Get your tricks AND your treats this Halloween season with curated Fantagraphics titles during our weeklong Halloween sale! From Al Columbia to Richard Sala to our EC Comics horror collections, we've got a little something for everyone.
Check out the full list of books below, and snap one up while you can. Some of these are in very limited supply!
Beasts! Book 1 by various artists; edited by Jacob Covey
A classic mythological menagerie, comprised of creatures that were thought at one time to actually exist, depicted by about a hundred acclaimed artists and cartoonists. Now in softcover after 2 sold-out hardcover editions.
Beasts! Book 2 by various artists; edited by Jacob Covey
Like the first book, this deluxe collection includes a Who’s Who of the contemporary art world, collectively crafting a menagerie of mythological creatures, monsters, beasts and things that go bump in the night.
One of the most impressive graphic novel debuts in recent years, a sweeping, magisterially conceived, visually startling tale of violence, amorality, fortitude, and redemption, one part Melville, one part Peckinpah.
Ott plunges into the darkness with five graphic horror stories in his hyper-detailed scratchboard style. Ott's plot twists will delight fans of classic horror; his artwork will haunt you long after you put the book down.
A fascinating, full-color compendium of extremely rare devil postcards spanning approximately 1898 through the 1950s, with over 150 full-color examples of these exquisite cards, culled from the finest postcard collections throughout the world.
King of the Flies Vol. 1: Hallorave by Mezzo & Pirus
A glorious bastard, combining the intricacy and subtlety of the best European comics with a hyperdetailed, controlled noir style derived from the finest American cartoonists into interrelated tales of (mostly) interiorized violence.
King of the Flies Vol. 2: The Origin of the World by Mezzo & Pirus
The second installment in this creepily sexy suburban soap opera — a sprawling and intricate tale of a community haunted by obsession, rage, regret and despair — in sum, a graphic novel for the 21st century.
A crew of undead pirates roams the seven seas, seeking release from their cursed existence. After one murderous conquest, they find a little pink baby who they adopt as their "King." A classic tale newly adapted by a French master.
Peculia and the Groon Grove Vampires by Richard Sala
Night is coming and the local baby-sitters club needs an extra sitter. That strange new family in town is expecting four warm bodies... Peculia, that mysterious and clever young waif, returns in her first full-length story!
Pim and Francie: The Golden Bear Days by Al Columbia
This gorgeous grimoire is part alchemy, part art book, part storybook, part comic book, and part conceptual art, a broken jigsaw puzzle of a book starring two childlike imps whose irresponsible antics get them into horrific trouble.
An omnibus hardcover compiling 3 of Ott's previous albums along with 8 previously uncollected stories. Twenty twisted tales of murder, suicide, oppression, terror, mutilation, crime, marital strife, and nuclear annihilation.
Join Winkie on her most hellacious misadventure, a tale of debauchery, crime, neuroses, greed, lust, psychoses, vengeance, love, rage, mystery, comedy, and sorrow. Jouflas strikes a chord of unease with this simply scary story.
Woodring's drawings take his comics' otherworldly qualities to new levels of clarity and nuance, exploring hidden worlds, alternate realities and the inexplicable resonance of the unprecedented and irrational in lucid art.
Classic stories starring Dog Boy and Mister Blister, as well as several tales of doomed romance and creepy revulsion, plus a collection of sketchbook excerpts, covers and illustrations, in an affordable softcover edition!
He lives hand to mouth, this shambling lug of a man, wrestling with his demons and drinking himself into oblivion. Until one day his palms begin to bleed… A stunning, madly expressionistic graphic novel.
The Strange Case of Edward Gorey [Expanded Hardcover Edition] by Alexander Theroux
Expanded to twice the length of the original edition and completely redesigned, this intimate, revealing look into the life and art of an American original is an essential book for all Gorey fans and scholars.
Sucker Bait and Other Stories by Graham Ingels, Al Feldstein et al.
25 classic horror stories involving swamps, maniacs, and dismemberment by the artist so good at gruesome, grisly depictions of the endless corruption of flesh and nature he earned the nickname "Ghastly."
'Tain't the Meat… It's the Humanity! and Other Stories by Jack Davis & Al Feldstein
Good Lord! Choke! The complete Jack Davis-illustrated Tales from the Crypt stories collected in one convenient, gore-drenched package! The quintessential American horror comic drawn by its quintessential artist.
Reed's song cycle inspired by Edgar Allan Poe is in turn interpreted by Mattotti as a series of vivid, abstracted and enigmatic paintings that bring out all the terror and beauty of this centuries-spanning masterwork.
A creepy-cute all-ages tale about a couple of kids at a Halloween party who stumble into a secret underground society of damaged, forgotten, and pissed-off toys. Imagine Toy Story reimagined by David Lynch & Charles Burns!
Weird Horrors & Daring Adventures: The Joe Kubert Archives Vol. 1
For the first time, 33 of the best stories from Kubert's early career, collected in one full-color volume, in a glorious variety of genres with a special emphasis on horror and crime. Meticulously restored, with historical notes.
A faux werewolf-cum-burglar runs afoul of a real society of werewolves who don't take kindly to the pretender. Lycanthropic thrills, romantic dilemmas, situation comedy, existential drama — in other words, pure Jason.
The latest, largest kaiju monsters of Online Commentaries and Criticism:
• Review:New Schoolin The A.V. Club. "Like Anders Nilsen, Dash Shaw has spent his career looking for a creatively profitable middle ground between high art and straightforward comics storytelling.…Shaw riffs on the popular culture of the ’90s and the politics of the ’00s, suggesting that the children of one decade grew up too cut off from reality to understand the part they played in fostering the global conflict of the next. The social commentary in New School provides a sharp accent to a formally daring, at times alarming coming-of-age tale," says Noel Murray.
• Review:New School in Paste Magazine. "Dash Shaw is a relentless experimenter, never content to rely on the processes and approaches that garnered him acclaim the last go-round…Shaw’s ability to confidently follow his muse without justifying any artistic approach is part of what makes him such an exciting voice, and one that continues to refine itself with this excellent book," wrote Hillary Brown.
• Review:Mental Floss on New School. "Dash Shaw is one of the new generation of exciting comic creators who exist in a nexus between comics and the New York contemporary art scene... A glance at the pages here shows a bold, unusual use of color that seems part Power Mastrs, part Asterios Polyp," writes Rich Barrett.
• Review:Comics Alliance reviews Dash Shaw's New School. John Parker writes, "New School is surreal, emotional, and delirious with color…Moving, innovative, and beautiful, it's hard to imagine you'd confuse the woozy, dreamsick, and explosively colored pages of New School for any other artist's, no matter what distance you're viewing them from."
• Interview (audio): Dash Shaw is interviewed on Robin McConnell's Inkstuds again!
• Plug:New School in The Austin American Statesmen. "on first read, it is melancholic, funny and smartly impressionistic, three things that comics do well…Dash Shaw likes to move through styles, and it’s exciting. As soon as you think you have a fix on his forms, he tweaks it just a bit," writes Joe Gross.
