• Review: PW on Ulli Lust's Today is The Last Day of the Rest of Your Life "Her recollections willfully expose the dark side of an anarchic lifestyle, yet are void of any didactic embellishment, and instead form a genuine and nonjudgmental look at aimless youth and rebellion. And what's truer to punk than that?" –Publishers Weekly
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The most delicious 50% candy so let's eat our feelings of Online Commentaries and Diversions:
• Plug: The Advocate lists Julio's Day as great gift. "[Julio's Day] is a remarkable literary work that compresses 100 years into 100 pages and demonstrates how dramatically life changed for gay men between 1900 and 2000." –Jacob M, The Advocate
• Plug: The AV Club lists Julio's Day at #8 of the top 10 Graphic Novels and Art Comics of 2013. "Comic books have a unique way of evoking the passage of time within static images, and Gilbert Hernandez is a cartoonist that is keenly aware of how he can use the medium to manipulate that chronal flow." –Oliver Sava, The AV Club
• Review: Julio's Day on Comic Pusher "This is a fantastic book, yet another example of a master cartoonist at work, an excellent representative Gilbert Hernandez for those unfamiliar with him, and a fine addition to the library of those who have grown with his work over 30 years." -Jeffrey O. Gustafson, Comics Pusher
• Review: Maria M. by Gilbert Hernandez on Page 45: "Crime and punishment executed with rapidfire, bullet-point precision...The cartooning is, as ever, an immaculately clean and balanced black and white joy, the expressions are exquisite and the breasts, they are humungous." -SLH, Page 45
• Plug: Maria M. "More than 30 years into his career, there's no stopping Gilbert Hernandez..." -Tom Murphy, Broken Frontier
• Plug: GNR takes a look at Gilbert Hernandez's The Troublemakers: "I found the book to be engrossing, compelling, and a lot of fun for both noir and comics fans." -Sterg Botzakis, Graphic Novel Resources
• Review: Best of 2013 on Comics Pusher "Obviously this was the year of Gilbert Hernandez…Gilbert filled the void of singular marquis comics with no less than five stunning works, collectively casting its own literary shadow for subsequent generations to wonder at. Someday you can tell your grandchildren that you were alive when the Hernandez Brothers were creating comics, and when Gilbert owned 2013." –Jeffrey O. Gustafson, Comics Pusher
• Review: Comic Book Bin looks at Love and Rockets: New Stories #6 "Here, both [Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez] are like great athletes that use human growth hormone (HGH) to extend their peak performance into middle age. Los Bros. have found creative and artistic steroids, as they are producing Love and Rockets comics that are as good as they've ever been. Or maybe genius never gets old and keeps producing all-star work." –Leroy Douresseaux, Comic Book Bin
• Review: "Love and Rockets continues to be a vital and important ongoing document of two creators at the absolute height of their powers, and the only venue to read new material from Jaime. The brothers' respective works, their respective worlds, stand alone - but in Love and Rockets we get the privilege of experiencing jolts of both, alternating between brother and brother, between greatness and greatness." –Jeffrey O. Gustafson, Comic Pusher
• Plug: Love and Rockets Companion is examined on VICE "Love and Rockets is a great comic that has been around for 30 years now and the characters in the book have aged in time with us... This book's dust jacket, which unfolds into a family tree, will help sort you out if you're like me and can't keep the characters straight" -Nick Gazin, VICE
• Review: Grovel checks out Maria M. "Love and Rockets fans shouldn't be without this, but anyone else with an interest in sharp, sexy, violent but sophisticated stories can still enjoy it for what it is: a B-movie homage that takes the genre above and beyond our expectations." -Andy Shaw, Grovel
• Plug: The Omnivoracious lists Love and Rockets the series as part of the Lambda awards "These are life stories, told as life unfolds-with humor, heartbreak, and perseverance" –Alex Carr
• Plug: Paste lists The Love Bunglers on the Most Anticipated comics of 2014! "Any time a collection of Jaime Hernandez's Maggie (and/or Hopey) stories is published, it's cause for celebration." -Hillary Brown, Paste
• Review: Wandering Son 6 by Shimura Takako "in Wandering Son, Volume 6 so many parallels are made between Shuichi and Takatsuki's real life and the very deliberately crafted Romeo and Juliet production.... It may not be a particularly subtle narrative technique on Shimura's part, but it is a very effective one. The play echos their experiences, emphasizing specific aspects of their lives and relationships not only for the characters, but for the readers as well. Wandering Son continues to be an absolutely wonderful series." –Ash Brown, Experiments in Manga
• Plug: The Advocate lists the Wandering Son series "An amazing series, Wandering Son offers an unusual glimpse into the lives of gender-nonconforming kids. Suitable for readers 13 and older and engaging enough to keep readers of all ages impatiently awaiting next year's Volume 5."
• Review: The Chicago Tribune looks at Carl Barks' Donald Duck: Christmas on Bear Mountain. "Ridiculously, infuriatingly, this is the first time the work of America's finest cartoonist (his only real competition being George Herriman, Walt Kelly and Charles Schulz) has been reproduced with the care and splendor it deserves. Imagine if Duke Ellington's recordings were only now being properly remastered and collected." – Michael Robbins, The Chicago Tribune
• Review: Donald Duck: Christmas on Bear Mountain "Carl Barks is one of those truly perfect cartoonists. It feels so good to have these books with beautiful Fantagraphics quality production sitting on my shelf...You'll get sucked in." –Nick Gazin, VICE
• Review: SLJ on Donald Duck: Christmas on Bear Mountain "Barks's Disney comics were and are enormously well crafted and equally enormously entertaining, timeless comedy adventures that Fanta presents in such handsomely designed volumes that they make the perfect gift for just about any reader of comics." –J. Caleb Mozzocco, School Library Journal
• Review: Donald Duck: Christmas on Bear Mountain "Scrooge is a lot grouchier, bitter and ill tempered than his later incarnations and closer to the Dickens persona rather than Bark's character...whenever I bring up the subject of ducks with my comic book pals, they look at me a-scant but I highly recommend this fabulous collection from Fantagraphics that celebrates the life and prodigious body of work of the Dean of Duckdom, the irreplaceable Carl Barks." –Chris Marshall, Collected Comics Library
• Review: "Newave! Underground Mini Comix of the 1980s might be the largest mini ever made. Edited by Michael Dowers, this fat collection features some of the best minis of the day."–Chris Auman, Sound on Sight
• Plug: Atomichearted Boy looks at The Treasury of Mini Comics, edited by Michael Dowers. "Mini comics are like the wild west of the comics world - in this lo-fi, DIY formate - it's anything - and everything - goes."–Benn Ray, Atomic Books
• Review: The Secret History of Marvel Comics by Blake Bell and Doc Michael J Vassallo "…this book expands our understanding of the publishing industry context in which those comics were produced, and it gives us an unprecedented portfolio of non-comic book art from some notable comic book artists." -John Hilgart, The Comics Journal
• Review: "what's been unearthed here (much of it never reprinted) is both visually and historically stunning…The Secret History of Marvel Comics is a stunning book (in more ways than one) of beauties, beasts, and bombast, as well as a wonderfully askew look at the Precambrian Era of Marvel Comics." –KC Carlson, Comics Worth Reading
• Interview: Bomb Blog asks Stephen Dixon about His Wife Leaves Him: "Yes. I wanted most of the novel to be in his head. For this, he has to be lying back in bed with his room dark and his eyes closed, remembering things in their marriage. Of course, there is action in the dream. There's movement, I should say. It's a very interior novel." -Dixon
Review: David Evanier looks at His Wife Leaves Him and Stephen Dixon in general. "Stephen Dixon is, in my opinion, the best and most overlooked American Jewish fiction writer in the country. If I left out "Jewish," he would still be the best."–David Evanier, The Jewish Book Council
• Review: Publishers Weekly gives His Wife Leaves Him a starred review: "A peek into the private world of their marriage proves the novel to be more than the sum of its parts as the reader is granted a panoramic view of the evolution of two characters and their relationship."
• Interview: James Fleming writes a very nice intro to Dixon's His Wife Leaves Him and includes some email correspondence with him on Burrow Press. "How do I even begin to explain how Dixon--though we've never met in person and I've never taken a writing class with him--effectively taught me nearly everything I know about short-story and novel writing."
• Review: Goddamn This War! on FPI Best of 2013 list: "Tardi's burning rage at the injustice and immorality of what was done to so many is undimmed by the passing of time, and as we enter the centenary year of the start of that awful war this work becomes even more vital for readers." –Joe Gordon, Forbidden Planet International
• Review: Goddamn This War! "Jacques Tardi is a one of the most versatile cartoonists to ever lift a pencil...We descend into Hell with these soldiers, live their unbelievably intense live, and are inexorably and subtly changed by the experience. That is the power of great Art. That is the power of the great Jacques Tardi." –Jason Sacks, Comics Bulletin
• Plug: Goddamn This War! made Mark Burrier's Best of 2013 list. "Besides the meticulously-referenced artwork, Tardi painted these panels using inks and they are gorgeous...Kim Thompson did a bang up job translating this. The narrator is recounting what it was like during WWI and the tone holds up well to translation." -Mark Burrier
• Review: PW on Ulli Lust's Today is The Last Day of the Rest of Your Life "Her recollections willfully expose the dark side of an anarchic lifestyle, yet are void of any didactic embellishment, and instead form a genuine and nonjudgmental look at aimless youth and rebellion. And what's truer to punk than that?" –Publishers Weekly
• Review: Today is The Last Day of the Rest of Your Life "There is a rejection of the organization of the world, from organized faith to organized crime. It is about the pursuit of nihilism as a route to integrity. Ulli Lust has the intelligence to look at her life and make a book of it." -Eddie Campbell, The Comics Journal
• Plug: Today is The Last Day of the Rest of Your Life makes Froh's Best of 2013 list "Coming of age that makes you squirm. Beautifully drawn story depicted with a punk touch." -Kelly Froh, Atomic Blog
• Review: Ghost and Ruins by Ben Catmull on NY Journal of Books: "For those who like their horror with more then a hint of detached humor, Ghosts and Ruins is the perfect book to leave out at both Halloween and Christmas. These are wonderfully scary stories drawn and told with such beauty and wit you regret when they end. " –Mark Squirek, NY Journal of Books
• Review: Ghost and Ruins by Ben Catmull on Famous Monsters: "If Escher and Gorey met in Maurice Sendak's house and decided to riff on Junji Ito manga, you might have something similar to these pages…All fans of black and white horror movies owe it to themselves to hunt this down and subsequently cower under the covers like a kid in the cold." –Holly Interlandi, Famous Monsters
• Plug: "Ghost and Ruins will satisfy your craving for dark and creepy, yet beautiful drawings of - you got it - ghosts and ruins!" –Jade, Librarie D&Q
• Review: On Richard Sala's Violenzia "Sala takes the conventions of Golden Age comics like Dick Tracy and The Shadow and [modernizes] them for the digital era" –HTML Giant
• Review: Richard Sala's The Hidden. "There's no mistaking a panel of a Sala comic for a panel of anyone else's comic...it is probably his grandest and most epic in terms of scale, and it's full of suspense, mystery, horror, violence and a perhaps surprising amount of action..." –J. Caleb Mozzoccoo, Every Day is Like Wednesday
• Review: Katherine Whaley receives a Starred Reviewi n Publishers Weekly: "a parade of 20th century American philosophical fads, particularly those rooted in the entertainment business, pseudoscience, commercialized spiritualism, and general quackery. The story is earnestly told from Kate's wide-eyed perspective and achieves a tone that emphasizes the multifaceted nature of human experience."
