

Review: "Greg Sadowski and Fantagraphics’ Setting the Standard is perhaps the best book on Alex Toth that has been published thus far... Sadowski takes a straightforward, comprehensive approach and so Setting the Standard can rest comfortably on the bookshelf next to Fantagraphics’ other excellent recent collections of essential comics such as Hal Foster’s Prince Valiant, Roy Crane’s Captain Easy and Buz Sawyer and Carl Barks’ Disney epics.... There are... many passages of thoughtful comics storytelling. The romance work is often brilliantly articulated and visualized... Toth’s handling of horror and suspense is intuitive, sometimes harrowing and exhibits his more radical inventions.... In Sadowski’s book, Toth’s work speaks for itself and the artist likewise. The book’s assemblage and design are very well done to make a package which is pulpy but tasteful, not cheap nor overly slick, not high/low cute or old-boy sentimental. It provides a complete and important body of work by a great cartoonist." – James Romberger (contributor to the final Mome), The Hooded Utilitarian

The Man Who Grew His Beard

Review: At his blog Mandorla, Santiago Garcia reviews The Man Who Grew His Beard by Olivier Schrauwen en Español

Love and Rockets: New Stories #4

List: MTV Geek rounds up "10 Sexy, Sexy Comic Books... That Are Also Really Good" (a title which begs the question, but anyway...) and doesn't forget to include Love and Rockets on it

Links: Love & Maggie pipes up with another comprehensive batch of Love and Rockets-related links

Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950s [2nd Printing]

Plug: Boing Boing's Cory Doctorow puts Four Color Fear on that site's Gift Guide 2011 (unfortunately the book's currently unavailable, having sold through 2 printings already)

Wandering Son Vol. 2

Plug: Thanks to Deb Aoki for including us on the list of "10 Hot Spots for Cyber Monday Deals for Manga Gifts" at About.com Manga (thanks to today's deal on the Wandering Son books)

Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes

Plug: Jim Rugg (contributor to the final Mome) recommends Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes in his "holiday gift list"

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

Interview (Audio): Kevin Avery was a guest on the November 26 episode of In the Studio with Bob Reid and Blair Packham on Toronto's CFRB Newstalk 1010 to discuss Everything Is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson

The Secret History of Marvel Comics - preliminary cover art

Behind the Scenes: At his blog, co-author Blake Bell begins a weekly series of looks inside the in-progress book The Secret History of Marvel Comics

500 Portraits

Advice: Tony Millionaire offers some sound and practical career advice to aspiring illustrators — seriously

Even More Old Jewish Comedians

Gossip: Drew Friedman made today's New York Daily News gossip page with the heartwarming tale of a Thanksgiving miracle!

Daily OCD: 11/21/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Walt KellySteve DuinSpain RodriguezShannon WheelerRich TommasoreviewsPeter BaggePaul NelsonOil and WaterMichael KuppermanMichael J VassalloKevin AveryJoe KubertJacques TardiinterviewsFantagraphics BookstoreDisneyDash ShawDaily OCDCarl BarksBlake BellBill Schelly 21 Nov 2011 11:18 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes

Review: "Barks, the artist, is a master cartoonist, drawing lively, expressive characters with a graceful sense of movement. His beautiful, detailed backgrounds plant the ducks in a fully realized world that adds weight to his storytelling.... But besides the entertaining plots, Barks’ appeal is in his characters. He gives his ducks many human frailties and while they usually try to do the right thing, they make mistakes, get angry, frustrated, and even fail. Fantagraphics Books... does its usual high quality work here as well. The design and layout of the book is a handy comic-book size hardcover with bright, colorful reproductions of the comics. Besides the comics, there are articles on Barks and analysis on each story... For both newcomers to Barks' work and diehard fans, [Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes] is a book that any comic book reader would love to find under the Christmas tree." – Rich Clabaugh, The Christian Science Monitor

Review (Audio): Owen Craig, co-host of the Panel Culture podcast, looks at Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes by Carl Barks

