• List: On WFMU's Beware of the Blog, WFMU DJ Nat Roe's multi-media Top 15 includes Jim Woodring's Weathercraft at #5: "Stick a straw in my brain and suck until there's nothing left but that gurgling sound of air, the remnants of carbonation gathered like patrons in a bar on a Tuesday night 'last call' at the other end of the straw; that's how Jim Woodring makes me feel."
• List:Drawn contrubutor John Martz picks 3 of our titles among his Favourite Books of 2010:
"Bent is the latest coffee-table art book from Canadian cartoonist-turned-painter Dave Cooper. We get to drill further into Cooper’s psyche in this book, which continues the celebration of his singular, artistic vision — an alien landscape of writhing, female figures and strange vegetation."
"What Charles Addams is to the New Yorker, Gahan Wilson is to Playboy. And here we have three gorgeous hardcover volumes of his work - page after page of full-colour cartoons celebrating the macabre and the twisted. Perfect for the creep or the creepy in your life."
"Jim Woodring’s masterful cartooning is showcased in this latest graphic novel featuring his familiar cast of characters including Frank, Manhog, Pupshaw, and Pushpaw. It’s never easy to discern what Woodring’s comics are about, but there is never any question as to what is happening in each panel. Such is the control and understanding he has of both the medium and his tools. Weathercraft is a silent movie governed by dream logic and the id."
• Review: "I know that it’s still December 2010 – and not even the end of December, the point where we all make our lists of the best of the year – but it’s possible that I’ve already read my favorite book of 2011. Its name? Stigmata. [...] It’s a smart, beautifully written book that refuses to offer easy answers... But, as good as Piersanti’s story is, what made the book a classic for me is definitely Mattotti’s artwork. [...] Mattotti’s line is amazing, so filled with personality and intensity, at once angry and fiercely controlled, and used in the service of some amazing draughtsmanship and visionary visuals. [...] It’s breathtakingly good, no exaggeration." – Grame McMillan, Robot 6
• Review: "Not only does this issue of cartoonist and designer Jordan Crane's series feature a pair of quality comics from his two established areas of strength..., it carries with it all the joys of the format. ...Uptight #4 stings then pleases like a jump for effect off of a swimming pool's high-dive. [...] All in all, this a fine little read, a delectable peek of lasting hand-held value into what one of the really good cartoonists is up to." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
• Review: "Admittedly, these are not special stories in the sense that they represent anything unusual from the norm, but that is certainly at the center of their power. This is something that if we have not faced yet, we know we will, and Farmer’s ability to capture it all is clear-eyed. It’s a remarkable achievement considering the situation, and Farmer has a way of uniting the readership in one collective deep breathing session that lets us know we are not alone in the wider scope of coping with loss. ...Special Exits exists as a graphic novel of considerable depth and meaning." – John Seven, Archive 7
• Review: "Dixon... is a master of the short story, and this handsome volume [What Is All This?] gathers 26 pieces that hadn’t previously been published in book form. An indispensable addition to a formidable body of work, which also includes 14 novels and a pair of National Book Award nominations, it’s classic Dixon. His prose is so taut it would make Hemingway blush, and Dixon’s brutal honesty figures to redden the faces of some readers. He never shies from exploring common neuroses through characters who can be unsympathetic, or worse, contemptible, but his prodigious skill as a storyteller overrides any unease he generates. Wringing meaning from the mundane, Dixon gets beyond mere personality to the interior lives of the people he fleshes out, warts and all." – John Lewis, Baltimore Magazine
• Review: "Delivered in monochrome and a selection of muted paint wash and crayon effects, the compellingly inviting blend of cartoon styles (reminiscent of our own Posy Simmonds but with a gleeful openness all her own) captures heartbreak, horror, humour, angst and tragedy in a beguiling, seductive manner which is simultaneously charming and devastatingly effective, whilst the book and narrative itself is constructed like a photo album depicting the eternal question 'How and Why Do Families Work?' Enticing, disturbing and genuinely moving, [You'll Never Know, Book 2:] Collateral Damage is a powerful and affecting second stage in Tyler’s triptych of discovery and one no student of the human condition will care to miss." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!
