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Category >> Four Color Fear

Four Color Fear (2nd Printing) - Previews, Pre-Order
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under videopreviewsnew releasesFour Color Fear 24 Feb 2011 6:15 AM

Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950s (2nd Printing)

Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950s (2nd Printing)
by various artists; edited by John Benson and Greg Sadowski

320-page full-color 7.5" x 10.5" softcover • $29.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-343-9

Ships in: April 2011 (subject to change) — Pre-Order Now

After the first printing, released in Fall 2010, sold out in a matter of months, we went back to press with a brand-new cover design for the 2nd printing!

Of the myriad genres comic books ventured into during its golden age, none was as controversial as or came at a greater cost than horror; the public outrage it incited almost destroyed the entire industry. Yet before the watchdog groups and Congress could intercede, horror books were flying off the newsstands. During its peak period (1951-54) over fifty titles appeared each month. Apparently there was something perversely irresistible about these graphic excursions into our dark side, and Four Color Fear collects the finest of these into a single robust and affordable volume.

EC is the comic book company most fans associate with horror; its complete line has been reprinted numerous times, and deservedly so. But to the average reader there remain unseen quite a batch of genuinely disturbing, compulsive, imaginative, at times even touching, horror stories presented from a variety of visions and perspectives, many of which at their best can stand toe to toe with EC.

All of the better horror companies are represented: Ace, Ajax-Farrell, American Comics Group, Avon, Comic Media, Fawcett, Fiction House, Gilmor, Harvey, Quality, Standard, St. John, Story, Superior, Trojan, Youthful and Ziff-Davis. Artist perennials Jack Cole, Reed Crandall, George Evans, Frank Frazetta, Jack Katz, Al Williamson, Basil Wolverton, and Wallace Wood contribute both stories and covers, with many of the 32 full-sized covers created by specialists Bernard Baily, L.B. Cole, William Eckgren, and Matt Fox. (See below for a link to the full Table of Contents.)

Editors John Benson and Greg Sadowski have sifted through hundreds of rare books to cherry-pick the most compelling scripts and art, and they provide extensive background notes on the artists, writers, and companies involved in their creation. Digital restoration has been performed with subtlety and restraint, mainly to correct registration and printing errors, with every effort made to retain the flavor of the original comics, and to provide the reader the experience of finding in the attic a bound volume of the finest non-EC horror covers and stories of the pre-code era.

Download an EXCLUSIVE 26-page PDF excerpt (19.4 MB) featuring four complete stories: "The Corpse that Came to Dinner" by Reed Crandall & Mike Peppe; "The Maze Master" by Lou Cameron; "Swamp Monster" by Basil Wolverton; and "Discovery" by Manny Stallman & John Guinta. Also, click here to read the Introduction by John Benson and see the full Table of Contents with story titles and artist credits.

Video & Photo Slideshow Preview (view in new window):







Daily OCD: 1/25/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Tim KreiderreviewsLorenzo MattottiFour Color FearDestroy All MoviesDaily OCDBest of 2010 25 Jan 2011 3:24 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950s [Pre-Order]

List: PopMatters names Four Color Fear to their Best Fiction of 2010 list. David Maine writes: "Four Color Fear is a lovingly accumulated and organized collection of... stories starring ghosts, ghouls, zombies, demons, and monsters of all stripes. [...] Some of the writers and artists are well known names from the era... Others are not as famous, but overall, the consistency of art and story is impressive. Four Color Fear offers some nice bonus features too, which elevate it from being a simple compilation of reprinted stories."

Destroy All Movies!!!: The Complete Guide to Punks on Film [Pre-Order]

List: On the Best Non-Fiction of 2010 side, PopMatters lists Destroy All Movies!!! The Complete Guide to Punks on Film. Chris Barsanti writes: "...Zack Carlson and Bryan Connolly’s insanely genius and improbably comprehensive guidebook... include[s] every film even remotely punk ever produced. While authentically underground creations... are given some pride of place..., the authors have a special love for straight-to-VHS exploitation trash of yore, where mohawked gutterpunks (sometimes postapocalyptic) terrorized the citizenry."

Stigmata [Pre-Order - with Special Offer]

Review: "When a man living a hardscrabble life suddenly exhibits signs of stigmata, his tumultuous journey to find — and accept — redemption is beautifully evoked by Italian screenwriter and novelist Piersanti... and graphic novelist Mattotti... With Mattotti's furious black and white illustrations perfectly reflecting the man's growing inner turmoil, Piersanti's morality tale is haunting yet hopeful." – Publishers Weekly

Twilight of the Assholes: Cartoons & Essays 2005-2009

Plug: Brendan Keefe celebrates the imminent release of Tim Kreider's Twilight of the Assholes and the attendant hoopla

Daily OCD: 1/24/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Wilfred SantiagoSteven BrowerStephen DeStefanoRay FenwickMort MeskinMickey MouseJasonJacques TardiHo Che AndersonFour Color FearFloyd GottfredsonDestroy All MoviesDaily OCDBest of 2010best american comics criticismBen Schwartzaudio 24 Jan 2011 5:46 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

List/Coming Attractions: On Publishers Weekly's "Spring 2011 Adult Announcements" preview, the following upcoming titles rank on The Top 10: Comics & Graphic Novels:

21: The Story of Roberto Clemente

"Many recent comics biographies have been presented as educational material, but Wilfred Santiago's 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente uses a more expressionist style to tell the story of the baseball superstar who rose from poverty to the top of the game and died a hero's death. Long in the making, it arrives just in time for opening day."

Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1: Race to Death Valley [May 2011]

"The comic strip gets a much needed new edition of the first volume of Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse, Vol. 1: Race to Death Valley. While perhaps an unexpected gem, Floyd Gottfredson's tough, bold mouse is a seasoned adventurer and these are driving, hard-boiled tales. After reading this volume, you'll never look at Mickey, the tuxedo-clad corporate spokesmouse, the same again."

Destroy All Movies!!!: The Complete Guide to Punks on Film [Pre-Order]

List: On WFMU's Beware of the Blog, radio host Noah Zark includes Destroy All Movies!!! The Complete Guide to Punks on Film on his Top 13 of 2010: "Those who know me know I have a real love for punk rock music and film. Destroy All Movies adoringly brings both worlds together in this well designed unholy writ!"

List: Carve Your Name Comics' Greg Townley (a.k.a. "Johnny") names his top 20 favorite comics and graphic novels of 2010:

"14) Werewolves of Montpellier by Jason — Jason’s work is haunting and surreal. I love all his books, but this one earns high points for including a character based on Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. [...] Jason’s allusion to the complex film icon really elevates this book."

Wally Gropius

"17) Wally Gropius by Tim Hensley — This book is like Richie Rich on acid – one of the most original, visually exciting books I’ve read this year."

King of the Flies Vol. 1: Hallorave

"20) King of the Flies- 1. Hallorave by Mezzo and Pirus — King of the Flies, the first part of a proposed trilogy, is surreal and unsettling. It requires repeat readings to unearth the interwoven secrets at play."

Fire & Water: Bill Everett, the Sub-Mariner and the Birth of Marvel Comics [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

List: Meltcast co-host Chris Rosa's top 10 Best Comics of 2010 includes Werewolves of Montpellier by Jason at #7 and Fire & Water: Bill Everett, The Sub-Mariner and the Birth of Marvel Comics by Blake Bell at #10

Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

List: At his X-Ray Spex blog Will Pfeifer names Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 one of his Graphic Novels of the Year: "Gilbert's stuff is a lot of fun (and a lot of weird, too), but it's Jaime's shattering look back at Maggie's troubled past that elevates this book above even Love and Rockets' normally stellar standards. 'Browntown' is one of the best stories ever to appear in Love and Rockets, and if you know how brilliant the book is — easily one of the best comic series ever — you know that's high praise indeed."

List: Also at X-Ray Spex, Pfeifer lists his best Books About Comics of the Year, including:

From Shadow to Light: The Life & Art of Mort Meskin

From Shadow to Light: The Life and Art of Mort Meskin by Steven Brower: "...[W]hen I started collecting in the late 1970s[,] Meskin's art stood out, mostly because his figures and compositions always seemed to explode off the page. And now there's an elaborate book that (a) examines his whole life (b) reprints lots of vintage art and (c) includes plenty of originals? Tell me this isn't the best time — ever — to be a comic book fan."

