Seeing Enid and Rebecca on the cover of the current issue of Juxtapoz art journal reminded me of a similar feature I wrote on Daniel Clowes in the same publication in March of 2001. The Ghost World film was about to be released. Clowes was thrilled at the artistic freedom he and filmmaker Terry Zwigoff enjoyed. "We're below the radar at MGM," he observed. I was unfamiliar with young Scarlett Johansson, describing her as "a former child actress who played opposite Robert Redford in The Horse Whisperer."
Who would've guessed that Clowes and Ghost World would go on to have such a profound effect on American pop culture? Not me.
The fully charged Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:School Library Journal will happily be lending out copies of Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons to library patrons. Francisca Goldsmith says, "O’Connor’s viewpoint as a college student during the early years of World War II at an all-female Southern institution adds another layer of texture, too, for contemporary teen artists and observers of places and situations that fall outside popular media’s scope."
• Review: On Comics Worth Reading, Johanna Draper Carlson checks out Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 3: High Noon at Inferno Gulch by Floyd Gottfredson, edited by David Gerstein with Gary Groth. "While the strips are surprisingly entertaining to readers not used to such a vibrant version of the title character, I enjoy the supplemental material just as much. The introduction by Thomas Andrae puts the work in context and point out key observations that aid in getting more out of the comics."
• Review:AV Club thumbs through the finest of our collection. Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons, edited by Kelly Gerald, features "a Barry Moser introduction into how O’Connor used the medium and a Kelly Gerald-penned look at how O’Connor’s early life influenced her art. The Moser and Gerald pieces are so well-researched that they’d be worth reading even without the cartoons between them." Noel Murray continues onto Mort Meskin's Out of the Shadows, "Not tied down to any one character, Meskin was free to work in a variety of genres, most of which are represented here: jungle adventure, supernatural horror, westerns, science fiction, romance, crime, etc." The trip down comics-memory-lane makes at stop at Uncle Scrooge: Only a Poor Old Man by Carl Barks: "[the stories] are just as rich in their original form, packed with clever plans, narrow escapes, and a lead character who enjoys amassing and hoarding his huge fortune, even though it makes him a little nutty." On Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 3: High Noon at Inferno Gulch by Floyd Gottfredson, Murray points out, "[editors] Gerstein and Gary Groth have assembled the usual outstanding array of contextual material, including a Gottfredson-inspired Italian Donald Duck strip from 1937 that helped seed that country’s still-fertile contributions to Disney comics…"
• Review: Nick Gazin at Vice looksSexytime up and down. The Jacques Boyreau-edited collection is a mighty fun read because ". . . every one of the posters in this book is fascinating for one reason or another. It might just be that design is so ugly that even the lowest-level design from the 70s is better than the best of what anyone's making right now. . . Portable Grindhouse was a nearly-perfect book and so is this one."
• Plug:Comic Book Resources mentions the The Art of Joe Kubert edited by Bill Schelly and mainstream comics. Augie De Blieck Jr. says, "I learned a lot about Joe Kubert from Fantagraphics' biography on him that I read last fall. It immediately made me want to go buy some reprints of 50 year old DC material that I previously had no affection for." Kubert was a master and will be missed.
• Review:San Francicso Chronicle reviews No Straight Lines edited by Justin Hall. Charlie Wells writes, "Hall's book provides a striking example of how entwined the history and literature of the gay rights movement have been since the early days of the battle.
• Review:Chicago Tribune likes the premise of the Significant Objectseditedby Joshua Glenn and Rob Walker but was not bowled over by the micro-fiction. Christopher Borrelli said, " . . . attaching a story is partly the appeal of a farmer's market, a Happy Meal. The right back story for a brand such as Apple, the editors argue, helps build a phenomenon. . . A note about the physical book, itself a gorgeous, significant object. . ."
• Review: Recently found a Robot 6 review from SCAD cartoonig professor and cartoonist, Chris Schweizer, on Chris Wright's Black Lungbefore it was signed to Fantagraphics. According to Schweizer, his opinions still hold true: "It’s a graphic novel, both in its vernacular term and in a more literal sense, violent and horrible and poetic at the same time – the sort of thing McCarthy might write if he were more interested in pirates than cowboys or Appalachians."
• Plug: Torsten Adair posts on The Beat how to order and find those SPECIAL Halloween comics that your store may or may not give out for free. Buy a stack of 20 comics for $5 and this exclusive Spacehawk comic by Basil Wolverton can be yours! "You should offer to pay for them in advance, since the comics shop will most likely consider these unusual items, and be hesitant to place the order. Of course, if they’re a cool store, they are probably participating in Halloween ComicFest, and will be happy to add your order to their store order."