• Interview: Brian Heater of Boing Boing interviews Kim Deitch about Katherine Whaley on the Recommended If You Like podcast.
• Review: Barracuda in the Attic by Kipp Friedman on Boswell Book Company "Growing up as one of three sons of the writer Bruce J. Friedman, they had adventures many of us can't imagine... Kipp's upbringing does resonate with me more than just another New York story..." -Daniel Goldin
• Plug: Willard Mullins' Golden Age of Baseball edited by Michael Powers and Hal Bock in the NY Daily News. "Mullin was a treasure and so, too, is this book." –Bill Madden, NY Daily News
• Review: Willard Mullins' Golden Age of Baseball gets reviewed "Through the eyes of someone like Mullin, with his graceful portraits of folks like Babe Ruth and Stan Musial, the sport seems thousands of years old. An artifact. A time capsule… This is a beautiful-looking book, thorough and affectionate in its treatment of the cartoonist Willard Mullin and his coverage of the sport for which he is best known: baseball." -Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Journal
• Plug: "...we get to watch Charles M. Schulz's cast evolve, along with his simple yet lyrical line. [Peanuts Every Sunday] is a complement to Fantagraphics' continuing and indispensable 'Complete Peanuts' publishing project." -Dana Jennings, NY Times
• Plug: Westfield Comics on Peanuts Every Sunday. "If Peanuts Every Sunday isn't under your Christmas Tree this year, put aside some of your Holiday 'loot' (as early Schulz might say) to make sure you pick it up as soon as you can. You won't regret it. It's the kind of gift book I'd be getting for Grandma Lil, if she were still around" -KC Carlson, Westfield Comics
The best-seasoned pan that your friends accidentally cleaned with soap of Online Commentaries and Diversions:
• Review: Comics Bulletin looks at Charles Forsman's latest: "Celebrated Summer works as an excellent examination of what remains unspoken between close friends and what it means to feel trapped in your own skin." –Geoffrey Lapid, Comics Bulletin
• Review: Santa Barbara News Press in PRINT, baby reviews "Unexpectedly, almost secretly lovely, Celebrated Summer has a sadness and listlessness at its core that resonates much louder...Forsman gets in and out quickly, not making more of this tale of suburban apathy than needs making, which only makes his story that much more poignant." –Katie Haegele, Santa Barbara News Press
• Review: Publishers Weekly looks at Celebrated Summer "Simpler and less dramatic than his previous, similarly themed TEOTFW, Forsman has built another excellent account of growing up via outsider behavior."
• Review: Celebrated Summer hits Best of 2013 Comics on Comics Bulletin. "This is a bildungsroman of the narcissist, psychotic, detached. It is the psychic havoc of the perpetually doomed; the coming of age story of those striding forth into world where the connection between cause and effect is a spectator sport, where emotional content is gauged by 'hits' and the chance to go viral…And it will break you." –Daniel Elkin, Comics Bulletin
• Review: Locust Moon Comics looks at Celebrated Summer "...rendered in Forsman's punk-Hergé micron style, where the clear line of Kevin Huizenga meets the scratchy cross-hatching of Chester Brown... where TEOTFW was cold and harsh, preserving the mystery of its semi-sociopathic protagonists, CELEBRATED SUMMER is resignedly warm and humane." –Josh O'Neill, Locust Moon
• Review: "Forsman is one of the strongest and most vital young cartoonists currently putting pen to paper-not to mention one of the most fully, uniquely realized...Owing far more to Chester Brown's exquisite linework and Charles M. Schulz's deceptive lushness than to Porcellino's piercing iconography, Forsman's efforts on Celebrated Summer nonetheless radiate a singular soulfulness." –Jason Heller, The A.V. Club
• Plug: Broken Frontier "Completed before Forsman began work on TEOTFW, [Celebrated Summer] promises to be an intriguing tale of youth banging up against the world of adulthood." -Tom Murphy, Broken Frontier
• Review: A review of Celebrated Summer originally published in City Pages. "Like the structure of the song, where before the bridge all seems wondrous, loud and anticipatory, Forsman comes through with his own sullen, downtrodden acoustic lick to unsettle everything and beg his reader to question." -Alec Barry, City Pages
• Review: Page 45 "Beautifully drawn in a thin, fragile line with lots of intricate crosshatching and stylistic nods towards Trudeau…and Huizenga, this is a very quiet book..." –SLH, Page 45
• Review: Rob Clough looks at TEOTFW "He has a knack for giving voice to a certain sense of ennui and desperation for connection and meaning, yet manages to do so in a way that avoids navel-gazing and static storytelling...there are simply no extraneous lines to be found in this comic. That's a mark of a confident artist hitting his stride, and TEOTFW feels like Forsman's comics PhD project." –Rob Clough, The Comics Journal
• Review: On Forsman's The End of the Fucking World "...punches aren't pulled for the cartoonist's Fantagraphics debut, a study in sociopathology with shifting narrative perspectives and artwork that any amateur comics scholar will quickly point out owes a lot to Schulz' shaky line." –Brian Heater, BoingBoing
• Interview: Alex Dueben interviews Chuck Forsman about The End of the Fucking World on Comic Book Resources. "I like to set up a puzzle so that the reader has to do a little bit of work and put the dots together themselves. I don't like to over-explain everything or give everything away. I just think it's more interesting that way."
• Plug: The AV Club lists Celebrated Summer at #1 of the top 10 Graphic Novels and Art Comics of 2013. "Chuck Forsman is a cartoonist with a talent for expressing the emotional turbulence of adolescence and early adulthood...With an art style that combines the animated simplicity of Charles M. Schulz and the detailed linework of Chester Brown, Forsman establishes himself as one of the most promising alternative-comic creators." –Oliver Sava, The A. V. Club
• Review: "Forsman is a master of silences - few cartoonists are as articulate with words left unsaid - and this utterly recognizable and deceptively simple story speaks volumes without saying much at all." -Josh, Locust Moon Comics
• Plug: Celebrated Summer makes Froh's Best of 2013 list. "The way they regard each other rings so true of that age, that mix of boredom and wonder. Haven't we all stared at ourselves in the mirror the way Wolf does?" -Kelly Froh, Atomic Blog
• Review: "Forsman's The End of the Fucking World is both fatalistic and poignant...one of the greatest strengths of TEOTFW: Forsman has the ability to make protagonists who are capable of committing quite monstrous acts sympathetic, and even tragic, throughout."–Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier
• Review: TEOTFW on Mental Floss "This tale of young love is reminiscent of Terrence Malick's classic film Badlands in both its content and its sparse storytelling style. In fact, Forsman's whole low budget approach to making the comic gives it a mood similar to a low budget film despite the deliberate comic strip feel of his cartooning."–Rich Barrett, Mental Floss
• Review: "What is disguised as a rote teen disillusionment melodrama about two kids acting out their Bonnie & Clyde moment is in reality a powerful story about sociopaths, abandonment, cults, crime both petty and murderous, and unquenchable emotional hollowness...The End of the Fucking World is a superb graphic novel, poetic and gripping, a pure crime-noir page-turner that will stop you dead in your tracks and leave its mark on you like a hot needle burned into the skin in the mourning light." –Jeffrey O.Gustafson, Comics Pusher
• Review: "Forsman, a graduate of Vermont's Center for Cartoon Studies, has a solid grasp of comics storytelling and his lightly drawn page compositions display an intriguing degree of variety...Forsman's pair of nihilists are shown to be the results of terrible parenting and are so estranged from human society that they have difficulty feeling emotions and pursuing a viable relationship together, much less to recognise when other people are not psychopaths." -James Romberger, Hooded Utilitarian
• Plug: We are eagerly waiting for that TEOTFW web series to come out!