Interview: At The Comics Reporter, Tom Spurgeon talks with Rich Tommaso about his coloring work on our Carl Barks Library series — "[Disney] said we didn't have to be so religious about it. They wanted to make sure the color for the ducks, the reds and blues and the yellows, that those were pretty much bang-on. But they agreed that there was a little bit of leeway. If something looked like a bad color choice, you could find something in the ballpark range of that color. So that's what I would do." — and about his own comics work

The Art of Joe Kubert

Review: "All aspects of Kubert's career are touched on in this tome, which is loaded with beautiful colour reproductions of its subject's artwork and complemented by a lengthy and insightful critical commentary by comic book historian Bill Schelly. Over the course of the book's 224 pages, you can see quite clearly how Kubert's art evolved and how his storytelling skills developed, but also how his unique style, those striking touch and sinewy images that could have been rendered by no one else, has remained intact. As with Fantagraphics' previous coffee table comic art books, The Art of Joe Kubert makes you want to see more — all! — of the artist's work." – Miles Fielder, The List

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

Review: "Frank Zappa once said 'most rock journalism is people who can’t write, interviewing people who can’t talk, for people who can’t read.' However true that might be, Paul Nelson was one who most definitely could write. And he interviewed people who could talk, and plenty of people read what he wrote. Kevin Avery certainly read what Nelson wrote, and has now written Everything Is an Afterthought, which is both a biography of Nelson and a collection of his work, including some pieces that have never been published.... Like the best critics, Nelson was primarily a fan of what he wrote about, subjects that struck a chord with him. And here’s a bio and a collection of his work written by a fan of his." – Robert O'Connor, Spike Magazine

Plugs: The Los Angeles Times "Hero Complex Holiday Gift Guide for 2011" includes Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes by Carl Barks and both volumes of The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec by Jacques Tardi

Pogo Vol. 1

Plug: Proud contributor to our first Walt Kelly Pogo volume Mark Evanier talks up the book on his blog: "It's a wonderful book and though I am a Consulting Editor — I think that's my title — I can rave about it because I deserve very little credit for its wonderfulness. Any book that properly presents the work of Mr. Kelly is going to be, by definition, wonderful...and Carolyn Kelly (daughter of Walt, companion of mine) and Fantagraphics Books made sure it was properly presented."

Mark Twain's Autobiography 1910-2010

Plug: "...Michael Kupperman's new book [Mark Twain's Autobiography 1910-2010]... has everything a boy could want, including Mark Twain on the track of the elusive yeti!... Albert Einstein is a major supporting player in the book (he and Twain open a detective agency, natch) and somehow it behooves me to remind everyone that in real life for really real, Einstein's granddaughter married a renowned bigfoot hunter. That is a fact you can look up on your computer!" – Jack Pendarvis

Peter Bagge signing flyer

Plug: At Seattlest Heather Logue's recommended lit events for the week include Peter Bagge's Black Friday signing at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery

Oil and Water

Interview: Robot 6's Tim O'Shea talks with Shannon Wheeler, with a couple of revealing behind-the-scenes tidbits about Oil and Water in the second half: "Steve [Duin] understands a scene really well. When all the characters visited the bird cleaning facility there was a large storytelling arc with multiple subplots. I would have been afraid to juggle so many elements. I would have focused on the single note of the horror of the facility. Steve isn’t afraid to trust the reader to understand. I’m a lot less trusting of the reader. Steve showed me how to have more faith in the narrative."