• Plug: Speaking of shopping, Johanna Draper Carlson gives some tips on finding that first volume of Wandering Son by Shimura Takako on Comics Worth Reading. Good news though, the second printing will arrive within the month!
• Plug: Tom Spurgeon gets worked up over the Daniel Clowes Reader on The Comics Reporter. Fantagraphics is releasing a "Ken Parille-edited book on Dan Clowes in early 2013. Ken Parille's stuff is routinely pretty great. . . Count me in."
Here at Fantagraphics, we're gearing up for one of our biggest SPX'es ever, taking place on September 15th & 16th in Bethesda, MD! We'll be rolling out our list of debuts and our signing schedule soon, but while you wait, why not memorize this schedule of panels at the 2012 Small Press Expo?
Saturday, September 15th
• 12:00 pm // Crockett Johnson’s Barnaby and the American Clear Line School [Brookside Conference Room] In a canny mix of fantasy and satire, amplified by the clean minimalism of Crockett Johnson’s line, Barnaby (1942-1952) expanded our sense of what comics can do. Though it never had a mass following, this tale of a five-year-old boy and his endearing con-artist of a fairy godfather influenced many. To mark the launch of The Complete Barnaby, Dan Clowes, Mark Newgarden, Chris Ware, and the book’s two co-editors — Fantagraphics’ Eric Reynolds and Crockett Johnson biographer Philip Nel — discuss the wit, the art, and the genius of Barnaby.
• 12:30 pm // Jaime Hernandez: The Love Bunglers [White Flint Auditorium]Jaime Hernandez and his brothers launched the alternative comics era with their epoch-defining series Love and Rockets. From 1981 to the present, Hernandez has produced a singular body of work tracing the life of Maggie Chascarillo and her vast network of friends, family, neighbors, rivals and lovers. In recent years, Jaime has, again, broken new ground with brilliant comics novellas that remain accessible to new readers while building upon years of narrative to invest his stories with a profound emotionality. He will discuss his work with artist Frank Santoro.
• 2:30 pm // Gilbert Hernandez: Love From the Shadows [White Flint Auditorium]Gilbert Hernandez and his brothers launched the alternative comics era with their epoch-defining series Love and Rockets. Gilbert first made his mark with his Palomar stories, an intergenerational saga detailing life and love in a fictional Central American town. But a parallel strand of Gilbert’s restless oeuvre has since taken center stage in new graphic novels and stories that combine formal play with genre experimentation to open another window into the workings of the human heart. Gilbert will discuss his work with critic Sean T. Collins.
• 4:00 pm // Mark Newgarden Presents: Cartoonists and Comics On Camera, Reel One: 1916-1945 [Brookside Conference Room] A once-in-a-lifetime presentation of rare footage featuring 20th century comics greats and some unusual animated adaptations of their work, curated by Mark Newgarden from his personal collection of rare 35mm film. See Rube Goldberg, Otto Soglow, Chester Gould, Frank King, Harold Gray, Hal Foster (and many more) at the drawing board! See Jefferson “Gags And Gals” Machamer act! Plus Krazy Kat and many more surprises!
• 4:30 pm // Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist [White Flint Auditorium]Daniel Clowes first gained fame with his iconic comic book series Eightball and graphic novel Ghost World, which he co-adapted into a film of the same name. In recent books, including The Death-Ray and Wilson, his unique visual-narrative voice expertly manipulates the position of the reader to get more deeply under the skins of his sharply rendered characters. Recently the subject of a major retrospective exhibit and monograph, Clowes will discuss his work with Alvin Buenaventura, editor of The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist, and scholar Ken Parille.
• 6:00 pm // Sammy Harkham Q+A [Brookside Conference Room]Sammy Harkham has left a lasting impression on the comics field as editor of Kramers Ergot, the irregular avant-garde comics anthology series that represents, for many, a carefully articulated statement about the art form today. Harkham is also an engaged cartoonist, mindful of comics’ legacy while telling intimate stories that resonate with contemporary concerns. Several of his stories are collected in his new book, Everything Together. Harkham will discuss his work with Picturebox publisher and Comics Journal co-editor Dan Nadel.
Sunday, September 16th
• 1:00 pm // Mark Newgarden Presents: Cartoonists and Comics On Camera, Reel Two: 1932-1965 [Brookside Conference Room] A once-in-a-lifetime presentation of rare footage featuring 20th century comics greats and some unusual animated adaptations of their work, curated by Mark Newgarden from his personal collection of rare 35mm film. See Al Capp, Bill Holman (and many more) at the drawing board! See a drawing lesson from Fred C. Cooper! Plus Popeye, Nancy, Jacky’s Diary and many more surprises!