• Review: The Comics Journal "Gfrörer's sense of pacing is superb-her panels advance patiently, so that the dread of her endings has the controlled pluck of a Twlight Zone episode…Black is the color of Gfrörer's humor." -Nicole Rudick, The Comics Journal
• Review: "Like Black, [Gfrörer's] body of work to date is offbeat and well wrought. Far more importantly than being enjoyable, it is also remarkably subversive.Black Is the Color is marked by an impressive poeticism in pacing, dark and intricate drawing, and a refreshing contemporary spin on gothic storytelling. It also marks a thrillingly mature period in Gfrörer's career." –Joshua Michael Demaree, LA Review of Books
• Review: Black is the Color on Robot 6 "Romantic, tragic, elegiac and beautiful, one could scarcely ask for more from a book, comic or otherwise." -J. Caleb Mozzocco, Robot 6
• Review: "the scratchy intensity of Gfrorer's line is the key to the book's success...Every line is an assault, from the tiny stilettos that comprise the dense waves to the darkness of night that is almost invasive…In a story where death is a certainty, that kind of dignity represents a kind of triumph, one more authentic than if Gfrorer had let the happy ending be real." –Rob Clough, High Low Comics
• Review: Page 45 on Black Is the Color by Julia Gfrörer. "The whole book is conducted in this simple, easily accessible format as well as style. There's not just a wobbly fragility to the lines, there is a bleakness to them as well - for it is cold at sea - even during sensual embraces." -SLH, Page 45
• Review: Some fans have a way with words "If Dante were alive today, he would say, 'Yes!' in thunder to Johnny Ryan's Prison Pit series. Endlessly inventive, repulsive, retributive, and beautiful, Prison Pit is funny and foul, an eternal nightmare that deserves a life on the big screen…" –Tom, Goodreads
• Plug: Librairie Drawn & Quarterly is ready for Prison Pit Book Five. "The fifth installment of Johnny Ryan's Prison Pit, like its predecessors, is full of over the top, violence and sci-fi gore rendered in crude black and white drawings... One thing's for sure, guts will flow and blood will spill!" -Librairie Drawn & Quarterly via Largehearted Boy
• Plug: "Johnny Ryan's Prison Pit Book Five is disgustingly, violently brilliant." - James Cartwright, It's Nice That
• Plug: Atomic Hearted Boy runs a plug for Prison Pit Book Five "Ryan continues to push well beyond the limits good taste (thankfully) with this new installment of his sci-fi, prison gore-a-palooza epic." -Benn Ray, Atomic Books
• Review: Hip Hop Family Tree makes Spin's 18 Best Music Books of 2013. "Here, [Ed Piskor] presents the facts in a nostalgic, faded-ink and rubbery realism of '70s Marvel Comics style, turning rap's early innovators into larger-than-life heroes of history." - Brandon Soderberg, SPIN
• Review: NPR lists great gifts for hip hop fans. "Ed Piskor's Hip-Hop Family Tree is a real fusion of both art forms. Piskor tells the gripping origin story of hip-hop in storyboard form with original artwork. Illuminating for kids and grown-ups alike." –Evan Auerbach, NPR
• Interview: Free Comic Book Day interviews Ed about his new FCBD comic and his favorite part of Hip Hop Family Tree. "I cracked the code because I created and tailored the perfect project for me to work on. I'm excited to wake up in the morning and get back in the saddle."
• Interview: Hip Hop Family Tree Proper Mag "Though the story may be a well known one, as a hip hop fan from back in the day I still found something new and revelatory on each of these carefully drawn and vintag-ed yellowy pages...So if you love Hip-Hop in any shape or form then this is an essential read. Vol. 2 should be a soulsonic sensation, so get your Kangols and shell-toes at the ready."–Neil, Proper Mag
• Interview: Ed Piskor is interviewed by Tom Scioli on Comics Allianc about Hip Hop Family Tree. His favorite comics series is The Complete Crumb series, also printed by Fanta!
• Review: "Piskor uses the form of his comic to recreate the thunderous beat of the speakers and the rattling effect a heavy bass line has on you physically....The comic books hits you in your gut the same way that the great music does. Piskor hits that perfect alchemy of comic and music...Everything about Hip Hop Family Tree Volume 1 is a love letter to the music and comics of bygone time." -Scott Cederlund, Newsarama
• Interview: Ed Piskor is interviewed at Chicago Ideas Week! Check out the high quality video right here from the cartoonist behind Hip Hop Family Tree.
• Review: "The book is an absolute essential for any hip hop head to read and any comic book fan to gander over." Kevin Cortez of Mass Appeal interviews Piskor on Hip Hop Family Tree. "I think my major strength in telling this story is that I don't have hero-worship when it comes to anyone in particular. It's hip hop that I love and all these players just make up the bigger whole," says Piskor.
• Review: "Hip Hop Family Tree depicts a time before the quest for conspicuous riches overshadowed much of the music's highest-profile culture. Fittingly, Piskor's book feels just as real and authentic as the retro rap it celebrates" -Michael Cavna, The Washington Post
• Review: Page 45 on Hip Hop Family Tree: "The ability of comics to transport you to a time and place in a manner that prose works just cannot match is demonstrated here as Ed perfectly captures the nature of street life and the crazy characters at that time...Fans of hip hop need this work." -JR, Page 45
• Review: The Seattle Times lists Hip Hop Family Tree as a great gift for music lovers. "His extremely thorough and academic history lesson is also action-packed, fun and funny" –Andrew Matson
• Review: Propeller Magazine writes "one of the most awe-inspiring narrative achievements of the year, Piskor tells the early history of hip hop by seamlessly weaving together all of their creative highs and lows, their commercial hits and freeze-outs. Rarely has such an extremely informative historical document been so gossipy, entertaining, and original." -Patrick McGinty, Propeller Magazine
• Plug: On Hip Hop Family Tree "The intersection of art and music is not an unfamiliar one. But if Basquiat and Rothko isn't to your taste, and you grew up with the likes of Stan Lee and Alan Moore, perhaps Ed Piskor's ingenious Hip Hop Family Tree is more suited to your needs." -Joyce, Pigeons and Planes
• Review: TCJ on Couch Tag: "Fear gives way to anger and despair, and no feeling is left unexplored... I'll look forward to the next full-length book from Reklaw , who has a truly special intellect and keen sense of humor. I'd love to see what would happen if he brought all aspects of his storytelling technique together at once." –Katie Haegele, The Comics Journal
• Review: Couch Tag was on Boing Boing's Best Books of the month: "Couch Tag, on the author hand, is a sort of family autobiography, assembled from countless loose threads centered around objects and things, discarding any semblance of chronology. It's painful at times, like childhood itself, but Reklaw is mostly an objective tour guide through the strange and seminal moments of his youth." -Brian Heater, Boing Boing
• Interview: Tom Spurgeon on The Comics Reporter interviews Jesse Reklaw on Couch Tag, mental illness and the comics game. "That first chapter of Couch Tag was the first thing that I did as a long format work that my friends actually liked. That was very significant to me, because I'm one of those people that bounces around in my own head for a very long time. It's where I find a hole to ooze out." –Reklaw
• Interview (audio): Jesse Reklaw appears on the Inkstuds podcast with Robin McConnell to discuss Couch Tag and a whole lot more!
• Plug: Reklaw's Couch Tag appears on John Porcellino's Best Books of 2013. "How Jesse has remained so deeply underground up to now is beyond me, but there are few books I've looked forward to and waited longer for than this collection of his stunning, very sad and powerful comics about his childhood, and his life growing up in a mentally and emotionally unbalanced family. Reklaw has the chops to draw anything, and the skill and taste to write with an understated grace that allows emotions and experiences to well up and breathe on their own." -John P.
• Plug: Couch Tag also landed on the list for Best Comics of 2013 on Forbidden Planet International "Couch Tag has been delighting me over the holidays...it dealt in the well-worn tradition of autobiographical comics about family life, [not] focusing on some huge event, rather inviting us into all the little ups and downs that make up everyone's life, and [was] the more charming and welcoming for it..." -Joe Gordon, FPI
Next month's issue of Booklist will include reviews of two recent releases by Fantagraphics creators, excerpted below:
"Hip-hop devotee Piskor was one of Harvey Pekar's last collaborators and here shows himself to be Pekar's true disciple as a chronicler of popular culture... Piskor's artwork seems equally indebted to the looks of golden-age DC superhero comics and Pekar's greatest collaborator, R. Crumb." -Ray Olson
"His drawings (under his famous "VIP" signature) stood out not just for their immediately recognizable, wildly peculiar look (once described as 'pleasantly grotesque') but also for their insouciant treatment of such matters as sex, booze, and death... Barli's well-researched biographical text will fascinate cartooning aficionados, but for most readers, the volume's appeal lies solely in the wealth of rare VIP work he's assembled, much of it printed from the original art." -Gordon Flagg
Next month's issue of Booklist will include a review of a recent release by Fantagraphics creators, excerpted below:
"Reflecting the domestication of his big-screen incarnation, the mischievous scamp of the earlier strips is giving way to a more decorous rodent who increasingly turns the broad humor over to his dim-witted sidekick, Goofy. In contrast to the daily episodes, which largely featured adventure-oriented story lines that extended for weeks, these Sunday installments are mostly self-contained gags... With their retro appeal, Gottfredson's buoyant drawings might just look even better now than they did when they were fresh." –Gordon Flagg, Booklist
The last month's issue of Booklist reviewed recent releases by Fantagraphics creators, excerpted below:
"…maybe the most romantic mystery scenario his lean, animal-headed personae have ever performed...Delicious...heartwarming, too." –Ray Olson
"The high-spirited, adventure-seeking mouse in these vintage strips-a far cry from today's bland, domesticated version-makes it clear why Mickey captivated Depression-era
America." –Gordon Flagg
"Hernandez's absence from Palomar hasn't dimmed his ability to bring its beloved characters to vivid life, and his visual approach, a skillful blend of cartooning and illustration, remains as distinctive and acute as ever. Fans who have missed Palomar will relish the chance to return there once again." –Gordon Flagg, Booklist
"…just as in our world, there's more to life than consumption, such as breakfast and odd proclamations ("From now on all eyeglasses will be rectangular") from enigmatic locations, or possibly people. You can never really be sure. More than a bit like the surrealism of real life, but everyone wears a muumuu." –Ray Olson, Booklist
"[The End is] as intelligently written and beautifully drawn-whether simply or intricately-as anything else this front-runner in his generation of comics artists has done. The last piece ends in blank-paneled silence, bringing to mind Wittgenstein's famous proposition, "What we cannot speak about, we must pass over in silence." –Ray Olson, Booklist
The latest, largest kaiju monsters of Online Commentaries and Criticism:
• Review: New School in The A.V. Club. "Like Anders Nilsen, Dash Shaw has spent his career looking for a creatively profitable middle ground between high art and straightforward comics storytelling.…Shaw riffs on the popular culture of the ’90s and the politics of the ’00s, suggesting that the children of one decade grew up too cut off from reality to understand the part they played in fostering the global conflict of the next. The social commentary in New School provides a sharp accent to a formally daring, at times alarming coming-of-age tale," says Noel Murray.
