The half-day of school in Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review: Nick Gazin of VICE reads God and Science by Jaime Hernandez. "I think it's cool that Jaime will make a comic with no sci-fi or fantasy elements for decades and suddenly remind us that the world his comic is set in is capable of housing superheroes. I own all of Jaime's stuff."
• Plug: Bob Temuka tries to make you break down into tears at your desk but DAMMIT you didn't let him, didja? Tearoom of Despair lives up to its name by remembering the 'Death of Speedy' story available in The Girl From H.O.P.P.E.R.S. by Jaime Hernandez.
• Plug: Speaking of Jaime, that man is a special guest at new comic show Autoptic August 18th, 2013 in Minneapolis, MN.
• Plug: Opening March 8th is a must-see show of Harvey Kurtzman artwork at the Society of Illustrators in New York. The preview is on Boing Boing and Mark Frauenfelder included the cover page from the story Corpse on the Imjin! (as the title of our current Kurtzman EC collection). "Kurtzman's thoughtful, more realistic and human depictions of war were in stark contrast with the competing gung-ho war comics of the day that glorified war."
The best cover band made of dogs of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review: Unshelved reads Delphine by Richard Sala. Shivering with delicious fear, Gene Ambaum says "I’m a huge fan of Sala’s graphic novels, like Cat Burglar Black. And the dust jacket-less cover, with its graphics and the inset color image of a girl walking through a dark forest, looked exquisite."
• Review: Rob Clough of High-Low looks at Beta Testing the Apocalypse by Tom Kaczynski. "His stories address aspects of modern civilization and the ways in which they break down.…Kaczynski really has his finger on the collective neuroses of the new millennium. A recurring theme in this book is how Kaczynski taps into how various of our senses have been warped through modern living."
• Review: Rob Clough runs a review from 2007 on his site, High-Low, on Peanuts 1967-68 and 1969-70 by Charles Schulz. "In terms of the visuals, Schulz is years into his mature style. He's exactly what I mean when I talk about an artist needing to find the ideal style with which to express themselves with clarity. For Schulz, though his line is spare, it's full of life and liveliness."
The newest office of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review: Glen Weldon from NPR Books pontificates on the wondrous LGBT-centric graphic novels and reviewed Moto Hagio's The Heart of Thomas "…whenever the emotions roiling just under her narrative's surface threaten to overtake her characters, Hagio's otherwise exacting and detailed art goes expressively feathery at the edges, like a ghost vanishing softly into the ether."
• Review:Fantasy Book Review reviews The Heart of Thomas by Moto Hagio. "This is not an uplifting tale until at the end, but it is a very well drawn period manga that gives glimpses of what boys that age would have felt being in such an enclosed place. There is a sense of Oscar Wilde about the whole school, but that depends on your impression of the piece," writes Sandra Scholes.
• Review: Glen Weldon from NPR Books pontificates on the wondrous LGBT-centric graphic novels and reviewed Wandering Son Vol. 1 by Shimura Takako. "Takako presents their stories with admirable sensitivity and restraint.…"
• Review: Glen Weldon from NPR Books pontificates on the wondrous LGBT-centric graphic novels and reviewed No Straight Lines edited by Justin Hall. "From Stonewall and the AIDS crisis to the terrifying specter of domesticity, this clear-eyed, unsentimental collection demonstrates the extent to which, for LGBT people, the personal and the political have always bled together."
• Review:Comics Bulletin looks at The Cartoon Utopia by Ron Regé Jr. "With this book, Ron Regé has emerged as comics' answer to Walt Whitman.…Thankfully, Regé's overarching concept -- that a vivid and transcendent comic book experience is within our grasp, if we're willing -- is not a hard one to understand at all." says R.J. Ryan.
• Review:Grovel and Andy Shaw look at The Cavalier Mr. Thompson by Rich Tommaso. "The story is wonderfully told. It has the feel of a classic movie, something from a bygone era…complete with the usual cast of chancers, crooks and have-a-go heroes.…It’s a thoroughly enjoyable book, with a stunning backdrop and a deeply believable and interesting cast."
