The unbroken bottom ring of your three-ring binder Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review: Patrick Smith over at Spandexless cracks his knuckles and reads all of The End of the Fucking World mini-comics by Charles Forsman. Smith states,"Overall though, it’s a story about extremes and the kind of nihilistic worldview that only a teenager could have, while also adding on certain discerning touches that separates this book from so many other teenage melodramas." Forsman's complete The End of the Fucking World is slated for release in 2013.
• Review:Zap #2 gets Boing-Boinged. Adam Parfrey speaks on the series of ZAP comics that we will publish next year. "Throughout the book were pages of strange nightmare scenes in an quasi-psychedelic art style I had never seen before and didn't really understand."
• Interview: Print Mag posted the second part of their Roger Langridge interview where he mentions, "Top of the list right now is a Fred the Clown graphic novel. I'm thinking it might be a good time to return to the character, because I've had critical success, if not commercial success, with a couple of other things now."
The saltiest sounds of the ocean's Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Interview: Dubbing them "The Four Horseman of AltComix" Sean T. Collins interviews Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez, Chris Ware and Dan Clowes all in one go onRolling Stone. What a beautiful meetup of minds. Ware says, "Well, there are better cartoonists now than there ever have been. I firmly believe that. There's some amazing work being done." While Gilbert laments the change in alt comics, "That's what was missing from alternative comics after us: The art got less and less good."
• Interview (video): George O'Connor with co-host Natalie Kim recap SPX on InkedTV, including an interview with Gilbert Hernandez, and George shows off his Love and Rockets shirt.
• Plug:Dan Clowes is interviewed on what inspires him by the NY Times : "I didn’t really listen to the Kinks growing up at all — I was just vaguely aware of them, like everybody else — so when I was in my mid-20s I bought a couple of their records, just on a whim, and got sort of obsessed with them."
• Review:Comics Alliance reviews Lorenzo Mattotti's newest collaboration The Crackle of the Frostwith Jorge Zentner. Sarah Horrocks points out,". . . what you're looking at in The Crackle of the Frost is a largely amazing new Mattotti release for North American audiences, with fantastic art that has to be seen to be believed. It is a work that is better than most of what you can get on the stands on any given Wednesday. But it's also a book that is hurt by how achingly close it gets to its own perfection."
• Review:InkedTV reviews Joe Daly's Dungeon Quest Volumes 1-3 on their new video reviews featuring Natalie Kim and George O'Connor. "You will never find a book or a series of books that is so genetalia-obssessed as this book." Take a gander at our back catalog and you might find more.
• Plug:The Comics Journal lets Philip Nel tell a bit of the tale before the legend of Crockett Johnson, from his biography on the man called Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss. Fans have their eyes on the horizon for Johnson's Barnaby, edited by Nel and Eric Reynolds. Nel writes, "But before Barnaby, there was Crockett Johnson. And before Crockett Johnson, there was David Johnson Leisk."
• Review:Broken Frontier covers King of the Flies by Mezzo and Pirus. "King Of The Flies by Mezzo & Pirus is one hell of a hardcore comic. It is noir on acid, dark and unrelenting. It is one of the most thorough examinations of the cimmerian darkness the human species can dwell on and it will hit you square in the chest." But what about Book 2? "King Of The Flies 2 : Origin Of The World is maybe even better than its original and though it bears the number 2 it can just as well be read on its own."
The furtherest-traveled Bethesda-sent postcard of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:NPR's Glen Weldon looks at The Hypo by Noah Van Sciver. "Although The Hypo is painstakingly researched, the book is no dry accretion of biographical detail. That's because Van Sciver approach's is so deeply, palpably personal, even idiosyncratic. . . Inspiring? No. But achingly familiar, relatably human and — most of all — profoundly real."
• Interview:Comic Book Resources and Ryan Ingram pulled Noah Van Sciver aside to talk about The Hypo. Van Sciver says, "My reason for spending so much time working on The Hypo was an honest to god interest in the subject of depression and the struggles Lincoln was going through at that time. Probably nobody else would have done this book."
