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Category >> Bob Levin

Daily OCD: 8/19/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Tim HensleyThe Comics JournalstaffSethRichard SalareviewsPeanutsJohnny RyanIgnatz SeriesGilbert HernandezDash ShawDame DarcyBob Levin 19 Aug 2009 3:20 PM

Online Commentary & Diversions for the day:

• Analysis: For Comics Comics, Dash Shaw pens an appreciation of the work of Tim Hensley: "It’s like what he chooses to draw in the environment (and what he chooses not to draw) is determined by some graphic Feng Shui. When his comics are at their most beautiful, these environments function both as the story’s world and abstractly... With his best dialogue, a line that you first read as being surreally disconnected on a second reading is funny and on a third reading reveals a wider scope of the story."

• Review: "Yes, both of these books are like kryptonite to good taste. But there are a couple of big differences between what Johnny Ryan is doing in Comics Are for Idiots!, his latest Blecky Yuckerella strip collection, and what he's doing in Prison Pit, his ultraviolent action-comic debut... The four-panel Blecky strips often feel like a breakneck race to the punchline through some kind of bizarre obstacle course requiring the basic premise of the gag to get more ridiculous with each panel... Ryan's rep as altcomix's premier overgrown juvenile delinquent is well deserved--and don't get me wrong, you can absolutely enjoy Prison Pit on that level--but the poetic savagery he depicts here is the work of a grown-ass man." - Sean T. Collins

• Review: "[Delphine], Richard Sala's contribution to Fantagraphics's prestigious Ignatz Series, is some of his strongest and most personal work yet... He sets his pop-cultural influences aside this time to lead us down a grimmer path... As for the art -- well, what can I say? It's recognizably Sala's, and at the top of his game, but taken to the next level, in that the usual precision of his black-and-white work is here inflected with sepia washes that give an added visual dimension to the murkiness of the hero's experience... The heavy dustjackets, with such gorgeous full-color art not only front and back but on both big inside flaps, deliver a lush visual and tactile experience that no bonus gallery in a collection will be able to duplicate... By whatever route you get here, I highly recommend this." - Curt Purcell, The Groovy Age of Horror

• Review: "Even when she's not especially inspired, Dame Darcy creates superior goth comics: cheerfully mean-spirited, idiosyncratically stylish, and oozing with surreal ichor... In [Meat Cake #17], Darcy indulges her goth tropes and her feminism: men are tormented, sisterhood is affirmed, and light-hearted squick is relished by all. And, as always, Darcy's eccentric drawing is a joy, with perspective, proportion, and visual logic all flattened out to fit into geometrically obscure but oddly elegant patterns." - Noah Berlatsky, The Comics Journal (reprinted at The Hooded Utilitarian)

• Plug: "The big story here [in The Comics Journal #299] is Bob Levin's spectacular essay on Michel Choquette and his never-completed comics anthology... Sadly, the project never got off the ground, and Levin details in his typical stellar fashion why and how. It's a fascinating tale, one well worth your $12." - Chris Mautner, Robot 6

• Plug: "The new Comics Journal (#299) is in Direct Market stores today. I got mine a week ago and love it, especially the absolutely essential Bob Levin cover article." - Alan David Doane, Comic Book Galaxy

• Plug: "This is a particularly excellent issue of TCJ, thanks to Bob Levin's magnificent 50-page... history of 'The Someday Funnies'... You really need to read it." - Douglas Wolk, Comics Alliance

• Interview: Seth continues discussing his design work for The Complete Peanuts in the final part of Brian Heater's interview at The Daily Cross Hatch: "Schulz’s work is right there in the book. Every line in those strips is his. But the design stuff is just design stuff. It’s a setting to put a gem in. The setting is not the gem."

• Things to see: At the Covered blog, Anthony Vukojevich does a Gilbert Hernandez Birdland cover

• Staff: The Comics Reporter and Publishers Weekly have the scoop on our newest hire, Jacq Cohen

New Comics Day 8/19/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under The Comics JournalNew Comics DayBob Levin 18 Aug 2009 12:39 PM

The Comics Journal #299

Scheduled to hit comics shops in the USA tomorrow: The Comics Journal #299, featuring Bob Levin's amazing investigation into the lost anthology The Someday Funnies, the Journal interview with Josh Cotter, Myron Waldman's Eve and lots more. 

