Yeah, we're great, and our books are late. Why, what did you think the headline meant?
Anyway, a new year is upon and it's time to 'fess up about all the late Fantagraphics titles you were expecting to have by now, and don't, because we suck. Specific apologia and weaseling have been added to some titles, others we just pass under mortified silence. 2011 will be better!
The following have been rescheduled: • THE ANTIC CARTOON ART OF T.S. SULLIANT will be reformatted, rethought, re-solicited, and released in early 2012 • FORLORN FUNNIES VOLUME 1 by Paul Hornschemeier will be released in the Summer of 2011 • THE HIDDEN by Richard Sala will be re-solicited and released in July 2011 • HOW TO READ NANCY will be re-solicited and released in 2012 in a vastly expanded version from what we first expected • IS THAT ALL THERE IS? (né MODERN SWARTE, originally announced for 2007) in late Fall 2011: Yes, Joost has turned in all the files and publishers in three countries are synchronizing their watches! • NANCY IS HAPPY will be released in late 2011: It turns out that there was more production work than we anticipated to make the book as perfect as humanly possible.) • POGO VOLUME 1 will be released in the Fall of 2011 - yes, seriously, for real this time
As work progresses on our first volume of Ernie Bushmiller's NANCY (yes, it's late, we admit it), collecting 1942 through 1945, we belatedly realize that our source for most of the strips is missing the first year. Oops. So we are sending out the plea to NANCY collectors: If you have clippings for 1942's NANCY daily strips, we would love to hear from you. (For that matter, as we are missing a handful of strips from 1943-1945, and some of the ones we do have are a little rough around the edges in terms of repro quality, if you have ANY NANCY tearsheets from this period...)
Contact editor Kim Thompson at
(and yes, we are in contact with the Ohio State Library, but even they have significant holes in their NANCY run) — and be sure to pass on this plea to anyone else you think might have contacts, message boards, what have you. NANCY fans unite!
If we can't get our hands on the elusive 1942 we'll probably just switch the first volume to 1943 through 1946 (we do have all of 1946) and get back to 1942 in the future when we've had more time to dig, dig, dig for source material.
In other NANCY news, the much-anticipated HOW TO READ NANCY by Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden has unfortunately been delayed 'til next Summer or Fall, as Paul and Mark have been vastly expanding the contents with additional images, additional interviews, additional research, and additional fact-checking. This will be a completely mind-blowing book when it is finished, so we ask that eager fans adopt a Bushmiller-like serenity and it'll be there before you can say "three rocks."
Can you tell we've been rooting around in our warehouse a lot lately? Our most recent find: vintage copies of two thought-to-be-lost issues of the seminal magazine on classic comic strips (edited by Rosebud Archives' Rick Marschall):
Nemo: The Classic Comics Library #2 dates from 1983 and includes an exclusive interview with Siegel & Shuster and their early pre-Superman "Superman" story; a history of William Randolph Hearst; early Western funnies by Fred Harman; a history of superhero strips; a Caniff Terry and the Pirates tale; and a profile of Art Young.
Nemo: The Classic Comics Library #30 from 1989 features an introduction to Winsor McCay's Little Nemo in Slumberland; the evolution of Ernie Bushmiller's Nancy; a biography excerpt of Puck founder Joseph Keppler; and (20 years before our book collection) a selection of Sam's Strip by Mort Walker & Jerry Dumas.
We also still have copies of the final double issue, #31/32, with a rare long interview with Charles Schulz, a feature by R.C. Harvey on Milton Caniff (dealing with Vietnam), Edward Sorel on Krazy Kat, and 16 pages of Polly and Her Pals Sundays, shot from crisp black & white syndicate proofs. Supplies are limited, so get them while you can!
My picture-taking fell off on the last day of Comic-Con as things got even more hectic with last-minute wheeling & dealing, including our Sunday-only 20%-off-everything sale. Here are a few things I managed to capture:
Peter Bagge chats with Scott McCloud (while our own Eric Reynolds and D&Q 's Jessica Campbell watch from a distance)...
...and with Jeffrey Brown, visiting from the neighboring Top Shelf booth (while our own Jason T. Miles confers with Sparkplug's Dylan Williams in the background).
Pete keeps his Inkpot trophy handy while Stephen DeStefano diligently signs and sketches.
And it was over! Here's me & Janice, all packed up & ready to go, with mixed feelings. Thanks to our booth neighbors at BloodFire Studios for this last shot (and for loaning us their handtruck at the very beginning):
We did a few things differently this year, most notably a smaller booth and smaller staff, but sales and enthusiasm seemed to be greater than last year. And while there are "teachable moments" every year, this was overall as smooth and successful a Comic-Con as I can remember in my brief history with the company. Thanks to all the staff, volunteers, artists, family members, professional colleagues and especially the fans who helped make Comic-Con 2010 another great show!