• Review:NPR lists Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life as one of the five touching comics of summer. "Lust's desire to experience real life and to learn things beyond books is by turns uplifting and painful, funny and frightening…The result is a modern coming-of-age story that addresses the thrills and consequences of being young, idealistic, and more than a little lucky," Myla Goldberg sums up.
• Review:The National Post on Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life by Ulli Lust. "Last Day is, essentially, a memoir of powerlessness, of how fruitless our attempts to shape our own lives can be - a fact often reflected in her lines, simple and crisp but frequently lost in the chaos of big scenes.…It's an honesty, intimate and universal, that comics capture better than any medium, and Lust's entry is an almost perfect instance," states David Berry.
• Review:Slant Magazine looks at Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life by Ulli Lust. Tim Peters says, "…it's spontaneous, sexual, and both cynically and internationally adventurous. It's also further proof that the graphic novel is going to dethrone the novel as the 21st century's preferred form for telling a story…A good way to think about Today Is the Last Day is as a kind of anti-Eat, Pray, Love."
• Plug:Cleaver Magazine on Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life by Ulli Lust. "…the beauty of this graphic memoir is in the way, image by image and line by line, it captures that yearning and its momentary fulfillments in the shapes of breathtaking, carefully drawn landscapes, or drawings that depict Ulli's surreal fantasies, like her body floating happily over the Spanish stairs," writes Tahneer Oksman
• Review:Cult Montreal enjoys Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life by Ulli Lust. "Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life is a gripping read that feels like a story a close friend might tell you after returning from a long voyage. Lust's lively illustration style and enthralling narrative voice make this graphic novel a feminist On the Road for the twenty-first century," writes Jeff Miller.
• Plug:Largehearted Boy lists Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life by Ulli Lust as one of the picks of the week "It's a frank, funny, occasionally brutal coming-of-age story…There's plenty of sex, drugs, and violence, though it's Lust's insight and sensitivity that really make it shine," writes The Librarie Drawn & Quarterly Bookstore.
Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life is a gripping read that feels like a story a close friend might tell you after returning from a long voyage. Lust’s lively illustration style and enthralling narrative voice make this graphic novel a feminist On the Road for the twenty-first century. - See more at: http://cultmontreal.com/2013/07/comics-review-ulli-lust-tom-gauld-joe-ollmann/#sthash.5LDUqr84.dpuf
Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life is a gripping read that feels like a story a close friend might tell you after returning from a long voyage. Lust’s lively illustration style and enthralling narrative voice make this graphic novel a feminist On the Road for the twenty-first century. - See more at: http://cultmontreal.com/2013/07/comics-review-ulli-lust-tom-gauld-joe-ollmann/#sthash.5LDUqr84.dpu
• Interview: Matt Seneca interviews Charles Forsman of The End of the Fucking World and being compared to Charles Schulz on Comics Alliance. "It is very much about being fucked-up when you are a teen and that should be a timeless idea. We all go through that. I guess the 80s thing is something that I use as an atmospheric reference for myself," says Forsman. "Forsman managed to do what even the most talented cartoonists often have difficulty with, fusing the honesty of presentation and uninflected realism native to classic alternative comics with the white-knuckle pace and jaw-clenching cliffhangers of the best action storytelling," writes Seneca.
• Interview: Chuck Forsman talks about mini-comics, schoolin' and The End of the Fucking World with Spurgeon on The Comics Reporter<. "I really enjoyed building something with smaller bricks. I guess that's how I've always thought of comics, breaking it down into scenes. Even when I'm just doing one book. I also like to mix the bricks up a bit." .
• Review: The New York Journal of Books enjoys Wake Up, Percy Gloom by Cathy Malkasian. "In a graphic novel filled with exceptional art, lush dreamscapes and characters of rich beauty, Ms. Malkasian brings simple moments to life that show us the depth of someone's heart," writes Mark Squirek. "Wake Up, Percy Gloom reminds us that every single moment is important because at any second apples may bloom and fall from the sky."
• Review:iFanboy on Wake Up, Percy Gloomby Cathy Malkasian. "Malkasian decorates the tale with surreal and absurd dressing (reminiscent of the land of Oz, more than anything else), and plots with twists and turns that are almost impossible to anticipate....If L Frank Baum, Jim Henson and, Jeff Smith wrote a comic together, it would feel (and look) a bit like Percy Gloom," writes Josh Christie.
• Review:The Comic Pusher looks at Wake Up, Percy Gloomby Cathy Malkasian. "Part cutting satire, part fairy tale, part nightmare…Wake Up, Percy Gloom! is another astonishing work from Malkasian, a beautiful and uplifting graphic novel filled with magic and loss and joy. Malkasian, a veteran animator and now highly accomplished cartoonist, once more delivers a work of startling power cementing herself as one of the most distinct and important voices in comics," pens Jeffrey O. Gustafson.
• Commentary: Jessica Lee report on The Beat about Cathy Malkasian's talk at the California College of Arts. "The amount of precision and undeniable heart Cathy puts into every ounce of her characters, panel construction, and worldbuilding is commendable, filling WAKE UP PERCY GLOOM with the kind of rare wonder that make it a gem in the pool of graphic novels…" writes Lee.
• Review:Eye of the Majestic Creature Vol. 2 by Leslie Stein is reviewed on VICE. "What Leslie does with her work is special. She seems largely influenced by newspaper comics, but her stories are subtle.…The core of this series seems to be about how uncomfortable it is to interact with other people and how lonely it can be in New York," says Nick Gazin.
• Review: Eye of the Majestic Creature Vol. 2 by Leslie Stein on Comics Bulletin. "Leslie Stein is a voice for a certain aspect of her generation, the ones you see feigning ironic detachment while inside they are either all honest excitement or vast empathy. While it's just so much easier and cooler not to get emotionally involved, for people like Stein, that's just really not possible," writes Daniel Elkin.
• Review:Good Dog by Graham Chaffee on Forbidden Planet International. "It's a brilliant little book, one I could quite cheerfully have read much more of, one that definitely left me wanting more…throughout the book, Chaffee paints the picture so vividly that you understand that dogs, just like us, are complicated beasts, and each has to find their own life," writes Richard Bruton.
• Review: The Hooded Utilitarian reviews Good Dog by Graham Chaffee. "Chaffee largely eschews panels which are filled with multifarious meaning and intricate correlations, adopting congenial, unsensational storytelling, evoking time, place and character; the gentle rhythms of a nostalgia associated with the early to mid twentieth century…The central questions being tackled here appear to be those of belief, ideology, and faith. A tangential discussion of deist philosophy may not be out of the question as well," writes Ng Suat Tong.
• Plug:Drawn Words on Good Dog by Graham Chaffee. "Good Dog is absolutely one of the most interesting comics of the year…Ivan's struggle as a stray is parallel to everyday human interaction and quest for personal fulfillment, exploring animal psychology in the simplest way Chaffee can possibly explain, while simultaneously maintaining a strong grip of emotion," muses Kevin Cortez.
