• Review: "This debut graphic novel [The Sanctuary] ambitiously imagines the purposes of prehistoric art within the context of an imagined precivilization. Most strikingly, his tale is expressed entirely through the actions of his characters — their dialogue is written in an invented, phonetic language. [...] Neal’s dark pen work suggests texture, detail, and light effectively, and shoulders the burden of his almost-wordless storytelling. Despite some occasionally unclear moments, the broad sweep of the book’s action and ideas unmistakably raises thoughtful questions, marking Neal as an artist to watch." – Publishers Weekly
• Review: "A Drunken Dream is America's long overdue introduction to Moto Hagio, in a volume worthy of the honor. [...] Hardbound with gold foil on the cover, A Drunken Dream seems part textbook, and part holy book. [...] It's a demanding read, but one in which your enjoyment will be proportionate to your emotional investment. [...] It's hard to imagine a better release for a manga, or a more deserving artist than Hagio. [...] Very recommended. Grade: A" – Thomas Zoth, Mania
• Interview: At Robot 6, Sean T. Collins talks to Mome editor Eric Reynolds on the occasion of the anthology's 5th anniversary and 20th issue: "There were always anthologies, even when the periodical market was thriving, but I think they’re even more valuable now. There are just not enough publishers to support all the good cartoonists out there. I am constantly having to reject some pretty good work because we just have a ceiling of how many books we can publish a year. It’s my least favorite part of the job. Mome is at least a small way to help offset that reality."
• Coming Attractions: At The Forbidden Planet International Blog Log, Wim Lockefeer picks up on our scheduled June 2011 release of Murder by High Tide: Gil Jordan, Private Eye by Maurice Tillieux, saying "Gil Jourdan is one of the most essential BD series ever produced," and that the volume will be "the perfect book to get acquainted with this graphic genius, whose stories, in terms of timing and speed, every aspiring comics writer should read and study."
(1) Here is the cover to our Summer 2011 Tardi release, his latest adaptation of a Manchette novel (in fact his latest graphic novel, period, it's just being released now in France), La Position du tireur couché. (The original prose novel was released in the U.S. as The Prone Gunman, which while out of print is still available on Amazon.) Our title is Like a Sniper Lining Up His Shot. Dig ace designer Adam Grano's brilliant incorporation of that logo into the "inside page as cover" design we've been using for Tardi.
(2) Meanwhile, Random House has announced the April 2011 release, under their NYRB Classics imprint, of another Manchette classic, Fatale. Fatale was actually almost the first Tardi/Manchette collaboration, as Tardi began an adaptation of it way back in the mid-1970s and then abandoned it in favor of drawing an original Manchette story titled Griffu instead. An English language version of Griffu was published in Pictopia back in the 1990s, and a few pages of the aborted Fatale adaptation can be seen in various Tardi collections... but anyway, the original prose novel will soon be available in English for fans of French noir.
Following the collection What I Did (Nov./Dec.) and the new album Isle of 100,000 Graves (next Spring), Jason is working on a new as-yet untitled collection of short stories à la Low Moon, and here's the first page of one of the stories (before translation and color). Head to Jason's Cats Without Dogs blog to see a larger version and some brief notes from Jason.
