• Review: "Congress of the Animals is a beautifully illustrated modern fable, which manages to say more without words, than most graphic novels can with hundreds of words. The tale rewards repeat readings, with each successive exposure to the story revealing new and interesting details that were not at first apparent. Woodring has really outdone himself here, and has created the finest work of his career. This is a strong contender for graphic novel of the year, if not the decade!" – Edward Kaye, Hypergeek
• Plug: "...Jim Woodring has created a universe that is as unique as it is brilliant.... Congress of the Animals is due out at the end of May and without knowing anything about it I’m certain that it will be worth owning. If his last book Weathercraft is anything to go by you’ll probably read through the full book in one sitting and then spend weeks thinking about the terrifying images that you saw there." – Phillip Buchan, Starburst Magazine (registration required)
• Review: "Approximate Continuum Comics is a black and white collection of stories that feel different, but are still distinctly Trondheim.... The fact is, there aren't too many cartoonists who can do this kind of work today, period. And there weren't many who could do it a decade ago, which is how old this material is.... At $19 for 144 pages' worth of material, the book is worth the price. As usual, Fantagraphics goes out of its way to design something nice here..." – Augie De Blieck Jr., Comic Book Resources
• Review: "...[T]he adventures [in Take a Joke] start at an outrageousness level that’s over-the-top and go north of there, until they climb higher, then scale a wall, then take an elevator, then an escalator, and finally jump real high. They never, ever come down.... In any other artist’s hands, I’d probably hate the damn thing. But Ryan’s cartoon style... makes the filth seem innocent, as if the deviant behavior within his panels [is] perfectly acceptable.... While I admit I found some it very, very funny, I’ll never be able to look at a bottle of A-1 sauce the same way again. Or Robert Crumb, Yogi Bear and The New Yorker, all of whom take quite the licking. Licking just what, I leave to you to discover on your own. – Rod Lott, Bookgasm
• Review: "The protagonist in Fantagraphics Books new Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse: Race to Death Valley isn't your father's Mickey Mouse. It's your grandfather's. These early newspaper strips, beginning in 1930, by Floyd Gottfredson... show a character who seeks out adventure, gets in fights, jumps from speeding trains, steals a car and chases after bad guys out west.... Gottfredson's drawings are just about perfect.... The artist could capture both the excitement... and the wit..." – Michael Chevy Castranova, The Sparrow Papers
• Review: "...[O]ne could not have asked for a better presentation, with the reproduction about as good as it gets for 80-year-old comic strips, and a veritable plethora of extras.... It's rather startling... to see the amount of depth we get in these comic strips presented here.... I also found the language in these strips extraordinary.... To sum up, anyone who likes Disney, cartoons, or comic strips will find tons of things to love about [Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1: Race to Death Valley]. The comics are exciting adventure strips for the most part, though there's a lot of standard 'gag' stuff as well.... A terrific book, highly recommended." – Sean Gaffney, A Case Suitable for Treatment (via The Comics Reporter)
• Plug: At the Forbidden Planet International blog, Wim Lockefeer comments on our Guy Peellaert publishing news: "You don’t need to know that Jodelle and Pravda were based respectively on French chanseuses Sylvie Vartan and Françoise Hardy to enjoy these books, and I think they will prove to be a very good addition to Fantagraphics’ continually growing library of classic comics from round the world."
• Interview: At Comics Bulletin, Jason Sacks talks to Shannon Wheeler about Oil & Water and shares some never-before-seen artwork from the book: "A lot of our goals had to do with keeping the environmental disaster on the radar nationally, saying 'This is something that what we did that's a travesty,' basically, and 'How do we keep paying attention to it so it gets cleaned up and never happens again?' It's a big deal."
