I thought I could keep up with Online Commentary & Diversions while at Comic-Con. Ha ha ha ha ha.
• Coming Attractions: At Robot 6, Chris Mautner takes a look through the 46 (!!!) upcoming books listed in our Fall/Winter catalog (note: listed release dates may no longer be accurate and are all subject to change)
• History/Profile/Review: "What A Drunken Dream reveals is an author whose childhood passion for Frances Hodgson Burnett, L.M. Montgomery, and Isaac Asimov profoundly influenced the kind of stories she chose to tell as an adult. ... For those new to Hagio’s work, Fantagraphics has prefaced A Drunken Dream with two indispensable articles by noted manga scholar Matt Thorn. ... Taken together with the stories in A Drunken Dream, these essays make an excellent introduction to one of the most literary and original voices working in comics today. Highly recommended." – Katherine Dacey, The Manga Critic
• Review: "Anyone interested in the historical development of manga and the women who’ve contributed to the art form should read this book. I hope A Drunken Dream sells well enough for Fantagraphics or other publishers to consider putting out some of Hagio’s longer works. Her short stories are great, but I’d love to see what she does with a longer storyline." – Anna Neatrour, TangognaT
• Plug: "What Osamu Tezuka is to shonen and seinen manga, Moto Hagio is to shojo manga -- a true innovator who challenged and stretched the conventions of the medium by created touching, memorable and truly artistic comics stories. ... Fantagraphics had copies of the absolutely gorgeous hardcover edition of A Drunken Dream available for sale at their [Comic-Con] booth..." – Deb Aoki, About.com: Manga
• Interview:The Comics Journal's Shaenon Garrity sat down with Moto Hagio & translator Matt Thorn for a conversation at Comic-Con International: "I find it very embarrassing to read my very early work, but when you see the stories arranged chronologically it gives a good overall impression of my career. In Japanese, too, it’s common to present an author’s works in a sample spanning his or her whole career, so it’s turned out very much like that."
• Review: "Deadpan dialogue, drawings that move from panel to panel with the strange and deliberate force of kung fu performance art, and a subtle interweaving of humor and angst come together to make [Werewolves of Montpellier] a brief knockout of a book." – Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
• Review: "...[T]his cartwheeling shaggy-dog story begins, like a lot of metafiction, with the semblance of reality... But by the time a frog demon reanimates a 19th-century French peasant whose brains it has eaten, it’s fairly clear that Deitch is making stuff up. The fun of [The Search for Smilin' Ed] is the way it constantly darts back and forth across the line between genuine show-business lore (a favorite Deitch theme) and delirious whole-cloth invention. There are stories within stories, unreliable explainers, secret passageways that lead from one part of the tale to another." – Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
• Review: "Wally Gropius is a book that’s constantly lying to the reader, with a terrifying chaos roiling just immediately below its surface. The book is a flood of visual and textual information, but the information itself is near constantly false. ... For me, it’s a book that lies constantly, that lies at its very core, but that nevertheless ends up getting at a greater truth of things. And so, yeah: I thought that was pretty neat." – Abhay Kholsa, The Savage Critics
• Review: "There’s more derring-do [in Prince Valiant Vol. 2: 1939-1940] than you can shake a sword at! Foster’s stories are filled with vivid, colorful characters, none more engaging than the aptly named Valiant and his never-ending quest for adventure. The artwork is breathtaking. Foster’s figures are handsome and graceful whether eating a sumptuous feast or fighting on a crowded battlefield. ... Even if the age of chivalry is not your flask of ale, Foster’s art and storytelling will win you over." — Rich Clabaugh, The Christian Science Monitor
• Review: "This book is why Fantagraphics is one of the best and most important comic publishers in the business today. [Blazing Combat] is a series that could have easily been forgotten to the ages but Fantagraphics always is at the forefront of making sure important works of sequential art are remembered. ... This is a brilliant collection of stories that should be required reading. Intelligent, gripping stories and fantastic art! Grade A +" – Tim Janson, Mania and Newsarama
• Review: "Formally inventive and emotionally acute, Bottomless Belly Button indeed proves to be all those things: as fascinating and affecting a depiction of family ties as Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections or Wes Anderson's The Royal Tenenbaums." – Ed Park, Los Angeles Times
• Plugs: Alex Carr of Amazon's Omnivoracious blog has Weathercraft by Jim Woodring ("I am woefully ignorant when it comes to Woodring’s Frank comics, and this looks like the weirdest place to start") and Dungeon Quest Book 1 ("After The Red Monkey Double Happiness Book, I will read anything Joe Daly produces") on his summer vacation reading list
• History: For the Los Angeles Times, Ben Schwartz compiles an oral history of the 1980s heyday of L.A. alternative comics with Matt Groening, Gilbert & Jaime Hernandez, David Lynch (!), and Gary Panter
We had a flurry of exciting celebrity shoppers toward the end of the day:
Above, Fire & Water author Blake Bell meets the television & movie actress of the oddly similar name Lake Bell and the world does not implode, possibly due to Lake's boyfriend, comedian Nick Kroll, executing the perfect photobomb.
Here, Nick strikes a perfect mirror-image pose with one of two Drew Friedman books he picked up while Tom Spurgeon botches his photobomb.
Like Moto Hagio, Carol Tyler added a little something extra to her white-board sign-in for her signing for the premiere of You'll Never Know Book 2: Collateral Damage. I had to take off soon after helping get her set up and snapping these pics, including the one below of her yukking it up with Eric Reynolds, but hopefully I'll have more to report after her Friday signing.
In the interest of fact-finding, we stood in line for free ice cream on our Comic-Con lunch break to confirm that yes, the graphics on the van (and the napkins which were handed out with the ice cream) are indeed by Ben Jones. The dude in the van said that Ben applied the vinyl decals by hand. BJ + B&J to promote Adult Swim (home of The Drinky Crow Show, once and possible future projects from Michael Kupperman, and possibly Ben's show Neon Knome among other fine programs) is brand synergy I can get behind. If I see it again I'll definitely try to get better pictures (and more ice cream).
Gilbert, Jaime, and Natalia Hernandez packed 'em in for two solid hours of signing & sketching mania as fans snapped up the new issue of Love and Rockets: New Stories (not to mention Natalia's new minicomic The Cat Eyes #1). Also, judging by the second picture below, Natalia thinks Adam Grano is crazy.
Oh man did it pain me to erase Moto Hagio's unsolicited drawing off of our whiteboard! I console myself with other artwork which followed and the hope that she will do a new drawing each day. She signed copies of A Drunken Dream and Other Stories and drew sketches for a big group of very excited and appreciative fans, with the assistance of Drunken Dream translator/editor Matt Thorn and, behind the scenes, interpreter/personal assistant (and mobile veterinarian, for real) Mari Morimoto. See below (or here) for video of Hagio-sensei sketching a character!
Our first signing of the day featured Johnny Ryan signing the brand new Prison Pit: Book 2 and Esther Pearl Watson signing both volumes of Unlovable and working artwork for on her top-secret new graphic novel in progress. The Johnny logo on the whiteboard is by me, but then I had the better idea of having the artists sign themselves in, so Esther's is by Esther.
Here's a two-part stroll around booth #1718 right around opening time. There were significantly fewer books by the end of the day. Below, another con debut which somehow failed to upload for inclusion in last night's post: Zak Sally's Sammy the Mouse #3.
Check out the views of our booth (#1718) and book debuts, taken in the moments before the doors were opened. Lots more photos after the jump. Our slate of signings starts Thursday morning — hope to see you there!
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