Austin! Tonight at Mondo Gallery from 7-9 is the opening of "It Didn't Rot Our Brains," an art exhibit in tribute to EC Comics and Tales from the Crypt! The undisputed star of the show: this brand new piece depicting Bill Gaines and the Crypt Keeper palling around by legendary TFTC artist Jack Davis! Also included: work by Jim Rugg, Chris Wright, our pals Eric Skillman and Mark Todd, and numerous others. See more sneak peeks and get more info at Collectors Weekly.
• Ottawa, ON: Oh, Ottawa! Dave Cooper presents his latest art show Eddy Table and Other Misbehavers at the La Petite Mort Gallery! Dave will have a ton of affordable drawings and doodles available, as well as a cool super-affordable, specially-priced inaugural fine art print to celebrate his new printing venture! (more info)
• Ottawa, ON: Ottawa, it's a two-fer-Thursday! World-famous cartoonist and filmmaker Max Andersson will screen his first feature-length film Tito on Ice as part of the Ottawa International Animation Festival! Don't miss it! (more info)
• Burlington, VT: Don't miss Chris Wrightat the 2013 Burlington Book Festival! He'll be part of the panel "The Novel Graphic: A Summit", alongside Vermont’s first Cartoonist Laureate, James Kochalka; award-winning author and artist Genese Grill; and legendary illustrator, author, and New Yorker cartoonist Ed Koren. (more info)
• Ottawa, ON: Ottawa, were you not listening when I said "don't miss it" back on Thursday? Were you too busy enjoying the fun at Dave Cooper's art show? Well, you've got another chance to see Max Andersson's feature-length film Tito on Ice as part of the Ottawa International Animation Festival! Go, go, go! (more info)
Chris will be part of the panel "The Novel Graphic: A Summit" taking place on Saturday, September 21st at 1:00 PM, alongside Vermont’s first Cartoonist Laureate, James Kochalka; award-winning author and artist Genese Grill; and legendary illustrator, author, and New Yorker cartoonist Ed Koren.
The audience will be encouraged to ask questions and contribute to the conversation. A book signing will follow, so be sure to get yourself a copy of Blacklung!
The longest, unabridged edition of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review: The Village Voice is almost hospitalized while reading Michael Kupperman's Tales Designed to Thrizzle Vol. 2. "Kupperman heaps absurdity upon absurdity…The result is a jubilant rococo, the strips all thrilling ornamentation…No exaggeration: I coughed hot soup out of my nose while reading the new hardbound volume of deadpan dadaist Michael Kupperman…" states Alan Scherstuhl.
• Review: Comic Book Resources looks at Tales Designed to Thrizzle Vol. 2 by Michael Kupperman. Brian Cronin loves the Moon 69 story. "The devolution of the ads as the story continues might be my favorite part…The second collection of Kupperman’s individual Thrizzle issues JUST came out and it includes [Moon 69]! So go buy it, dammit!"
• Review:Tales Designed to Thrizzle Vol. 2byMichael Kuppermanshines at The AV Club. "Kupperman's work only gets funnier when read in bulk... Kupperman's comics take pre-existing popular culture-TV shows, advertising, other comics-and tweak them just a little until they become hilariously absurd," states Noel Murray.
• Review: Glen Weldon reviews The Comics Journal #302 on New Republic, exclusively the Maurice Sendak interview conducted by Gary Groth. "Why on earth would I want to read 100 pages of caustic carping? Because Sendak is funny. Deeply, passionately so. Read in full, Sendak’s zingers lose their venom and evince a sincere and surprising warmth. He comes off as bitter, but not embittered—a fine distinction, perhaps, but a real one."
• Plug:USA Today's Pop Candy mentions TCJ #302. "This week I've been reading the wonderful (and massive) issue No. 302, which contains a huge Maurice Sendak tribute as well as his final interview"
• Revew: Chris Estey of KEXP writes on some of our new titles like The Comics Journal #302, edited by Gary Groth, Kristy Valenti and Michael Dean. "Probably my favorite single issue magazine of 2013, it is actually a freakily-elevated edition of the long-running only-trustable trade magazine devoted to comics…it gives us a chance to sample the gamut of an ever-evolving and surprisingly inspiring art-form."
• Revew: Chris Estey of KEXP reviews our newest book of music criticism The Grammar of Rockby Alexander Theroux. "Ripping through this hilarious rage on banality and unexpected pleasures I thought, they don’t make writers like this anymore…Drop that boring band biography and fetch this, if only for the mountains of lists of rarely-heard missing gems he has sampled and tasted beforehand for you."
• Review: Pop Matters has to tune into The Grammar of Rock by Alexander Theroux. John L. Murphy writes, "Naturally, the fun of The Grammar of Rock lies in its acerbic prose as well as its aesthetic insight…You’ll either laugh or you won’t. I laughed."
• Review:Washington Independent Review of Books also looks at Alexander Theroux's The Grammar of Rock. "Reading Alexander Theroux’s The Grammar of Rock is like hitching a ride with a suspiciously awake truck driver who talks endlessly for hours…All in all, this book is a very cold love letter," says DJ Randy Cepuch.
