Jonathan LeVine Gallery in New York City presents Mangle, an exhibit of paintings and drawings by Dave Cooper. It opened last Saturday and continues through July 24. Most, if not all, of the works in the show will be collected in the book Bent, which I believe is at the printer now for a September release. (Hat tip: The Beat.)
• Plugs:Library Journal's "Graphic Novels Prepub Alert" for September 2010 releases features A Drunken Dream and Other Stories by Moto Hagio ("When Fantagraphics jumps into magna, they splash big: with the 'founding mother' of modern shojo manga and a pioneer of the BL (boys love) genre. These four decades of short stories feature gorgeous art—some in color — and intellectually subtle plotting"); Pogo: The Complete Daily & Sunday Comic Strips. Vol. 1: Through the Wild Blue Wonder by Walt Kelly ("As THE pioneering humor-satire strip inspiring countless other cartoonists, Kelly and Pogo should need no introduction"); and The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec. Vol. 1 by Jacques Tardi ("A pterodactyl loose in Paris! A fetching young reporter off to tackle mummies! And that’s just the first of ten volumes. ... Wonderful for Indiana Jones fans hankering for even more over-the-top plots.")
Jim Woodring just dropped by the office to drop off the first 36 pages of his in-progress follow-up to Weathercraft, titled Congress of the Animals. We don't have a release date set for it but I'm guessing it will probably be about a year from now. Click the photos for bigger images.
Online Commentary & Diversions (through yesterday; we're a bit behind):
• Review: "...[E]ven [Basil Wolverton]'s throwaway work — in this case, half-page gag strips (emphasis on the 'gag') that appeared in Fawcett's Captain Marvel titles during and after World War II — is fully worthy of rediscovery. Like a Bizarro Dr. Seuss, Wolverton packs each Culture Corner with goofy, rhyming advice... While silly and inconsequential, these strips revel in the subversive, surrealist glee that would develop more fully in Wolverton's later output for Mad and others, a style that would help unlock the inner cretin inside everyone from Robert Crumb to Peter Bagge. ...Fantagraphics has to be applauded for tenaciously keeping Wolverton and his eye-gouging, subliminally influential work from slipping through the cracks of comics history. [Grade] B+" — The A.V. Club
• Review: "...Tardi’s [It Was the] War of the Trenches is the most powerful comic I’ve read on World War One since Charley’s War... The black and white art is perfectly suited to the era being covered... while Tardi, not for the first time, proves himself a master of expression, the looks on the faces of the men caught up in the war speaking absolute volumes... It’s a hugely powerful work, both moving and horrific and filled with anger for the suffering and injustices one group of ‘civilised’ humans can visit upon another... [A]s the last voices of those who were actually there are fading into silence works like this are needed to remind us of the monstrous acts we can be capable of in service to the beasts of jingoism and nationalism and hubris, that we should read them and take cautionary lessons from them. Never forget." – Joe Gordon, The Forbidden Planet International Blog Log
• Interview:Avoid the Future has an illuminating talk with Joe Daly: "The environment is surreal, in that it combines the fantastical with the urbane. I try to meld these two sides together into a continuum that supports both the phantasmagoric and the banal, in a naturalistic kind of way. On a conceptual level, I’m also interested in combining extreme stupidity with a bit of cleverness (which the title ‘Dungeon Quest’ is supposed to invoke)." There's also a glimpse of Dungeon Quest Book 2!
• Interview:The Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon grills Ben Schwartz, editor of The Best American Comics Criticism, saying "It's the kind of volume that starts fights... but that's okay and it's part of the fun. There's a lot of good work in the book and one or two absolutely inspired choices. Anyone with an interest in comics should at least give it a flip-through, and anyone with an interest in writing about the medium should use it as a springboard to discover a host of excellent new favorites." Schwartz on pitching the book: "Gary was the most skeptical. Early on he asked me if I seriously thought I could fill a whole book with good writing on comics. He sent me his essay 'The Death of Criticism.' Nice to know that's on your publisher's mind!"