The Best American Comics Criticism

The Best American Comics Criticism, ed. by Ben Schwartz: "Some great reading between these covers even if, strictly speaking, it's not all 'comics criticism.'"

Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950s [Pre-Order]

Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950s: "...[T]his is a great collection, with vintage work from Basil Wolverton, Joe Kubert, Howard Nostrand, Bob Powell and especially Jack Cole, who delivers a couple of twisted masterpieces here. Also, there are fascinating, detailed end notes and a lurid collection of covers in the middle."

(The above 3 items via Sandy Bilus at I Love Rob Liefeld)

It Was the War of the Trenches

Review: "Jacques Tardi’s It Was the War of the Trenches is pretty brutal. [...] It’s one thing to read about the brutality of trench warfare, another entirely to experience it in the way Tardi details it here. This wasn’t an easy read — I alternated between anger and horror the whole time — but it was a good one." – Brigid Alverson, Robot 6

Lucky in Love Book 1: A Poor Man's History

Review: "It's all very well told, with realistic details coming through even when the art takes such a cartoony style, but being the first half of a two-volume series, [Lucky in Love Book 1] is somewhat incomplete, setting up themes that will presumably be dealt with later. Still, it's quite good. However, there was one scene that I thought was excellent on its own and stood out in the memory the most. [...] War is hell, with effects reaching far outside and long beyond the actual conflict, and this scene manages to illustrate that rather effectively." – Matthew J. Brady, Warren Peace Sings the Blues

Mascots

Plug: "Ray Fenwick's Mascots is... narrated by Cthulu... I think. [...] What Fenwick paints is funny and punny, but also unexpectedly observant with just a little bit of metaphysical musing thrown in. I know that doesn't make too much sense as a combination, so just read these pages and maybe you'll understand." – Julia Pohl-Miranda, 211 Bernard (Librairie Drawn & Quarterly)

King - A Comics Biography: The Special Edition

Interview (Audio): Inkstuds host Robin McConnell chats with Ho Che Anderson

Daily OCD: 1/10/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Steve DitkoreviewsRC HarveyPrince ValiantPopeyeLove and RocketsJoyce FarmerJohnny RyanJim WoodringJaime HernandezJacques TardiHal FosterFour Color FearEC SegarDrew WeingDrew FriedmanDaniel ClowesDaily OCDCarl BarksBlake BellBill EverettBest of 2010 10 Jan 2011 3:04 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Special Exits [Pre-Order]

List/Review: At Seen, Sam Humphries ranks Special Exits by Joyce Farmer #6 on the Best of 2010: "Sure, Special Exits is sad. But it’s also funny, touching, thought-provoking, and life-affirming. It’s never trite, cheap, or hokey, like, say, Patch Adams. This is the raw, unvarnished truth about the end of life, elegantly put to page by Farmer’s lyrical drawings, a welcome, thoughtful evolution of the raucous underground style of the 60s and 70s. Most of all, Special Exits is powerful. It’s vital; almost essential. [...] It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s one that everyone can benefit from reading. Your future self will thank you."

List: Fangoria's Michael Koopmans puts two of our classic reprints on their list of the 10 Best Horror Comic Releases of 2010:

Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950s [Pre-Order]

"If you asked me to make a list of my all-time favorite comic artists, I’d just hand you [Four Color Fear], because all the greats are present in this terror tome... This is a truly amazing, thick collection of rare treats, as well as a nice reminder that EC wasn’t the only ones churning out the goods back in the 1950’s."

Unexplored Worlds: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 2 [Pre-Order]

"A companion piece to last year's Strange Suspense (Vol. 1), this volume [Unexplored Worlds] continues to showcase the goods from one of my all-time favorite artists. And by 'goods' I mean the most unique and disturbing horror and sci-fi comics you will ever come across! As is the case with all Fantagraphics releases, the original works are untainted and scanned perfectly."

List: Andrew Salmond of London's Gosh! Comics names his top 3 Best of the Year at The Forbidden Planet International Blog Log:

Set to Sea

"Set to Sea, by Drew Weing, is actually the unqualified top of my list. My absolute favourite of the year, just for the sheer pleasure of it. It’s the deceptively simple life story of a struggling young poet who finds a life for himself at sea, and it’s a proper misty-eyed treat."

Weathercraft

"Weathercraft, by Jim Woodring, is my tip to the old hands that brought out work this year. As much as I love the others..., Woodring is for me in a class of his own. Reading an extended work by the man, you find yourself falling into a different state of mind, a world of sickly, queasy imaginings. [...] Few are as adept at drawing you so deeply into worlds which are so utterly alien, yet so incredibly personal."

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec Vol. 1: Pterror Over Paris and The Eiffel Tower Demon [Pre-Order]

Review: "If this is your first encounter with The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec, I feel I should warn you about the faint regret you'll feel for not having a chance to read these earlier in your life. These comics feel lost in time; they are reminiscent of Victorian adventure novels but maintain a strong contemporary cultural relevance. [...] Whatever your age, this is escapist reading of the finest sort — readers will get lost in Tardi's breathtaking ornamental artwork and marvel at how captivating an old-fashioned yarn can really be." – Jeff Alford, About.com: Contemporary Literature

Prison Pit: Book 2  [Pre-Order]

Review: "Action action action. Balls to the wall and guts to the ground action. And sick sick drawings. That's what you will find in this book. [...] Is this an evolution of Johnny Ryan we are witnessing with this series? Is he taking his unique manner of storytelling to another level with Prison Pit? Whatever, but there's obviously more to come with this series and I will be eagerly awaiting the next installment." – P.D. Houston, Renderwrx Productions

Prince Valiant Vol. 2: 1939-1940

Review: "Seattle-based publisher Fantagraphics' second volume of the collected Prince Valiant by series creator Hal Foster is a sumptuous package bringing together the Sunday strips that were published during 1939-40. ...[T]his restoration of one of the most influential comic strips of all time... [is] an essential purchase for anyone interested in the history of the American comic strip." – James Peaty, Den of Geek

Popeye Vol. 2:

Review: "Throughout it all, Segar's art is energetic and expressive, the printed-page equivalent of the black-and-white cartoons of the '20s, and his characters are broad and exciting but always identifiable. Popeye in particular has depths that later stories rarely dealt with... Segar's Thimble Theatre stories are great American originals, and they suffered the fate of every other great American original: to be watered down and redone a thousand times by a thousand hacks in search of a quick buck and a sure thing. But the original endures to be rediscovered, as often as necessary, and that's no small thing." – Andrew Wheeler, The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

Meanwhile... A Biography of Milton Caniff

Review: "Coming in at nearly 1,000 pages, [Meanwhile...] was done with the late Caniff’s full cooperation and benefits from the fact that he and Harvey were friends. [...] Any storyteller as influential as Caniff was and is deserves a biography of this caliber." – Tim O'Shea, Robot 6

Fire & Water: Bill Everett, the Sub-Mariner and the Birth of Marvel Comics [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

Review: "As biographer and historian, Bell excels. He is able to really understand the cartoonist he is documenting and boil it down to the essentials. [...] The production on [Fire & Water] is amazing. Bell is able to reproduce a good amount of original artwork that allows you to see just how skilled a draftsman Everett was." – Robin McConnell (Inkstuds), Robot 6

The Book of Jim [Sold Out]

Review: At The Panelists, a "One-Panel Review" from Jim Woodring's The Book of Jim by Charles Hatfield: "Something I miss in Jim Woodring‘s current work is a sense of fear being enacted directly through his drawing, through his handiwork—in other words, a sense that the drawings themselves are shivering and smearing and decomposing out of sheer, gut terror."

Daniel Clowes - self portrait (color)

Interview: The Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon talks to Daniel Clowes: "I can't say that I would never do another comic and call it Eightball. I say there's actually a very high probability that I would do that some day. Kind of for old time's sake, or something. Or just to kind of rethink what a comic book means at some point. But right now it sure doesn't feel like the thing to do."