• Review:The End by Anders Nilsen on The A.V. Club. "This is a book from comics' more avant-garde wing, and a premier example of how to make experimental work that still connects broadly, rather than coming across as self-indulgent vamping," writes Noel Murray.
• Plug:New York 1 on The End\ by Anders Nilsen. "…this beautiful creation explores grief and life, unanswered questions and unquestioned thought," states Andrew Losowsky.
• Interview: Alex Dueben of CBR interviews Kim Deitch on The Amazing, Enlightening and Absolutely True Adventures of Katherine Whaley, process and the inclusion of beavers. "Well, when you read around in old fiction there is a whole genre of stuff that you might categorize as "hollow earth" stories. You know, hidden teeming civilizations deep within the earth.…The almost human workaholic activities of beavers seemed like a potentially good fit to a story of that kind," answered Deitch.
• Review:The National Post reviews Lost Cat. "Jason is one of the few artists (or writers) who can make existential aches seem droll, but it makes the smiles being provoked feel as honest as the ones we get when standing across from someone who makes the world feel a little less lonely," muses David Barry.
• Review:Comics Alliance gives Jason's Lost Cat the whatfor! "If you're familiar with Jason's previous work, you know his mastery of minimalist storytelling is what drives his art. His anthropomorphic, near emotionless characters, along with his consistent four panel page layouts, are his signature," writes Joseph Hughes.
• Review:Comics Bulletin looks at Jason's Lost Cat. "In a way it asks us to consider what is more meaningful, actually connecting or the longing to connect in the first place…Jason is an artist of a high caliber and reading Lost Cat confirms this. He creates in isolation, ruminates about our inability to connect, and, by doing so, brings us together," writes Daniel Elkin.
• Plug:Lost Cat is on Publishers Weekly Picks of the Week. "A humorous PI story populated by animals takes a turn toward the absurd in the newest-and longest yet-graphic novel by Jason."
Review: iFanboy on Bread & Wine by Samuel Delany and Mia Wolff. "The book is short...but packs some serious punch. Lots of the credit can go to Mia Wolff, whose black-and-white pen work adds some serious grittiness to the story. The only thing I love more than a good love story is a good atypical love story, and Bread & Wine fits the bill nicely," writes Josh Christie.
• Review:Bread & Wine by Samuel Delany and Mia Wolff on Sequential Tart<. "The story itself is intimate and at times awkward to read, which makes it feel very real and personal. Delany doesn't shy away from some of the less-appealing moments in the relationship...Bread & Wine is an unusual offering, and certainly won't be to everyone's taste, but it's certainly worth a read now that it's widely available and reasonably priced," writes Katie Frank.
• Review:Bread &Wine by Samuel Delany and Mia Wolff was reviewed on Comics Grinder. "This graphic novel, originally published in 1999, springs from a memoir and stands alone as engaging and insightful...For a book that promises an erotic tale, there are even more scenes that speak to the great divide between the two men which they will either struggle with or overcome," wrote Henry Chamberlain, Comics Grinder
• Plug:Bread & Wine by Samuel Delany and Mia Wolff on Largehearted Boy. "With Alan Moore contributing an introduction and Neil Gaiman and Junot Diaz (and Frank Miller in case that still means something to anyone) singing its praises, you know Bread & Wine has something special going on," says Benn from Atomic Books.
• Plug:Publishers Weekly on Hip Hop Family Tree by Ed Piskor. Maurice Boyer details the creative process: "each strip [is] a full week affair in which he spends a day of research and writing immersed in books, videos or interviews in search of inspiration for the week's strip. From there, he spends the rest of the week drawing his pages by hand and coloring them on the computer."
• Interview:Julia Gfrӧrer is interviewed on The Beat by Zainab Ahktar. "I like writing for a contemporary setting, but a contemporary mermaid story would be kind of a hard sell, it feels unpleasantly whimsical to me, so for that reason Black is the Color had to be set in the past." nbsp;
• Review:HIV+ on 7 Miles a Second by David Wojnarowicz, James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook. "It can be difficult to remember in 2013, just how despised gays were and just how oblivious the rest of society seemed to the AIDS epidemic in those dark days.… But 7 Miles a Second captures the rage and impotence felt by thousands of young gay men who were suddenly faced with the brutal finality of death," writes Jacob Anderson-Minshall.
• Review:Hyperallergic on 7 Miles a Second by David Wojnarowicz, James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook.. "Wojnarowicz…didn’t win the great game of life; they lost bitterly. To hear about those losses firsthand, to watch them unfold in words that essentially position us as front-row spectators, is devastating.…If there’s another theme in 7 Miles a Second, one that counteracts the weight of the body, it must be motion. Evident in both the form and content of the text, motion offers the promise of escape," writes Jillian Steinhauer.
• Commentary:MSN ran a story about the Sub Pop Silver Jubilee and the In Case We Die reading & signing by Danny Bland. "Bland read a passage about the first time the book's main character and his teenaged girlfriend shoot up - a degenerate scene redolent of hindsight romanticizing. Packed inside the bookstore, the audience roared approval. Only in Seattle."
• Interview:The Weekings' Joe Daly (a different one!) interviews Danny Bland on In Case We Die and getting clean, "Well, the catalyst for me getting clean was the classic tale of running out of resources. I did drugs until I ran out of money, and friends to steal from, and eventually the criminal element that I became involved with became too hot." Read more about these adventures in In Case We Die!
• Review:Forbidden Planet International on Jacques Tardi's Goddamn This War! "This is going straight into my own collection, and in my opinion every decent graphic novel collection needs some Tardi in it, he is one of the great masters of the medium," sums up Joe Gordon.
• Review: The French Embassy outlines Goddamn This War!"Goddamn This War! shares with [It Was the War of the] Trenches its sustained sense of outrage, pitch-black gallows humor, and impeccably scrupulous historical exactitude."
• Review:Washington Post on Barnaby by Crockett Johnson. "A whole new generation now will have the opportunity to become acquainted with Johnson's influential creation...Liberals may love Barnaby, but there is no reason why conservatives and libertarians can't admire the beauty, simplicity, wittiness and intelligence of this groundbreaking strip, too," posits Michael Taube.
• Review: Barnaby by Crockett Johnson reviewed by The A.V. Club<. "With Barnaby, Johnson combined low-impact serialized adventure with some gentle comedy based around the ways that adults and kids diverge in their perspectives. The result is a compulsively readable strip with a winningly off-kilter point-of-view-and a cultural treasure that's been long-overdue for this kind of prestige archival project..." posits Noel Murray.
• Plug:Mental Floss on Barnaby by Crockett Johnson. "It mixed fantasy, satire and political commentary and its humor was often very subtle. So subtle that its popularity was limited compared to most strips of the day. Editors Eric Reynolds and Philip Nel have taken great pains to annotate many of the topical references that were made to help new readers appreciate what Barnaby's small but devoted readership enjoyed at the time," pens Rich Barrett.