• Interview: Canada's National Post has a Q&A with TCAF special guest Jim Woodring: "My name is Jim Woodring and I’m a cartoonist. I’m going to TCAF by invitation, with an assist from Fantagraphics Books, my publisher. I have a new book out called Weathercraft and I’m going to answer questions about it.
• Plugs: At The Cool Kids Table, Rickey Purdin runs down some recent acquisitions, including a couple volumes of Mome ("constantly entertaining") and the Weathercraft and Other Unusual Tales free comic ("...this free sample is PROBABLY about to set me on a path of Woodring fanaticism. Well played, Fantagraphics.")
• Plug: "Michael Kupperman's Tales Designed to Thrizzle is that rarest of comic books: It's actually, genuinely a comic experience, with several guaranteed laugh-out-loud moments per issue." – Paul Constant, The Stranger
• Interview: At Graphic Novel Reporter, Peter Gutiérrez has a Q&A with Jaime Hernandez & Todd Hignite, author of The Art of Jaime Hernandez: "I was a little surprised to find out that my approach to sex in comics is different from the norm. I've always tried to treat it as naturally as somebody talking about having to buy groceries, and I guess it paid off. Who knew?"
• Review: "As for this book, yes, it's completely lovely, gorgeously designed by Jacob Covey. Its contents are so damn delightful that within one week of finishing reading the book, I was actively entertaining buying what seemed to be all of it again in another format. It's an absolute treasure, a work of art I'm glad to own. ... Locas II is recommended, strongly, if you haven't read the material, but do some research [link added - Ed.] and make sure you're not duplicating yourself too much if you have." – The Hipster Dad's Bookshelf
• Review: "No one smiles. It’s am emotional world presented in emotionless, static drawings and strange greens and beiges. Nothing is visually beautiful, and while all of this would seem to work against the impact of the story, it ultimately conveys a feeling of overwhelming nervousness, or waking up way too early in the morning and blearily staring into an unfamiliar world, and this is what infects you until it all makes sense. ... [Mother, Come Home] is not a light read, but it feels much lighter than the works that it seeks to shadow, and should be a welcome addition to any collection." – Collin David, Graphic Novel Reporter
• Plugs: In their "Graphic Novels Prepub Alert," Library Journal's Martha Cornog spotlights August releases Nancy Is Happy: Complete Dailies, 1942–1945 ("Nancy has inspired numerous pop culture variations and tributes as well as a forthcoming serious analysis: How To Read Nancy (Karasik & Newgarden, Fantagraphics, Aug. 2010). The who’s who among Nancy Revivalists includes Art Spiegelman and Dan Clowes — who wrote the introduction. This first reprint volume collects the second four-year span of the run. The first four years will appear later, since the archival material is more sparse and difficult to collate") and RIP M.D. ("A 'full-color, all-ages adventure' with an animated cartoon series in development, a promising bet for reluctant readers.")
• Plug: At Robot 6, Sean T. Collins on our MoCCA table: "You could safely shop only from Fantagraphics and still experience a hella great comics industry in microcosm."
Mark Newgarden, co-author with Paul Karasik of our forthcoming edition of How to Read Nancy, has put out a call for assistance (which I have swiped wholesale from Comics Comics but jeez, we're publishing the book after all):
There are a small handful of specific images that we are still seeking quality scans of.
We are searching for hard copies (or high rez scans 350 dpi or higher) of the following:
FRITZI RITZ 1/2/33
NANCY 6/ 29/ 55
DEBBIE (AKA LITTLE DEBBIE) by Cecil Jensen 6/ 27/ 55
THE 1942 NANCY TERRYTOONS MOVIE POSTER
We are also looking for additional photographs of Ernie Bushmiller; preferably in his studio (and/or related memorabilia). Please let us know what you have in your vaults!
Of course all contributions will be fully acknowledged in the book and all lenders will receive a gratis copy—and a hearty handclasp!
Anyone who can be of assistance, please contact Mark at mark (at) laffpix (dot) com.