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Category >> Carol Swain

Spring-Summer 2014, part 14: Luba, Gast, Gems
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Love and RocketsLane MilburnKickstarterGilbert HernandezComing AttractionsCarol Swain 26 Nov 2013 4:43 PM

Our campaign to support our Spring-Summer 2014 season on Kickstarter is ongoing, and we're continuing to spotlight the books in question, a couple at a time. (We missed yesterday, so we're doing 3 today.) We've also put our season catalog online for you to browse. (Please note that all artwork, contents, prices, specs, and release dates are preliminary and subject to change.)

Luba and Her Family prelim cover

Luba and Her Family (The Love and Rockets Library)
by Gilbert Hernandez

312-page black & white 7.5" x 9.25" softcover • $19.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-753-6 

Gilbert Hernandez's characters bid "Farewell, My Palomar" as they exit the Eden of the Central American town in Volume 10 of the Love and Rockets Library. Locals have begun to drift up to the United States to seek their fortunes, but when an earthquake levels Palomar, ever-resourceful Luba and her clan are on the move once again. In the U.S. the lives of Maria's daughters — mayor and matriarch Luba, body-builder Petra, and therapist/film star Fritz — and their families become more and more intertwined. Mischievous children's show hostess Doralís MCs many (but not all) of the sisters' romances, and exploits are detailed in missives from comics-loving Venus to her fierce, one-armed cousin Casimira.

For a Kickstarter pledge of $30 or more, pre-order this book signed by Gilbert Hernandez while supplies last! Or, for a pledge of $200 or more, get an exclusive Gilbert Hernandez print! (Or increase your pledge to $230 or more and let us know you want both!)

Gast prelim cover

Gast
by Carol Swain

176-page black & white 7.5" x 10.25" • $22.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-755-0

Helen is an amateur bird watcher and naturalist who lives in a rural community in Wales. When local farmer Bill tells Helen that a "rare bird" named Emrys killed himself at Cuddig farm, she decides to investigate. One of the dogs at the farm tells her, by way of explanation, that Emrys "had no feathers and couldn’t fly." She plucks an old cosmetic kit from a dumpster and discovers it belonged to Emrys. Inventorying the kit's contents, she finds a spent .12 gauge shotgun shell. Her attempt to learn more about Emrys turns into a journey of self-discovery and ultimately a hard-fought reconciliation with the world — as it is. Carol Swain's Gast is the rare kind of contemporary graphic novel that critics are conjuring when they exult over the promise of the art form — a philosophically mature vision, uniquely executed by an artist wholly in control of her craft. In Gast, Helen's inner life is slowly revealed through a mixture of naturalistic detail and phantasmagoric occurrences.

For a Kickstarter pledge of $30 or more, pre-order this book signed by Carol Swain while supplies last!

Twelve Gems prelim cover

Twelve Gems
by Lane Milburn

220-page black & white 5.75" x 8.5" softcover • $24.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-751-2 

This sci-fi epic takes place somewhere in the outer cosmos, beyond reckoning or observation. The mysterious Dr. Z has enlisted three space heroes to search the galaxy for the fabled Twelve Gems of Power: the hulking alien-brawn Furz; the beautiful and deadly sabre-wielding Venus; and the soft-spoken canine technician, Dogstar. They meet many strange and storied characters on their journey, but none so strange or sinister as their dear benefactor himself. With a heavy dose of humor and wall-to-wall action, this is one of the most action-packed and funny books of the year.

For a Kickstarter pledge of $35 or more, pre-order this book signed by Lane Milburn while supplies last! Or, for a pledge of $40 or more, get an exclusive Twelve Gems t-shirt! Or, for a pledge of $60 or more, get the book, signed, with a sketch, and one of twelve hand-made Power Gems! (Or increase your pledge to the sum of all the rewards you want!)