• Book Club: If you would like to take part in a recorded podcast discussion about Jason & Fabien Vehlmann's Isle of 100,000 Graves on Saturday, head over to Inkstuds to find out the details (and of course we'll let you know when the recording is posted)
Ran out of time on Friday's Online Commentary & Diversions, so it's combined with links from the weekend:
• Review: "Now Fantagraphics has risen to the fore with [Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1:] Race to Death Valley... It’s a pretty spiffy package, sharply designed and full of smart, well-written essays that provide a rich portrait of the artist and his times, as well as some great comics.... As impressive as Gottfredson's work is, it's in the ancillary materials or 'special features' that makes this book really shine. Editors Gary Groth and David Gerstein have gone the extra mile here... With its shameless abundance of riches, Mickey Mouse Vol. 1 sets a new standard in reprint publication." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
• Plug: "Only a small handful of Gottfredson's collected works have been published and most are out of print. He pioneered a trendsetting style of adventure comics, though in his lifetime remained largely unrecognized.... Fantagraphics has kindly republished a bit of the Gottfredson Mickey run in their new book [Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1:] Race to Death Valley, beautifully restored [and] repackaged..." – Green Apple Books
• Review: "The latest volume of The Complete Peanuts: 1979-1980 continues with Charles Schulz’s herculean output of his beloved comic strip. Schulz supplies the customary laughs in stand-alone gag strips and some short 'continuing' storylines.... As I have said in previous reviews, Fantagraphics does such a marvelous job with these hardcover Peanuts volumes. From the cover by designer Seth, to the crisp black-and-white reprinting (3 dailies per page, 1 Sunday per page), to the handy index to help you find your favorite strip, Fantagraphics takes creating a permanent archive of this beloved humor strip very seriously. Children of all ages should all get their hands on this American treasure." – Rich Clabaugh, The Christian Science Monitor
• Commentary: Mike Sterling makes a few observations about The Complete Peanuts 1979-1980: "SPOILER ALERT: Peppermint Patty gathers evidence and uses skeptical, critical thinking to resolve her particular issue here."
• Review: "Some of the very first autobiographical works on the French bande dessinée scene, these little gems were a genuine game-changer for cartoonists and storytellers... Superbly skilled at switching imperceptibly from broad self-parody to cripplingly painful personal revelation, wild surrealism to powerful reportage and from clever humorous observation to howling existentialist inquisition, Trondheim’s cartoon interior catalogue is always a supremely rewarding and enjoyable experience and, as these ancient texts [Approximate Continuum Comics] prove, always has been." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!
• Review: "[Blake] Bell is our guide into this rich history of Bill Everett... Bell includes several pieces of artwork and comics that has rarely been seen. A true testament to a man who lived comics throughout his entire life and loved it with a passion...[I]t’s important not only to remember the characters, but the men behind them. Bell’s book here on the life and times of Bill Everett [Fire & Water], and his other biographical material on Steve Ditko, is a testament to that." – Chris Marshall, Collected Comics Library
• Interview: Hillary Chute talks to Joe Sacco for The Believer; I'll use their pullquote: "When you draw, you can always capture that moment. You can always have that exact, precise moment when someone’s got the club raised, when someone’s going down. I realize now there’s a lot of power in that."
• Interview:The A.V. Club's Sam Adams talks to Joe Sacco: "I think if I hadn’t studied journalism I might have taken a different approach, and I’m not saying my approach is the only way you can tell a story journalistically. But because I actually studied it, detail is important and accuracy is really important, so it’s not just about having an accurate quote. The problem with doing things the way I try to do them is that it’s not just an accurate quote, it’s an accurate image of what a place looks like. An absolute literal group of images? You might as well go to a photographer for that. But whatever interpretation I do of it, it has to be informed by reality."
• Profile:HiLobrow's Joshua Glenn on Dame Darcy: "If she sounds like too much to handle, that’s because she is; now you know why her comic is called Meat Cake — they’re two decadent foods, so why not combine them? Darcy’s world is a child’s garden of verses overrun by drunken mermaids, grave-robbing French maids, and Vitalis-groomed cads. If this sort of thing sounds like your cup of spooky-kooky tea, read Meat Cake..."
• Profile: "I made my quarterly pilgrimage down to the Fantagraphics store in Seattle yesterday, and that store never ceases to amaze anyone who walks into it. From the curator/owner to the punk rock pictures on the wall, to the awesome collection of Fantagraphics titles, traditional comics, underground comics, and some adult stuff tucked away in the back room under the stairs, the entire store is a place to go explore the darker side of comic books." – Dan Morrill, Comics Forge
This week's comic shop shipment is slated to include the following new titles. Four of our biggest releases of the summer all dropping at once! Read on to see what comics-blog commentators and web-savvy comic shops are saying about them (more to be added as they appear), check out our previews at the links, and contact your local shop to confirm availability.
