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Category >> Gary Groth

This Week in Fantagraphics Events: 11/28-12/4
Written by janice headley | Filed under Steve DuinShannon WheelerPaul NelsonOil and WaterMichael KuppermanKim DeitchKevin AveryJosh SimmonsJack DavisGary GrotheventsDash ShawAl Columbia 28 Nov 2011 10:49 AM

Today, we're kicking off a new weekly round-up of our Fantagraphics events, on an especially busy week for us! Mark your calendars, and go meet some of our artists:

Oil & Water

Monday, November 28th

Portland, OR: Meet Oil and Water author Steve Duin and artist Shannon Wheeler at Powell's Bookstore at 7:30 PM.

Everything Is An Afterthought

Thursday, December 1st

Brooklyn, NY: Join author/editor Kevin Avery at Barnes & Noble Park Slope at 7:00 PM for a discussion and signing for Everything is an Afterthought: The Life & Writings of Paul Nelson

New York City, NY: Legendary cartoonist Jack Davis will be at the Strand Bookstore at 7:00 PM for a discussion and signing of Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture with Fantagraphics' own Gary Groth.

Friday, December 2nd

Brooklyn, NY: Meet Jack Davis at the opening of his exhibit at the Scott Eder Gallery, held in conjunction with the Brooklyn Comics & Graphics Festival.

Brooklyn Comics & Graphics Fest

Saturday, December 3rd

Brooklyn, NY: Join Fantagraphics at The Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival from 12:00 - 9:00 PM, with special guests Al Columbia, Jack Davis, Kim Deitch, Michael Kupperman, Dash Shaw, and Josh Simmons.  Signing schedule to be announced soon on the FLOG!

Daily OCD: 11/8/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Walt KellyTony MillionairereviewsPirus and MezzoOlivier SchrauwenLove and RocketsLos Bros HernandezKevin HuizengaJoe SaccoJaime HernandezinterviewsGilbert HernandezGary GrothGahan WilsonDisneyDaily OCDCarl BarksBest of 2011 9 Nov 2011 2:18 AM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Pogo Vol. 1 Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 King of the Flies Vol. 2: The Origin of the World

List: Three of our titles have landed in Amazon.com's Best Books of 2011: Comics & Graphic Novels top 10: Pogo: Through the Wild Blue Wonder – Vol. 1 of the Complete Syndicated Strips by Walt Kelly at #5; Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 by the Hernandez Brothers at #7; and King of the Flies Vol. 2: The Origin of the World by Mezzo & Pirus at #8

The Man Who Grew His Beard

Review: "This collection of stories [The Man Who Grew His Beard] is a wonderful example of how an animator’s eye, artist’s hand, and storyteller’s vision can combine in a series of stylistic experiments that harken to a previous age of comics, but speak to the contemporary world we live in.... What’s impressive is the ease with which Schrauwen moves among various styles, affording him an extraordinarily wide range of visual tools... Sometimes looking like a throwback to vintage comics and sometimes like a clever homage to the Kama Sutra, this collection is, at all times, the work of a master storyteller." – Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

Ganges #4

Review: At Robot 6, Graeme McMillan compares and contrasts Kevin Huizenga's Ganges with the work of Eddie Campbell, concluding "Ganges #4 isn’t a quick read, and it isn’t necessarily an easy read. But it’s a great one, and it’s something that everyone should be picking up and reading. It’ll keep you awake at nights." McMillan also discusses Ganges #4 with co-host Jeff Lester on the new episode of the Wait, What? podcast

Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes

Interview: At Publishers Weekly, James Romberger (who also happens to be a contributor to Mome) talks with Gary Groth about our series of Carl Barks collections and all things Barks: "Barks’ comics somehow flourished within the strictures he was given. His imagination allowed him to either use or ignore those boundaries to his advantage, just as, in a more interior way, [Charles] Schulz’s imagination allowed him so much play within the strictures he chose. Barks’ work could be absurdist, satirical, or farcical within an adventure setting, a travelogue, a domestic comedy while maintaining those small, innate human values that reposed within his characters."

Nuts

Profile: At Publishers Weekly, Steve Bunche, who says "Fantagraphics has done readers a great favor by releasing the first full collection of Nuts, the hilarious cult strip by famed Playboy and National Lampoon cartoonist Gahan Wilson," chats with Wilson about the strip: "...[P]eople seal off as they become adults and are no longer open to understanding. It's really sad to see happening. They get to take in less and less of what's around them and become more isolated. I mean, you go to your high school reunion and see the once-alive faces of the people you grew up with and you say, 'My god! What happened to Bob and Susan!' and whomever and it's just incredibly sad. Neil Gaiman's phrase, 'being surrounded by mad giants,' pretty succinctly sums it all up."