Daily OCD: 5/20/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Wilfred SantiagoRIP MDreviewsR Kikuo JohnsonPaul HornschemeierMark KalesnikoLove and RocketsLewis TrondheimLeslie SteinJoyce FarmerGilbert HernandezDavid BDaily OCDCarol SwainBlazing Combat21 20 May 2011 5:42 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

21: The Story of Roberto Clemente

Review: "21: The Story of Roberto Clemente brings together comics and baseball, two of America's most popular conveyers of epic mythology. Author Wilfred Santiago also incorporates elements of classical and avant-garde jazz in his sinuously illustrated narrative of Clemente's life. It takes an imagination as rich as Mr. Santiago's to tap into various mythological languages to tell the Pittsburgh Pirate's iconic story... Instead of dwelling on sources of obvious resentment, Mr. Santiago defaults to illustrating Clemente's humanity. We're treated to close-ups of his most noble and ignoble moments. The artist refuses to treat him like a plastic saint, because a perfect Clemente would make boring reading, indeed. ...Wilfred Santiago has done as good a job as anyone ever has in reintroducing the longtime Pittsburgh Pirate to a new generation." – Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Eye of the Majestic Creature

Review: "You’d be hard-pressed to find a more downright affable character than blithely blitzed Larrybear, the young female focus of Leslie Stein’s ongoing semiautobiographical comic [Eye of the Majestic Creature ], whose first four issues are collected here.... Stein gives us the slackerly, star-eyed alternative to a cadre of 'misanthropic, self-pitying comics about unappreciated cartoonists,' as Tom De Haven characterized it... But where the aforementioned Crumb-descended misanthropes have all more or less grown up, Stein’s Larrybear is a naïve woman on the verge of Whatever, a cute Candide floundering about in an increasingly complicated world. ...[T]his book [is] such a pleasure..." – Richard Gehr, The Comics Journal

Approximate Continuum Comics

Review: "Lewis Trondheim is one of the world’s best cartoonists.... Approximate Continuum Comics is some of Trondheim’s earliest autobiographical work, dating mostly from 1993 and 1996. If you’re read his more recent slivers of life observations... then you already know the sublime wit and casual self-deprecation of Trondheim’s cartooning. Approximate Continuum Comics is where that [tack] begins." – Michael C. Lorah, Newsarama

Love from the Shadows

Review: "Love from the Shadows is a very strange story. Surreal is such an overused word, but it is the best description I can come up with to describe the tone of the work. There is a disjointed, dream-like progression to the narrative.... As with so much of Hernandez's work, it is beautifully illustrated. The art is suffused with emotion and atmosphere and eroticism. The work Hernandez does is a critical component to his examining all of the societal, psychological, and sexual issues. …Love from the Shadows [is] an intriguing, offbeat story that is open to examination and interpretation. …Love from the Shadows is an intellectually stimulating read. And the artwork is magnificent." – Benjamin Herman, Associated Content

The Littlest Pirate King

Review: "The Littlest Pirate King is a wonderful phantasmagoria, as likely to entertain a ten year old as a thirty year eight year old (and I say this having had the book pulled off my lap and spirited away by my own ten year old). There is a lovely innocence to proceedings, a seemingly uncalculated desire to thrill and chill and transport... that has had me flicking back through the book a good dozen times since I’ve read it. This is the kind of book that got me reading books when I was a wee nipper, and it’s the kind of book that keeps me reading now that I’m the furthest possible thing from a wee nipper." – Bookmunch

Blazing Combat [Softcover Ed. - Pre-Order]

Review: "Blazing Combat is a book I'm quite proud to have in my collection. It's a work of art, has a message that's strong even over 40 years after the material was first created, and I'll come back to this at least once every few years." – Philip Reed, BattleGrip

List: Library Journal's Martha Cornog gathers recommended graphic novels dealing with themes of Health & Medicine, including:

Special Exits

Special Exits by Joyce Farmer: "An excellent alert for those new to the path (for themselves or for relatives) and a validation for those already familiar with this normal yet seemly so abnormal life stage."

Alex

Alex by Mark Kalesniko: "This exploration of depression, futile escapism, and the healing power of art has been described as a difficult read but very funny."