• Review:We Got Reviews looks at Noah Van Sciver's The Hypo. Chad Parenteau closes it beautifully states," In The Hypo, Van Sciver proves in these pages that you can bring an almost mythic figure of the past to modern day terms while still making that figure heroic."
• Plug:Large-Hearted Boy got his mitts on The Hypo by Noah Van Sciver: "I've been looking forward to this book for what feels like two years now. . . It's a side of Lincoln rarely revealed, beautifully illustrated, and wonderfully told."
• Commentary: Rob Clough of the Comics Journal and High-Low made sure to organize some Noah Van Sciver within the Library of Congress mini-comic collection: "Everything's coming up Noah these days, with an Ignatz nomination for The Death of Elijah Lovejoy and the release of his Abraham Lincoln book The Hypo from Fantagraphics." Clough also comments on Jaime and Gilbert's Ignatz awards, "I dubbed Jaime Hernandez the King of SPX after he took home three extremely well-deserved Ignatz awards. After getting shafted by the other major comics awards shows, it was great to see him relishing this moment."
• Commentary: Tom Spurgeon says a bunch of nice stuff about the Hernandez Brothers, Noah Van Sciver on the Comics Reporter. "Los Bros had a steady line of admirers at the show, which was really encouraging to me. They had good solo panels, too -- Frank Santoro talked to Jaime and got him to choke up a bit, and Sean T. Collins talked to Gilbert and applied to that conversation the benefit of reading the holy shit out of all of Gilbert's work sometime in the last year. . . I enjoyed that Abraham Lincoln book of [Noah's]."
• Commentary:The Beat loves on all creators, great and small including the Hernandez Brothers
• Plug (video): Junot Diaz talks about the Hernandez Brothers in Vol. 1 Brooklyn.
• Commentary (audio): The podcasts Hideous Energy attends not only SPX but the Politics and Prose signing for the Hernandez Brothers . The hosts have a frighteningly good time at SPX despite the trials and tribulations of their hotel room at Red Roof Inn.
• Review: The School Library Journal dissects The Adventures of Venus by Gilbert Hernandez and includes some questions to ask when using it in an English or literature class: ". . . while certainly young readers should appreciate many aspects of the book, some of its content may land as so idiosyncratic (albeit playfully so) as to inaccessible. And that’s actually a good thing."
• Review:The Chicago Reader enjoys Lilli Carré's Heads or Tails. Noah Bertlasky compares,"Eschewing the autobiographical meaning-through-trauma tradition of Maus, the pop art goofiness of Fort Thunder, or the sex and drug spewing of underground artists like R. Crumb, Carré specializes in surreal narratives and exquisite design.. . . Reading this, it's easy to forget there was ever a time comics were viewed as separate from art."
• Plug: Alex Pardee of Juxtapoz picks Johnny Ryan as his dude du jour and demands you read Prison Pit #4 and all previous volumes."I'm pretty sure the words 'Johnny Ryan' mean 'Fuck You' in Elvish or Klingon. . . Lucky for us, Johnny Ryan doesn't give a Russell Brand about pissing anyone off. . . amassing a huge cult following based solely around brilliantly conveyed hemorrhoid jokes, hitler bashing, and 'shit-fucking-shit'. . ."
• Plug: Claire Donnor of comiXology focuses on No Straight Lines, edited by Justin Hall. "Besides offering an exciting array of new and rare talent, this volume presents a very refreshing change from the familiar straight male fantasizing that has traditionally dominated the indie and underground scenes."
• Review:The North Adams Transcript reviews Mattotti and Zentner's The Crackle of the Frost. John Seven writes, "What the words cannot portray, the images do, the real psychological landscape that Samuel's confused analysis grapples with, and a testament to the power that can be born of the collusion between the literary and the illustrative in the best examples of graphic storytelling."
• Review: Carter Scholz returns to The Comics Journal to pen a review of Dal Tokyoby Gary Panter, "So think of it as a comic strip, a periodic commitment. A blog before and after its time, a day book spanning three pitiless decades. Each strip of the first series is time-stamped, by hand, to the minute, testimony to Panter’s living and working and recording in the here-and-now of it."
