Strips, Scripts and Scapes: Contemporary Comix in Southern California
June 22 - August 22
I missed this Riverside Art Museum show in time to post for the opening, but the show includes Sammy Harkham, Johnny Ryan, John Pham, Mike Bertino, Travis Millard, Rusty Jordan, Souther Salazar, Brent Harada, Walt Holcombe, Martin Cendreda, Mary Fleener (story by Harvey Pekar), Taylor McKimens, Roberta Gregory, Mark Todd, Esther Pearl Watson, and Megan Whitmarsh.
Your Online Commentary & Diversions for the first day of June '09:
• Review: "Holy cats!... Wolverton's illustrations [in The Wolverton Bible], done in the same unmistakable, stippled style that characterized his grotesqueries, show off the grim, the violent, and the destructive in the Old Testament, putting the blood and guts in the spotlight. The result is like no illustrated Bible you've ever seen... This is a side of Wolverton I never suspected, but it is perfectly him, humorous, grisly, mad and wonderful." - Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing
• Review/Profile: "...Unlovable by Esther Pearl Watson... was for me like discovering a nugget of gold in a sieve! ...really original and fun." - Lezinfo (translated from French)
• Review: "With great candor and wit, [Peter] Bagge tackles [the] issues... in Everybody Is Stupid Except for Me, a collection of his strips from Reason Magazine. As in his previous works like Hate and The Bradleys, Bagge deftly manages to simultaneously anger and amuse the reader with his intensely personal stories about larger topical issues." - Rick Klaw, The SF Site: Nexus Graphica
• Review: "...[T]he comics in this collection [of Blazing Combat] are astounding... The art is reproduced from 'the original printer’s films,' so the work is clear and detailed, with the washes and shading providing depth and a feeling of realism... The stories are still timely." - Johanna Draper Carlson, Comics Worth Reading
• Interview: The Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon talks to Bob Fingerman about his latest projects, including Connective Tissue. Sample quote: "I think if I did nothing but comics, I would end up hating comics. For a while there I was actually beginning to hate comics."
• Interview: Robot 6's Tim O'Shea talks to Supermen! editor Greg Sadowski about the collection of Golden Age hero stories. Sample quote: "I never liked those 'Archive' editions where they bleach out the old colors and replace them with modern coloring methods printed on glossy paper. That whitewashes all the distinction out of those vintage books and transforms them into a cloyingly slick and artificial product."
• Video: From Paul Hornschemeier's blog: "Via Tuono Pettinato on Facebook: A Peanuts documentary (broken into 5 parts on YouTube) where Charles Schulz discusses the making of the animated Peanuts and the role of music. It's great footage, and makes me miss Schulz's genius all the more."
"The event happens on the massive penthouse floor of the California Market Center (110 East Ninth Street, LA, CA) on May 2nd and 3rd. There's a whole lot of great stuff there, and you'll want to give yourself several hours to shop the wares of all the designers and vendors. Be prepared, admission costs $5, but it's well worth it!"
• Review: "If war is hell, Blazing Combat is heaven. ...[A]lthough the subject matter is bleak, the presentation it’s been given is beautiful. This is as good as war comics get." - Rod Lott, Bookgasm
• Review: "Adam Grano’s bold cover design is the perfect complement to Fantagraphics’ comprehensive collection of [Blazing Combat]... It’s remarkable how little these stories have aged, as many cover thematic ground that resonates to this day." - Kevin Church
• Review: "Anders Nilsen's comics have the rare power to generate queasy laughter... Random cruelty, futility, ennui, and an implied assault on human complacency are the order of the day [in Monologues for Calculating the Density of Black Holes]. When Nilsen wants you to feel his boredom, or taunt you for your own, he's merciless... Nilsen is a relentlessly interesting comics creator. ...I'm looking forward to his next performance in the wasteland." - Byron Kerman, PLAYBACK:stl
• Review: "The Lagoon is a peculiar book, continually confounding the reader's expectations. It starts out in many ways like a mystery or thriller novel does... But as the book progresses, it turns into a very different beast (no pun intended); a hidden romance, a story about longings, and family relationships... [T]his is a story that feels lush and moody in a way that comics often try to be but rarely succeed... The art in The Lagoon is a beautiful, lush, textured affair from [Lilli] Carré. It's almost like a cross between Charles Burns and Craig Thompson... The Lagoon is a beautiful graphic novel, ...a very solid, well-crafted book, and whatever Carré’s next project is, it’ll be one to keep an eye out for." - Greg McElhatton, Read About Comics
• Review: "I love love love Unlovable... The cover has glitter, too. LOVE it!... [Tammy] Pierce's earnest attempts to fit in at school and with her friends [are] funny and endearing, and sometimes embarrassing... Those days were such a pain in the ass, but they were the best." - MacKenzieLand
• Interview: SciFiPulse.Net talks to Greg Sadowski, editor of Supermen! The First Wave of Comic Book Heroes 1936-1941. Choice quote: "Some have written that I chose artists strictly for their name value, but the truth is that after you’ve gone through hundreds of golden age books, the same guys stop you time after time: Cole, Eisner, Everett, Fine, Hanks, Kirby, Wolverton, and every now and then a few others. That’s how they became 'name' artists in the first place - because they were the best."
• Things to see: Speaking of Flickr, here's a photo of Andrice Arp posing with a blowup of her cover art for Mome Vol. 15 (which I'm going to get up on the site here for pre-order real soon, I promise) from the good folks at Tugboat Press
All last week and this week we're bringing you a sneak peek at our Fall 2009 - Winter 2010 schedule of releases! Today's excerpt from our latest book distributor's catalog includes the 3rd volume of Glenn Head's Hotwire Comics anthology; Almost Silent, a hardcover compilation of some of Jason's out-of-print work; Unlovable Vol. 2 by Esther Pearl Watson; and the midcentury Italian cheesecake of Bella Donna: The Pin-Up Girls of Kremos. (Note that all the info in this catalog is subject to change along the way to the books' release, including release dates, prices, cover art, book specs, etc.) Click here to download the PDF!
• 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!
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