The newly formatted, 600+ page Comics Journal proved a resounding success with 2011’s edition. 2012’s Volume 302 is sure to prove just as essential and exciting to comics readers worldwide.
This edition’s cover feature is a long, intimate interview-portrait with and of Maurice Sendak, the greatest and most successful children’s book author of the 20th — and 21st — century, the author of Where the Wild Things Are, In the Night Kitchen, Outside Over There, Higglety Piggelty Pop, and the illustrator of works by Herman Melville, Leo Tolstoy, and Randall Jarrell. In his longest published interview (and one of the last before his death in 2012), Sendak looks back over a career spanning over 60 years and talks to Gary Groth about art, life, and death (especially death), how his childhood, his parents, and his siblings affected his art and outlook, his search for meaning — and also, on the lighter side, about his love (and hate) of movies. And his unbridled comments on the political leadership of the previous decade have already garnered national media attention and controversy.
Sharing equal billing in this issue's flip-book format: Kim Thompson conducts a career-spanning interview with French graphic novel pioneer Jacques Tardi. The two explore the Eisner Award-winner’s genre-spanning oeuvre comprising historical fiction, action-adventure, crime-thriller, “icepunk” and more, focusing on Tardi's working methods (with step by step illustration), collaborations and other media (such as film and animation), and his fascination with World War I. Plus, Matthias Wivel examines Tardi's adaptation of Léo Malet's 120, Rue de la Gare.
Also in this issue, Art Spiegelman conducts a wide-ranging aesthetic colloquy on classic kids’ comics (Carl Barks’s Donald Duck, John Stanley’s Little Lulu, Sheldon Mayer’s Sugar and Spike, and many more) with a group of comics critics and historians. Bob Levin provides a revelatory investigation of the twisted history of the "Keep on Truckin’" litigation and a fascinating biographical portrait of R. Crumb’s lawyer, Albert Morse. Warren Bernard writes a ground-breaking historical investigation of the 1954 Senate Subcommittee Hearing on Juvenile Delinquency. R.C. Harvey looks at Bill Hume's Babysan and Donald Phelps examines Percy Crosby's Skippy. And a tribute to the late Dylan Williams from his peers and the artists he published.
Plus: “How to Draw Buz Sawyer” by renowned newspaper cartoonist Roy Crane (and a previously unpublished interview), a new comic by Joe Sacco and one by Lewis Trondheim in English for the first time, Tim Kreider on Chester Brown, Tom Crippen on Mort Weisinger and Superman, Rich Kreiner on "difficult comics," and a visual gallery of and commentary on proto-comics.
The Comics Journal has been for 37 years the world’s foremost critical magazine about comics. It is now more vital than ever, a gigantic print compendium of critiques, interviews, and comics.
The first* glass of spiked eggnog of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review: Metroland'sSimcoe reviews Walt Disney's Donald Duck: A Christmas for Shacktown by Carl Barks and The Complete Peanuts: 1985 to 1986 by Charles M. Schulz. Glenn Perrett states, "Reading Carl Bark's "Donald Duck" stories from 60 years ago was entertaining. The animation and colours are excellent and sections such as "Story Notes" [etc.] . . . complement the wonderful comics making this book a nice addition to any library." And "The Complete Peanuts: 1985 to 1986 are sure to make the holidays more entertaining and makes a nice gift and keepsake."
• Review: Noel Murray of The AV Club continues the Christmas coverage with Schulz's Charlie Brown's Christmas Stocking which "is mainly meant to serve as a nice little accessory to holiday decorations, to be brought out every December with the ornaments and Andy Williams records. For that reason, it’s hard to humbug it…" With Walt Disney's Donald Duck: "A Christmas for Shacktown" by Carl Barks, Murray notes "These stories—nearly all published in the early ’50s—are mostly non-Christmas-y, but the title tale is a sweet one. . . For those who do want a surefire present for the comics buff in their lives."
• Review: School Library Journal goes over some of the favorite holiday graphic novels of 2012 like Charlie Brown's Christmas Stocking by Charles Schulz. J. Caleb Mozzocco states "It’s beautifully designed, a breezy, five-minute read, and about the size of a Christmas card, making it a pretty great gift. And, this being Schulz’s Peanuts, it’s the sort of gift you’ll never grow out of." As for Carl Barks' holiday and title story in Walt Disney's Donald Duck: "A Christmas for Shacktown", "It’s one of about 20 of the top-notch comics in the book, which range from one-page gags to the sort of sprawling adventures Barks was best-known for."