• Interview: Max Robinson of City Paper interviews Dan Clowes and about the continuing success of Ghost World: "I’m heartened that it seems to live on. It’s about teenage girls from another world, really; [they] don’t text, don’t have cell phones, don’t have computers. It’s really about the olden days and yet it seems like the whole new readership of teenagers seems to take to it every year."
• Review:Pop Matters talks about Daniel Clowes. Features editor Josh Indar says, "This is why I love Dan Clowes. He’s the only comic artist I’ve read who can do this to me, to pull me so completely into his world that, just as the old lady said, I start seeing reality through the lens of his work."
• Review: Nick Gazin's Comic Book Love-In #72 on Vice includes Jacques Tardi's New York Mon Amour. "Many of the comics they're publishing have never been translated into English before so it is a big, big deal that they are providing this service to all American lovers of comics. . . The art's great and it captures what New York in the early 80s was."
• Interview:Print Mag interviews the indeliable Roger Langridge on comics, acting and life. It's worth reading yourself for the gorgeous panels full of exquisite details. Langridge says, "It's a fascinating world, theater."
• Interview: Chris Auman of Reglar Wiglar interviews Ed Piskor on his previous book and upcoming Hip Hop Family Tree. "I grew up surrounded by hip hop. I feel like the fact that I even learned to draw was shaped by a hip hop mentality."
Occasionally a finger on the camera slips and reporters or other publishers accidentally take a picture of the people working on publishing the books, rather than our wide array of talented artists and authors. Here are some nice things people said about us and some semi-nice photos of Gary, Kim, Eric, Jacq and Jen: Tom Spurgeon at Comics Reporter, Chris Mautner on Robot 6 and Comic Book Resources, artist Nick Abadzis, Charles Brownstein at CBLDF, Heidi MacDonald at The BEAT.
Marke B. and Caitlin Donohue said, "His book brings us back to a time when porn was just as reviled as it is in these present days of virgin-brandishing Republicans — which leaves us with the comforting lesson that, no matter what the crazies are saying on Fox News, there will always be something to jerk off to."
Recently, Boyreau (below) held a Seattle-based party at a car dealership with hot rods and hot bods in attendance (in addition to the scuzzy Fantagraphics staff). In the style of Sexytime, bikini fashion shows were accompanied by spinnin' DJs in an attempt to recreate that beautiful 70's porn atmosphere. Looking for something to laugh at, lust after and sweat to when you're alone? Look no further for a Sexytime.
The fastest 'ping' of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:iFanboy makes Carl Barks man of the month when Uncle Scrooge: Only a Poor Old Man is Book of the Month. Conor Kilpatrick writes a truly superb review and says "Carl Barks’ genius is not only about his wonderful art. He was an excellent storyteller who used his stories to not only tell jokes and send these characters on great adventures. He also told us about how they were as people and used them to examine real issues."
• Interview (audio): Love and Rockets' Gilbert Hernandez showed up on the short-n-sweet comiXology podcast today. The interview also coincides with the newest collection of work from Gilbert and brother, Jaime, coming out on comiXology the same day as the store release. The very beginning of Love and Rockets in the form of Heartbreak Soup and Maggie the Mechanic is now also available for your e-reading pleasure.
• Plug:The Comics Reporter talks about this weeks' releases and Love and Rockets: New Stories #5 is of course, at the top of the list. Tom Spurgeon says, "The follow-up to last summer's devastatingly good issue isn't as devastating, but it's still really good. Lots of Borneo in the Jaime story. I find that character alternately hilarious and terrifying."
• Review:Another Mag happily turns the pages of Sexytime edited by Jacques Boyreau. Laura Bradley states, "[this] oversized book. . . is a glorious portrait of taboo-busting 'porn chic'. Curated by author-filmmaker-curator Jacques Boyreau, the 100+ re-mastered posters vary in style – some with amusing imagery and tag lines, some darkly surreal, some sleek and stylish; all hosting kitsch appeal."
