• Review: "Oh, the things men do to torture themselves. [Catalog No. 439:] Burlesque Paraphernalia and Side Degree Specialties and Costumes is an amazing flashback to a time before the Internet, television, radio, movies and pretty much every other form of entertainment. [...] This book is chock full of some of the funniest and most sadistic devices ever dreamed up by the human mind. It’s almost as if the guy from the Saw movies had wanted to get laughs instead of frights — and fans of current outrage cinema may be happily startled to find something actually called 'The Human Centipede' in its pages." – Siobhan Greene, Fangoria
• Review: "It's an odd little notion, the idea that you've lived a better, fuller life for having killed people. That's probably a somewhat unfair aspect of Drew Weing's good-natured, lushly drawn storybook (that's the term the comic practically demands I use) Set to Sea — a tale of a big lummox of a poet whose lackluster verses about life on the open sea are given new verve when he's shanghai'd into service on an actual ship — for me to seize on. After all, Weing's bigfooted style and inviting rather than intimidating illustrative chops place him squarely in the adventure-comics tradition of Carl Barks and Jeff Smith." – Sean T. Collins, Attentiondeficitdisorderly
• Review: "Freed from the burden of making a 'serious' work, Anderson delves into some grim and gritty pulp material, and you can feel his relish and delight coming off the page. [Sand & Fury: A Scream Queen Adventure] basically deals with the story of a murdered woman who comes back from the dead as a banshee and eventually seeks revenge against her killer, who in turn may be a supernatural demon himself. It sounds like a Jim Balent comic, but Anderson creates a lovely noir atmosphere here, full of blood, sex and other nasty goings-on that never once becomes camp. It’s a nice, effective little horror comic." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
• Plug:The Venture Bros. co-creator Jackson Publick writes: "Venture alumnus, super-pal and yiddish-loving Italian-American Stephen DeStefano premiered his new graphic novel, Lucky in Love at the San Diego Comic Con, and I was fortunate enough to snag a copy. Now it's your turn. Go buy one."
• Interview:Graphic NYC 's Christopher Irving talks to Michael Kupperman. Irving on Tales Designed to Thrizzle: "Toss comic book art from the '40s and '50s into a blender with the dirty brand of humor that runs rampant in underground comics, and give it the pacing and spontaneity of skit comedy, and you get Kupperman’s distinctive Tales Designed to Thrizzle. Kupperman’s slick art has the polish and stiffness of old advertising art, creating a posed disconnect that adds a layer of absurdism to his offbeat stories." Sample Kupperman quote: "What I’m doing is more along the lines of sketch comedy. I grew up with Monty Python and SCTV, and those shows had a profound influence on me, through the writing and tone. My comic is humor for childish adults. I think I’m actually going to start putting that on the cover. It’s stuff that makes me laugh and part of my working method is to make stuff that will make others laugh as well."
• Profile: "One hundred-plus years after the newspaper comic strip was born in San Francisco, a reader might well ask: Who was the greatest comic artist of all time? Some scholars say the question was settled in 1924 by New York arts critic Gilbert Seldes, whose book on the American cultural scene, The 7 Lively Arts, devoted an entire chapter to a reclusive cartoonist in the Hollywood Hills named George Herriman and his avant-garde comic strip, Krazy Kat." – Anthony Mostrom, The Los Angeles Times (via The Comics Reporter)
• Profile: Katharine Zarrella of Interview magazine talks to Robert Pollard about his collage art and current exhibit thereof in New York City: "A handful of ex-bandmates are on Pollard's guest list, but what do they think of his artwork? 'It seems a lot of them dig it. I think secretly, and sometimes openly, my peers respect the insanity.'"