Giraffes in My Hair: A Rock 'n' Roll Life

Giraffes in My Hair: A Rock 'n' Roll Life by Bruce Paley & Carol Swain: "Hanging out here and crashing there, Paley narrates vignettes of debauchery and daily life in a Woodstock version of American Splendor. Partner Swain's smudgy, black-and-white drawings carry his grimy, nostalgic account."

Mother, Come Home

Mother, Come Home by Paul Hornschemeier: "An exquisitely written and beautifully drawn exploration of grief."

RIP, M.D. [Pre-Order]

Rip M.D. by Mitch Shauer, Mike Vosburg et al.: "A 'full-color, all-ages adventure' with an animated cartoon series in development, and a promising bet for reluctant readers."

Night Fisher

List: Robot 6's Chris Mautner names "Six noteworthy debut comics," saying of R. Kikuo Johnson's Night Fisher "this tale of disaffected adolescence and drug dealing in Hawaii is certainly compelling and suggests that Johnson is an artist capable of producing great work. Unfortunately, he has yet to follow up on that initial promise. But Night Fisher still marks him as an artist to watch out for."

Mome Vol. 17 - Winter 2010

Profile: Time Out Chicago's Web Behrens catches up with Paul Hornschemeier: "'It is one of those names: You’re destined to either be a writer or scientist,' says local author-artist Paul, the man both blessed and saddled with the brainy surname. 'You’re not going to be a rock star with a name like Hornschemeier.'"

Daily OCD: 10/26/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under reviewsLove and RocketsLos Bros HernandezJasonJaime HernandezGilbert HernandezDaily OCDCarol Swain 26 Oct 2010 2:33 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

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

Review: "...[T]he third annual volume proves to be the best yet, combining eccentric drama, bright fantasy, captivating whimsy and appalling human frailty into a package of stunning graphic intensity. [...] Stark, challenging, charming and irresistibly seductive, Love and Rockets: New Stories is a grown up comics fan’s dream come true and remains as valid and groundbreaking as its earlier incarnations — the cutting edge of American graphic narrative." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!

Review: "What to say that others haven’t? I’m not steeped enough in Jaime’s work to say that his contribution to this volume [of Love and Rockets: New Stories] was his best ever, but it was very, very strong work, and the reveal at the end so surprised me that I immediately reread the story. [...] I’ve been enjoying the way that Gilbert’s stories and stories-within-stories have interacted, though without being entirely sure why. This volume also led me to wonder to what degree the brothers are aware of what the other is up to, since the stories seemed to strangely reflect each other in ways that previous volumes haven’t." – Brendan Wright, The Wright Opinion

Locas II: Maggie, Hopey & Ray [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

Commentary: Chris Limb of Catmachine pens a heartfelt ode to las locas: "My old friends are two women who live in a Latina neighborhood in California; I've known them since we were all teenagers. Their names are Maggie Chascarillo and Hopey Glass."

Plug: Pulitzer Prize-winning author and noted Love and Rockets fan Junot Díaz was talking up the Bros again at the New York Times recently, reports Jennifer B. McDonald at the NYT's Paper Cuts blog

You Can't Get There From Here [Out of Print]

Plug: At Techland, Douglas Wolk spotlights Jason in a slideshow of "70 Years of Frankenstein Comics": "The brief, wordless 2004 graphic novel You Can't Get There from Here, by the Norwegian cartoonist Jason, concerns a love triangle involving Frankenstein (the Doctor), the Monster, and the beehive-hairdo'ed Bride. It's since been collected in Jason's anthology Almost Silent."

Invasion of the Mind Sappers

Commentary: At Comics Comics, Joe McCulloch discusses panel layouts and other matters pertaining to the work of Carol Swain

The last lost preview: Giraffes in My Hair
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under videopreviewsCarol Swain 12 Oct 2010 8:02 AM

We had a handful of our trademark video & photo previews from Summer 2009 that we regrettably never had a chance to upload at the time; we've been adding them one by one over the last couple of months and the final one is now up, for Giraffes in My Hair: A Rock 'n' Roll Life by Bruce Paley and Carol Swain. (The hot pink design elements and rock 'n' roll subject matter pair well with this morning's Destroy All Movies!!! preview, no?) It's embedded above and at slightly higher resolution on the book's product page; for best viewing, view full screen or click here to open it in a new window. Whew! Feels good to finally be caught up.