The newest hazelnuttiest spread of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Interview:Publishers Weekly and James Romberger stop Gary Panter during his busy drawing and teaching schedule to ask him questions about Dal Tokyo. Panter is quoted, "Being that this intends to be an experimental approach to comic making and drawing, like the Jimbo in Purgatory book, I don't expect the reader to get a normal story experience or the satisfaction that comes from skillful story traditional development. I hope the reader will get something else that they never got from a comic before: evidence of an investigation into the ways and means of cartooning and maybe a dizzy feeling."
• Review: Originally published in Danish in 2005, this review of Jimbo in Purgatory by Gary Panter was just translated into English on The Metabunker. Matthias Wivel says, "With humor and a spectacular visual imagination, Panter serves up a lavish and remarkably generous, but never chaotic book that reminds us of the way in which truth emerges socially –moved by the power of will, thought, and faith."
• Review:Publishers Weekly reviews Jorge Zentner and Lorenzo Mattotti's Crackle of the Frost. "Despite the depressing story line, Mattotti’s truly inspired lines, expressive forms, and wild visual imagination will captivate."
The humming un-tested electric fence of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:The Comics Journal reviews Dal Tokyo by Gary Panter. Joshua Glenn writes, "Panter’s draughtsmanship is fluid and permeable, it changes from week to week. . . Some installments are so crammed with detail and extraneous scribbles that the eye can’t possibly take it all in; others are stripped down, emptied out, haiku-like. In short, Dal Tokyo is absurd, unimaginable, and perfect."
• Interview: Jason Sacks from the Comics Bulletin caught up with Gary Panter at his Fantagraphics Bookstore signing this weekend and asked him some questions about Dal Tokyo: "I think that Dal Tokyo, because it's experimental, it's continually reminding you that it's being made. Whereas most comics they're trying to draw you into the illusion and keep you there. That's what comics are supposed to do and that's what popular comics do," Sacks points out.
• Review:North Adams Transcript looks and looks and looks again at Sexytime edited by Jacques Boyreau. John Seven laments, "The posters are the ephemera of an artifact called the porn theater that lurks in my ‘70s childhood. A place where sleaze was visible, but contained. . .If you can deal with it, "Sexytime" is a fun and often ridiculous reminder of a world that seemed so dangerous when many of us were kids, but is now gone."
• Review: Nick Gazin on Vice reviews Tales Designed to Thrizzle #8 by Michael Kupperman: "It really feels like something you would dream about, except it is loaded with guffaws. . . This whole comic is basically the best ideas you've never thought of. After reading it you'll be all, 'That is so clever, why didn't I think of it? AND THESE JOKES!' "
• Plug: Rob at Panel Patter goes over some of the books he's looking forward to at SPX this month. "The Hypo is the book I'm most looking forward to. The deep thinker Noah Van Sciver taking on deep thinker Abraham Lincoln at the lowest point in his life? SOLD." And Tales Designed to Thrizzle #8 "finishes up the quirky comic from new Panel Patter favorite Michael Kupperman. It's sure to be packed full of hysterical mashups and general insanity, based on pop culture and puns, both new and old."
• Review:Publishers Weekly reviews No Straight Lines again and is quite happy: ". . . who the volume is aimed at—the LGBT audience or a much wider one? Editor [Justin] Hall guns for the latter, but without softening the edges that define the genre, and he’s quite successful."
• Review: The SFCrowsNest reviews oldie-but-a-goodie The Hidden by Richard Sala. Aidan Fortune says, "The use of watercolours in the art gives it a children’s storybook feel that will stir up memories of reading horror stories underneath the covers by torchlight. Despite this warm look, ‘The Hidden’ is gripping, chilling and certainly not for children."
• Review:Dave's Strange World looks at Kevin Avery's Everything is an Afterthought, "Everything is an Afterthought is a loving tribute to a writer who deserved bigger and better success than his demons would allow. It’s clear from the testimonials and interviews given for this book how loved [Paul] Nelson was by his colleagues and friends."
The cleanest sock you've never lost of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review: The Comics Journal and Tucker Stone hit up two of our books this week. Stone lauds Jacques Tardi's New York Mon Amour, "The later three stories are all excellent installments in the various ways the city can grind you into oblivion. . . " And on the subject of The Furry Trapby Josh Simmons, "There’s been a solid amount of recommendations already for this volume, and there’s not going to be any contrarian tut-tutting to be found here: this is worth reading, owning, and possibly gifting . . . having this much nasty in one hardcover is a reading experience like no other, and one you’d do well to deny not one minute longer."