• 2:30 pm // Life After Alternative Comics [White Flint Auditorium] In the years after underground comix, the medium’s flag of ambition was carried by so-called “alternative comics:” nonconformist work in conventional formats that occupied marginal space in comics speciality shops. Alternative comics found common cause with other subcultural movements—before internet culture and the bookstore economy permanently changed comics’ formats and context. Dan Clowes, Gilbert Hernandez, Jaime Hernandez and Adrian Tomine will discuss the changes they have seen in a conversation moderated by Bill Kartalopoulos.
• 3:00 pm // Drawing Energy [Brookside Conference Room] What does it mean to invest a feeling of energy, of activity, of physical or emotional intensity in a drawing? How does the process and mindset of the artist at work relate to—or differ from—the visceral feeling the reader is intended to experience from the published image? ArtistJim Ruggwill discuss these issues and other questions of drawing process with Michael DeForge (Lose), Theo Ellsworth (Capacity), Hellen Jo (Jin and Jam), and Katie Skelly (Nurse Nurse).
• 3:30 pm // Perverse Comics Form: Challenging Comics’ Conventions [White Flint Auditorium] Comics’ traditional forms have been inventively engaged by countless artists towards unique expressive purposes. And yet, even skillful manipulations of the comics form often carry with them conventions forged over decades, often within a commercial context. This panel will discuss radically different approaches to comics form and their relationship to broader artistic practices. Bill Kartalopoulos will lead a conversation with artists Warren Craghead (How to Be Everywhere), Renée French (H Day), and Keith Mayerson (Horror Hospital Unplugged).
Did you memorize them? Good! We'll quiz you at the Fantagraphics table at SPX 2012! See you there!
The newest, brightest bulb Online Commentaries & Diversions:
•Review: Sarah Hansen of Autostraddle looks at No Straight Lines. "I like my queer comic anthologies like I like my women. Handy AND beautiful. . .What No Straight Lines really achieves is putting all of these influential comics in one place. Together, they contextualize each other and the LGBTQ scene at the same time."
•Review:Paste's 'breeder' journalist Sean Edgar cracks open No Straight Lines and has a baller time. "The work in this book illustrates a sweeping chronology of our generation’s greatest civil conflict with all of the tears and smiles that follow. It’s a fascinating read and an essential perspective historically and socially. Even if you’re a breeder."
•Commentary:Publishers Weekly's coverage of Comic Con International in San Diego is THOROUGH. Shannon O'Leary talks up No Straight Lines. " . . .Hall focused on collecting 'literary queer comics in danger of being lost' with the focus instead on literary, self-contained works that would give the reader the experience of being 'satisfied' with each of the stories."
•Review: From the Librairie Drawn and Quarterly Bookstore, Jade reviews her six years of love for Love and Rockets, including keeping the store stocked with them."After all these years, the Hernandez Brothers continue to knock it out of the park with some of the best work in the industry."
•Commentary: Heidi MacDonald runs down the things that stuck out to her at Comic-Con in San Diego. The 30th Anniversary of Love and Rockets was a big one featured on THE BEAT. "While Los. Bros didn’t get the skywriting and theme park they deserved, they got a lot of love, and that will last longer. . . .We’ll give the final word to Jamie Hernandez, because he is the final word."
•Commentary: Eisner Award winner, Charles Hatfield, writes at Hand of Fire speaks about the Hernandez Brothers at Comic-Con International. "I love L&R, and credit it for keeping me in comics as a grownup. Great, great work."
•Plug: Longtime Love and Rockets reader, Robert Boyd, created a long and annotated list of the music found in the thirty-year series. "Each brother does his own very different stories, but both were (and presumably still are) punk rock fanatics and music lovers in general. This is reflected in their work."
•Plug: Sean T. Collins was spotted sporting the newest Love and Rockets shirts on television while discussing the tragic events of Aurora, CO.
•Review:Shelfari picked up two of our titles for the Graphic Novel Friday. Alex Carr starts with Joe Daly's Dungeon Quest Vol. 3: "if you can laugh at your obsession while still poring over weapon and armor upgrades, the Dungeon Quest series should be on your couch next to the game manual and open laptop. . .It's absurd, engrossing, very adult, and pitch perfect." On Jaime Hernandez's God and Science: Return of the Ti-Girls, "It's oversized and billed as a director's cut, with 30 additional pages."