• Plug:Alan Wood asks R. Crumb about Bill Griffith. Crumb stated, "He's about the only guy in America who's doing a readable, interesting daily comic strip for daily newspapers. He' s the only one left, as far as I know. I don't know of any others."
• Review: Dutch magazine Knack Focus recently ran a review of George Herriman 's work. Kim Thompson read it, translated it in his synapse-heavy polyglottal mind and said this: "Here's a nice five-star review (in Dutch) of the gorgeous new French edition of KRAZY KAT, created from the Fantagraphics edition. The article is mostly a pocket summary of KRAZY, although it does point out that Herriman's unique approach to language have made the strip virtually untranslatable (forcing European readers to fall back on the English language versions)... until, at least for francophones, now."
The fullest mailbox of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Interview: Alex Dueben interviews Richard Sala about Delphine on CBR . "The main story, which is depicted with ruled borders, was always linear. But I allowed myself more room with the main character's inner life. All of that -- the memories, dreams, fantasies, wishful thinking -- all of that is depicted in panels with soft, cloud-like, non-ruled borders. And so I was able to add to the character's inner life -- his thoughts and fears and confusion -- as I went along." And,edit to the article, we also have The Hidden and The Grave Robber's Daughter available at comiXology.
• Interview:Wilfred Santiago is interviewed by Christopher Borelli about Bull on Parade for the Chicago Tribune and Michael Jordan's 50th birthday. "[Santiago] said a graphic novel seemed like a perfect medium for exploiting athleticism, then added: 'But also, Jordan, as a figure, never seemed that interested in satisfying people. Which is interesting to me.'"
• Plug: Tom Spurgeon on the Comics Reporter talks about TCJ 302, edited by Gary Groth, Kristy Valenti and Michael Dean. "There's an amazing Roy Crane section in there that's as good as you can imagine practical advice from a practical-minded comics craft master being. The Sendak is hilarious and sad." Spurgeon gives a review for TCJ 301 as well. "Publishing Groth's big interviews in print like this is an effective use of one of comics' most versatile thinkers and aiming a very good and only intermittent writer like Kreider at something as odd yet Journal-appropriate as the entirety of Cerebus seems to me fine editorial planning."
• Review:Page 45 reviews 7 Miles a Second by David Wajnarowicz, James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook. "Romberger painfully captures the frailty of forms and tenderness of touch, but equally the delirium of David’s mad fucking visions and dreams. Marguerite Van Cook’s colours are virtually toxic…This is not a beautiful book; it’s an ugly book, a brilliant book, a Last Will & Testament which I hope you will hear," writes Stephen L. Holland.
• Interview: James Romberger interviews Tom Kaczynski about Beta Testing the Apocalypseon the Hooded Utilitarian. Kaczynski made a list, we love those: "Overall I can cite 3 primary ways I use color in the book. 1. Color as a naturalistic element (as lighting, depth, etc.) 2. Color as pure design element. 3. Color as information."
• Review: Julien of the D&Q Bookstore is excited to read Moto Hagio's The Heart of Thomas. "Like the other Magnificent 49ers (the legendary first wave of female comic artists), Hagio's work is fearlessly avant-garde and visually stunning. Over her fruitful and now slightly less under-translated career, she has set the bar for all manga artists to follow, up to this day, and not just shonen-ai or shoujo mangaka."
• Review:Publishers Weekly loves Tales Designed to Thrizzle Vol. 2 by Michael Kupperman. "Kupperman deploys a stunning arsenal of art styles to bring home the laughs, from stilted woodcut art to a kind of Tintin lite…Kupperman is pretty much his own genre of humor now."
• Interview: Gary Panter was interviewed by Nick Gazin on VICE on Dal Tokyo, creativity and other fun. Gazin describes the book, "…trying to follow the story like it was a traditional comic is hard it feels like we're seeing the inside of Panter's brain. We go where he wants to take us and the landscape reflects his current mood and interests. Not everybody can do whatever they feel like and make it as interesting as this book."