• Profile: "One of the most serious gaps that this blog has not yet filled is as follows: having been scandalously silent of the great art of Drew Friedman, one of the most popular and recognizable contemporary American illustrators, a genius capable of combining, with previously unpublished results, a technique of hyper-realistic depiction with the strong sense of the grotesque that characterizes the creative temperament." – Lucca Boschi, Il Sole 24 Ore (translated from Italian)
• Events: At AOL's TV Squad, Aaron Broverman recaps Blake Bell's presentation "Steve Ditko & Bill Everett: Spider-Man, Sub-Mariner, Daredevil & Beyond" at Fan Expo in Toronto, "a panel I expect will be one of the hidden gems of the weekend"
"Set to Sea... is the real thing: a one-off nautical action book (a hardcover version of Drew Weing's sweet, lively web-comic) that's a real pleasure to look at and linger over. Every panel-as-page just radiates joy in drawing." – Douglas Wolk
"I positively adore this format. [...] I could pull half or more of the pages in this book and hang them as wall art. [...] I gave this book one of my highest distinctions. I made my girlfriend read it."– Mike Williams
"Man... this book! ...Weing creates a wonderful modulation of tone throughout Set to Sea. [...] Maybe it's corny to call a book about a would-be poet lyrical, but that's exactly what Set to Sea is." – Evan Narcisse
"Set to Sea is just beautiful, emotional in all the right ways, and mixed with unexpected moments to pull it away from sugary sentiment and tweeness... There's such a gentleness here, so much heart, that it's completely compelling, and the way Weing structured it, a panel a page, makes the reading experience wonderfully slow, to match the story. [...] I just really, really loved this book. Like you said, Douglas, this is the real thing." – Graeme McMillan
• Plug:Techland's Mike Williams praises Set to Sea further in his "Panel of the Week" column: "Every page is a single gorgeous cross hatched panel that tells the story of a hulking poet forced into the life of a sailor. Do yourself a favor and go out and buy this small hardcover gem."
• Review: "Portable Grindhouse is a tributary 'don't know what you've got 'till it's gone' love letter to the awesomeness that was the 80s videotape box. [...] Beautifully encased in a faux cardboard videotape box, PG is a stroll through the shameless, sensationalist 'grab me off the shelves!' graphic design exploits and tacky taglines of an era when terrible action films, teen sex comedies, hilarious horror and strange sci-fi oddities still debuted weekly. Airbrushed atrocities and cartoon abominations abound." – Wilfred Brandt, TwoThousand (photo from the article)
• Commentary: "Magic realism in comics is nothing new, of course. The defiance of logic and physics is rooted in its pulp tradition, from superheroes to introspective character studies. Its effect helps us grab on to the ephemeral qualities of our experiences, giving us a shot at understanding their meaning and significance. In that context, its hard not to look at Scott Pilgrim and recall another time-bending tale of the modern comics era, albeit not so epic in its epicness: Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez’s Love and Rockets." – Scott Cederlund, Indie Pulp
• Coming Attractions:Library Journal's "Graphic Novels Prepub Alert" for November releases highlights Linda Medley's Castle Waiting Vol. 2: "Medley's black-and-white art draws on fairy tale standbys to spin a witty, inventive comedy of manners."
• Review: "Set to Sea's one-panel-per-page layout lets Weing's visual storytelling shine, but only if you resist the urge to tear through the pages quickly. Go too fast, and you'll miss the touching, wordless way Weing communicates the death of a supporting character. Or, worse, you'll skim over a gorgeous arctic sunset clearly inspired by theGustave Dore engravings for Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner." – Glen Weldon, NPR
• Plug: "Drew Weing’s graphic novel debut [Set to Sea] is a Popeye-esque delight. Weing’s linework — and abundant crosshatching — is a visual feast that well serves the story of a deadbeat poet who is shanghaied and learns to live and love the yarns he’s been spinning." – Benn Ray (Atomic Books), Largehearted Boy
• Plug: "I don't know Drew but I've been reading [Set to Sea] online and I think it's a damn fine yarn worthy of your dollars and a place on your bookshelf." – Steve Rolston (Queen & Country, The Escapists, Ghost Projekt)
• List: "Featuring riotous fake ads, and strips like 'Snake and Bacon,' TDTT is subversive, twisted and awesome. With the 'can comic books be funny?' debate ever-raging, Tales Designed to Thrizzle answers a glorious 'Yes!'" – Max Minor, "Comic Books You Should Be Reading," Nerd City
• List:io9's Cyriaque Lamar recommends the Love and Rockets "Maggie the Mechanic" storylines as one of "5 comic books that will see you through Scott Pilgrim withdrawal," saying "these initial forays into scifi strongly resemble the unexplained weirdness of Pilgrimverse." (via Newsarama)
• Commentary: "Love and Rockets is spectacular, and amazingly approachable (What brought me over to the dark side of actually reading it was free time and finding Locas in my local library...), and the kind of thing that I feel embarrassed to have been reticent to read in the first place, which explains why I admit to it in public like this." – Graeme McMillan, Robot 6
• Commentary:The Hooded Utilitarian's critical roundtable on Popeye concludes with Robert Stanley Martin: "I perceive Segar’s Popeye as a period piece, but I can’t summon a rigorous aesthetic basis for that view. All I can muster is my own idiosyncratic opinion."