• Review: New School in Paste Magazine. "Dash Shaw is a relentless experimenter, never content to rely on the processes and approaches that garnered him acclaim the last go-round…Shaw’s ability to confidently follow his muse without justifying any artistic approach is part of what makes him such an exciting voice, and one that continues to refine itself with this excellent book," wrote Hillary Brown.
• Review: Mental Floss on New School. "Dash Shaw is one of the new generation of exciting comic creators who exist in a nexus between comics and the New York contemporary art scene... A glance at the pages here shows a bold, unusual use of color that seems part Power Mastrs, part Asterios Polyp," writes Rich Barrett.
• Review: Comics Alliance reviews Dash Shaw's New School. John Parker writes, "New School is surreal, emotional, and delirious with color…Moving, innovative, and beautiful, it's hard to imagine you'd confuse the woozy, dreamsick, and explosively colored pages of New School for any other artist's, no matter what distance you're viewing them from."
• Interview (audio): Dash Shaw is interviewed on Robin McConnell's Inkstuds again!
• Plug: New School in The Austin American Statesmen. "on first read, it is melancholic, funny and smartly impressionistic, three things that comics do well…Dash Shaw likes to move through styles, and it’s exciting. As soon as you think you have a fix on his forms, he tweaks it just a bit," writes Joe Gross.
• Review: NPR lists Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life as one of the five touching comics of summer. "Lust's desire to experience real life and to learn things beyond books is by turns uplifting and painful, funny and frightening…The result is a modern coming-of-age story that addresses the thrills and consequences of being young, idealistic, and more than a little lucky," Myla Goldberg sums up.
• Review: The National Post on Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life by Ulli Lust. "Last Day is, essentially, a memoir of powerlessness, of how fruitless our attempts to shape our own lives can be - a fact often reflected in her lines, simple and crisp but frequently lost in the chaos of big scenes.…It's an honesty, intimate and universal, that comics capture better than any medium, and Lust's entry is an almost perfect instance," states David Berry.
• Review: Slant Magazine looks at Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life by Ulli Lust. Tim Peters says, "…it's spontaneous, sexual, and both cynically and internationally adventurous. It's also further proof that the graphic novel is going to dethrone the novel as the 21st century's preferred form for telling a story…A good way to think about Today Is the Last Day is as a kind of anti-Eat, Pray, Love."
• Plug: Cleaver Magazine on Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life by Ulli Lust. "…the beauty of this graphic memoir is in the way, image by image and line by line, it captures that yearning and its momentary fulfillments in the shapes of breathtaking, carefully drawn landscapes, or drawings that depict Ulli's surreal fantasies, like her body floating happily over the Spanish stairs," writes Tahneer Oksman
• Review: Cult Montreal enjoys Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life by Ulli Lust. "Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life is a gripping read that feels like a story a close friend might tell you after returning from a long voyage. Lust's lively illustration style and enthralling narrative voice make this graphic novel a feminist On the Road for the twenty-first century," writes Jeff Miller.
• Plug: Largehearted Boy lists Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life by Ulli Lust as one of the picks of the week "It's a frank, funny, occasionally brutal coming-of-age story…There's plenty of sex, drugs, and violence, though it's Lust's insight and sensitivity that really make it shine," writes The Librarie Drawn & Quarterly Bookstore.
Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life is a gripping read that feels like a story a close friend might tell you after returning from a long voyage. Lust’s lively illustration style and enthralling narrative voice make this graphic novel a feminist On the Road for the twenty-first century. - See more at: http://cultmontreal.com/2013/07/comics-review-ulli-lust-tom-gauld-joe-ollmann/#sthash.5LDUqr84.dpuf
Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life is a gripping read that feels like a story a close friend might tell you after returning from a long voyage. Lust’s lively illustration style and enthralling narrative voice make this graphic novel a feminist On the Road for the twenty-first century. - See more at: http://cultmontreal.com/2013/07/comics-review-ulli-lust-tom-gauld-joe-ollmann/#sthash.5LDUqr84.dpu
• Review (audio): Episode 18 of Comics for Grownups on Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life by Ulli Lust.
• Interview: Matt Seneca interviews Charles Forsman of The End of the Fucking World and being compared to Charles Schulz on Comics Alliance. "It is very much about being fucked-up when you are a teen and that should be a timeless idea. We all go through that. I guess the 80s thing is something that I use as an atmospheric reference for myself," says Forsman. "Forsman managed to do what even the most talented cartoonists often have difficulty with, fusing the honesty of presentation and uninflected realism native to classic alternative comics with the white-knuckle pace and jaw-clenching cliffhangers of the best action storytelling," writes Seneca.
• Interview: Chuck Forsman talks about mini-comics, schoolin' and The End of the Fucking World with Spurgeon on The Comics Reporter<. "I really enjoyed building something with smaller bricks. I guess that's how I've always thought of comics, breaking it down into scenes. Even when I'm just doing one book. I also like to mix the bricks up a bit." .
• Review: The New York Journal of Books enjoys Wake Up, Percy Gloom by Cathy Malkasian. "In a graphic novel filled with exceptional art, lush dreamscapes and characters of rich beauty, Ms. Malkasian brings simple moments to life that show us the depth of someone's heart," writes Mark Squirek. "Wake Up, Percy Gloom reminds us that every single moment is important because at any second apples may bloom and fall from the sky."
• Review: iFanboy on Wake Up, Percy Gloomby Cathy Malkasian. "Malkasian decorates the tale with surreal and absurd dressing (reminiscent of the land of Oz, more than anything else), and plots with twists and turns that are almost impossible to anticipate....If L Frank Baum, Jim Henson and, Jeff Smith wrote a comic together, it would feel (and look) a bit like Percy Gloom," writes Josh Christie.
• Review: The Comic Pusher looks at Wake Up, Percy Gloomby Cathy Malkasian. "Part cutting satire, part fairy tale, part nightmare…Wake Up, Percy Gloom! is another astonishing work from Malkasian, a beautiful and uplifting graphic novel filled with magic and loss and joy. Malkasian, a veteran animator and now highly accomplished cartoonist, once more delivers a work of startling power cementing herself as one of the most distinct and important voices in comics," pens Jeffrey O. Gustafson.
• Commentary: Jessica Lee report on The Beat about Cathy Malkasian's talk at the California College of Arts. "The amount of precision and undeniable heart Cathy puts into every ounce of her characters, panel construction, and worldbuilding is commendable, filling WAKE UP PERCY GLOOM with the kind of rare wonder that make it a gem in the pool of graphic novels…" writes Lee.
• Review: Eye of the Majestic Creature Vol. 2 by Leslie Stein is reviewed on VICE. "What Leslie does with her work is special. She seems largely influenced by newspaper comics, but her stories are subtle.…The core of this series seems to be about how uncomfortable it is to interact with other people and how lonely it can be in New York," says Nick Gazin.
• Review: Eye of the Majestic Creature Vol. 2 by Leslie Stein on Comics Bulletin. "Leslie Stein is a voice for a certain aspect of her generation, the ones you see feigning ironic detachment while inside they are either all honest excitement or vast empathy. While it's just so much easier and cooler not to get emotionally involved, for people like Stein, that's just really not possible," writes Daniel Elkin.
• Review: Good Dog by Graham Chaffee on Forbidden Planet International. "It's a brilliant little book, one I could quite cheerfully have read much more of, one that definitely left me wanting more…throughout the book, Chaffee paints the picture so vividly that you understand that dogs, just like us, are complicated beasts, and each has to find their own life," writes Richard Bruton.
• Review: The Hooded Utilitarian reviews Good Dog by Graham Chaffee. "Chaffee largely eschews panels which are filled with multifarious meaning and intricate correlations, adopting congenial, unsensational storytelling, evoking time, place and character; the gentle rhythms of a nostalgia associated with the early to mid twentieth century…The central questions being tackled here appear to be those of belief, ideology, and faith. A tangential discussion of deist philosophy may not be out of the question as well," writes Ng Suat Tong.
• Plug: Drawn Words on Good Dog by Graham Chaffee. "Good Dog is absolutely one of the most interesting comics of the year…Ivan's struggle as a stray is parallel to everyday human interaction and quest for personal fulfillment, exploring animal psychology in the simplest way Chaffee can possibly explain, while simultaneously maintaining a strong grip of emotion," muses Kevin Cortez.
• Review: The End by Anders Nilsen on The A.V. Club. "This is a book from comics' more avant-garde wing, and a premier example of how to make experimental work that still connects broadly, rather than coming across as self-indulgent vamping," writes Noel Murray.
• Plug: New York 1 on The End\ by Anders Nilsen. "…this beautiful creation explores grief and life, unanswered questions and unquestioned thought," states Andrew Losowsky.
• Interview: Alex Dueben of CBR interviews Kim Deitch on The Amazing, Enlightening and Absolutely True Adventures of Katherine Whaley, process and the inclusion of beavers. "Well, when you read around in old fiction there is a whole genre of stuff that you might categorize as "hollow earth" stories. You know, hidden teeming civilizations deep within the earth.…The almost human workaholic activities of beavers seemed like a potentially good fit to a story of that kind," answered Deitch.
• Plug: The "underground comix legend Kim Deitch returns with an epic graphic novel" writes Benn Ray on The Amazing, Enlightening and Absolutely True Adventures of Katherine Whaley at Largehearted Boy.
• Review: The National Post reviews Lost Cat. "Jason is one of the few artists (or writers) who can make existential aches seem droll, but it makes the smiles being provoked feel as honest as the ones we get when standing across from someone who makes the world feel a little less lonely," muses David Barry.
• Review: Comics Alliance gives Jason's Lost Cat the whatfor! "If you're familiar with Jason's previous work, you know his mastery of minimalist storytelling is what drives his art. His anthropomorphic, near emotionless characters, along with his consistent four panel page layouts, are his signature," writes Joseph Hughes.
• Review: Comics Bulletin looks at Jason's Lost Cat. "In a way it asks us to consider what is more meaningful, actually connecting or the longing to connect in the first place…Jason is an artist of a high caliber and reading Lost Cat confirms this. He creates in isolation, ruminates about our inability to connect, and, by doing so, brings us together," writes Daniel Elkin.