• Review: Comics Worth Reading flips through Mickey Mouse Color Sundays by Floyd Gottfredson. "The lighter approach makes this book a better choice to share with your young ones. They should love the timeless highjinks of the mouse and his friends. And anyone can appreciate the skilled cartooning and astounding art, so well-done it almost seems to move on paper," writes Johanna Draper Carlson.
• Review:Robot 6 on Mickey Mouse Color Sundays by Floyd Gottfredson. "What I really took away from this book, however, was Gottfredson's considerable (and very nuanced) compositional and storytelling skills...an entertaining read and still a thrill to see what Gottfredson work out and then master this longer styled-format. Disney fans - or just fans of solid, entertaining comics in general - won't be disappointed."
• Review: The Complete Syndicated Pogo Vol.2 "Bona Fide Balderdash" by Walt Kelly receives a 5 outta 5 stars from Comics Bulletin. "The world of those delightful characters feels tremendously lavish and vivid. Kelly's strip came from an era of deep graphical inventiveness…This book is pure magic, suitable for both a fourth grade teacher and a fourth grader," muses Jason Sacks.
• Review:Page 45 on Love and Rockets: The Companion edited by Marc Sobel and Kristy Valenti. "Best of all, however, are the interviews, so utterly addictive that I almost missed my review deadline…Editor Marc Sobel's interview with Los Bros Hernandez delivers some astonishing insights into the cycle of each story's conception, execution, then complete burned-out numbness in Jaime... and workaholic Gilbert's crippling self-doubt halfway through each chapter early on," states Stephen L. Holland.
• Review:Spectrum Culture enjoys Hal Foster's Prince Valiant 6: 1947-1948. "Readers unfamiliar with the Prince Valiant strip owe it to themselves to take a look. The stories encapsulate the values of a simpler, less cynical time, and the illustrations are first-rate," writes David Maine.
• Plug: An odd but fun article on Love and Rockets and baseball on The Good Phight. "It's odd, Jaime's stories in L&R, collected in the massive Locas collections, are kind of geek treasure troves. Clearly Jaime is influenced by punk and 80's alt California, but he's also really into superheroes, luchadores, and monster movies, so you get this weird melange of nostalgia for all of this old nerd culture."
• Commentary: Deb Aoki reports on Best/Worst Manga Panel at SDCC 2013. Moto Hagio's The Heart of Thomas is listed as Best New Manga for Kids/Teens. Wandering Son by Shimura Takako is listed on Best Continuing Series for Kids/Teens. And finally Inio Asano's Nijigahara Holograph lands on the Most Anticipated New Manga list.
• Review: Wandering Son Vol. 4 is reviewed on Experiments in Manga. "As nostalgic as Wandering Son can be, the middle school years haven't been idealized in the series.…Wandering Son is more about characters than a linear plot, but the fourth volume is an important setup for what comes next in the series," says Ash Brown.
• Review:School Library Journal looks at Willard Mullin's Golden Age of Baseball and how it is applicable in the classroom! "student sports fans (in this case, baseball fans specifically) can leverage their outside-of-school literacies to comprehend and appreciate the sophisticated cartoons and high-level text in Willard Mullin’s Golden Age of Baseball," says Peter Gutierrez.
• Review:Full Stop is pleased with the Fantagraphics' EC Comics Library. "It's fitting that Fantagraphics - long-time champion of the rights and importance of comics creators, and re-issuer important historical comics - would arrange a publishing line this way. Even though it may not be surprising, it's still a commendable decision. It's also an important development in further establishing comics as art and literature worthy of serious consideration and study.… It presents work by EC’s most important artists, drawing the work from across all EC titles," states Sam Costello.
• Review:Comics Bulletin] >on 50 Girls 50 by Al Williamson. It "is an affordable means of acquiring a pleasingly complete collection of this seminal work by a seminal artist."
• Plug: Boing Boing delights in The Littlest Pirate King by David B. "So, it's a little grim. But it's also gorgeous…If you liked the premise of Neil Gaiman's award-winning Graveyard Book, you're sure to love this, but be aware that it's much a darker and sadder story than Gaiman's. I think this is probably suited to kids eight or nine and up…" suggests Cory Doctorow.
• Review: Jason Sacks on the Comics Bulletin gives Donald Duck: The Old Castle's Secret by Carl Barks the run down. "This book is an absolutely delightful assortment of stories, a thoroughly charming, delightful collection of vivid stories full of clever wordplay and slapstick action…Barks tells the story in ways that have to delight any reader.The more I read of Barks's comics, the more I come to love them."
The Toronto Comics Arts Festival was amazing, it was a whole corral of Fantagraphics cartoonists visiting Toronto with publicist Jacq Cohen and me to sell sell sell books to the sweetest Canadians. On Friday we stopped at the coolest comic book store, The Beguiling.
Dash Shaw's new floppy comic, 3 New Stories! Plus, Maidenheadlock a crazy screen printed comic.
There was an awesome shop called Honest Ed's full of $1 jeggings and $3 babies. BABIES, guys. It was a hell of deal. Luckily they had cool signage everywhere. If Jacq ever uses the internet for dates, here you go.
We were all lucky enough to enjoy a converstation between Gilbert Hernandez, Tom Spurgeon and Jaime Hernandez about Love and Rockets, alternative comics and more in the Reference Library Friday night.
Andrew and James (yes?) from The Beguiling working the Bros book booth on Friday night. Thank you for being sweethearts and working hard.
Mike Winters, funny comic book man and Kupperman fan, was ready for his first comics show and showed off his cash envelope-bowl. His loonies and toonies smelled faintly of egg salad.
Jaime and Dash Shaw were ready EARLY at 9am to sign books!
Our first cup of coffee was barely over before a Jaime fan bared all to show off his sexy Maggie tattoo. Jaime said "Make sure to get those boxers in the photo" just so you know I'm not objectifying this gentleman.
Then the magical Ulli Lust made her appearance. Leon Avelino of Secret Acres and The Beguiling's Peter Birkmoe showed up but were sadly outdone by the BEST CON FACE EVER. Thank you, Toronto.
Ulli doesn't really spend ANY time on these book signings, right? Man, alive!
Gilbert pretends to act crotchedy with an enthsiastic Peggy Burns from D&Q. Jade and Tracy in the background!
Jaime and I discuss Little League baseball. Gilbert keeps up the act.
Jacq and our former intern, future super cartoonist Sophie Yanow.
Oh geez, they had someone doing 10 minute henna at the front of TCAF show and while so beautiful, all I could think is what happens when someone accidentally rubs the still drying design on some $40 book. Actually, now I think about it that's a great way to get rid of some backstock.
Ulli and Dash signing books: Dash promises he was listening and not drifting back into his new book, New School.
BUT Dash Shaw and I only have to hear the first half of the word 'VOGUE' before hittin' it, so to speak.