(Diamond's PREVIEWSworld website also spotlights some of our books that are now back in print and available again.)
282-page full-color 7" x 9.25" hardcover • $35.00 ISBN: 978-1-60699-440-5
"It's been a while since we've heard from Dave McKean in comics, and his new book is a not-very-plot-heavy thing involving a lot of large images and a lot of very stylized nudity and sex. Not Cages II, in other words." – Douglas Wolk, Comics Alliance
"And for my splurging this week, I’ll... go... with... Celluloid, the new erotic book from Dave McKean." – J.K. Parkin, Robot 6
"...I do admire McKean’s work, and am therefore pretty interested in seeing what this looks like." – James Fulton, Inside Pulse
"I wish I could tell you if this $35 book was good. I don't know, because I don't have it. But I have good reason to [suggest] it.... Cages was great, I can attest to that. And anyone who ever admired a cover to Gaiman's Sandman was admiring McKean's art." – Stephen Totilo, Kotaku
"I’m especially looking forward to Dave McKean’s Celluloid." – Brian Hibbs, Savage Critics
"Dave McKean... gives us his first solo graphic novel since that aforementioned weighty tome. It’s called Celluloid and it’s got rude bits in." – Gosh! Comics
"comic elves unpacking week's new goodies, spotted @DaveMcKean's Celluloid from @fantagraphics... it will be mine, oh yes" – Forbidden Planet International
"Celluloid is beautiful. Gripping and genuinely arousing, with some of @DaveMcKean's best art. Well done to everyone involved." – Ace Comics
104-page black & white 7.25" x 9.75" hardcover • $19.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-437-5
"Jim Woodring's extraordinary new Frank book (this time concentrating on Frank himself again, rather than Manhog as in last year's Weathercraft): whimsy on top, fabulism in the middle, collective-unconscious terror extending from the bottom layer straight through to the center of the universe. Even if there were anyone else doing anything like his comics, he'd still be the best at it." – Douglas Wolk, Comics Alliance
"New Jim Woodring! This... is Woodring’s second graphic novel, and the first to star his Frank character." – J. Caleb Mozzocco, Newsarama
"Jim Woodring’s follow-up to last year’s Weathercraft has landed. In Congress of the Animals Frank’s left home and is dealing with all manner of horrific realties, though I don’t see him crying over his tax returns... it’s a funny and absurd story..." – Gosh! Comics
"After what seemed like a lengthy drought, Jim Woodring seems to have jumped back into comics full steam, releasing the second graphic novel, Congress of the Animals... in two years.... Woodring fans will be more than pleased at this latest tale involving the ever unperturbed Frank and his adventures in the Unifactor, which, I should note, take an interesting left turn 2/3 of the way through." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
"The master of psychedelic cartoon storytelling is back with another fantastic collection. It is impossible to look at a page of this book and not immediately be drawn in to each panel by Woodring's line work, where the world fades away from around you and suddenly you feel like a character in the Unifactor." – Benn Ray (Atomic Books), Largehearted Boy
56-page full-color 7.25" x 10.25" softcover • $14.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-442-9
"The awesome Norwegian cartoonist Jason works with a separate writer for the first time I can remember: Fabien Vehlmann, who gives him a deadpan story about pirates and buried treasure that's right up his alley." – Douglas Wolk, Comics Alliance
"...I’m hopeful that I’ll finally get to read this pirate story and forget my disappointment about On Stranger Tides." – Michael May, Robot 6
"And for my splurging this week, I’ll... go... with Isle of 100,000 Graves, the new Jason/Fabien Vehlmann collaboration..." – J.K. Parkin, Robot 6
"New Jason! This... trade is unique among Jason’s other works in that he’s working, for the first time, with a co-writer, Fabien Vehlmann." – J. Caleb Mozzocco, Newsarama
"There's no better feeling than holding a copy of a brand new Jason book in your hand. Eeee!" – Secret Headquarters
"Jason... has enlisted a writer for the first time in Fabien Vehlmann, a well known name in France but the Sean Phillips illustrated Seven Psychopaths is his only translated work so far, except for this new one of course.... It’s about pirates, obviously." – Gosh! Comics
"If you haven’t already got a copy yet..., allow me to point you towards Isle of 100,000 Graves, the latest comic from the Norwegian artist Jason, this time working with writer Fabien Vehlmann. Rest assured this new collaboration sees no drop in quality and is a worthy addition to his catalog." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