• Plug: Lost Cat is on Publishers Weekly Picks of the Week. "A humorous PI story populated by animals takes a turn toward the absurd in the newest-and longest yet-graphic novel by Jason."
Review: iFanboy on Bread & Wine by Samuel Delany and Mia Wolff. "The book is short...but packs some serious punch. Lots of the credit can go to Mia Wolff, whose black-and-white pen work adds some serious grittiness to the story. The only thing I love more than a good love story is a good atypical love story, and Bread & Wine fits the bill nicely," writes Josh Christie.
• Review: Bread & Wine by Samuel Delany and Mia Wolff on Sequential Tart<. "The story itself is intimate and at times awkward to read, which makes it feel very real and personal. Delany doesn't shy away from some of the less-appealing moments in the relationship...Bread & Wine is an unusual offering, and certainly won't be to everyone's taste, but it's certainly worth a read now that it's widely available and reasonably priced," writes Katie Frank.
• Review: Bread &Wine by Samuel Delany and Mia Wolff was reviewed on Comics Grinder. "This graphic novel, originally published in 1999, springs from a memoir and stands alone as engaging and insightful...For a book that promises an erotic tale, there are even more scenes that speak to the great divide between the two men which they will either struggle with or overcome," wrote Henry Chamberlain, Comics Grinder
• Plug: Bread & Wine by Samuel Delany and Mia Wolff on Largehearted Boy. "With Alan Moore contributing an introduction and Neil Gaiman and Junot Diaz (and Frank Miller in case that still means something to anyone) singing its praises, you know Bread & Wine has something special going on," says Benn from Atomic Books.
• Plug: Publishers Weekly on Hip Hop Family Tree by Ed Piskor. Maurice Boyer details the creative process: "each strip [is] a full week affair in which he spends a day of research and writing immersed in books, videos or interviews in search of inspiration for the week's strip. From there, he spends the rest of the week drawing his pages by hand and coloring them on the computer."
• Interview: Julia Gfrӧrer is interviewed on The Beat by Zainab Ahktar. "I like writing for a contemporary setting, but a contemporary mermaid story would be kind of a hard sell, it feels unpleasantly whimsical to me, so for that reason Black is the Color had to be set in the past." nbsp;
• Review: HIV+ on 7 Miles a Second by David Wojnarowicz, James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook. "It can be difficult to remember in 2013, just how despised gays were and just how oblivious the rest of society seemed to the AIDS epidemic in those dark days.… But 7 Miles a Second captures the rage and impotence felt by thousands of young gay men who were suddenly faced with the brutal finality of death," writes Jacob Anderson-Minshall.
• Review: Hyperallergic on 7 Miles a Second by David Wojnarowicz, James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook.. "Wojnarowicz…didn’t win the great game of life; they lost bitterly. To hear about those losses firsthand, to watch them unfold in words that essentially position us as front-row spectators, is devastating.…If there’s another theme in 7 Miles a Second, one that counteracts the weight of the body, it must be motion. Evident in both the form and content of the text, motion offers the promise of escape," writes Jillian Steinhauer.
• Commentary: MSN ran a story about the Sub Pop Silver Jubilee and the In Case We Die reading & signing by Danny Bland. "Bland read a passage about the first time the book's main character and his teenaged girlfriend shoot up - a degenerate scene redolent of hindsight romanticizing. Packed inside the bookstore, the audience roared approval. Only in Seattle."
• Interview: The Weekings' Joe Daly (a different one!) interviews Danny Bland on In Case We Die and getting clean, "Well, the catalyst for me getting clean was the classic tale of running out of resources. I did drugs until I ran out of money, and friends to steal from, and eventually the criminal element that I became involved with became too hot." Read more about these adventures in In Case We Die!
• Review: Forbidden Planet International on Jacques Tardi's Goddamn This War! "This is going straight into my own collection, and in my opinion every decent graphic novel collection needs some Tardi in it, he is one of the great masters of the medium," sums up Joe Gordon.
• Review: The French Embassy outlines Goddamn This War! "Goddamn This War! shares with [It Was the War of the] Trenches its sustained sense of outrage, pitch-black gallows humor, and impeccably scrupulous historical exactitude."
• Review: Washington Post on Barnaby by Crockett Johnson. "A whole new generation now will have the opportunity to become acquainted with Johnson's influential creation...Liberals may love Barnaby, but there is no reason why conservatives and libertarians can't admire the beauty, simplicity, wittiness and intelligence of this groundbreaking strip, too," posits Michael Taube.
• Review: Barnaby by Crockett Johnson reviewed by The A.V. Club<. "With Barnaby, Johnson combined low-impact serialized adventure with some gentle comedy based around the ways that adults and kids diverge in their perspectives. The result is a compulsively readable strip with a winningly off-kilter point-of-view-and a cultural treasure that's been long-overdue for this kind of prestige archival project..." posits Noel Murray.
• Plug: Mental Floss on Barnaby by Crockett Johnson. "It mixed fantasy, satire and political commentary and its humor was often very subtle. So subtle that its popularity was limited compared to most strips of the day. Editors Eric Reynolds and Philip Nel have taken great pains to annotate many of the topical references that were made to help new readers appreciate what Barnaby's small but devoted readership enjoyed at the time," pens Rich Barrett.
• Review: Comics Worth Reading flips through Mickey Mouse Color Sundays by Floyd Gottfredson. "The lighter approach makes this book a better choice to share with your young ones. They should love the timeless highjinks of the mouse and his friends. And anyone can appreciate the skilled cartooning and astounding art, so well-done it almost seems to move on paper," writes Johanna Draper Carlson.
• Review: Robot 6 on Mickey Mouse Color Sundays by Floyd Gottfredson. "What I really took away from this book, however, was Gottfredson's considerable (and very nuanced) compositional and storytelling skills...an entertaining read and still a thrill to see what Gottfredson work out and then master this longer styled-format. Disney fans - or just fans of solid, entertaining comics in general - won't be disappointed."
• Review: The Complete Syndicated Pogo Vol.2 "Bona Fide Balderdash" by Walt Kelly receives a 5 outta 5 stars from Comics Bulletin. "The world of those delightful characters feels tremendously lavish and vivid. Kelly's strip came from an era of deep graphical inventiveness…This book is pure magic, suitable for both a fourth grade teacher and a fourth grader," muses Jason Sacks.
• Review: Page 45 on Love and Rockets: The Companion edited by Marc Sobel and Kristy Valenti. "Best of all, however, are the interviews, so utterly addictive that I almost missed my review deadline…Editor Marc Sobel's interview with Los Bros Hernandez delivers some astonishing insights into the cycle of each story's conception, execution, then complete burned-out numbness in Jaime... and workaholic Gilbert's crippling self-doubt halfway through each chapter early on," states Stephen L. Holland.
• Review: Spectrum Culture enjoys Hal Foster's Prince Valiant 6: 1947-1948. "Readers unfamiliar with the Prince Valiant strip owe it to themselves to take a look. The stories encapsulate the values of a simpler, less cynical time, and the illustrations are first-rate," writes David Maine.
• Interview (audio): Forbidden Planet talks to Jaime Hernandez on Love and Rockets, alternative comics and more.
• Plug: An odd but fun article on Love and Rockets and baseball on The Good Phight. "It's odd, Jaime's stories in L&R, collected in the massive Locas collections, are kind of geek treasure troves. Clearly Jaime is influenced by punk and 80's alt California, but he's also really into superheroes, luchadores, and monster movies, so you get this weird melange of nostalgia for all of this old nerd culture."
• Plug: Gawker breaks down all the little chickeny parts in their way with Tony Millionaire's Green Eggs and Maakies.
• Commentary: Deb Aoki reports on Best/Worst Manga Panel at SDCC 2013. Moto Hagio's The Heart of Thomas is listed as Best New Manga for Kids/Teens. Wandering Son by Shimura Takako is listed on Best Continuing Series for Kids/Teens. And finally Inio Asano's Nijigahara Holograph lands on the Most Anticipated New Manga list.
• Review: Wandering Son Vol. 4 is reviewed on Experiments in Manga. "As nostalgic as Wandering Son can be, the middle school years haven't been idealized in the series.…Wandering Son is more about characters than a linear plot, but the fourth volume is an important setup for what comes next in the series," says Ash Brown.
• Review: School Library Journal looks at Willard Mullin's Golden Age of Baseball and how it is applicable in the classroom! "student sports fans (in this case, baseball fans specifically) can leverage their outside-of-school literacies to comprehend and appreciate the sophisticated cartoons and high-level text in Willard Mullin’s Golden Age of Baseball," says Peter Gutierrez.
• Plug: "…this Willard Mullin book has a lot of beautiful cartooning in it," states Tom Spurgeon of the Comics Reporter on Willard Mullin's Golden Age of Baseball.nbsp;
• Review: Full Stop is pleased with the Fantagraphics' EC Comics Library. "It's fitting that Fantagraphics - long-time champion of the rights and importance of comics creators, and re-issuer important historical comics - would arrange a publishing line this way. Even though it may not be surprising, it's still a commendable decision. It's also an important development in further establishing comics as art and literature worthy of serious consideration and study.… It presents work by EC’s most important artists, drawing the work from across all EC titles," states Sam Costello.
• Review: Comics Bulletin] >on 50 Girls 50 by Al Williamson. It "is an affordable means of acquiring a pleasingly complete collection of this seminal work by a seminal artist."
• Plug: Boing Boing's Mark Frauenfelder comments on Barracuda in the Attic coming out soon by Kipp Friedman. "What a talented family!"
• Plug: Boing Boing delights in The Littlest Pirate King by David B. "So, it's a little grim. But it's also gorgeous…If you liked the premise of Neil Gaiman's award-winning Graveyard Book, you're sure to love this, but be aware that it's much a darker and sadder story than Gaiman's. I think this is probably suited to kids eight or nine and up…" suggests Cory Doctorow.
• Review: Jason Sacks on the Comics Bulletin gives Donald Duck: The Old Castle's Secret by Carl Barks the run down. "This book is an absolutely delightful assortment of stories, a thoroughly charming, delightful collection of vivid stories full of clever wordplay and slapstick action…Barks tells the story in ways that have to delight any reader.The more I read of Barks's comics, the more I come to love them."