• Review: Noel Murray of The AV Club takes a peak at Heads or Tails by Lilli Carré. "Carré loves to constrict her characters, because she knows that limiting their options won’t necessarily limit their imaginations. . . her comics work often has the feel of avant-garde cinema, as she weds surreal images to everyday situations to enchant audiences and spark ideas. . . "
• Review: Christopher Borrelli of The Chicago Tribune writes a loooong article on Lilli Carré and her new book Heads or Tails "that best captures the range, humor and vague sense of ennui she's made her name on. . . "
• Review: Noel Murray of The AV Club enjoys Tom Kacynski's Beta Testing the Apocalypse. "Kaczynski’s comics are frequently nightmarish, starting from a slightly askew place and then tipping further into darkness. . . But while his stories have characters and plots—often with haunting endings—they’re more like essays than conventional narratives."
• Review: Noel Murray of The AV Club finished the You'll Never Know series with Book 3: A Soldier's Heart by Carol Tyler. "This is Tyler’s magnum opus: her thoughts on art, work, relationships, music, war, and anything else that came to her mind while she was piecing together her dad’s story."
• Plug:About.com fills in the blanks of their Christmas Sex Book List by adding our most recent titles. On No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics edited by Justin Hall, Cory Silverberg slyly states "given the diversity of artists working today it's not a definitive collection, but it's sexy and joyful and difficult in parts, and definitely one to own." Meanwhile, Naked Cartoonists (edited by Gary Groth) contains "a number of stand outs among this overwhelmingly white, male collection of artists. And I imagine this could be a perfect gift for the right kind of comic nerd."
• Review: Danel Olson of the Weird Fiction Volume 3 writes on Richard Sala and The Hidden . "Sala has become one of my favorite American sequential artists because of his subtle tributes and expansions to four of the most memorable twentieth century American cartoonists - Charles Addams, Edward Gorey, Gahan Wilson, and Basil Wolverton. . . Forbidding and weird seem like weak adjectives for Sala's The Hidden, and I urge you to open it. . . Give a standing order to Fantagraphics for any noirishly weird fictions forthcoming from Sala."
• Review: Chris Estey of KEXP reviews the Bill Griffith collection called Bill Griffith: Lost and Found - Comics 1969-2003. Chris Estey writes that it is "a luxurious and generous Fantagraphics big book collection of his non-Zippy work, is required reading for those who may have missed his parodies and punk rock operas in the past, or want them all bound together. It’s also for those like me who were never really that much into Zippy in the first place."
• Plug: Dave Segal recants the events immediately following his Stranger article on Listen, Whitey!by Pat Thomason the Stranger Slog. White supremacists got all sorts of angry at this history book and the white dude who wrote it.
• Plug: One step forward, two steps back. The Adele Blanc-Sec movie is inching along towards distribution in America. Johanna Draper Carlson gets the scoop on DVDs Worth Reading on Jacques Tardi's graphic novel adaptation.
• Plug:Negromancer reviews the film adaptation of Art School Confidentialdirected by Terry Zwigoff based on the comics of Daniel Clowes. "While Art School Confidential comes across as a satire of art schools, the faculty, and students, it is also a love story and youth relationship drama. It works well as all three."
*let's be real, it's like our tenth glass of that local dairy's eggnog
Behold, the new issue of The Comics Journal, an edition so awesome we made it a flip-book with TWO cover features: Gary Groth's newsmaking interview with the late Maurice Sendak on one side, and Kim Thompson's interview with Jacques Tardi on the other side. (To clarify, there aren't two separate covers; every copy has both covers and which one's the "front" depends on which way you turn it.) And there's a whooole lotta stuff in between. Look for excerpts to be posted on TCJ.com as the release date nears (early February being our current best guess). TCJ sets the agenda for intelligent comics conversation, so pre-order your copy today and don't get left behind.
The first snowflake of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:Publishers Weekly enjoys Naked Cartoonists, edited by Gary Groth. "The litmus test for any collective work based on the idea of one page per artist is whether the whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts. . . [Naked Cartoonists] no trouble achieving that goal. . . Dan Piraro (Bizarro) deserves kudos for his strategically-located likeness of Garfield . . ."
• Review:Print Magazine (issue 66.3 June 2012) gingerly flips through the pages of Naked Cartoonists. "Does your Sunday morning routine consis of reading The Wizard of Id and thinking, Gosh, I wish it had more nudity? Then Fantagraphics Books has just the thing for you." While out-and-about obscenity is rare, "there are moments of genuine creepiness, as when Jeff Keane, heir to The Family Circus, drops trou along side his fictional self, Jeffy."