288-page black & white/color 10.5" x 8.75" hardcover • $29.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-441-2
"In which Fantagraphics begins its complete reprint of Floyd Gottfredson's classic run on the Mickey Mouse newspaper comic strip (actually beginning a few months earlier, with the initial strips, in whose creation Disney himself participated). Nicely designed? But of course." – Douglas Wolk, Comics Alliance
"Of course, there’s also Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse, Volume 1: Race to Death Valley featuring early stories of Mickey as a two-fisted adventurer. That sounds impossible to pass up..." – Michael May, Robot 6
"That Mickey Mouse book is probably the book of the week — although you can never, ever look past Jim Woodring — as it's practically a billion-dollar casino of gut-level, inky thrills." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
"Another one from Fantagraphics is Disney’s Mickey Mouse Volume 1: Race to Death Valley, a hardcover collecting old strips all fully remastered and shot directly from the proof sheets of Disney and private collections. They’re by Floyd Gottfredson, who was employed at Disney as an apprentice animator and in-betweener in the early ‘30s. He was temporarily put on the Mickey Mouse strip and somehow ended up drawing it for the next 45 years." – Gosh! Comics
"...Fantagraphics’ Mickey Mouse vol. 1, Race to Death Valley... promises to show us a different side of the familiar rodent. I have read about Mickey having a personality, which he really doesn’t now, so I’m curious about what he was like in the early days." – Brigid Alverson, Robot 6
"The new Mickey Mouse collection is the obvious pick of the week for me. Floyd Gottfredson has far too long ignored by comics and Disney fans and it’s nice to see Fantagraphics give the work the attention it deserves. They did a fantastic job too; this is easily one of the best designed reprint projects I’ve seen in awhile, and chock full of great extra essays and extra features. I really hope this goes a long way towards establishing Gottfredson in the comics canon (whatever that may be)." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
And on the batch:
"Top 4 picks of the week are all from @fantagraphics: Congress o/t Animals, Celluloid, Isle of 100000 Graves, and Mickey Mouse! Bravo, chaps!" – Danger Room Comics
And at TCJ.com it's Joe McCulloch's "CONFLICT OF INTEREST RESERVOIR: Ok, we all know who’s publishing this column, BUT – I think there’s some pretty strong stuff this week. Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse Vol. 1: Race to Death Valley introduces the awesome daily strip exploits of Floyd Gottfredson, as well as a bevy of collaborators and predecessors, including Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks themselves, with a whole lot of supplements... Congress of the Animals sees Jim Woodring send his Frank character into an odd new world... And Isle of 100,000 Graves marks Jason’s first collaboration with another writer, Fabien Vehlmann, for a tale of piracy..."
• Review: "Gottfredson's strips are jammed with incident and detail, energized with a loopy energy that matches the spunky determination of Mickey himself. Running pell-mell from one dangerous escapade to the next (spooky houses and runaway trains predominate), Mickey is all spit and fire as he confronts louts like Pegleg Pete and the Fox while protecting his risk-prone flapper girlfriend, Minnie: 'Give up?? Never!!' The quite visible specter of the Depression and occasional dark humor, as when Mickey tries multiple times to kill himself and fails comically, only add to the sense of heroic grit." – Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
• Review: "The first and probably best compliment that I can give to Wilfred Santiago, the writer and illustrator of 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente, is that I wish that I’d read it when I was a kid. In brilliantly transforming Clemente’s life into a graphic novel, Santiago creates an artwork that retells a story familiar to most baseball fans as a superhero legend and, in so doing, stands alongside the Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman comic books that many of us read in our youth." – Paul Gleason, Legacy Sports Ent.
• Interview:Legacy Sports Ent.'s Paul Gleason talks to Wilfred Santiago about 21: "Having never watched Clemente play, he was more of a legend to me growing up in Puerto Rico. After the release of the book, I can see how much Clemente has meant to the older generations who followed him and to the younger generations who learned to love him because of their parents. This inter-generational bond transcends gender and cultures, and it has been rewarding to witness people’s responses."
