Online Commentary & Diversions, back from a short vacation:
• Review: "In the first volume of Tyler's planned trilogy of graphic memoirs [You'll Never Know], she dug into the eruptive, violent memories of her father's WWII experiences while simultaneously dealing with a husband who decided to go find himself and leave her with a daughter to raise. This second volume is no less rich and overwhelming. [...] While the language of Chicago-raised and Cincinnati-based Tyler has a winningly self-deprecating Midwestern spareness to it, her art is a lavishly prepared kaleidoscope of watercolors and finely etched drawings, all composed to look like the greatest family photo album of all time. The story's honest self-revelations and humane evocations of family dramas are tremendously moving." – Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
• Review: "Friedman's hyper-realistic pen-and-ink and water-color portraits of show business and political luminaries have made their way into the likes of Entertainment Weekly, The New Yorker and Rolling Stone over the years, and a stunning new collection has just been published by Fantagraphics Books — Too Soon?: Famous/Infamous Faces 1995-2010. [...] To say that Friedman's drawings are unsentimental or unsparing is just to scratch the surface. Known for depicting every last liver spot, burst capillary and wrinkle, his work is truly a Warts and All procedure. [...] You might say the super-realistic portraits are loving ones, but only in the sense that you love your own family members, whose soft spots and selfishness one is forced to forgive. Drew Friedman's heart is as big as his capacious eye for the telling detail. Seek him out or forever hold your peace." – David Weiss, Life Goes Strong
• Review: "...Four Color Fear offers some of the finest pre-code comic book horror tales ever produced. Extensively researched, complete with story notes, editor Sadowski compiled a superior collection of non-EC tales, many of which rarely reprinted in color. A 30-page cover art section and a fascinating article by historian John Benson, who also supplied the book's intro, about the little remembered, but prolific Ruth Roche, round out this sensational historical tour of the Golden Age of Horror Comics. Highly recommended!" – Rick Klaw, The SF Site: Nexus Graphica
• Review: "The wait [for Love and Rockets: New Stories #3] has been long, no doubt, but I dare say that it was not only worthwhile, but it has proved an inspiration to continue to have faith in mankind, because with artists like these, it is worth living. For the third annual issue..., Beto gets really wild and Xaime creates a stunning tapestry of memories and narrative levels." – Mauricio Matamoros, Iconoctlán (translated from Spanish)
• Interview: As part of his ongoing "Love and Rocktoberfest," Sean T. Collins posts his 2007 Wizard interview with Gilbert & Jaime Hernandez at Attentiondeficitdisorderly: "I liked drawing rockets and robots, as well as girls. [Laughs] It really was no big game plan. It was almost like, 'Okay, I'll give you rockets and robots, but I'll show you how it's done. I'm gonna do it, and this is how it's supposed to be done!' I went in with that kind of attitude." (Jaime)
• Review: "Like much of Hernandez’s work, there’s light amongst all this darkness, particularly later in this section of Fritz’s story. But [High Soft Lisp] remains a bleak book, with Fritz’s own cheerful optimism one of the few beacons of hope amongst a cast of incidental characters whose main purpose seems only to exploit her. Hernandez rarely performs below his best and this is no exception..." – Andy Shaw, Grovel
• Review: "Vast swaths of Wally Gropius appear — at least to my eye — to be visual homages to images that Hensley particularly loves. (The alternative is that he lays his panels out in his static, staccato rhythm just for that feeling, which is close to the same impulse.) It's all very loud and manic and bright and bizarre, veering towards and away from coherence often within the same panel. [...] The end result has that go-go energy and restless heat of the authentic products of the era Hensley sets his story in..." – Andrew Wheeler, The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.
• Interview:Illustration Friday talks to Jim Woodring: "Names and labels don’t matter much. Besides, there are things that cannot be said in words. So if you say them in pictures, are they not things being said? If I draw a hill that looks like a woman, it works differently that if i write 'there’s a hill that looks like a woman.' Also there are clues that one doesn’t want discovered too quickly, or not at all. Because one wants the emanations to proceed from an unknown source."