Cruisin' with the Hound

Profile: At Babylon Falling Sean Stewart has an image- and quote-packed writeup of his visit with Spain Rodriguez (via Dan N. at TCJ.com)

The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century A.D. [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

Profile: MTV's Liquid Television blog has a nice little writeup on Dash Shaw

The Secret History of Marvel Comics - preliminary cover art

Behind the Scenes: At his blog, Blake Bell gives you another progress update on The Secret History of Marvel Comics, with some fun scans and photos

Revealing The Secret History of Marvel Comics
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Michael J VassalloComing AttractionsBlake Bell 16 Nov 2011 1:14 PM

The Secret History of Marvel Comics - preliminary cover art
(not final cover)

Now that we've announced our Spring/Summer 2012 schedule, authors Blake Bell and Dr. Michael J. Vassallo (a.k.a. "Doc V.") are starting to reveal details and post updates on their upcoming book The Secret History of Marvel Comics, which investigates and documents the seamy pulp underbelly of Martin Goodman's publishing empire. Blake is posting updates on the project at his blog; here's his introduction of his collaborator and here's the first in a series of behind-the-scenes looks at the production of the book. Doc V announced the project on his blog as well. They've also started a Facebook page which you can "like" for updates on the project, and you can follow @Blake_Bell and @DocVassallo on Twitter for even more up-to-the-minute news!

http://www.fantagraphics.com/images/flog/mike/201111/shomc_docvblake01sm.jpg

What's in the November Diamond Previews
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Steve DitkospainRobert CrumbPopeyePat ThomasJoost SwarteJohn BensonEC SegarDiamondComing AttractionsCarl RichterBlake Bell 14 Nov 2011 1:19 AM

Shipping January 2012 from Fantagraphics Books

The new Diamond Previews catalog came out recently and in it you'll find our usual 2-page spread (download the PDF) with our releases scheduled to arrive in your local comic shop in January 2012 (give or take — some release dates may have changed since the issue went to press). We're pleased to offer additional and updated information about these upcoming releases here on our website, to help shops and customers alike make more informed ordering decisions.

This month's Spotlight item is editor John Benson's The Sincerest Form of Parody: The Best 1950s MAD-Inspired Sarirical Comics; Listen, Whitey!: The Sights and Sounds of the Black Power Movement 1965-1975 by Pat Thomas is "Certified Cool"; and the issue also includes Popeye Vol. 6: "Me Li'l Swee'Pea", the final (alas) E.C. Segar volume; more pre-Spidey classics in Mysterious Traveler: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 3 edited by Blake Bell; the über-definitive guide to R. Crumb art The Crumb Compendium by Carl Richter; the heretofore uncollected underground memoir Cruisin' with the Hound: The Life and Times of Fred Tooté by Spain Rodriguez; and the long-awaited, eagerly-anticipated Is That All There Is? by Joost Swarte.

See them all here!

Daily OCD: 11/7/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Steve DitkoreviewsPrince ValiantMichael KuppermanLove and RocketsLos Bros HernandezJaime HernandezinterviewsHal FosterGilbert HernandezGahan WilsonDisneyDaily OCDCarl BarksBlake BellBest of 2011 8 Nov 2011 2:12 AM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Love and Rockets: New Stories 2-Issue or 4-Issue Pack

List: Thus beginneth the Best of 2011 links, as Publishers Weekly names Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 by Gilbert & Jaime Hernandez one of their top 10 Best Comics of 2011: "Even in a long career of masterpieces, Jaime's story about missed opportunities for happiness is a revelation, while Gilbert continues to cement his place as the Jorodowsky of comics with a vampire tale."

Review: "Another great issue, with the continuation and ending of 'The Love Bunglers,' from Jaime Hernandez. It's a real knockout and quite touching for those that have followed the strip and these characters since the eighties. You almost have to remind yourself that, yes, these are characters, not real people! Apparently, nobody told Jaime that the quality of one's work is supposed to go down after working on a strip that long." – Jason, at his Cats Without Dogs blog

Commentary: "I've been thinking a lot about Jaime Hernandez's conclusion to his Locas story 'The Love Bunglers' (from L&R New Stories vol. 4) -- mainly b/c it was such an incredible piece that I cry every time I read it. I even recently threatened to force a friend to read all the Locas stuff, because it's so freaking good. But then I started wondering -- is it as awesome if you read it all at once?" – Alicia K., Wordnerdy

