• Review: "...Weing produces a classic tale of the sea and self-discovery in his graphic novel debut [Set to Sea]. ... Presented almost like a Big Little Book for grownups, with one lovely panel per page in a small volume, the hero's journey in this tale isn't particularly unpredictable, but Weing's mastery of both small details (the hero's waxing and waning love affair with language) and sweeping vistas (from the glaciers to a steaming port city) gives it richness and emotion. ... Weing's E.C. Segar-influenced drawings elevates what could have been an oft-told story into a powerful fable." – Publishers Weekly
• Review: "I feel like Steve Martin’s character in the movie The Jerk where he dances for joy at the gas station loudly proclaiming to all within earshot, 'The new phone book is here! The new phone book is here!' The new Tales Designed to Thrizzle is here. The new Tales Designed to Thrizzle is here! ... In every way relevant to a distinctly warped sense of humor, this issue represents a tightening of comedic springs and sweetening of the hurled cream pies. Its funny business appears more consummately distilled, concentrated and unremitting. Every page pays off, ratcheting up the risibility with droll efficiency." – Rich Kreiner, The Comics Journal
• Review: "Werewolves of Montpellier is another perfect example of Jason's mundane absurdity. ... The artwork is, once again, so simplistic and so spot on that the only word to describe it is brilliant. ... Year after year, Jason delivers genre-defining works of art, and Werewolves of Montpellier is nothing more than the latest masterpiece from one of the medium's most profound and unique voices." – Steve Ponzo, Multiversity Comics
• Interview:Publishers Weekly's Kate Fitzsimons talks to our own Kim Thompson about bringing Jacques Tardi's The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec to English-language readers: "I wouldn't call them a cult classic, they're more like a mainstream classic. Tardi is very popular and Adele is the work that's so popular that his publisher keeps trying to get him to go back to it again and again. I'd say that in France, Adele is a well known pop culture figure in the same way the Fantastic Four is here. So cult wouldn't exactly be the word."
On his blog, Drew Weing has posted 103 pages (so far) of his forthcoming graphic novel Set to Sea, so head on over there for a huge sampling of the book and tune in every other day or so for a new page. (Of course, we hope you'll also read the story in book form!) Drew is also a thoughtful commentator whose posts are always worth reading.
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: "So Fantagraphics recently released The Search for Smilin' Ed, which was serialized a while back but also contains a brand-new story as well. ...Deitch really puts a lot on the page. And, for the most part, it's pretty fascinating. But I was struck by something in the book, and I must ask: Is this comic racist? ... Deitch has a grand time twisting the way reality presents itself, bringing together his entire career in cartooning so that it all exists in the same odd universe. Deitch's intricate artwork completes this surreal adventure — it's an astonishing piece of detailed work, with monsters lurking in panels and scenes shown from different viewpoints to add interesting nuances. Deitch mixes his own, 'real' world skillfully with Waldo's imaginative one into a haunting phantasmagoria, with strange creatures flitting through our consciousness and then disappearing. It's a very wild comic that asks the reader to enter this topsy-turvy world and accept what's going on. For the most part, we do." – Greg Burgas, Comic Book Resources
• Review: "Kelso's... thin lines, empty figures, expressive curves and powerful shading are a delight to look at... I also think that the scope of the story has a lot of appeal, and the persistent theme of every character finding themselves incapable of staying anywhere near their closest family is probably a relatable one to many. ... Artichoke Tales is at its finest when it delivers the banality of life from the pretense of grandeur..." – Jason Michelitch, Comics Alliance
• Review: "At its core, [Set to Sea] is imbued with appropriately romantic notions of what living one’s life truly means. ... Weing is something of a classicist in his artistic approach, from the E.C. Segar influence he clearly wears on his anchored sleeve to his garish use of hatching—but the style suits the subject matter quite well. Much care has clearly gone into every page. And the result is a satisfying, if brief read." – Brian Heater, The Daily Cross Hatch
• Review: "Joe Daly’s Dungeon Quest is at once the most self-aware and metatextual of the recent spate of fantasy-inspired alt-comics, as well as the one most devoted to the sheer fun of exploring a space and dealing with its inhabitants. ... Above all else, Daly is funny, and never pursues cheap laughs. His line mixes clear-line simplicity with occasional psychedelic weirdness; bending the borders of reality is a trademark of his narratives. When Daly lays down a genre story over this template, the resulting stories are enjoyable on several levels." – Rob Clough, The Comics Journal
• Review: "Read 2 pages a day [of The Kat Who Walked in Beauty], every so often, for 6+ months to get through this. I was very inspired by it...the world of it, the forms. The world has changed a lot since Mr. Herriman drew these strips. Some real groaners in here, but some good jokes too." – Kevin Huizenga, Husband vs. Wife
• Interview:Newsarama's Michael C. Lorah talks to Cathy Malkasian about her new graphic novel Temperance: "What I wanted to touch upon was our current state of engaging in distant wars and how these have altered the lives of returning soldiers and their loved ones. This and the increasing taste for violence in our cultural palette. Do these currents rise together? Is the latter a reaction to the former? I still don’t know, but I have a feeling we’re seriously rearranging the role of violence in our collective mind."