Pogo Vol. 1

Plug: "A few weeks ago, I wrote a column about the comic strip Pogo. I lamented the lack of current Pogo anthologies — the old ones are practically rare books, and priced to match. Well, dog my cats, now comes a brand-new book, a compilation of the entire first year of strips, daily and Sunday, from Fantagraphics Books. Pogo: Through the Wild Blue Wonder by Walt Kelly may not be available in bookstores yet, but your friendly neighborhood bookseller would be happy to order it for you. It's a hefty volume, and will leave even the most dyspeptic Pogo fan wide-eyed with wonder and gratitude." – Jon Carroll, San Francisco Chronicle

Commentary: "Not sure I'd seen the final-final cover design for Fantagraphics' shot at a complete Pogo series. I think it looks nice, and it's strangely reminiscent of the covers from their previous attempt at reprinting the series. It's very odd to live in times where something as monumental as a complete run at Pogo can almost be greeted as just another reprint project." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter

500 Portraits

Plug: Last night when John Hodgman was in town on his current book tour we presented him with a copy of Tony Millionaire's 500 Portraits, in which a drawing of him appears and about which he subsequently had this to say in part: "This makes me astonished and happy and embarrassed, for Tony Millionaire is one of our true genii. And too, look, right there on the same page is my old friend John Sellers! And Borges! And you were there, too, Cthulhu! I don’t know how those other guys crashed our party, though. In any case, you should go out and get this book. It’s absolutely beautiful, painstaking, and weird, inside and out, just like I imagine Tony is himself: the ORIGINAL deranged millionaire."

Safe Area Gorazde: The Special Edition

Commentary: At Comic Book Resources, Laura Sneddon, who is documenting her experiences in the postgraduate Comic Studies program at the University of Dundee in Scotland, looks at Joe Sacco's Palestine and Safe Area Gorazde as the course turns its focus to "Documentary Comics"

New York Welcomes MAD Legend Jack Davis in December!
Written by Eric Reynolds | Filed under Jack DavisGary Grothevents 7 Nov 2011 3:10 PM

Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture – A Career Retrospective

One of America's most beloved and best known cartoonists, Jack Davis, will make a series of extremely rare appearances in New York City and Brooklyn in early December, to promote his new art book, JACK DAVIS: DRAWING AMERICAN POP CULTURE (published by Fantagraphics Books). These personal appearances will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet a living legend and one of medium's greatest practicioners.

On Thursday, Dec. 1 at 7PM, Davis will appear at New York's renowned Strand Bookstore, in conversation with Fantagraphics Books Publisher Gary Groth. The event will feature the world premiere of JACK DAVIS: DRAWING AMERICAN POP CULTURE.

On Friday, Dec. 2 at 6PM, Davis will be in attendance for an exhibition of his original art at the Scott Eder Gallery in Brooklyn.

On Saturday, Dec. 3, Davis will appear with Fantagraphics at the Brooklyn Comics & Graphics Festival, signing copies of JACK DAVIS: DRAWING AMERICAN POP CULTURE throughout the day and participating in a panel discussion with Gary Groth about his life and career (exact times t.b.a.).

Jack Davis arrived on the illustration scene in the euphoric post-war America of the late 1940s when consumer society was booming and the work force identified with commercial images that reflected this underlying sense of confidence and American bravado. Advertising agencies were looking for new ways to tap a rich and expanding market, and there was a vast array of media that needed illustrations. Davis' animated and exuberant images possessed a sense of spontaneous energy that proved to have universal appeal in every medium he worked in.

Beginning with his masterful pen and ink cartooning at EC Comics, he quickly forged a reputation as one of the most versatile artists in comics, drawing humor, horror, and war stories. In Harvey Kurtzman's MAD, especially, Davis made a mark as a master of caricature, composition, and wild, anarchic crowd scenes, practically vibrating with energy.

After stints at MAD, Trump, and Humbug — three humor magazines that defined the satirical zeitgeist of the '50s — Davis went on to become the most successful commercial illustrator of his generation, illustrating movie posters, magazine articles, magazine fiction, LP jackets, and more.

Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture is a gigantic, unparalleled career-spanning retrospective, between whose hard covers resides the greatest collection — in terms of both quantity and quality — of Jack Davis' work ever assembled!

For more information and a preview, please visit
www.fantagraphics.com/artofjackdavis

Listing information:

Thursday, Dec. 1, 7PM:
WHO: Jack Davis (with Gary Groth)
WHAT: Q&A and book signing
WHERE: The Strand Bookstore, 12th & Broadway, New York, NY

Friday, Dec. 2, 6PM:
WHO: Jack Davis
WHAT: Exhibition of Original Art and Artist's Reception
WHERE: Scott Eder Gallery, 18 Bridge St. 2-I, Brooklyn, NY

Saturday, Dec. 3, 12PM-9PM:
WHO: Jack Davis
WHAT: The Brooklyn Comics & Graphics Festival
WHERE: Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, 275 N. 8th St., Brooklyn, NY