• Plug: Jeff Kinney from Diary of a Wimpy Kid reminisces about his father and their shared love of Carl Bark's duck comics at Disney Dads. Kinney says, "I consider [Carl Bark's comics] to be the best form of storytelling I’ve ever read. My father always made sure to leave the comics page open in the newspaper in the morning so we kids could read them. I think that without my father, I wouldn’t have ended up on the career path that I’m on.
• Review: Johanna Draper Carlson reviews Young Romance edited by Michel Gagné on Comics Worth Reading. "It’s neat to read these long-ago tales of girls acting out of jealousy or determining how to make the right love decision in such an easy-to-hold hardcover with restored coloring. I love seeing more of this forgotten period of comic history, particularly since it was so widely popular and yet so ignored these days," writes Carlson.
• Plug: Jim Hanley's Universe blog creates The Definitive Love & Rockets Reading Guide and Full Bibliography by Jeffrey O. Gustafson to whet your appetite for our Love and Rockets Companion and Reader. "Featuring mature, character based stories, the quality in art and story of the work of [Hernandez brothers] represent the high-water mark of independent, creator-owned comics, indeed comics period."
• Plug:Peter Bagge 'hates' on Beavis and Butthead in this month's MAD magazine, reported by Paste.
• Plug:Noah Van Sciver continues the funny at Denver Westword with the 10 biggest buzzkills at a concert. Read this and laugh or maybe recognize the horrible person that you are.
Fantagraphics and comiXology continue the reign of terror created by Richard Sala's comics. The Hidden poses many questions to its reader: Is this the end of the world? How did it happen? Why did it happen? There is one man who knows...
Take a walk with the dazed survivors of a mysterious worldwide catastrophe. They are bound for a place, somewhere in the desert, where a terrible truth awaits them. This is the full-color, unadulterated horror graphic novel that Sala fans have been waiting for. This nightmarish story combines classic and modern horror themes and genres with a unique twist, and Sala's painted artwork has never looked better (or more gruesome). The bits and bytes will haunt you long after you've powered down your tablet, you may have to even cover it up with a blanket. $14.99 gets you 136 pages of beautiful and horrifying comics at comiXology.
"Sala’s work is like a fusion of Hergé and Charles Addams, yielding a simple, cartoon-like style that makes his moments of gothic horror all the more disturbing. ...[The Hidden] is a beautifully pulpy and incredibly imaginative book that gives a fresh spin on a well-used set-up." – Publishers Weekly
"Sala's unique brand of creepy quirk combines Edward Gorey, Chester Gould, and Charles Adams with his own unclassifiable magic. The Hidden, from Fantagraphics Books, is his most ambitious work -- an intimate apocalypse." – FEARnet
The most evolved finch of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:Tom Kaczynski'sBest Testing the Apocalypse is reviewed on Bookslut. Martyn Pedler states, "Science fiction is notoriously unreliable when it comes to predicting Saturn dreams, laser beams, and 21st century sex machines. It’s fantastic, however, at taking our present reality and making it strange again. Beta Testing The Apocalypse makes us Martians to better let us see what’s happening all around us. Read it and witness the disquieting Gernsback of Now."
• Review:Beta Testing The Apocalypse is reviewed by Comics Metropolis. "…a book with an elegant and agile format, immediate in its communicative ability, and extraordinarily dense in its content. An essential reading," writes Biri.
• Interview (audio): Michael Kupperman speaks to Julie Klausner on How Was Your Week.
• Review (audio): The Inkstuds roundtable talks about the Best Books of 2012. Joe McCulloch, Robin McConnell, Tom Spurgeon and Bill Kartalopoulos talk about Lilli Carré's Heads or Tails at the 2 hour, 2 minutes mark. All agreed there was a lot of work. And good work. "Lilli is very good at short stories," says Bill. " 'The Rainbow Movement' was a beautiful short story and exquisite."