• Plug: Wired runs 10 sketches by Janet Hamlin featured in her upcoming book,Sketching Guantanamo. Hamlin remembers sketching Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, "He would turn and pose — a deliberate turn, facing me, holding very steady."
• Review:Julio's Day by Gilbert Hernandez gets reviewed on on The AV Club. "Julio's Day(Fantagraphics) is as much about what's not on the page as what is...Fashions, mores, and technologies change; but desires and disappointments do not," writes Noel Murray.
• Review:Nerds of a Feather give an outstanding rating and review a recent reprint of Jack Jackson's work. Philippe Duhart writes, "Los Tejanos and Lost Cause are the products of serious historical research, and as such they are clear exhibitions of comics' potential as a viable media for academic and journalistic work…I appreciate that Johnson sticks with the perspective of the “losers” -- Juan Seguin's struggles against racism following Texas’ rebellion and Texan Confederates' struggle to regain a sense of honor following the defeat of their cause."
• Review:Fingers on Blast reads Linda Medley's Castle Waiting Vol. 1. "The tales weave their way together seamlessly thanks to Medley's art. There is no simple way to describe it, but to say it draws you ever deeper into the story."
• Revew: Chris Estey of KEXP writes on some of our new titles Peter Bagge's Other Stuffwhich" features Bagge doing some sharp-witted journalism (on comedy festivals, especially) and historical stories…it is an electric, howlingly funny, bona-fide classic mangle of manic music history, prickly satire, and perfectly rendered cartooning."
• Review:Novi Magazine picks apart feminist storytelling in Moto Hagio's The Heart of Thomas. "While Thomas depicts male characters, Hagio codes femininity into every element of the story, with every effort towards drawing in her assumedly female audience…" writes Dan Morrill.
•Review:BookDragon plugs The Heart of Thomas by Moto Hagio. "…it’s certainly proved its lasting effects. Never mind the rockets, sometimes turbulent feelings can take you much, much further…" writes Terry Hong.
• Plug:Comics Forge is looking foward to The Adventures of Jodelle by Guy Peellaert as much as we are! "This was one of the trend setting 1960’s comics that you will see echoed worldwide during that time and when this style of pop art was raging as the most important thing since sex was invented…It looks like it is going to be a beautiful book, like most of the books that Fantagraphics puts out, you can feel the love."
• Review:Scoop covers Buz Sawyer Vol. 2: Sultry's Tiger by Roy Crane in one hell of a history lesson on newspaper and adventure comics. "Buz Sawyer may be the peak of the adventure strip as a genre…Crane’s ability to walk a fine line between hyper-realism while still incorporating an easy to read and understand style places him among the greats in comic history," says Mark Squirek.
• Review:Scoop covers Mort Meskin's Out of the Shadows. "He is so skilled at body language that without reading a single word you can see the kid’s enthusiasm for his grandfather’s story grow across the first three panels,"writes Mark Squirek.
• Interview: Comic Book Resources and Alex Dueben interview Tom Kacyznski about his books. Kacyznski says, "There's an easy willingness to imagine the collapse of everything instead of small changes in the political system that could fix a lot of the problems that we're having. Those kinds of themes interest me."
• Review:Beta Testing the Apocalypse by Tom Kaczynski gets a look-see on B-Sides & Rarities. Elizabeth Simins writes, "Kaczynski’s style involves a pretty dedicated commitment to setting scenes with lyrical descriptions as much as imagery, which is something I associate with the space between “regular” fiction and comics…You should read it."
• Review:Grovel reviews The Hypo by Noah Van Sciver. "It’s a surprising but fascinating insight into the psyche of a man that outsiders would normally assume to be a sort of political superhuman, but Sciver adds depth and soul to the two-dimensional image of the man with half a beard and a top hat," penned Andy Shaw.
• Review:Comic Pusher enjoys their read of Chris Wright's new book: "In Black Lung Wright presents a world of ceaseless violence and pain, his reflectively brutal cartooning interwoven with elegiac prose, with the very syntax of comic storytelling breaking down under the memory and transformative agony of loss and obsession," says Jeffrey O. Gustafson.
• Plug: Jade at D&Q Bookstore digs into Your Vigor for Life Appalls Me by R. Crumb. "The extraordinary title is only matched by the incredible insight into the iconoclast’s mind and the ultra-snazzy portrait of an early Crumb on the cover, sporting a corduroy jacket and tie…A definite must-read for any Crumb fan."
• Review:The Comics Journal digs Black is the Color by Julia Gfrörer. Sean T. Collins writes, "Gfrörer’s most moving comic to date, Black Is the Color eroticizes suffering not to glamorize it, but to endure it."
• Interview: Robin McConnell interviews Julia Gfrörer about her webcomic and soon-to-be-in-print book,Black is the Color on Inkstuds.