Visit our product page for more details and for links to free excerpts on the TCJ.com website. Your local shop can confirm availability if you give them a buzz beforehand.

Sorry, Bob
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under The Comics JournalerrataBob Levin 11 Aug 2009 4:26 PM

Jeez, poor Bob Levin can't catch a break: we've screwed up his byline in The Comics Journal twice in a row.

The Comics Journal #299

Now in stock: The Comics Journal #299
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under The Comics JournalNoah Van Scivernew releasesMark NewgardenBob Levin 31 Jul 2009 11:16 AM

The Comics Journal #299 edited by Mike Dean & Kristy Valenti; Gary Groth, executive editor

The Comics Journal #299
Edited by Mike Dean & Kristy Valenti; Gary Groth, executive editor

The Pirates and the Mouse author Bob Levin tracks down the El Dorado of comics, a lost collection of unpublished strips by 190 of the world’s most important cartoonists, including Will Eisner, Vaughn Bodé, Jack Kirby, Harvey Kurtzman, Art Spiegelman, Arnold Roth, Bill Griffith, Ralph Steadman, Don Martin, Gahan Wilson, Jeff Jones, Guido Crepax — even William Burroughs, Tom Wolfe and Frank Zappa! The comics were assembled in the 1970s by Michel Choquette (creator with Neal Adams of National Lampoon’s Son o’ God comics) for a book called Someday Funnies, which never saw print. Levin and Choquette reveal for the first time the whole catastrophic story of what might have been the comics anthology of the century.

Also in this issue: Sean T. Collins interviews Skyscrapers of the Midwest’s Josh Cotter; Noah Van Sciver's cartoon interview with King Cat's John Porcellino; our classic comics section features Myron Waldman’s Eve, with an introduction by Mark Newgarden; our usual smattering of insightful and incisive columns; reviews of Kramers Ergot 7, The Times of Botchan, Chaykin, Clowes, Tezuka and many more!

208-page color/b&w 7.5" x 9.5" squarebound softcover magazine • $11.99
Add to CartMore Info & Previews

Comicon Premiere Spotlight: TCJ 299
Written by Eric Reynolds | Filed under The Comics JournalBob Levin 21 Jul 2009 7:48 AM

THE TRUE STORY OF HOW MICHEL CHOQUETTE (ALMOST) ASSEMBLED THE MOST STUPENDOUS COMIC BOOK IN THE WORLD

Issue No. 299 of The Comics Journal [in-stores August 2009, premiering at the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con] unearths a long-lost treasure: Way back in 1970, satirist/editor Michel Choquette conceived a mammoth anthology of new comics from all over the world by just about every cartoonist imaginable circa 1970 (as well as such unimaginable cultural icons as Federico Fellini and Frank Zappa). All of the contributors were to riff on the 1960s, creating a comics snapshot of that decade, but the project kept growing in ambition until it reached a scale that scared off its publishers. Today, bookstore shelves are filled with comics collections and graphic novels, but in 1970, there was no Watchmen or Persepolis. Even Art Spiegelman's Pulitzer-winning Maus had yet to be published. To publishers of the time, Choquette's dream book was an enormous folly and one by one they backed out of negotiations, leaving Choquette, who had spent all his book advances traveling the globe enlisting contributors, to disappear into relative obscurity.

But by the time publishers had gotten cold feet, Choquette had already assembled an astounding array of comics contributions from 190 of the most influential comics creators and cultural figures of the 1960s and '70s, including: Jack Kirby, William Burroughs, Harvey Kurtzman, Art Spiegelman, Will Eisner, Arnold Roth, Don Martin, Michael O'Donoghue, Ralph Steadman, Tom Wolfe, Wally Wood, Bill Griffith, Barry Windsor-Smith, Gahan Wilson, Moebius, C.C. Beck, Vaughn Bodé, Harlan Ellison, Shary Flenniken, Albert Uderzo and René Goscinny, Russ Heath, Doug Kenney, Patrice Leconte, Chris Miller, Denny O'Neil, Roy Thomas, as well as the aforementioned Fellini and Zappa. It was a legendary compilation of the comic art form that would give heart palpitations to anyone who ever loved comics or was alive in 1970, but no one has seen it all except for Choquette.