• Review: "Andrei Molotiu has compiled an incredible anthology of non-narrativity and abstraction in his Abstract Comics: The Anthology 1967-2009. [...] Covering 43 different artists, Abstract Comics opens with a exemplary discussion of abstraction in comics books and its overlap with contemporary art... The book is an incredible resource of potentiality...; I can't recommend it higher." – Derek Beaulieu, Lemon Hound
If you've somehow missed Post-It Shows 1 through 5, basically these shows collect tiny 3X3" masterpieces on a Post-It note from an array of awesome artists. Each piece is one-of-a-kind, and cash-and-carry, so hit the ATM on the way to GR2, and maybe bring some cardboard to sandwich your Post-It, if you're fussy about those kinds of things. (I am.) Oh, and did I mention that each Post-It is only $20 BUCKS??? 'Cause, yeah.
Here's a sneak peek at some of the post-its from our fine artists:
[ clockwise from the top left: Jon Vermilyea, Andrice Arp, Lilli Carre, and Jeremy Tinder ]
Post-It Show 6 at GR2 (2062 Sawtelle Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90025) runs from December 11 - January 12, 2011, with an opening reception featuring many of the artists taking place from 6:30 - 10:00 pm this Saturday, December 11. I mentioned each Post-It was only $20 right? You're welcome.
• List:East Bay Express's Anneli Rufus names Jim Woodring's Weathercraft one of the Best Books of 2010: "It's a wordless masterpiece from a Harvey Award-winning autodidact who executes his rhapsodically weird yet somehow relatable surrealistic visions with a lush, lifelike, retro-tinged precision that recalls Edward Lear and Winsor McCay. In an age when too many cartoonists draw with a lazy, defiantly fuckoffish lack of skill, Woodring's museum-quality mastery puts most of his colleagues to shame."
• Review: "Comic book historians Greg Sadowski and John Benson edited this fun time capsule [Four Color Fear], compiling over three dozen spine-tingling tales from the likes of Frank Frazetta, Al Williamson, Iger Studio, Joe Kubert, Basil Wolverton and others. Also included is a beautiful cover section, plus background commentary on each entry and an introduction by John Benson. Grade: A-" – Mike Sebastian, Campus Circle Newspaper
• Plug: "Bent... is more beautiful red and black ink drawings and hazy, lush, desaturated oil paintings of mostly pillowy girls." – Matt Forsythe, Drawn
• Plug: "Castle Waiting Vols. 1 and 2 HCs (Fantagraphics) — These two huge hardcovers can currently be had for less than 50 bucks, and offer up a whole new world of wonder. Perfect for anyone who loves to be transported to another place and time." – Alan David Doane's Holiday Gift Guide, Trouble with Comics
• Plug: "Some reference books will tell you all about movies that won Oscars or about movies that come from certain countries. Who needs that? Destroy All Movies is the only book in the world that will tell you all about every single movie that contains a punk. And I mean every single movie. Editors Zack Carlson and Bryan Connolly have done exhaustive years of research, and they’ve located every liberty spike wearing extra, every mohawked background actor and every safety pinned day player in cinema history. And then they wrote a whole bunch of funny, interesting stuff about those movies, and did some interviews with filmmakers and punks for good measure." – Dennis Faraci, Badass Digest "Badass Gift Guide"
Presented by The Beguiling, Conundrum Press, and Fantagraphics Books
Toronto! Get ready for a fantastic comics event as Robin McConnell, host of the INKSTUDS podcast and author of the new book of the same name, will interview Canada's own Dave Cooper, who has recently released his own new artbook BENT! Following the interview will be a moderated Q&A with the audience, and a signing.
The event is going down on Sunday, November 28th, from 3pm-6pm next door to The Beguiling at The Central. Both the INKSTUDS book and Cooper's BENT (as well as other fine graphic novels) will be available for sale.
This is a FREE event, and it's going to be a lot of fun. Come on out and a have a beer and a bite to eat, and enjoy some great comics chatting.