Pekar Tributes by Brodner, Hensley, Griffith & More
Written by Eric Reynolds | Filed under Tim HensleySteve BrodnerRoberta GregoryPat MoriarityCarol SwainBill Griffith 8 Sep 2010 6:12 PM

  

In 2003, when Harvey Pekar's American Splendor film was coming out, the indie-friendly film chain Landmark Cinemas was really high on the film and an acquaintance of mine who worked as a graphic designer for their in-house magazine, FLM, asked me if I would try to edit a short comics section in tribute to Harv. So I did. It didn't come out quite like I'd hoped, but I was honored to do it. I thought of this when Harvey passed away recently and I wrote this, but couldn't find a copy. This weekend, while starting to move everything out of my basement to have some work done, I found it. As far as I know, it isn't on the web anywhere else, and there are some great pieces. 

Click HERE for a larger version than what's below, so you can read all of it, but here's the Tim Hensley piece to whet your whistle: 

  

 

Daily OCD: 6/10/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Love and RocketsLos Bros HernandezJohnny RyanDan NadelDaily OCDCarol SwainBen Schwartz 10 Jun 2010 2:16 PM

Online Commentary & Diversions:

The Best American Comics Criticism

Review: "...[O]ne of the collection’s great strengths [is that] it offers an extremely wide range of writing produced over eight years. ... While there’s a great deal to be learned by reading any such collection, Schwartz’s editorial approach makes The Best American Comics Criticism far more entertaining than I would have thought a collection of criticism could be." – Ken Parille, Blog Flume

Giraffes in My Hair: A Rock 'n' Roll Life

Review: "Giraffes [in My Hair]... is a personal lesson in history, love, redemption and all that other crap we look for in a good story — all that, and it's a lovingly illustrated graphic novel that breathes characterization and intrigue from the first page to the last. ... When you toss in Carol Swain's trademark pencil-scratch panels, the whole thing comes together as a great piece of art and story. Sure, it's about sex, drugs and rock and roll, but it's somehow still a new and fresh experience. I wish I'd come across it sooner." – Thorin Klosowski, Denver Westword

Love and Rockets Library (Locas Book 2): The Girl  from H.O.P.P.E.R.S.

Appreciation: "Even though a variety of comics initially got me interested in graphic novels (or comics for grown ups), the Hernandez brothers created a world which intrigued me the most. ...[W]ith Love and Rockets Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez struck a chord with me. Life, love, sex, action, punk, weirdness, sci-fi, death, art etc it’s all there. ... Overall all of the characters and stories are highly 'recognizable' from real life, in the way that they are human. Some stories are simple and some are surreal, just like life itself." – Matto Fredriksson, Music for Mechanics

photo by Dan Nadel

Interviewer: Johnny Ryan's already-legendary onstage interview with Lawrence "Real Deal" Hubbard (along with Dan Nadel's Art in Time panel) is now available for audio download at Comics Comics

Daily OCD: 4/2/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under SethreviewsPeanutsJohnny RyanGahan WilsonFrom Wonderland with LoveDaily OCDChris WareChip KiddCharles M SchulzCharles BurnsCarol SwainBest of 2009 2 Apr 2010 4:21 PM

Online Commentary & Diversions:

Giraffes in My Hair: A Rock 'n' Roll Life From Wonderland with Love: Danish Comics in the Third  Millennium Gahan Wilson: Fifty Years of Playboy Cartoons

List: We published 3 of "The 6 Most Underrated Comics of 2009" according to Robot 6's Chris Mautner, including Giraffes in My Hair: A Rock 'n' Roll Life by Bruce Paley & Carol Swain ("Swain's low-key, nonchalant art fits perfectly with Paley's tales of hippie wanderings and punk-era decadence, stripping the stories of any rock glamor and tinging them with a genuine sadness. Really, this book just underscores how talented and sharp an artist Swain really is") From Wonderland with Love: Danish Comics in the Third Millennium ("...Nikoline Wedelin's haunting, chilling Because I Love You So Much... still resonates with me months after I wrote this review. The unflinching regard for its subject matter is not going to have people beating a path to its door, but the sheer daring artistry on display deserved much  more attention than it got") and Gahan Wilson: Fifty Years of Playboy Cartoons ("It's a testament, not only to Wilson's genius (the material never flags or gets rote, no matter what the decade) but also to Fantagraphics skill in presenting this material in such a stellar fashion. Really, it was the best retrospective collection of the year, and I wish more people had noticed it.")