•Interview: Timothy Callahan over at Comic Book Resources got the shimmy on new(er) cartoonist, Chuck Forsman, who has two books out next year from Fantagraphics: Celebrated Summer and The End of the Fucking World. "While at Forsman's studio, I saw the finished pages for 'Celebrated Summer' and it's such a fully-realized work, it's no surprise [Associate Publisher Eric] Reynolds was so quick to jump on it, even after seeing only a few pages."
•Commentary: The Best-Manga-Worst Manga panel of 2012 Comic-Con International has transcribed their views a la Deb Aoki at About.com. Shimura Takako's Wandering Son falls into the BEST MANGA (series) for Kids/Teens. Shaenon Garrity said, "I picked this as best manga for kids, but it's really a great manga for everybody. . . It's done in such a beautiful, sensitive way." Meanwhile, The Heart of Thomas by Moto Hagio is one of the Most Anticipated. Garrity again states, "Moto Hagio is probably the greatest manga artist after Osamu Tezuka. . . It's one of the two manga stories that practically invented the boys' love genre, along with Keiko Takemiya's Song of the Wind and Trees.
•Review:Jazz-Institute covers Listen, Whitey!: The Sights and Sounds of Black Poewr 1965-1975 and via a rough translation, Wolfram Knauer says, "Pat Thomas's book is a very valuable addition to the musical history of the 1960s and 1970s, precisely because the author attempts to establish and explain the political context. The coffee-table book is generously illustrated with album covers, rare photos, newspaper articles, and ads. A thorough index and a separately available CD with examples of the music mentioned in the text complete the concept."
•Review: Forbidden Planet makes people choose their eight favorite comics should they ever end up on the dreaded desert island. Some of those books included E.C. Segar's Popeye and Daniel Clowes' Twentieth Century Eightball. Across-the-pond artist Steve Tillotson states, "The Fantagraphics collections are great, and the character of Popeye is brilliant- I like how he just punches anyone who pisses him off, but he’s also got a really strong sense of morality, and he talks funny."
•Plug: Did you know Carl Barks was unknown for the first 16 years of his work on Disney comics? He was merely known as the good Disney artist, more on THE BEAT and MetaFilter.
•Commentary: Ron Richards of iFanboy writes a con review and 1/2 of his swap was Fantagraphics fun, "I did a little dance when I saw [Love and Rockets: New Stories #5] was available . . . After the amazing #4 of this series, I can’t wait to see what Los Bros Hernandez come up with this time out"
•Commentary: Heidi MacDonald and Cal Reid finalize their digital SDCC thoughts on Publishers Weekly: "Comixology announced [many] new e-book distribution deals . . . . and perhaps most significantly, Fantagraphics, which had been a staunch hold out on the digital front. The Fantagraphics partnership will kick-off with the jewel in the crown: the much-loved work of the Hernandez Brothers starting with Love and Rockets New Stories #1-4 ."
•Commentary (photos): Cal Reid and Jody Culkin on Publishers Weekly photo-document a lot of the fun going on at Comic-Con including the Hernandez Brothers panel and signing.
•Commentary: Sonia Harris enjoyed her Comic-Con experience according to the report on Comic Book Resources. "[No Straight Lines editor] Justin Hall had a big year, speaking on panels about gay comic book characters and hosting a party on Friday night at the increasingly interesting Tr!ckster event for the launch of No Straight Lines."
•Interview:Chicago Pride finds the time to talk to editor Justin Hall on No Straight Lines, "My worry was that the literary queer comics were going to vanish, that there was no one looking out for that work. Especially with the gay publishers and the gay bookstores dying out."
•Review: Tom Spurgeon on the Comics Reporter covers the Tales Designed to Thrizzle digital comics release, "Kupperman's work looks super-attractive in print, which while that sounds counter-intuitive to its digital chances, is actually a vote for the print version having its own sales momentum that digital won't all the wayoverlap."
•Review:NPR hits home with Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons. Glen Waldon: "What emerges is a portrait of a much-beloved artist as a young woman, when the sardonic and even brutal humor behind O'Connor's most memorable creations is still gestating."
•Plug (award): Cannibal Fuckface from Johnny Ryan's Prison Pit is a nominee in the Designer Toy Awards for "Best Toy from a Comic." Cast your vote today or we might bludgeon you.
•Plug (pictures): Can't make it Los Angeles? Check out artwork Keenan Marshall Keller posted from FREAK SCENE art show featuring Johnny Ryan (with Prison Pit pages), Jason T. Miles, Jim Rugg and many more.
•Commentary:A.V. Club enjoyed the Fantagraphics/D&Q panel at San Diego and Noel Murray believes, "real legacy of Comic-Con [is] the elevation of the medium’s literary merit and public profile combined with the preservation of its past . . . The outcome of all that? Handsome hardcover editions of Floyd Gottfredson Mickey Mouse strips . . ."
