• Review: "The Complete Crumb Comics Volume One: The Early Years of Bitter Struggle, a 1987 book now republished in an expanded edition, gathers together the earliest surviving examples of the great cartoonist’s juvenilia taking him from age 14 or 15 to 18 years old. The high school scribbler that we meet in these pages is a very callow Crumb indeed: Crumb before he had sex, Crumb before he dropped acid, Crumb before he was adopted as a hero of the counterculture, Crumb before he honed his satirical stance on modern life, Crumb before he became the most radical, polarizing and influential cartoonist of the late 20th century. Yet in the lanky and awkward body of the teenage Crumb we can see the outlines of the substantial artist he would become.... There are very few cartoonists whose entire body of work demands to be read and Crumb belongs near the very top of that short list." – Jeet Heer, The Comics Journal
• Review: "Has Jason become more embittered and misanthropic as he’s aged, or do those tendencies just become more evident as one reads more of his work? Athos in America is up to his usual standards, full of stories that build slowly, with plenty of subtle detail in its stone-faced panels.... Mostly, we wait for things to end badly, which they almost always do, although never with much overt expression of drama.... The execution, as it always is with both Jason and Fantagraphics, is stellar." – Hillary Brown, Paste
• Review: "Fantagraphics Books is doing a good job of preserving and publishing important cartoons. A good example is Willie and Joe: The WWII Years.... These cartoons about World War II provide the reader with a glimpse of what army life was like. Willie and Joe: The WWII Years is more than a book of cartoons by a two-time Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist, it is a significant history book." – Glenn Perrett, Simcoe.com
• Review: "Fantagraphics Books continues to make available Charles M. Schulz's wonderful Peanuts cartoons in attractive books that make nice keepsakes. The latest volume covers the years 1983 and 1984. Lots of fun things are happening with the Peanuts gang including Snoopy's brother Spike requiring help from attacks by coyotes in the desert (they're attacking him with rubber bands), Lucy is still pursuing Schroeder, Charlie Brown is still in a "love triangle" with Peppermint Patty and Charlie Brown joins Peppermint Patty's baseball team...as a mascot. This volume includes a Foreword by Leonard Maltin. As with other Peanuts books, The Complete Peanuts 1983-1984 would make a nice gift for those who enjoy Peanuts and the work of Charles M. Schulz." – Glenn Perrett, Simcoe.com
• Interview: Geoff Boucher of The Los Angeles Times has a Q&A with Daniel Clowes about looking back on his career: "One thing that really shocked me was to go through some of the fan mail I used to get in the pre-Internet days. Lots of people — like a truly surprising number of complete strangers — would write me 10- or 15-page letters, telling me all about the most mundane details of their twitterless existence. Pretty much inconceivable nowadays."
• Opinion:Newsarama's Graeme McMillan counts down "The 10 Most Glaring Eisner Nomination Omissions," placing Dave McKean at #9 ("With 2011 seeing the release of Celluloid, the erotic graphic novel that not only marked the return of the much-loved multimedia creator... to comics but also his first full-length graphic novel ever, you would've been forgiven for thinking he would've been given some kind of nomination nod...") and Jaime Herandez at #1 ("A heartbreaking story that not only showed Jaime on top form after a 20+ year career in comics -- and definitely in a class of his own as modern-day storyteller -- 'Love Bunglers' topped many year-end lists for 2011 and was the rare comic that, it seemed, was loved and appreciated by everyone that read it.")
Just beginning to catch up on Online Commentary & Diversions:
• Profile: With his big new art book out and his museum retrospective on the way, Daniel Clowes gets the New York Times profile treatment from Carol Kino: "Mr. Clowes can create a striking face with a few deftly placed lines or brush strokes, often seizing on some specific characteristic that summons up an indelible personality. Think of Enid Coleslaw, the snarky teenage anti-heroine of Ghost World, and her big, black nerdy-hip glasses; they cover most of her face, but they can’t conceal the tiny shifts in expression that loudly telegraph her mood."