• Review: Speaking of nudish things, Slate takes the time to slog through Prison Pit 4 by Johnny Ryan. Noah Bertlasky states, "For those who find filthy, blotchy tactile ink clots, überviolence, or body horror even remotely appealing, you need to buy this and its predecessors immediately."
• Review (audio): The boys on the block (Comics Books are Burning in Hell) review violent comics so naturally Blacklung by Chris Wright is included. The book affected the reviewers since it's "basically Chris Wright drawing terrifying shit" and Wright's drawing style falls in between "Old newspaper comics, like E.C. Segar's Popeye and Roy Crane's Wash Tubbs and Usagi Yojimbo [by Stan Sakai]."
• Review:New York Journal of Books looks at Walt Disney's Donald Duck: A Christmas for Shacktown by Carl Barks. Mark Squirek writes, "What he was really doing was showing us the absurdity of human behavior. . . This is a book that can be enjoyed by everyone from six to eighty. . . This is classic art and storytelling from a master of the form. Carl Barks ranks right up there with Jack Kirby and Will Eisner. If you love the frustrated, quacking, crazed Donald from the cartoons of the forties, you have to read A Christmas for Shacktown."
• Review:The Christian Science Monitor unwraps Charlie Brown's Christmas Stocking by Charles M. Schulz. Rich Clablaugh takes another sip of cider and says, "The design of the book is marvelous, thick off-white stock printed in two colors – red and green of course. . .Charlie Brown's Christmas Stocking is sure to bring a warm smile to readers young and old. A yearly reading of this little gem can in itself become a new tradition for the Christmas season."
• Review:Westfield Blog looks at archival prints from Fantagraphics. Roger Ash recounts, "Popeye, Pogo, Charlie Brown, Mickey Mouse, and many other classic comic strip characters live on at Fantagraphics in outstanding collections. If you aren't reading any of these, you should be."
• Review:Forbidden Planet International writes about Rich Tommaso's graphic novel, The Cavalier Mr. Thompson. "What the Cavalier does very well is encompass the zeitgeist of an era and people vividly. . . or the most part you’re happy to be led through the rooms and ravines, over train tracks and down corridors as a gentle narration of tales from times gone by ensconces you comfortingly," says Zainab.
• Review: Glen Weldon writes a large article in the New York Times Book Review on our newest anthology on queer comics. "With No Straight Lines [editor Justin Hall] has produced a useful, combative and frequently moving chronicle of a culture in perpetual transition; to read it is to watch as an insular demimonde transforms itself, in painful fits and joyful starts, and steps out into a wider monde."
• Review:Graphixia looks at Jacques Tardi's It Was the War of the Trenches. Scott Marsden states, "Seeing Tardi’s portrayal of the horrors of trench warfare and his vision of the random senselessness and brutality that accompanies it reminds us to reflect on our (mis)conceptions of history, drawing attention to the fractal realities that are embedded in events that have been experienced internationally. . . it feels far closer to reality than the propagandized historical materials offered by the typical academic publishing industry. . ."
• Review: Rob Clough reposts his review of our Hotwire anthology, this time on High Low. "A book for those who read Ghost World or American Splendor and [want] to know where to go next."
• Review:Chris Ware is profiled on the NY Review of Books on Jimmy Corrigan through Building Stories.
• Eugene, OR: The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon in Eugene, OR is hosting the exhibit GOOD GRIEF! Original Art from 50 Years of Charles M. Schulz's PEANUTS, and our own Gary Groth will discuss the importance of Charles Schulz's work within the larger tradition of newspaper strip comics. This event begins at 5:30 PM, and is co-sponsored by the UO School of Journalism. (more info)
Saturday, November 10th
• Seattle, WA: Ellen Forney will discuss her courageous new graphic memoir Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, & Me at the Seattle Public Library Central Branch at 7:00 PM. Her slide presentation in the Microsoft Auditorium will be followed by a book signing. Copies will available at the event. Admission is free. (more info)
This week's comic shop shipment is slated to include the following new titles. 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.
As TCJ.com's Joe McCulloch notes in his "Conflict of Interest Reservoir," "Oh wait, we’ve still got $100+ of good-looking Fantagraphics books to cover."