•Commentary: Cameron Hatheway of Bleeding Cool was a bit livid that Mickey Mouse Vol. 1 and 2 beat out our other title up for the Archival Reprint Collection/Project Eisner. "A part of me thought Prince Valiantwould be a sure thing because of its 75th anniversary this year, and people would be getting all nostalgic. Way to go, majority of voters; Prince Valiant will continue to roam the seven seas and seeking adventure without an Eisner to his name. I hope you’re all proud of yourselves! How do you even sleep at night? A pox upon your castles!"
•Commentary: Directly from the Comic-Con floor, Tom Spurgeon from The Comics Reporter is rich with the compliments, "speaking of Fantagraphics, I was surprised to see the Dal Tokyo book. It looks great. I also really liked the design on the second Buz Sawyer volume, a really atypical image being used."
•Commentary: Tom Spurgeon dishes up the best comics to buy at Comic-Con International and online on The Comics Reporter. On Gary Panter's Dal Toyko, ". . . I'm trying to get over the notion of only recommending comics that catch some sort of big-time marketing hook or novelty current as opposed to just being awesome comics. This is the kind of book that has peers, not betters." In reference to the Kickstarted, Fantagraphics-distributed The Cavelier Mr. Thompson by Rich Tommaso, Spurgeon mentions "It's one of the works that the generation-two alt-cartoonist serialized on-line. I heard three different people on the [Comic-Con] floor waxing rhapsodic about Tommaso's natural-born cartooning sensibilities."
•Commentary: Director of PR, Jacq Cohen, was interviewed on the Graphic Novel Reporter about her Comic-Con memories and First Second editor, Calista Brill, loves our books: "I got myself the latest in Fantagraphics' beautiful collected Uncle Scrooge series."
•Commentary: Overheard at Comic-Con. Matt Groening was talking to Eric Reynolds about Twee-Deedle in reference to "perfect" comics reproduction and he said, "Speaking of perfect..." and leaned over and grabbed a Donald book and said, "These are PERFECT."
•Plug: Mark Frauenfelder on BoingBoing mentions Significant Objects (because he's in it!): "Culture jammers extraordinaire Rob Walker and Joshua Glenn bought a bunch of less-than-worthless objects at thrift stores and garage sales and then assigned people to write a short story about one of the objects."
•Review:Reason.com reviews Daniel Clowes work making comics into art. Greg Beato says, "Clowes. . . brought a different sensibility to his comics: An obsessive compulsive commitment to craftsmanship. . . Clowes strove to make the comic book as artful as possible, a complex but organic object that was perfect in all its parts. "
•Interview:The Guardian prints a small Q&A with Daniel Clowes who IMMEDIATELY posts his full answers to some the questions since someone had fun in the editing room. "It doesn't take much to alter the tone or meaning of someone's words in an interview with some editing."
•Interview: Gary Groth interviews Gilbert Shelton at SDCC on the Beat and The Comic Books, Heidi MacDonald, "Among the topics were origins of Wonder Worthog and Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, talked about working with Harvey Kurtzman and how he knew Janis Joplin. . ."
•Plug:The Comics Bulletin covers the Comic-Con International and the Fantagraphics panel on new releases. Danny Djeljosevic says, "Fantagraphics is Fantagraphics. They put out killer material and in beautiful packages to boot."
•Review (audio): Dann Lennard of Kirby Your Enthusiasm podcast covers THREE of our books in his Australian-based comics podcast. Is That All There Is? by Joost Swarte "If you like Herge and Tintin, it might not be for you. It's pretty full-on. . . if you're into sex and violence, you might like this." On Sincerest Form of Parody, edited by John Benson: "This full color book . . .collects work from another EC publication called Panic, not quite as good as MAD and didn't last as long, but features quite good artists and humor. It's the pick of the other titles." In regards to The Hidden by Richard Sala, Lennard says its "actually quite a powerful, horrific book of violence, it's really quite sickening in places."
The newest and week-old pre-SDCC stinky socks found under your bed-style Online Commentaries and Diversions minus the hullabaloo about Love and Rockets:
•Interview (video):Noah Van Sciver is interviewed by documentary film maker Dan Stafford on his upcoming book about Lincoln's depression, The Hypo, coming out this fall. "Lincoln battled things his whole life. He battled with poverty in his youth; the part that I cover, battling with depression; the struggle of his own fate followed by keeping the nation together, how we know him best."
•Interview: The Advocate and Jase Peeples takes some time to speak to No Straight Lines editor Justin Hall on comics and the LGBTQ community. Hall says, "There are interesting parallels between comics and queers; both have a hard time getting respect by the dominant culture, and both have problems understanding their own history."