Our Summer 2010 Ignatz Series titles, which we just got in stock yesterday, are also scheduled to land in comic shops this week! Let's see what the comics bloggers are saying about their imminent arrival, collectively and individually:
"This summer's four new Ignatz releases from Coconino/Fantagraphics, and examples of one of the great comics formats of the last 15 years. I liked the Sammy the Mouse book the best, but they're all beautiful." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
"I've been digging Fantagraphics' Ignatz imprint for a while now, so I'm quite happy that Wednesday sees the release of four new books in that line." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
32-page duotone 8.5" x 11" saddle-stitched softcover with jacket • $7.95 (part of the Ignatz Series) ISBN: 978-1-60699-419-1
"...[A] suite of small character studies, mostly reprised from earlier issues, mostly concerning dissatisfaction over life’s elusive meanings – dynamic visuals both segregate Ponchione’s characters from one another (spatially, design-wise) and suggest a unity of anxiety across varied human experiences. Fun cartooning, at the very least." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics
"...[P]ossibly the most unjustly ignored book in the Ignatz line, just as surreal as Sammy [the Mouse], but more cartoony and cerebral, though no less haunting or effective a work. Constantly adventurous in its layout and narrative, it's one of those books that can be read multiple times and still make new discoveries." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
32-page duotone 8.5" x 11" saddle-stitched softcover with jacket • $7.95 (part of the Ignatz Series) ISBN: 978-1-60699-420-7
"...Gabriella Giandelli‘s story of an apartment building and the mystic cartoon forces that serve as its roving eyes and the roiling collective unconsciousness of its stressed, depressed, idle tenants." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics
32-page duotone 8.5" x 11" saddle-stitched softcover with jacket • $7.95 (part of the Ignatz Series ) ISBN: 978-1-60699-421-4
"[A] lushly scratched sociological allegory by Leila Marzocchi, not entirely unlike Anders Nilsen’s Big Questions in its gathering of woodland creatures to discuss odd happenings, but more whimsical and 'cartooned,' despite a real lingering atmosphere of threat." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics
32-page duotone 8.5" x 11" saddle-stitched softcover with jacket • $7.95 (part of the Ignatz Series) ISBN: 978-1-60699-426-9
"My first choice would be the new issue from Zak Sally, again following slightly mutated cartoon archetypes through a series of journeys and conversations apparently at the beck and call of persuasive, godly forces." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics
"The long-awaited new issue of Zak Sally's bleak, meticulous series, which I think is the only Ignatz title about an actual cartoon mouse." – Douglas Wolk, Comics Alliance
"...[A] grubby, disturbingly surreal, anthropomorphic tale involving a surly mouse, drunken duck and reclusive dog, not to mention a number of seemingly nefarious and supernatural elements that turn up from time to time. ...Sally is producing a real sharp, evocative and haunting work that manages to send a delicious chill up my spine upon reading it." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
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Wolk also plugs Drew Weing's Set to Sea, even though it's not on the official shipping list — "I think the entirety of Drew Weing's wonderfully drawn comic about a frustrated would-be poet who basically becomes Popeye against his will is still online [Not quite – Ed.], but this little hardcover edition (one panel per page) is awfully handsome" — so it may be arriving at your shop if it hasn't already. Why not contact them to find out?
(P.S. There are also new comics — not from us — by Émile Bravo and Trina Robbins in shops this week! Ask your friendly neighborhood comic purveyor.)