• Review: Comics Bulletin loves Charles Forsman's The End of the Fucking World. Geoffrey Lapid writes "Instead of allowing you to step back and look at James and Alyssa through wistful adult hindsight, Forsman's fluid and subdued linework take us right into those moments that you only understand when you're 17 years-old, proudly oblivious and doomed…James and Alyssa feel like real, substantial characters rather than simple broad strokes alluding to a deeper history."
• Interview: Ed Piskor is interviewed by Jackie Mantey for Columbus Alive during his Ohio art residency and on Hip Hop Family Tree. "The purity of intent is something that’s important to me with anything I come across," Piskor believes.
• Interview: Kelli Korducki interviews Jaime Hernandez on behalf of Hazlitt about Love and Rockets. Jaime answers, "I like the way women react to situations. Guys in a certain situation mostly try to keep it cool, keep their cover, keep things in control. With a lot of women I know, you get eight different reactions to a situation."
• Review: Jon Longhi looks at Spain Rodriguez in Having a Book Moment.Cruisin' with the Hound, a recent collection, is "it's all gang fights, hot rods, teenage mayhem and its wonderfully entertaining and beautifully illustrated."
Since Fantagraphics and comiXology shook hands that fateful weekend last summer, the hits just keep a-galloping through the gate. Here are the books we have kickin' around in our digital stable ready to be rode hard, combed down and fed oats (in the form of your high-star ratings).
Here's a run-down of the digital comics we currently have available to read on your tablets, iPads, eReaders, myPads, ThinkTouches and more. Click on titles to be taken to their page at comiXology.
Memoirs of the artist's misspent youth. Raunchy, hilarious, and often violent as hell, an unsentimentally nostalgic trip to half a century ago — the anti- Happy Days, set to a true rock ’n’ roll beat. - See more at: http://www.fantagraphics.com/index.php?keyword=cruisin%27+with+the+hound&search_type=titles&Search=Search&Itemid=62&option=com_virtuemart&page=shop.browse#sthash.zYJMZj3B.dpuf7 Miles a Second by David Wojnarowicz, James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook.
Note that most of these books are available at your local comic book store or our website in print form but we know you have to save that shelf space. Every Wednesday we have 1-2 new digital releases, sometimes same-day releases as the book. Buy a book for yourself or someone you love today.
The first peak of sun of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review: Noah Berlatsky on Slate reviews 7 Miles a Second by David Wojnarowicz, James Romberger, and Marguerite Van Cook. "That feared and desired encounter is in part the collision of comics and art—but it's also, and emphatically, the intermingling of queer and straight…7 Miles a Second still represents a road largely avoided…even if 7 Miles a Second never went mainstream, this new edition remains a stirring reminder that everything pushed to the side isn't gone."
• Review:Full Page Bleed and Tom Murphy read 7 Miles a Second by David Wojnarowicz, James Romberger, and Marguerite Van Cook. "Like David Wojnarowicz's vision of himself, this is a volume that has an impossible amount of energy and emotion packed into its slim dimensions. It's a blistering book that, having been revived by Fantagraphics in the format it deserves, should now take its rightful place in the comics/graphic memoir canon."
• Review: The North Adams Transcript blog reviewed Delphine by Richard Sala. "Prince Charming’s journey is creepy and jarring, and the trappings of the likes of the Grimm Brothers take on a heightened presentation that becomes more personal than you would ever expect them to be," John Seven.
• Plug:The D&Q bookstore is ready to read prose book The Grammar of Rock by Alexander Theroux. Jade writes, "Cliché lyrics, diva meltdowns, and inarticulate diction are all up for close examination in Theroux’s comprehensive exploration of language in pop, rock, jazz, folk, soul, and yes, even rap (Ghostface Killah!)."
• Plug:LAMBDA announces nominees for awards and includes Justin Hall's No Straight Lines. Lambda Literary Awards celebrate achievement in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) writing for books published in 2012. More information here!
• Review:The Savage Critic looks at Gilbert Hernandez's Love from the Shadows. "It’s the work of a comics master tearing into the stained brown paper parcel of his unconscious, and finding a piping hot slurry composed of decades of pop culture detritus."
• Plug:The Daily Optimist shows off a few panels of Nancy Likes Christmas by Ernie Bushmiller. Dan Wagstaff writes, "I do have a strange and peculiar love of Ernie Bushmiller’s ‘Nancy’ comic strips… Fantagraphics are doing a great job of collecting them properly into books (designed by Jacob Covey)."
• Plug: Tom Heintjes on Cartoonician gives a short and concise history of Fritzi Ritz aka Aunt Fritzi from Ernie Bushmiller's Nancy. She was the star of her own strip before that created by Larry Whittington. "A young cartoonist named Ernie Bushmiller took the reins and went with his strength: the simple gags that would forever earn both the scorn and admiration of millions of comics fans."
• Interview: The Comics Reporter and Tom Spurgeon interviews Publisher Gary Groth: "I can look at most books and come up with a pretty accurate estimate as to how it will sell. Occasionally I'm wrong."