Prison Pit: Book 1

Review: In the interest of balance, Byron Kerman of PLAYBACK:stl loves Johnny Ryan but didn't care for Prison Pit Book 1

The Complete Peanuts 1975-1976 (Vol. 13) [NORTH AMERICA ONLY]

Commentary: I don't check in with the TCJ message boards as often as I should -- there's some good discussion of the new volume of The Complete Peanuts going on over there (via ADD at Comic Book Galaxy)

Quimby the Mouse (softcover)

Panel: The concluding installment of The Comics Journal's presentation of a never-before-published panel discussion between Charles Burns, Chip Kidd, Seth and Chris Ware, moderated by Jeet Heer, that occurred October 29, 2005 at the International Festival of Authors in Toronto, Canada, turns things over to audience Q&A

Daily OCD: 1/18/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Zak SallySteve DitkoreviewsPopeyeHans RickheitGary GrothGabrielle BellEleanor DavisEC SegarCarol TylerCarol SwainBest of 2009Al Columbia 18 Jan 2010 2:16 PM

It's your holiday Online Commentary & Diversions:

List: Paul Gravett names "The Best of 2009: Graphic Novels": No. 9 is Giraffes in My Hair: A Rock 'n' Roll Life by Bruce Paley & Carol Swain ("Paley combines so perfectly with his partner Carol Swain to capture Paley’s walks on the wild side as he journeys through sex, drugs and rock’n'roll, from hippy to punk. ... Hers has always been an utterly singular approach."); No. 13 is (appropriately) Pim & Francie: The Golden Bear Days by Al Columbia ("These distressed, distressing comics and illustrations repeat and escalate like a stuck record or never waking from a recurring nightmare."); and No. 14 is You'll Never Know, Book 1: A Good and Decent Man by C. Tyler ("A tender, bittersweet tribute from a daughter to a father and his military service in a beautifully crafted, tactile memoir.") (via The Comics Reporter)

List/Review: At The HeroesOnline Blog, Dustin Harbin explains why Popeye Vol 4: Plunder Island is #5 on his Fave 5 of 2009: "These Popeye books are made with the kind of love and care and attention to detail that’s rare in comics — it’s clear that their publishers treat this material with reverence, and it makes it even more pleasurable to crack a new volume open each year."

Review: "Though [Like a Dog] may seem like a hodgepodge of bits of [Zak] Sally’s work, there is consistency in the overall feeling. Much of his work is a collection of personal demons -- his insecurities, self-doubt, anger, pain, sadness and darkness -- that are exposed in obvious and subtle ways. ... The grit of this collection lies in the sense that one has had a sideline view of an intensely cathartic therapy session." – Janday Wilson, two.one.five Magazine

Review: "This is warts and all stuff, a young artist learning with every six pager. ... There is some juvenile pleasure to be had in the fact that these stories [in Strange Suspense: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 1] all predate the Wertham/Comics Code era, so there's quite a bit of blood, some severed limbs, and grisly comeuppance. And although still oscillating between styles and influences here, there is substantial growth... [E]ven in its infancy, Ditko's art is increasingly potent." – Christopher Allen, Comic Book Galaxy

Profile: Comic Book Resources' Kelly Thompson surveys the work of Eleanor Davis

Links: Love & Maggie continues their detailed, annotated and hyperlinked overview of The Comics Journal #38 from 1978 

Nerd fight: Hey look, it's a message board squabble about something Gary Groth wrote in Amazing Heroes umpteen years ago