Review: "Readers and admirers, myself included, often think of Gilbert as the better writer of the two brothers and Jaime as the better artist. With only a few exceptions, Gilbert has been the best writer in American comic books over a three decade period. No one has produced more beautiful art for black and white comics the way Jaime has over that same period, a period in which he has been the best comic book artist in North America. 'Browntown' is one of the stories in which Jaime shows that he can write as well as draw comic books better than most and as good as the very best.... 'Browntown' is an incredible story with a sense of realism and gravity unseen in most comic books. 'Browntown' alone makes Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 one of the best comic books of 2010." – Leroy Douresseaux, I Reads You

Review: "Love and Rockets: New Stories #2 reminds us, as the first issue did, that comic books from the Hernandez Brothers are always a welcome thing. A year may be a long wait, but when it comes to Los Bros’ coolness and greatness, time is neutral. I can always reread this and enjoy it just as much as I did the first time." – Leroy Douresseaux, I Reads You

Nuts

Review: "...Nuts, which ran in National Lampoon throughout the ’70s, ...offered a largely autobiographical look at the way childhood actually is: a perpetually confusing state of existence, in which kids are jostled to and fro by adults who don’t seem to know what they’re doing (but want to make sure that their offspring are parked somewhere out of the way while they do it).... They’re wonderful pieces of comic art..., applying Wilson’s usual sense of the grotesque and macabre to phenomena like summer camp and sick days. And they’re not all bitter either... He mixes the sour and the sweet exceptionally well." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club

Plug: "I’ve written at length about this strip [Nuts] before, but it’s worth reiterating I think just how goddamn wonderful this comic is, and how great it is to have a decent collection available after lying fallow for so long. Wilson captures the anxieties and traumas of childhood as few cartoonists have before or since." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6 (for their weekly "What Are You Reading?" column which features our own Jacq Cohen this week)

Prince Valiant Vol. 4: 1943-1944

Review: "Again, stunning drawings. And quite bloody! Valiant is being tortured, people are killed left and right [in Prince Valiant Vol. 4]. There's a strange sequence in the book involving another knight, Tristram, who I don't think has been introduced earlier, that looks like a double of Valiant, but with a mustache! He is killed by a jealous king, but instead of Valiant and Gawain, who are there, seeking vengeance they just ride off. Not quite sure what was going on in Foster's mind there." – Jason, at his Cats Without Dogs blog

Mark Twain's Autobiography 1910-2010

Interview: Michael Kupperman is the guest on this week's Boing Boing "Gweek" podcast. He's interviewed by Reuben Bolling about Mark Twain's Autobiography 1910-2010 and sticks around to weigh in on other topics

Pogo Vol. 1

Plugs: At The Beat, Torsten Adair spotlights a whole mess of our recent and upcoming releases, declaring "If you’re going to ship your book bucks to Washington, it’s better to send them to Fantagraphics than Amazon!"

Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes

Plug: "Carl Barks was a genius when it came to turning Donald Duck and company into comic book characters, and his creation of Uncle Scrooge continues to delight and amuse countless generations. Thankfully, that trend will continue thanks to Fantagraphics’ release of Carl Barks’ Walt Disney’s Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes." – Kevin Kelly, Wizard World

Mysterious Traveler: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 3

Plug: As every month, Comic Book Resources' Greg Burgas is "Flippin' through Previews": "You can get more creepy pre-Spider-Man work from Steve Ditko on page 280, as Fantagraphics has Mysterious Traveler: The Steve Ditko Archives volume 3."

First Look: Amazing Mysteries: The Bill Everett Archives Vol. 1
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Coming AttractionsBlake BellBill Everett 18 Oct 2011 5:46 PM

Amazing Mysteries: The Bill Everett Archives Vol. 1

Amazing Mysteries: The Bill Everett Archives Vol. 1 went to the printer today and series editor Blake Bell celebrates by revealing the final cover art for the book — a snappy number designed by Alexa Koenings in our art department. At Blake's blog you can see the entire cover spread (front, back and spine) and read Blake's thoughts and background info on the book, which is due in December.