• Plug: Fantagraphics fan and friend, JT Dockery has a fundraising campaign/pre-order for his Despair book which features art from Chris Wright and Julia Gfrörer. I hope they are on a ship.
• Plug: Sam Costello at Full Stop lists The End of the Fucking World by Charles Forsman as one of the most anticipated books of 2013. "While there’s certainly violence and horror here, Forsman handles the subject as a character study, not a lurid glorification, making James sympathetic and his deeds all the more monstrous."
• Review: Michael May reviews Mr. Twee Deedle by Johnny Gruelle on School Library Journal. In reference to Good Comics for Kids, "There’s plenty for children to enjoy in the collection, but parents and educators will be even more rewarded. Not only by the history and context that Marschall provides, but by the sheer sweetness and transportive beauty of the illustrations as well. Each of the full-page, full-color strips is something not only to linger over, but to revisit often."
• Review: The Weekly Crisis looks at West Coast Blues by Jacques Tardi. "The narrative is almost a ‘dark twin’ of Hitchcock’s North by Northwest as George is forced to adapt and go on the run as the forces arrayed against him close in."
• Plug:Jessica Abel posted some cool ideas on visual scripting and laying out your ideas she learned from Alison Bechdel.
The most checked-out book of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review: Prison Pit Book 4 by Johnny Ryan is getting the hits this week. Gene Ambaum of Unshelved writes,"This reminds me of nothing as much as the violent, disturbed drawings I’ve seen in some middle-school boys’ notebooks. Next year, I’m going to tell [my daughter] it’s like a mind-map for her male classmates. If she believes me, I hope we can put off conversations about her dating for a few extra years."
• Review: Mark L. Miller of Ain't It Cool News enjoysJohnny Ryan's latest Prison Pit Book 4. "This is the kind of sick shit that would warrant a trip to the school counselor if you found this crudely etched into the back of your child’s Trapper Keeper. Johnny Ryan once again taps into something primal and pure with his crude drawings of gore, sex, and violence."
• Review:The Quietus and Mat Colgate leaf through some of the best books of 2012 including Prison Pit Book 4 by Johnny Ryan. "Every second spent reading 'Prison Pit' is a joy. A violent, scatological, faecal matter, blood and pus smeared hoot.…There's something brilliantly subversive about 'Prison Pit'," chuckles Colgate.
• Review: The AV Club checks out some new releases like The Comics Journal 302, co-edited by Kristy Valenti and Mike Dean. Noel Murray states, "Business as usual for a publication that was treating the cultural significance of comics as a known fact decades before graphic novels were making the bestseller list."
• Review:The Quietus and Mat Colgate leaf through some of the January releases including 7 Miles a Second by David Wojnarowicz, James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook. Colgate states, "Wojnarowicz was fearless about his artistry and aware that the mere facts of a life are barely a percent of the whole, preferring to reveal the truth through dreams, violent fantasy and allusion. 7 Miles a Second is a shocking book, but for all the right reasons."
• Review: Forbidden Planet's Daily Planet looks at some new releases from Fantagraphics like 7 Miles a Second by David Wojnarowicz, James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook. Matthew Rosenbery states, "The stories serve as beautiful and brutal snapshots of a brilliant life lived too hard and extinguished too soon. It is not too much to say that we all owe a great cultural debt to Mr. Wojnarowicz and picking up this book and trying to understanding his life is a good first step toward understanding that debt."
• Review: Comics Bulletin looks at Tales Designed to Thrizzle Vol. 2 by Michael Kupperman. Daniel Elkin finds it smirk-worthy: "Tales Designed to Thrizzle Volume Two has its place in the construct. It is 'silver and exact' like Sylvia Plath's Mirror and reflects the 'terrible fish' that has become our understandings of the world."
• Review: The Heart of Thomas by Moto Hagio gets the a full styling by Manga Bookshelf. Melinda Beasi writes "…teens and pre-teens who go to regular, modern public schools essentially live in their own society that is very much separate from the rest of the world, and it’s a society that is, frankly, terrifying…it views that kind of sacrifice as… well, ultimately pointless…Hagio makes it clear that running away is not the answer." Melinda continues on the book as a whole, "I also expected it to be very dated and I thought the story might not appeal to my tastes as a modern fan. Instead, I found it to be both beautiful and emotionally resonant to an extent I’ve rarely experienced—especially in [Boy's Love] manga. This is a book I’d wholeheartedly recommend to any comics fan, without reservation. It’s an absolute treasure."
• Review: The AV Club checks out some new releases like The Heart of Thomasby Moto Hagio. "with small cliffhangers at the end of each chapter to pull readers deeper into Hagio’s fantasyland. The intrigue deepens page by page (and this is a 500-page novel, mind), while Hagio develops her bracingly radical vision of a mini-society where homosexual attraction is so commonplace as to be the norm…" writes Noel Murray.