• Interview: Editor Mike Catron talks to Disney Dads on Babble about Carl Barks and the latest Donald Duck: The Old Castle's Secret.
• Interview: Gil Roth of Chimera Obscura 1interviews both Michael Kupperman and Ivan Brunetti in this episode sure to make you guffaw.
• Commentary: CBR's Corey Blake writes a very thorough report on the Kim Thompson Tribute panel at San Diego.
The last thing you'll read before the San Diego PR Storm 2013:
• Review: The AV Club looks at Ulli Lust's Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life. Noel Murray writes, "Today Is The Last Day Of The Rest Of Your Life takes the form of a post-apocalyptic horror story, wherein the heroine ekes out a meager existence by day and then fights off monsters by night.…Lust takes readers inside her experiences, letting them feel how high hopes can devolve into raw survival."
• Review: Ulli Lust's Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life is reviewed in the New York Times by Douglas Wolk. "the book ripples with exuberance:… Lust’s pen-and-ink work (augmented by the pale green tint of European paperbacks) depicts the stretched and crimped features of the people from whom she bummed change, the architecture of St. Peter’s Basilica and the chaos of a Clash concert with equally manic panache, and her line is as seemingly unkempt but as deliberately molded as her younger self’s punk-rock shock of hair."
• Plug: Whitney Matheson on USA Today's Pop Candy thinks Ulli Lust's new book, Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life, is right for you. "This epic memoir from the Austrian cartoonist (now translated into English) tells the story of her crazy travels through Italy as a true punk-rock girl in the '80s."
• Review: Booklist Online spends the day with Donald Duck: The Old Castle's Secret by Carl Barks. "The applause-worthy effort… Oodles of shorter pieces provide more evidence yet that this series is an essential addition to any serious (or just plain fun) comics collection" writes Ian Chipman.
• Review: The New York Journal of Books reads Donald Duck: The Old Castle's Secret by Carl Barks. "There is no tantrum like a Donald Duck tantrum…Every single page of this new collection of classic Donald Duck stories is filled with silliness and slapstick and adventure…Try not smiling at Carl Barks’ work. It’s impossible," says Mark Squirek.
• Interview: Zak Sally on The Comics Journal interviews on Peter Bagge and The Beat follows up. Bagge states, "I like the way [a pamphlet or floppy comic] feel. To me it's an ideal format, the traditional comic book format. It's the perfect amount of material to read in one sitting."
• Commentary: The Beat and Hannah Means-Shannon discuss the humor panel from HeroesCon 2013 featuring Peter Bagge (there promoting his new book, Other Stuff). When asked advice from a younger cartoonist Bagge replied, “If you’re goal is to be a starving artist, it’s an easy road ahead."
• Review: Dead Canary Comics look at Prison Pit series by Johnny Ryan. "It's so extremely excessive in its hilarity it draws stifled belly laughs from your gut on packed trains as parents and politicians glance witheringly at images of monsters shitting themselves, ghouls eviscerating ghouls... in an age when we've got more X Men titles than people on the planet it's refreshing to just have a comic book that's all about entertainment!"
• Plug: Speaking of Johnny Ryan, show off how you don't fucking mess around with a PRISON PIT patch! Only $5 (plus shipping).
• Review: Brian Heater of BoingBoing looks at Leslie Stein's Eye of the Majestic Creature Vol. 2."It’s a sort of childlike forgiveness of life’s darker corners, which carries on into grown up stories…Stein's is a welcomingly unique take on the well-trod world of autobiographical comics, and once you've excepted her rhythms as your own, it can be a hard world to step away from."
• Review (audio): NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour enjoy Dash Shaw's New School. Glen Weldon states, "Instead of a tidy narrative, [New School] is about art, about the art that's in the book itself…There's stuff going on at other levels, the intuitive, the leve of the unconscious, the subconscious I guess you could say.…This book is just fascinating."
• Review: Booklist Online reviews Goddamn This War by Jacques Tardi and Jean-Pierre Verney. "…six years of hopelessly indistinguishable trenches, explosions, corpses, mud, and maggots, all of it depicted via three panoramic panels per page rendered in smoky grays and foggy blues—with blood accents… The pages are strewn with images of dead bodies and midexplosion terrors, but the unforgettable centerpiece is two wordless pages of disfigured postwar faces"
• Review: About.com looks at Anders Nilsen's The End. Jeff Alford writes "these pages come from such a raw emotional place that they'll reverberate like an echo from a well....It's a message we've heard before, but its majestic delivery and the difficult path that led to this revelation make The End all the more exceptional."
• Review: Comic Pusher looks at Anders Nilsen's The End. "This isn't a non-fictional description of grief written after the fact, this is grief, unfiltered and complete…The best sequences are where Nilsen breaks away from the heartbreaking emotional literalism and opens out into almost abstract expressions of the nature of grief."
• Review: Johanna Draper Carlson of Comics Worth Reading unpacks Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Color Sundays by Floyd Gottfredson. "The lighter approach makes this book a better choice to share with your young ones. They should love the timeless highjinks of the mouse and his friends. And anyone can appreciate the skilled cartooning and astounding art, so well-done it almost seems to move on paper."
• Commentary: Heidi MacDonald of The Beat talks about Lorenzo Mattotti at BEA. "In Italy Mattotti is pretty much an all around art and design god, and he's known here for his New Yorker covers, and Fantagraphics has been putting out his recent work in Englias."
• Review: Wandering Son Vol. 4 by Shimura Takako gets reviewed by Read Comic Books. "…what continues to make Wandering Son a fantastic read is the frankness it presents developmental sexual identity…Few comics will challenge you like Wandering Son. It covers a topic not widely written about or discussed, and does so in a tactful, warm, embracing manner," concludes Nick Rowe.
• Review: The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center gives Wandering Son Vol. 4 a whirl. Terry Hong comments," ‘Fresh' is exactly the right word to describe this gentle gender-bender series…Creator Shimura Takako is a compassionate, empathetic storyteller without judgment or guile. Her young characters face their inescapable maturity as best as they can in a brave new world of ‘gender-fluid'."
• Review (audio): It Has Come to My Attention recorded a short 7-minute review of Barnaby Vol. 1 by Crockett Johnson. "Fantagraphics deserves a Nobel Prize in Literature for their efforts to reprint complete runs of classic American comic strips… There is rarely an attempt at more than 2-dimensions but that flatness provides a late art deco elegance to [Barnaby].…This strip is fun, funny, I'm so glad its back and Fantagraphics is giving it their usual top-notch presentation,"
• Review: Letterer Todd Klein looks at Pogo Vol. 2 Through the Wild Blue Yonder by Walt Kelly. "…this strip is perhaps the opposite of 'Peanuts,' which went with a minimalist approach. 'Pogo' is maximalist! Both are great fun and often quite funny.…There’s really not a single thing to fault in this fine book"
• Review: Jack Davis' new collection 'Tain't the Meat reviewed on Sound on Sight. "It's entertaining in the juvenile delight it takes in grossing out readers. You also get to witness Davis' style as it improves with every story: his lines get sharper, there's more detail and contrast in the panels… It might also provide a good trip down memory lane for some, reminding them of late nights spent with smuggled comics contraband and a flashlight under the sheets. It's a good introduction as well to a genre that may today seem corny and hackneyed, but I'll be damned if it still ain't pretty creepy, bad puns an all," writes Chris Auman.
• Review: Broad Street Review gazes upon 50 Girls 50 by Al Williamson with love. Bob Levin pens, "Williamson's art could infuse aliens and monsters, no matter how hideous, with sympathetic personalities that reinforced Feldstein's feelings about brotherhood and tolerance.…His delicate line, intricately constructed panels and gossamer-like space-station cities and landscapes are fully on display in this book."
• Review: Comics Bulletin on Came the Dawn by Wallace Wood. "…the true delight and fascination of Came the Dawn will be seeing again Wood's sublime understanding, indeed his enrichment of, the comics language, from panel and page composition to the pacing, direction, of capturing and conveying of mood…Let's face it: No one draws an emaciated corpse - especially in zombie form - better than Wood," pens Eric Hoffman.
• Commentary: MTV Geek talks about the awesomeness of CAKE and artists like Kim Deitch and Noah Van Sciver appearing to sign books.
• Commentary: Aside from eating some suspect local food, Noah Van Sciver does great with The Hypo and his one-man anthology BLAMMO at Denver Comic Con on The Beat.
• Plug: Jim Woodring's first beer in the Oddland Series was included in the Best Labels of the week.
The coldest Dip'n'Dots of Online Commentaries & Marketing:
• Interview: Comic Book Resources and Alex Dueben interview Peter Bagge about Other Stuff and his favorite collaborations in the book, "The earliest one in the book, "Life in These United States," didn't come out looking at all like I had envisioned it…what Clowes did with it was truly remarkable. Also, Gilbert [Hernandez] radically changed the faces, ages and even genders of almost everyone in the "Me" strip. That threw me for a loop! Though it didn't negatively impact the story in the slightest."
• Review: The A.V. Club looks at Peter Bagge's Other Stuff. "Other Stuff also brings together strips Bagge has written about rock icons, along with a few cartoon essays, and strips featuring his characters Lovey and The Leeways, who respectively represent hipster adventurism and dogged domesticity. It’s a full picture of who Bagge has been as an artist and humorist over the past 20 years, and as such is as valuable for newcomers as fans…" writes Noel Murray.
• Interview: Peter Bagge is interviewed on Societe Perrier by Christian J Petersen on comics, Seattle and growing up clever. "Did your parents encourage your creativity? No, though they didn't discourage it. They were drunk."
• Review: The Quietus looks at The Adventures of Jodelle by Guy Peellaert and Pierre Bartier. Aug Stone writes, "Jodelle is fantastic in every sense of the word, filled with in-jokes and time-defying references, nudity and sex (not always coinciding), exaggerated violence, but most importantly a sense of pushing the edges of possibility…The original Pop Art comic and one of the first ‘adult comics’ (released a year after Barbarella by same publisher Eric Losfeld), Jodelle is an artistic tour de force."