Jaime Hernandez - self portrait

Interview: And another great interview from Tom at The Comics Reporter, this time with Jaime Hernandez: "Gilbert and me always ask each other, 'So, what do you got in the new issue? What's coming up?' And I go, 'Well, I got this one story about Maggie, blah blah blah...' and I called it 'Maggie in Palomar.' I kind of aimed it that way, where I'm like, 'Oh, boy. A place where nothing happened.' It gives them room to do everything, because there's nothing there."

Old Jewish Comedians: A Visual Encyclopedia

Interview: The Los Angeles Times asks Drew Friedman for his thoughts on the Academy Awards: "The Social Network gets my vote for best film. Aside from it being the only film I've seen this year, I always support films with Jewish leading men playing Jews, even if the Jew is Mark Zuckerberg via Jesse Eisenberg. Good for the Jews!"

Carl Barks

Coming Attractions: More reporting and commenting on our Carl Barks news from Matthias Wivel at The Metabunker

Daily OCD: 1/3/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Usagi YojimboTim HensleyStan SakaireviewsPrince ValiantPirus and MezzoPeter BaggeNoah Van SciverNate NealMoto HagioMegan KelsomangaLove and RocketsLos Bros HernandezJoyce FarmerJohnny RyanJim WoodringJasonJaime HernandezJacques TardiHal FosterGilbert HernandezFour Color FearEdward GoreyDrew WeingDavid BDaily OCDCathy MalkasianCarol TylerCarl BarksBest of 2010Ben SchwartzAlexander Theroux 3 Jan 2011 6:47 PM

Time for lots more awkwardly-formatted year-end lists, a review from The Washington Post and much more in what might be the longest Online Commentary & Diversions ever:

List: For the Las Vegas Weekly, J. Caleb Mozzocco counts down his top 5 comics of 2010:

Temperance

#3: Temperance by Cathy Malkasian: "Blessed with a Dr. Seuss-like ability to evoke the most serious problems and bleakest emotions in personalized, original, timeless fantasy elements, Malkasian has constructed a graphic epic involving a handful of colorful, tragic characters and their interlocking lives."

#5: Werewolves of Montepellier by Jason: "A successful jewel thief disguises himself as a werewolf during heists, eventually attracting the attention of real, actual werewolves in Jason’s latest deadpan dramedy masterpiece. While that might sound like the protagonist’s most urgent problem, his doomed crush on neighbor-turned-friend Audrey is the only thing truly eating him."

List: The bloggers at Robot 6 count down their choices for the best comics of 2010:

Set to Sea

"7. Set to Sea: The story of a would-be poet who is shanghaied and learns about life at sea the hard way, Set to Sea is drawn in a series of single panels, each of which is a miniature masterpiece on its own. It’s a singularly economical way of telling a story, and Drew Weing makes each of his panels into a tight little world of its own." – Brigid Alverson

You'll Never Know Book 2: Collateral Damage [Pre-Order]

"4. You’ll Never Know, Book Two: Collateral Damage: [...] Tyler skillfully handles multiple strands of her story, using a variety of styles and formats for different episodes, slowly building a complete picture from several different sources." – Brigid Alverson

It Was the War of the Trenches

"16. It Was the War of the Trenches, by Jacques Tardi: French master Tardi does to the Great War what the Great War did to the bodies of millions of young soldiers: blow it wide open and root in the mess. Depicted primarily in an unyielding onslaught of widescreen panels, it’s like a slog through the trenches itself. Furious and full of contempt for war and its masters." – Sean T. Collins

"6. It Was the War of the Trenches by Jacques Tardi: Reading Trenches, you realize just how far afield, just how dead wrong most American (and British) had it in their depiction of war. Even Kurtzman’s war comics (which I love) seem like kiddie sermonizing, an overly sweet, sanitized warning, next to Tardi’s uncompromising depiction of WWI. You want to know how brutal war can be? You want to know how war should be depicted in comics – how to look the utter savagery, inhumanity and square in the eye using only pen and ink? This is how you do it." – Chris Mautner

A Drunken  Dream and Other Stories [Pre-Order]

"15. A Drunken Dream and Other Stories, by Moto Hagio: I gasped aloud repeatedly while experiencing the sheer loveliness of this book, a collection of short stories from throughout the decades by shoujo-manga pioneer Moto Hagio. Best of all, there’s a cake beneath all that icing, as Hagio’s stories are frequently sophisticated, moving, and unwilling to pull punches." – Sean T. Collins

Prison Pit: Book 2  [Pre-Order]

"13. Prison Pit Book 2, by Johnny Ryan: Johnny Ryan journeys deeper than ever before into his inner ickiness and returns with an action-horror hybrid it’s almost impossible to 'enjoy' in the traditional sense of the word — and which thereby takes those two genres in stunning new directions." – Sean T. Collins

Artichoke Tales [Pre-Order]

"11. Artichoke Tales, by Megan Kelso: A war comic like none you’ve ever read, Megan Kelso’s ambitious alt-fantasy is concerned not with conflict’s immediate carnage, but with its lasting effects on the societies engaged in it — economic, cultural, religious, familial, even geographical. I found it humanistic, unsparing, and fascinating." – Sean T. Collins

Weathercraft

"10. Weathercraft, by Jim Woodring: It’s always darkest before the dawn, and the psychedelic body-horror of Jim Woodring has never been darker than it gets here. His hapless, villainous Manhog is made to suffer like you’ve seen few comics characters suffer before in any style or genre…only to emerge enlightened and overjoyed on the other side in a final act that feels like that first breath of fresh cool air after you’ve hidden your head under the covers in terror for minutes on end." – Sean T. Collins

"2. Weathercraft by Jim Woodring: [...] It’s a twisting, twisted, often bizarre, often disturbing but always gripping tale of one creature’s self-redemption and ultimate sacrifice told without words and often as enigmatically as possible. If you had any doubt that Woodring could still deliver after laying low for so long, consider them erased." – Chris Mautner

Special Exits [Pre-Order]

"7. Special Exits, by Joyce Farmer: ...[N]early every meticulously crosshatched panel [is] drawn as if [Farmer's] life depended on it. Maybe it did. This is a magnum opus no one expected to read, a brutally frank depiction of what it’s like for full lives you love to end, and it has the most painfully happy ending of the year. It made me cry. Don’t do what I almost did and ignore one of the year’s most moving comics." – Sean T. Collins

Wally Gropius

"3. Wally Gropius, by Tim Hensley: The first great comic of the Great Recession. Tim Hensley’s breakout graphic novel, previously serialized in the Mome anthology, seems like a send-up of silly ‘60s teen-comedy and kid-millionaire comics on the surface, but beneath lies as odd and accurate a cri de coeur about capitalism and consumerism as I’ve ever read. It also does things with body language I’ve never seen in comics, and is funny as hell to boot. There’s nothing else out there like it." – Sean T. Collins

"5. Wally Gropius by Tim Hensley: The funniest comic of the year, Gropius is both homage and raised middle finger to the kids comics of yore, chiding them for their superficiality and yet revealing in their sublime shallowness all the same. That Hensley managed to have his cake and eat it too in such a breezy fashion suggests he will be an artist to watch for in the coming years." – Chris Mautner

Love and Rockets Book 25: High Soft Lisp [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

"2. High Soft Lisp / Love and Rockets: New Stories #3, by Gilbert Hernandez and Jaime Hernandez: This year I read nearly every comic ever created by Los Bros Hernandez; what a pleasure to discover at the end of my immersion that their two most recent comics are also two of their best, and thus two of the best comics by anyone. Gilbert and Jaime both tear furiously into love and sex in these two collections; what they find inside is ugly; what they do with it is beautiful." – Sean T. Collins

Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

"3. Love and Rockets [New Stories] 3 by Xaime and Gilbert Hernandez: Gilbert’s contributions are great as usual (his work here and in the recently collected High Soft Lisp proves he’s no second banana brother), but it is Xaime’s 'The Love Bunglers/Browntown' that makes this volume so worthy of praise. A harrowing story of abuse, familial neglect and regret masterfully told, I defy anyone not to read this tale and not be devastated by its conclusion. Not a single line goes to waste here. To say it’s the best thing Xaime’s done is a stunning comment considering his lengthy and exemplary body of work, but there’s no question he’s raised the bar once again." – Chris Mautner