• Review: "I know what you're all thinking. Does [Destroy All Movies!!! The Complete Guide to Punks on Film] adequately up the punx? The answer is a resounding, 'Yep!' [...] There's a little more attention paid to Nick Zedd and Lydia Lunch than I think is deserved, but otherwise the book is perfect. [...] This one will live above your toilet tank for years and make shitting so much fun." – Nick Gazin, Vice
• Review: "Dave Cooper's produced [Bent,] another book's worth of sketches and oil paintings of weird looking women. Some of Cooper's gals are cute and cartoony, most seem to be a compilation of everything that women fear they look like. His paintings mix cartoonish proportions and ways of thinking with an amazing sense of light and forms. Dave Cooper has big ideas which are mostly scary and gross ideas rendered beautifully." – Nick Gazin, Vice
• Review: "Jason... makes comics that are quiet and lonely and often show how quickly life passes. [What I Did] contains the first comics that Jason had published in English... Each one makes it seem like life is just absolutely meaningless. [...] You like smart animals? With hats? And ennui? And muuuuurderrrrrrr? You do? What else do you like? Because I like you." – Nick Gazin, Vice
• Review: "Werewolves [of Montpellier] has an artsy feel, but also plenty of humor, even in (or especially in) its more dramatic moments. [...] But it’s mostly the subtle characterizations that still bring the greatest amount of personality out of his creatures that look like animals, but act so much like humans. [...] Overall, it’s another great book from Fantagraphics in the Jason catalog. It doesn’t shake the foundation of his style, but it does try a few new ideas and tells another fun story." – William Jones, Graphic Novel Reporter
• Review: "Because of the wide variety of ways these artists see the world and approach art, it’s understood that some pieces delighted me while others left me scratching my head. But even the head-scratchers — especially the head-scratchers — left me pondering various aspects of the mythical and legendary creatures in ways I’d never considered before. [...] Once I was done [with Beasts! Book 1], I realized that I’d held onto that feeling of going through a real, marvelous exhibit of strange and wonderful creatures. Like I’d been told a story in which I was the main character, visiting this museum, learning about these beasts, wondering about them, and in turn creating stories of my own." – Michael May, Robot 6
• Review: "Reading Drew Friedman's 2010 book Too Soon? reminded me that I'd missed his 2007 comics collection, The Fun Never Stops!, so I had to remedy that situation as quickly as possible. [...] Drew Friedman comics have to be experienced rather than described; he has a distinctive, warped sensibility, intensely steeped in old pop culture but with an almost literary detachment and a relentless tropism towards ugliness, unlikely connections, and random cultural detritus. What sells it is that unflinchingly realistic drawing style — when you look at a Drew Friedman picture, you know it must be true in some way, because a fake could never look that good." – Andrew Wheeler, The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.
This week's comic shop shipment is slated to include the following new titles. Read on to see what comics-blog commentators are saying about our releases this week, and contact your local shop to confirm availability.
80-page full-color 10.25" x 9" hardcover • $22.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-378-1
"And on the other side of things, barring a continuation of Weasel (which by the end had basically turned into this), Fantagraphics brings a new 80-page, 10.25″ x 9″ hardcover collection of the best of Dave Cooper’s most recent paintings, drawings and photographs." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics
"Bent is a new one from Dave Cooper collecting the past five years’ worth of paintings, ink drawings, pencil sketches, and photographs all as bizarre and as strange as you’d expect." – Gosh! Comics
120-page color/b&w 7" x 9" softcover • $14.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-365-1
"In which the now-well-established Fantagraphics house anthology celebrates a nice round number with a spanking new cover design..." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics
"Your $15 will get you 120 pages of work from Steven Weissman, Sergio Ponchione, Jeremy Teinder, Aidan Koch, Dash Shaw, Sara Edward-Corbett, Josh Simmons, T. Edward Bak, Derek Van Gieson, Ted Stearn and more." – J. Caleb Mozzocco, Newsarama
"Also from Fantagraphics is the latest in their flagship anthology, MOME, the landmark 20th volume so they’ve done their maths and provided us with the following facts: 5 years, 20 volumes, 72 artists, and 2,352 pages of comics. Blimey." – Gosh! Comics
"Congratulations to Eric Reynolds on a mighty run of books, and let's hope it continues until it's a undeniable all-timer in the very tough room that is the comics anthology." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
Fine artist Dave Cooper offers us a window into the wobbly dollhouse that is his mind’s eye. The work in Bent gathers a diverse mix of imagery that is also strangely focussed in its single-mindedness. This work has found a devoted and passionate following with visitors to Cooper’s solo gallery shows in Los Angeles and New York in recent years.