• Profile: Antolín Maldonado Ríos of El Nuevo Día introduces Wilfred Santiago to readers of Puerto Rico's largest daily newspaper: "'I have over a decade doing comic books, and most were superheroes. When I finished my first graphic novel, I had the idea of doing a biography, and thus had more potential subjects. Roberto Clemente was one of them,' said the Puerto Rican artist, a native of Ponce, to explain the background of his recent book, 21 - The Story of Roberto Clemente." (translated from Spanish)
• Review: "Stein's cartooning is broad and trippy, and if she occasionally becomes intoxicated with her own gimlet-eyed sensibility, she's never afraid to turn that dark wit on herself. Eye of the Majestic Creature... is ultimately the tale of a young woman rejecting the things that shaped her and attempting to figure out what comes next for her. Thanks to Stein's loose, amiable approach, you'll want to know that, too." – Glen Weldon, NPR Monkey See
• Review: "Readers needing their Peter Bagge and/or Hate fix will always get it, to some degree, in the Hate Annual. Hate Annual #9, however, is one of the better editions, and that’s probably because of what Bagge presents here. 'Heaven' and 'Hell' appeases by giving us a peek at what’s going on in Buddy’s life right now, but we also get a hefty narrative that gives us something akin to the classic madness that was Buddy and Lisa’s life in Seattle." – Leroy Douresseaux, I Reads You
• Profile: Brian Hoag of the McCook Daily Gazette has a Memorial Day tribute to Bill Mauldin: "During WWII, Bill Mauldin's cartoons appeared in the military Stars and Stripes newpaper, and showed a sarcastic humor side of war that the combat troops could relate to. Not one to shy away from pointing a finger at the top brass, General Patton tried to get Mauldin censored as George thought the 'humor' wasn't so funny." (Via Mike Lynch)
• Review: "Jacques Tardi is pretty awesome, y’all. But then, you already knew that.... This sucker [The Arctic Marauder] is from 1974. Sadly, it looks more avant-garde and progressive than a lot of comics that are released today.... The entire book is an absolutely gorgeous piece of artwork." – Greg Burgas, Comic Book Resources
• Review: "Joe Daly tells stories about slackers with an obvious love and a clear eye; he's attuned to the oddball notions and unlikely turns that their lives take, and crafts stories about quirky people that don't turn into catalogs of quirks themselves.... Dungeon Quest is a goofy, silly series, and it's not for readers who need their comics-format violence to be deadly serious and full of clenched teeth. But for those of us who have grown out of that limited conception of comics yet still want energetic adventure stories that know how silly they are, it's just the thing." – Andrew Wheeler, The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.
• Plug: "...I’ve recently read Fantagraphics’ gorgeous new printing of The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec, which absolutely blew me away. I’m always impressed by people like Jacques Tardi, who can build these deep, rich worlds out of really loose, simple linework. It’s definitely not a skill I have. The book also has pterodactyls menacing early-1900′s Paris, so it’s pretty much required that I love it." – Aaron Alexovich, guest Robot 6 "What Are You Reading?" contributor
• Profile: The Chicago Tribune's Christopher Borrelli catches up with Ivan Brunetti: "At 25, he started Schizo, a comic so caustic — and offensive and frantic, but with the thick black palate of classic newspaper strips — friends routinely asked if he would be arrested. It partly detailed his life as a copy editor at a local university press, and the homicidal daydreams that came to him while on the job. He declined to say at which press. 'It wasn't to shock,' he says. 'It was an unguarded look at how I felt, and I was probably losing my mind.'" (Via Spurge.)
• Interview:The Daily Cross Hatch concludes presenting Brian Heater's MoCCA panel conversation with Gahan Wilson: "You have to be straight with kids. Kids see right through you if you’re not. So you do your best—you get this little sweet kid and you’re telling them a story, and you want them to enjoy it, and it helps them. You’re this big grownup and there’s this little kid, and you’ve got to be gentle with them, because you’re this hulking thing. So that’s part of it. You do what any decent person would do with a kid, which is you be nice to the bugger. Because they need it. They can use it."