Lists: Jason, Megan Kelso and Nate Neal all weigh in with their 2010/2011 commentary and favorites in Robot 6's massive survey of comics creators; other mentions of our publications include Temperance by Cathy Malkasian (Matt Silady); Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 by the Hernandez Bros. (Jason, Sam Humphries, Evan Dorkin, Vito Delsante, Dan Nadel, Kat Roberts); Special Exits by Joyce Farmer (Sam Humphries); Prince Valiant Vol. 2 by Hal Foster (Evan Dorkin); Captain Easy Vol. 1 by Roy Crane (Jason, Evan Dorkin, Dan Nadel); Four Color Fear (Evan Dorkin), Lucky in Love Book 1 by Stephen DeStefano (Jamie S. Rich); Set to Sea by Drew Weing (Joey Weiser); Wally Gropius by Tim Hensley (Dan Nadel, Adam Hines, Jason Little, James Kochalka); The Search for Smilin’ Ed by Kim Deitch (Dan Nadel); Weathercraft by Jim Woodring (Dan Nadel, Jason Little, Kat Roberts, James Kochalka); It Was the War of the Trenches by Jacques Tardi (Dan Nadel); Castle Waiting Vol. 2 by Linda Medley (Janet Lee); Billy Hazelnuts and the Crazy Bird by Tony Millionaire (James Kochalka); Werewolves of Montpellier by Jason (James Kochalka); and Artichoke Tales by Megan Kelso (M.K. Reed)

List: The great Washington, DC bookstore Politics & Prose names their 2010 Graphic Novel Favorites, including:

The Sanctuary

"The Sanctuary by Nate Neal is one of the most adventurous, exciting, complex and beautiful graphic novels. [...] Nate Neal creates a language for the clan, and tells the entire story without any recognizable words, making The Sanctuary a quiet and dark collection of gestures and expressions."

King of the Flies Vol. 1: Hallorave

"Pirus and Mezzo’s King of the Flies is a dark romp through a strange drug filled, sex crazed world of small town Europe. [...] Pirus and Mezzo aren’t afraid to tell a story full of our darkest desires and needs, but they’re also startlingly poetic."

Weathercraft

"Weathercraft, by Jim Woodring, is a beautiful dream and a beautiful nightmare. [...] Weathercraft is page after page of utterly original, outrageous, wordless thrills. Somehow, in a place where confusion and chaos seem to reign, Woodring creates sense. The challenge and beauty of Weathercraft is taking hold of that sense, and letting it go when the dream becomes too beautiful to pass up."

You'll Never Know Book 2: Collateral Damage [Pre-Order]

"C. Tyler continues her inquiry into the true story of her father’s WWII experience with You’ll Never Know Book Two: Collateral Damage. Tyler’s colorful panels and line work is a welcome relief to the usual comics format; and her creative shifting of perspective and story... offer just the right amount of energy and relevance to make this book (and the previous volume) one of the best of the year."

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec Vol. 1: Pterror Over Paris and The Eiffel Tower Demon [Pre-Order]

"Hinging on one supernatural occurrence after another, the misadventures of Adele Blanc-Sec are surely one of the most welcome events this year. [...] This is a classic which should not be missed."

A Drunken  Dream and Other Stories [Pre-Order]

"...Moto Hagio’s story collection, A Drunken Dream, is a welcome and celebrated relief to the mainstream, translated Japanese comics, giving the reader a meaningful and deeply felt experience. ...Hagio’s exploration of loss... and identity... is equal to the best that any literature offers."

List: Brazilian site Ambrosia names The Best Comics Published in the U.S. in 2010 — Alternatives and Classics, including:

It Was the War of the Trenches

It Was the War of the Trenches by Jacques Tardi: "The French Tardi is a versatile artist, a thorough storyteller of historical fact and fiction. The clean lines and light of his drawings refer to the style of another Frenchman, the revered Moebius."

Prince Valiant Vol. 2: 1939-1940

Prince Valiant: 1939-1940 (Vol. 2) by Hal Foster: "Exquisite reissue of the adventures of Prince Valiant, with the magnificent original colors."

The Littlest Pirate King

The Littlest Pirate King by David B.: "Accustomed to living with sea monsters, plundering ships and murdering sailors, a group of scary undead pirates has its routine radically transformed when they are forced to care for a child. David B.... uses his beautiful and dark art to adapt a fun text by Orlan."

Castle Waiting Vol. 2

List: At Comics Worth Reading, Johanna Draper Carlson names Castle Waiting Vol. 2 by Linda Medley the Best Graphic Novel of 2010: "Exceptionally illustrated fantasy revolving around everyday life among a stunning cast of unusual characters who make their own unusual family in an abandoned castle."

Review: "Saucy, bold, enigmatic, gently funny, reassuringly romantic; brimming with human warmth and just the right edge of hidden danger Castle Waiting [Vol. 2] is a masterpiece of subtly ironic, perfectly paced storytelling that any kid over ten can and will adore. Moreover, if you’re long in the tooth or have been around the block a time or two, this fantastic place can’t help but look like home." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!

 

List: At The Casual Optimist, Dan Wagstaff names Jason's Werewolves of Montpellier one of his Favourite New Books of 2010: "Ostensibly the book is about a thief called Sven who disguises himself as werewolf to rob people’s apartments and incurs the wrath of the town’s actual werewolves. It is, however, as much about friendship, identity, loneliness, and, ultimately, Sven’s unrequited love for his neighbour Audrey. [...] The whole book is achingly brief, but Werewolves of Montpellier is possibly my favourite Jason book to date." (Via Robot 6)

List: At Comics-and-More (via Robot 6), Dave Ferraro counts down his Top 20 Comics of 2010, including:

Artichoke Tales [Pre-Order]

"14. Artichoke Tales (Megan Kelso) [...] Kelso's simple lines beautifully capture the emotional turmoil of the characters and move the action along fluidly. This title caught me by surprise with how much I enjoyed it — it looks deceptively simple, but there's a lot going on in this ambitious book."

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec Vol. 1: Pterror Over Paris and The Eiffel Tower Demon [Pre-Order]

"10. The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec (Volume 1) (Jacques Tardi) [...] This story is full of broad characters and is really silly, but it's a really riveting, often funny book that you can't help but love to spend time with, featuring some of Tardi's best art period. Plus pterodactyls in Paris!"

Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

"6. Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 [...] The Hernandez Brothers' third annual release of Love and Rockets is their best yet. Gilbert Hernandez has long been a favorite artist of mine and he offers some pretty dynamic stories this time around as well... Jaime develops his characters effortlessly as he produces what may be one of the best offerings of his career."

Castle Waiting Vol. 2

"4. Castle Waiting (Volume 2) (Linda Medley) [...] This book is overflowing with great characters, the story unfolding cinematically to Medley's beautiful cartoony art. The domestic life that readers glimpse with these volumes is an absolute pleasure to behold, and I really enjoy the time I spend with the people in this title, as they explore the castle and unlock some of its mysteries while settling in. A real treasure."

The Littlest Pirate King

"1. The Littlest Pirate King (David B. & Pierre Mac Orlan) – My favorite comic that I read this year is David B.'s comic adaptation of the prose story by French writer Pierre Mac Orlan. ...David B. elaborately illustrates this world with amazing mastery of the craft. The coloring, the pacing and panel arrangements, and the world of these pirates pillaging ships and being general menaces all make for a fun, engaging experience. This book contains some of the most beautiful panels that I've seen in years, and confidently sits at the top of my list for best of the year."

Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

List: On his MadInkBeard blog, Derik Badman lists Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 as one of the Best Print Comics of 2010: "This is Jaime doing what he does best, advancing the lives of his characters, adding to their histories, introducing side characters, and generating an emotional impact." (Via Robot 6)

Set to Sea

List: On The Forbidden Planet International Blog Log, Martin Steenton of Avoid the Future names his top 3 Best of the Year: "...Drew Weing’s Set to Sea is one of the most beautifully-rendered graphic novels you could hope to see ever, let alone from within the past twelve months. [...] From start to finish, Set to Sea feels like a true classic; the graphic novel equivalent of Treasure Island, if you will. If you’re the sort of parent that doesn’t mind exposing your children to a few gory moments, I like to imagine that this is the book you’ll give them to usher them into their lives as comic readers. Think what a cool mum/dad you’d be."