• Review: "In Weathercraft, his first foray into graphic-novel territory, Seattle denizen Jim Woodring employs his repertory troupe of ambiguous, liminal characters — Frank, Manhog, Pupshaw, and Pushpaw — to tell the kind of Pilgrim's Progress tale that David Lynch might have conjured up if he were a cartoonist. ... Impermanence, the conundrum of physical senses that guide and ensnare at the same time, the challenge of a rational response to an irrational universe — all this and more await the returning fan or the open-minded acolyte in Woodring's best work yet. And for an artist of his caliber, that's saying something." – Damian Van Denburgh, Critical Mob
• Review: "Loaded with hipster irony, profanity and long digressive conversations, it’s a loving tribute to half-repudiated childhood pleasures. ... At times, Dungeon Quest captures the anything-goes wanderlust of Calvin & Hobbes — if Calvin’s fantasies were real, set in rundown Los Angeles neighborhoods and loaded with swearing." – Jason Thompson, The Comics Journal
• Review: "The relationship stuff all rings true, and when it gets weird at the end, it doesn’t seem random and arbitrary, and that’s a difficult trick to pull off. ... I found Werewolves [of Montpellier] to be a delightful read; no profound life lessons were learned, but Jason’s storytelling is first-rate and life lessons are overrated anyway." – Johnny Bacardi, Popdose
• Reviewer:On his blog, Jason reviews the film Léon Morin, prêtre
• Review: "Deep within the barroom psychosis, Lane looks into the abyss and thinks about spitting into it. The drive that leads to destruction can also be a powerful and satisfying personal experience. While each story in Abandoned Cars ties together in a thick knot of dread, the best story sees Lane go on a blatantly autobiographical adventure, and head out for an adventure by jumping on trains." – Bob Temuka, The Tearoom of Despair
More specifically, Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden need help tracking down scans of tearsheets for several Nancy strips for inclusion in the forthcoming standalone expanded edition of How to Read Nancy:
NANCY 6/ 29/55 NANCY 8/8/59 DEBBIE (AKA LITTLE DEBBIE) by Cecil Jensen 6/ 27/ 55 FRITZI RITZ 12/31/30 Any examples of pre-1925 work by Bushmiller Any MAC THE MANAGER strips (1924)
And, of course, Nancy's first appearance : Fritzi Ritz 1/2/33
• 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."
• Interview: At Graphic Novel Reporter, Peter Gutiérrez has a Q&A with Jaime Hernandez & Todd Hignite, author of The Art of Jaime Hernandez: "I was a little surprised to find out that my approach to sex in comics is different from the norm. I've always tried to treat it as naturally as somebody talking about having to buy groceries, and I guess it paid off. Who knew?"
• Review: "As for this book, yes, it's completely lovely, gorgeously designed by Jacob Covey. Its contents are so damn delightful that within one week of finishing reading the book, I was actively entertaining buying what seemed to be all of it again in another format. It's an absolute treasure, a work of art I'm glad to own. ... Locas II is recommended, strongly, if you haven't read the material, but do some research [link added - Ed.] and make sure you're not duplicating yourself too much if you have." – The Hipster Dad's Bookshelf
• Review: "No one smiles. It’s am emotional world presented in emotionless, static drawings and strange greens and beiges. Nothing is visually beautiful, and while all of this would seem to work against the impact of the story, it ultimately conveys a feeling of overwhelming nervousness, or waking up way too early in the morning and blearily staring into an unfamiliar world, and this is what infects you until it all makes sense. ... [Mother, Come Home] is not a light read, but it feels much lighter than the works that it seeks to shadow, and should be a welcome addition to any collection." – Collin David, Graphic Novel Reporter
• Plugs: In their "Graphic Novels Prepub Alert," Library Journal's Martha Cornog spotlights August releases Nancy Is Happy: Complete Dailies, 1942–1945 ("Nancy has inspired numerous pop culture variations and tributes as well as a forthcoming serious analysis: How To Read Nancy (Karasik & Newgarden, Fantagraphics, Aug. 2010). The who’s who among Nancy Revivalists includes Art Spiegelman and Dan Clowes — who wrote the introduction. This first reprint volume collects the second four-year span of the run. The first four years will appear later, since the archival material is more sparse and difficult to collate") and RIP M.D. ("A 'full-color, all-ages adventure' with an animated cartoon series in development, a promising bet for reluctant readers.")
• Plug: At Robot 6, Sean T. Collins on our MoCCA table: "You could safely shop only from Fantagraphics and still experience a hella great comics industry in microcosm."
Mark Newgarden, co-author with Paul Karasik of our forthcoming edition of How to Read Nancy, has put out a call for assistance (which I have swiped wholesale from Comics Comics but jeez, we're publishing the book after all):
There are a small handful of specific images that we are still seeking quality scans of.
We are searching for hard copies (or high rez scans 350 dpi or higher) of the following:
FRITZI RITZ 1/2/33
NANCY 6/ 29/ 55
DEBBIE (AKA LITTLE DEBBIE) by Cecil Jensen 6/ 27/ 55
THE 1942 NANCY TERRYTOONS MOVIE POSTER
We are also looking for additional photographs of Ernie Bushmiller; preferably in his studio (and/or related memorabilia). Please let us know what you have in your vaults!
Of course all contributions will be fully acknowledged in the book and all lenders will receive a gratis copy—and a hearty handclasp!
Anyone who can be of assistance, please contact Mark at mark (at) laffpix (dot) com.