• Review: "Emotionally uncompromising and graphically challenging, You’ll Never Know v.2: Collateral Damage stands out as one of the best comics of the year. Tyler reaches deep into herself, showing the unending dominoes of influence that compose a family. Do yourself a favor and check it out." – Michael C. Lorah, Newsarama
• Review: "But as powerful as this strain of valorization has been, there have been powerful statements of dissent along the way. The Americanization of Emily, for example, or Catch-22. Lucky in Love: Book 1 (by George Cheiffet, with art by Stephen DeStefano) follows their path, though it takes a much more personal, less grandiose tone than those two examples. It’s drawn in a style reminiscent of Disney WWII propaganda cartoons, though DeStefano arranges the backgrounds and perspectives with far greater sophistication." – Joshua Malbin
• Review: "Ryan takes puerile humor to unimagined heights (or depths)... Prison Pit Book Two isn't as much about punchlines and shock tactics. Here, the humor comes via ridiculously long and surreal battles between intergalactic monsters (think bizarre mutations and mass bloodshed). It's sort of a spoof on sci-fi comics, He-Man cartoons, and the over the top male bravado of WWE Wrestling...Prison Pit contains Ryan's signature WTF flourishes, like ass licking creatures, thorny alien vaginas, ghetto slang and Nazi insignia emblazoned 'death hösen' trousers. See you on the playground." – Wilfred Brandt, TwoThousand
• Review: "But the way you're just dropped into Maggie & Hopey, Already In Progress, is pretty much why I continue to recommend this volume [Maggie the Mechanic], rather than its relatively sci-fi-free successors, as the place to start if you're interested in Jaime's work. I understand why that doesn't work for everyone — and it's true, the earliest comics are relatively talky and old-fashioned-looking as befits their influences. But if you start late in the game, you're not just missing dinosaurs and rocketships and robots and superheroes and such — you're missing what really feels like a couple years in the life. Even by page one, we've already missed so much!" – Sean T. Collins, Attentiondeficitdisorderly
• Interview:The Daily Cross Hatch's Brian Heater talked to Drew Weing at SPX. Part 1 gets into the creation of Set to Sea: "The intention was to draw a panel every day and post it. It was supposed to be fun, quick side project, 'it’s the end of the day. I just draw this one, quick, small panel.' And every day it got more and more detailed and complex. By panel two it was too complex to knock off in an hour or two."
• Plug: "Four-Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950s... [is a] collection of pre-Code, non-EC horror comics that are every bit as good as the famed EC comics themselves. Here in all its shocking, creepy and gory glory you can see work from Jack Cole, Reed Crandall, Frank Frazetta, Al Williamson, Basil Wolverton, Wally Wood, and more! This one is a must!" – Benn Ray (Atomic Books), Largehearted Boy
• Coming Attractions:Bleeding Cool 's Rich Johnston continues noticing our 2011 Eurocomics reprints, now reporting on our June edition of R. Macherot's Sibyl-Anne Vs. Ratticus: "Am I the only one that’s seeing a bit of a trend? The trade dress appears similar… is Fantagraphics on a major spreee to translate and publish as many quality French comics as they can? [Yes. – Ed.] In a new imprint or line perhaps? [I'm not sure whether we're considering this a "line" or not, but it's not an imprint. – Ed.]"
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
This afternoon Kim Thompson was showing off his newly-acquired import DVD copy of Estigmas, director Adan Aliaga's 2009 Spanish film adaptation of the graphic novel Stigmata by Lorenzo Mattotti and Claudio Piersanti, which we will be publishing in English in December. The trailer in Spanish is embedded above; watch it with English subtitles and get more information about the film at the SIFF website (the film screened here in Seattle at the SIFF Cinema last week).
As work progresses on our first volume of Ernie Bushmiller's NANCY (yes, it's late, we admit it), collecting 1942 through 1945, we belatedly realize that our source for most of the strips is missing the first year. Oops. So we are sending out the plea to NANCY collectors: If you have clippings for 1942's NANCY daily strips, we would love to hear from you. (For that matter, as we are missing a handful of strips from 1943-1945, and some of the ones we do have are a little rough around the edges in terms of repro quality, if you have ANY NANCY tearsheets from this period...)
Contact editor Kim Thompson at
(and yes, we are in contact with the Ohio State Library, but even they have significant holes in their NANCY run) — and be sure to pass on this plea to anyone else you think might have contacts, message boards, what have you. NANCY fans unite!
If we can't get our hands on the elusive 1942 we'll probably just switch the first volume to 1943 through 1946 (we do have all of 1946) and get back to 1942 in the future when we've had more time to dig, dig, dig for source material.
In other NANCY news, the much-anticipated HOW TO READ NANCY by Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden has unfortunately been delayed 'til next Summer or Fall, as Paul and Mark have been vastly expanding the contents with additional images, additional interviews, additional research, and additional fact-checking. This will be a completely mind-blowing book when it is finished, so we ask that eager fans adopt a Bushmiller-like serenity and it'll be there before you can say "three rocks."