Comics Journal writer Bob Levin tracked Choquette down and discovered that this long-lost El Dorado of comics still exists in storage. In an epic article, Levin follows Choquette's path across continents and countries as the would-be anthologizer encounters a cultural Who's Who of the '60s and '70s (Salvador Dali! Gloria Steinem! Jann Wenner! Jorge Luis Borges! Bianca Jagger!), collecting art that will, in part, see print FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER in the pages of this issue.

TCJ #299 also features an interview with SKYSCRAPERS OF THE MIDWEST creator Josh Cotter, a gallery of MYRON WALDMAN AND EVE strips with an introduction by Mark Newgarden, essays by Noah Berlatsky, R.C. Harvey, Matthias Wivel, and the usual assortment of reviews (KRAMERS ERGOT 7!), news and criticism from the best writers-about-comics in the field.

THE COMICS JOURNAL #299 [August 2009] • 208 pages • $11.99 U.S. • ISBN 978-1-60699-147-3



Daily OCD: 5/5/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under SupermenRory HayesRobert CrumbreviewsPopeyeMiss Lasko-GrossBob LevinAnders Nilsen 5 May 2009 1:43 PM

Your Online Commentary & Diversions for the day:

• Review: "...Supermen!: The First Wave Of Comic Book Heroes 1939-41 pulls together some of the goofiest, most innocent, most violent superhero comics ever penned... The forematter (a lovely, insightful, nostalgic essay by Jonathan Lethem) and the afterword (a collection of bibliographic and historical notes on each strip) make perfect bookends for the hot stuff in the middle. This is pure and unadulterated Id, the kind of thing that inspired a moral panic about the corruption of the young. It's every bit as potent today." - Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing

• Review: "Miss Lasko-Gross takes us into the skankiest basement makeout sessions of our teenage despair in [A Mess of Everything]... Her fictional stand-in figures out how to work the system and achieves redemption through beautifully ugly comics that aptly capture the darker hallucinogenic melodramas of teenage geekdom." - Richard Gehr, The Village Voice

• Review: "[A] wild and woolly collection of pre-Superman supermen... As Jonathan Lethem notes in his introduction, our appreciation for the bizarre otherness of these characters in retrospect suggests that our contemporary icons might well appear no less 'totally opaque and infinitely awkward' to future readers." - Richard Gehr, The Village Voice (same link as above)

• Review: "Bob Levin's new book [Most Outrageous: The Trials and Trespasses of Dwaine Tinsley and Chester the Molester] sheds light on the legendary HUSTLER cartoonist without passing judgment or picking a side. Nevertheless, the author paints a fascinating picture of the good ol' boy folks around here called Uncle Dwaine." - K.K. Le Roque, Hustler (from print)

• Review: "Rory Hayes was nuts. I mean, really, truly insane... Hayes was tapping into a rich vein of paranoia and insanity that was truly disturbing... Rory Hayes work has the authentic voice of a true outsider artist, a genuine madman in a world full of posers... Where Demented Wented... is a fascinating collection and well presented. Recommended." - Colin Upton, Inkstuds

• Plug: "Monologues for Calculating the Density of Black Holes: [...] No more adventurous a way to spend $22.99 in comics monies this week."  - Jog

• Oddity: "I Dream of Popeye"??

• Oddity: R. Crumb sneakers from Vans?? (via Spurge)

• Oddity: Marc Palm mashes up Crumb & the Muppets (via everywhere)

Daily links: 4/14/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Willie and JoeTony MillionaireTim HensleyThe Comics JournalTed StearnreviewsMort Walkerjohn kerschbaumJerry DumasJasonBob LevinBill Mauldin 14 Apr 2009 3:08 PM

• Review: Poopsheet praises Petey & Pussy by John Kerschbaum, noting the "deeply weird cast" of characters, the "unpredictable plots in which everybody winds up humiliated and covered in one horrible substance or other, which is just what they all deserve. All this is, of course, very, very funny. John is a ninja of comedy timing," and a story moment that "makes you happy to read comics."