One of the Beguiling employees was chuffed to meet Michael Kupperman so they had to pose for a photo. You can tell its nice and early here because of all the butt space people have while walking down the aisles.
Michael draws a commissioned illustration for a fan.
Jacq snapped this photo of Michael at his artist spotlight panel. We wish our cartoonists had more confidence.
Alex from The Beguiling picks up The Armed Garden by his favorite cartoonist, David B. NO, DA-vead Beh, say it right.
Ulli stops to say hi to smart person and comics fan, Gil Roth.
Thanks to Oliver East for tabling next to Fantagraphics all weekend, he is a true pleasure!
ALSO, thank you thank you to anyone who stopped by my comics booth. I put my name in for work and myself and never dreamed I'd get into TCAF with my own comics. Thanks to you, new friends, (and my harried and usually alone tablemate, Lucy Bellwood).
How cool is The Beguiling for buying all your comics (or a goodly amount) after the show? Standing in the line was worth it not to carry your comics back over the border! Hopefully you said thank you to Peter Birkemoe and Chris Butcher at some point.
The after party was at Lee's Palace, an old punk venue that was so gorgeous. The town is full of beautiful facades and interesting buildings.
The Monday after the show we ran around Toronto with whomever was left in town. Like Rutu Modan! Jacq, me and Rutu accidentally ate opposite Robin, Mark P. Hensel (aka William Cardini) and Murilo.
Theo Ellsworth joined us for a visit to the beautiful Taiyo Matsumoto exhibit at the Japan Foundation and we ran into the Matsumoto himself! I've been a fan since Steve Bissette showed me some of his comics and the Ping Pong movie. PLEASE check it out if you haven't already and prepare to be blown away.
This restaurant could be dangerous for someone like me. We were all confused as to what this kid's mouth is doing, why he's pushing his cheeks in, especially when saying the word 'cheese' pulls your mouth wide. You win this one, Toronto.
Thank you, TCAF and The Beguiling, for all the help and love. We had a great time. Ulli mentioned one time how much she loved 'North American enthusiasm' so you made her week!
12:15 – 1:15pm // Spotlight: Ulli Lust A talented Austrian cartoonist who makes her home in Berlin, Germany, Ulli Lust is well known across Europe for her cartooning. Her debut full-length graphic novel Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Lifewon huge acclaim in 2011, including taking the prestigious Angouleme “Revelation” prize. Now this important work of memoir and reportage has made its way to English audiences, and Ulli Lust and Verlag Der Tagesspiegel journalist Lars von Torne as they explore this important and highly-anticipated TCAF debut. (Reference Library)
12:15 – 1:15pm // Spotlight: Gilbert Hernandez’s Marble Season Gilbert Hernandez is the co-creator of the acclaimed series Love & Rockets, which just celebrated its 30th anniversary. Gilbert is attending TCAF in support of his highly-anticipated, semiautobiographical new graphic novel, Marble Season. Marble Season tells the untold stories from the American comics legends’ youth, but also portrays the reality of life in a large family in suburban 1960s California. Pop-culture references—TV shows, comic books, and music—saturate this evocative story of a young family navigating cultural and neighborhood norms set against the golden age of the American dream and the silver age of comics. Gilbert will present from this new work, and participate in a moderated Q&A. (Forest Hill Ballroom)
1:30 – 2:30pm // Moebius, Past and Future Jean Giraud, also known as Moebius, was a legend in the comics industry – his lush, whimsical art and creative storytelling inspired a generation of cartoonists around the world to take the comics medium to new directions and new heights. Four cartoonists discuss Moebius’ life, work, and his role in inspiring the industry today – as well as their own books. With Frederik Peeters, Paul Pope, David B., Glyn Dillon. Moderated by Xavier Guilbert. (Forest Hill Ballroom)
2:45 – 3:45pm // Writing Life These four cartoonists tell the most personal kind of stories – stories from their own lives. This program explores what’s involved in memoir. How accurately can memory and representative artwork depict real life? And are there kinds of stories that cannot be told? Featuring Raina Telgemeier (Smile, Drama), Derf (My Friend Dahmer), Ulli Lust (Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life), and Lucy Knisley (Relish). Moderated by Robin Brenner. (Pilot Tavern)
4:00 – 5:00pm // Spotlight: Michael Kupperman Acclaimed American comics artist and humourist Michael Kupperman (Tales Designed to Thrizzle) discusses his life, work, and upcoming projects in this special TCAF Spotlight program. Perhaps certain special guests will drop by? (Pilot Tavern)
Sunday, May 12th
12:15 – 1:15pm // What’s Funny in the Funnies? Comics & Humour What makes a comic funny? We couldn’t tell you exactly, but what we do know is that these five panelists have made some damn funny comics, so they’ve likely got some insight. We’ll refund show admission if they don’t. Featuring Bill Amend (Foxtrot), Ivan Brunetti (HAW!), Danielle Corsetto (Girls with Slingshots), Lisa Hanawalt (My Dirty Dumb Eyes), and Michael Kupperman (Tales Designed to Thrizzle). (High Park Ballroom, located in the The Marriott Bloor Yorkville.)
12:15 – 1:15pm // Queer Comics 2013 You don’t have to be queer to make or read queer comics. Social, civil, and sexual issues, serious or satirical, make queer comics works that deal with the joys and problems of life that affect all of us. The creators on this panel make books that transcend gender identities to appeal to everyone. Featuring Justin Hall, Erika Moen, Gilbert Hernandez, Jaime Hernandez, Chip Kidd, and moderator Zan Christiensen (Northwest Press). (Pilot Tavern)
2:45 – 3:45pm // Spotlight: Dash Shaw Acclaimed cartoonist and animator Dash Shaw discusses his new and upcoming graphic novels, New School and 3 New Stories, in this multimedia presentation. (Reference Library)
2:45 – 3:45pm // Spotlight: David B. TCAF presents a conversation with acclaimed French cartoonist David B. (Best of Enemies) on his life, work, and the French comics industry. Moderated by Sean Rogers. (High Park Ballroom, located in the The Marriott Bloor Yorkville.)
4:00 – 5:00pm // Spotlight: Ivan Brunetti Renowned cartoonist Ivan Brunetti (HAW!) is also Assistant Professor in the Art and Design Department of Columbia College Chicago, teaching courses on drawing, design, illustration, cartooning, and graphic novels. On this special TCAF Spotlight panel, Brunetti will talk about his own cartooning career, and the importance of comics in education, as outlined in his new book Aesthetics from Yale University Press. (High Park Ballroom, located in the The Marriott Bloor Yorkville.)
4:00 – 5:00pm // Live Drawing… 2! Four creators enter, one creator leaves! Come watch four artists draw for their lives – and for your entertainment. Winners will feast on the souls of the losers (vegetarian option available). Featuring Phil McAndrew, Lucy Knisley, Jim Rugg, and Scott C.! (Pilot Tavern)
So, stop by Tables 142 & 143 and give all your money to our PR/Marketing duo of Jacq & Jen! We're on the first floor by the stairs, so you can't escape us.