• Review: "This mammoth collection [What Is All This?] presents five decades of Dixon: sex, frustration, and attempts at deeper communication, mostly missed. The 62 stories evoke neuroses, delusion, banality, and everyday absurdities in deceptively simple sentences... There are echoes of Ernest Hemingway and prefigurings of Raymond Carver's lower-middle-class minimalism infusing tales of scrappers and scrapers... Usually sublime, sometimes sloppy, and occasionally bewildering, these stories are a testament to an impressive career spent too much under the radar." – Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) [Temporary link]
• Review: "With its mix of sci-fi, romance, tragedy and comedy, A Drunken Dream is a memorable manga journey that shouldn't be missed or dismissed. [...] Drawing from deeply-felt personal experiences, Hagio draws stories for every person who has felt like an outsider, who has regretted past actions that can never be erased, or who has longed to be accepted for being who they are, not what people want them to be. These ideas sound so simple — but when touched by Hagio's pen, this is punch-in-the-gut powerful. [...] ★★★★1/2" – Deb Aoki, About.com: Manga
• Review: "While they may not be standard children’s books, they are fun and entertaining and full of stuff kids would like, without being obscene or intended for mature audiences. They are the kind of books you would want your kid reading if your kid wasn’t a total dork. [...] You get the feeling of reading old fairy tales, where the Prince wasn’t always charming, the villains would erect down right disturbing and evil plots against the characters and the story, or just the world in general was presented as a harsh reminder of reality. [...] Tony [Millionaire]... really lets his imagination run with his latest book, Billy Hazelnuts and the Crazy Bird. [...] With or without children, you can feel good about reading this book." – Brian Jones, Flash Flood Media
• Review: "Artichoke Tales is by any definition a remarkable book — the first graphic novel by Megan Kelso, who has so far worked largely in the short story form, and a book that displays at every page Kelso’s unique voice as a graphic storyteller and the care and attention she lavished on this project over the past several years. [...] This is a beautiful book, at times a heartbreaking book. One feels the precision and thought behind every word, every line, all of it edited down and arranged to a spareness that is paradoxically lush and textured." – Jared Gardner, Guttergeek
• Plug: "[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)
• Profile: "Some artists seem to have had greatness as their destination as surely as if a tracking device had been implanted in their genes. Some veer toward it capriciously like a demon had seized the wheel. They start with a talent — to which they feed — in bites and gulps — their times; and, once expressed, the result is… YOWL! One of these was the underground cartoonist Greg Irons, the subject of Patrick Rosenkranz’s overlooked — and fascinating — retrospective You Call This Art?!!" – Bob Levin, The Comics Journal
• Review: "We are witness to a man's life unfolding, unraveling, before us in a series of postcards that leave nothing — or is it everything? — to the imagination. I don't know Drew Weing, or whether he's lucky or good, but in Set to Sea , he has reminded me once again just how much story you can share in a brief flurry of comic panels, so long as you know how to trim the sails and catch the wind." – Steve Duin, The Oregonian
• Review: "...Set to Sea... is so much more than a hauntingly inspiring story about a poet who ends up on a sea vessel. It is so much more than page after page of highly-detailed illustrations. It feels like a small precious art book full of engravings or paintings on each page or an old illustrated maritime novel. [...] Weing’s art is mesmerizing. You could stare at one page for hours. Each page is carefully planned and crafted to maximize its storytelling ability and it is easy to see the love and effort that went into each line and crosshatch." – Shawn Daughhetee, The HeroesOnline Blog
• Review: "The pages [of Set to Sea] are incredibly expressive, able to convey longing, panic, rage, camaraderie, mourning, and ultimately peace. Weing manipulates whole compositions to achieve these effects, not merely the expressions on characters’ faces." – Joshua Malbin
• Review: "Drew [Weing] uses the possibilities of the medium to perfection [in Set to Sea], telling the life story of the guy page by page, somehow pulling the impression of a richly lived life through scattered moments." – Kevin Bramer, Optical Sloth