• Review: In case you missed it, 7 Miles A Second was a Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week. "How do you draw grief"? David Wajnarowicz, James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook know. "The author’s prose is poetic, arriving with a light touch while delivering a heavy, dark, and understandably angry message."
• Interview: Originally posted on The Comics Journal, then reposted on Boing Boing, Marc Sobel speaks to Ed Piskor at length. In regards to Hip Hop Family Tree, Piskor states, "I think the value that my book has and will have over time as I keep moving forward is that it really does stand a chance of being one of the most comprehensive histories of hip hop culture. There really isn’t one resource that includes all of this minutiae and stuff that I’m focusing on."
• Plug: The Poetry Foundation revisits The Last Vispo after reading another review. "We’re still reading and looking through our copy, enjoying the sheer abundance and diversity of work gathered together," writes Harriet Staff.
• Interview (audio):Gary Groth appears for a full hour on TELL ME SOMETHING I DON'T KNOW now on Boing Boing. Hold onto your comics, it's a great ride.
Imaginations come no wonkier, no dafter than Kupperman’s. His idea of a crime-fighting, daring, dynamic duo à la Bruce and Dick (Batman and Robin) is Twain and Einstein (Mark and Albert)-that is, when it's not a snake and a strip of bacon. When he thinks Odd Couple, it's Oscar and Felix Dracula…Kupperman draws all this strangeness in a manner that derives about equally from Chester Gould (Dick Tracy), 1950s romance comics, visualpun cartoonist Glen Baxter, and art deco. –Ray Olson
Sala’s high-class horror sensibility is equal parts sinister and gleeful: a wild cackle of frights steeped in the grand gothic tradition of Edward Gorey… Sala’s quavery lines dish out plenty of unsettling images, and he ratchets up the eeriness with stylized, hand-drawn lettering. Though he sacrifices some narrative sense in favor of creepy atmospherics and downright baffling transitions, Sala does a fine job of keeping everything just slightly out of balance and off-kilter. –Ian Chipman
Jackson is one of the founders of the 1960s underground comics movement (his 1964 God Nose predates Zap Comix by four years), but he's best known for…relating the unvarnished history of his native Texas... This hardcover volume gathers two of his later works: 1989's Los Tejanos, the story of Juan Seguin, a hero of the Texas revolution…later labeled a traitor…; and Lost Cause, a 1997 post-Civil War account of unreconstructed Texans who had supported the Confederacy... Jackson spins these sprawling, complex yarns with a skilled hand, imparting them with a rugged authenticity that makes them all the more compelling, never shying away from the violence and racism endemic to the period. His rough-hewn, craggy illustrations are an ideal vehicle for these tales of the rugged men who carved out the Lone Star State. –Gordon Flagg
The thinly-veiled excuse to come over of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:The Comics Reporter reviewed Prince Valiant Vol. 6: 1947-1948by Hal Foster. Tom Spurgeon writes, "The comic in this attractively-packaged and produced edition gives off the handsome sheen of mass entertainment that knows its commercial value. Prince Valiant may be 75, but this material at least still has all its hair and a hell of a tan." Damn, did Tom Spurgeon pick an excellent image or what?
• Review:Rain Taxi looks at The Last Vispo edited by Crag Hill and Nico Vassilakis. Chris Funkhouser writes, "With each turn of a page in The Last Vispo Anthology, we experience yet another imaginative method uniting thought and expression through visual representation.…The Last Vispo Anthology contains an abundance of wordless, asemic writing that by definition demands a type of integral participation, far beyond interpretation, by the reader."
• Review:Tales Designed to Thrizzle Vol. 2 by Michael Kupperman is reviewed by Richard Pachter in the Miami Herald. "Humor and profundity collide and embrace once again, as his straight-faced retro art illuminates the never-ending, laugh-out-loud absurdity."