Today's America knows Mickey Mouse as a gentle do-gooder. But in his 1930s heyday, Mickey rose to fame as an epic hero — a bold, adventurous scrapper battling mobsters, kidnappers, and spies! And Mickey’s greatest feats of derring-do took place in his daily comic strip, crafted by one of history's greatest cartoonists — Floyd Gottfredson.
For 25 years, Gottfredson’s Mickey Mouse was a trendsetting adventure serial that led where other adventure comics would follow. But famed as Gottfredson's life's work is, it has never been comprehensively collected in English... until now!
Dive into this book and see Mickey’s race to a gold mine with Pegleg Pete; Mickey’s life on the lam after being framed for bank robbery; even Mickey’s fight with a huge heavyweight champ. You wouldn't expect to find a mouse in the middle of such chilling thrills and spills. But he's always there!
Enjoy Mickey Mouse in unmatched quality — remastered straight from Disney proof sheets and prized private collections. You'll also explore more than 50 pages of fascinating supplementary features — from rare behind-the-scenes art to tributes by Warren Spector (Disney Epic Mickey) and Disney Legends award recipient Floyd Norman.
Mickey Mouse is among the world's most recognizable icons. But do you know the wild, unforgettable personality behind the icon? Start reading... you might be wearing mouse ears before you're through.
• Review: "Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse: Race To Death Valley kicks off Fantagraphics’ latest series of vintage newspaper strips... About halfway through the [first story] arc, ...Gottfredson’s Mickey Mouse begins to develop the characteristics that would sustain it for decades to come: a fast pace, frequent narrow escapes, and an industrious hero who throws himself fully into every endeavor, in ways that both get him into trouble and help get him out. ...Gottfredson... took the broad idea of a good-natured mouse and sketched in his own attitudes about hard work, courage, and the importance of having reliable friends when the jams get especially sticky." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club
• Review: "[Gilbert] Hernandez’s latest book Love from the Shadows is a confounding hybrid, inserting Love And Rockets’ watermelon-chested, lisping Fritz into a violent dream-novel that combines the fluid reality of Luis Buñuel with the two-fisted crime sagas of Jim Thompson. ...[T]he beauty of comics as a medium is that it invites re-reading; and Hernandez’s mastery makes Love from the Shadows easy to pore back over, savoring how its meaning shifts from page to page." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club
• Review: "There’s fiction, there’s Meta-fiction and then there is Gilbert Hernandez.... Now he returns to his eccentric sideline to translate the wildly experimental independent/exploitation/sexploitation tale Love from the Shadows into a stunning graphic rollercoaster ride of broken families, counter-culture angst, embezzlement, greed madness, obsession, charlatanry, psychics and mysterious aliens in possibly the greatest tribute to scurrilous lowbrow movie maestro Russ Meyer ever seen." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!
• Review: "Speaking of confounding comics, Leslie Stein’s bizarre Eye of the Majestic Creature collects the first four issues of Stein’s self-published comic.... Stein riffs on loneliness, relationships, creativity, family, and intoxication via cutely psychedelic art and short vignettes that are heavy on fancy and light on explanation. At times the book comes from so deep inside Stein’s head that it reads almost like notes for a comic, not a finished work. But then Stein pivots into a moment or image of deep emotional resonance and beauty... and the loose narrative style pays off. These four issues do get better as they go, so consider this a promising introduction to a potentially major new talent." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club
• Review: "...Peter Bagge is back... with Hate Annual #9, the latest in his yearly reports on the life of his slacker-turned-entrepreneur character Buddy Bradley. Usually Bagge fills out the Hate annuals with strips he’s drawn for other publications throughout the year, but #9 is nearly all Buddy, and it’s one of the best Bradley stories in years... The story is wonderfully digressive in the best Bagge tradition, too..." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club
• Review: "An overt attempt to bring back the silly rock-’n’-roll fun of Josie & The Pussycats and Jem & The Holograms, Yeah! follows the adventures of a girl-group that’s wildly popular on other planets, but can’t get any attention on Earth. ...Yeah! is... a pleasure to read, with an anything-goes storytelling style and an infectious affection for pop music, as well as for pop culture about pop music." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club
• Review: "...[T]he comics in Approximate Continuum constitute a highly amusing portrait of that mostly under-explored time in a person's life when things become more important and more ridiculous in equal measure and we find ourselves constantly and even quietly adjusting to wholesale changes in life and attitude and orientation that we once had hopes to master. It speaks to how well-observed the book is that you could pick it up sans context of any kind and find much to enjoy. ...Approximate Continuum Comics consistently hits the pleasure points afforded by great cartooning and a wicked sense of humor, and should be fair comfort to anyone that feels they're at a point in their life when they need to give themselves a good talking-to." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
• Review: "Even if you’ve read the first volume [of The Steve Ditko Archives], Unexplored Worlds offers plenty more surprises.... While the 'twists' rarely match up to the initial imagination of any given piece, Ditko’s art is solid throughout. As always, Fantagraphics’ top-notch presentation makes the publisher the go-to stop for comics preservation." – Rod Lott, Bookgasm
• Interview:At the official R. Crumb website, Alex Wood quizzes Crumb on various historical and pop-cultural figures, from Obama to Tommy James and the Shondells to his underground comix contemporaries to Mozart: "I love the movie Amedeus about him, but the actual music, nnnaaaah."