Things to see: Hans Rickheit 's Ectopiary page 7

Things to see: Gabrielle Bell's strip about Richmond concludes

Daily OCD: 1/6/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under The Comics JournalSupermenSergio PonchioneRobert WilliamsRobert GoodinreviewsPopeyePeanutsNewaveMort WalkerMichael KuppermanKim DeitchKevin HuizengaJohnny RyanJerry DumasJacques TardiHumbugGilbert HernandezFrom Wonderland with LoveEC SegarDash ShawDaniel ClowesCharles M SchulzCarol TylerCarol SwainBest of 2009 6 Jan 2010 2:27 PM

By the way, multiple belated hat tips to Robot 6, whose roundups of end-of-year links have been invaluable to the last few installments of Online Commentary & Diversions. On with the links:

List: Publishers Weekly announced the results of their 2009 Comics Week Critic's Poll; among the top vote-getters are You'll Never Know, Book 1: A Good and Decent Man by C. Tyler ("I love this autobiographical family story as much for the way Tyler weaves between her own life and her father's, as for its painterly, illustrative panoramas of suburban neighborhoods and army scenes." – Sasha Watson) and Tales Designed to Thrizzle Vol. 1 by Michael Kupperman ("Milk and other liquids may come out your nose as you read one of the funniest comics ever put to paper. Kupperman's droll absurdism is matched by a stiff, woodcut-like art style that underplays the sometimes outre concepts. A comedy diamond." – Heidi MacDonald). Humbug by Harvey Kurtzman et al, Low Moon by Jason, Luba by Gilbert Hernandez, Supermen!: The First Wave Of Comic Book Heroes 1936-1941, West Coast Blues Jean-Patrick Manchette and Jacques Tardi, and You Are There by Jacques Tardi and Jean-Claude Forest all received single votes in the poll

List: At comiXology, Tucker Stone counts down his top 25 Best Comics of 2009, with Grotesque #3 by Sergio Ponchione at #23 ("...every once in a while, I get a reminder how vast the world of comics really is. Grotesque — European, unusual, brilliant — was one of those, an experimental passport to another universe"), Ganges #3 by Kevin Huizenga at #7 ("...Ganges captured the thing that all of us spend a lifetime doing — thinking — and turned it into something deserving of examination") and, in the top spot, Prison Pit: Book 1 by Johnny Ryan ("Aggro, obscene, hilarious, compulsive: Prison Pit. It wasn't just the greatest comic of the year, it was one of those comics that operated like the end result of a math equation, a definitive answer to the question of what comics are, and what they should be...")

List: Johnny Bacardi's Personal Best of the Decade includes Eightball #22 by Daniel Clowes

Review: "Each [panel] almost vibrates with the frenetic, desperate energy of the characters as they try to pull off their cons. That energy explodes in the final pages, as the story comes to a dramatic but ambiguous conclusion. In the end, the work offers an homage to B-movies while standing out as a graphic novel. The Troublemakers will please long-term Hernandez fans. It also should serve as a good introduction to newcomers looking to jump into the Love and Rockets universe." – Publishers Weekly

Review: "...Giraffes [in My Hair], a collection of anecdotes from Bruce Paley's teens and twenties on America's countercultural fringe, is a breezy read. ... Swain's art rarely calls attention to or gets in the way of itself, and in that it meshes seamlessly with Paley's deadpan 'here's what happened' narrative style, his reluctance to overstate or oversell the import of the anecdote reminiscent of Harvey Pekar's." – Sean T. Collins

Review: "...[The Comics Journal] has reached issue 300 and is celebrating with a fascinating collection of creator-chats as industry tyros and giants come together to interview, share, bitch and generally shoot the breeze about graphic narrative: a tactic that makes this the most compelling read of the year for anyone truly interested in what we all do and why." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!