• Review: Bookgasm looks at The Adventures of Jodelle by Guy Peellaert. "…let the fleshy neon visuals explode into your eyeballs.…It won’t have the same impact today, as many of its visual ideas have been appropriated and subverted into the mainstream culture, but as both a time capsule of its era and as a visually stunning romp, it remains a unique experience that should certainly be at least sampled by any adventurous modern reader of comics. Playfully provocative, funny and smart, THE ADVENTURES OF JODELLE pops with a soft-lined splash of lurid color," writes JT Lindroos.
• Review: It's Nice That and look at The Adventures of Jodelle. "Peellaert was every bit the master of his craft and with enviable vision and flair managed to transform a previously safe medium into something exciting and dangerous…It’s intoxicating stuff!" exclaims James Cartwright.
• Interview: HeroesOnline and Seth Peagler interview Ed Piskor about comics, music and Hip Hop Family Tree. Piskor states, "There were some interesting things to look at while writing the book. It’s necessary to know the political/economic climate at the time. The fine art scene plays an integral role in the development of early Hip Hop as well, which many people might not know. If it wasn’t for the downtown scene gravitating toward graffiti culture it could have all died out in the early 80s."
• Review: I Reads You reads Love and Rockets: New Stories #5 by Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez. Leroy Douresseaux writes, "This publishing format is designed to appeal to the people who decide what will make the shelves of bookstores.…this is another volume of New Stories which proves that Love and Rockets is as strong as ever and is ready for 30 more great years."
• Review: Kotaku's roundtable discuss what they did and didn't like about Julio's Day by Gilbert Hernandez. Evan Narcisse posits "I did like how the family lived on the fringes of the 20th Century. It reminded me A LOT of Gabriel Garcia Marquez' 100 Years of Solitude. The weird almost-incest, characters with the same names and weird proclivities, home-as-a-black-hole-you-can't-escape, the outside world as an exotic dangerous place, nature as this karmic equalizer …"
• Interview: Nicole Rudick of The Comics Journal interviews James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook about 7 Miles A Second and their creative life together. James mentions, "…it is about empathy, the only thing we have that allows us to touch each other. So if there’s anything positive to be taken out of the book, it’s that we should be working toward a more empathetic experience while we’re on the planet."
• Review: Comic Book Resources looks at 50 Girls 50 by Al Williamson. "It’s interesting seeing how different some of the artwork is – Williamson liked science fiction, apparently, and was occasionally bored with the other stories William Gaines or Al Feldstein gave him, but there’s no story here that doesn’t at least offer something sublime…Fantagraphics has done a really nice job bringing a lot of the 1940s/1950s stuff back into print, and if they keep picking such cool stuff like this, I’ll just have to keep buying it!" exclaims Greg Burgas.
• Review: Spectrum Culture looks at 'Tain't the Meat by Jack Davis. "Davis was a phenomenal draftsman whose dynamic line work could imbue even static scenes with restless energy, and whose clean but detailed layouts could bring to life queasiness-inducing tableaux of rotting corpses and piled intestines…Al Feldstein and Carl Wessler wrote the lion’s share of these tales and had a knack for mixing cruel irony and creeping dread.…EC has been gone for decades now, but volumes like this help ensure that its influence won’t be forgotten." writes David Maine.
• Review: The Portland Mercury on Dash Shaw's New School. "The experience of reading New School is like temporarily inhabiting the body and brain of an artist: This is what growing up might feel like for someone who lives and breathes colors and shapes," writes Allison Hallett. "It's heady, hallucinatory, and bizarre, but it's grounded in the simple experience of growing up in the shadow of a beloved older sibling."
• Interview: Societe Perrier by Christian J Petersen interview Johnny Ryan. "You seem to be exploring a darkside in your work but you soften the blow with humor. What would your real darkside look like? Prison Pit. "
• Plug: Buzzfeed tells you what you want to read in the webcomics department: Steven Weissman's Barack Hussein Obama (and co) and Julia Gfrorer's Black is the Color (coming out soon in print)!
• Plug: Duckburg Weekly looks at Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1: Race to Death Valley and Mickey Mouse Volume 2: Trapped on Treasure Island by Floyd Gottfredson. "With Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Classic Collection Fantagraphics Books published a must-have for everyone who's interested in early works of the Walt Disney Company!…[Vol. 1]offers amazing articles about the 'birth' of Mickey Mouse, bonus panels which were never published and different artists in the spotlight (such as Al Taliaferro and Jack King)…Again [in Vol. 2] there is a chapter with incredible bonus material which informs about the villains, Floyd's colleagues and additional comic strips."
• Interview: It's Nice That and James Cartwright interviewed Anders Nilsen about The End, coming out in print this fall. "…some of it is pretty raw, and that’s how I felt at the time. Some of it is funny, too, I think, which is also part of the experience. It can feel very absurd at times. If it feels like a crazy emotional roller coaster to read, then it’s doing the job."
• Review: The Comics Journal reviewed the Kolor Klimax anothology, edited by Matthias Wivel. Robert Kirby writes, "I found myself drawn back to each several times…That, for me, is the common vibe generated by this and other Euro-comics anthologies: the sense of possibility and novelty that comes from having available a whole new frontier of previously hard-to-come-by alt-comics by accomplished artists to explore. Comics speak a universal, intuitive language, but this 'Nordic Hypnotica' opens Americans up to previously unfamiliar dialects that are a pleasure to read, enjoy, and occasionally decode."
• Review: Kitty Sneezes looks at Drew and Josh Alan Friedman's Any Similarity to Persons Living or Dead is Purely Coincidental. "Shemp acts both as a beacon of Drew Friedman's amazing artistic skill, but also as a signpost of what you'll find.…strips starring the semi-forgotten figures of old media. Figures like Abbott & Costello, Chet Huntley, Joe Franklin or Tor Johnson come up frequently. I especially love the Tor strips. And usually, though there's a surrealist bent like you'd find in the work of Michael Kupperman, there's usually a sense of love for the work of these people" writes Rev. Syung Myung Me.
• Plug: A JASON mural in Oslo!
• Commentary: Michael Netzer says some nice things and does a beautiful drawing of Kim Thompson.
• Commentary: Casey Burbachy writes about the history of Fantagraphics and our partnership with digital comics publisher/distribution company, comiXology on Publishers Weekly.
• Cool: A lot of our cartoonists have contributed to the Exquisite Corpse comic on Trubble Club!
• Commentary (photos): Inkstuds host Robin McConnell took some loverly photos of Larry Reid, Jacq Cohen and me at Emerald City Comic Con.
• Interview: Jacq Cohen describes why TCAF rocks and our new books there on Forbidden Planet International and soon to be in a store near you.
The tantric release of Online Commentaries & Release:
• Review: The LA Times and Noel Murray interviews Gilbert Hernandez about Julio's Day, Marble Season (from D&Q), plus the future books Love and Rockets: New Stories #6 and Maria M. LA Times: Gilbert says " ‘Julio’s Day’ is very simple. I mean, there’s a lot of heavy stuff going on, but I wanted it to read like a very simple, direct story."
• Review: Tom Spurgeon looks at Gilbert Hernandez's latest work, Julio's Day, on the Comics Reporter. "I found Julio's Day moving at times, again for reasons I'm not really certain I can fully articulate. The idea that we may be known as much for the choices of those around us and things that happen in proximity to ourselves as much as if not more than by the choices we make is either the ultimate comfort or the first back-of-throat rumblings of an existential howl."
Review: Charles Hatfield of The Comics Journal flips through Julio's Day by Gilbert Hernandez. "When it comes to Beto, the lightning keeps striking, and if it doesn’t strike exactly the same place twice, it does testify to the same divided genius…It is the great lost Beto comic, belatedly given new form and new life.
• Review: Grovel's Andy Shaw reads Julio's Day by Gilbert Hernandez. "Just buy it now. This is Gilbert Hernandez at his finest, distilling a lifetime into a single volume of pleasure and pain. Julio’s Day is a literary classic, and another incredible piece of work from a true master of comics."
• Review: The A.V. Club looks at The Adventures of Jodelle by Guy Peellaert. "The essays-which at 80 pages take up more of the book than Jodelle-are this volume's real selling point... Peellaert foregrounded the eroticism of advertising, and exposed how pulp imagery affects the public's understanding of everything from politics to gender. And he did it without resorting to polemics. The Adventures Of Jodelle book-both the comic strip and the supplemental material-is a delight both visually and intellectually," writes Noel Murray.
• Plug: Largehearted Boy plugs The Adventures of Jodelle by Guy Peellaert. "Think of Barbarella animated in that Yellow Submarine style and you get the idea of what Jodelle's adventures look like. This is comics as art."
• Plug: Angel House Press is celebrated National Poetry Month with a focus on visual poetry, inspired by latest collection of it The Last Vispo, edited by Nico Vassilakis and Crag Hill. Check here for a month of visual poetry.
• Review: Heroes Complex at the LA Times looks at 50 Girls 50 by Al Williamson. Noel Murray writes, "These pieces are classic EC: punchy, knowing and ironic in the best sense of the word, in that they force readers to examine their own expectations. The best stories in '50 Girls 50 have readers rooting for heels, or celebrating war, all while framing the situation in such a way that readers question their responses." In reference to the whole EC Comics Library line, Murray writes, "All of these books are essential purchases for comics fans, but for those on a budget who are looking to prioritize…These are the books that best show off how EC took genre stories seriously, striving to create comics that didn’t treat readers as naive or ignorant."
• Plug: Boing Boing mentions our EC books, 50 Girls 50 and 'Tain't the Meat so you should probably buy them. "Fantagraphics released two beautiful hardbound books that collect the work of two of their superstars: Al Williamson and Jack Davis. The reproduction quality is superb," writes Mark Frauenfelder.
• Review: Fangoria reviews the next two EC books. Rick Trembles enjoys 'Tain't the Meat by Jack Davis. "Jack Davis’ dark comedic touch is all over this collection, diffusing the ghastly nature of the stories somewhat, an aspect to his work that was obviously lost on his opponents." Meanwhile with Al Willliamson's 50 Girls 50, Trembles writes "here we’re dazzled by romanticized sci-fi heroics and delicate line-work of the ilk of FLASH GORDON’S original artist Alex Raymond, Williamson’s main inspiration. Dinosaurs, spaceships, and outlandish otherworldly creatures populate the flora of faraway worlds, accompanied by buxom, exotically garbed beauties."