• List:Daniel Clowes may be headed for a museum retrospective, but he is neither dead nor retired — but that doesn't stop Flavorwire's Elona Jones from naming 10 candidates to carry the torch of "his storytelling skills, interest in surrealism, and eye for biting observations," including Jason, who "receives international acclaim for his brilliant storytelling."
• Review: "The John Benson-edited anthology The Sincerest Form of Parody: The Best 1950s MAD-Inspired Satirical Comics assembles largely forgotten work by the likes of Jack Davis, Will Elder, Ross Andru, and Jack Kirby, parodying everything from Mickey Spillane novels to Rex Morgan, M.D. Some of these pieces can stand up to the best of Mad (or at least match the magazine’s average), but even the stories that are clunky and unfunny are fascinating for the way they rip off Mad shamelessly, including all the asides and mini-gags that Will Elder once labeled Mad’s 'chicken fat.' It’s a testament to how quickly the innovative and subversive can become mainstream." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club
• Review: "Next to Pogo, the newspaper comics collection that fans have been most anticipating would be Ernie Bushmiller’s Nancy, which over the past few decades has garnered a reputation as the purest distillation of the gag cartoon, a triumph of minimalism... Nancy Is Happy: Dailies 1943-1945 joins Bushmiller’s magnum opus in full swing ... Bushmiller’s genius [was] to make everything in his strip so basic that anyone, anywhere, at any time, could get the joke." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club
• Review (Video): Video blogger Robert Crayola looks at Nancy Is Happy: "If you like comics or comic strips especially and you haven't read Nancy or if you have and you just want more, I think you'll enjoy this.... Hopefully we can get many more volumes of this. I hope you support it. It's a great book."
• Review: "One of the signature achievements of ’80s alt-comics, Drew and Josh Alan Freidman’s Any Similarity to Persons Living or Dead Is Purely Coincidental: An Anthology of Comic Art, 1979-1985 is now back in print in a spiffy new edition that doesn’t really add anything to the original, but is still a necessary addition to any library that doesn’t already have a copy.... Drew Friedman’s stipple-heavy photo-realism and his brother Josh’s gleefully cruel humor combine to craft an alternate history of American entertainment that’s preposterous and yet feels true. Even now, decades after other cartoonists and comedians have tapped this well, the Friedmans’ pioneering work in the field of 'brattily dicking around with icons' remains unparalleled." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club
• Review: "Folly... serve[s] as a good introduction to Rickheit’s beautifully ugly visions, of a world where cute girls and humanoid stuffed animals commit atrocities against oozing flesh. With a drawing style that resembles Jason Lutes and Charles Burns, and a storytelling style similar to Jim Woodring and Al Columbia, Rickheit excels in making nightmares lucid. Some characters recur from story to story in Folly, but really this book is just page after page of beautiful images juxtaposed with wounds and excreta. The single-mindedness of Rickheit’s approach — and the level of detail he applies to it — is impressively horrifying." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club
• Kyoto, Japan: The exhibit Three Sides Chicago: Squares, Squirrels & Dots, featuring Archer Prewitt, alongside Sam Prekop and Eric Claridge, will be opening at the Trancepop Gallery. All three artists will make an appearance at the opening reception. (more info)
• Columbus, OH: Join Paul Hornschemeier at the Columbus Museum of Art as he speaks with Jared Gardner, a professor of English and Film Studies at Ohio State University. In conjunction with his talk, the museum will display a selection of Hornschemeier’s scripts, storyboards, and sketches highlighting his creative process. (more info)
• Tokyo, Japan: Three Sides Chicago: Squares, Squirrels & Dots spotlights the work of Archer Prewitt, alongside Sam Prekop and Eric Claridge, and they'll make an appearance at the Shibuya Parco B1F LIBRO on this final day of the exhibit. (more info)
Join Dan on Thursday, April 5th for this very special celebration of his new collection The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist, from Abrams ComicArts. The evening will be hosted by Blair Butler (of G4's Fresh Ink), and there will be an interview conducted by Mark Frauenfelder of BoingBoing, followed by a Q&A!