• Review: "Imagine Sad Sack stepping out of his cartoon world and into ours — warts and all — and that’s what Lucky in Love almost feels like. [...] The real star of the show here is artist DeStefano, who mixes up this 1940s world as one-part humor strip outrageousness, and one-part gorgeous Will Eisner-style dramatic noir — a real visual tour de force." – John Seven, Worcester Magazine
• Review: "Revealed in these pages [of A Drunken Dream and Other Stories] are gentle but dark stories that are preoccupied with the loss and alienation that their intended audiences no doubt feel, often without any tangible reasons beyond the purely psychological. Several stories stand out for cherry pickers, but you’ll be rewarded by each entry." – John Mitchell, North Adams Transcript
• Review: "...The Artist Himself... present[s] a compellingly fresh... approach to the history of the medium... What makes The Artist Himself unique is in the title itself — Rosenkranz has constructed a sprawling portrait of Rand Holmes as a man in conflict with the 'the artist himself' — a man trying to carve out a way to live that allowed for art (never an easy feat) and an art that somehow made sense in his life. ...[A]side from the obvious benefits of learning about Holmes, I found myself selfishly drawing tremendous inspiration from Rosenkranz as he demonstrated the richness possible in writing the history of comics. He draws the curtain back as if to say, 'see, here’s someone you hardly think of, who lived an extraordinary life, and it’s a life that must be reckoned within the history.' It radically broadens what we think of as a cartoonist’s life, and in that Rosenkranz has given us a great gift." – Dan Nadel, Comics Comics
• Review: "If Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 only contained Gilbert Hernandez’s 36-page 'Scarlet By Starlight,' it would still be one of the most significant new comics of the year. [...Jaime's] 'The Love Bunglers' and 'Browntown' offer the kind of rich, intricate stories — packed with sharp observations about human desire and self-justification — that only an author with 30 years of experience with these characters could write. But readers don’t need to have read all the previous Maggie tales to follow them. Everything a newcomer needs to know is woven neatly into the stories themselves... There are acclaimed filmmakers and novelists who can’t do what Jaime Hernandez does — or Gilbert, for that matter. When the two of them are at their most inspired, as they are here, they make almost every other comics creator today look like a fumbling hack. [Grade] A" – The A.V. Club
• Review: "I won't pretend to have a clue as to what Beto's trying to do with this stuff; sometimes he seems to be paying tribute of sorts to junk cinema and/or comment on the current state of the movies, and sometimes it seems like he just wants to draw to naked dudes beating a cop to death with a rock. ...Jaime is note-perfect throughout, using every nuance and trick at his command to engage and move the reader. It's a masterwork, and I'll be damned if I can tell what he'll do for an encore. ...[T]his one brings the goods. If you care at all about this series and those characters, you'll want to get this [issue of Love and Rockets: New Stories]..." – Johnny Bacardi, Popdose
• Review: "...[T]his one is really damn good, with a typically surreal and horrifying story from Gilbert and an excellent bit of character work from Jaime. Isn't it awesome that stuff on this level is what we've come to expect? [...] Yes, it's another great issue of one of the best comics series of all time; what else is new? Jaime and Gilbert are rightfully revered as all-time great creators, but the fact that they are still pumping out incredible work and bettering themselves, sure to keep doing it for as long as possible, should make readers celebrate their wealth and fortune. Even if everybody else quit, we would still be pretty lucky. Long live Love and Rockets!" – Matthew J. Brady, Warren Peace Sings the Blues
• Review: "You open a Xaime story, you know what you’re gonna get. He’s a known quantity/quality on the richest level... With Xaime, you’re going to get a perfectly-told Locas story: clean... and humanistic and relatable, funny, sad, the whole package. Beto, on the other hand …. His shit is scary creative, and sometimes just scary. Gilbert is the higher mathematics, you know what I’m saying? Ever since 'Human Diastrophism' I haven’t felt safe in his company, haven’t trusted that crazy bastard. Because he will do some fucked-up shit when you least expect it. [...] So, boom, right on Jump Street of Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 there’s a Gilbert story. Deep breath. Okay. In we go with gun and flashlight." – Rob Gonsalves, Rob's Comics Zone