The Toronto Reference Library is located at 789 Yonge Street. The closest major intersection is Yonge & Bloor. The closest subway station is Yonge/Bloor Station. See you at TCAF!
The Seattle-based French cultural organization the Alliance Française is having a Christmas market and you're invited!
Fantagraphics will have a table there selling our French translations (Tardi, Trondheim, David B., etc.) but we will also have a big pile of non-Fantagraphics editions of French and Belgian classics such as Tintin, Asterix, the Smurfs, and Lucky Luke, and several boxes full of french comics IN THE ORIGINAL FRENCH that have not previously been made available in our store.
The Alliance Française is a great organization and this should be a fun time for Francophiles in general even above and beyond Fantagraphics' presence, so we hope to see you there. Francophone Kim Thompson will be manning the table throughout and will answer your questions and banter with you (and take your money) in French, in English, or in Danish if you happen to trek up from Ballard, for that matter. A bientôt!
The Alliance Française is located on the ground floor of Historic Seattle's beautiful Good Shepherd Center at 4649 Sunnyside Avenue North. There are two large free parking lots as well as abundant free on-street parking.
• Review (Video): On G4's Fresh Ink Online video podcast, host Blair Butler and guest Sam Humphries look at Is That All There Is? by Joost Swarte; at the 7:50 mark Humphries makes it his #2 pick of the week, saying "I've literally been waiting for this book for 20 years... so my hopes were pretty high and this book does not disappoint at all.... You gotta pick up this book."
• Review: "While [Listen, Whitey! The Sights and Sounds of Black Power 1965-1975] looks like a typical coffee table book, this book does not have the coffee table lightness when it comes to content. It is dense.... The imagery in this book is fantastic with a ton of photos of old album jackets, flyers and magazine advertisements and of course the record itself. I admit, I want to blow up a lot of the posters and frame them. You will too.... You should buy this book. Fantagraphics outdid themselves this time." – David Baker, 410 Media
• Review: "Undead pirates roam the seas. They want to die and find eternal peace. But when that doesn’t work, they pray for a living creature to torment. They find a baby boy amidst the wreckage of a ship and decide to raise him until he’s ten. Then they plan to kill him so they can have a cabin-boy.... David B.’s Epileptic made me a fan of his work. But the cover [of The Littlest Pirate King], featuring ghastly pirates behind a little boy, would have caught my attention anyway.... It’s a kid’s book with an edge." – Gene Ambaum, The Unshelved Book Club
• Review: "Originally published in 1974, ...[The Arctic Marauder] finds social criticism wrapped up in sarcastic satire, but outfitted in some great designs of Victorian science.... Tardi’s story is one thing, but his beautiful renderings give it a depth that brings it far beyond satire. The attention given to the Victoriana -- in technology, fashion and graphic layout -- functions as a love letter to that bygone world, which keeps the book from ever seeming cartoonish, and that [is] its major strength." – John Seven, North Adams Transcript
• Tunes:Michael Kupperman is among the cartoonists who put together a playlist of music that inspires their process for Huffington Post columnist Dave Scheidt — a taste: "'Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep,' Middle of the Road: This is just the oddest song. It's upbeat, and bubblegum, and catchy, and sad, and kind of incomprehensible. It was written by a French composer and recorded by a Scottish group, and was one of the highest-selling singles worldwide of all time." (That song's popular with funny cartoonists: Peter Bagge's band Can You Imagine? covers it)
• Review: "Athos in America is a tour de force that showcases Jason’s immense talents as both an artist and a storyteller. These haunting stories will stick with you long after you’ve turned the last page. Rating: 10 out of 10" – Edward Kaye, Newsarama
• Interview:Comic Book Resources' Shaun Manning gets the inside scoop about the I Killed Adolf Hitler film project from Jason ("I hope it will be good. Or really bad. One of those. The disappointment would be if it's a mediocre film") and screenwriter D.C. Walker ("I viewed 'IKAH' as a jewel like the french short film 'La Jetee.' All the key themes were in place, it was just a matter of expanding on them like they did in 12 Monkeys (the film 'IKAH' will most resemble).")
• Plug: "I gotta say I'm not a big fan of the illustration on this [Kolor Klimax] cover, but the design, color, and font choice made me stand up and take notice. I 'klimaxed' a little when I first saw it. Uggh, sorry, that was too much information." – Dave Johnson, Johnson's Cover Hi-lo
• List: Gustavo Guimaraes of Brazilian culture & entertainment site Ambrosia names "The best comics published in the U.S. in 2011 - Alternative and classic," including Congress of the Animals by Jim Woodring (all quotes translated from Portuguese)...
"The world created by Woodring is unique, beautiful and scary. His stories can be incomprehensible at times, but always intriguing and charming."
"Sala's characters look like something out of old horror and mystery movies, and his plots possess a rare levity for narratives of the genre. The colorful art makes the his twisted drawings even more attractive."
"Walt Kelly was a complete artist, his drawings were graceful, his stories were simple and fun while at the same time provoking the reader with hints of metalanguage and political content. His writing was faceted with the sensibility of a great satirist."
"A masterpiece of old adventure comics continues today thanks largely to Foster's fantastic realistic art. Landscapes and epic battles are played to perfection by the author, turning the limited space of each panel into a window to a world where historical characters live with mythological beings. Careful printing in oversize hardcover as well as meticulous reproduction of the beautiful original colors make this collection from Fantagraphics a model for classic comics publishing."
"Even if you already have all of Carl Barks' comics of you will want to buy this book. It is the first time that these comics are being reissued with the original colors, digitally restored. This deluxe edition, with hard covers and high-quality paper, includes articles on all the comics collected in the volume."