•Interview (audio): On the heel's of Pride Month, Comic Book Queers interview a gaggle of people including No Straight Lines editor Justin Hall. Hall states, "We turned the project into a class. I taught at the California College for the Arts and the backbone of the class was bringing in queer cartoonists and had the students interview them."
•Commentary: On The Rumpus editor Justin Hall writes about the history of Queer Comics. You can read more in the anthology!
•Interview:The New York Times and Penelope Green cover uncoventional taxonomy in Significant Objects while interviewing editor Joshua Glenn. Glenn states, "Even if we don’t identify ourselves as collectors, we are collectors of things. And things are collectors of meaning in various ways."
•Commentary:Electric Literature covered the fun book launch of Significant Objects at the Strand on July 10th. Editor Joshua Glenn is quoted by Karina Briski: "the stories become the things of value, all on their own."
•Review:Pop Matters enjoys Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge and Mickey Mouse Vol. 3: High Noon at Inferno Gulch (edited by David Gerstein and Gary Groth) with childlike wonder but still has those nagging questions. Michael Barrett: "There’s still no explanation for how some animals are “humans” while others are just animals, like how Mickey can ride a horse in the West and then come home to be greeted by his pal Horace Horsecollar."
•Review: The Tearoom of Despair takes a look at the Hate Annuals by Pete Bagge. Bob Temuka laments, "Bagge has actually done so many comics over the past decade and a half, that he is almost – shamefully – taken for granted. While new books by the likes of Clowes or Ware are almost an Event, a new mini series from Bagge might get a couple of reviews, most of which will point out that it’s more of the same."
•Commentary: Video gamesite, 1Up features some satirical video game adaptations including Pete Bagge's Hate, Ghost World by Dan Clowes and the most epic Jimmy Corrigan panel by Chris Ware.
•Review: Music magazine and site Under the Radar enjoys the writings of Stephen Dixon's What Is All This? Uncollected Stories. Hays Davis: "Stephen Dixon has a gift for revealing mundane environments as vibrant social microcosms. With that, it seems almost apropos that Dixon's flown under the radar commercially for decades, though he's always garnered respect in literary circles"
The most-current Online Commentaries & Diversions:
•Interview:MTV Geek questions Noah Van Sciver about his new graphic novel, The Hypo, and why he chose to focus on the man before the president. ". . . it’s important to see who [Lincoln] became, or I should say how he became is more spectacular when you think about who he was, and where he came from, because I don’t even know if that’s possible anymore, to come from nothing and then become a president, you know?"
•Review: Drew on ComicAttack.net reviews kid-friendly The Adventures of Venus by Gilbert Hernandez. "It’s not quite Betty and Veronica, but it’s not quite Calvin and Hobbes; it’s that special place in between that catches that transition from childhood into adolescence, which doesn’t get captured on the comic book page much, and is a rare treat that Hernandez delivers here to such perfection."
•Interview (audio):ABC News Radio's Sherry Preston interviews Daniel Clowes (at the 30 minute mark) as his work is on display at the Oakland Museum of California. "I was more interested in kinda funny comics and comics about real life situations. And I thought it made no sense that there weren't comics about every subject you can imagine." You'll love the following story.
•Commentary: TURN IT OUT in clothes inspired by Daniel Clowes' Ghost World and America's two favorite juveniles on Trent.
•Plug:Follow the White Rabbit eloquently mentions Jacques Tardi's New York Mon Amour. A rough translation might say, "Altogether, a perfect Edition for the lovers of this French author that already amazed us at 'The cry of the people,' 'The war of trenches' or 'The extraordinary adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec'."
•Commentary: Chris Mautner of Robot 6 gives a nice mention to Michael Kupperman's Tales Designed to Thrizzle #8. "A pretty solid issue overall, the best and funniest part being the opening segment, a parody of coloring books, this time involving trains that … well, it’s not fit for polite conversation, really."
•Review: Greg Burgas of Comic Book Resources breaks down one beautiful page by Archie Goodwin and Alex Toth from Blazing Combat. "This story shows off [Toth's] strengths very nicely, because it’s one of the bleaker stories in the volume (none of them are happy; I mean “bleak” in that the landscape is stripped of vegetation and is dotted with destroyed building, giving this story its post-Apocalyptic tenor) and Toth does very well with that."
•Plug:The Daily Beast features an excerpt from Joe Sacco and Chris Hedges' new book Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt. In this article, they "detail the effects of coal mining in West Virginia, a state destroyed by mountaintop removal."