What's in the September Diamond Previews
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Tony MillionaireMichael KuppermanKrazy KatJohnny GruelleJasonJacques TardiGeorge HerrimanDiamondComing AttractionsBlake BellBill Everett 31 Aug 2011 2:06 AM

Shipping November 2011 from Fantagraphics Books

The new Diamond Previews catalog is out today and in it you'll find our usual 2-page spread with our releases scheduled to arrive in your local comic shop in November 2011 (give or take — some release dates may have changed since the issue went to press). We're pleased to offer additional and updated information about these upcoming releases here on our website, to help shops and customers alike make more informed ordering decisions.

Our Spotlight item this issue is the gorgeous oversized collection Mr. Twee Deedle: Raggedy Ann's Sprightly Cousin - The Forgotten Fantasy Masterpiece of Johnny Gruelle. Classic strip collectors will also be happy to see our final Krazy Kat Sundays softcover Krazy & Ignatz 1922-1924: At Last My Drim of Love Has Come True and — finally! — the big "Vol. 1" hardcover, Krazy & Ignatz: The Complete Sunday Strips 1916-1924. Plus the Tony Millionaire art book 500 Portraits, Amazing Mysteries: The Bill Everett Archives Vol. 1, Jason's new short story collection Athos in America, and the long-awaited 7th issue of Michael Kupperman's Tales Designed to Thrizzle!

See them all here!

Daily OCD: 7/11/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Steve DitkorockreviewsRaymond MacherotPaul NelsonMomeMickey MouseMaurice TillieuxLewis TrondheimKevin AveryFloyd GottfredsonFlannery OConnorDisneyDave McKeanDaily OCDBlake BellBasil Wolvertonaudio 11 Jul 2011 6:24 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

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

Review: "Fantagraphics, always a publisher you can count on to rescue classic comic material from oblivion, has published a gorgeous 288 page hardcover archive edition of Mickey [Mouse]'s earliest serialized comic strip adventures and he's quite a different character than we know today...a little rambunctious, a little mischievous, and a whole lot of fun. This book takes readers on a glorious ride through depression-era adventures as Mickey battles villains, becomes a fireman, visits a circus, and meets his faithful pup Pluto for the first time. Besides the many great comic strips, Fantagraphics has filled the book with a ton of supplemental material... This is an absolute must-have for any Mickey Mouse fan. Grade A" – Tim Janson, Mania

Celluloid [Pre-Order]

Review: At Comic Book Resources, Greg Burgas and Kelly Thompson engage in a dialogic analysis of Dave McKean's Celluloid.

Burgas: "McKean’s art is astounding, as it always is. He moves from his very rough pencil work that he used on Cages and moves quickly into a multimedia extravaganza, with photographs interspersed with film reels (more photographs, of course, but used in a different way) and paintings and more detailed pencil work. The colors are magnificent, too... It’s an astonishing work of art, to be sure..."

Thompson: "I agree that the success of this book is in that it is beautiful from cover to cover. As a rule I tend to prefer McKean’s very rough pencil work, though I very much appreciate the layering mixed media styles he uses, and I found all of it very beautiful and successful in that way. I was impressed with the color choices and the really wonderful cubist look he achieved for some of the work, and some of the mixed media he used toward the end was some of my favorite in the book period.... After discussing it, I feel more pleased with the book as a whole because I’ve been forced to admit that I don’t recall seeing many more effective executions of erotic subject matter as a legitimate work of art in this way..."

Burgas: "What is compelling about Celluloid is that McKean tackles a difficult subject and elevates it beyond a simple porn comic. I think the very fact that Celluloid makes you wonder about sex in many of its iterations is impressive. As you can see, both Kelly and I had our issues with it, but it’s a gorgeous comic nevertheless. It’s definitely something that you don’t see every day!"