• Interview:The Daily Cross Hatch continues serializing Brian Heater's MoCCA panel conversation with Gahan Wilson: "...[T]he world for a kid is often very scary. It’s a huge challenge, and it is often scary. I mean, people die, and what the hell is that all about? I explore that sort of thing in Nuts. The stuff that happens to grownups happens to kids, too — these amazing, awful things. And these often terrific things. And they have to somehow wrap themselves around it."
• Feature: The guest contributor to this week's "What Are You Reading?" column at Robot 6 is Dave McKean (who, with his erotic graphic novel Celluloid coming out, weighs in with his thoughts on the erotic work of his sometime-collaborator Alan Moore, Lost Girls)
Catching up on our Online Commentary & Diversions:
• Review: "...Fantagraphics Books’ new Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse: “Race to Death Valley” contains all you need to know to revel in the very different, deeply pleasurable work of [Floyd] Gottfredson. Working with one of the most famous — and most anodyne — cartoon characters in the world, Gottfredson turned the grinning, goody-goody Mouse into a plucky, even reckless adventurer, his smile transformed from a people-pleasing smirk into a challenge to the world.... Gottfredson drew Mickey with a nosy snout and the bright eyes of an adrenalin junkie. The mouse’s diminutive size inspired Gottfredson to have the character attempt daredevil races, leaping stunts, and develop a flurry-fisted fighting style.... This beautiful volume gives the Great Rodent his humanity." – Ken Tucker, Entertainment Weekly
• Review: "Fantagraphics does a very smart thing with [Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse Vol. 1], packing it full of historical materials to set the story for the comic strip. Having David Gerstein edit it is, of course, the smartest thing they could have done.... Simply put, it's the most extensive collection of 'extras' I've ever seen in one of these comic strip reprint series to date.... Reproductions are as great as you could ever hope for from material that's 80 years old and originally printed in the inkiest of newspapers you could imagine.... It's a kick to see this more interesting version of Mickey running around, saying and doing politically incorrect things. It's amazing to see how much detail an artist could pack into a small series of panels like this. But, most of all, it's a whole lot of fun." – Augie De Blieck Jr., Comic Book Resources
• Review: "This is, first of all, superb material.... Way back when, [Mickey Mouse] had a continuity and some darn good stories, illustrated with dynamic and expressive art. It was everything you could have wanted a newspaper strip to be, including being quite funny at times...and even suspenseful. The book itself is perfect and by that I mean I can't think of a single way it could have been improved. The reproduction is sharp. The editorial material fills you in nicely about the history of the strip, plus there are articles that discuss its merits and significance. The volume itself is handsome and will look good on your shelf." – Mark Evanier
• Plugs: Some great press mentions for our Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Free Comic Book Day comic, including the AP's Matt Moore and Whitney Matheson of USA Today Pop Candy, who says "This is sort of what FCBD is about, isn't it? Fantagraphics presents Floyd Gottfredson's amazing old Mickey strips from 1935 that are still entertaining today. Perfect for all ages..." The Wright Opinion's Brendan Wright says "The line work is beautiful and fluid, with plenty of panels that are funny to look at without reading the words. Thorough as always with this type of project, Fantagraphics has provided both an intro by David Gerstein an an appreciation of Gottfredson by classic Disney animator and official Disney Legend Floyd Norman."
