Drew Weing's graphic novel debut Set to Sea, which follows the adventures of a poet who ends up seabound aboard a pirate ship, is a mere month away from its upcoming paperback release. We've got a 12-page, 1.1 MB excerpt you can download and read while you wait. Want to pre-order your copy now? Step right this way!
For the new paperback printing of cartoonist Drew Weing's debut nautical graphic novel, Set To Sea, we've completely redesigned the cover, which we're pleased to unveil today! The upward perspective of the ship's mast against a deep blue, star-studded sky create a delightful sense of anticipation and expectation that helps set the mood for this book that is equal parts quietly poetic and swashbuckling adventure.
Stay tuned for more previews and sneak peeks, which we'll post to the Flog and on our website, where you can also go ahead and pre-order your book. We expect Set To Sea to sail into stores by late October.
That is, unless you're going to SPX, in which case you should look for that deep navy blue cover at the Fantagraphics table!
This year is a full blow-out at the Small Press Expo at Bethesda, Maryland. On Saturday, September 13th (11am-7pm) and Sunday, September 14th (Noon-6pm) prepare to be blown away by the sheer talent at SPX. Held at the grand Bethesda North Marriot Hotel and Conference Center (5701 Marinelli Road, Bethesda, MD 20852), Fantagraphics has lined up an impressive group of cartoonists to shock and amaze you! Stop by tables W57-61, RIGHT by the front doors for the best graphic novels and comics of the show.
Saturday Signing Schedule
11-12pm Tom Kazcynski + Jonah Kinigstein + Drew Weing 12-1:30pm Jonah Kinigstein + Simon Hanselmann 1:30-3pm - Eleanor Davis + Simon Hanselmann 3-5pm - Ed Piskor + Drew Friedman + Jon Barli 5-7pm - Conor Stechschulte + Chuck Forsman + Jesse Reklaw
Sunday Signing Schedule Noon-1pm - Eleanor Davis + Drew Friedman + Jonah Kinigstein 1pm-2pm - Eleanor Davis + Jonah Kinigstein + Conor Stechschulte 2-4pm - Simon Hanselmann + Ed Piskor + Drew Weing 4-6pm - Simon Hanselmann + Jesse Reklaw + Jon Barli
And bring your spiffiest clothing, we have a lot of books up for the Ignatz awards this year. You can vote ALL day Saturday and directly after the Ignatz Awards in the White Flint Auditorium, you are an invited guest to the Simon Hanselmann wedding. Yes, no gift needed other than your presence. From about 10-10:30pm, there will be live music, a full wedding party, tears and tissues everywhere!
12:30 - 1:30 Sex, Humor and the Grotesque
Eleanor Davis (How to Be Happy), Julia Gfrörer (Black is the Color), and Meghan Turbitt (#foodporn) have all produced comics that touch upon events, experiences, sensations and feelings that contemporary social discourse often fails to engage in meaningful or productive terms. This group of artists will discuss the intersections of humor, anxiety, sexuality and parody in their work in a panel discussion moderated by Katie Skelly (Operation Margarine). White Flint Auditorium
2:30 - 3:30pm The Closed Caption Comics Legacy In 2004 a group of students at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) formed the loosely-defined art group Closed Caption Comics, their collective activity centered around an eponymous comics anthology which ran for nine increasingly ambitious issues. Ten years later, the members of the group are productively focused on individual projects. Several of them will discuss their common roots and current work, including Ryan Cecil Smith (S.F. #3), Molly Colleen O'Connell (Strip Mall, Poety Unlimited), Noel Freibert (Weird Magazine), and Conor Stechschulte (The Amateurs). Moderated by Brian Nicholson. White Flint Auditorium
3:00-4:00pm Micro-Press and Beyond For the past year, Robyn Chapman has been documenting the movement in comics towards very small publishing, otherwise know as micro-publishing. Robyn will briefly share findings from her upcoming publication (The Tiny Report: Micro-Press Yearbook 2013) before speaking with a range of publishers-from the micro-press to traditional small press-to discuss how they print, sell, and distribute their comics. Panelists will include Chuck Forsman (Oily Comics), Keenan Marshall Keller (Drippy Bone Books), Justin Skarhus and Raighne Hogan (2D Cloud), and Anne Koyama (Koyama Press). White Oak Room