• Review: The Miami Herald and Richard Pachter look at Beta Testing the Apocalypse by Tom Kaczynski. "He combines socioeconomic fact, fantasy and farce in this seriously paranoid criticism of modernity, and the result is a disturbing but hilarious tale of identity loss and consumerism run amok."
• Review:The Morton Report and Bill Baker interview Tom Kaczynski about Beta Testing the Apocalypse. Kaczynski says, "J.G. Ballard was big influence, especially on the first four stories in the book. I was reading all of his books at the time I worked on them and his world view contaminated everything I was doing."
• Review:The Comics Journal and Sean T. Collins review Johnny Ryan's Prison Pit Book 4. It "made even a seasoned hand at the rough stuff like me emit weary moans of repulsion and disgust with seemingly each new pustule-encrusted beast that appeared…To spend a prolonged period of time in Prison Pit is to open your mental orifice to Ryan’s razor-studded art-cock"
• Plug: University of Texas (El Paso) is fundraising for "The Hernandez Brothers Collection of Hispanic Comics and Cartoon Art at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), which is named after Jaime, Gilbert and Mario Hernandez and has as its mission the preservation and sharing of comics materials from or featuring Hispanics/Latino/as/Chicana/os" as posted on the Comics Reporter. There is a Jaime special edition art print available so act now!
• Review: Martin Wisse profiles Joost Swarte in video form. A must.
Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/02/03/3210819/zombies-teen-angst-and-more-in.html#storylink=cpy#storylink=cpy"
•Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/02/03/3210819/zombies-teen-angst-and-more-in.html#storylink=cpy#storylink=cp
The most intricate house sigil of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:The LA Times enjoys their reading of7 Miles a Secondby David Wojnarowicz, James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook. "Part of the power of Wojnarowicz’s work is that he dealt with such concepts accessibly; he didn’t have time to waste. It was the source of his restless imagination, his willingness to experiment with unexpected forms," writes David L. Ulin.
• Plug:NY1 (New York 1) and Don Kois talk about 7 Miles a SecondDavid Wojnarowicz, James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook. "…this graphic novel is an amazing document of the gaudy, dangerous world of clients and johns and artists and thugs downtown in the 1980s."
• Interview: Nick Hanover of Comics Bulletin interviews Tom Kaczynski on Beta Testing the Apocalypse. Kacyznski writes, "All these stories started to feel like they were linked and eventually things like the noise stories and the themes of sound started to kind of inject themselves into the rest of the material…I'm interested in utopias, and utopian societies. And a lot of what Communism is is essentially an attempted utopia that failed. "
• Review:Art Rocker and Wee Claire look at Delphine by Richard Sala. "Delphine is arguably Richard Sala's darkest tale to date and a brilliant gateway for those new to his whimsical storytelling style…There are comparisons to Snow White dotted throughout the story but Sala's indie-goth execution tinged with a 70s horror atmosphere make for a much more interesting tale."
• Review:The Toronto Star reads and reviews our books like Heads or Tails by Lilli Carré. "Carré’s work, fittingly titled Heads or Tails, probes choice, ambivalence and fate; in her stories, there’s a flip side to everything, rendered in full and brilliant colour,"says Laura Kane.
• Review: Noah Bertlatsky on the Hooded Utilitarian looks at the art of Lilli Carré comics from Heads or Tails through the gendered lens of Bart Beaty. "If art is both hyperbolic masculine swagger and small-scale feminized detail, though, for Carré the form that mediates between the two is something that looks a lot like comics."
• Interview (partial): Dan Nadel of The Comics Journal posts part of the interview of Jacqes Tardi by Kim Thompson from TCJ 302.
• Plug: "It's astonishing to me that The Comics Journal will have outlasted Wizard, Hero Illustrated and CBG, but I'm happy for that fact," says former TCJ editor, Tom Spurgeon. TCJ 302 was co-edited by Kristy Valenti and Mike Dean.
