• 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.
• Dame Darcy is having another print sale/painting raffle (that's the painting above; the print is different), and also taking commissions for wedding invitations — all this and more on her latest blog update
• Review: "An abstract comic? What the hell is that? And more importantly, what’s the point of a comic if it doesn’t tell a story? These are the questions a book like Abstract Comics raises right off the bat. Thankfully, it also answers them. The anthology, edited by Andrei Molotiu, covers the time period of 1967-2009 and is in all respects a Serious (capital S) volume. ... Worth a look, for sure, and maybe more." – Molly Young, We Love You So
• Plug: "When it comes to creepy comics, Al Columbia isn't only a member — he's the president. And in Fantagraphics' Zero Zero #4, Columbia produced a short story called 'I Was Killing When Killing Wasn't Cool' that is so startling and nightmarish in its quiet elegance that it'll stick with you forever." – Rickey Purdin, Rowdy Schoolyard
• Review: "Crude but powerful drawings; an eye-shattering color palette; helter-skelter plotting, often with anticlimactic, fall-off-a-cliff endings; unintentionally manifested author obsessions; stupendous indulgence of schadenfreude, terror and glee at the misery of humanity, salted with some token morality. Yes, that's the Fletcher Hanks formula for a unique, unforgettable, Golden Age comics masterpiece, and all these bizarro traits are indeed on glorious display here [in You Shall Die by Your Own Evil Creation!]..." - Paul Di Filippo, Sci Fi Wire
• Plug: "I'm very impressed with Fantagraphics's restart of this wonderful series [Prince Valiant]. The reproduction quality is much improved over their old softcover series; it's the best I've seen... This is the perfect series to introduce kids to great comics adventure." - Bud Plant
• Plug: "Abstract Comics: The Anthology: I'm one of those who considers the first two words of this title to be an oxymoron. That, ironically, probably makes me a good candidate for reading this book... You can’t argue with the list of contributors..." - J. Caleb Mozzocco, Newsarama
Flog readers, here's the official word on our big Comicon news...
FANTAGRAPHICS TO PUBLISH ERNIE BUSHMILLER'S NANCY
As announced at last week's Comic-Con International, Fantagraphics Books - the leading publisher of classic strip reprints including The Complete Peanuts, Popeye, Krazy & Ignatz, Prince Valiant, Captain Easy, Dennis the Menace, Zippy the Pinhead and others - has acquired the rights from United Media to publish Nancy by Ernie Bushmiller, beginning in Spring 2010.
According to Co-Publisher Gary Groth, who inked the deal, Fantagraphics has contracted to publish the first 24 years of Nancy dailies, beginning in 1938 (when Nancy took over the strip from its former star, Fritzi Ritz) through 1961. "If the demand is there," Groth noted, "we will of course want to continue into the 1960s and beyond, if for no other reason than to run all those great 'hippie' Nancy episodes. But we'll cross that bridge in 2016 when we finish publishing the books we've contracted for."
"I was a late Nancy convert," admits Co-Publisher Kim Thompson, who will be editing the series. "It wasn't until Denis Kitchen published his Nancy collections in 1989 and 1990, after people like Bill Griffith and Scott McCloud had been touting it for years, that I finally 'got' it. It's one of the all-time greats -- way ahead of its time in its own goofy way. Ever since then it's been at the back of my mind to do a more extensive reprinting, and our ongoing successes with classic reprint series these past five years told me the time is now ripe."
Each volume of dailies will contain four years per volume and be designed by Fantagraphics Art Director Jacob Covey. Cartoonist Daniel Clowes (Ghost World) will provide the introduction to the first volume. Each volume will be 8" x 8" in flexibound format and retail for $29.99. Information regarding collections of Nancy Sunday strips will be announced at a later date.
"I envision Nancy being influenced by pop art and constructivist design in a way that will complement the geometric style of the strip and also give a nod to Mark Newgarden's deconstruction of Nancy's forms," says Covey, whose designs on books like Popeye, Willie & Joe and Beasts! have garnered numerous awards. "In a word: ‘POP'. Like Popeye, I want it to seem fun so kids can connect with it but smart so adults can look at it more deeply. But where Popeye has a Victorian nod, this will be modernist."
Fantagraphics will begin with the "second" volume, 1942-1945. According to Thompson, "While we have access to great, nearly complete runs for most of the 1940s dailies, it looks like it will be far more trouble to collect the 1938 and 1939 material. So we'll be putting out a call to Nancy fans, both over the internet and in the first book itself, until we eventually secure the missing strips to double back and release the best possible 1938-1941 volume."
The character of Nancy, a precocious eight-year-old girl, first appeared in the strip Fritzi Ritz. After Larry Whittington began Fritzi Ritz in 1922, it was taken over by Bushmiller three years later. In 1933, Bushmiller introduced Fritzi's niece, Nancy. Soon she dominated the strip, retitled Nancy in 1938. At its peak in the 1970s, Nancy ran in more than 880 newspapers.
In addition to being one of the great comic strips of the 20th Century, Nancy is a bonafide pop culture icon, having captured the imagination of such artists as Andy Warhol, Joe Brainard, Scott McCloud, Bill Griffith, Mark Newgarden, and many others.
In Spring 2010, Fantagraphics will also publish an revised and expanded book edition of cartoonists Mark Newgarden and Paul Karasik's seminal 1988 essay, "How to Read Nancy." In addition to explicating the brilliance of Bushmiller's cartooning, it also has become a landmark educational essay about visual storytelling through the analysis of Bushmiller's work.
To quote from How to Read Nancy: "To say that Nancy is a simple gag strip about a simple-minded snot-nosed kid is to miss the point completely. Nancy only appears to be simple at a casual glance. Like architect Mies Van Der Rohe, the simplicity is a carefully designed function of a complex amalgam of formal rules laid out by the designer. To look at Bushmiller as an architect is entirely appropriate, for Nancy is, in a sense, a blue print for a comic strip. Walls, floors, rocks, trees, Ice-cream cones, motion lines, midgets and principals are carefully positioned with no need for further embellishment. And they are laid out with one purpose in mind - to get the gag across. Minimalist? Formalist? Structuralist? Cartoonist!"