• Plug: "Nate Neal's first graphic novel [The Sanctuary] is dumbfoundingly ambitious: it takes as its subject nothing less than the invention of comics, in the sense of narrative-in-pictures, meaning that its cast is a bunch of cave-people. Cave-people who speak a cave-person language that Neal has invented himself (he offers the translation of a few key words on its jacket copy, but that's it). The working title of the book was a drawing of a bison. A man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?" – Douglas Wolk, Comics Alliance
• Review/Roundtable:TIME/Techland's "Comic Book Club" roundtable of critics (Douglas Wolk, Graeme McMillan, Evan Narcisse and Mike Williams) discusses You'll Never Know Book 2: Collateral Damage by C. Tyler. Wolk leads off: "The first volume of You'll Never Know, Carol Tyler's projected three-volume series about her father's experiences in World War II — and all the family history connected to it — was my favorite graphic novel of last year. The new volume, Collateral Damage, is even stronger in a lot of ways."
• Photo of the Week: That's a funny one of Stuart Immonen at Robot 6
• Breaking News/Quote of the Week: "I think I was more opposed to the show moving to Los Angeles/Anaheim than I was in favor of it staying in SD or going anywhere else. I'm not even sure why I was opposed to it, because I love visiting L.A. But it would just feel like we let the terrorists win at that point." – our own Eric Reynolds, quoted at The Comics Reporter
This week's comic shop shipment is slated to include the following new titles. Read on to see what comics-blog commentators are saying about our releases this week, and contact your local shop to confirm availability.
Rip M.D. by Mitch Schauer & Michael Vosburg et al.
88-page full-color 7.5" x 9.25" softcover • $12.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-369-9
"[Rip M.D.] seems to be a comic more geared to a juvenile public, but should be pretty cool because there are a lot of monsters, really violent werewolves, zombies, and best of all, vampires that do not sparkle!" – Submundo Mamão (translated from Portuguese)
"Rip M.D. is a creepy, fun-filled all-ages adventure saga... [Mitch] Schauer told ICv2 that the inspiration for Rip M.D. was all those horror and monster movies he saw as a child — movies that made him care more about the fate of the colorful monsters and fiends than the B movies' human characters who always seemed to triumph in the end. Rip M.D. is the logical emotional outgrowth of those accumulated cinematic disappointments, the story of a boy who is able to help the horror and monster movie characters that he loves the most." – ICv2
"A 'full-color, all-ages adventure' with an animated cartoon series in development, a promising bet for reluctant readers." – Martha Cornog, Library Journal
208-page black & white 8" x 10" softcover • $22.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-388-0
"It’s probably insultingly reductive to refer to Nate Neal’s debut graphic novel as 'caveman comics,' but that’s generally the sort of two-word phrase that tends to get me excited to read something. The subject matter is indeed a 'Paleolithic cave-dwelling tribe,' but the way Neal handles the verbal aspects of a pre-linguistic, vocal communication seem to be a big part of the work as well." – J. Caleb Mozzocco, Newsarama
"Nate Neal's first graphic novel is dumbfoundingly ambitious: it takes as its subject nothing less than the invention of comics, in the sense of narrative-in-pictures, meaning that its cast is a bunch of cave-people. Cave-people who speak a cave-person language that Neal has invented himself (he offers the translation of a few key words on its jacket copy, but that's it). The working title of the book was a drawing of a bison. A man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?" – Douglas Wolk, Comics Alliance
104-page full-color 12" x 10.25" hardcover • $24.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-418-4
"Cartoonist C. Tyler continues her comics biography of her Greatest Generation father, wrapped in around a memoir of her own life at the time she was learning his story for herself. If it’s as good as the first book, I imagine it will be one of, if not the, best comics available this week." – J. Caleb Mozzocco, Newsarama
"Being the follow-up to one of the most widely appreciated comics of 2009, Carol Tyler’s expansive portrait of life rippling from the submerged stone of her father’s WWII experiences. I understand this volume will incorporate an expanded presentation of Tyler’s also-widely-appreciated 1994 short The Hannah Story directly into the larger work. [True. – Ed.]" – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics
"The best book of the week: a way to have your heart torn out while your eyes feast. The second volume of C. Tyler's project about discovering what her father did in World War II expands its scope to other painful parts of her family dynamics, and incorporates Tyler's extraordinary 1995 short story 'The Hannah Story.' If I started going off about how much I love Tyler's artwork and design and storytelling, we'd be here all afternoon--there's really nobody else doing what she does in comics..." – Douglas Wolk, Comics Alliance
"Your book of the week. I still think this is something that will read 10X better in one volume as opposed to these three serialized books, but wanting to get a book out when its subjects can still read and enjoy it is of course an admirable thing. Plus I'm disenfranchised when it comes to that particular vote. The scary thing is, these books are already stupendous. This new Carol Tyler supposedly has within its pages one of the 100 best comics of the 20th Century, and I practically guarantee you it won't be out of place." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
"I liked the first volume of Carol Tyler’s You’ll Never Know, the story of her father’s experiences in the war, but it left me wanting more, so I definitely want to read the second volume, Collateral Damage." – Brigid Alverson, Robot 6
• List:Carol Tyler, one of the coolest people in the U.S.A., is officially acknowledged as "Cool Illustrator" on the "Cool Cincinnati" list by CityBeat, whose Jason Gargano says You'll Never Know is "an unforgettable search for truth about what happened to her father during the war, simply yet expressively drawn. In many ways the You’ll Never Know series is the project Tyler has been building to her whole career, which has included autobiographically informed cartoons for a number of publications... and a well-received 2005 book, Late Bloomer. Let’s hope she keeps blooming, keeps giving us unique, heartfelt stories that are rare in any form, let alone the graphic kind."
• Roundtable: At The Factual Opinion, Tucker Stone and Michel Fiffe have a long (and spoiler-filled) discussion about Love and Rockets: New Stories #3, predicated on their "shared belief... that the most recent issue of Love and Rockets contains the greatest work of Jaime Hernandez' already legendary career."
• Interview: Is there a better name for a website to run a Q&A with Johnny Ryan than Fecal Face? "M: If you weren't drawing/making comics for a living, what would you be doing? J.R.: I’d probably be in jail."
This book is available with a signed bookplate as a FREE premium! The bookplate has been uniquely designed for this book, and each bookplate is printed on acid-free cardstock and hand-signed by the author. (Click here for more books available with signed bookplates.) Please select your preference above before adding the item to your shopping cart. Note: Signature plates are VERY limited in quantity and available only WHILE SUPPLIES LAST.
The first volume of You’ll Never Know showed Carol’s initial, sometimes difficult attempts at grappling with her father Chuck’s traumatic World War II experiences by bringing them to light. As Book 2 begins, she is startled to discover that Chuck’s decision to suddenly, after 60 years, open up to her on the subject has motivations that go far beyond his desire to reveal his past — putting even more pressure on an already explosive relationship. In any event, Carol finally begins to delve into, and re-tell, Chuck’s horrific wartime experiences in Italy (which are worse than even she had imagined).
But back in the present, the cycle of family dysfunction continues as Carol’s own daughter runs into her own trouble, leading Carol into further exploration of her family’s buried traumas and sorrows — with an expanded reprinting of the out-of-print “The Hannah Story,” Tyler’s superb chronicle of the short life and accidental death of her older sister, a heart-rending story (named one of the “100 Best Comics of the 20th Century” in a Comics Journal survey) that in turn sheds light on her parents’ subsequent lives and patterns of behavior. Everything is connected, and the past is never just the past...
The nominations for this year's Lulu Awards have been announced and Miss Lasko-Gross & Carol Tyler are both in the field of candidates for Lulu of the Year, "For the creator, book or other entity whose work best exemplifies Friends of Lulu’s mission statement." Congratulations to both! The online ballot is here.
Make plans to visit Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery in Seattle this fall to catch up with the country's most challenging cartoonists, artists and writers. The coming weeks feature the some of the finest in the field.
This Saturday, September 11 finds Carol Tyler at the space for an art opening and book signing. On Saturday, October 9 we welcome the incomparable Dave Cooper for an exhibition of original art and book signing, joined by special guest Johnny Ryan. Saturday, October 30 features the triumphant return of Seattle native Charles Burns for a spooky Halloween reception celebrating his new book X'ed Out. Punk rock prevails on Saturday, November 13 as Zack Carlson signs copies of Destroy All Movies!!!: The Complete Guide to Punks on Film. And mark your calendars for Saturday, December 11 for Fantagraphics Bookstore's festive fourth anniversary gala — always one of the best bashes of the holiday season.
Don't miss any of these exciting appearances at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, located at 1201 S. Vale Street in the heart of Seattle's historic Georgetown industrial arts district. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110. See you all soon.
Illustrious cartoonist Carol Tyler will appear this Saturday, September 11 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery to celebrate the publication of YOU'LL NEVER KNOW Book 2 with an art exhibition and book signing.
Tyler was among the early female practitioners of underground comix, creating remarkably revealing autobiographical narratives in a singular visual style. Her ongoing trilogy YOU’LL NEVER KNOW continues this tradition and has received broad critical acclaim. Of the first installment in the series, the New York Times commented, “It’s impossible not to compare You’ll Never Know with Art Spiegelman’s Maus.” Reviewing the latest volume, which debuts at Saturday’s event, Eric Scigliano of Seattle Metropolitan suggests, “Two famous precedents, Art Spiegelman’s Maus and Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, seem almost one-dimensional by comparison.”
Join us on Saturday evening at the bookstore to meet this extraordinary artist. Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale Street (at Airport Way S.) only minutes from downtown Seattle. Phone 206.658.0110. This event coincides with the lively Georgetown Art Attack featuring visual and performing arts events throughout the historic industrial arts corridor. (Saturday’s Art Attack includes our own Martin Bland with the Tom Price Desert Classic playing for the 7th annual “Beer Bust” breast cancer fundraiser at neighboring Smarty Pants, benefiting Gilda’s House Seattle.)
Online Commentary & Diversions returns from the U.S. holiday:
• List:About.com: Manga places Moto Hagio's A Drunken Dream and Other Stories at #19 on their list of "50 Essential Manga for Libraries": "Collected for the first time in a gorgeous hardcover edition, A Drunken Dream offers a rare glimpse into the work of one of Japan's most distinctive and influential creators in shojo manga, and heck, manga, period. Worth recommending to both older teen and adult readers alike."
• Review: "Hagio draws these stories as if a full symphonic score were playing in the background. Her delicate, razor-thin pen line expertly captures her characters’ wide-eyed, open-mouthed anguish effectively. [...] I, certainly, am very glad that Fantagraphics made the effort (and judging by the exceptional production values it was a tremendous effort) to get this book out there ...because... beyond Hagio’s historical significance, [A]Drunken Dream [and Other Stories] is a book that deserves attention." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
• Review: "Ever since it was announced in March (was it really that long ago?), I’d been looking forward to reading [A Drunken Dream and Other Stories] by legendary Moto Hagio. [...] It would be a real shame if Fantagraphics didn’t get any supportive business from this collection and demand for more. [...] I’m looking forward to reading more, and adding to the crying list!" – Sunday Comics Debt (who also provides the following two links)
• Review: "BUY. THIS. BOOK. No, seriously, buy it now. [...] I don’t think there is a single thing wrong with this book; Hagio-sensei touches on each of the topics she chooses to use with such perfection and …delicacy? that you can’t help but be amazed at how she does it. [...] I can’t wait for the next volume of manga Fantagraphics chooses to put out! They did a beyond amazing job with [A Drunken Dream and Other Stories]." – Kelakagandy's Ramblings
• Plug: "This week... everything fades in the presence of a newly-released collection of short manga from shojo pioneer Moto Hagio, A Drunken Dream and Other Stories. [...] Simply put, this book is gorgeous. [...] This is a release I’ve been eagerly anticipating since its announcement. Visit your local bookstore to find out why." – Melinda Beasi, Manga Bookshelf
• Review: "'Greatest Generation' hoopla will never seem the same after You’ll Never Know: Collateral Damage, book two in Carol Tyler’s sprightly but relentlessly honest 'graphic memoir'... [T]his is the story of not just a family but a generation, or two or three. And all are told with a saving dash of humor. Tyler’s form, a mix of scrapbook, diary, and cartoon panels, is likewise messy and eccentric, but it pays off in layered textures and viewpoints. Two famous precedents, Art Spiegelman’s Maus and Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, seem almost one-dimensional by comparison." – Eric Scigliano, Seattle Met
• Review: "While there aren’t necessarily many surprises in the story, Set to Sea is more about the savoring of a series of vivid moments (both for the lead character and the reader) than any sort of narrative complexity. With each page acting as a single panel, the true joy of reading Set to Sea is luxuriating in Weing’s intense crosshatching and detail. [...] Indeed, in a book whose visuals have such a powerful impact, Weing’s decision not to overwrite (and especially not to over-narrate) was his wisest. With nearly 70 of the book’s pages appearing as silent, the result was a book that understood and maximized its charms." – Rob Clough, The Comics Journal
• Interview:Nicola D'Agostino presents the original English text of the Drew Weing interview which ran at Comicsblog.it so you don't have to struggle through the mangled autotranslation: "So one day in 2005, I drew a panel with a guy sleeping. The only thing I knew about him was that he was a big fellow. I spent more than a year adding to it bit by bit, just improvising panels as I went. I started Set to Sea with no idea that it would be set in the past, or even set on the sea, so to speak!"
• Review: "...[T]he Billy Hazelnuts books are safe for children, while still being unique and complex enough for adults. Here Millionaire combines a gung-ho adventure spirit with a tempered yet still present darkness — two strains that have been the keys to so much of the greatest children’s literature. [...] Tony Millionaire is a genius and the Billy Hazelnuts books may be his best work. Imagine if Beatrix Potter had dropped acid with the 60s underground comix crowd or if A.A. Milne had collaborated with Franz Kafka. If you love fun, hilarious, and plain weird stories, then Billy Hazelnuts is for you." – Lincoln Michel, The Faster Times
• Profile/Preview: A gallery of images from the book accompanies this article: "See the work of Dan DeCarlo in the book The Pin-Up Art of Dan DeCarlo, published by Fantagraphics, which plunges into an alternate universe where Betty, Veronica, Sabrina grew up and live out situations that summed up the lewd sexual desire of men in the time before the sexual revolution of the twentieth century." – Ambrosia (translated from Portuguese)
• Interview: At his Cats Without Dogs blog, Jason presents a brief Q&A he recently did with the Spanish newspaper El Periodico de Catalunya: "I can hear the voice of a woman, from somewhere above me. 'Don't cry,' her voice says. 'One day you will see Neal Adams at a comic book convention in America.'"
• Feature:USA Today Pop Candy's Whitney Matheson spotlights Jim Woodring and his giant pen project: "I can't wait to see the pen and the drawings! (Also, can we start a campaign to get a live demonstration in New York?)"
• Commentary: At The Hooded Utilitarian, Ng Suat Tong surveys the use of buildings in comics and then looks specifically at architecture in Josh Simmons’s House