Approximate Continuum Comics

Review: "I have the impression that Lewis Trondheim is the most important European artist of his generation. Such is the creativity and productivity and so the breadth of his work that, for me at least, wins the title deservedly. Approximate Continuum Comics... is the first part of Trondheim's autobiographical adventures.... The brilliant humour of Trondheim, his sharp-tongued reason, the way with which it shows the mix of imagination with reality. Equally impressive is the effortless way in which the most espressive artwork works serving the story." – Aristides Kotsis, Comicdom (translated from Greek)

Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko

Review: "Bell does the best job of any attempt I've ever seen to bring together everything we know about Ditko's life and work. The result [Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko] is fascinating, frustrating and eventually presents a sad portrait of an immense talent that withdrew from the world and denied it of his work and himself of the audience, acclaim and success that was easily within his grasp." – Tom McLean, Bags and Boards

Mome Vol. 22

Plug: "The 22nd -- and final -- issue of MOME from @fantagraphics is the best one yet. So sad." – Whitney Matheson (USA Today Pop Candy), via Twitter

Gil Jordan, Private Detective: Murder by High Tide + Sibyl-Anne Vs. Ratticus

Plug: Sceneario takes note of the new entries in our new Franco-Belgian comics line with interest and excitement (en Français)

Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons

Preview: At Flavorwire, Emily Temple shares some glimpses of the cartoons to be included in Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons, saying "Her style is distinctive — the charmingly brusque drawings are cut from linoleum and then essentially stamped when she applied ink to the ridges, and while the content is largely related to her experience as a student, you can still feel the slightly skewed, individualistic perspective that appears in O’Connor’s short stories.... Lovers of her work will doubtless find joy and meaning in her cartoons, and other people will probably like them too."

Preview: Jamie Frevele of The Mary Sue picks up on the preview of Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons, saying "...while not as demented as some of her writing, the dark humor is still there, even in the short span of a single panel."

Plug: "Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons is the first compilation of her graphic work in pen-and-ink and linoleum cuts. Before her writing career the young student aspired to be a cartoonist, and she developed a visually bold and eye-catching style. The results are witty and acid comments on campus life and American culture that show O'Connor developing her own acerbic point-of-view." – M. Bromberg, BellemeadeBooks

Plug: The Portland Mercury's Jacob Schraer amusingly abandons writing about Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons to post a video of Miss Piggy — that's OK, we all have days like that

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

Interview (Audio): Kevin Avery, author/editor of Everything Is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson, is a guest on the Rockcritics Podcast. Host Scott Woods says "I’ve mentioned a few times here already Kevin Avery’s wonderful book, Everything is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson. Half a personal biography of Nelson, half a compilation of select Nelson reviews and essays, it’s one of the finest books I’ve ever read about a writer — and, needless to say, about rock criticism."

Wolvertoons

Profile: "[Basil] Wolverton was one of the pioneers who made today’s highbrow comics scene what it is; his twisted abstract portraiture, all sweatbeads and pleading eyes, floated like a buoy in a sea of banal comic art, influencing kindred spirits like Robert Williams and Big Daddy Roth. Though best known for his nightmare caricatures in the vein of Lena Hyena, his sf and horror work — jewels like the 'Brain Bats of Venus' — is equally disturbing (or invigorating). God knows what brain bat attached itself to Wolverton’s fertile grey matter, but it certainly wasn’t of this atmosphere." – Joe Alterio, HighLobrow

Daily OCD: 6/23/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Wilfred SantiagoTim KreiderThe Comics JournalSteve DitkoShimura TakakoreviewsLinda MedleyKim DeitchJim WoodringGene DeitchDave McKeanDaily OCDBlake BellBill EverettaudioAnders Nilsen21 23 Jun 2011 6:20 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Castle Waiting

List: Castle Waiting Vols. 1 & 2 take two spots on Nancy Pearl's "10 Terrific Summer Reads" list at NPR.org: "The black-and-white drawings are precisely crafted, with small, endearing touches that render each character entirely unique. The dialogue is clever and filled with subtle grace notes of drollness and humor. The set will be especially appealing to readers of all ages who enjoy seeing and reading traditional fairy tale tropes teased and played with, all with a sense of good-humored fun."