•Interview: Peering from under a swell hat, Noah Brand from The Good Men Project interviews TCJ contributer and cartoonist Tim Kreider on the art of writing. "Cartooning also seems to allow me to express a much sillier, stupider, more puerile part of my personality than writing. I get all stiff and serious and writerly when I sit down to write prose."
Not a ton going on this week... I s'pose we're all either recovering from CAKE, or gearing up for... SAN DIEGO! (More details about that coming soon.)
Monday, June 18th
• New York City, NY: Tim Kreider will be doing a signing at the Half King Restuarant & Bar at 7:00 PM! (more info)
Friday, June 22nd
• St Louis, MO: Kevin Huizenga will be doing a signing at Star Clipper, along with Dan Zettwoch, at 7:00 PM! (more info)
Saturday, June 23rd
• Brighton, UK: There's gonna be a midsummer midnight 35mm-print screening of the Daniel Clowes movie Ghost World at the Duke Of York's Cinema. They'll have a Ghost World-themed bar, zine stalls, and a raffle! Plus, the screening will be preceeded by live music from Sacred Paws and The Choo-Choo Trains! What? No Blueshammer? (more info)
• Review: At Boing Boing, as part of their "Mind Blowing Movies" series of guest posts, Amy Crehore examines the Ghost World film: "I knew it was going to be good, but I had no idea that the movie Ghost World (2001) would bathe me in such an uncanny sense of deja vu from start to finish. The characters are so real and familiar that they could have been based on my friends and me."
• Commentary:Ashok Karra has a short but thought-provoking analysis of elements of the Ghost World graphic novel: "A ghost world could be three things. Two of them are types of haunting: either by the past (nostalgia for childhood) or the present (the glow of the television). The third possibility is that you pass through as a ghost."
• Plug: At Flavorwire, Emily Temple includes Ghost World on the list of "30 Books Everyone Should Read Before Turning 30," saying "Clowes writes some of the most essentially realistic teenagers we’ve ever come across, which is important when you are (or have ever been) a realistic teenager yourself."
• Plug/Preview: At The Beat, Jessica Lee posts a 5-page sneak peek of New York Mon Amour by Jacques Tardi et al., saying "This newest Tardi release... is slated for a July release, just in time for Independence Day, where we can all revel in the patriotic depictions of New York that Tardi has provided — oh wait. True to his new realism style, 'Manhattan' retains the same kind of gritty aesthetic as his illustrations of WWI trench warfare as well as Parisian life."
• Review: "The 11 horror stories in [The Furry Trap] showcase Simmons’s possession of a dark and capable imagination, one that has discomfort down to an exact science.... Simmons is at his best in stories like 'Mutant' and 'Demonwood,' where rash decisions and chance encounters lead to nightmarish consequences ... Simmons’s brand of deep unease permeates all of [these stories], even in the opening story, 'In a Land of Magic,' which features a scene of sexual and physical violence that could lead to sleepless nights. The book is also filled with illustrations and short comics that just add to the pile of evidence that Simmons has a wide-ranging talent, with an artistic sense that brings to life his most ghoulish creations. These stories are, hopefully, harbingers of even stronger and more sinister work in the future..." – Publishers Weekly
• Review: "The action [in God and Science] ebbs and flows, but the story remains engaging and exciting. I had to read it all in one afternoon because I just couldn't put it down. I was enjoying it too much to stop reading.... [There]'s another great thing about this comic — there's some subtle philosophical questions nudged in that the characters (and reader) have to answer themselves.... I can't recommend this title enough. I can easily say that I want more Ti-Girls, or at least comic characters like them." – Sheena McNeil, Sequential Tart
• Review: "Prince Valiant Vol. 5 — As the war years draw to a close, the strip finds Valiant settling down — at least a little bit — by finally winning his true heart’s love, Aleta. There’s still enough brigands and evildoers to keep Val busy, but a lot of Vol. 5 is spent with the couple developing their relationship, and Harold Foster deepening and developing Aleta’s character in the process. ...[I]t remains a thrilling, boisterous work." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
• Review: "Dungeon Quest Book Three — Joe Daly’s faithful D&D fantasy by way of Harold and Kumar proceeds apace, with lots of bloody skirmishes with fierce animals and fiercer bandits and an abundance of jokes about penises, pot, hand-jobs and the like.... His incredibly detailed forest backgrounds are really quite exquisite, and the full panel sequences of his band of adventurers simply trekking along a forest path or walking through a stream were my favorite parts of the book." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
• Commentary: It's been interesting seeing the evolution of the "hey, they should bring Love and Rockets to the screen" article in the age of the serialized cable drama. Arthur Smith at The Paley Center for Media is the latest to add his voice to the chorus
• Plug: "Got this beautiful Popeye compilation book (Fantagraphics) a couple of days ago. Haven't had a chance to even crack it open, but my son is now running around going 'Arf, arf.' It's a hit." – Ruben Bolling
• Tribute: At The New York Times, Tim Kreider remembers the great Ray Bradbury: "Prescience is not the measure of a science-fiction author’s success — we don’t value the work of H. G. Wells because he foresaw the atomic bomb or Arthur C. Clarke for inventing the communications satellite — but it is worth pausing, on the occasion of Ray Bradbury’s death, to notice how uncannily accurate was his vision of the numb, cruel future we now inhabit."