• Reviews: Andrew Wheeler rounds up a lot of books, including Willie & Joe: The WWII Years by Bill Mauldin ("Not just one of the best books of comics to come out last year, not even one of the best books to come out in 2008, but an excellent, essential, carefully-designed work of real historical importance and vital art... a great monument to one of the best cartoonists of the 20th century"; Petey & Pussy by John Kerschbaum ("Another one of those books that makes me laugh out loud and then feel guilty about it; this is probably offensive to many people, disgusting to more, but uncomfortably funny for nearly all of us... The stories are drawn in a tight, clean style, and are full of things I don't want to describe on the open Internet. I laughed a lot; I'll admit that"); Fuzz & Pluck: Splitsville by Ted Stearn ("...like Mark Beyer's Amy + Jordan, only much better drawn and with a coherent story"); The Maakies with the Wrinkled Knees by Tony Millionaire ("grotesquely gorgeous art"); and The Last Musketeer by Jason ("a wry and very entertaining story")

• Review: Stripper's Guide on Jerry Dumas & Mort Walker's Sam's Strip: "...one of the most delightful and intellectually daring strips that ever appeared in newspapers... And Fantagraphics has done it up in a perfect package. The reproduction quality is top-notch, and they've given us a superb bonus -- a section of annotations by Jerry Dumas and Brian Walker... if you are a comic strip fan and you don't have this book on your shelf then there is something really wrong with you. Seriously. Go buy the book."

• List: Ben Towle names some favorites from 2008 including Most Outrageous by Bob Levin ("...fascinating... a fantastic book..."); Petey & Pussy by John Kerschbaum ("What more can I say? This book’s #%&*in’ hilarious. Oh, I guess this: it’s also beautifully drawn."); and Fuzz & Pluck: Splitsville by Ted Stearn ("beautiful")

• Preview: Matthias Wivel plugs The Comics Journal #297, and not just because his own interview with Emmanuel Guibert is in it

• Commentary: Patrick Keck discovers that John Kerschbaum is a swell guy, "heartily recommend[s]" Petey & Pussy

• Things to see: Amen, Tim Hensley

Daily links: 3/16/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Ted StearnRory HayesRobert CrumbreviewsRay FenwickpreviewsPeanutsMomeKevin HuizengaJules FeifferJohnny RyanJacques TardiIvan BrunettiHumbugGary PanterDash ShawBob LevinBill SchellyBill MauldinBeastsAnders NilsenAl Jaffee 16 Mar 2009 3:33 PM

This is a meaty one:

• Review: For The Savage Critics, Sean T. Collins says The Last Lonely Saturday by Jordan Crane is "pretty much the best love story in comics form I've ever come across... It's an intelligent, moving, beautiful, terrific little comic."

• Review: Rob Clough says that Beasts! Book 2 "mingles myths, warnings, fairy tales, correctives, and genuinely unexplained phenomena and allows its artists to run with them. The end result is a consistently beautiful, lovingly assembled book that forms a kind of metacommentary on the entire notion of the fantastic."

• Review: For the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, the wonderfully-named Burl Burlingame reviews Man of Rock: A Biography of Joe Kubert by Bill Schelly

• Review: For Robot 6's "What Are You Reading?" column, Tucker Stone encounters Duplex Planet Illustrated #2

• Review: The SF Site's "Nexus Graphica" says R. Crumb & David Zane Mairowitz's Kafka is "a terrific guide to Kafka's life and work — Mairowitz deftly sums up Franz' family/Jewish/pre-Holocaust European experiences and influences, and Crumb's heavy inkings lend the exact tones of darkness to recreations of both Kafka's life — and work." (See sidebar)

• Blurb: Gear Live's "Comix 411" "vote[s] yes" on Ho! The Morally Questionable Cartoons of Ivan Brunetti

• List: Tom Spurgeon of The Comics Reporter weighs in with his Best of 2008 lists. In the top 10 "Archival Editions" there's Where Demented Wented by Rory Hayes at #7, Popeye Vol. 3 at #6, The Complete Peanuts Vols. 9-10 at #3, Explainers by Jules Feiffer at #2, and Willie & Joe: The WWII Years by Bill Mauldin at #1; Most Outrageous: The Trials and Trespasses of Dwaine Tinsley and Chester the Molester by Bob Levin is named "Best Book on the Subject of Comics"; the top 25 "Best Comics (First Run, First Translated, Definitively Collected) of 2008" includes Fuzz & Pluck: Splitsville by Ted Stearn at #19, Bottomless Belly Button by Dash Shaw at #15, Sammy the Mouse #2 by Zak Sally at #12, and Ganges #2 by Kevin Huizenga at #4 