The Best American Comics Criticism

List: At Imprint, Michael Dooley names the Best American Comics Criticism panel at Skylight Books one of "the best speaker events that involved comics and graphic design" in L.A. last year

Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950s [Pre-Order]

Review: "Four Color Fear is editor Greg Sadowski's commemoration of horror publishers other than dominant Entertaining Comics ... [T]his volume contains many... complete tales, giving the reader a sense of how hard it was to meet the genre's three main requirements: sudden fear, ample gore and twist endings, all in the space of six to 10 pages. [...] One leads off with this fraught question: 'Have you ever heard a strange voice whisper, "Come with me into the Blackest depths of evil"?' To which I would have answered in the 1950s, 'What took you so long to ask?'" – Dennis Drabelle, The Washington Post (via Newsarama)

FUC_ __U, _SS __LE: Blecky Yuckerella Vol. 4

Review: "Johnny Ryan is in my mind is one of the best modern humorists in comics today. It's not the kind of humor that's gonna get him invited to lots of prestigious awards ceremonies, but you can not deny that this shit [is] funny! Seriously for all those people who have not read a Johnny Ryan book for whatever stupid reason, pick [FUC_ __U _SS __LE] up. There's gonna be something in here that will make you laugh or puke or laugh and puke at the same time. It's an awesome awesome book. Loved it all the way through." – P.D. Houston, Renderwrx Productions

King - A Comics Biography: The Special Edition

Review: "Taking quotes from people who met King, journeyed with him, and experienced his teachings and shortcomings firsthand, the book gives readers an honest and refreshing take on the man that became a legend. The art in King is a sight to behold... While some will undoubtedly walk away with the impression that this take on King’s life somehow lessens his impact on society, others will hopefully find that the humanistic aspect enhances the appreciation of his determination to make a change. Rating: ★★★★1/2" – Matt Peters, Pads & Panels

Mascots

Plug: "Mascots is a beautiful new book by Ray Fenwick collecting a series of color paintings on found book covers. [...] You must all surely concur that this new book establishes Ray Fenwick as the foremost satirist-illustrator-typographer-poet-designer of our time." – Matt Forsythe, Drawn

Plugs: At The Moviefone Blog, David Brothers recommends "Comic Books for Movie Buffs"; his picks for war movie fans and samurai movie fans, respectively:

It Was the War of the Trenches

"...It Was the War of the Trenches shows how war simultaneously dehumanizes and strengthens our connection to life. The dehumanization derives from the fact that soldiers who die in this book tend to do so alone, or by surprise, and life just goes on. The strengthening point, however, is due to how the soldiers eagerly grasp what life they have left, despite their situation. It Was the War of the Trenches is heartbreaking and maybe a little funny, but more than anything, it's fulfilling."

Usagi Yojimbo: The Special Edition [Pre-Order]

"...Usagi Yojimbo is not only deadly serious, but a fantastic read. Sakai clearly knows the era he's writing stories about very well, and his research shows. If not for the funny talking animals, this series would be fantastically realistic. With them, though, it's a series that hits many of the same high points as classic Kurosawa, but often from a fresh angle."

Peter Bagge

Survey: The Beat's year-end/looking-forward survey of comics pros (part one) includes a classic Peter Bagge quip ("What was the biggest story in comics in 2010?" "No one has any money") plus input from Noah Van Sciver

What I Did [Pre-Order]

Analysis: In an academic paper published in the University of Florida's interdisciplinary comics studies journal ImageTexT, Joel Simundich examines "Translation, Transparency, and Genre" in Jason's The Iron Wagon (recently reprinted in What I Did)

Frank Vol. 1

Interview: On his Princess Sparkle Pony blog, Peter Huestis presents a transcription of his 1995 interview with Jim Woodring which was published in Hypno Magazine: "I never use any of my dreams in the Frank stories. I've evolved a way of writing those stories that I adhere to pretty much all the time. I go down into this ravine near my house and hide in the bushes and write in my notebook. I write the stories out in words. I'll write an opening line like, 'Frank has a heavy heart.' If I like that for an opener, I will ask why he has a heavy heart. Sometimes I get an answer and sometimes I don't."

The Strange Case of Edward Gorey [Expanded Hardcover Edition]

List/Plug/Coming Attractions: The Millions names among their Most Anticipated books of 2011 two by Alexander Theroux: this month's The Strange Case of Edward Gorey ("Part biography, part artistic analysis, and part memoir of a long friendship, with exclusive interviews conducted shortly before Gorey’s death, this book is generally accepted as the most comprehensive portrait of Gorey ever written") and July's Estonia ("The book emerges from Theroux’s time spent in the former Soviet republic while his wife was on a Fulbright Scholarship. Ever observant, Theroux uses Estonia and its people as a lens through which to look back at America"); elsewhere at The Millions, Theroux himself weighs in on his Year in Reading

Carl Barks

Coming Attractions: Various sources weigh in on our Carl Barks news, including Douglas Wolk at TIME.com – Techland, Laura Hudson at Comics Alliance, somebody at The Beat, Alan David Doane at Trouble with Comics, and Arthur at Disney Comics Worldwide

Daily OCD: 12/21/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Zippy the PinheadStephen DixonMoto HagioMegan KelsomangaLove and RocketsLos Bros HernandezLinda MedleyKim DeitchJordan CraneJohnny RyanJoe DalyJim WoodringJasonJaime HernandezJacques TardiGilbert HernandezFour Color FearDestroy All MoviesDaily OCDCarol TylerBill GriffithBest of 2010audio 21 Dec 2010 5:43 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions from NPR, Techland–TIME.com, HTMLGIANT, Woot!, and elsewhere:

List: At Techland–TIME.com, Douglas Wolk names his top 10 Best Graphic Novels of 2010:

Weathercraft

#6: Weathercraft: "The first standalone Frank book from Jim Woodring is as gloriously mind-expanding as anything he's drawn. It's a wordless Hieronymous Bosch-via-Chuck Jones parable about cartoon animals in a cruel, psychedelic landscape, in which the wicked Manhog attains enlightenment, then sacrifices it again."

Artichoke Tales [Pre-Order]

#5: Artichoke Tales: "Megan Kelso's magnum opus is technically a fantasy — her characters live in an imaginary country, riven by a civil war between foragers and canners, and have artichoke leaves instead of hair on their heads. It's also a set of meditations on the way cultures establish their identities through stories, and how both political violence and personal connections can damage or repair those identities."

You'll Never Know Book 2: Collateral Damage [Pre-Order]

#3You'll Never Know, Book 2: Collateral Damage: "The second volume of C. Tyler's trilogy of family stories that crystallized around the revelation of her father's experiences in World War II turns personal tragedy into universal art. Everyone's stories deepen; everything is more complicated and sadder than it seems at first. And Tyler's incredible sense of design and color makes even her quietest images linger."

Weathercraft

List: Comics Alliance also ranks Weathercraft on their Top 10 Best Comics of 2010. Jason Michelitch writes: "Woodring is a cartoonist of frightening power, and Weathercraft is him performing at full strength, a high note sustained for every panel on 100 pages. His work is of a caliber where it's hard to know what to say about it, so struck dumb are you by the immensity of the rendering and storytelling skill on the page. [...] There is no other comic this year that so successfully creates such a viscerally compelling and hermetically individual fictional world, or which displays such a thorough mastery of visual storytelling, provoking complex thoughts and feelings with simple, beautiful strokes. Weathercraft is essential."

List: Oh mercy, it's The Daily Cross Hatch's epic and essential end-of-year top-five survey The Best Damn Comics of 2010 Chosen by the Artists. Below, in order of appearance, the books chosen, who chose them and how/if they ranked them; click over for any commentary:

Artichoke Tales [Pre-Order]

Artichoke Tales by Megan Kelso: Ellen Abramowitz (MoCCA Executive Director), #3; Darryl Ayo Brathwaite (Little Garden Comics), unranked;

Werewolves of Montpellier by Jason: Joe Decie (What I Drew), "Best European book"

Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 by the Hernandez Bros: Andrew Farago, (Cartoon Art Museum Curator), unranked

The Search for Smilin' Ed!