Review: "Fantagraphics Books continues its series devoted to chronologically packaging [Peanuts] and has not missed a step along the way. ... I’m pleased to inform that the latest edition, the twelfth in the series, is as lovingly curated as the first... [I]t is nice to know that one of the form’s greatest achievements is being held up as the accomplishment it really is." – Dw. Dunphy, Popdose

Review: "It’s clear from editor/publisher Steffen P. Maarup’s survey [From Wonderland with Love: Danish Comics in the Third Millennium] that, contradicting Horatio’s famous line in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, there is nothing 'rotten' about the state of comics in Denmark today. If anything, it’s nurturing a number of major talents as well as sprouting exciting new shoots." – Paul Gravett (via Robot 6)

Review: "[In Sam's Strip] Walker and Dumas clearly take pleasure in working in callbacks to classic comic strips... [and] many of the metatextual gags are funny and fun. ... Dumas’s drawings of classic comic-strip characters are excellent... The result is a frustrating, compelling curiosity: the soul of an underground comic trapped in the mortal coil of a Hi and Lois." – Shaenon Garrity, The Comics Journal

Plugs: At Comics Alliance, Douglas Wolk's recommended comics of the week include The Troublemakers by Gilbert Hernandez ("It's crazy, vivid, grindhouse-y stuff") and The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century A.D. by Dash Shaw ("intriguing")

Plugs: The Gosh! Comics Blog also highlights The Troublemakers by Gilbert Hernandez and The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century A.D. by Dash Shaw among the week's noteworthy releases

Plug: Rob Orange of Seduced by the New features Conceptual Realism: In the Service of the Hypothetical by Robert Williams

Plug: Illustrator Joanna Barnum spotlights Nell Brinkley as an inspiration

Plug: Mark Langshaw of Digital Spy takes note of the upcoming Kim Deitch book The Search for Smilin' Ed

Analysis: Robert Boyd examines Popeye's propensity for cross-dressing, with evidence from Popeye Vol. 4 (via Jeet Heer)

Coming Attractions: Wayno, whose work appears in the forthcoming Newave: The Underground Mini Comix of the 1980s, talks about the book and the (announcement!) upcoming exhibit at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery

Events: Star Clipper is sponsoring a screening of Ghost World at Schlafly Bottleworks in St. Louis tonight — oh jeez, in like half an hour! — and copies of the graphic novel and other Clowes books will be on sale

Things to see: Follow your nose to a new Kevin Huizenga-drawn Amazing Facts and Beyond with Leon Beyond strip

Things to see: Finished pages from Robert Goodin's 19-page story "The Spritual Crisis of Carl Jung"

Daily OCD: 12/17/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Tony MillionaireSethreviewsPopeyePeanutsMichael KuppermanMatthias LehmannMaakiesJordan CraneJoe SaccoJasonJacques TardiGilbert HernandezGahan WilsonfashionEC SegarDaniel ClowesCraig YoeCharles M SchulzCarol SwainBest of 2009Abstract Comics 17 Dec 2009 2:21 PM

When these Online Commentary & Diversions posts get long enough I get an error message in our blogging interface; this is one of those, so buckle in:

List: Heeb's Graphic Novel Gift Guide includes Popeye Vol. 4: "Plunder Island", which editor Jeff Newelt says contains "heartfelt masterpieces of illustrated slapstick adventure." (via Robot 6)

List: Design Observer's recommended Holiday Books 2009 includes Abstract Comics: "...[T]his arresting book is like a scoop of primordial narrative, representational mud. Which is to say, it has vitaminic powers."

List: Jason's Low Moon and Michael Kupperman's Tales Designed to Thrizzle Vol. 1 get shout-outs from our esteemed colleagues on the Matador Records/Beggars Group staff in their annual staff/artist end-of-year best-of Matablog megapost

List: Comics-and-More's Dave Ferraro's Favorite Comic Book Covers of 2009 include Luba by Gilbert Hernandez (designed by Jacob Covey), Uptight #3 by Jordan Crane, West Coast Blues by Tardi & Manchette (designed by Adam Grano), Abstract Comics (designed by Jacob Covey), and The Complete Peanuts 1973-1974 (designed by Seth)

Review: "Giraffes In My Hair: A Rock ‘N’ Roll Life... is my favorite graphic novel of the year, and it is marinated in a life lived through real rock and roll delivered via stories as wide-open and lung-puncturing as a two minute Ramones rant. Artist Swain is an alternative comics’ veteran... with an attractively scruffy style; storyteller Paley has an author-blessed background in the margins of the freak milieu... This comic book adaptation of a real life shows the biggest bruises and the smallest scars, but cuts out all the heroic flab. Again, one of the best graphic novels of the year, as well as one of the best rock books too." – Chris Estey, KEXP

Review: "The Playboy cartoons collected [in Gahan Wilson: Fifty Years of Playboy Cartoons] demonstrate above all Wilson's phenomenal range in subject, style, and inspiration. ... The menace in domestic relations, the evil that kids are capable of, the outright nastiness that man inflicts on man: it's all here, drawn in Wilson's inimitable comic style. ... And Fantagraphics has also served Wilson well.  This collection is a wonder of book design, with die-cut boards, marvelous color reproduction, and a fantastic slipcase.  The clear plastic panel on one side reveals the laminated  back board of the books, each one a different headshot photo of Wilson himself, his face smashed against the plastic, a prisoner in his own collection. It's a perfect expression of all the inspired madness within." – Thomas DePietro, The Barnes & Noble Review

Review: "[Abstract Comics] is a great book for the comics enthusiast and visual artist alike." – Book Soup Blog (via the Abstract Comics Blog)

Review: "The comics [in Abstract Comics] resemble IQ quizzes that test the ability to recognise patterns. But they are more difficult here — insanely difficult — as they replace simple geometric shapes with abstract comic lines, colours and collage. Solving them will no doubt provide tremendous pleasure but there are no answers given, of course." – Parka Blogs, who also have very nice photos and video of the book (also via the Abstract Comics Blog)

Reviews: Érico Assis of Brazilian site Omelete has the rundown on the recently released Brazilian edition of The Complete Peanuts 1950-1952 (Vol. 1): "But of course, the interest here is the historical value. Maybe time to recover, at least you remember the pop culture, were much simpler. If you like to do time travel, at least with the brain, Complete Peanuts gives you several hours of escapism for a past environment of children, a bit silly. And perhaps so happy." Also: "If Tales Designed to Thrizzle does not please a dedicated fan of Monty Python, I like my stuffed parrot. ... With the collection, it's time to conquer the world. At least the world of smart people who recognize the genius of Monty Python." (slightly broken English from Google translation)

Review: "In The Great Anti-War Cartoons, Craig Yoe has gathered an amazing assembly of peaceful protests that seeks to prove that the pen is truly mightier than the sword. ... All of it is thought-provoking and deserves a look. And where else will you see a collection like this? Art Spiegelman, Robert Crumb, Rube Goldberg, Honore Daumier… my god. Even if you don’t dig the message, you gotta dig the art. In the end, it’s obviously a book that’ll stick with me and would make a worthy addition to your collection. ... Grade: A" – Chad Derdowski, Mania

Review: "War sucks, and [in The Great Anti-War Cartoons] Yoe has selected a wide range of cartoons that make the point with elegance and grim wit. ...[I]n terms of craft, vision, and passion, political cartoons simply don't get much better." – Noah Berlatsky, Chicago Reader

Review: Noah Berlatsky is the 4th writer at The Hooded Utilitarian to take a crack at Ghost World in their critical roundtable: "I’ve never been able to quite wrap my head around what about the book so thoroughly irritates me."

Metacommentary: TCJ.com's Shaenon Garrity comments on the (TCJ-hosted) Hooded Utilitarian's critical roundtable on Ghost World: "...the other reason I like Ghost World: like it or hate it, you can talk about it endlessly."

Profile: Turkish cartoonist Adem Mermerkaya looks at the work of Joe Sacco (autotranslation is little help I'm afraid but it looks fairly substantive if you read the language)

Things to see: A whole mess of new stuff — sketches, gags, abstractions — on T. Edward Bak's art blog, plus an early character design and research for his current Mome story 

Things to see: Matthias Lehmann's latest addition to his art blog is particularly nice

Democracy/fashion: Vote for the next Maakies t-shirt design from Waterloo

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