• Review:You'll Never Know Book Three: A Soldier's Heart by Carol Tyler gets a thorough and thoughtful review from Rob Clough on High-Low. "…this sounds a bit all over the map, that's because it is, but Tyler slowly pulls the strings of her narrative taut in some astonishing ways, especially in the third volume…It's a remarkable example of an artist being totally honest about their own feelings of grief and joy in a manner that provokes growth and fully embraces the relationship between the two."
• Review: Dylan Thomas of Minneapolis' Southwest Journal looks at Tom Kaczynski's Best Testing the Apocalypse. "Kaczynski uses science fiction as a microscope, poking at contemporary anxieties like blooming bacteria in a Petri dish. The genre provides the room he needs to examine the systems that shape our lives, whether they be architecture, urban design or capitalism."
• Review: Hillary Brown of Pasteenjoys the dark ride of Delphine by Richard Sala. "Sala’s rules; like testing gravity by dropping a penny from a building, the coin’s never going to fall up. Delphine is worth reading at least twice. Sala’s spell is strong."
• Review: SF Signal looks at Ralph Azham Volume 1: "Why Would You Lie to Someone You Love?" by Lewis Trondheim. "His humanoid animals, a staple of his work, place the story squarely into fantasy – along with the medieval-esque village and the magic – but the wry humor gives the story a modern feel" says Carrie Cuinn.
• Plug:Paste Magazine looks forward to the most anticipated books of 2013. These include Lost Cat by Jason. "The cranky Norwegian has seemed to soften a bit as he’s aged, and the description (detective searches for potential soulmate) goes along with that impression," write Hillary Brown. On Dash Shaw'sNew Schooland 3 New Stories. "In a few short years, Dash Shaw has proven himself a restless artist, committed to pushing what comics can do and what his own talents can accomplish… it’s nice to see him return with two works, no less."
• Plug: Publishers Weekly also released a list of the most anticipated books of 2013 which included Dash Shaw's New School. "The art disorients the reader and brings you right inside the troubled protagonists’ mind."
• Interview (video): Speaking of Dash, he recently spent a few days at Sundance for his Sigur Ros animated music video. A very short interview awaits you.
• Interview: Alexander Theroux is interviewed on Rain Taxi by Paul Maliszewski. Theroux, author of Estonia , The Strange Case of Edward Gorey , Laura Warholic and more states, "Revenge—I have written about this somewhere before—is the main subject of the modern novel, if it isn’t that of literature in general."
• Review:The Los Angeles Review of Books looks at Gary Panter's Dal Tokyo. Nicole Rudick writes "Panter’s medium is comics rather than architecture, but the effect of his work is the same: Dal Tokyo questions accepted notions of structure and meaning — taking them not as truth but as convention — and, taking Brecht’s advice, builds not 'on the good old days, but on the bad new ones.' "
• Review:The Weekly Crisis dissects the first panel of "Landscape!" a comic within Blazing Combat and how it contributed to the end of the series coinciding with the Vietnam War. Dan Hill states "At a time when an anti-war stance was tantamount to being a traitor to your country, it was also the beginning of comics beginning to tackle the uglier aspects of war, telling us exactly ‘how it is’. It showed us that comics could discuss and show issues more related to the real world than capes, tights and outlandish fantasy."
• Review:Paste Magazine looks at Linda Medley's Castle Waiting Vol. 1 (softcover). Sean Edgar writes, "Ultimately, Castle Waiting is an elegantly-written, uplifting take on European folklore supported by sterling art. As long as voices as talented and creative as Medley’s are around, stories like this will always be timeless."
• Interview: Robin McConnell of Inkstuds interviews Chris Wright for a second time, this time on his most recent graphic novel, Blacklung.
• Plug:The GLBT Roundtable's Rainbow Project lists best books for teens that encapsulate the GLBT-community issues. The Rainbow Project lists Shimura Takako's Wandering Son series as part of the Top Ten Books of 2012 as the characters "tackle problems such as gender identity, love, social acceptance, and puberty."
• Plug: The GLBT Roundtable also released a list of the best books for adults, Over the Rainbow, and the comics anthology No Straight Lines, edited by Justin Hall,was listed in the top ten.
• Interview: Tim O'Shea interviews Lilli Carré for Comic Book Resources on her process with Heads or Tails. "I went through all my stuff and arranged them not chronologically, but by how they each fed into each other… I don’t know if the dialogue I write or the way I draw is particularly well-crafted or not, but with both the art and dialogue I go with my gut and do what feels natural to me."
• Review: New York Journal of Books takes a turn around the room with The Complete Syndicated Pogo Vol 2 "Bona Fide Balderdash" by Walt Kelly. Mark Squirek writes, "Like the greatest of myths and fables, Pogo travels across time and ages. It is a world much like that of Aesop and trickster tales. It is a world capable of making a six year old smile with glee, a hipster smirk whether they want to or not, and a college professor laugh out loud… So graceful is his work with pencil and pen that you could loose yourself for hours in shear artistry of the panels he constructs."
