• Review: "...[T]he primitive funnybooks rescued from obscurity by Greg Sadowski in Supermen! The First Wave of Comic Book Heroes 1936-1941 contain within their awesomely naïve and rudimentarily brilliant pages all the seeds of the postmodern graphic novel... Compounded equally from pulp fiction, movies, newspaper strips, and sheer desperate commercial-deadline-brainstorm lunacy, these early superhero tales created their own fresh synthetic mythology and compositional tools on the fly." - Paul DiFilippo, The Barnes & Noble Review
• Review: "[Bottomless Belly Button] reads almost like a John Updike novel... [Dash Shaw] really utilizes the medium to its fullest capacity..." - Benn Ray (Atomic Books) on WYPR (Baltimore public radio - streaming audio)
• Review: "[The Wolverton Bible] is fascinating read; it's a fascinating document by one of the most important illustrators of the 20th century." - Benn Ray (Atomic Books) on WYPR (Baltimore public radio - streaming audio - same link as above)
• Review: "Fantagraphics’ collection of the four issues of Blazing Combat blew me away from the start. The size and heft of the hardback reminded me of my textbooks from my school days. And once I cracked open the book, I found myself getting a hell of an education with this one."- Tim O'Shea, Robot 6, "What Are You Reading?"
• Review: "If nothing else, Supermen! puts Fletcher Hanks’ career in perspective... These are comics designed to make you tear your hair out waiting for the next issue, just to see if these guys could top themselves. Great fun all around." - Tom Bondurant, Robot 6, "What Are You Reading?" (same link as above)
• Review: "Jason is an expert at expressing a complex idea with simple visuals and dialogue. Most of his works contain little to no dialogue, actually -- entire stories can be read in facial expressions, twitches, color changes and movements. The entirety of Tell Me Something contains 7 lines of dialogue. It tells the story of 2 lovers and the trials they go through to be together, using dual layered story arcs differentiated simply by the panel borders to convey depth and reshape the story into an intriguing form." - The Inside Flap [Ed. note: Tell Me Something is out of print, but will be collected along with other Jason stories in a forthcoming hardcover]
• List: For Robot 6, Chris Mautner names "Six ‘retired' artists we'd like to see return to comics," including Brian Biggs ("...Frederick and Eloise [brings] a whimsical, storybook approach that never seem[s] overly twee or sweet. Indeed, [it is] often grounded by some dark undercurrents, not to mention backed by some serious artistic chops"), Dave Cooper ("Surreal, mind-warping books like Suckle, Ripple and his ongoing series Weasel, which chronicled a number of sweaty, paunchy, disturbingly neurotic and oversexed characters, had Cooper earning acclaim equal to the likes of Clowes and Ware"), and Mary Fleener ("...[S]he remains one of the most original voices in comics, with an art style that’s completely her own (no one draws a sex scene like her)." [Note to Mautner: Mary Fleener had a new comics story titled "Niacin" in Hotwire Comics Vol. 2, which we put out last year])
• Interview: At Robot 6, Tim O'Shea talks to Esther Pearl Watson about Unlovable Vol. 1. Choice quote: "I was a lot like Tammy and still am. It’s everything I fear."
• Review: Brix Picks' Book of the Week is The Chuckling Whatsit by Richard Sala, which they say "is one of those books that I revisit regularly because it's just so fun to read."
• Review: Bookopolis gives Unlovable Vol. 1 by Esther Pearl Watson 4.5 stars: "This book is so much fun - it kept me laughing for hours. Not only is the dialogue hilarious but the drawings themselves are really hysterical."
• Review: The Walrus, running down all of this year's Doug Wright Awards nominees, looks at Hall of Best Knowledge by Ray Fenwick: "...Fenwick’s skill with design renders the handwritten words adaptable and full of stubborn character, turning them into a cocky little world of their own."
• Preview: Holy Heroes on our solicitation for The Wolverton Bible: "Now this is exciting... as someone who's a fan of the weird, the religious, and the weird religious, [this book] is more than welcome news."
Esther Pearl Watson's UNLOVABLE has been picked up by Urban Outfitters and is being tested in ten stores nationally. If you haven't seen Unlovable yet and live near one of these locations, well, go buy it already and help us help Esther conquer the world!
628 Broadway, New York, NY 3111 M St., N.W., Washington, DC 374 Ave. of Americas, New York, NY 1507 5th Avenue Seattle, WA 5331 East Mockingbird Lane, S.190 Dallas, TX 7861 Tysons Corner Center, N-15-U McLean, VA 2590 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA 624 State St. Santa Barbara, CA 7135 E. Camelback Rd., #150 Scottsdale, AZ 3000 184 St. S.W., Alderwood Mall #810 Lynnwood, WA
• Review: The Barnes & Noble Review takes a long, loving look at Humbug: "...[Harvey] Kurtzman and his cronies served up some of the smartest satire of the time, much of it as fresh today as it was when first printed... beautifully restored... [a] wonderful production from Fantagraphics... Every page... attests to one thing: [Kurtzman's] all-American genius as writer, artist, and editor." Related: The New York Times "Paper Cuts" blog comments on the B&N review
We have a whole mess of exclusive short excerpts of new and upcoming books that have gone up on the ICv2.com site recently. They're intended for "industry pros" but there's no reason everyone can't check 'em out:
Fantagraphics Warehouse strongman, Ajax salutes the Comic-Con and my camera. This was the second year Ajax worked Comic-Con and our second year without the riffraff crowd lingering around our booth and shoplifting our shit. Coincidence?
The Sultan of Shit, Johnny Ryan at the Buenaventura booth. I just read New Character Parade #2 and laffed alot. You should buy it so you can laff alot too.
The AMAZING Kim Deitch personalizes a copy of Shadowland for a fan. There's not much more I can write about Deitch. He's the greatest! I really enjoyed and strongly recommend the simultaneous reading of Deitch's Pictorama and The Comics Journal #296. Very rewarding.
• Review: Dutch blog Koen says of Dash Shaw's Bottomless Belly Button (according to the Google translation) that "Shaw proves himself a master of the portrayal of inner pain and dysfunctional relationships without being depressing, with the addition of humor and mystery... This book is one of the best comics of 2008."
• Preview: Introducing an exlusive 7-page excerpt from Unlovable Vol. 1 by Esther Pearl Watson, New York Magazine says "Tammy [Pierce]'s hopes, dreams, and humiliations are brought vividly to life in Watson's grotesque-but-touching book Unlovable. Even if you never wore leg warmers with high heels, you'll still recognize your teenage self in Tammy Pierce's unguarded, most secret thoughts. And if you did wear leg warmers with heels, well, maybe this was your diary."
• Blurb: Italian blog Nuvole Parlanti, looking at Birdland, calls Gilbert Hernandez "the king of American erotic comics"
• Review: Bookforum says of the two volumes of Beasts!: "Covey’s brave band of 180 artists... put these mythological and folkloric beings on vivid display. The distinct and varied styles of the cartoonists, illustrators, and graphic artists give further evidence of each creature’s unique characteristics... The enthusiastically detailed evocations in these books give us all reason to believe."
• Review: Dear Stranger reads The End #1 by Anders Nilsen and declaims "It’s sad. In that way that things are only ever sad when they’re really honest, so it’s beautiful, but you feel a bit guilty for thinking so -- because under the beauty, it’s still sad, honestly so."
• Review: The Star Clipper Blog says "[Esther Pearl Watson's] Unlovable spares no degrading detail, but still remains an ironically loving tribute to the awkward protagonist... these monstrous depictions of early puberty could be found in just about anyone's high school yearbook... perhaps the perfect teenage girl experience."