• Review:Mort Meskin gets the full hello-how-are-ya when his collections are reviewed, edited by Steven Brower. "Out of the Shadows was such an enjoyable find that when it ended we were hungry for more of Meskin’s work." So Scoop turns to From Shadow to Light, "Meskin is so skilled in portraying body language that he doesn’t need a face to tell us know exactly what someone is thinking…a thorough and very detailed look at a man’s life, his family and the work he valued."
• Plug:Kotaku and Evan Narcisse get teary-eyed over Peanuts Every Sunday by Charles M. Schulz. "The daily black-and-white comics were great but the full-color Sunday strips gave Schulz a big, beautiful canvas to let his expert pacing and amazing linework breathe in a rainbow of color…it's really the entire mix of characters …and their mix of adult prickliness and childlike naiveté that made Charles Schulz's iconic comics strips so timeless."
• Interview:MTV Geek interviews Charles Forsman about The End of the Fucking Worldand life. Forsman answersEddie Wright's question, "I do love sparse cartooning. Like Schulz which I think comes through in mine a bit. I've heard people descibe this stuff as "Peanuts" all grown-up and violent."
• Review:Nerds of a Feather look at Ed Piskor's Hip Hop Family Tree, to be printed later this year. Philippe Duhart gives it a rare 10 out of 10, "…those familiar with the genre can attest, it's difficult to separate the music from other elements of the "culture" -- b-boying, graffiti, lingo, style. Piskor demonstrates an affectionate respect for the interrelations between these phenomenon, telling a story of a culture, rather than a musical genre."
• Review: Anime News Network reviews and givest The Heart of Thomas by Moto Hagio an 'A-'. Rebecca Silverman writes, "The Heart of Thomas may be the grandmother of the boys' love genre, but it would be shortsighted to simply classify it as such…Heartfelt and dreamlike, it is a window into the lives of those affected by the sudden death of one of their own."
• Review:The Toronto Star reads and reviews our books like The Cartoon Utopia by Ron Regé, Jr. The Cartoon Utopia "is visionary, but also unmistakably influenced by ’70s psychedelia… the thrilling, one-of-a-kind art will stretch your imagination and, at the very least, make you believe in the power of comics to explore the impossible," writes Laura Kane.
• Review:The Toronto Star reads and reviews our books like Came the Dawn by Wallace Wood and Corpse on the Imjin! by Harvey Kurtzman. Laura Kane writes, "In dark shadows, bold lines and intense close-ups, [Wallace Wood] perfectly illustrates the stories — which ran the gamut from B-horror to confronting social issues such as racism, anti-Semitism and sexism." As for Corpse on the Imjin!, "In these violent, blood-spattered pages, [Kurtzman] lays bare the devastation of war."
• Review/Commentary: Eddie Campbell on The Comics Journal compares and contrasts recent reviews of the EC Comics being reprinted at Fantagraphics and how critics struggle and feel the need to analyze comics at literature. Distilling the article to a mere quote is abhorrent so we tried but please read it. "If comics are any kind of art at all, it’s the art of ordinary people. With regard to Kurtzman’s war comics, don’t forget that the artists on those books were nearer to the real thing than you and I will ever be."
• Review: Elliot Bay Books reviews No Straight Lines, edited by Justin Hall. Dave Wheeler writes, "Impossible to be even close to a complete collection of the genre, No Straight Lines instead seeks to trace the parallel trajectories toward visibility for both comics and LGBTQ identities…these are the stories of real people, or they are people transfigured by folklore."
• Plug: Greg Akers of the Memphis Flyer enjoyed reading Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 by Jaime Hernandez and Gilbert Hernandez. "Jaime breaks me every time. The conclusion to "The Love Bunglers" is an all-time great. Tears in my eyes, destroyed emotionally."
• Plug: Joost Swarte sings the blues at Angouleme, thanks to Paul Karasik.
• Review:SequArt looks at Black Hole by Charles Burns. Faith Brody Patane point out "…it’s a story that’s meant to be devoured with intent to possibly make you have freaky nightmares. Black Hole is one of those stories that lingers long after you read it…This group of teens is far from Riverdale and far more desperate."