• Plug:Westfield Blog suggests some books for you likeThe Complete Syndicated Pogo Vol 2 "Bona Fide Balderdash" by Walt Kelly."Walt Kelly’s art is a joy to look at and his dialogue and word play is just stunning. Pogo is a strip that you get more and more out of the more you read it," states Wayne Markley. And for Basil Wolverton's Spacehawk, "In the history of comics, there are very few, if any, that had such a unique style as Wolverton which, while as far away as you can get from classic illustrators like Raymond or Foster, it is every bit as good in its own unique way."
• Review: HeroesOnline looks at the latest Prince Valiant Vol. 6: 1947-1948. Andy writes "…the pace is fast, the action and intrigue are plenty and the violence is un-apologetically bloody. In addition, Foster was a stickler for historical accuracy in depicting everyday life in the 6th century."
• Review: Ryan Sands of Same Hat writes his 'belated' best of list which inludes Nancy Likes Christmas by Ernie Bushmiller and The End of the Fucking World by Charles Foresman.
• Plug: Tom Spurgeon announced the Peanuts Every Sunday book on Comics Reporter. More information tomorrow.
• Plug: Robot6 talks about Great but Forgotten anthologies. Fantagraphics' "Zero Zero ran for 27 issues, a longer run than most of the anthologies on this list received, but I don’t think it’s ever gotten its due as the truly great anthology of the ’90s." Chris Mautner continues with Blab, "I do think people have forgotten how cutting edge and exemplary an anthology Blab was, at least initially. For a while there it was running some seriously incredible work, like Al Columbia’s apocalyptic The Trumpets They Played, and the Jimmy Corrigan story that eventually became Acme Novelty #10, easily the most harrowing and darkest material Ware has produced to date." And finally Blood Orange, "Lasting a mere four issues, Blood Orange offered a mind-bending array of cutting-edge comics." WORRY NOT, we still have issues from someofthese.
The chest rackiest cough of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review: Andy Shaw reviews Chris Wright's Blacklungon Grovel. "The characters have enormous depth, and the book explores interesting themes on the nature of violence. It’s particularly strong on class structure, exploring the different levels of what’s acceptable to different people in different walks of life…While extremely dark this is definitely one of the most sophisticated horror books I’ve read in some time."
• Review: Blacklung by Chris Wright makes another best of list on Comic Book Resources. Greg Burgas writes "Wright’s pirate comic is a strange animal – it’s extremely graphic, both violently and sexually, yet it’s a bizarre meditation on religion and good and evil, all with characters who don’t look quite human.… Blacklung is a comic that deserves a lot of thought, so you might as well read it and think about it!"
• Review: Page 45 looks at Problematic by Jim Woodring. And "whilst there is indeed the odd everyday observation, the vast majority of it is Frank-related musings, thumbnails and roughs," pens Jonathan Rigby.
• Review:Page 45 enjoys the newest Richard Sala book, Delphine. "Truly this is the stuff of nightmares: a frantic evocation of being lost, misled and out of your depth in surroundings which barely make sense – except when they do after which you dearly wish that they hadn’t," says Stephen L. Holland.
• Plug:Graham Chaffee's Good Dog was singled out on Wired to be one of THE books of 2013. "The world does not have nearly enough graphic novels told from the perspective of adorable dogs. Let alone graphic novels that have a good chance of making you feel delighted on one page, then maybe like you might cry a little bit on the next page…it has all the polish and purpose borne by most books put out by fancy-pants publisher Fantagraphics," writes Erik Henriksen.
• Review: Page 45 enjoys Castle Waiting Vol. 1 (softcover) by Linda Medley. "Life in these stories gently flows along at the same pace as the early Bone stories, and the timing is as perfect as Linda’s art is impeccable…From what appear to be stock fairy-tale archetypes, Medley creates life and energy," writes Tom Rosin.
• Review: Johanna Draper Carlson of Comic Worth Reading reads I Love Led Zeppelin after catching Ellen Forney fever with Marbles. "it’s an entertaining, spicy read. For me, it provided new context for the background behind her story, fleshing out a decadent life in strong, distinctive lines."
The sweetest tea of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:The Atlantic writes on The Heart of Thomas by Moto Hagio. Noah Berlatsky looks at it from every angle, "The boys' love genre, then, freed Hagio and her audience to cross and recross boundaries of identity, sexuality, and gender…Bodies and character flicker in and out, a sequence of surfaces, tied together less by narrative than by the heightened emotions of melodrama—jealousy, anger, trauma, desire, friendship, and love in the heart of Thomas."
• Plug: David Brothers and Comics Alliance posts a preview of The Heart of Thomas plus a few thoughts on Moto Hagio that works outside of his comfort zone. "What there is, though, isdrama. No -- it has melodrama…the sheer level of theatrical drama in this book is enough to keep a skeptic hooked…Heart of Thomas is a trip, and a good one. I wasn't expecting to enjoy it as much as I did, and it was nice to enjoy something outside of my usual comfort zones."