• Review:The Comics Reporter reviews Lorenzo Mattotti and Jorge Zentner's latest translated collaboration. "The Crackle Of The Frost finds an elegant balance between abstraction and more traditional cartoon rendering. . . it's fully realized, and satisfying, and occasionally beautiful."
• Review:The Library Journal sent us this review of The Hypo by Noah Van Sciver, M. C. says "Perhaps our most beloved president, Abraham Lincoln threatens merely to disappear into sainthood for most of us. Van Sciver has made him real by portraying one of the most difficult times in the future leader’s younger life. . . It’s rather like an American version of Dickens infused into a Jane Austen love story, and Van Sciver’s moody cross-hatching works exceedingly well in showing these lesser-known facets of Lincoln’s nonpolitical life. . . An excellent choice for compelling leisure reading as well as for use in classrooms."
• Review:Comics Bulletin covers what goes on under the covers of Sexytime edited by Jacques Boyreau. Jason Sacks says, "Sexytime is a glorious representation of work that was forgotten shortly after it was created, but is full of joyful reminders of the recent past. . .Oh god! Oh god! Oh god! Yes! Yes! Yes! is this a great book."
Thanks to our special SPX friend Warren Bernard for sending photos of some of our book titles given to the Enoch Pratt Library of Baltimore, MD. Above, CEO of the library, Dr. Carla Hayden, holds 21: Roberto Clemente by Wilfred Santiago and a staff favorite. The total gift was "$5000 of books, 240 books, 40 titles, part of the SPX Graphic Novel Gift Program" targeted and dispersed to public and academic library systems in the DC area. Each book will have a beautiful bookplate as seen on the SPX site. Below the library staff oogles the books including Maggie the Mechanic by Jaime Hernandez. Check out the shelves at Enoch Pratt Library for some of your favorite Fantagraphics reads.
The 1-2-3-4 color process Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Interview: Italy's VICE interviewed Josh Simmons on his work like The Furry Trap. Here is a snippet translated by journalist Tim Small, "In comics, I think the good horror cartoonists are few. But I like Renee French, Junji Ito, Al Columbia, Charles Burns and Suehiro Maruo. Horror directors have probably have the most influence on me of all. The best movies from John Carpenter, David Cronenberg, George Romero and Tobe Hooper were huge from me as a kid."
• Review: Rob Clough has more coverage than a local news team. He writes a tribute to Gilbert Hernandez and his work collected in Heartbreak Soup, Human Diastrophism, and Beyond Palomar on the High-Low, "In Gilbert's Palomar stories, there's a rawness that dominates the proceedings: raw anger, raw sexuality, raw passion for life, death and art." To round out his Love and Rockets weekend, Clough writes another High-Low review of the most recent Love and Rockets: New Stories #5 with both Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez. "Both brothers, after thirty years, are looking forward and looking back at the same time, revisiting characters on the verge of adulthood like in the earliest days of their comics (characters who were the same age as they were, essentially) while still spending time with characters who are now pushing fifty."
• Interview (audio and transcript): A work long in the making, Ron Rege was interviewed by Maria Sputnik on Gazeta Comics a few years ago about Cartoon Utopia. Rege says, "And I love it that…with comics it’s a one-on-one communication. It’s not like a bunch of people in a movie theater sitting watching the movie all at the same time. It’s one person quietly and they’re looking at exactly what I drew…The marks I made with my hand are what they’re looking at. So it’s a one-to-one communication."
• Review: In case you needed another reason to read Ghost World, Kerry looks at Daniel Clowes' masterpiece at Hello Giggles. "Enid Coleslaw remains one of the best characters I’ve ever encountered because she seems like a real person. She’s not a hero or a role model; she’s flawed and confused. She’s not a bad person, but she does bad things. She makes mistakes, alienates people and cries a lot. But she’s also funny, smart and strong."