The Search For Smilin' Ed by Kim Deitch: Josh Frankel (Zip Comics), unranked; Brian Heater (The Daily Cross Hatch), #3

A Drunken  Dream and Other Stories [Pre-Order]

A Drunken Dream and Other Stories by Moto Hagio: Shaenon Garrity (Narbonic), unranked

Castle Waiting Vol. 2

Castle Waiting: Volume 2 by Linda Medley: Shaenon Garrity (Narbonic), unranked

Uptight #4 [January 2011]

Uptight #4 by Jordan Crane: Nathan Gelgud (Simon's Soup), unranked; J.T. Yost (Birdcage Bottom Books), "Top 5 mini-comics"

Locas II: Maggie, Hopey & Ray

Locas II by Jaime Hernandez: Tom Hart (Hutch Owen), unranked

Prison Pit: Book 2  [Pre-Order]

Prison Pit Book 2 by Johnny Ryan: Eric Haven (Tales to Demolish), unranked

Dungeon Quest, Book 1

Dungeon Quest: Volume One by Joe Daly: Eric Haven (Tales to Demolish), unranked

Weathercraft

Weathercraft by Jim Woodring: Brian Heater (The Daily Cross Hatch), #4; Gabby Schulz/Ken Dahl (Monsters), #4

Set to Sea

List: At Four Colours and the Truth, Tim Reinert names Drew Weing's Set to Sea one of his Favourite Comics of 2010: Best Original Graphic Novels: "A unique adventure story that skirts the line between high concept art book and ribald adventure tale quite well. Weing’s patient pacing, and unerring knack for maximizing panel space make him an interesting talent to watch out for."

List: At Attentiondeficitdisorderly, Werewolves of Montpellier by Jason is one of Sean T. Collins's Comics of the Year of the Day: "...to quote an Album of the Year of the Day, everybody knows he’s a motherfuckin’ monster."

List: At The SF Site: Nexus Graphica, Mark London Williams and Rick Klaw each count down their Ten Best Comics of 2010 in tandem, in two parts covering #10-6 and #5-1 (with additional commentary from Mark at Guys Lit Wire):

Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950s [Pre-Order]

#8: (Rick) Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950s  

It Was the War of the Trenches

#3: (Rick) It Was The War of the Trenches by Jacques Tardi

Love and Rockets Book 25: High Soft Lisp [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

#1: (Mark) High Soft Lisp by Gilbert Hernandez

It Was the War of the Trenches

List: On Twitter, artist/designer Mark Burrier counts down his "top 5 favorite comic releases of 2010," with Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 at #4 and It Was The War of the Trenches at #3

Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

List: At Comikaze, Mauricio Matamores names Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 one of Los Mejores Cómics de 2010: "Published by Fantagraphics, this title presented top-notch storytelling by the Hernándezes and perfection with Xaime, specifically." (Translated from Spanish.)

I Killed Adolf Hitler

List: Also at Comikaze, Santiago Fernández names Yo maté a Adolf Hitler (I Killed Adolf Hitler) one of Los Mejores Cómics de 2010: "This [Norwegian] author seems to tell his story of time travel, Nazis and romance as though he were a 10 year old child, proof that this is a fun story even though it really is rather complex, complete with a message that provides sweetness. Great gift for the girlfriend." (Translated from Spanish.)

Bill Griffith

Interview (Audio): Mark Herz of Connecticut NPR affilliate WSHU visits with Bill Griffith in his studio to talk all things Zippy

Destroy All Movies!!!: The Complete Guide to Punks on Film [Pre-Order]

Interview: Jason Toon of Woot! talks to Zack Carlson & Bryan Connolly about Destroy All Movies!!! The Complete Guide to Punks on Film: "We can't stop even now. It's become a depressing compulsion. We can't enjoy a movie the way you would. Actually, it went beyond watching movies. We got so immersed in what we were doing, when we'd take a break to go get a pizza and see a kid riding by on a skateboard with blue hair, we'd try to pause reality."

What Is All This? Uncollected Stories

Plug: At HTMLGIANT, Kyle Minor calls us "heroes of literature" for publishing Stephen Dixon's What Is All This? Uncollected Stories, and for our publishing history in general... shucks!

Fear Itself
Written by Larry Reid | Filed under Four Color FearFantagraphics Bookstore 20 Dec 2010 12:37 PM

Four Color Fear

As the year draws to an end, allow me the indulgence of fawning over Fantagraphics.

FOUR COLOR FEAR is a phenomenal book. The wonderful pre-code horror comics inside provide colorful context to a wider understanding of mid-century America. I'm a child of the fifties and these amazing comic books still speak to me in a meaningful way. Our country was caught in the grip of a Cold War with perceived enemies that threatened the end of civilization. As impressionable kids, there were daily reminders of this terrifying reality — and we all felt totally helpless. Maybe in some subconscious way these horror stories were manifestations of this pervasive sense of fear. I vaguely recall the irony of indignant politicians and preachers railing against comic books when our very existence was at stake. As a result of this hysteria, I wasn't allowed to read comic books of any sort, which naturally increased their allure. I was seduced. My innocence lost.

FOUR COLOR FEAR is not only a fun read, it's essential to an appreciation of American popular culture in the last half of the 20th century. Truly remarkable. Must buy now.

Daily OCD: 12/14/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Stephen DixonreviewsLorenzo MattottiJoyce FarmerJordan CraneJim WoodringGahan WilsonFour Color FearDave CooperDaily OCDCarol TylerBest of 2010Abstract Comics 14 Dec 2010 5:28 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Weathercraft

List: On WFMU's Beware of the Blog, WFMU DJ Nat Roe's multi-media Top 15 includes Jim Woodring's Weathercraft at #5: "Stick a straw in my brain and suck until there's nothing left but that gurgling sound of air, the remnants of carbonation gathered like patrons in a bar on a Tuesday night 'last call' at the other end of the straw; that's how Jim Woodring makes me feel."

List: Drawn contrubutor John Martz picks 3 of our titles among his Favourite Books of 2010:

Bent [Pre-Order]

"Bent is the latest coffee-table art book from Canadian cartoonist-turned-painter Dave Cooper. We get to drill further into Cooper’s psyche in this book, which continues the celebration of his singular, artistic vision — an alien landscape of writhing, female figures and strange vegetation."

Gahan Wilson: Fifty Years of Playboy Cartoons [Bonus Exclusive Signed Print]

"What Charles Addams is to the New Yorker, Gahan Wilson is to Playboy. And here we have three gorgeous hardcover volumes of his work - page after page of full-colour cartoons celebrating the macabre and the twisted. Perfect for the creep or the creepy in your life."

Weathercraft

"Jim Woodring’s masterful cartooning is showcased in this latest graphic novel featuring his familiar cast of characters including Frank, Manhog, Pupshaw, and Pushpaw. It’s never easy to discern what Woodring’s comics are about, but there is never any question as to what is happening in each panel. Such is the control and understanding he has of both the medium and his tools. Weathercraft is a silent movie governed by dream logic and the id."

Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950s [Pre-Order]

List: "Fantagraphics Books may have delivered the single most essential horror comics volume of the year with its Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950s." – FEARnet Best of 2010: Comics

Stigmata

Review: "I know that it’s still December 2010 – and not even the end of December, the point where we all make our lists of the best of the year – but it’s possible that I’ve already read my favorite book of 2011. Its name? Stigmata. [...] It’s a smart, beautifully written book that refuses to offer easy answers... But, as good as Piersanti’s story is, what made the book a classic for me is definitely Mattotti’s artwork. [...] Mattotti’s line is amazing, so filled with personality and intensity, at once angry and fiercely controlled, and used in the service of some amazing draughtsmanship and visionary visuals. [...] It’s breathtakingly good, no exaggeration." – Grame McMillan, Robot 6

Uptight #4 [January 2011]

Review: "Not only does this issue of cartoonist and designer Jordan Crane's series feature a pair of quality comics from his two established areas of strength..., it carries with it all the joys of the format. ...Uptight #4 stings then pleases like a jump for effect off of a swimming pool's high-dive. [...] All in all, this a fine little read, a delectable peek of lasting hand-held value into what one of the really good cartoonists is up to." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter

Special Exits [Pre-Order]

Review: "Admittedly, these are not special stories in the sense that they represent anything unusual from the norm, but that is certainly at the center of their power. This is something that if we have not faced yet, we know we will, and Farmer’s ability to capture it all is clear-eyed. It’s a remarkable achievement considering the situation, and Farmer has a way of uniting the readership in one collective deep breathing session that lets us know we are not alone in the wider scope of coping with loss. ...Special Exits exists as a graphic novel of considerable depth and meaning." – John Seven, Archive 7

What Is All This? Uncollected Stories

Review: "Dixon... is a master of the short story, and this handsome volume [What Is All This?] gathers 26 pieces that hadn’t previously been published in book form. An indispensable addition to a formidable body of work, which also includes 14 novels and a pair of National Book Award nominations, it’s classic Dixon. His prose is so taut it would make Hemingway blush, and Dixon’s brutal honesty figures to redden the faces of some readers. He never shies from exploring common neuroses through characters who can be unsympathetic, or worse, contemptible, but his prodigious skill as a storyteller overrides any unease he generates. Wringing meaning from the mundane, Dixon gets beyond mere personality to the interior lives of the people he fleshes out, warts and all." – John Lewis, Baltimore Magazine

You'll Never Know Book 2: Collateral Damage [Pre-Order]

Review: "Delivered in monochrome and a selection of muted paint wash and crayon effects, the compellingly inviting blend of cartoon styles (reminiscent of our own Posy Simmonds but with a gleeful openness all her own) captures heartbreak, horror, humour, angst and tragedy in a beguiling, seductive manner which is simultaneously charming and devastatingly effective, whilst the book and narrative itself is constructed like a photo album depicting the eternal question 'How and Why Do Families Work?' Enticing, disturbing and genuinely moving, [You'll Never Know, Book 2:] Collateral Damage is a powerful and affecting second stage in Tyler’s triptych of discovery and one no student of the human condition will care to miss." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!

Abstract Comics: The Anthology

Review: "Andrei Molotiu has compiled an incredible anthology of non-narrativity and abstraction in his Abstract Comics: The Anthology 1967-2009. [...] Covering 43 different artists, Abstract Comics opens with a exemplary discussion of abstraction in comics books and its overlap with contemporary art... The book is an incredible resource of potentiality...; I can't recommend it higher." – Derek Beaulieu, Lemon Hound

Daily OCD: 12/13/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Tony MillionaireTim HensleyStephen DeStefanoreviewsPrince ValiantMoto HagioMegan KelsoMartimangaMaakiesLinda MedleyKevin HuizengaJohnny RyanJasonJacques TardiHal FosterGabrielle BellFrank SantoroFour Color FearDrew WeingDestroy All MoviesDaily OCDComing AttractionsCathy MalkasianBest of 2010audio 13 Dec 2010 8:25 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

List: New York Magazine names their Top Ten Comics of 2010, including:

A Drunken  Dream and Other Stories [Pre-Order]

 #10: A Drunken Dream and Other Stories by Moto Hagio: "Ten spooky, perceptive stories of girls and ghosts in trouble from one of the masters of shojo manga, who has her work translated into English for the first time."

Set to Sea

#5: Set to Sea by Drew Weing: "He may look like a big lug, but he’s got dreams of the ocean and the heart of a poet. The hero of Weing’s salty debut sails off to adventure in this pocket-size sea-shanty of a graphic novel."

Wally Gropius

#1: Wally Gropius by Tim Hensley: "A candy-colored absurdist comedy about a teen so wealthy he barfs $100 bills, this ridiculously enjoyable book reads like Richie Rich on LSD."

Temperance

List: NPR's Glen Weldon names Cathy Malkasian's Temperance one of "The Year's Most Transporting Books": "Amnesia also plays a role in Cathy Malkasian's huge, haunting — and hauntingly beautiful — graphic novel Temperance. [...] Malkasian's plot is loose and elliptical, and she pokes at many of the same salty psychological truths that made the Brothers Grimm so grim; lies, guilt and violence buffet her characters about like gale-force winds. You won't know where the story's going, but Malkasian's pages are gorgeous, sweetly melancholic things, and you'll enjoy the trip."

Review: "...[One of the] Books of the Year... An expansive allegorical fable, ...Temperance speaks to our times with prophetic pointedness. [...] A uniquely imaginative book, Temperance is an example of how a sepia-toned pencil can sing." – Neel Mukherjee, The Times

Prison Pit: Book 2  [Pre-Order]

List: At Attentiondeficitdisorderly, Sean T. Collins names Prison Pit Book 2 by Johnny Ryan one of his Comics of the Year of the Day, saying "take how you felt during the baseball-bat scene in Casino, then make a book out of it."

You Are There

List: British cartoonist Matt Brooker offers up his Best of the Year at the Forbidden Planet International Blog Log, including 2009's You Are There by Jacques Tardi & Jean-Claude Forest: "Alongside Mœbius’ The Airtight Garage of Jerry Cornelius, this is the defining classic of 1970’s Bande Dessinee, but unlike The Airtight Garage you really need to be able to read the dialogue to make it worth owning… this first English translation has been much too long coming, so I was delighted to be able to read You Are There at last. It was originally conceived as a screenplay, and reads like one of those particularly mad Sixties films (like Peter Sellers’ Casino Royale or The Magic Christian) of which I’m so unreasonably fond."

Review: "The always-superb Jason too has a book out this year: Werewolves of Montpellier. Droll, laconic as always, dry as drought, and hilarious and sympathetic in equal measures... A mad, lovely and bright book." – Neel Mukherjee, The Times

Almost Silent

Review: "While we’re on the subject of Jason, it wouldn’t do to leave out a mention of Almost Silent, a deluxe collection of four of his earlier books... The book is worth searching out for [You Can’t Get There From Here] alone. It’s the longest story in the book and is a retelling of the Frankenstein story as a love triangle without words, set off by a Greek chorus-type duet between two hunchbacks." – Neel Mukherjee, The Times

Destroy All Movies!!!: The Complete Guide to Punks on Film [Pre-Order]

Review: "Destroy All Movies is a product of the tireless DIY work ethic: It is one of the most painstaking books ever written on punk rock. As such, it stands in the rarified league of Banned in DC, Fucked Up & Photocopied, and the long out-of-print masterpiece Loud 3D. Carlson and Connolly have managed to make a volume with both intellectual relevance and deep entertainment value. And if you don't have time to actually read through all 1,000 entries, it's still a blast just to look at." – Sam McPheeters, Bookforum

Plug: On the Matablog, Matador Records co-founder Gerard Cosloy says "If I celebrated Xmas and/or hadn’t already purchased a copy, I’d be asking Satan Santa for the newly published Destroy All Movies!!!..." and calls it an "amazing tome" (link via our own Janice Headley)

Plug: "This book is out of control. [...] The research that went into [Destroy All Movies!!!] is unfathomable. They even tracked down every instance of a punk in a made-for-TV movie. The mind boggles. And then the mind puts on a Crass album and head butts some prep in the face." – Kyle Olson, The Hipster Book Club "2010 Holiday Gift Guide"

Castle Waiting Vol. 2

Review: "Castle Waiting’s a pleasant, upbeat series, a great way to spend a quiet afternoon. If you’re looking for high adventure and action, it’s not here. This series is exploring the quiet places and the emotional beats that exist just beyond the screaming and bloodshed, and it’s doing so with style and wit. Castle Waiting comes highly recommended." – Michael C. Lorah, Newsarama

Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950s [Pre-Order]

Review: "EC was not the only company putting out good horror comics in the 1950s. Fantagraphics’ Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950s shines the spotlight on some of the other comic publishers who were putting out great horror comics back then. [...] As great as the stories are perhaps the best feature is the 20 page note section that provides details behind each of the 40 stories in the book with fantastic anecdotes. There is also an index to all the companies publishing horror comics with a listing of titles and issue numbers making this a fantastic resource. Grade A+" – Tim Janson, Mania

Little Maakies on the Prairie

Review: "Since continuity usually plays second fiddle to the avalanche of inventive ideas, the strips can be read in almost any order and the debauched drunkenness, manic ultra-violence in the manner of the best Tom & Jerry or Itchy & Scratchy cartoons, acerbic view of sexuality and deep core of existentialist angst (like Sartre ghostwriting The Office or perhaps The Simpsons) still finds a welcome with Slackers, Laggards, the un-Christian and all those scurrilous, lost Generations after X. [...] If you’re the kind of fan who thrives on gorge-rousing gags and mind-bending rumination this is a fantastic and rewarding strip, one of the most constantly creative and entertaining on the market today and this latest collection [Little Maakies on the Prairie] is one of the very best yet. If you’re not a fan of Maakies this is the ideal chance to become one and if you’re already converted it’s the perfect gift for someone what ain’t…" – Win Wiaceck, Now Read This!