• Plug: Johanna Carlson of Comics Worth Reading is ready for the world to read The Heart of Thomas by Moto Hagio. "This solid hardcover contains the entire classic shojo series, and it’s a must-read for anyone interested in the development of the genre. It’s also surprisingly gripping in its own right…"
• Review: Chris Mautner interviews Jim Woodring's Problematic on Robot 6. "Problematic is both a stroll through Woodring’s unique imagination and an opportunity to see his working process" and Woodring thinks "having a pocket sketchbook on me at all times means fleeting impressions and ideas that might otherwise be lost are captured…Everything I draw is reality-based."
• Plug:BoingBoing is ready for Jim Woodring's Problematic to come out. "There are many reasons to be grateful to be alive, and owning this brand new facsimile edition of artist Jim Woodring's Moleskine sketchbooks is as good as any," says Mark Frauenfelder.
• Interview/Review:Publishers Weekly looks at 7 Miles a Second, and Grace Bello interviews artists James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook on writer David Wojnarowicz, the gay activist who wrote the comic before dying of AIDS-related complications. Romberger is quoted, "It really is so much about what David was about, channeling his anger into a statement…" "The gay experience is not only 'less invisible'—it’s on prime time TV. But the feral energy and raw hunger in 7 Miles a Second still resonate" states Bello.
• Review: Jason Sacks of Comics Bulletin presents 20 Facts and Opinions on Joe Kubert's Weird Horrors & Daring Adventures, edited by Bill Schelly. "Schelly and the always sterling Fantagraphics production team do a nice job of preserving the look and feel of these comics…the master cartoonist was equally at home doing broad humor as intense action/adventure as well as lighter, Archie-style teen humor."
• Review:Comics Alliance and Caleb Goellner continues their Best of 2012 series with Prison Pit Book 4by Johnny Ryan. "It was like looking at a baby book of bad ideas from boyhood as an adult who'd learned to function in polite society…it's bliss to kick back and watch humankind's most immature impulses play out in the safety of Ryan's Prison Pit."
• Review:The Weekly Crisis lists its Top 10 books of 2012 and Johnny Ryan's Prison Pit Book 4 lands at #2. Taylor Pithers states "he is interested in is fighting and hyper violence, which to be fair, would be more acceptable to the masses if it was drawn by Ivan Reis or another one of Geoff Johns' collaborators…Honestly, there isn't a comic that has given me more belly laughs in my entire life."
• Review: Comiks Debris posts its Best of 2012 books and Johnny Ryan'sPrison Pit Book 4 comes in as #8.Marc-Oliver Frisch writes "structurally, Prison Pit reminds me a lot of Jarmusch's The Limits of Control… The artwork looks ugly, crude and perfunctory. The characters eat, shit, fuck and, most of all, fight their way through the book…It's one mean, sick motherfucker of a comic, and I can't wait what happens next."
• Plug: Tucker Stone on The Comics Journal rates his top comics of 2012. Prison Pit Book 4by Johnny Ryan comes in at 18. "…it’s hard to explain how intense the surprise was for a follower of Angry Youth and Ryan’s humiliation comics to open that first Prison Pit…"
• Review:Delphine by Richard Sala gets reviewed on Comic Book Resources. Kelly Thompson claims, "One part comic book and one part fever dream…Rare is the opportunity that I'm so engaged I consider yelling at an inanimate object such as a book…Delphine is also a nice contrast to the unrelentingly bright and happy fairy tales that are so often seen when it comes to modern reinterpretations of those early dark tales."
• Review:The New York Journal of Books thumbs through Spacehawk by Basil Wolverton. "Basil Wolverton rises to the occasion and gives the reader a detailed and hilarious look at megalomania while throwing in some fantastic aerial fight scenes…Fantagraphics Publishing brings Wolverton’s art to the reader in as detailed and perfect a form as possible. Each wave of space, every geometric shape and all the incredibly ugly aliens look better than they ever have in their entire lives," writes Mark Squirek.
• Review: Crave Online looks at Spacehawk by Basil Wolverton. "This is the medium when there were no rules, no event series and no giant corporations standing watch over what the creators were doing. If you love the Golden Age, science fiction and adventure, nothing compares to the world Basil Wolverton put together for Spacehawk," writes Iann Robinson.
• Review: The Weekly Crisis lists its Top 10 books of 2012 and Josh Simmon's The Furry Trap ranks as #1. Taylor Pithers writes, "The Furry Trap is pure exploitation; violent, disgusting, and bound to make you feel uncomfortable but it also does what the best fiction is meant to, it stays with you long after you have put the book down…Simmons is a cartoonist of the highest caliber. This is not a book for the faint hearted, but if you can stomach it will be a true experience."
• Review:NPR and Glen Weldon write on Books of 2012 they haven't told you about. Heads or Tails by Lilli Carré "The whole collection has the feel of a dream in which remembering how to fly is as simple as forgetting that you can't."
• Review: Noel Murray and The A.V. Club write about the Top 10 Fiction books of 2012. Heads or Tails comes in at #7. "Lilli Carré’s stories are like dreamy what-ifs that take the familiar and tweak it."
