• 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"
• Profile: "Joyce Farmer is a surprise. The gentle, white-haired 71-year-old, whom you’d half expect to greet you at the door with a pan of steaming muffins, recently has emerged as one of the most provocative voices in the comics and graphic-literature landscape. Her debut book, the 208-page illustrated memoir Special Exits, chronicling the slow, freaky decline and ultimate death of her elderly parents, comes out next week from Fantagraphicscarrying the enthusiastic endorsement of no less than R. Crumb. 'It’s a completely unique work,' he says. 'Nobody else will ever do anything like that again.' [...] The book... is an almost uncomfortably honest memoir that’s dense with details. It’s also layered with meaning and sub-themes. [...] Like many memoirists, Farmer wrestled with guilt over airing her family’s stories; she even changed all the names in the book, including her own. 'I felt like I was really invading their privacy.' But she’s since come to terms with it. 'I just worked through it. I know what I did, and I take responsibility for it.'" – Deborah Vankin, The Los Angeles Times
• Review: "Destroy All Movies!!!is that very rare thing in publishing, a book you didn’t know you needed until someone wrote it. I certainly didn’t, and now I’m finding it indispensable. It’s an absolute must-have for cult-movie fans, movie trivia buffs, aspiring filmmakers and everyone who feels that punk never got its fair due for revolutionizing music and shaking up the status quo." – John G. Nettles, Flagpole
• Plug: "Destroy All Movies is a book on cult cinema... that is kind of the end all be all of ridiculous B-movies involving punks in any way, shape or form. It's at once a collection of titles, a love letter and a historical document. [...] It's a hell of an off beat and quite brilliant gift for the movie nerd or punk in your family!" – Quint, Ain't It Cool News
• Review: "...[Fire & Water,] Blake Bell's biography of Bill Everett (among other things the father of the Sub-Mariner but also the co-creator of Daredevil) helps to rectify an injustice by shining a spotlight on a cartoonist those importance and personality have never been properly recognized. A book which, without going into excessive detail, begins to clear the ground and, in particular, focuses heavily on the human element..." – Xavier Fournier, Comic Box (this is an improved translation by Kim Thompson of a previously-posted link)
• Review: "So, does it all mean anything? Who knows? But [Weathercraft] is certainly a fascinating read, full of arresting images that seem like they are triggering some deep impulse in our lizard brains, and that’s a pretty significant achievement in itself. If nothing else, it’s often quite funny... If you can accept that as something entertaining and play along with its dreamlike logic, you should be able to enjoy the book at the very least, and maybe you’ll even feel like you get something out of it. I know I did, and even if it was just confusion, it was worth it." – Matthew J. Brady, Warren Peace Sings the Blues
• Review: "The absence of words is matched by the most crazy drawings that depict surreal, unbelievable moments that make us stop to look again — and again. It's all so wacky and unusual that not infrequently we find ourselves laughing, reflecting on the silliness that we keep inside us all. For large and small, Weathercraft is sure to [bring] multiple pleasures." – Gilberto Custódio Junior, Soma (translated from Portuguese)
• Review: "Peanuts wasn't in its first flowering in the mid-70s... but it was still a smart, perceptive, deeply funny and humanistic strip. [...] The Complete Peanuts: 1975-1976 is the lucky thirteenth volume in Fantagraphics' reprinting of the entirely of Schulz's great strip; it's also the halfway point between 1950 and 2000. And the more interesting question about Peanuts circa 1975 isn't 'How come it wasn't as good then as in 1952 or 1967,' but instead 'How come Peanuts was still this good after twenty-five years?'" – Andrew Wheeler, The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.
• Review: "Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez are not just two of the best and most consistent comics creators of their generation, they're so far out in front that the only question is which of the two is preeminent. [...] Year after year, they keep expanding and deepening their worlds, telling new stories as powerful as they've ever done — they're our Balzacs, our Trollopes. Besides their various sidebar projects... they're still providing a yearly dose of the mothership, in the annual Love and Rockets: New Stories trade paperback." – Andrew Wheeler, The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.
• Review: "I originally posted this review on January 18, 2008. This was before I’d read much, if any, of Gilbert’s Fritz material from Love and Rockets. I think the review holds up, which is why I’m re-running it; but with all of Beto’s post-Palomar Palomar-verse work under my belt now, if anything I find Chance in Hell, both its content and its very existence, even more disturbing." – Sean T. Collins, Attentiondeficitdisorderly
• Interview:Robot 6's Tim O'Shea talks to Nate Neal: "Even in the conceptual stage, I knew The Sanctuary didn’t need any words to get the story across. With a made up language the words would take on a symbolic stance that they otherwise wouldn’t have. That helps get across one of the important ideas of the book: how things get fucked up when a society thinks too symbolically. Or at least thinks too symbolically without being aware that that’s what they’re doing. As far as I’m concerned, that’s the world we live in now!"
• Plug: "I finally cracked What Is All This?, Stephen Dixon’s mammoth collection of previously unpublished stories — and it’s terrific stuff. The book itself is also quite pleasing. Dixon still composes his stories on a typewriter (a Hermes Standard, the same brand Douglas Adams used), and Fantagraphics’ whiz art director, Jacob Covey, has mimicked the unevenness and smudges of typewritten text on the cover and section pages. It’s great design porn." – Nicole Rudick, The Paris Review
• Plug: "Thanks to the arrival this week of Castle Waiting 2, Linda Medley's second subversive collection of fairy tales, I'm on yet another kick of traditional fairy tales retold." – Nathalie Atkinson, National Post
• Plug: "...Mark Kalesniko’s Freeway is still a book I’m really, really looking forward to. It’s the continuing adventures of Kalesniko’s semi-autobiographical character Alex. I loved that book, I reckon I’m going to love Freeway just as much." – Richard Cowdry, The Forbidden Planet International Blog Log
Online Commentary & Diversions, back from the U.S. holiday:
• Gift Guides: Rob McMonigal of Panel Patter goes through our new mail-order catalog (about which more soon!) to pick out his holiday gift-giving recommendations; The Beat and The Comics Reporter both post guides to holiday gift books with several of our books mentioned
• Review: "Freakazoid producer Mitch Schauer's debut graphic novel Rip M.D. is a warm and spooky tale for monster kids of all ages. [...] Drawn and inked in pitch-perfect EC Comics monster style, Rip M.D. pushes every one of my monster-loving buttons. The writing is witty, the plot sprightly, and the monsters are the heroes I always knew them to be. What's not to like?" – Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing
• Review: "Beto’s contribution to the Igort-edited Ignatz line of international art-comic series, [New Tales of Old Palomar] present[s] a suite of stories from Palomar’s past. They fill in a few notable lacuane — where Tonantzin and Diana came from, what was up with the gang of kids we’d occasionally see who were a few years older than the Pipo/Heraclio group, how Chelo lost her eye. A lot of this turns out to be really fascinating... But to me it’s not what’s told that matters, but how it’s told. [...] Beautiful stuff." – Sean T. Collins, Attentiondeficitdisorderly
• Plug: "...I’ve read a lot of books about weird films, but I’ve never seen one quite like Destroy All Movies: The Complete Guide to Punks on Film by Zack Carlson and Bryan Connolly ($35, Fantagraphics). Printed in black-and-white and day-glo pink, the book catalogs virtually every single movie that ever featured a punk on-screen. I’m not just talking about the classics, like Rock ’N’ Roll High School and Repo Man, either. I’m talking about movies like Star Trek IV, which features a punk rocker in exactly one scene. And the book has an interview with the actor, too! Now that’s attention to detail." – Will Pfeifer, Rockford Register Star
• Review: "...The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec Vol. 1 is finally seeing a U.S. release, and it’s long overdue. [...] The stories are romping adventures that would appeal to a young-adult crowd, but have plenty of edge and playfulness for grown readers; they function both as an evocation and sly satire of classic adventure stories like Tintin. The clever stories, with hidden meaning always skirting around their simplicity, are perfectly complemented by Tardi’s art; readers familiar with one of the greatest names in French comics will need no introduction, but newcomers will be blown away by his mixture of clean lines and rough edges, and his absolute mastery of mood as he delivers some of the finest illustrations of Paris ever crafted. [Grade] A" – The A.V. Club