112-page full-color 7.25" x 9.25" hardcover • $22.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-623-2
"When it comes to splurging, I’m going to be topical: Steven Weissman’s surreal, alternate take on the life and times of our current president, Barack Hussein Obama (Fantagraphics, $22.99) just may contain an explanation for that sleepy debate performance last week, if nothing else." – Graeme McMillan, Robot 6
"I’ve heard a bunch about Steven Weissman’s Barack Hussein Obama, a cracked fantastic vision of the contemporary political scene, and now it’s time to witness its 112 pages on my own." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
"This book advertises on this site, but there's no talent in comics exactly like Steve Weissman and this book is bound to hit at a key moment in history: Obama's win of a second term or his defeat at the polls." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
"Set in a surreal, parallel universe, Barrack Hussein Obama's odd world is really no stranger than our own. In our world, politicians exist with the protective Beltway Bubble, but in BHO politicians are made to live in the world they create via their policies." – Benn Ray (Atomic Books), Largehearted Boy
228-page black & white/color 9.25" x 9.25" hardcover • $35.00 ISBN: 978-1-60699-499-3
"If I had $30, I’d... steal $5 from somebody — anybody — to get my hands on Vol. 2 of Buz Sawyer: Sultry’s Tiger. Buz doesn’t have quite the same pep as Roy Crane’s Captain Easy, but the art is much more professional and lush and beautiful. Besides it’s Roy Crane, and even middle grade Crane is miles and miles better than just about any other cartoonist around." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
"Roy Crane proffers 228 pages of vintage derring-do with Buz Sawyer Vol. 2: Sultry’s Tiger." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
Buried in one of the longest threads on TCJ (this year), our commander-at-the-helm Gary Groth released the list of stories to be included in our fourth Carl Barks Library publication. Currently, it clocks in around 240 pages, full-color splendor and as always, a perfect gift book for Disney fans
The next Barks book will be titled “The Old Castle’s Secret” and will contain the following stories:
“The Old Castle’s Secret” (natch) “In Darkest Africa” “Wintertime Wager” “Watching the Watchman” “Wired” “Going Ape” “Spoil The Rod” “Bird Watching” “Horseshoe Luck” “Bean Taken” “Rocket Race to the Moon” “Donald of the Coast Guard” “Gladstone Returns” “Links Hijinks” “Sorry to be Safe” “Sheriff of Bullet Valley” “Best Laid Plans” “The Genuine Article” “Pearls of Wisdom” “Foxy Relations” “Wintertime Wager” first appearance of Gladstone Gander “Watching the Watchman” “Going Ape” “Spoil The Rod” helloooo Pulpheart Clabberhead “Donald of the Coast Guard” “Pearls of Wisdom” “Foxy Relations”
The weekend's newest Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Plug: The best footnote IN THE WORLD? appeared on Grantland's excerpt of Marvel Comics: The Untold Story written by Sean Howe. It refers to Marvel's idea of hiring Gary Groth. . . Look for footnote 7.
•Review: Johnny Ryan'sPrison Pit: Book 4 is reviewed on Nick Gazin's Comic Book Love in #73 and Mr. Ryan himself is interviewed. . . via text. "There's no point in trying to explain Prison Pit. You can only experience it to understand it. Start buy buying all of them at once if you haven't yet. . . It wears its intentional stupidness and violence on its sleeve while also showing off Johnny Ryan's sophisticated sense of composition and black and white ink prettiness."
• Review: Comics Bulletin likes Rich Tommaso's The Cavalier Mr. Thompson. Nick Hanover says, "Tommaso's distinctly minimalist, animation-influenced style adds another seemingly disparate element that actually serves to enliven the material all the more, finding some sweet spot between the Coen Brothers and Popeye."
• Plug:Comics Alliance lists their favorite covers of the month and include Rich Tommaso's The Cavalier Mr. Thompson. Andrew Wheeler says,"I'm drawn to the graphic simplicity of this cover. It plays with scale, line and color in creative ways, and the composition pulls it all together."
• Review: Rick Klaw at RevolutionSF flips through Dungeon Quest 3 by Joe Daly ". . .rousing adventure and ass-kicking action — all staged in front of fantastic backdrops replete with strange vegetation, ancient ruins and steampunk imagery."
• Commentary:The Beat reports on an SPX panel with Daniel Clowes and his editors, Alvin Beaunaventura and Ken Parille, for The Daniel Clowes Reader. Hannah Means-Shannon states,"Clowes, who appeared energetic and amused by such a large crowd commented that working on the retrospective book with Buenaventura was a welcome thing because he’s 'lonely and working all the time'so it was 'fun to have someone to hang out with'. . . Little details provided by Buenaventura and Clowes about the research process set the scene for comedy, including Buenaventura rifling through Clowes’ closets constantly and 'measuring his art' while Clowes wondered what dirty laundry the writer might dig up that he had forgotten about."
