• Review (Audio): On the inaugural episode of Boing Boing's Gweek podcast, co-host Mark Frauenfelder talks about Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1: Race to Death Valley by Floyd Gottfredson: "Gottfredson really turned Mickey into this adventuring character who has really fun experiences... It's got that great '30s look to the art... It is very dense, but well-done, with a good sense of composition, so it flows along. The characters really have great emotion. There's nothing stiff about it — it's really lively... it's just beautiful. ...Carl Barks is always the first artist most comic book aficionados think of when they think of great Disney artists, but Gottfredson — this book might give him a chance to be up there with Barks and have people be able to fully appreciate how cool his stuff is."
• Review: "The story is spooky and confusing in ways that aren’t boring or stupid. Gilbert is one of the best people out there at telling stories with dream logic and this one bonks you over the head with it, so if you are a nut for dream logic then [Love from the Shadows] is right up your dream alley. This book reminds me very much of David Lynch’s movies Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive. It also reminds me of Carnival of Souls. It might even remind me of those things too much. I’m not sure yet but I have yet to read a comic by either Jaime or Gilbert Hernandez that made me feel bored, cheated, or like I wasn’t given something to think about at the end. Gilbert’s art is simple but never generic." – Nick Gazin, Vice
• Interview: Nick Gazin follows his Vice review above with a Q&A with Gilbert Hernandez: "Fritz is a character that rarely shows who she really is inside, and the characters she plays reveal bits of her we can’t normally see. She’s not necessarily passive aggressive, but there’s a lot of anger and viciousness that comes out in her roles. Fritz has become my favorite character to write and draw because she has no restrictions to where I can take her. And she’s willing to go the distance.... Dude, she’s nuts, I’m not shittin’ you."
• Review: "Johnny Ryan’s one of the best and only people making funny comics these days.... I don't know if he cares what people thought, but I do know that once you master something it gets boring. Johnny's modern comics are dark and based more in a mixture of Lovecraftian horror and certain manga sensibilities. What's in [Take a Joke] is the bend before the break.... It seems like Johnny has turned to the dark side and is trying to make comics that are more upsetting." – Nick Gazin, Vice
• Interview: As above, Nick Gazin's Vice review is followed by a Q&A with Johnny Ryan : "Things just change, bro."
• Review: "There are many, many nicely taken photos of Kurt Cobain's guitars. I'm teasing a little because I think [Taking Punk to the Masses] is a goofy book but I like it and you probably will too. This book rules. It is very, very fun to read if you care about this stuff. I am not trying to tell you that this book isn't a good, easy read. There's something really silly to me about a full page photo of this shirt Kurt Cobain wore on the cover of Spin, lit dramatically like it's the Shroud of Turin.... I might be overthinking this. If you bought Fantagraphics' book about punk movies and have an interest in punk or the Seattle indie rock scene then you'll love this thing to death." – Nick Gazin, Vice
• Review: "Tardi's a drawing and storytelling genius and a quote of me saying as much is quoted in the press release for this book. It's fun to see Tardi draw highly technical fantasy machines, but I think [The Arctic Marauder] had too much text and the wood cut drawing style that Tardi uses here turns me off. Tardi's still great but this book didn't grab me the way his other books have." – Nick Gazin, Vice
• Review: "Perhaps the strangest revelation? In their own depraved way, the Bradleys have transformed into adults, with the interplay between Buddy and Harold especially heartwarming. Hate Annual #9, in fine, earns this column’s highest recommendation." – Bryan A. Hollerbach, PLAYBACK:stl
• Review: "I really think that Bagge’s artwork in this issue marks a high point of the series thus far, and I’m not just saying that. I actually dug out a few of my old issues of Hate, and a few of the annuals, and I swear that his style has become more and more refined over the years. Hate Annual #9 is a fantastic and unmissable chapter in the lives of Buddy, Lisa, and friends. Old feuds are put to rest, new friendships are made, and we are introduced to a slew of new characters and new storylines. I’m really excited to see were Bagge takes Buddy and co. next year! Here’s to another 26 years of Hate!" – Edward Kaye, Hypergeek
• Interview: The L.A. Times Hero Complex blog's Noelene Clark talks to Jim Woodring about his L.A. Times Book Prize-nominated Weathercraft: "Art is always so reductive, and what I have going on in my comics is so simple and relatively easy to understand compared to real life, which is infinitely complex. So it might relate to real life in the same way that a chessboard would relate to a chessboard with an infinite number of squares on it. It’s sort of similar in some ways, but it’s much, much, much, much, much simpler and reductive and easier to understand."
