• Review: "The second volume of Linda Medley's quirky Eisner-winning modern classic has finally arrived. [...] Castle Waiting is a warm yet bittersweet ramble through the margins of the fairy tale world. [...] Medley's distinctive black and white art is full of life, while her writing is as engaging if leisurely as ever." – Publishers Weekly
• Review: "...[O]ne of the best and most under-covered of many under-covered comics of 2010 [is] Fantagraphics’ English-language edition of Jacques Tardi’s It Was the War of the Trenches. [...] Fascinatingly structured as a 20-page overture leading into an illustrated prose account of wartime experiences by the artist’s grandfather, and only then starting the work proper, a non-chronological barrage of soldiers’ experiences told in wide panels, three per page, unwavering, in contrast to the overture’s more dynamic usage of the page – everything in this book’s makeup draws attention to itself as a comic." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics
• Review/Profile: "One day, the gods of all ART great and marvelous, finally will decide to roll out their lengthy gilded achievement banner listing cartoonists, illustrators and caricaturists... who have been creatively talented beyond the skills of mere mortal men and women. Without a doubt, near the top of this list of illustrious souls... will be the name... Drew Friedman. [...] With Too Soon? Drew Friedman has not only once again solidifies his stature as one the of the planet's funniest, most observant and skilled artists, I can add the often used, but in this case it's actually true, label of that of a living legend. [...] If I could give this book ten stars I would. If I could give this book whatever letter should come before the letter 'A' because it is better than an 'A' then I would give it not only that mysterious letter, but add around five or six pluses. Buy this book as a gift for yourself, your friends, loved ones, siblings, children, parents and grandparents." – Robert Jaz, Forces of Geek
• Profile: At the CCS Visiting Faulty blog recounts Carol Tyler's visit to the school last week: "When the fun was over, Tyler put on her Lois Lane Reporting Hat to deliver her scoop on herself. She started with a photo of her home, which boasts a bountiful garden out front. 'That isn’t yard work,' she said, 'What you’re looking at are scripts. If I can’t figure out a punchline, I’ll just rip up part of my lawn.'" (See photos on the CCS Flickr page.)
• Interview: It's the final installment of The Daily Cross Hatch's conversation with Jaime Hernandez: "I remember hoping — I remember that, when Gilbert and I were doing fanzine work for small publishers, some guy in his bedroom, he would say, 'we would like people to send their art,' and things like that. We just wanted to be published. We knew it wasn’t the big time, but it was just kind of fun to be out there, even on a small scale. Yet, at the same time, we did have stories to tell, and we were hoping that one day they would be published."
The latest Rat Pack portrait to be offered at Drew Friedman's Fine Art Prints concern is this limited-edition print of groundbreaking entertainer Sammy Davis, Jr. Irwin Chusid's loving web of words and all the ordering details can be found here.
We've said it before and we'll say it again: Howard Stern just can't shut up about Drew Friedman: "Drew Friedman's drawings should sell for at least 300 billion dollars compared to Andy Warhol." From yesterday's show. Thanks Howard! (YouTube link.)
• Review: "I know what you're all thinking. Does [Destroy All Movies!!! The Complete Guide to Punks on Film] adequately up the punx? The answer is a resounding, 'Yep!' [...] There's a little more attention paid to Nick Zedd and Lydia Lunch than I think is deserved, but otherwise the book is perfect. [...] This one will live above your toilet tank for years and make shitting so much fun." – Nick Gazin, Vice
• Review: "Dave Cooper's produced [Bent,] another book's worth of sketches and oil paintings of weird looking women. Some of Cooper's gals are cute and cartoony, most seem to be a compilation of everything that women fear they look like. His paintings mix cartoonish proportions and ways of thinking with an amazing sense of light and forms. Dave Cooper has big ideas which are mostly scary and gross ideas rendered beautifully." – Nick Gazin, Vice
• Review: "Jason... makes comics that are quiet and lonely and often show how quickly life passes. [What I Did] contains the first comics that Jason had published in English... Each one makes it seem like life is just absolutely meaningless. [...] You like smart animals? With hats? And ennui? And muuuuurderrrrrrr? You do? What else do you like? Because I like you." – Nick Gazin, Vice
• Review: "Werewolves [of Montpellier] has an artsy feel, but also plenty of humor, even in (or especially in) its more dramatic moments. [...] But it’s mostly the subtle characterizations that still bring the greatest amount of personality out of his creatures that look like animals, but act so much like humans. [...] Overall, it’s another great book from Fantagraphics in the Jason catalog. It doesn’t shake the foundation of his style, but it does try a few new ideas and tells another fun story." – William Jones, Graphic Novel Reporter
• Review: "Because of the wide variety of ways these artists see the world and approach art, it’s understood that some pieces delighted me while others left me scratching my head. But even the head-scratchers — especially the head-scratchers — left me pondering various aspects of the mythical and legendary creatures in ways I’d never considered before. [...] Once I was done [with Beasts! Book 1], I realized that I’d held onto that feeling of going through a real, marvelous exhibit of strange and wonderful creatures. Like I’d been told a story in which I was the main character, visiting this museum, learning about these beasts, wondering about them, and in turn creating stories of my own." – Michael May, Robot 6
• Review: "Reading Drew Friedman's 2010 book Too Soon? reminded me that I'd missed his 2007 comics collection, The Fun Never Stops!, so I had to remedy that situation as quickly as possible. [...] Drew Friedman comics have to be experienced rather than described; he has a distinctive, warped sensibility, intensely steeped in old pop culture but with an almost literary detachment and a relentless tropism towards ugliness, unlikely connections, and random cultural detritus. What sells it is that unflinchingly realistic drawing style — when you look at a Drew Friedman picture, you know it must be true in some way, because a fake could never look that good." – Andrew Wheeler, The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.
Online Commentary & Diversions returns from a sick day:
• Review: "With elegant simplicity, this comic-book fable [Set to Sea] unfurls the tale of a life cast on an unexpected course and the melancholy wisdom accrued upon the waves. First-time graphic-novelist Weing has produced a beautiful gem here, with minimal dialogue, one jolting battle scene, and each small page owned by a single panel filled with art whose figures have a comfortable roundness dredged up from the cartoon landscapes of our childhood unconscious, even as the intensely crosshatched shadings suggest the darkness that sometimes traces the edges of our lives. [...] Weing’s debut is playful, atmospheric, dark, wistful, and wise." – Jesse Karp, Booklist (Starred Review)
• Review: "...[A]n absolutely stunning [book], collecting some of the best and most trenchantly funny illustrations by a contender for the title of America’s Greatest Living Caricaturist in a lavish, full-colour hardback. [...] Friedman is a master craftsman who can draw and paint with breathtaking power, and his work is intrinsically funny. [...] His caricatures are powerful, resonant and joyful, but without ever really descending to the level of graphic malice preferred by such luminaries as Ralph Steadman or Gerald Scarfe. Too Soon? is a book for art lovers, celebrity stalkers and anyone who enjoys a pretty, good laugh." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!
• Review: "...A Drunken Dream showcases the full range of Hagio’s short stories, while also granting readers insight into the themes of lost innocence, family dysfunction and perseverance in the face of abuse that underscore much of her work. [...] With distinct character designs, detailed backgrounds and emotive character acting, Hagio’s artwork conveys the full emotional range of her stories, with dollops of humor mixed into sagas of sadness, survival and hard-won contentment. [...] A Drunken Dream and Other Stories finds another important voice in Japanese comics history washing up on American shores. One hopes that Hagio, whose work manages to be both stark and beautiful, finds a welcoming and receptive audience." – Michael C. Lorah, Newsarama
• Review: Sean T. Collins looks at "La Maggie La Loca" and "Gold Diggers of 1969" from Love and Rockets Vol. II #20 as part of his "Love and Rocktober" series at Attentiondeficitdisorderly: "Maggie may just be an apartment manager anymore, she may now get in way over her head (literally) when she attempts to have a fun island adventure like she used to, but the way Rena sneaks into her room at night just to watch her sleep reveals that the aging heroine could use a dose of the community and camaraderie that's part and parcel of Maggie's dayjob."
• List: Sam Costello of iFanboy names House by Josh Simmons as one of "13 Great Horror Comics for Halloween": "Josh Simmons is some kind of horror savant. There are few really, truly, deeply disturbing comics out there. If you’re willing to take the risk of reading a comic that you’ll literally want to cover your eyes while you read, Simmons’ work is for you. House, his nearly wordless tale of a trio of friends exploring a dilapidated, cavernous mansion, is less explicit, but worth a look. Its suffocating, despairing loneliness is affecting." (Via Robot 6)
• Commentary: "It was like the sky: pleasant, visually appealing, reliable. Peanuts had a Picture of Dorian Gray quality; you kept getting older and more decrepit and more cynical, but it didn't. By the time you started reading it, you were already older than the characters in the strip, so it immediately made you nostalgic for childhood. Not necessarily for your childhood, but for the childhood Lucy and Charlie and Linus were having." – Joe Queenan, The Guardian
• Interview: At Comic Book Resources, Chris Mautner talks to Johnny Ryan about Prison Pit: "I think in a strange way the book(s) are very revealing about myself. I felt as if I was really exposing myself here. I was very anxious about that."
• Review: "...[From Shadow to Light: The Life and Art of Mort Meskin] is extremely informative and truly wonderful... Evocatively written by creative/art director, designer, educator and biographical author Steven Brower, with dozens of first hand accounts from family, friends and contemporaries; the sad, unjust life of this major figure of popular art is fully explored and gloriously justified by every miraculous page of his work reproduced herein. [...] Brilliant, captivating, utterly unforgettable and unknown, Meskin’s enforced anonymity is finally coming to an end and this magical chronicle is hopefully only the first step in rediscovering this major talent." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!
• Review: "[Mort] Meskin... deserves to be treasured by all comic fans and studied by all artists of the medium. Now, at last, he gets some of the attention he is due in From Shadow to Light: The Life & Art of Mort Meskin by Steven Brower. [...] On display in this book are amazing examples of comic art. [...] The biographical portion of the book is enlivened by vivid detail from many personal recounts by artists and friends Meskin worked with and his own sons... Overall... this book is an incredible testament to an incredible talent and hopefully it will encourage more comic fans to learn about Meskin and seek out some of his work." – Rich Clabaugh, The Christian Science Monitor
• Review: "Four Color Fear is a lovingly accumulated and organized collection of... stories starring ghosts, ghouls, zombies, demons, and monsters of all stripes. [...] Four Color Fear offers some nice bonus features too, which elevate it from being a simple compilation of reprinted stories. [...] In case I haven’t made this clear yet: this book is tremendous. [...] For fans of the genre, [editor Greg] Sadowski has performed a valuable service — rescuing these stories from obscurity and reminding us that, yes, EC was one of the important publishers of its era — only one of many. [Rating] 9/10" – David Maine, PopMatters
• Review: "One of the consolations of being obscure is the knowledge that you'll never have to wake up in a world where Drew Friedman has caricatured you. Friedman's pen is relentless and his eye is merciless: every foible, every wrinkle or blush or spot is seen clearly and depicted precisely. ...[T]here hasn't been a book like Too Soon? before, and it's been needed. So the answer to the question's title is: no, not at all. If anything, it's long overdue." – Andrew Wheeler, The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.
• Reviews: The new episode of Easy Rider, the radio show for "rock, punk rock, country, power pop, garage and comics" from Radio PFM out of Arras in northern France, features Lucky in Love Book 1 by George Chieffet & Stephen DeStefano, Locas by Jaime Hernandez, and Everybody Is Stupid Except for Me by Peter Bagge among their Comics of the Week
• Review: "Love and Rocktober" continues at Attentiondeficitdisorderly as Sean T. Collins looks at Jaime's Perla La Loca: "So what conclusions are we to draw from all this? It's taken me a while, but I've come to the conclusion that drawing a conclusion is the wrong thing to do. There's not some message being sent here about, I dunno, punk or fluid sexuality or sex work, which are sort of the common threads of the two big stories here... The message, I think, is simply to be found in the fact that there are two big, separate Maggie and Hopey stories here. They're not symbols, they're people."
• Interview: Jesse Tangen-Mills conducts the first of two interviews with Johnny Ryan at The Comics Journal: "At first my Mom thought this would be a nice hobby for me. She never liked the idea or thought I could make a living out of it. Now, she seems to appreciate it a bit more. I do send her my books because she asks for them. I don’t think I would otherwise."
• Interview: The second interview with Johnny Ryan at The Comics Journal, conducted by Ian Burns, was originally meant for this blog, but deemed Too Good for Flog: "...I felt, by doing research, I’m completely undermining the work. It goes back to my whole thing about seeing like a teenager’s action comic. Teenagers don’t think about, 'Well, I need to take an anatomy course,' [Burns laughs] 'before I draw my mutant planet war.' They just fuckin’ just go and just jump into it. So I had that same vibe."
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.
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