Prince Valiant Vol. 2: 1939-1940

Review: "This series is a non-stop rollercoaster of action and romance, blending realistic fantasy with sardonic wit and broad humour with unbelievably stirring violence, all rendered in an incomprehensibly lovely panorama of glowing art. Beautiful, captivating and utterly awe-inspiring Prince Valiant is a World Classic of storytelling, and this magnificent deluxe [Volume 2] is something no fan can afford to be without. If you have never experienced the majesty and grandeur of the strip this astounding and enchanting premium collection is the best way possible to start and will be your gateway to a life-changing world of wonder and imagination." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!

 

Artichoke Tales [Pre-Order]

Review: "One could easily spend hours thinking of the hard concepts Kelso brings into the book without ever hitting the reader over the head with any of them. It's a sign of her storytelling ability that we get all of this without it ever feeling like she's preaching to me. [...] Artichoke Tales, at its heart, is about how complex the world is, with no one quite able to figure things out. ...I thought this was a well-crafted book that shows the human side of a conflict. It's a sad tale, but one worth reading." – Rob McMonigal, Panel Patter

Lucky in Love Book 1: A Poor Man's History [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

Plug: Cartoon Brew's 2010 Holiday Gift guide includes Lucky in Love Book 1: A Poor Man’s History by George Chieffet and Stephen DeStefano

Interview: Comic Book Resources' Chris Mautner has a very informative chat with our own Kim Thompson about our new line of all-ages Eurocomics books: "Well, to be honest, I’m not sure how many kids will actually be reading this. It’s hard to get kids interested in comics, and foreign comics are even tougher. I’d welcome kids reading it but I’m assuming 98% of the audience will be grown-ups who dig this particular material. That said, I’m always a little baffled by how sensitive grown-ups are about kids’ material."

Gabrielle Bell

Interview: At AfterEllen, Ariel Schrag talks to Gabrielle Bell: "I definitely prefer reading fiction to reading comics, except for a very small percentage of comics. And when I was a teenager I wanted to be a fiction writer. I’m much more interested in films, too. I feel like I’m more interested in the potential of comics, rather than what they’ve already accomplished, whereas with films and novels I’m interested in what they’ve already accomplished."

Kevin Huizenga

Panel (Audio): Inkstuds presents a recording of the roundtable with Kevin Huizenga and Jim Rugg, moderated by Frank Santoro, which took place at the Pittsburgh Indy Comics Expo back in October of this year

http://www.fantagraphics.com/images/flog/mike/201012/cabbie1.jpg

Coming Attractions: Bleeding Cool's latest find in our Spring/Summer 2011 catalog: The Cabbie Vol. 1 by Marti

Daily OCD: 12/9/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Shimura TakakoreviewsMoto HagiomangaJosh SimmonsJoe DalyJim WoodringJasonJacques TardiHans RickheitFour Color FearDrew WeingDaily OCDComing AttractionsBest of 2010 9 Dec 2010 3:06 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions. Today's reviews come directly or indirectly via Hans Rickheit:

House [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

Review: "Simmons’ artwork [in House] masterfully cranks up the tension and tightens the suspense as the ill-fated explorers descend into the building’s subterranean depths; as his characters enter the house, his dark frames thicken, becoming the walls of the house. The comic is wordless, but the characters have no trouble expressing themselves as they go from the heights of youthful elation to sheer terror as the house swallows them whole." – Ao Meng, The Daily Texan

Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950s [Pre-Order]

Review: "As both an anthology and as a survey of the times, [Four Color] Fear is incredibly successful, with nary a dud in the whole bunch. Each fun story offers its own brand of chill, thrills and maniacal laughter. [...] But the real disquieting aspect of these comics were probably not intended as such — chauvinistic behavior is rampant among the men, and women are portrayed as either damsels in distress or cold-hearted femme-fatales. These are artifacts of a simpler age." – Ao Meng, The Daily Texan

The Squirrel Machine

Review: "The Squirrel Machine is not for the faint of heart, and features quite disturbing and grotesque imagery — H. R. Giger has nothing on Rickheit’s psychosexual nightmares. [...] Existing on the crossroad of creativity and madness, The Squirrel Machine is a nightmare in a series of gristly tableaus. The psychedelic rooms full of machinery, sex and death are an inward exploration as much as Jim Woodring’s ('Frank') comics are outwardly allegorical. An exploration of an artist’s mind, it uncovers the obscene, the things that were never meant to be brought to light." – Ao Meng, The Daily Texan

Review: "Blimey, [The Squirrel Machine] is a weird one. Imagine a steampunk version of the last ten minutes of Eraserhead. [...] Its design and tone is indebted to Little Nemo in Slumberland, although far more disturbing. [...] The book is full of strange scenes which accurately convey the claustrophobic atmosphere and slight off-ness of a powerful dream. In no way is it fluffy around the edges. The detail is unflinching, with a refreshing lack of explanation... Is it all a dream? Who can tell?" – Grant Buist, The Name of This Cartoon Is Brunswick

Set to Sea

Review: "Another excellent debut graphic novel, another webcomic-printed-as-book, another beautiful Fantagraphics book-as-object, and another rollicking seafaring adventure. [...] What distinguishes [Set to Sea] from a merely average graphic novel is the excellent pacing, the thoughtfulness of the (unnamed) protagonist, and the minimal use of words in a book about writing poetry!" – Grant Buist, The Name of This Cartoon Is Brunswick

A Drunken  Dream and Other Stories [Pre-Order]

Review: "A luxurious collection of Moto Hagio’s influential comics, ...[A Drunken Dream and Other Stories] is a valuable sampler of her long career, a compilation of short stories from 1970 to 2007 which feature her innovative panel layouts and expressive characters, and include many of her favourite themes, such as sibling rivalry, postnatal depression and ghosts. [...] This is yet another beautiful book-as-object-of-desire..." – Grant Buist, The Name of This Cartoon Is Brunswick

Weathercraft

List: Weathercraft, "a thrilling, nauseating, inspiring journey from terror to triumph," is Sean T. Collins's Comic of the Year of the Day at Attentiondeficitdisorderly

Review: "An utter nightmare. [...] Over a hundred densely-drawn pages [of Weathercraft], filled with Woodring’s bejewelled creatures and salamandric hallucinations, Manhog achieves a kind of enlightenment. A great if unsettling work." – Grant Buist, The Name of This Cartoon Is Brunswick

The Red Monkey Double Happiness Book

Review: "Two entertaining tales... [that] capture the zip and intrigue of a good Tintin adventure, and the supporting characters are suitably bizarre... [The Red Monkey Double Happiness Book is n]ot your usual American/Canadian two-guys-mooch-around-an-apartment bollocks." – Grant Buist, The Name of This Cartoon Is Brunswick

Hey, Wait...

Review: "The first of Norwegian cartoonist Jason’s books to be published in translation, and one of his neatest and most satisfying stories. [...] If it were a film, Hey, Wait… would melodramatically labour the childhood tragedy it features, but in a Jason book it’s an understated pivot for the two halves of the story." – Grant Buist, The Name of This Cartoon Is Brunswick

Wandering Son: Book 1

Coming Attractions: The Manga Curmudgeon looks ahead to Shimura Takako's Wandering Son Vol. 1, declares "Sold!"

The Arctic Marauder - Jacques Tardi

Coming Attractions: "The Arctic Marauder [by Jacques Tardi] – A steampunk story with mad scientists, sea monsters, and futuristic machines at the North Pole. In a 'faux woodcut style.' Fantagraphics continues to be the most consistently innovative publisher of adventure comics around." – Michael May, Robot 6


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