• Review: Rob Clough of High-Low picks up The Squirrel Machine, which is being reprinted in soft cover next spring, by the creeptacular Hans Rickheit. "Rickheit's stories tend to take place in a more upscale, reserved and even Victorian setting, which befits his delicate, sensitive line. . . Rickheit strikes at the heart of what it means to be human: connecting with other emotionally and physically, seeking to express oneself through art, investigating the world around us--in other words, to be emotionally and intellectually curious."
• Review: Chad Parenteau reviews Hans Rickheit's newer Folly on We Got Issues. "Rickheit clearly wrestles with the meaning and purpose of his work with every page he creates, as other artists do. Hans might be consider rude for speaking so out loud about it if more people hung around long enough to listen. Me, I’m so ensconced in his Underbrain, I’m taking notes."
• Review:Comic Impact soaks up The Crackle of the Frost by Jorge Zentner and Lorenzo Mattotti. John Mueller states, "Frost is a sharply written book that takes the reader deeper into a character’s psyche more than any other comic in recent memory. Still, as well-written as the book is, what will undoubtedly get people to pick it up is the sensational art by the acclaimed Mattotti. . . the styles of the art can jump from impressionism to expressionism, symbolism to Hopper-esque realism often within the space of just two panels."
• Review:Bookgasm reviews The Crackle of the Frost by Jorge Zentner and Lorenzo Mattotti. JT Lindroos thinks,"THE CRACKLE OF THE FROST is realistic in a manner very few graphic novels are, pinpointing a phantasmagorical and poetic vision of human relationship in its naturally nonlinear movement. It’s also a perfect example of a work that might appeal to someone not customarily interested in comics"
• Interview:The Chicago Tribune talks to Chris Ware about life, comics and Peanuts. "When he was a child, Ware connected deeply with Charlie Brown, he said. He remembers connecting so deeply that he sent Charlie Brown a valentine." Fitting that Fantagraphics has published work by both.
• Commentary: Hannah Means on The Beat comments on the SPX Ignatz Awards. "The presence of the Hernandez brothers at SPX this year brought a great deal of energy, and often hilarity, and the Ignatz awards were no exception."
• Commentary: Hannah Means covered the Brooklyn Book Festival on The Beat including the 'Sex and Comics' panel that included Gilbert Hernandez. She describes, "Hernandez was asked whether he has used sex in his works as a plot device, but countered this possibility rather precisely by explaining the undesirable tendency of depictions of sex to slow down plot movements rather than usher them along."
• Interview (audio): Sean T. Collins interviewed Gilbert Hernandezrecently at SPX. Check out the full interview today.
• Interview: Vince Brusio caught up with Jaime Hernandez on the Northeast Coast Tour and interviewed him for PREVIEWSworld.
• Plug: On Forbidden Planet's Desert Island series, Gary Northfield said he could not live without Buddy Does Seattle by Peter Bagge and I Shall Destroy All Civilized Planets by Fletcher Hanks, edited by Paul Karasik. "This guy knew exactly what he was doing; his panels are graphically stunning, boldly drawn in full manipulation of the crude 4 colour printing processes being used to churn out the pulpy monthly comics. Monthly adventure comic books were in their infancy and finding their feet and Hanks was ploughing his own crazy, psychopathic path" meanwhile "Peter Bagge’s deranged, yet no doubt closely auto-biographical soap opera is an expert lesson in slice of life story-telling and comic book narrative."
In an irreverent twist to the fine art tradition of The Nude, this unique and original collection presents a “stripped” down version of the infamous “Gallery of Rogues” exhibit of cartoonist self-portraits at Ohio State University.
Here you’ll find a cornucopia of cartoonists’ nude self-portraits from the collection of Mark J. Cohen and Rose Marie McDaniel.
The cartoonists inside aren’t afraid to bare all. Here you’ll find: Scott (Dilbert) Adams, Sergio (Mad) Aragonés, Will (The Spirit) Eisner, Will (Mad) Elder, Jules (Village Voice) Feiffer, Al (Mad Fold-Ins) Jaffee, Lynn (For Better Or For Worse) Johnston, Bil (Family Circus) Keane, Russell (Broom-Hilda) Myers, Charles (Peanuts) Schulz, Jeff (Bone) Smith, Art (Maus) Spiegelman, Mort (Beetle Bailey) Walker, Gahan (The New Yorker) Wilson and over 50 more!
Join Fantagraphics this weekend for the 2012 Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland! On September 15th & 16th, we'll be filling the Marriott Betheseda Conference Center with some dazzling debuts, panels, and signings! Come meet your favorite artists and get your books signed: