• Review: "...[F]or the first time I realized that Prison Pit [Book 2] isn't a fusion-comics exploration of awesomeness in all its forms, but a horror-comics exploration of awfulness — of violence that maims and kills not just body but soul. Ryan is willing, even this early in a series I imagine will be able to last as long as he wants it to, to completely invert his instantly-iconic warrior, to make the audience root against him desperately, to feel dick-shriveling revulsion at his violence and pity for his victim. 'That fucking sucked,' CF says when it's all over. Understatement of the year. This book is a masterpiece of awfulness." – Sean T. Collins, Attentiondeficitdisorderly
• Review: "It isn't every day such a formidable body of work gets handed to us on such a shining silver platter — there are too few artists like Rand Holmes for that to be possible. But when it does happen, the comics world ought to stand up and take notice. Holmes may have been forgotten once, but Rosenkranz has put forth all mortal effort to make sure he won't be again, and in the process created what might be the best reprint book of the year. A must for fans of great comics art, the undergrounds, or the medium's history, The Artist Himself is in the end most essential as a truly great read. Don't let it pass you by." – Matt Seneca, Newsarama
• Review: "For anyone who has not entered Deitch’s universe, fear not: it is remarkably easy to access, one does not need a map to enter or understand. [The Search for Smilin' Ed] will most likely make you want to explore his other works, much of which have also been collected in graphic novels in recent years causing many to at last wake up and praise the Deitch!" – Robert Dayton, Roctober (hat tip: Bill Kartolopoulos)
• Review: "Werewolves of Montpellier stands out as another winner from Jason; in fact, perhaps it is one of his finest books yet. Somber and funny, and packed full of werewolves and romance, jewel heists and parties, Werewolves of Montpellier stands as another reason to make sure you’re reading Jason’s comics. If you’re not, you’re missing out." – Michael C. Lorah, Newsarama
• Review: "...Sammy the Mouse... for me has been a revelation, taking Zak Sally's natural cartooning chops away from some of the more densely-told and even sometimes predictable material from projects past and opening it up to a mix of classic cartooning tropes and the outright weird. ... It's enough for me to watch Sally explore the comics page, and at this point I think I'd watch him adapt the minutes from a school board meeting." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
• Interview:Anime Pulse presents an audio recording of their interview with Moto Hagio at Comic-Con International, with translation by Matt Thorn, as well as a transcript of the answers in Japanese
• Panel:The Comics Journal presents an audio recording from the “Graphic Novels: The Personal Touch” Panel, featuring Gabrielle Bell, Howard Cruse, Vanessa Davis, Larry Marder, Jillian Tamaki and Carol Tyler in a conversation moderated by Shaenon Garrity, recorded on Friday, July 23 at Comic-Con International
My picture-taking fell off on the last day of Comic-Con as things got even more hectic with last-minute wheeling & dealing, including our Sunday-only 20%-off-everything sale. Here are a few things I managed to capture:
Peter Bagge chats with Scott McCloud (while our own Eric Reynolds and D&Q 's Jessica Campbell watch from a distance)...
...and with Jeffrey Brown, visiting from the neighboring Top Shelf booth (while our own Jason T. Miles confers with Sparkplug's Dylan Williams in the background).
Pete keeps his Inkpot trophy handy while Stephen DeStefano diligently signs and sketches.
And it was over! Here's me & Janice, all packed up & ready to go, with mixed feelings. Thanks to our booth neighbors at BloodFire Studios for this last shot (and for loaning us their handtruck at the very beginning):
We did a few things differently this year, most notably a smaller booth and smaller staff, but sales and enthusiasm seemed to be greater than last year. And while there are "teachable moments" every year, this was overall as smooth and successful a Comic-Con as I can remember in my brief history with the company. Thanks to all the staff, volunteers, artists, family members, professional colleagues and especially the fans who helped make Comic-Con 2010 another great show!
This is somewhat belated news, but we didn't get the photo uploaded until just now: Peter Bagge, Moto Hagio and C. Tyler were all awarded with Inkpot Awards at Comic-Con this year! Above, Peter and Carol pose with their trophies; Moto didn't bring her trophy to her signings, so if anyone has photos of her receiving or holding the award, we'd love to see them!
Carol Tyler brought some amazing collectibles to sell, including copies of You'll Never Know Book 1 signed by her dad (the "Good and Decent Man" himself) and a copy of the Twisted Sisters compilation signed by every contributor:
Brother Mario made a surprise appearance with the rest of the Hernandez clan for their Love and Rockets signing on Friday morning, which I only managed to capture with my crummy, crummy cameraphone.
Moto Hagio was joined for the second half of her signing by Carol Tyler, who brought flowers swiped from outside the convention hall.
Andrei Molotiu and Stephen DeStefano made their first Comic-Con signing appearances with us. Andrei, though best known for his work with abstract comics, is also a whiz with the representational sketch, as he proved in my sketchbook. Stephen obliged another fan with a 'Mazing Man sketch.
I missed getting any actual photos of Johnny Ryan & Esther Pearl Watson during their Friday signing, but here's their whiteboard sign-in. Esther's is particularly funny if you know the secret symbolic code from Unlovable.
Friday's final signing was a special treat as Blake Bell was joined by Wendy Everett, daughter of Bill Everett, subject of Blake's new book (and an almost-immediate con sell-out) Fire & Water.
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
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.
• Review: "A book that sticks with you like a virus, Woodring's newest collection of tales of vague morality and definite oddity [Weathercraft] keeps intact his status as one of comics most eccentric auteurs. ... Woodring's wordless story is a looping and circumstantial affair, concerned more with fantastically rendered backgrounds — his starkly layered landscapes play like minimalist woodcuts of the deepest unconscious — than matters of plot and story. There is a creeping message of sorts, about the wages of greed and what happens to curious cats, but it's mired in a universe of deeply strange beauty and not always easy to divine." – Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
• Review: "...[A] gorgeously-produced best-of collection from shojo manga creator Moto Hagio, A Drunken Dream and Other Stories... The material showcased here has been assembled from across thirty years of Moto’s career, and shows her switching nimbly between storytelling modes. On the face of the evidence there was very little she could not do, some things she did well, and a few things she did magnificently. ... This book’s further evidence that 'shojo' need not be thought of as closed-ended and insular a category as “science fiction” once was." – Serdar Yegulalp, Genji Press
• Review: "Where most American gag strips were about the silly things that happen every day, Peanuts was about how to keep on living when you don't get what you want. It was still vital and true at this point [1973-1974], even if more and more of the stories focused on Snoopy quaffing root beers with Bill Mauldin, or writing bad novels, or playing tennis." – Andrew Wheeler, The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.
• Review: "Medley has a real talent for character, and she does a wonderful job of exploring and expanding upon standard fairy tale tropes. With her signature creation, Castle Waiting, she takes the bare bones of several well-known stories and redrafts them to account for the human element. ... The first volume of Castle Waiting... is available in a gorgeous hardcover edition from Fantagraphics Books... and the finished product is stunning..." – Stella Matutina
• Plug: "Megan Kelso's Artichoke Tales... is earning comparisons with epics like Cold Mountain and The Thorn Birds, and Kelso's nimble, cartoonish two-color art will remind readers of Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis. – Michael Bagnulo, Shelf Awareness
• Interview:Stephen DeStefano talks shop in a "Cartoonist Survey" Q&A with David Paccia of David-Wasting-Paper: "I recall when I first got to DC Comics as a teenager, Joe Kubert lectured me on starting my reference file. This way, no matter what I wanted to draw, I always had a photo to reference. In this age of Google Image Search, the idea of a reference folder seems positively quaint!"
• Interview: At HiLobrow, Joshua Glenn presents a previously unseen 2002 Q&A (missing the Qs) with Kim Deitch: "Yeah, Waldo represents individualization. His edges can’t be smoothed off — even by me. That’s why I try not to over-use Waldo. If I haven’t got a good idea with him, I’ll let him sit on the shelf for years." (Via ¡Journalista!)
• Profile: The Cincinnati Enquirer's Lauren Bishop spotlights the Comic-Con-bound Carol Tyler: "It's sure to be quite a different experience from the last time Tyler attended Comic-Con, in 1988, when she received the inaugural Dori Seda Memorial Award for Best New Female Cartoonist. 'When I went, it was pretty small,' she says. 'I slept on somebody's floor.'"
• Review: "Instead of bringing to mind old black & white stories and advertisements, the color [Tales Designed to] Thrizzle now mines the endless well of cheap, awful color comics. The color scheme is so heavily into the CMYK scheme of old four-color comics, and employed so luridly, that the reader is once again forced to dig into each panel slowly. ... Kupperman can jab you with a quick joke like a fake ad or a cover for an old comic called 'Cowboy Oscar Wilde,' or he can wrestle you into submission with a shaggy dog joke. ... With... subtle changes, Kupperman has managed to keep the top humor periodical fresh." – Rob Clough, The Comics Journal
• Review: "This most recent compilation is the finest presentation of the Mr. Natural strips I’ve ever seen and is a must-buy for any Crumb fan whether they’ve been there since he first made his appearance in Zap or are coming on board with The Book of Genesis. Either way, this is not to be missed." – Joe Keatinge, Neon Monster
• Review: "Reading [Charles M. Schulz's] wonderful comics is enjoyable and comfortable, sort of like wearing a worn, favourite sweater. Fantagraphics Books has done a good job putting Schulz's cartoons together in a nice book. Whether you're watching Peppermint Patty skating and being coached by Snoopy, Snoopy dealing with a broken leg, or Lucy still pulling the football away from Charlie Brown at the last second The Complete Peanuts: 1975 to 1976 is a humourous, welcome reprieve from a stressful, often screwed up, world. Thanks Mr. Schulz!" – Glenn Perrett, Simcoe.com
• Review: "Like some Uncle Wiggly story gone mad — or perhaps Krazy Kat in disguise — Tony Millionaire’s mad cake batter boy goes on a frantic rampage to return a baby owl to its mother and embarks on an adventure that is in no way as linear as my sentence implies. Millionaire really does channel the cartoonists of the early 20th century, while still giving the work [Billy Hazelnuts and the Crazy Bird] a quality that’s somewhat reminiscent of ’70s underground comics — and it’s kid-friendly to boot! Good fun with good energy." – John Seven, Worcester Magazine
• Review: "I picked up Carol Tyler's You'll Never Know, Book One: A Good and Decent Man from the library on the strength of recommendations I have seen for it all over the web, and it didn't disappoint me... Tyler has a nice diary style that seems intimate and friendly but is also quite sophisticated. ... There aren't too many comics about middle-aged women, and it was nice to read about something other than youthful rebellion and angst for a change." – Brigid Alverson, Robot 6