• Review: "The colors are garish, the stories grotesque, and the art much freakier than the norm. Where EC’s comics are more akin to the drive-in fodder of American International Pictures, the comics in Four Color Fear are the equivalent of a David F. Friedman grindhouse roughie: lurid, exploitative, and just plain wrong. In short, this book is awesome. Making it even more awesome is Sadowski’s annotation: ...the layer of scholarship is enough to make reading about decaying zombies and devil-worshippers seem almost ennobling. [Grade] A-" – The A.V. Club
• Review: "Caricature is a bit of a dying art, but there’s still a place for it, especially in a celebrity-obsessed culture like ours that goes out of its way to make its idols look even better than they already do. That’s why we need Drew Friedman, whose precise, pointillist style has been putting the rich and famous to the sword for decades. His new collection, Too Soon?: Famous/Infamous Faces 1995-2010, features another round of his inimitable caricatures, which manage to make everyone from venal creeps to well-meaning politicians look alternately hideous and noble. Friedman is still at the top of his game... [Grade] B+" – The A.V. Club
• Review: "One of the lesser-known lights of the Golden Age, illustrator Mort Meskin was a prolific workhorse whose angular, action-packed style and use of deep shadow effects would prove a huge influence on Steve Ditko. From Shadow to Light: The Life and Art of Mort Meskin, a new biography of Meskin compiling exhaustive interviews with his peers and extensive cooperation from his sons, doesn’t lack for material. It also has plenty of great anecdotes, and through quality reproductions, it skillfully makes its case that its subject was a very talented artist. [Grade] B-" – The A.V. Club
• Review: "The 1930 DeMoulin Bros. catalog, or Catalog No. 439: Burlesque Paraphernalia and Side Degree Specialties and Costumes, ...reached the jester of a more or less pronounced sadistic orientation, and offered them the tools and effects that made it possible to fool friends (?) to put their heart in their throat and give them pain here and there. Fantagraphics Books has recently reprinted the directory again (along with several essays that comment on product selection in a cultural perspective)... Although one might prefer to avoid being exposed to the tricks that comprise the DeMoulin catalog, I must admit that I laughed both three and five times when I looked through the offerings. Most of us probably have a little sadist in us, I guess." – Kjetil Johansen, Nekropolis – Den Historiske Bloggen (translated from Norwegian)
• Plugs: "Well, in our rambunctious endeavour to keep up with the literary radness of the Northwest, we... want to point you toward [Jim] Woodring’s newest graphic novel, Weathercraft, which is out now from Seattle-based publisher Fantagraphic Books. In addition to Weathercraft, we personally recommend their series Love and Rockets, from Los Bros Hernandez. If you’re looking for some reading that really is graphic, like super sexy female bodies comin at ya with homoerotic undertones that are never unleashed but still drive you crazy, you’ll want to pick up Love and Rockets. This series is an endlessly delicious ride through the relationships of men and women in crappy southern California neighborhoods." – Lori Huskey, Dark Sky Magazine
• Profile:Robot 6 presents a "Comics College" introductory guide to the work of Kim Deitch, written by Deitch Universe expert Bill Kartalopoulos: "Kim Deitch is an enormously vital and prolific cartoonist who was also one of the charter members of the underground comix scene that changed comics in the 1960s and 70s. [...] More than forty years later, Deitch stands as one of the few underground cartoonists who has steadily and consistently produced a large body of important work, spanning every available format from the alternative weekly comic strip to the graphic novel."
• Interview:Al Jaffee touches briefly on his Humbug days in this extensive Q&A with Mother Jones's Michael Mechanic: "I loved Harvey [Kurtzman] and I miss him to this day. He was a very, very inspiring guy. He was inventive and inspiring and he also was just a scrupulous editor. He could catch things that most people would just say, 'Let it go through, it really doesn't matter; who's going to know?' But once Harvey pointed it out, I would change it even if it took me the whole day. Harvey knew how to make things work because he wasn't greedy, he wasn't successful." (Via ¡Journalista!)
Could it be? Peter Bagge's Hate Annual is... back on an annual schedule? We'll be soliciting it for sometime in Spring 2011 — just 12 months (or less!) after the last issue! And oh yeah, how 'bout that cover! Jeezum crow!