• Plug: Whitney Matheson of USA Today's Popcandy mentions her favorite things including Heads or Tailsby Lilli Carré: "…a lovely volume from one of my favorite cartoonists that includes several beautifully strange short stories. I'm a longtime fan and even have a framed Carre print hanging in the baby's room."
• Interview:The Comics Journal interviews Ron Regé, Jr. on The Cartoon Utopia, evolving comics and more. Regé on his book, "People should use bibilomancy—randomly opening to a page—to access the information if they’d like. Nothing in the book tells you to treat it that way, but I think people will get the idea anyway."
• Interview (audio): Erik Davis and Expanding Mind interview Ron Regé, Jr. on the radio about The Cartoon Utopia! Adventure indeed.
• Review:Comics Bulletin and Jason Sacks investigate Blacklung. "Chris Wright seems to channel Melville or Conrad in this book as he explores the uniquely idiosyncratic world that he creates…nobody has ever created characters that look like the characters in this book, with their strange faces and lumpy, malformed bodies…This slim graphic novel is a dense read unlike anything else you've read in comics."
• Review: Noel Murray and The A.V. Club write about the Top 10 Fiction books of 2012. Athos in America is #5. "Jason’s blank-faced animal-headed characters reveal unexpectedly deep passion via deadpan tales of dislocation."
• Review: Sonia Harris of Comics Book Resources places Love and Rockets: New Stories #5 by Jaime Hernandez and Gilbert Hernandez as #5 of her Top 16 Books of 2012. Harris says,"Watching these people’s lives change on the page, along with the gradual evolution of the Hernandez brother’s art and writing is the closest thing to real life created in a comic book. Nothing on the screen could ever compare to the life and complexity these two men breathe into their characters year after year with such consistent quality and affection."
• Plug: Tucker Stone on The Comics Journal rates his top comics of 2012. Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez have cause to celebrate as Love and Rockets:New Stories #5makes it at #13. "It was great, and of course it was, because it’s them, and it was great for all the same reasons you’d expect it to be…"
• Review:NPR and Glen Weldon write on Books of 2012 they haven't told you about like Wandering Son by Takako Shimura. "Wandering Son is not the kind of manga in which a happy ending is guaranteed… You'll thus be grateful for the moments of realistic, untempered joy Shimura allows her two protagonists here, as you wait with nervous anticipations for the travails that lie ahead for them…"
• Review:Manga Bookshelf recounts its Favorite Manga Series of 2012 including Wandering Son by Takako Shimura. "This series about two transgender children in modern-day Japan has been a favorite since it debuted last year thanks to its delicate, truthful storytelling and understated artwork…Its most recent volume (three) goes a bit darker and deeper, only heightening my interest in the series" says Melinda Beasi.
• Review: Noel Murray and The A.V. Club write about the Top 5 Archival books of 2012. Harvey Kurtzman's Corpse on the Imjin! landed at #1. "Kurtzman book is especially stunning, almost like a coffee-table art-book combined with a literary collection…an anthology with a strong individual perspective that tries to tell the truth about what war is like from the point of view of the people on both sides of the battlefield."
• Review: Noel Murray and The A.V. Club write about the Top 5 Archival books of 2012. Ernie Bushmiller's Nancy Is Happy: Complete Dailies 1946-48: "bristle-headed Nancy and poor slob Sluggo inadvertently irritate the grown-ups in their lives, in scenarios that Bushmiller illustrated with absurd visual gags—so basic that anyone, anywhere, at any time, could get the joke."
• Review: Nick Gazin of VICE has a pretty fuckin' fancy (his words) edition of The Clouds Above by Jordan Crane. "Jordan Crane is a cartoonist with supreme abilities. He's great at making lines, hand text, and backgrounds and stuff…This is beautifully colored also. Did I mention Jordan Crane's great color sense? His colors are good."
• Review: Steve Donaghue enjoys Prince Valiant Vol. 1 by Hal Foster on Open Letters Monthly. "The ambition becomes most emphatic the more you scrutinize the work. Foster often said he put in between 50 and 60 hours a week on creating the strip, and it shows in these magnificent reproductions, done in a sturdy hardcover with oversized pages and entirely restored colors and shadings."
• Plug:Record Collector magazine (UK) picks Listen, Whitey! by Pat Thomas as one of the top 12 books of 2012. "A socio-polictal account of American racial struggles...an extraordinary study of the way the message of [the Black Panther] movement was recounted and defined on vinyl. "In-depth" doesn't begin to describe it."
• Plug: Tucker Stone on The Comics Journal rates his top comics of 2012. Dungeon Quest 3 by Joe Daly makes the mark at 17. "in times like these, with sandwiches like mine, you have to root for the one who brung you, and that’s dick jokes. Dungeon Quest had so many of them, and they were all wonderful."
Happy New Year's! Here's to a great year of books and the next year and the year after that. We salute you and thank you for your friendship and purchases. Some of you sent in photos reading books from this year (and a few past ones).