Special guest Larry Storch regaled the lucky SRO crowd at Drew Friedman's Too Soon? signing at Desert Island in Brooklyn on Friday night with a short set of jokes and anecdotes, captured on video. Wonderful! Gabe of Desert Island promises to post audio of the entire presentation shortly, so we'll be sure to bring you that as soon as it's up.
Online Commentary & Diversions, back from a short vacation:
• Review: "In the first volume of Tyler's planned trilogy of graphic memoirs [You'll Never Know], she dug into the eruptive, violent memories of her father's WWII experiences while simultaneously dealing with a husband who decided to go find himself and leave her with a daughter to raise. This second volume is no less rich and overwhelming. [...] While the language of Chicago-raised and Cincinnati-based Tyler has a winningly self-deprecating Midwestern spareness to it, her art is a lavishly prepared kaleidoscope of watercolors and finely etched drawings, all composed to look like the greatest family photo album of all time. The story's honest self-revelations and humane evocations of family dramas are tremendously moving." – Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
• Review: "Friedman's hyper-realistic pen-and-ink and water-color portraits of show business and political luminaries have made their way into the likes of Entertainment Weekly, The New Yorker and Rolling Stone over the years, and a stunning new collection has just been published by Fantagraphics Books — Too Soon?: Famous/Infamous Faces 1995-2010. [...] To say that Friedman's drawings are unsentimental or unsparing is just to scratch the surface. Known for depicting every last liver spot, burst capillary and wrinkle, his work is truly a Warts and All procedure. [...] You might say the super-realistic portraits are loving ones, but only in the sense that you love your own family members, whose soft spots and selfishness one is forced to forgive. Drew Friedman's heart is as big as his capacious eye for the telling detail. Seek him out or forever hold your peace." – David Weiss, Life Goes Strong
• Review: "...Four Color Fear offers some of the finest pre-code comic book horror tales ever produced. Extensively researched, complete with story notes, editor Sadowski compiled a superior collection of non-EC tales, many of which rarely reprinted in color. A 30-page cover art section and a fascinating article by historian John Benson, who also supplied the book's intro, about the little remembered, but prolific Ruth Roche, round out this sensational historical tour of the Golden Age of Horror Comics. Highly recommended!" – Rick Klaw, The SF Site: Nexus Graphica
• Review: "The wait [for Love and Rockets: New Stories #3] has been long, no doubt, but I dare say that it was not only worthwhile, but it has proved an inspiration to continue to have faith in mankind, because with artists like these, it is worth living. For the third annual issue..., Beto gets really wild and Xaime creates a stunning tapestry of memories and narrative levels." – Mauricio Matamoros, Iconoctlán (translated from Spanish)
• Interview: As part of his ongoing "Love and Rocktoberfest," Sean T. Collins posts his 2007 Wizard interview with Gilbert & Jaime Hernandez at Attentiondeficitdisorderly: "I liked drawing rockets and robots, as well as girls. [Laughs] It really was no big game plan. It was almost like, 'Okay, I'll give you rockets and robots, but I'll show you how it's done. I'm gonna do it, and this is how it's supposed to be done!' I went in with that kind of attitude." (Jaime)
• Review: "Like much of Hernandez’s work, there’s light amongst all this darkness, particularly later in this section of Fritz’s story. But [High Soft Lisp] remains a bleak book, with Fritz’s own cheerful optimism one of the few beacons of hope amongst a cast of incidental characters whose main purpose seems only to exploit her. Hernandez rarely performs below his best and this is no exception..." – Andy Shaw, Grovel
• Review: "Vast swaths of Wally Gropius appear — at least to my eye — to be visual homages to images that Hensley particularly loves. (The alternative is that he lays his panels out in his static, staccato rhythm just for that feeling, which is close to the same impulse.) It's all very loud and manic and bright and bizarre, veering towards and away from coherence often within the same panel. [...] The end result has that go-go energy and restless heat of the authentic products of the era Hensley sets his story in..." – Andrew Wheeler, The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.
• Interview:Illustration Friday talks to Jim Woodring: "Names and labels don’t matter much. Besides, there are things that cannot be said in words. So if you say them in pictures, are they not things being said? If I draw a hill that looks like a woman, it works differently that if i write 'there’s a hill that looks like a woman.' Also there are clues that one doesn’t want discovered too quickly, or not at all. Because one wants the emanations to proceed from an unknown source."
• Plug: "Nate Neal's first graphic novel [The Sanctuary] is dumbfoundingly ambitious: it takes as its subject nothing less than the invention of comics, in the sense of narrative-in-pictures, meaning that its cast is a bunch of cave-people. Cave-people who speak a cave-person language that Neal has invented himself (he offers the translation of a few key words on its jacket copy, but that's it). The working title of the book was a drawing of a bison. A man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?" – Douglas Wolk, Comics Alliance
New from Drew Friedman's Fine Art Prints concern is this portrait of John Lennon (originally published in TIME for a tribute to Lennon by Paul McCartney), released to commemorate what would have been Lennon's 70th birthday on October 9. Irwin Chusid's typically well-written description and ordering details can be found here.
HARLAN ELLISON - Wednesday, September 29 2010 18:36:3
Due to the (uh)(ahem) inordinately "strained" relations passim one of his publishers and me, I never got a chance to tell the astonishingly wonderful artist/caricaturist Drew Friedman that I am, and was from the beginning of his career, a cockeyed fan of his merciless honesty. He once did a caricature of me and I always wanted to tell him that I considered it a memento mori of exquisite meanness. His is absolutely imperial iconography, and next to his hilarious portrait of my friend Patton Oswalt, his two books of Old Jewish Comedians are so dear to me, that I had them Lucite-boxed. I mention this now, in hopes someone will impart yet another Old Jew's admiration, because I have just now finished gasping, giggling, guffawing and geshrying over his latest collection of portraits.
Being a bit of a bohkun myself, it has been delightful to watch Drew Friedman chase Hogarth, Kley, Nast and them guys over the hill. He is to fine art what Guernica was to human observation.
At Grids, the official blog of the Society of Publication Designers, Robert Newman presents a selection of images from Drew Friedman's new book and says "Over the past 15 years, Drew Friedman has been one of the most popular and prolific illustrators in the magazine world. [...] Now Friedman has a brilliant new collection of his magazine work, Too Soon?: Famous/Infamous Faces 1995-2010, published by Fantagraphics Books. It's hardcover, 200+ pages, packed with hundreds of comics and caricatures and even more laughs. And it's graced with a wonderful introductory essay by Friedman that is a great history of both his illustration career and magazine illustration in general over the past 15 years."
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