• Interview: Robot 6 talks to Anders Nilsen about his most recent book, Monologues for Calculating the Density of Black Holes

• Interview: The final installment of The Daily Cross Hatch's interview with the great Al Jaffee finally gets around to Humbug

• Transcript: The Daily Cross Hatch presents our own Eric Reynolds's talk at MCAD at the opening of the MOMEntum exhibit

• Preview: The First Post presents a slideshow of images from Humbug, saying "the short-lived Humbug [was] an exquisite satirical work that, over its 11 issues, routinely equalled MAD in its displays of creative genius... providing a level of trenchant satire that was almost unheard of at the time."

• Preview: Notions & Potions excerpts a page from Ray Fenwick's Hall of Best Knowledge

• Preview: Bryan Munn, in "hyping" The Complete Peanuts 1971-1972, states "Now that two whole decades of Peanuts have been reprinted in the deluxe hardcover format published by Fantagraphics and designed by Seth, we can really get a sense of what a huge achievement this project is and will continue to be for a generation."

• Preview: SFScope covers our Tardi announcement

• Bookmark: Quotes on Comics gives you what's in the name, presented randomly for your diversion

• Things to see: Animated Gary Panter unaired commercial (via Comics Comics)

• Things to see: This month's Vice cartoons by Johnny Ryan

Daily links: 3/5/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Tim LanereviewspreviewsLilli Carrécomics industryBob LevinBasil WolvertonAnders Nilsen 5 Mar 2009 1:30 PM

• Review/profile: The Oregonian says that Most Outrageous by Bob Levin is "The most challenging and thought-provoking book I read last year... unforgettable... among the great essays on human frailty," and discusses how the commercial success of The Complete Peanuts enables us to publish more challenging work

• Review: Brick Weekly says of The Lagoon by Lilli Carré, "Carré’s cartooning is purely excellent, evolving nicely from her earlier work and pulling you into a world of vividly drawn characters and lush environments" (scroll past the video game review)

• Previews: Whateves looks at The Wolverton Bible

• Interviews: Robot 6 talks to our own Eric Reynolds about the current state of the indie-comics market (Diamond, economy, etc.)

• Things to see: A new batch of sketchbook drawings from Anders Nilsen

• Things to see: A fantastic splash page from Tim Lane's next book

Daily links: 1/19/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Zippy the PinheadSergio PonchioneKevin HuizengaDash ShawDaniel ClowesChris WareBob LevinBob FingermanBill Griffith 19 Jan 2009 3:20 PM

• List: Aron Nels Steinke presents his Top Ten of 2008, including Bottomless Belly Button by Dash Shaw and Ganges #2 by Kevin Huizenga

• List: At Robot 6, Chris Mautner declares Bob Levin's Most Outrageous: The Trials and Trespasses of Dwaine Tinsley and Chester the Molester one of the "five most criminally ignored books of 2008"

• Review: Rob Clough examines Grotesque #2 by Sergio Ponchione

• Review/Things to see: French cartoonist Olive Booger posts her impressions of Bottomless Belly Button (original French; Google translation) with bonus fan art!

• Blurb: Irregular Orbit devotes 9 perfectly-chosen words to Zippy: Connect the Polka Dots by Bill Griffith

• Interview: The Daily Cross Hatch concludes their three-parter with Bob Fingerman

• Interview: The Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon found a video file of Jonathan Lethem interviewing Daniel Clowes at the 2005 MoCCA Festival; he can't remember where it came from but he's posted it anyway

• Things to see: Steven Weissman's HLK

• Oddity: "Chris Ware can show Video Games the path to manhood"


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12.05.2014 | 19.00
STINCKERS Release Party
12.06.2014 | 17.00
Comic Arts LA
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Our Bookstore

The Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale St., Seattle WA 98108. Tel: 206-658-0110.

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