• Review: "Oh, the things men do to torture themselves. [Catalog No. 439:] Burlesque Paraphernalia and Side Degree Specialties and Costumes is an amazing flashback to a time before the Internet, television, radio, movies and pretty much every other form of entertainment. [...] This book is chock full of some of the funniest and most sadistic devices ever dreamed up by the human mind. It’s almost as if the guy from the Saw movies had wanted to get laughs instead of frights — and fans of current outrage cinema may be happily startled to find something actually called 'The Human Centipede' in its pages." – Siobhan Greene, Fangoria
• Review: "It's an odd little notion, the idea that you've lived a better, fuller life for having killed people. That's probably a somewhat unfair aspect of Drew Weing's good-natured, lushly drawn storybook (that's the term the comic practically demands I use) Set to Sea — a tale of a big lummox of a poet whose lackluster verses about life on the open sea are given new verve when he's shanghai'd into service on an actual ship — for me to seize on. After all, Weing's bigfooted style and inviting rather than intimidating illustrative chops place him squarely in the adventure-comics tradition of Carl Barks and Jeff Smith." – Sean T. Collins, Attentiondeficitdisorderly
• Review: "Freed from the burden of making a 'serious' work, Anderson delves into some grim and gritty pulp material, and you can feel his relish and delight coming off the page. [Sand & Fury: A Scream Queen Adventure] basically deals with the story of a murdered woman who comes back from the dead as a banshee and eventually seeks revenge against her killer, who in turn may be a supernatural demon himself. It sounds like a Jim Balent comic, but Anderson creates a lovely noir atmosphere here, full of blood, sex and other nasty goings-on that never once becomes camp. It’s a nice, effective little horror comic." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
• Plug:The Venture Bros. co-creator Jackson Publick writes: "Venture alumnus, super-pal and yiddish-loving Italian-American Stephen DeStefano premiered his new graphic novel, Lucky in Love at the San Diego Comic Con, and I was fortunate enough to snag a copy. Now it's your turn. Go buy one."
• Interview:Graphic NYC 's Christopher Irving talks to Michael Kupperman. Irving on Tales Designed to Thrizzle: "Toss comic book art from the '40s and '50s into a blender with the dirty brand of humor that runs rampant in underground comics, and give it the pacing and spontaneity of skit comedy, and you get Kupperman’s distinctive Tales Designed to Thrizzle. Kupperman’s slick art has the polish and stiffness of old advertising art, creating a posed disconnect that adds a layer of absurdism to his offbeat stories." Sample Kupperman quote: "What I’m doing is more along the lines of sketch comedy. I grew up with Monty Python and SCTV, and those shows had a profound influence on me, through the writing and tone. My comic is humor for childish adults. I think I’m actually going to start putting that on the cover. It’s stuff that makes me laugh and part of my working method is to make stuff that will make others laugh as well."
• Profile: "One hundred-plus years after the newspaper comic strip was born in San Francisco, a reader might well ask: Who was the greatest comic artist of all time? Some scholars say the question was settled in 1924 by New York arts critic Gilbert Seldes, whose book on the American cultural scene, The 7 Lively Arts, devoted an entire chapter to a reclusive cartoonist in the Hollywood Hills named George Herriman and his avant-garde comic strip, Krazy Kat." – Anthony Mostrom, The Los Angeles Times (via The Comics Reporter)
• Profile: Katharine Zarrella of Interview magazine talks to Robert Pollard about his collage art and current exhibit thereof in New York City: "A handful of ex-bandmates are on Pollard's guest list, but what do they think of his artwork? 'It seems a lot of them dig it. I think secretly, and sometimes openly, my peers respect the insanity.'"
• Profile: "One of the most serious gaps that this blog has not yet filled is as follows: having been scandalously silent of the great art of Drew Friedman, one of the most popular and recognizable contemporary American illustrators, a genius capable of combining, with previously unpublished results, a technique of hyper-realistic depiction with the strong sense of the grotesque that characterizes the creative temperament." – Lucca Boschi, Il Sole 24 Ore (translated from Italian)
• Events: At AOL's TV Squad, Aaron Broverman recaps Blake Bell's presentation "Steve Ditko & Bill Everett: Spider-Man, Sub-Mariner, Daredevil & Beyond" at Fan Expo in Toronto, "a panel I expect will be one of the hidden gems of the weekend"
Even if you purchased the fifth pair of volumes of The Complete Peanuts (1975-1976 and 1977-1978) separately rather than in the two-volume set, you can still have this handsome, durable two-volume slipcase designed by Complete Peanuts series designer Seth. This item is exclusively available directly from Fantagraphics. (Books not included.)