• Review: "The strips themselves are great. In fact, it’s a crime these aren’t more well known. These daily strips are part of why Mickey Mouse became a popular character and world famous icon. The serialized adventures are exciting and fun, establishing a real personality for Mickey beyond what was possible in the animated shorts. The book has lovingly restored these strips from the original negatives and proof sheets – each one crystal clear and absolutely beautiful. If that were all there was to this book, I’d recommend it highly. But that’s not all. Co-Editor David Gerstein has... loaded this book with over 60 pages of supplementary articles and features that are a MUST for all Disney history buffs. [...] I cannot praise this volume highly enough." – Jerry Beck, Cartoon Brew
• Review: "I had high expectations for Castle Waiting, given that the first volume was outstanding, and I wasn’t disappointed. I found Volume 2 so strong, in fact, that it was my best graphic novel of 2010. [...] I normally am not a big fan of fantasy, but here, the characters are so strong in personality, so interesting and likable, that I want to spend more time with them. [...] The true strength of Castle Waiting, though, is Medley’s gorgeous art. The characters are perfect, distinctive and expressive, and the storytelling so strong you don’t even notice it. Instead, you’re visiting with this self-created family for a while — and it’s never long enough. When I close the cover, it’s always a melancholy action, because I want more time with these people, more adventures, more humor and good-heartedness." – Johanna Draper Carlson, Comics Worth Reading
• Review: "Mome 21 bats a good average, with many stories hitting their mark and a few clearing the fences. [...] Mome plays a unique role in the world of North American alternative comics. It’s one of the only long-form, regularly published comics anthologies out there, providing a vision of novelty and variety for the future of literary comics. When the series concludes later this year, a chapter in comics history will have closed." – Ao Meng, The Daily Texan
Andrew Sullivan's always-entertaining mostly-political blog The Daily Dish has showcased an ongoing "Bugs or Mickey Debate," attempting to tease out why it is that Bugs Bunny, arguably a more interesting character, is so much less popular than the iconic Mickey Mouse (latest installment here). If the debate is still ongoing next month, I wonder if our release of the first volume of Floyd Gottfredson's Mickey Mouse strips, which feature a far feistier and more adventuresome Mickey than the wide public is used to, will re-orient the debate. (Even those who don't buy the book will get a glimpse of this Mickey in our Free Comic Book Day release, which also spotlights Mickey.) Of course, the debaters so far seem also to be ignorant of the (more widely available) earliest Mickey animated cartoons, in which Mickey was also far more of an anarchic spirit.
We just got the go-ahead to share this image with you — a 3D rendering of Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1: Race to Death Valley by Floyd Gottfredson, created by our art department to give you a sense of the book as an object in space (and your first look at what the spine looks like). Cooooool. Click the image for a bigger version.
• Plug: "It really is amazing that there are generations growing up, only knowing the Disney characters from the theme parks. Thankfully, Fantagraphics is doing something about it, restoring and publishing a complete archive of the Mickey Mouse comic strip by cartooning legend Floyd Gottfredson." – Stefan Blitz, Forces of Geek
• Plug: "Fantagraphics' collection of Floyd Gottfredson's complete run on the Mickey Mouse comic strip of the 30s and 40s is one of the most exciting things on upcoming comics collection list (although I'm most excited about the same publisher's announced reprinting of Carl Barks' complete run of Donald Duck/Uncle Scrooge comics)." – Pop Culture Safari
• Plug: "I've been looking forward to Wilfred Santiago's Roberto Clemente biography 21 for what seems like years now, maybe because it's actually been a couple of years. But you wait for the good ones." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
• Review: "This book kills. It’s well worth the price of admission just to gawk at the artwork, which, had I not read the back cover, I would have guessed was the work of a master cartoonist who had honed his craft for decades. [...] Drew Weing does to Set to Sea what Quentin Tarantino did with Pulp Fiction. He (Tarantino) took the done-to-death stories of the fighter who decides not to throw the fight, the mob hit gone bad, and the goon messing with the mob boss’s wife — all fairly clichéd bits — and takes up the challenge of smashing together a brutally entertaining piece of work. That is exactly what Set to Sea is — but without all the gangsters and boxers and dancing." – Chris Reilly, The Panelists
• Review: "It’s like Let the Right One In — the horror of the supernatural is set against a dull and mundane urban background, without the lights and glamour of an American city, just miles of concrete, drainpipes and bannisters. Many of the stories [in Pocket Full of Rain ] share Steig Larsson’s sense of Scandinavian unease, and reek of Doc Martens, subtitled pop culture and Automatic for the People-era R.E.M. The title story was first published in 1995, and feels like Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron by Dan Clowes." – Grant Buist, The Name of This Cartoon Is Brunswick
• Review: "I’m in love. With the town of Palomar. How could you not? You’d have to have a heart of stone not to fall in love with Hernandez’s creations. The characters [in Heartbreak Soup] are so warm, and lifelike, that even the ones that are supposed to be annoying (like Tonantzin and Toco) are just so loveable, you can’t help but sigh and say, 'Oh you!' under your breath, even though you don’t even really know the character too well yet!" – Lisa Pollifroni, lisaloves2read
Ta-da! It's your first look at art director Jacob Covey's beautiful final cover design for Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1: Race to Death Valley by Floyd Gottfredson! (Click the image for a bigger version.) The book went to the printers last week and is scheduled to be available in early June. And that's not the only exciting Mickey update we have for you!
On Monday we sent out digital copies of our promotional BLAD ("Book Layout And Design") brochure for the book to members of the press; today, we are pleased to offer it to everyone as a 3MB PDF download! Inside you'll find tons of information about the book including samples of the strip and preliminary versions of some of the bonus features. (Note that details regarding the book may have changed since we first put the BLAD together — you'll notice that the cover image it shows is an earlier, unfinished version, for instance.)
Yesterday at Comic Book Resources, Shaun Manning talked to series co-editor Gary Groth. A small sample: "Most of Gottfredson's Mickey Mouse strips have not been reprinted, and the few collections that do exist are out of print. Asked how these early strips came to be neglected, Groth said, 'The easy and honest answer is, I don't know. Why did it take 'til 2004 before Peanuts was properly reprinted? Mickey Mouse strips have been reprinted or excerpted desultorily in other, larger books over the eras, but never systematically. Sometimes the determining factor to these things is a weird confluence of circumstances, and with Mickey, now is the time.'"
On CBR's Robot 6 blog, Sean T. Collins commented further: "...I’m sure Groth wouldn’t mind if I said that the real star attraction for the piece are the actual Gottfredson strips used to illustrate it. Simply put, my jaw literally dropped once I opened up these action-packed images, so impressed was I by their power and grace. And since most of Gottfredson’s work has been reprinted rarely, if that, chances are you’ll be bowled over too."
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