• Review: "To say that it has been worth the wait is wild understatement. Pogo Through the Wild Blue Wonder is beautifully produced — no surprise to anyone familiar with the work of Fantagraphics Books in Seattle — and a joy to read. It comes as a genuine gift to anyone who loved Pogo and, it is to be hoped, as an introduction for younger readers to what many people believe was the best comic strip ever drawn in this country." – Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post
• Review: "Wilson's genuine bravery, as this strip makes clear, is not that he set himself up as a rival to Charles Schulz but rather the directness with which Nuts confronts genuinely painful and baffling topics like sickness, mental illness, and death. When dealing with master artists, any ranking becomes absurd because each creator is memorable by the individual mark he or she leaves. So let’s leave Peanuts comparisons aside and say that Nuts is one of the major American comic strips and we’re lucky to have the complete run in this handsome, compact volume." – Jeet Heer, The Comics Journal
• Review: "Jacques Tardi’s interpretation of Jean-Patrick Manchette’s book [Like a Sniper Lining Up His Shot] is an intense and shocking thriller.... Dark, brutal and uterly compelling, classic thriller fans should lap this up. Put a few hours aside before picking it up though, because you won’t want to put it down and it’s a feast worth savouring." – Grovel
• Review: "I gave Roy Crane’s Captain Easy, Solder Of Fortune: The Complete Sunday Newspaper Strips Volume 1 1933-1935 a good thumbing many, many times before picking it up. The artwork was too simple, the stories silly. One day in my local comic shop with nothing new to read I picked it up. What I failed to comprehend as I stood in the comic shop flipping pages in this book is that Crane chose the elements of his strip carefully, especially those I dismissed it for. Simple character design, bright colours, fictional locations and action with a sense of humour. After finishing the volume I applaud his choices." – Scott VanderPloeg, Comic Book Daily
• Interview (Audio):The Comics Journal presents a recording of the Jack Davis interview conducted by Gary Groth and Drew Friedman at last month's Brooklyn Comics & Graphics Festival (posted here after a slight delay due to technical audio issues)
• Interview:Culture Brats has "Seven Questions in Heaven" with Esther Pearl Watson: "Even though now I have a huge collection of mini-comics, I try not to look at other comic artists as influences. They draw too nice, or have their thing down. Comic storytelling styles can be as individual as fingerprints. We spend years creating our own narrative language. Instead I look at naive drawing and self-taught artists to de-skill."
• Conflict of Interest: Our own Larry Reid names Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 one of his favorite comics of 2011 in a guest column at Graphic Eye: "The conclusion of Jaime’s poignant 'Love Bunglers' story alone made this book essential reading in 2011. Almost unfathomably, Love & Rockets keeps getting better with age."
The first Online Commentary & Diversions post of the year might very well end up being the longest:
• List: Humorist and television personality John Hodgman, asked to name his 5 favorite comics in an open Q&A session on his Tumblr blog, says "Love and Rockets: I don’t like to choose between brothers, but Jaime Hernandez is one of the greatest drawers of human faces and human want on the planet."
• List:Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge: Only a Poor Old Man by Carl Barks is #39 on The A.V. Club 's list of "most anticipated entertainments of 2012": "Only a Poor Old Man will bring Scrooge McDuck, possibly Barks’ greatest creation, into the spotlight. The bespectacled miser will dive around in his money bin and burrow through it like a gopher, and his timeless adventures will get the treatment they deserve."
• List: Tucker Stone, whose Best of 2011 previously appeared at comiXology, presents a slightly modified list for Flavorwire's "10 of the Year's Most Buzzed-About Comic Releases":
"Last year’s Love and Rockets was a huge deal, but this year’s installment is arguably even better.... Comics has yet to provide Love and Rockets with anything approximating 'competition,' but it doesn’t appear that the Hernandez brothers have any reason to be concerned about that quite yet. They’re still way better at this than everybody else on the planet."
"The big thing this year was watching all the great young cartoonists of the early 2000s carving out their places in the pantheon. Huizenga’s a perfect example — he’s been regularly turning out excellent comics for years now, and yet Ganges #4 still reads like a revelation.... It’s a fascinating experience reading these comics, and they’re gorgeous to boot."
"The continuing adventures of Johnny Ryan’s most violent fantasies run amuck, [Prison Pit] is rapidly becoming the comic that I look forward to the way a fat kid looks forward to syrup-encrusted cake. There’s no getting around the hoary old cliche — 'these aren’t for everybody' — so God help you if you can’t figure out a way to enjoy these books."
• List: The prolific Sean T. Collins, after having contributed to CBR's Top 100, runs down his personal 20 Best Comics of 2011 on his Attentiondeficitdisorderly blog AND at Robot 6, withGanges #4 by Kevin Huizenga at #15...
"Huizenga wrings a second great book out of his everyman character’s insomnia. It’s quite simple how, really: He makes comics about things you’d never thought comics could be about, by doing things you never thought comics could do to show you them. Best of all, there’s still the sense that his best work is ahead of him, waiting like dawn in the distance."
"...[T]he payoff... feels like a weight has been lifted from Woodring’s strange world, while the route he takes to get there is illustrated so beautifully it’s almost superhuman. It’s the happy ending he’s spent most of his career earning."
"Religious fundamentalism... has worn a thousand faces in a millennia-long carnevale procession of war and weirdness, and David B. paints portraits of three of its masks with bloody brilliance. Focusing on long-forgotten heresies and treating the most outlandish legends about them as fact, B.’s high-contrast linework sets them all alight with their own incandescent madness."
"I picture Gilbert Hernandez approaching his drawing board these days like Lawrence of Arabia approaching a Turkish convoy: 'NO PRISONERS! NO PRISONERS!' In a year suffused with comics funneling pitch-black darkness through a combination of sex and horror, none were blacker, sexier, or more horrific than this gender-bending exploitation flick from Beto's 'Fritz-verse.'"
"...[L]et's add to the chorus praising Jaime's 'The Love Bunglers' as one of the greatest comics of all time, the point to which one of the greatest comics series of all time has been hurtling toward for thirty years.... You can count the number of cartoonists able to wed style to substance, form to function, this seamlessly on one hand with fingers to spare. A masterpiece."
"The hype and acclaim surrounding Xaime Hernandez’s conclusion to his 'Love Bunglers' saga has been overwhelming, and every ounce of it is deserved. This is simply a phenomenal achievement in comics. A moving, thoughtful story of missed opportunities, loss and eventual reconciliation that provides in many ways a fitting conclusion to all of Xaime’s 'Locas' stories. I’d be hard pressed to think of a better comic that came out this year."
"More than the new Carl Barks collection, more than the return of Pogo, the resurrected, re-appreciated comic strip I found myself falling in love the most with this year was Gottfredson’s plunky, adventure-loving mouse, a scrappier version of Disney’s iconic creation. More to the point, I was completely taken with the stunning packaging and background information Fantagraphics and the books editor put together for this series. It’s new benchmark for reprint projects."
"Three volumes into this grand guginol series and it continues to surprise and delight, this time introducing a new character and suggesting via an end sequence that Ryan has been reading a lot of Fort Thunder comics."
"Incredibly inventive, Schrauwen, like Yokoyama, seems intent on pushing the comics medium into new and interesting directions. But where Yokoyama is concerned mainly with motion and exploration, Schrauwen is concerned mainly with perception and the interior world of the mind. This is great, mind-blowing work."
• List: Also on Robot 6's roundup of best-of lists from its writers, Tim O'Shea ranks Pogo Vol. 1 at #9: "Damn if this was not worth the wait... Volume 1 of the complete syndicated daily strips of Pogo would be enough to put this book on my list. But the fact that Fantagraphics has a foreword by Jimmy Breslin; an introduction by Steve Thompson; a piece on the Pogo Sunday Funnies by Mark Evanier; and Swamp Talk (R.H. Harvey annotations on the strips) is just icing on the cake."