Congress of the Animals

Review: "...Congress of the Animals finds twisted fabulist Woodring at the top of his darkly delightful game: Open the book at random and the odds are very good that your gaze will alight upon something that stings, bites, drips, oozes or squelches. Tentacled plant-beasts threaten the unwary, factories powered by crushed blackbirds produce who-knows-what, slimy amphibians enact bizarre rituals and a tribe of naked, faceless men whom the jacket copy refers to as "blind gut-worshippers" — easily the most potent nightmare fuel Woodring has ever produced — drug passersby for mysterious purposes of their own. You certainly won't want to live inside the covers of Congress of the Animals, but it's a fascinating and thrilling feat of imagination, and one hell of a place to visit." – Glen Weldon, NPR.org

Wandering Son Vol. 1

Review: "This book does something I love. It takes me inside a world I’ve never known.... Shimura’s writing does a good job of exposing the readers to the realities of being transgender. Wandering Son ignited my imagination and got me trying to relate to and understand these characters as deeply as possible.... Shimura has crafted an excellent opening volume.... The quiet pace and subject matter make this series a perfect read for the alternative comics crowd. Fans of shoujo and josei manga will enjoy it too. I’d love for everyone to at least give the first volume of Wandering Son a try. It’s a rare gem of emotional honesty and complexity that rewards those willing to take the risk and move outside their typical reading habits." – Ed Sizemore, Comics Worth Reading

Monologues for Calculating the Density of Black Holes

Review: "Monologues for Calculating the Density of Black Holes by Anders Nilsen... touched a special spot that I strive towards in my reading; it created atmosphere. There’s a weight to the unhinged timeline and nonsensical dialogue. It feels calculated, even as it touches on topics such as 'Godzilla vs. Richard Simmons.' The drawings are simple, yet they effortlessly convey time and feel appropriate for the content. It was a quick read, but one that I’ll be revisiting. Check it out." – Au Yeah!

21: The Story of Roberto Clemente

Interview: Newsarama's Michael Lorah talks to Wilfred Santiago about the creation of 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente: "A baseball sequence is all about interpretation; there are cold, unchangeable facts. If the batter hits a home run to left field in the second inning, etc., then those are unchangeable facts about that scene. So it’s about the reading of the particulars. I mean, if you are saying sad things while laughing maniacally, it’s different than if you are saying them while sobbing and in tears. Therefore, it’s all about what role that particular game sequence plays in the story as a whole. It’s not a book about baseball, even though there’s baseball in it."

Celluloid [Pre-Order]

Interview (Audio): Inkstuds host Robin McConnell rang up Dave McKean (on Skype presumably) for a conversation about his latest book: "Celluloid, fresh out from Fantagraphics, is a remarkable work exploring pornography through a very particular lens. Needless to say, it is fantastic."

Strange Suspense + Unexplored Worlds: The Steve Ditko Archives Vols. 1-2

Interview (Audio): Blake Bell goes on the Collected Comics Library podcast to talk with host Chris Marshall about the ongoing Steve Ditko Archives and the upcoming Bill Everett Archives

The Comics Journal #301

Opinion: At Robot 6, Sean T. Collins comments on the excerpt from Tim Kreider's Cerebus essay from The Comics Journal #301 which appears at TCJ.com

The Search for Smilin' Ed!

Lore: Kim Deitch continues his new column over at TCJ.com, "Mad About Music: My Life in Records," featuring (among other things) a few of his dad Gene's jazz illustrations (as seen in our book Cat on a Hot Thin Groove)


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