• Review: "Josh Simmons' book The Furry Trap is truly disturbing in its depravity. Makes Ultra Gash Inferno look cute. An inspiring & exhilarating read! How many comics can you honestly say made you sick or upset when you read them? Furry Trap made me question the First Amendment at times." – Sammy Harkham
• Review: "By this point, the reader will know if [Dungeon Quest] is their cup of tea; anyone who enjoys alt-comics takes on fantasy and/or stoner humor will find this a sheer delight. I'd say the sheer level of craftsmanship and the way Daly shifts storytelling modes so quickly would at least interest other readers, especially those who enjoy deadpan absurdism, since that's the core of Daly's sense of humor. For the continuing fan of this series, Daly continues to raise the stakes in each volume and adds richness and depth for those who are looking for more detail. Above all else, he does for the reader what he does with his party: he keeps things moving even when his characters are navel-gazing." – Rob Clough, High-Low
• Review: "...Moto Hagio has more on her agenda than simply trotting out tired 'girly' storylines. Her protagonists struggle with loss, rejection, and insecurity in a manner sure to strike readers as honest and familiar, never reductive or patronizing.... The stories collected here [in A Drunken Dream] span 31 years of Hagio’s career and, while the later stories do seem a bit looser and more confident, the earlier stories certainly don’t suffer by comparison." – Andrew Fuerste-Henry, No Flying No Tights
• Review: "Boasting [Fantagraphics'] usual high-production values and showcasing the genesis of the indie comics icon, [Usagi Yojimbo, Book 1:] The Ronin is a meticulously curated artifact of comics history.... The book is worth buying for the art alone. Sharply reproduced on gratifyingly durable stock, the quality of the lines leap out from the page even in these early stories." – Abhimanyu Das, Slant Magazine
• Profile: At Comic Book Resources, Shaun Manning talks to Nicolas Mahler about his superhero spoof Angelman: "Mahler said he does not have an in-depth knowledge of the major events and storylines [in superhero comics] of recent years, but said he is still familiar with the culture. 'I think my point of view is very '80s, that is when I stopped reading them,' he said. 'After that, I only have very superficial information. I know more about the fanboys, actually. I enjoy the scene around superheroes more than the stories themselves. I like it when people take this very seriously, and can debate endlessly about little faults in a superhero's universe."'
• Interview: Following an introduction in his native Greek, Comicdom's Tomas Papadimitropoulos posts his untranslated (i.e. English) Q&A with Hans Rickheit: "I am compelled to draw these comics.... These stories follow a certain pattern of logic that makes sense to me. I don’t have the vocabulary to explain how it works, that is why I draw them as comic strips."
• Interview:The A.V. Club's Keith Phipps has a great Q&A with Daniel Clowes: "I can look at my early work and see what a pained struggle it was to draw what I was drawing. I was trying so hard to get this specific look that was in my head, and always falling short. I could see the frustration in the lines, and I remember my hand being tensed and redrawing things a thousand times until I finally inked it, and just having this general tense anxiety about every drawing. I think that comes through in the artwork, and gives it this certain kind of manic energy, this kind of repressed energy, so you feel like it’s sort of bursting at the seams or something."
• Interview (Audio):Daniel Clowes sits down for a chat on Bay Area NPR station KQED's Forum with host Michael Krasny
• Video: Via Meltdown Comics and Boing Boing, a charming short film by Rocío Mesa about a couple of dedicated Daniel Clowes fans
• Plug: "...[W]e recommend checking out Love and Rockets Library: The Complete Vol. 1 from Fantagraphics, which collects every issue of the landmark alt-comic series between 1982 and 1996. In Love and Rockets, Gilbert and his brother Jaime Hernandez wrote stories ranging from satire to political intrigue, and introduced such noteworthy characters as Luba, the temperamental, full-figured mayor of a Central American village, and Maggie Chascarrillo, a punk rock-loving Mexican girl who becomes a solar mechanic. ...[T]here's no better time to become a Los Bros Hernandez zombie than right now." – Phil Guie, Critical Mob