• List: David McKean's Celluloid gets a "See Also" shout-out on Cyriaque Lamar's list of The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Comics of 2011 at io9: "A decidedly adult erotica graphic novel with no dialogue, this is the famed Sandman cover artist going at page after page of a sexy hallucination, whipped up by a magic porno movie projector. Dreamscapes with boners."
"After 'Browntown' in last year’s installment of New Stories, there was a worry that Jaime might have peaked — how on earth was he going to top that story? The achingly beautiful conclusion to 'The Love Bunglers' in this volume was the answer. Pulling together strands from Maggie’s entire 30-year history in two pages was nothing short of stunning, with his art as cooly confident as ever, making it a real emotional sucker punch. Gilbert’s work developing Fritz’s movie back-catalogue is a real mind-bender, too, weaving inter- and meta-textual strands together that lets his characters say so much, while saying so little. It is terrifying how talented these guys are."
"Forget Pogo and Carl Barks — we already knew they were classics — the real reprint revelation of 2011 was good ole' Mickey Mouse.... To read these strips is to rediscover a love for Mickey and marvel at Gottfredson's amazing grasp of storytelling and humour, as well as his flawless artwork. Naturally, with Fantagraphics overseeing the reprints, the design, packaging and presentation is gorgeous — a real worthy successor to their Peanuts series."
• Plug: "I’m a little mortified to admit that Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes is my first exposure to Carl Barks (after decades of being interested in finally seeing why he’s so revered as a comic creator), but it definitely won’t be my last. Fantagraphics’ first volume of Barks material is a great place to start; a mixture of epic quests, short stories, and gag strips that are all impressively funny and awesome." – Greg McElhatton, Robot 6
• List: On his Domino Books blog, Austin English explains why Joyce Farmer's Special Exits is his favorite comic of 2011: "Farmer's cartooning allows for her characters to act out their illness and struggles in front of the reader. Farmer's drawing of her aging father is something to behold — it's not Farmer saying 'here is what my sick father went through.' Instead we see a drawing age and wither in front of us, and speak to us with both intelligence and dementia. I’ve never seen anything in comics done with such skill — let alone see a graphic novel (often the territory of poorly conceived topical heart wrenchers) speak about tragedy with so much depth and clarity."
• List: Comics writer Vito Delsante declares Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 the Best Single Issue of 2011 on his Best of 2011 blog post: "The Hernandez Brothers, since New Stories 3, have really created the most important mythology in comics since Stan and Jack (and Steve).... Jaime Hernandez should win every single award in comics in 2012."
• List: We rank 4 entries on Renee Lott's Top 10 Comics of 2011 at her Blogwithfeet
• Review: "I've been digging the new Fantagraphics release Jason Conquers America which commemorates ten years of the venerable publisher's relationship with the Norewegian artist.... My favorite story in the collection revolves around a crow who naps in a bed in a field and wakes up obliviously in an entirely new life. (Telling any more would spoil the revelation.) In 23 short wordless panels, Jason creates a powerful and compelling commentary that proves how powerfully expressive comics can be." – Stray Riffs
• Review: "A new comic from the top humorist in comics is always welcome. This issue [of Tales Designed to Thrizzle] is the usual combination of dada and surprisingly tightly-wrapped narrative gags surrounding the sort of cultural detritus mined by Drew Friedman & Mark Newgarden.... 'Quincy, M.E.'... is one of Kupperman's best strips because he keeps adding new layers of plot to an already-ridiculous story.... I still miss the sheer density of detail in Kupperman's older work that made reading it almost exhausting, but the avalanche of ideas remains intact, as does his ability to elicit laughs." – Rob Clough, High-Low
• Review: "...Prison Pit... [is] a marriage of pro wrestling, manga, bromance and filth.... Johnny Ryan has an almost Kirbyesque level of character design, but with obviously more genitalia, and it can at times be a joy just to see what is going to come on the next page.... Johnny Ryan is a cartoonist at the top of his game right now and he may just be the closest thing the comic world has to marmite." – Taylor Pithers, The Weekly Crisis
• Interview:The Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon talks with Todd DePastino, biographer of Bill Mauldin and editor of our Willie & Joe books. Spurgeon says Willie & Joe: Back Home is "one of my three favorite comics-related books from 2011, and, I think, one of the year's best." From DePastino: "When I look at these cartoons, I think of literary critic Dominic LaCapra's claim that some books are good to think about and a very few are good to think with. Mauldin's postwar cartoons are good to think with. They not only provide a window to the times, like, say, good photographs or reporting might, but they also raise fundamental questions and issues that are with us still."
• Review: "These comics are beautiful. Each single-panel comic is blown up to a full page, so that Mauldin’s artistry can truly (and easily) be admired without squinting. The sentiments expressed are astonishing and bravely progressive for the time.... I’d never thought or heard about the poor reception combat vets received after WWII. (I mistakenly thought that only happened to our soldiers after the Vietnam War.) I wish I knew what they experienced. I’ll settle for giving [Willie & Joe: Back Home] to the next WWII vet I meet and hope that it sparks a conversation." – Gene Ambaum, The Unshelved Book Club
• List: Tucker Stone counts down The Best of 2011 at comiXology. and we sure like the looks of his top 5:
At #5, Jim Woodring's Congress of the Animals: "Deftly exploring the individual's relationship with labor, consequence and love, Congress of the Animals might be Woodring's least nightmarish work yet. (Although there's still a decent portion of it involving face-robbed humanoids that you shouldn't leave lying open if you have junkies visiting.)"
At #4, Prison Pit Book 3 by Johnny Ryan: "Back in 2009, when Ryan began Prison Pit, it was a revelation; a bone-crushing giant, born fully clothed.... Make no mistake: if Jack Kirby was born today, these are the kinds of comics he'd be drawing."
At #2, Ganges #4 by Kevin Huizenga: "While it has been two years since the release of Ganges #3, the only thing that could possibly have dulled would be the audience's memory of how extraordinary the series can be.... As with Yokoyama's Color Engineering, the audience becomes participatory witness, buried head to toe alongside Glenn, living and dying by his attempts to conquer. The shaggy dog ending -- weirder than the last one -- only seems cruel for the length of time it takes you to remember: being broken out of a trance is supposed to hurt."
And in the #1 spot, Love and Rockets: New Stories #4: "...Love and Rockets 4 saw Jaime Hernandez making good on the promise of decades. Resolving with as much finality as one could ask the question of 'how's this gonna end,' the final passage of this issue's Maggie story was without comparison. There was absolutely nothing else like reading those pages for the first time -- the gasp held tight in your throat, the 8 panel grids giving way only once, for a two page silent recap of the last 30 years of a life only we seem to know was well-lived."
• Review: "...[The Armed Garden] is absolutely marvelous, a gorgeous and searing series of comics from an artist who earns the description 'freakishly talented' as completely as anyone this side of his trans-Atlantic fellow in crafting dreamy/nightmarish parables of violent spirituality, Jim Woodring. These comics are just as lovely and just as frightening, and just as singularly the work of their creator and no other." – Sean T. Collins, Attentiondeficitdisorderly