• Review: Nick Gazin sets his VICE sights on 'Tain't the Meat by Jack Davis. "Even though he wasn't a perfectionist, Jack Davis's laziness is better than most people's best work. When Davis does invest himself in a drawing it's just a mind bender. This is a must have for anyone who loves horror, EC, Jack Davis, any of that stuff."
• Review: Comics Bulletin looks at 3 New Stories from Dash Shaw. "This is a short, floppy-sized comic, but it's incredibly rich in complexity and depth. Shaw delivers an amazing collection of stories here."
• Interview: DigBoston and Clay Fernald talk to Dash Shaw about 3 New Stories, New School, Bottomless Belly Button and more. Shaw says, "Words and pictures are very different. They don't sit comfortably next to each other. Some cartoonists try to bring them closer together. Ware is like that. I like that space between things. I want the differences between things to be activated."
• Plug: Largehearted Boy hosts Atomic Books look at new comics included 3 New Stories. "Dash Shaw is a modern comics master. He experiments with everything from structure to narrative to color. If you're unfamiliar with his work, he's sort of like Gary Panter illustrating a Chris Ware story, or, in this case, 3 stories of dystopian societies," writes Benn Ray from Atomic Books.
• Review: Nerds of a Feather enjoys Tom Kaczynski's Beta Testing the Apocalypse. Beta Philippe Duhart states "The thin lines, sharp angles, and rigid geometry…brings a clarity and simplicity that expertly balances the abstractness of the themes at the heart of Beta Testing the Apocalypse…One doesn’t need to have read iek to grasp Beta Testing’s themes and criticisms. One only needs to have only gone apartment hunting."
• Interview: Comics Bulletin and Keith Silve interview James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook on 7 Miles A Second. Van Cook remembers, "David was a poet of the soul, there was always a tension between beauty and the vileness of what society did to anyone who was not of the mainstream. I once asked him what he did with the money he got from hustling when he was so young and he told me he would take a bus to the country and walk around. We thought it was so ironic that selling one's body and selling art had many of the same qualities. We laughed rather darkly, about how the body and art are commodified and priced so arbitrarily."
• Interview (video): Back in January, Carol Tyler spoke to University of Southern California Provost's Professor Henry Jenkins and students as part of the USC Visions and Voices series. Mike Lynch was good enough to blog about it as soon as USC put up on the internet. She speaks about personal life and drawing comics, including the You'll Never Know series.
• Plug: Manga Bookshelf lists its first quarter favorites of 2013 and include Moto Hagio's newest book. "The Heart of Thomas was my most eagerly anticipated manga of the year, and while its January release date set the bar perhaps unfairly high for the year to come, I can’t bring myself to be sad about that."
• Review: Comics Worth Reading pulls out the Castle Waiting Vol. 2: Definitive Edition by Linda Medley. Johanna Draper Carlson writes "…it’s engrossing and beautifully drawn. I was surprised, reading the whole thing at once, how much of what figures in the final chapters was mentioned very early on. It gave me new appreciation for Medley’s long-term storytelling."
• Review: Calgary Public Library's Teen Blog speaks out on Castle Waiting Vol. 1 and 2 by Linda Medley. Adrienne writes, "Castle Waiting is a great comic book that takes elements from fairytales such as 'Sleeping Beauty' and combines them with a good dose of humour and plots about bearded ladies, two-headed girls, pregnancy and hidden libraries..I highly recommend her"
• Review: Strange Journal reviews Castle Waiting. "I’ve really fallen for it, it’s what they’d call a triple threat in show business: It can sing, dance AND act…In the tradition of Jeff Smith’s Bone and the better parts of Dave Sim’s Cerebus, Medley has conjured an amazing and beautiful world and filled it with flawed, interesting folks eking out their existence in a castle on the edge of the world," states Adam Blodgett.
• Review: Delphine by Richard Sala is reviewed on Comics Bulletin. Jason Sacks "We're used to fairy tales telling the story of a journey by a girl from innocence to the real world. Delphine inverts the gender of those classic tales, but uses those familiar tropes to tell a familiar story. Richard Sala treads a world of metaphor and allusion, a world that feels as familiar as Grimm's Fairy Tales and as mysterious as our own heart."
• Review: Nick Gazin sets his VICE sights on Out of the Shadows by Mort Meskin (edited by Steven Brower). "Shadows everywhere. The stories are just a lot of old timey chatter where people call each other chum and stuff but the compositions and choices that Mort Meskin made are pretty sophisticated."
• Interview: The Comics Journal posts an article titled Crockett Johnson and the Invention of Barnaby. Philip Nel writes about it all including the creation of fairy godfather, Mr. O'Malley's favorite catchphrase. Barnaby is coming so soon, we'll all cry "Cushlamochree!"
• Review: iFanboy hypes up Impossible Tales: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 4 (by Steve Ditko and edited by Blake Bell) coming out this May. Josh Christie states: "Steve Ditko is one of those guys you could picture on the Mount Rushmore of comics creators…Like so many of the great comics from the 1950s, the drug-fueled, macabre scenes look more like something out of an alternate dimension rather than from the states’ apple pie and bubblegum past."
• Review: Arkham Comics reviews Messages in a Bottle by B. Krigstein (edited by Greg Sadowski). A rough translation states, "Messages in a Bottle is a magical book, a timeless and stunning clarity: a lesson in comics as we do not meet every day."
• Review: Noah Van Sciver's The Hypo is reviewed on We Read Comics "Sciver absolutely nails it…We see Lincoln's plain spoken style, his humbleness, his self-doubt, and his honesty here with so much fucking economy and elegance."
• Interview: Noah Van Sciver appears on Comic Impact to talk about The Hypo and his newest comics project.
• Plug: The End of the Fucking World (Spoiler alert!) on The Chemical Box. "Similar to Derf’s analysis of Jeffery Dahmer in 'My Friend Dahmer', you can see James (along with Dahmer) struggling with their basic instincts."
• Plug: The Beat waxes on about Julia Gfrörer and Black is the Color. Zainab Akhtar writes, "Gfrorer’s work is consistently excellent, featuring themes of myth, folk lore, mysticism and spirituality, coupled with her fine-lined, evocative art."
• Plug: Demencha calls Ed Piskor a Hip Hop Archeologist and more in reference to Hip Hop Famiy Tree. "His classic indie comic composition and narrative ease make the strip readable, informative (who knew Rammelzee went tagging with Basquiat?), and respectful to the art forms and artists it covers," writes J.P. McNamara.
• Review: In an oddly religious review, Mirrors of Christ looks at Eye of the Majestic Creature by Leslie Stein. "Sadly in this story the lyre (guitar) did not participate in the worship of God but in the desire of the flesh."
• Review: Orgasm reviews Sexytime edited by Jacques Boyreau. "…if you want an oversized coffee-book that your guests might enjoying flipping through the pages as you bring refreshments, Sexytime is for you. And hey, it might even get you laid."
• Review: Josh Simmons' story from The Furry Trap, 'Mark of the Bat' is reviewed on Vorptalizer. Seat T. Collins comments, " 'Mark of the Bat' picks and picks and picks at our dovetailed drive for cruelty and need to feel superior to others until the fingernail tears off. It leaves a mark."
• Plug: Comics Workbook enjoys reading The Portable Frank digitally thanks to comiXology.Leah writes, "Woodring’s way of transitioning images between panels (in, ya know, a pretty trippy way) lends itself really well to the panel by panel viewing of the digital reader."
• Plug: Textures of Ether looks at Abstract Comics. "Do Abstract Comics artists need to be aware of comics history?…Molotiu’s articles explore the theory behind Abstract Comics and are always interesting to read. They would make a welcome addition to any future AC anthology."
• Review: Nick Gazin checks out Cruisin' with the Hound by Spain Rodriguez on VICE. "Spain's comics always feel lively and real and there's this sense that he was probably too cool to be making comics but somehow he was. You can tell he was for real because he put the most energy into drawing motorcycles and cars and his people always look kinda like they're secondary to their machines. Great book from a great artist and story teller."
• Plug: Musical notation in Peanuts is analyzed on the Hooded Utilitarian. "In this sense, Schulz again collapses into Charlie Brown — locked out of high art virtuosity and romantic opportunities, disappointed in art as in love.…Schulz has, perhaps, found a way to invert Lichtenstein," writes Noah Berlatsky.
• Plug (video): Al Jaffee and Robert Grossman are interviewed on the Imperium about the Harvey Kurtzman retrospective at the Society of Illustrators. Jaffee states, "His concepts were, to us at the time, revolutionary because he was breaking the third or the fourth wall, whatever you want to call it."
• Plug: And finally, Peanuts and Persian literature.
The coldest shrimp cocktail of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Interview: Alex Dueben of Comic Book Resources interviews editor Greg Sadowski about Messages in a Bottle: Comic Book Stories by B. Krigstein and about Basil Wolverton. "When I was putting together the first Krigstein books, Marie [Severin] was still actively working, so it made sense to hire her to do the coloring. Krigstein mentioned that she was his favorite colorist, so it was a decision I felt he would have approved of. I thought it would be a nice tribute to them both to encourage Marie to take her time and really give Krigstein's work the thought it deserved, and boy did she deliver," says Sadwoski.
• Plug: iFanboy writes on The Adventures of Jodelle by Guy Peellaert. "Drawn in pop-art style, Jodelle was one of the early comic shots fired in sexual revolution of the 1960s; thoroughly modern and wholly…The story itself is still a hoot, but the essay – which places the story in its fascinating historical context – is what makes The Adventures of Jodelle a must-buy," states Josh Christie.
• Interview: Mobile Reviews asks Stephen Dixon of the novel His Wife Leaves Him why does he write. Part of Dixon's great answer, "I never answer it or even try to. It can only hurt my writing. And if I didn’t write, what would I do?"
• Plug: iFanboy plugs Fall Guy for Murder and Other Stories by Johnny Craig. "The 23 stories in Fall Guy for Murder and Other Stories are short, weird, and incredibly creative. Craig stand out as not only an excellent writer, but one of the best artists of his time," writes Josh Christie.