Cooper continues to obsess and fixate over his bizarre procession of milky figures as they crawl and wriggle into hidden meadows, jungles and cities. Everything in this world seems to be undulating and overripe — the multi-coloured Jell-O vegetation, the billowing clouds, and the twitching, agitated women, whether thin like sinewy rubber, or fat and bursting with doughy flesh.
The characters in Cooper’s work have been likened to a dog chasing its tail. Or maybe it’s as though they’re like someone on drugs who can stare at their own hand for 20 minutes; either way, these girls are hypnotized by wriggling around on the ground, twisting in on themselves, walking on their hands, squeezing and chewing one another. It may sound hellish, but to the demons, hell must seem like heaven. So maybe Cooper’s landscapes are more like a weird kind of utopia where all those insane facial expressions and physical contortions are more an experession of elation or giddiness.
This monograph collects Cooper’s finest, most revealing paintings, ink drawings, pencil sketches, and photographs from the past five years, many of which enjoy homes in the collections of influential collectors and some of Hollywood’s elite. Among this esteemed crowd is the great auteur, Oscar-nominated Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth), who provides an enthusiastic introduction for Bent.
Oh nuts, I'm about to start today's Online Commentary & Diversions and noticed I never published yesterday's in my APE prep frenzy. Here it is:
• Review: "Rip M.D. is near perfect. ...[T]he art is fantastic; with original and distinct designs that border realistic and cartoony, with the best qualities of both carrying a jovial wit, which never balking on making the subject matter truly scary. And the story by Mitch Schauer is told in a clear and concise manner, taking on a sort of fairy tale tone in the beginning that sort of fades by the end. The book on the whole is kid-like in tone, but told with sophistication that one used to see in old Loony Tunes." – Mark L. Miller, Ain't It Cool News
• Review: "Rip M.D. is very sweet all-ages graphic novel... For those... looking for something to share with the family, Rip is an excellent choice. The writer, Mitch Schauer, is clearly a fan of classic monsters and has really had some fun with these characters. The real gem in Rip M.D. is the artwork. Beautiful, beautiful panels that you may want to tear out of the book and put up on your walls. [...] And the colors in this book are just stunning. This is a book that warrants some extra time to just enjoy each page. [...] Ultimately, this is a book that anyone can read and enjoy that would also make an excellent gift to a young reader as a Halloween treat. Score: ★★★★★" – Stephanie Shamblin G, Comic Monsters
• Interview:Squee! talks to Carol Tyler about You'll Never Know in an interview which will run in edited form in the new issue of Ghettoblaster Magazine: "Hardest thing I've ever taken on. So much to juggle: the storyline, the art. The mechanics of making a comic page/book. Oy! I've been at this for four years and I'm still not done! I love it, though. I've had to wrap my life around getting pages done. [...] It's an epic struggle, although worth it a thousand times over."
• Interview (audio):Inkstuds host Robin McConnell chatted with fellow Canadian Dave Cooper while Dave was in Vancouver on his West Coast book tour
Dave Cooper and Johnny Ryan graced us with their presence at our Bookstore & Gallery last night to celebrate the release of their respective new books Bent and Prison Pit Book 2 and a fine time was had by all. Thanks to everybody who came out and made it a bustling crowd on a rainy Saturday night! For those who couldn't make it (or would like to relive the experience), browse our photoset, which includes shots of all of Dave's drawings on exhibit. We'll post pics of Johnny's visit to Floating World in Portland and from Dave's other book tour stops when they turn up.