5:00-6:00pm Drew Friedman's Heroes and Vaudevillains Drew Friedman is an iconic cartoonist and illustrator whose intensely rendered, caricatural work has appeared in RAW, Spy, The New Yorker, the New York Observer, and countless other venues. His Old Jewish Comedians trilogy of books celebrated entertainers who have attracted Friedman's fascination in a series of lush portraits. His new book, Heroes of the Comics, features eighty-four portraits of landmark figures from the history of comic books. Friedman will discuss his work in this special spotlight session moderated by Rob Clough (The Comics Journal). White Oak Room
6:00-7:00pm Inkstuds Live At this year's SPX, two cross-country tours explosively collide! Inkstuds host Robin McConnell has taken his popular comics-focused radio show on the road with special guest co-host Brandon Graham in tow, in a series of live Inkstuds programs. In Bethesda, Michael DeForge (Lose #6), Simon Hanselmann (Megahex), and Patrick Kyle (Distance Mover) will kick off their own book tour live on stage as McConnell and Graham's special guests. White Oak Room
Sunday Panels 2:00 - 3:00pm Charles Burns Q+A Charles Burns is among the world's most distinguished cartoonists. His work first gained notice in the pages of RAW Magazine in the 1980s. His meticulously drawn early stories reflected upon and transformed the tropes of historical genre comics. Burns then spent ten years drawing his graphic novel masterpiece Black Hole, which dissolved literal horror into the true horror of everyday life. At SPX he will debut Sugar Skull, which concludes the serialized narrative in his new trilogy of full color comics albums. Burns will discuss his work in a spotlight session moderated by Alvin Buenaventura. White Oak Room
2:30 - 3:30 Eleanor Davis: How to Be Happy Eleanor Davis (How to be Happy) will share an autobiographical presentation that will have something to do with finding truth in fiction and the strange passions inside an author/reader relationship. Moderator Tom Spurgeon (The Comics Reporter) will follow Davis's presentations with questions about her work, and will also take questions from the audience. White Flint Auditorium
Follow Megg the witch, Mogg the cat, their friend Owl, and Werewolf Jones as they struggle unsuccessfully with their depression, drug use, sexuality, poverty, lack of ambition, and their complex feelings about each other. It's a comedy! This is the first collection of Hanselmann's work, freed from its cumbersome Internet prison, and sure to be one of the most talked about graphic novels of 2014, featuring all of the "classic" Megg and Mogg episodes from the past five years as well as over 70 pages of all-new material.
In stores now, $29.99
Bumf Vol.1: I Buggered the Kaiser by Joe Sacco - Sacco has long been known and praised for his work in comics journalism, with such titles as Palestine, Safe Area Gorazde, and The Fixer garnering widespread acclaim in The New York Times, TIME magazine, NPR, and The Los Angeles Times Book Review. Now, Sacco is returning to his satirist and underground cartoonist rootsThe acclaimed cartoonist returns to his underground roots, indulging his love of satire and cartooning in this free-wheeling one-man anthology that Sacco promises "will go where it needs to go, and do what it needs to do."
In stores November, $24.99.
Hip Hop Family Tree Vol. 2 by Ed Piskor - Book 2 covers the early years of 1981-1983, when Hip Hop makes its big transition from the parks and rec rooms to downtown clubs and vinyl records. While many performers use flamboyant personas to stand out from the audience, a young group called RUN-DMC comes on the scene to take things back to the streets. This volume introduces superstars like NWA, The Beastie Boys, Doug E Fresh, KRS One, ICE T, and early Public Enemy, with cameos by Dolemite, LL Cool J, Notorious BIG, and New Kids on the Block(?!)!
In stores now, $27.99.
Hip Hop Family Tree Box Set Vol. 1: 1975-1983 by Ed Piskor - To celebrate the critical success of the first two volumes of Piskor's unprecedented history of Hip Hop, we are offering the two books in a mind-blowingly colorful slipcase, drawn and designed by the artist, featuring exclusive all-new cover art on each volume. Also included is the box set exclusive 24-page comic Hip Hop Family Tree #300, Piskor's elegant reflection on the ‘90s confluence of hip hop and comics, told in a perfect parody/pastiche/homage to that era's Image comics.
In stores November, $59.99.
The Lonesome Go by Tim Lane - The Great American Mythological Drama depicted by way of rich mixtures of myths and facts, dreams and reality, belief and disbelief, throughout a haunted landscape populated by the ghosts of a complex and rich fictional tapestry. You'll witness a young man's dubious quest to discover the myth of the protagonist from an obscure vintage comic strip; encounter sociopathic hobos in boxcars and misled young men whose facial pores sprout worms and who throw up babies into gas station toilets; visit modern "Hoovervilles"
In stores October, $39.99
Heroes of the Comics: Portraits of the Legends of Comic Books by Drew Friedman - Featuring approximately 75 full-color portraits and essays lovingly rendered and chosen by Drew Friedman. Heroes includes the full spectrum of American comics pioneers and legends of the ‘30s to the ‘50s: publishers, editors, and artists like Stan Lee, Harvey Kurtzman, Will Eisner, Al Jaffee, Jack Davis, Will Elder, Bill Gaines, and more. It's a Hall of Fame of comic book history from the man Boing Boing calls "America's greatest living portrait artist!"
In stores now, $34.99
Jim by Jim Woodring - Jim is a mind-bending collection of all of Woodring's best non-Frank creative work - comics stories, prose stories, drawings, and paintings all centered around Woodring's cartoon alter ego. This fictional doppelganger has for 30 years inhabited Woodring's alternate universe where shifting, phantasmagoric landscapes, abrupt, hallucinatory visual revelations, and unexpected eruptions of uninhibited verbal self-flagellation are commonplace. Collected here for the first time, Jim is a bounty of Woodring's inspired artistry.
In stores now, $29.99.
Gast by Carol Swain- In rural Wales, Helen, an amateur bird watcher, investigates the apparent suicide of a "rare bird" named Emrys. Her attempt to learn more about Emrys turns into a journey of self-discovery and ultimately a hard-fought reconciliation with the world - as it is. Helen's inner life is slowly revealed through a mixture of naturalistic detail and phantasmagoric occurrences. A philosophically mature vision, uniquely executed by an artist wholly in control of her craft, Swain touches on issues of identity, transgenderism and isolation.
In Stores now, $22.99
Doctors by Dash Shaw - This new graphic novel from acclaimed cartoonist Dash Shaw (Bottomless Belly Button, BodyWorld, New School is his most taut book to dateDr. Cho's device, the Charon, allows entry to the afterlife to bring the dead back to life. But the dying unconsciously create the afterlife they want in their minds - what if they don't want to come back? Part science-fiction thriller, part family drama, part morality play for the 21st century, and quite possibly Shaw's best book to date.
In Stores October, $16.99.
Vapor by Max - In Vapor, the award-winning Spanish cartoonist Max (best known for his 2006 book Bardín the Superrealist) once again engages in delightful philosophical mind games, starring another wildly stylized and endearing protagonist - this time deploying a striking, crisp black and white graphic style perfectly suited for this desert-based fantasia.
by Richard Sala - A suite of related short mysteries and thrills, all depicted in Sala's trademark colorful watercolor washes and sharp, detailed line-work. Rising from the crumbling pages of some forgotten (and nonexistent) pulp magazine comes the diabolical villain Super-Enigmatix. Following in the bloody footsteps of master criminals such as Fantomas, Fu Manchu, or Professor Moriarty, Super-Enigmatix is ruthless, cunning, and thoroughly evil. In stores November, $19.99
An Age of License by Lucy Knisley - An Age of License is Lucy Knisley's (French Milk, Relish) comics travel memoir recounting her charming (and romantic!) tour of Europe and Scandinavia. Featuring her hallmark mouth-watering drawings and descriptions of food, Knisley's experiences are colored by anxieties, introspective self-inquiries - about traveling alone in unfamiliar countries, and about her life - that many young adults will relate to. It's is an Eat, Pray, Love for the alternative comics fan.
In Stores now, $19.99
Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck: The Son of the Sun (The Don Rosa Library Vol. 1) by Don Rosa - The Richest Duck in the World is back - and so are noisy nephew Donald, wunderkinder Huey, Dewey, and Louie, and rascally richnik Flintheart Glomgold! We're proud to present our first complete, chronological book of Duck adventures by contemporary fan favorite Don Rosa, who drew a whopping two decades' worth of ripping Scrooge and Donald yarns! It's at a price even Scrooge would consider a bargain!
In stores September, $29.99.
Set to Sea by Drew Weing - The cartoonist's nautical debut graphic novel gets a makeover for its paperback edition. A big lug and aspiring poet gets shanghaied aboard a clipper bound for Hong Kong and learns to live - and love - life on the sea. Every page is a single panel, every panel is a stunning illustration, every illustration a part of a larger whole that tells a story in the deft language of cartooning. In stores October, $14.99
Waiting for the Great Pumpkinby Charles M. Schulz - Linus and his wait for the Great Pumpkin have been a pop culture touchstone for nearly 50 years thanks to the animated television special ("I got a rock"), and it all started in the classic Peanuts strips from 1959-1962 collected in this affordable, fun-sized gift book.
In Stores now, $9.99
Emperor's New Clothes by Jonah Kinigstein - an 80 page oversized landscape format softcover collecting Kinigstein's political cartoons inveighing against the trends of abstract and modern art through the 20th. Meticulously rendered in pen and ink in the tradition of George Townshend and James Gilray, the elaborate compositions skewer artists, curators, and critics. $30.00.
Fukitor by Jason Karns - Reprinted from the artist's self published zine, the book is a 144 page compilation of full color comics that reside uneasily between a straight and satirical response to the violence, xenophobia, and sexual and racial stereotypes found in pop culture.
Fantagraphics won't be at this weekend's Heroes Con ourselves, but some of our artists sure will be! If you're in the Charlotte, NC-area, head out to the Charlotte Convention Center and meet 'em in the "Indie Island"!
You can even catch our artists in some panels, if you're so inclined!
Saturday, June 23rd
• 12:30 PM // Approaches to Humor, Room 203A: Sure the Convention is HeroesCon, but let’s never forget the funny side of the comic book world. Join The Beat’s Heidi MacDonald as she sits down with three of the very best cartoonists in the business. They are able to me us smile and even laugh out loud Roger Langridge (The Muppets, Fred the Clown) and Evan Dorkin (Milk & Cheese) and newcomer Tim Rickard (Brewster Rockit: Space Guy).
• 2:00 PM // Echoes of ‘82, Room 209: This year, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Heroes Con, cartoonist Ben Towle and blogger Craig Fischer turn their attention to 1982, and ask: What are the comics, and comics events, from 30 years ago that continue to influence comics culture today? Ben and Craig zero in on three — Destroyer Duck #1, Love and Rockets #1, and the demise of Warren Publications early in 1982 — and they’ve asked an all-star roster of creators (Jaime Hernandez, Louise Simonson) and commentators (Stergios Botzakis, Toney Frazier, Heidi MacDonald, Andrew Mansell) to join them in discussing these and other comics. We’ll also beam in some off-site commentary from Kirby experts Steve Bissette, Geoff Grogan, Charles Hatfield, John Morrow and James Sturm. With a lineup like that, how can you resist pulling on your leg warmers and joining us for the fun?
Saturday, June 23rd
• 3:30 PM // Dave Cooper & Dave Johnson, Room 208AB: Two great artists sit down to talk technique, inspiration and influences. And what is better than a Dave? Two Daves!!! That’s what. This is going to be a great hour. Join us.
• Feature:The Stranger's Dave Segal talks to Pat Thomas about the creation of Listen, Whitey! The Sights and Sounds of Black Power 1965-1975 and says of the book, "Listen, Whitey! presents Black Power's volatile ups and downs with stunning imagery. Designed by Fantagraphics' Jacob Covey, the copiously illustrated Listen, Whitey! is a joy to behold as well as to read.... Ultimately, Thomas captures the revolutionary spirit of myriad vital strands of the movement and stokes your desire to hear these recordings."
• Review: "...Action! Mystery! Thrills! Comic Book Covers of the Golden Age 1933-1945 [is] wonderful. ...Sadowski offers up an incredibly diverse gallery of forgotten superheroes, pistol-toting gangsters, cartoonish Nazis, and talking animals. Each cover has been painstakingly restored to pristine condition, and is presented in full color on glossy paper. It’s as close to browsing the comics rack of a World War II-era drugstore as most of us will ever get.... Sadowski... is one of the most adept chroniclers of comic-book history working today. He offers succinct but informative notes on each cover, but his most notable achievement in this volume is his selection of covers. The notes are helpful and fun, but it’s the progression of images itself that is the most telling.... At a perfectly reasonable $29.99, it’s a must for any comic-book fan’s library." – April Snellings, Knoxville Metro Pulse
• Review: "Set to Sea is a book to read and contemplate on, a book to look at and think about, a book to read slowly and then to read again. It's a lovely graphic novel from a creator I hope to see a lot more from as the years go on, and I hope his own busy life affords him enough leisure and time to continue to make gemlike, poetic stories like this one." – Andrew Wheeler, The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.
• Analysis:Buz Sawyer administers a spanking (and a beatdown) and Robot 6’s Matt Seneca analyzes the action in an October 1944 Roy Crane strip
• Review: "This latest in Fantagraphics' line of books featuring Jacques Tardi and the second of those books to feature an adaptation of the work of Jean-Patrick Manchette is lovely-looking, stylish and bleak as hell.... The short third act, where we learn what becomes of the assassin, proves so ruthlessly depressing it's almost a human rights violation. Tardi's artwork is beautiful here, although you probably already knew that. No one in comics does the frowning face better than Tardi, and Like a Sniper [Lining Up His Shot] proves to be an absolute showcase of down-turned mouths and the unhappy people bearing them.... What a show." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
• Review: "These are two masters at their best [in Like a Sniper Lining Up His Shot]. Crime novelist Manchette pulls no punches in delivering gritty, violent episodes that still can shock even the most jaded reader. Jacques Tardi’s confident, almost brazen artwork is just as dark, cold and gripping. His beautiful fluid lines juxtaposed with the stark ambivalence Martin Terrier, the contract-killer antihero adapts in applying his brutal trade is something that has to be experienced. Get this book!" – "Horatio Hornblower," The Comic Book Snob
• Review: "Undisputable fact: a new full-length Richard Sala book is a literary and comics event that makes you sit up and take notice. It's appointment reading, and ought to demand the attention of any serious enthusiast of the medium.... The newest from Sala is the graphic novel The Hidden... This book is a magic trick, the kind you'll want to share with friends because you can hardly believe what you've witnessed when it's all done.... Around the hundred page mark this book started scaring the living shit out of me. Sala's art is wonderful and holds up to a close analysis.... Like his peers from Fantagraphics' all-star squad, Sala conveys internal truth (fear, pride, jealousy) through body language and a minimum of lines. There's not a jot or gesture wasted on the page, and his color work is loose and instinctive but still pleasing." – R.J. Ryan, Comics Bulletin
• Review: "...[Johnny Ryan] is easily one of the four or five most vital and important cartoonists working today. Prison Pit is like someone making a comic strip out of Mayhem's Live in Leipzig, played at half speed and double the volume your speakers can safely process. If you've never heard that album, then I'll spell it out for you: this is a brutal fucking comic.... The cosmic brutality of Ryan's story is emphasized by his lingering gaze. He doesn't just draw the big action moments, but the lulls and gaps and silences between them. The pace is non-stop, but that doesn't mean it can't slow down. In fact, it's those slowed-down sections that give the skull-smashing and throat-fisting the impact that they deserve." – Patrick Tobin, Multiversity Comics
• Plug: "Prison Pit 2 was TACO’s book of the year in 2010, and Prison Pit 3 is the early frontrunner for 2011. Featuring the series’ characteristic extreme ultra-violence, gore, scatophilia, and brutality, it’s another hit from artist Johnny Ryan." – L.A. TACO
• Review: "Here's the plot of Mark Twain's Autobiography [1910-2010]: Mark Twain, freed from the shackles of mortality, bums around the Twentieth Century doing whatever the hell he feels like and occasionally having untroubling yet far-fetched adventures.... Kupperman maintains a straight face throughout this look into the world that might have been, had Mark Twain roamed the earth, immortal and more than a little strange. This poker-faced treatment of juvenile, abstracted humor pays off in strokes both broad and small." – Patrick Tobin, Multiversity Comics
• Review: "Very few words are needed in Weing's debut graphic novel [Set to Sea] to tell the story of a poet wanna-be who is kidnapped by pirates and learns the ways of the sea through hard labor and even tougher battles. The cross-hatch styling is reminiscent of old engravings and perfectly suits the subject matter. Each page features just one frame, full of detail and atmosphere. With hints of The Odyssey, Moby Dick, Popeye and Treasure Island, Weing has created a modern classic in the pirate genre." – School Library Journal
• Plug: "Artist, editor, entrepreneur, publisher and cartooning auteur; in his 70-year career in comics this pioneering creator has done it all. The deluxe full-color coffee table book [The Art of Joe Kubert] traces Kubert’s history of comics spanning career from 1938 to the present with beautifully reproduced artwork alongside critical commentary." – "Horatio Hornblower," The Comic Book Snob
• Plug: "David B. intertwines history and myth in his carefully crafted tales of magic gods and grand battles. A master storyteller, his bold, timeless artwork and literary senses creates a kind of magic all their own. The Armed Garden and Other Stories collects three epic tales of adventure, faith, power, and love." – "Horatio Hornblower," The Comic Book Snob
• Scene: Daniel Herbert reports on the Friars Club launch party for Drew Friedman's Even More Old Jewish Comedians for The Paris Review: "The crowd’s spirits were high, which seemed due to more than just the release of Friedman’s book, or even the emergence of more canapés. Guests were happy to meet their idols; the comics were happy to convene for an event that wasn’t a funeral. And the celebration of the comedians’ Jewishness was significant."
• Review: "...Mark Twain’s Autobiography 1910-2010 is both hilarious and very strange. The book exudes a unique mood of giddy amazement... Credit for both the mirth and oddness belong to cartoonist Michael Kupperman, who illustrated the book based on a manuscript he says was given to him by Twain. Given the fact that the off-kilter humour of the book is very similar to the sensibility displayed in Kupperman’s earlier work, notably his dada-esque comic book Tales Designed to Trizzle, the cynical might assume that Mark Twain is only the nominal author of this book. Yet it’s fair to say that the spirit of Twain hovers near the volume.... Aside from his debt to Twain, Kupperman belongs to the tradition of erudite humor that runs from Robert Benchley to Monty Python." – Jeet Heer, The National Post
• Review: "...[Eye of the Majestic Creature] is phenomenal.... The character, Larry, who is leagues more animatic and expressive than some of the characters around her (no doubt on purpose, as the character leaps out of each panel) is responsible for carrying the entire weight of the narrative through dialog. She does so fluidly, and through nuanced avenues.... I really enjoyed this collection, and I want to see more from this creator.... There is significant depth to this fantastic story about a girl, her guitar, and the quirks associated with staying alive." – Alex Jarvis, Spandexless
• Review: "Set to Sea is the kind of comic that you give to people you love with a knowing look that says 'read this, you'll thank me later.' The kind of book that is not exclusively reserved for aficionados of the comics art form. The kind of work that, by virtue of its poetry, leaves the reader in an emotional state once he's read the final page, and that simply demands to be flipped through again immediately so that the reader might breathe in this adventure's perfume for a little longer." – Thierry Lemaire, Actua BD (translated from French)
• Review: "Paul Hornschemeier uses the medium of cartooning [in The Three Paradoxes] as the message he is sending, as each new chapter in the book references different cartoon styles and axioms.... The skill of Hornschemeier is abundant on these pages, as he effortlessly transitions from style to style. Despite that, each style fits within the story; none is so strange that it breaks the reader out of the story.... The book gets a lot of information packed into its relatively smaller frame. The book’s presentation is similarly phenomenal...; it’s really solid and uniform.... I loved it. Well done, Paul." – Alex Jarvis, Spandexless
• Plug: "Fantagraphics has prepared a nice preview video for the fourth and final [Final??? Not at all — I don't know where they got that idea. – Ed.] issue of Love and Rockets: New Stories in stores soon. It features a 35-page story called ‘King Vampire’. Oh boy, if even the Hernandez bros succumb to the vampire craze, this really is the end of the world now, isn’t it?" – Frederik Hautain, Broken Frontier
The central character is a big lug and an aspiring poet who runs up tabs at the local bars by day and haunts the docks by night, writing paeans to the seafaring life. When he gets shanghaied aboard a clipper bound for Hong Kong, he finds the sailor’s life a bit rougher than his romantic nautical fantasies. He helps rebuff a pirate assault, survives a gunshot to the eye, and learns to live — and love — a Conradian life on the sea, all the while writing poetry about pirates, bad food, unceremonial funerals, foreign ports, and unexpected epiphanies. By the end of his life, he’s found satisfaction in living a life of adventure and finding a receptive and appreciative readership. What more could one ask for?
This is Drew Weing’s debut graphic novel, after honing his craft with numerous, lovingly produced self-published comic stories. Drawn in an elaborate crosshatched style that falls somewhere between Gustave Doré engravings and E. C. Segar’s Popeye, Set to Sea is part rollicking adventure, part maritime ballad told in visual rhyme. Every page is a single panel, every panel is a stunning illustration, every illustration a part of a larger whole that tells a story in the deft language of cartooning.
• Review: "Originally appearing from 1958 to 1960, these insouciant, stylish, and thrilling dramas should appeal to readers of all ages. If they don't hook a whole new batch of bande dessinée fans, France needs to take back the Statue of Liberty in a huff.... Both stories zip by with nary a dull patch. Confections lacking in gravitas, they nevertheless own the supreme virtues of lightness and panache. Tillieux's art is always easy on the eye.... If Spielberg is looking for a second franchise after Tintin, he couldn't go wrong with Gil Jordan." – Paul Di Filippo, The Barnes & Noble Review
• Review: "Thanks to well known translator Matt Thorn, this volume is a very smooth read. I don’t often comment on such things, but Thorn took great care in interpreting and presenting this book, and it pays off in a very pleasing flow of text. The art is also quite lovely, very simplistic, and flows well from panel to panel. The color pages in the beginning have a beautiful, water color look to them. Fantagraphics has put out a gorgeous hardcover book with Wandering Son." – Kristin Bomba, ComicAttack.net
• Review: "Fantagraphics’ The Pin-Up Art of Humorama collects hundreds of racy cartoons from the once-ubiquitous tasteless humor mag.... The Fantagraphics edition, edited by Alex Chun and Jacob Covey, 'remasters' these toons with a two-color treatment that really captures the graphic feel of the mouldering pulps that still grace the ends of yard-sale tables in cities across America. It must be said that none of these are very funny, but they’re often quite beautiful and nostalgic." – Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing
• Review: "Every once in a while, a book comes along that is simply spectacular. This collection of [Mickey Mouse] comic strips by Floyd Gottfredson is a perfect example of how to present, analyze and reconstruct subject matter that is viewed differently today. The series editors (David Gerstein and Gary Groth) pull no punches in discussing why Mickey was carrying a gun or the use of slang that is noticeably offensive by today's standards. This is a wonderful vehicle for presenting historically accurate art. Other companies should take notice.... This is a stunning work. The historical presentation is flawless, as is the artwork." – George Taylor, Imaginerding
• Review: "[In Celluloid], McKean is attempting to subvert hardened notions of both comics and pornography. It's a book that gets the blood racing just as it raises questions that just won't go away about the nature of art, porn, and the male gaze.... By painting an erotic sequence with a surrealist's brush, McKean reveals the raw sexual current that underscores all pornography." – Peter Bebergal, Bookslut
• Review: "An unapologetically hard-core hardcover, Celluloid follows a young woman’s sexual epiphany... and feels almost like a silent, erotic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, with the White Rabbit and the rabbit-hole replaced by an ancient movie camera and a doorway to…somewhere else. By itself, typically, McKean’s technical mastery (beginning with pen and ink and finishing with photography) steals the breath away; ditto his visual motifs — involving fruit, say, or eyes. A bravura performance, Celluloid (which ends, by the way, with signal wit) constitutes an astounding fusion of the Dionysiac and the Apolline, in Nietzschean terms, and less invites reading than demands rereading." – Bryan A. Hollerbach, PLAYBACK:stl
• Review: "In the oneiric power of his work as a writer/artist, Jim Woodring enjoys few rivals in contemporary comics... Within the first ten pages of Congress of the Animals, calamity literally descends on poor Frank in the form of a wood-boxed croquet set. In the next ten, our bucktoothed, bobtail boyo suffers both a labor dispute and a credit crisis, and thereafter, in the U.S. in 2011, it should come as no surprise that things fast go from bad to worse; just for starters, Frank has to enter the working world. Ameliorating all of his tribulations, at least from readers’ vantage, are his creator’s nonpareil pen and undulant line — a quivery visual seduction courtesy of Higgins. Moreover, by the finale, Frank’s [spoiler redacted – Ed.] — so the little guy ain’t doin’ too bad, y’know?" – Bryan A. Hollerbach, PLAYBACK:stl
• Review: "LikeWeathercraft, this new work [Congress of the Animals] is completely silent, showcasing Woodring's amazing talent to convey a story without a word, with seemingly little effort. It's just an eye-popping visual feast of amazing illustrations in this crazy world where Woodring can put whatever he wants on the page, to a stunning end result." – Dave Ferraro, Comics-and-More (via the SPX Tumblr)
• Review: "How wrong I was to underestimate the powerful storytelling medium of the emerging graphic novel platform, especially when masterfully rendered by an author and artist as remarkably talented as Santiago. I expected an exciting visual presentation, and was not disappointed, as Santiago’s heavy-lined, representational graphic style was, in turn whimsical, arresting, quirky, and most of all, emotional. But I wasn’t prepared for the wonderfully passionate portrayal of the human side of Clemente’s legendary journey from Puerto Rico into baseball immortality.... Captivating, revealing, and dramatic, 21 accomplished through art, creative use of informed imagination, and pure passion, far more than I thought possible from a graphic novel. I believe I now have a more complete picture of Roberto Clemente, but not of his statistics, or even his style of play, or of his place in baseball history. I have a truer sense of his heart." – Mark W. Schraf, Spitball
Gracie: Charlie Brown! He's the one who thinks, "Life is going bad... I'm an awful person... Nothing good ever happens to me..." Dad: Would you be friends with him? Gracie: I would. I love him. My love for him goes to the ceiling of a skyscraper. But nothing good ever happens to him ever. Once he won a race -- that's probably the only thing he's ever won. And the prize was 5 free haircuts... Dad: Ha! Gracie: He's only got a twist of hair in front. And he's like, "Five free hair cuts? I don't have much hair to cut! And even if I did... my dad is a barber!" Dad: Poor Charlie Brown. Gracie: Yeah, nothing good ever happens to him. He's always getting teased for his perfectly round head.
• Interview:The Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon talks with Stan Sakai: "Usagi was first published 27 years ago, and that time I just concentrated on the next story. It was around maybe... I would say with book four, The Dragon Bellow Conspiracy. That was the first major storyline. It took maybe 10 issues or something, I'm not exactly sure. Maybe eight issues.... Before then, I was thinking, 'Usagi's going to be canceled any month.' [laughter] 'I can't spend too much time devoting myself to a long storyline.' But once I did that and got over that hurdle, that's when I realized that hey, this could go on for a long time."
• List:The Hooded Utilitarian begins revealing the top 10 results in their International Best Comics Poll, with Walt Kelly's Pogo coming in at #8
• Plug: "A trip to the comics shop yesterday netted me a copy of Drew Weing’s Set to Sea. It’s pure indulgence, because I have already read the story online, but Fantagraphics’ small, almost jewel-like presentation is really beautiful. Weing tells his story one panel at a time, and each panel could be framed as a work of art in itself, so having it in a book, without the clutter of the web, is a worthy investment." – Brigid Alverson, Robot 6
• Scene:Comic Book Resources' Marlan Harris gives a recap of our 35th Anniversary panel at Comic-Con — unfortunately it contains several factual errors, some of which I have endeavored to correct in the comments thread