• Review: "For Isle of 100,000 Graves, the cartoonist Jason works with a writer, Fabien Vehlmann, for what is at least the first time in his strong North American publishing run. It's a fun collaboration over which to muse because it's hard to tell exactly what Vehlmann brings to the table. The writer has grasped onto Jason's use of deadpan humor and wistful character moments to an uncanny degree.... Because of this deliberate care in both building their personalities and working from them in terms of how they react to certain story moments, both leads come across as incredibly endearing. A story-ending plot twist almost gets lost in a by-that-point hilarious one-liner about the methods used in bringing it about." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
• Review: "Underground-influenced comics fall into certain patterns — idiosyncratic art, rambling tales of daily life, copious use of mood-altering substances — but [Leslie] Stein makes hers [Eye of the Majestic Creature] fresh with the addition of a talking guitar.... Stein’s style is very readable, with sparse linework and a lead character that resembles a more tripped-out Little Orphan Annie, with huge blank buttons for eyes. Stein’s settings and other characters show more detail, especially in the complex stippling, demonstrating her outward focus.... Her world is full, even if it’s one that’s a bit off-kilter..." – Publishers Weekly
• Review: "Peter Bagge continues the saga of Lisa and Buddy Bradley and their son Harold in Hate Annual #9.... Peter Bagge has always made you care for these characters no matter what crazy problems they had. He has this rare gift of getting his readers to empathize with the drawings on the page and realizing them as real people.... Bagge shows us a very human side to the characters he creates and mirrors life in a sometimes painful way.... As we live our lives, we can look at these pages and see a little bit of ourselves in the drawn panels. This is what makes this series, and all previous ones, stand the test of time and remain a great read. Rating: 8.5" – The Comic Book Critic
• Interview:The Daily Cross Hatch continues serializing the transcript of Brian Heater's MoCCA panel conversation with Peter Bagge: "I started drawing Buddy in 1980, when he was a member of The Bradleys. He was always 10 years younger than me. He started out as an adolescent — not always exactly 10 years. That’s on purpose, because that 10 years gives me space. When you’re going through a crisis or a rough time, it’s not funny, but 10 years later, you can look at the whole situation more objectively and find the humor in it."
• Review: "[Joe Daly's] latest, award-winning, on-going project Dungeon Quest is a delightful combination of nerdy discipline and pharmaceutical excess... Happily marrying the sensibilities of post-grunge, teenaged waste-lads... with the meticulous and finicky obsessions of role-playing gamers and the raw thrill of primal myths, this captivating and wittily indulgent yarn is enchantingly rendered in solid, blocky friendly black and white and garnished with lashings of smart-ass attitude. Strength: vulgar. Intelligence: witty. Dexterity: compelling. Mana: absolutely. Status: unmissable." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!
• Interview:The Daily Cross Hatch begins serializing another of Brian Heater's MoCCA panel conversations, this time with Gahan Wilson: "The people who do horror stories and grim stuff are remarkably sweet people.... It was very odd. Why are horror writers like this? And it suddenly occurred to me — of course, what horror writers are writing about is the vulnerability of themselves and their readers and everybody and how fragile everything is.... They’re experts at being scared. If they weren’t experts at being scared, they wouldn’t write about being scared and scare other people."
• Interview: If you read Japanese, enjoy excerpts from a conversation between Moto Hagio and her colleague Ryoko Yamagishi from Otome Continue Vol. 6 presented at Poco Poco
• Feature:Eye of the Majestic Creature creator Leslie Stein is the guest contributor in the latest installment of "What Are You Reading?" at Robot 6. Among her picks: Yeah! by Peter Bagge & Gilbert Hernandez: "Gilbert’s illustrations are excellent and Bagge’s writing is funny, as per usual."
Register and Login to receive full member benefits, including members-only special offers, commenting privileges on Flog! The Fantagraphics Blog, newsletters and special announcements via email, and stuff we haven't even thought of yet. Membership is free and spam-free, so Sign Up Today!