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.
two 344-page black & white 8.5" x 7" hardcovers in a custom slipcase • $49.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-376-7
"Continuing Fantagraphics’... presentation of Charles Schulz’s original iteration of eventually finite childhood, in spite of it all. Alec Baldwin greets you at the front. There’s also a two-volume ’75-’78 box set due." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics
"I always forget what a smart strip Peanuts was. I just opened this volume to a random page to remind myself of what the vibe of this period of Peanuts was like, and there was a joke about Christo. What comic strips were making Christo jokes in 1978?" – Douglas Wolk, Comics Alliance
"I thought the latest volume was really strong, full of odd Peppermint Patty stories and a lot more bold and confident than I remember the strip at the time. Plus the Alec Baldwin intro was pretty good, too." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
"Covering the years 1977-78, and featuring an introduction by Alec Baldwin (of all things), this latest book features some great sequences, like the one where Charlie Brown bites the kite-eating tree and ends up going on the lam to hide from the EPA. Those who feel Schulz’s best work was in the late 50s and 60s really need to re-evaluate these strips." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
Note to NYC shoppers: Jim Hanley's Universe is offering 25% off all Complete Peanuts volumes for one week 8/25-8/31/10 — click here for details!
"The strangest and perhaps greatest book I saw at last month's Comic-Con International. It's like it was art designed by a tree full of elves that don't quite get human publications." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
"An apparently first-ever print retrospective of postcard illustrator Pettingill, a Wisconsin native whose self-printed drawings documented both calm natural settings and teeming, wrinkled, riotously parodic rural living. With an introduction by Robert Crumb (who published some of the artist’s work in Weirdo), an appreciation by Johnny Ryan, and a biographical essay by Gary Groth (online here)." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics
• Reviews: At Vice, it's time for another installment of "Nick Gazin's Comic Book Witch Hunt":
"Name a funnier comic than Popeye. Wrong, idiot, there isn’t one. Not only is Popeye the best ever, but this volume of Fantagraphics Popeye series is the best one yet. Oh yeah? Name a better one. Wrong. ... Like most great strips, Popeye has a strong philosophy. That philosophy is the world’s full of crooks. I wish there was a real Popeye to enforce some sort of rough fist-justice but I’m pretty sure there’s no justice and there’s certainly no Popeye, just crooks."
"The original [Prince Valiant] was a giant Sunday page with some of the greatest illustrations ever done. The colors in the latest reprint series are so superior to those in the previous printings that the old ones might as well have been in black and white. This shit is tremendous. ... Get this book or I’ll get you."
"I keep waiting for the quality of the comics in these [Complete Peanuts] books to take a sharp downturn but it hasn’t hit yet. ... So many personality types that I find in adult life were first found in these comics."
"Jason returns with another really good comic [Werewolves of Montpellier]... Jason uses just a few lines but his aesthetics are super superior and he can express intense emotions with simplicity."
"...[T]he art and colors [in Captain Easy Vol. 1] are mind bogglingly beautiful. It’s like Darger. Beautiful candy-colored lunacy."
• Review: "Dungeon Quest: Book One offers an interesting and amusing read, full of lots of laughs about youth and nerd culture, with a surprising layers of sardonic social commentary folded in for good measure." – Jordan Magill, San Francisco Book Review
As the 1970s wind down, the last two recurring Peanuts characters have fallen into place: Snoopy’s brother Spike and the youngest Van Pelt sibling, Rerun. But that doesn’t mean Schulz’s creativity has diminished; in fact, this volume features an amazing profusion of hilariously distinctive new one- (or two-) shot characters!
For instance, in an epic five-week sequence, when Charlie Brown is found guilty by the EPA of biting the Kite-Eating tree, he goes on the lam and ends up coaching the “Goose Eggs,” a group of diminutive baseball players, Austin, Ruby, Leland, and — did you know there was a second Black Peanuts character, aside from Franklin? — Milo.
Also: a tennis-playing Snoopy ends up reluctantly teamed with the extreme Type “A” athlete Molly Volley... who then reappears later in the book, now facing off against her nemesis, “Crybaby” Boobie. (Honest!) Add in Sally’s new camp friend Eudora, the thuggish “caddymaster” who shoots down Peppermint Patty and Marcie’s new vocation, an entire hockey team, and a surprise repeat appearance by Linus’s sweetheart “Truffles” (creating a love triangle with Sally), all in addition to the usual cast of beloved characters (including the talking schoolhouse and the doghouse-jigsawing cat, who gets hold of Linus’s blanket in this one), and you’ve got a veritable crowd of characters.
It’s another two years of the greatest comic strip of all time, full of laughs and surprises.
Download an EXCLUSIVE 15-page PDF excerpt (688 KB) containing all the strips from January, 1977!
A boxed set of the thirteenth and fourteenth volumes of The Complete Peanuts, designed by the award-winning graphic novelist, Seth. Shipping shrinkwrapped, with volumes 1975-1976 and 1977-1978 packed in a sturdy custom box designed especially for this set, it's the perfect gift book item. (For more information on the contents of each volume, see the individual product listings linked above.)
"The Complete Peanuts has framed Charles Schulz’s enduring masterpiece about as well any lifelong fan could’ve hoped." – "The Best Comics of the '00s: The Archives", The A.V. Club
• Johnny Ryan has a bunch of new prints for sale. We saw Matt Groening admiring the one above at Comic-Con, our own Kristy Valenti very happily bought the cat one, and the "Nachos" one is just 100% pure genius
• Comic-Con: For MTV IGGY, Deb Aoki covers Moto Hagio's appearance at Comic-Con: "Besides signing copies of her new book and sketching for fans, Hagio also talked about her work at two panels, charming the crowd with her wit and honesty."
• 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.'"