The event starts at 8:00 PM, but get there early! If you purchase one copy of the new book from Meltdown, you'll be granted two tickets to this event. An extra ticket can then be purchased for $10. But you can't buy individual tickets, so bring a buddy and join the fun at Meltdown Comics [ 7522 Sunset Blvd ].
And at 6:00 PM, it's the First Annual "Enid Coleslaw" Meet-Up at Nerdmelt [ also 7522 Sunset Blvd ], the "nerdy little comedy theater that is the marriage between Nerdist Industries and Meltdown Comics."
Nerdmelt is inviting everyone to "wear your glasses, your favorite Enid looks, and your best bored expression" for an Enid Coleslaw cosplay night. Seeing as how a lot of my friends look like Enid no matter what, I wonder how many ladies are gonna wander on to that scene unsuspectingly!
There will be photo-ops, and a screening of the film version of Ghost World to get everyone pumped up for Dan's arrival. So, get ready for a Clowes Celebration in L.A.!
We're excited to announce the great Daniel Clowes will be the special guest at the Kadist Art Foundation this Wednesday, March 28th!
Join Dan at 6:00 PM as he is interviewed by Rene de Guzman, Senior Curator of Art at the Oakland Museum of California. Don't miss the chance to hear them talk about Dan's career, as well as his upcoming exhibition opening at OMCA on April 14.
• Northridge, CA: Gilbert, Jaime, & Mario Hernandez will be speaking to Professor Charles Hatfield's class on Monday, March 26th at the California State University, Northridge (in greater Los Angeles). This event is open to the public, not just students! (more info)
Tuesday, March 27th
• New York, NY: Get ready for another editior of The Crime Stoppers Club with Michael Kupperman and co-host Kate Beaton! This month, they welcome Dave Hill, Victor Vardnado, Domitille Collardey, Jim Torok, and Corey Pandolphfor a night of laughter and imagery. This free event starts at 7:00 PM at Luca Lounge. (more info)
• San Francisco, CA: Daniel Clowes will be interviewed by Rene de Guzman, Senior Curator of Art at the Oakland Museum of California, at the Kadist Art Foundation! More details coming to the FLOG very soon!
Sorry this slipped through the cracks last week, everyone!
Last Wednesday's comic shop shipment included the following new titles. Read on to see what comics-blog commentators and web-savvy comic shops are saying about them (more to be added as they appear), check out our previews at the links, and contact your local shop to confirm availability.
336-page black & white 8.5" x 8.5" flexibound softcover • $24.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-360-6
"This is lovely material, lovingly presented, as satisfying a production-style execution of a strip collection as I've seen in a long while. And that's not exactly a category light on well-executed books." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
"A big fat square brick of Ernie Bushmiller's poker-faced masterwork. Fantagraphics has had this on the schedule for eons; good to see it finally coming out!" – Douglas Wolk, ComicsAlliance
"I’ve never really delved into Ernie Bushmiller’s iconic creation before but I know there are plenty of folk who consider it a near-Zen masterpiece and I’m curious as to the effect sitting down with a sizable block of Nancy strips will have on me. Perhaps my third inner eye will finally open!" – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
"If you didn’t see it last week, gird your loins for Nancy Is Happy: Complete Dailies 1943-1945, presenting the Ernie Bushmiller classic from materials scanned mainly from the collection of Dan Clowes, who provides an introduction..." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
"The new @fantagraphics Nancy collection is so goddamn funny I can barely handle it." – Secret Headquarters
"There are other new comics out today, too, I guess, but I don’t know why they bothered." – Mike Sterling
I'm not one for popularity contests, but this one is special. VOTE LUCKY #13. There's some stiff competition in Jerry Rice, Jerry Brown, Willie Brown, and even a few non-Jerry/Brown public figures in the Bay Area. But let's face it, none of them wear their smooth pates as well as Mr. Inkstud himself.