• Review: "Little Maakies on the Prairie is... glorious filth rendered in high style, with frequent nods to E.C. Segar and George Herriman. It’s beautiful, it’s disgusting, it boasts a sentient goiter running amok, and it features a handsome landscape layout courtesy of Chip Kidd. Ultimately, it occupies some hinterland between hyper-repetitive and constantly surprising — not bad for a cartoon that began life scrawled on a barroom napkin. [Grade] A-" – The A.V. Club
• Review: "If Michael Weldon’s Psychotronic Guide To Film (and its follow-up) still sits on your shelf being of use, or at least making you smile, then Carlson and Connolly’s Destroy All Movies is the book for you. If these words mean nothing to you, then listen up: A world of film and a way of looking at them is about to open up that will change everything for you. [...] What it all adds up to is a wonderful, personal bizarre alterna-history of cinema. [...] This is a great book that will live with you for a long, long time." – John Mitchell, North Adams Transcript
• Interview: At Interview, Hunter Stephenson writes of Destroy All Movies!!!, "Like an algorithm zapped across a smoggy landscape of wastoid cinema and blown-out amps — from the sleaze of 42nd Street to Malcom McLaren's London — no suspect VHS or DVD was left unturned in the hunt for liberty spikes, rebellious acts, and agape mouths of paled normies. ...[E]ach film is allotted a paragraph to several pages for reviews, supplemental interviews, and analysis that range from wittily divisive (Todd Phillips's Hated) to impassioned reconsideration (Valley Girl), all written in a fluid, knowledgeable manner and laid out in the clean and smart design expected of Fantagraphics, the book's publisher," and talks to editors Bryan Connolly & Zack Carlson, who says "Penelope Spheeris's Suburbia... is actually my favorite film of all time, and it inspired the entire book on the deepest levels. Spheeris wanted to tell a story about believable kids and a horrible struggle, so she cast real kids to play those parts. It's almost entirely non-actors, and that movie is the wildest for me. Punk or not, it's the best movie I ever saw."
• Plug:Maximum Rocknroll plugs the Destroy All Movies!!! tour: "If you live near SF or LA and love punxploitation movies like I do, you’re in for a treat this weekend. Brush your long hair into a mohawk, get some sushi and don’t pay, then head to the movie theater for some bad dialog and pointless violence…"
• Review: "The inescapable ripples of long-ago events over which the characters we love had no control, and the ripples their own shitty actions send out, ensnaring others: That’s what hit me so hard about Three Daughters. Luba, Fritz, and Petra can have all the wacky sex adventures they can stand — they’re still paying for someone else’s sins in a way that can just clear the decks of their lives at a moment’s notice." – Sean T. Collins, Attentiondeficitdisorderly
• List: Deb Aoki of About.com: Manga names A Drunken Dream and Other Stories by Moto Hagio the Best New Manga of 2010: "Conjoined twins who share a painful co-existence. A young girl rejected by her mother who can only see her as an iguana. Ill-fated lovers who are doomed to be separated in several lifetimes. These characters came to life in this collection of smart, sensitive and thought-provoking short stories created by master storyteller Moto Hagio."
• Review: "It makes my job as a critic a lot harder when I’ve spent nearly an entire book composing its review in my head only for the final few pages to smash it to smithereens. In that sense, reviewing Luba: The Book of Ofelia is hard work." – Sean T. Collins, Attentiondeficitdisorderly
• Interview (Audio):Destroy All Movies!!! editors Zack Carlson and Bryan Connolly appeared on KBOO-FM Community Radio out of Olympia WA on Monday for an interview with host Erin Yanke — listen here
• Plug:Public School's Will Bryant spotlights Ray Fenwick's Mascots
• Commentary: At The Wright Opinion, Brendan Wright shares his thoughts about the longevity of Las Locas: "I’m as excited as anyone that the graphic novel is gradually becoming the standard model of the modern comic book, but among its many virtues, the fact that Love and Rockets has always been presented as a series is important. This is the comic book that elevated the serial format of comics from soap opera to serialized literature. It’s hard to wait between the annual installments, but it’s worth it to check in with old friends, and whatever else he does with the rest of his creativity, I’m happy that Hernandez always finds time to keep up with the 'Locas' world."
• Review: "Tardi's art [in The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec Vol. 1] well deserves the praise that he's a grandmaster of comics. It's detailed, expressive, authentic, and distinctive. His world-building is thorough, the setting established through both background art and scene selection. Frequent recaps keep the reader up to speed, while emphasizing how amusingly convoluted everything quickly becomes. Tardi knows the conventions of this kind of rollicking, complicated adventure, and the story points out how ridiculous they are at the same time it's engaging in them." – Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
• Review: "Jason is a Norwegian living in France; the Montpellier of the title [Werewolves of Montpellier] is his adopted home. This biographical trivia might suggest that this is his most personal work yet, but if it is, it’s only in the sense that his personal vision of comics is running on all cylinders here; while nothing he’s put out (in English, anyway) has been bad, he’s continually refining his sensibility, and this is Jason at his most Jason." – Jonathan Bogart, FA
• Review: "Fantagraphics has always been the industry leader in getting old comic strips back into print..., and while their Prince Valiant reprints from the 1990s were wonderful at the time, this new edition is the best the strip has looked since it was originally printed on Sunday broadsheets in the 1930s and 40s. With Foster’s original colors — and he was as brilliant and forward-thinking in his use of color as he was brilliant and medium-changing in his black-and-white drawing — and a strong, heavy binding, these are archival editions, the sort of books that should be passed down to the next generation." – Jonathan Bogart, FA
• Interview: At The Daily Cross Hatch, it's the penultimate installment of Brian Heater's chat with Jaime Hernandez: "It’s very difficult for me when people ask me to do a talk or an example of a page—how I break down a page and stuff like that. It’s not that easy for me. There are teachers and there are doers—I’m a doer. I don’t know how this stuff happens, it just spills out of me, it’s that kind of thing. [...] I don’t want to fight that, because I’m afraid it will ruin it and it will change it, or my art won’t be that distinctive. I’d rather just leave that to the gods."
The most dazzlingly insane film reference book of all time, Destroy All Movies!!! is an informative, hilarious, and impossibly complete guide to every goddamn appearance of a punk (or new waver!) to hit the screen in the 20th Century. This wildly comprehensive eyeball-slammer features A-to-Z coverage of over 1100 feature films from around the world, as well as dozens of exclusive interviews with the creators and cast of essential titles such as Repo Man, Return of the Living Dead, The Decline of Western Civilization and Valley Girl. Everyone from Richard Hell to Penelope Spheeris to Ian MacKaye contributes his or her uncensored reminiscences from the front lines of a revolution. Other interviewees include Alex Cox, Nick Zedd, Lech Kowalski, Mary Woronov and Circle Jerks frontman Keith Morris. Also examined are hundreds of prime examples of straight-to-VHS slasher trash, Brooklyn junkie masterpieces, Filipino breakdancing fairytales, no-budget post-apocalyptic epics, and movies that shouldn’t even have been released, many of which have never been written about online or in print!
In the late ’70s, Punk Rock and its followers ambushed the world with nuclear force. It was an unprecedented phenomenon that infested radios, print, and culture as a whole. Of all its shell-shocked witnesses, the least prepared was Hollywood, who viewed the movement as a walking epidemic of self-abusive, garbage-eating, candy-colored manimals ripe for marketable stereotyping. The results were hilarious, as lowbrow cinema was forever altered in the shadows of 20-inch mohawks and steel-spiked wardrobes. Meanwhile, punk participants like Spheeris and Alex Cox managed to document the emerging outbreak in a more humanistic light, creating enduring visions of a new breed of youth through blazing music documentaries and innovative narrative assaults.
Destroy All Movies!!! nails down both ends of the spectrum with superhuman research, vicious precision, and electrically charged stills and images, and is the first and final definitive armchair roadmap to punk and new wave on celluloid. Five years in the making, this pulse-bursting monument to lowbrow cultural obsession is a must for all film fanatics, music maniacs, anti-fashion mutants, ’80s nostalgists, sleazoids, cop-killers, and spazzmatics!
• Review: "Most film books are dry academic treatises whose ultimate destiny is to sit unused on a college library shelf. Destroy All Movies!!! A Complete Guide to Punks on Film is the antithesis of this musty stereotype. This massive punk rock movie encyclopedia is totally alive. [...] Hardliners might not appreciate the mix of bona fide punk rock movies and pop culture detritus, but the idiosyncratic choices are part of the book's appeal. [...] Finally, it would be dumb not to discuss how great Destroy All Movies looks. Designer Jacob Covey did an excellent job here." – Rodney Perkins, Ain't It Cool News
• Review: "A series of observations on the first volume of the Luba trilogy [Luba in America]: [...] Find me another comic where... the cartoonist has struck this precise balance of creating characters who are totally plausible and also totally ridiculous, riddled with mysterious voids and yet so well-defined that you just know you can fill in the blanks if you try hard enough – and I’ll eat my hat." – Sean T. Collins, Attentiondeficitdisorderly
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