Daily OCD: 10/31/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Ulli LustRobert CrumbRichard SalareviewsPaul NelsonOlivier SchrauwenMichael KuppermanLove and RocketsLos Bros HernandezKevin AveryJohn BensonJaime HernandezinterviewsGreg SadowskiGilbert HernandezGary GrothFour Color FearDavid BDaily OCD 31 Oct 2011 7:16 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

The Hidden

Review: "Sala’s new book, The Hidden, does not wholly depart from the campy fascination with the morbid that marks his previous work, but is even darker in tone, despite the vibrant watercolor work. The visual markers of Sala’s humor are present — the affected font, the twisted faces — but there is arguably something more serious and disturbing at play here." – Jenna Brager, Los Angeles Review of Books

Reviews (Video): "This week on the Comics-and-More Podcast, Patrick Markfort and I discuss Richard Sala's work, including his Peculia books and his new graphic novel The Hidden, perfect books to read for Halloween." So says co-host Dave Ferraro — watch the multi-part video at the link

Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950s [2nd Printing]

Review: "EC is often at the center of the story [of Pre-Code horror comics]... Four Color Fear strives to provide an accessible sampler of everything else. Editor Greg Sadowski is adept at such missions.... Sadowski keeps endnotes, often heavy with hard publication facts and extensive quotes from artists and observers, in the back of the book in order to structurally foreground the sensual, aesthetic experience of reading old comics." – Joe McCulloch, Los Angeles Review of Books

Love and Rockets: New Stories #4

Review: "Thirty years after the debut of their Love and Rockets series, the Hernandez Brothers continue to impress readers with their incredible Love and Rockets: New Stories #4.... More than ever, Jaime demonstrates a mastery of line and pacing, making for emotional realism that is rarely matched in the world of comics.... As for Gilbert, he presents readers with the captivating 'King Vampire,' a story which revolves around killer vampires.... The result is a gripping tale filled with plot twists, violence, and absolutely gorgeous art.... With Love and Rockets: New Stories #4, the Hernandez Brothers establish once more their immeasurable contribution to the world of comics. Instead of producing works that are stale and predictable, the duo is creating comics that are as imaginative and fresh as ever." – Jason Grimmer, 211 Bernard (Librairie Drawn & Quarterly)

The Armed Garden and Other Stories

Review: "David B. is one of the most important cartoonists in France. A member of L'Association, his most important work is Epileptic... But I will confess that I like the stories in The Armed Garden more. These are stories about heretics. Heresy is a subject of particular interest for certain storytellers -- for example, Jorge Luis Borges.... These bizarre fable-like tales may seem far from us, but they show want can happen when societies are stressed." – Robert Boyd, The Great God Pan Is Dead

The Man Who Grew His Beard

Review: "The stories [in The Man Who Grew His Beard] are funny, ironic and absurd. In that, he reminds me of his fellow Belgian cartoonists, Kamagurka and Herr Seele. But he also reminds one of the avant garde Belgian cartoonists of Freon (later Fremok). These are more 'art comics,' where the visual aspect is paramount. This is not to say the narratives are unimportant, mere hangers onto which to hang the art. They are amusing, weird and compelling -- the visual aspect makes them all the more so." – Robert Boyd, The Great God Pan Is Dead

Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life

Review: "Told with great confidence and uncomfortable frankness across a sprawling 450 pages, [Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life] is a coming-of-age narrative that inevitably places itself in the tradition of German travel literature, perhaps unwittingly joining the company of such august figures as Goethe and Hesse.... Despite its trauma, the journey ends up being one of liberation. Though its description of the risks inherent to the only semi-aware need for independence characteristic of youth is sobering, the book is never judgmental. There is a distinct undertone of empowerment to this story of one woman’s instinctive search for enlightenment. It is a grand tour." – Matthias Wivel, The Metabunker (Look for our edition of this book in Summer/Fall 2012.)

The Comics Journal #301

Interview: On the day Gary Groth was to have interviewed Robert Crumb on stage at his canceled appearance at the GRAPHIC Festival in Sydney, Gary called Crumb up for a nice long phone chat instead, now transcribed and posted at The Comics Journal, posing questions asked by the Hernandez Bros., Tony Millionaire, Trina Robbins and more in addition to his own

Confessions, Romances, Secrets, and Temptations

Commentary: "Long gone publisher St. John's line of romance comics has a chronicler in the person of John Benson. He edited [Romance Without Tears] from Fantagraphics in 2003. He argues that this line was superior to just about everybody else's line of romance comics and he is good at peopling his argument, particularly in a second book [Confessions, Romances, Secrets and Temptations] he put together in 2007." – Eddie Campbell

 Everything Is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson

Plug: "Two — count ’em — two books fold into one in Everything Is an Afterthought. First, we get a heartbreaking biography of the late, great rock critic Paul Nelson. Then, to prove the greatness part, the author of the first section (Kevin Avery) compiles Nelson’s most incisive hits." – Jim Farber, New York Daily News

Mark Twain's Autobiography 1910-2010

Plug: On Librairie Drawn & Quarterly's 211 Bernard blog, Jason Grimmer runs down some highlights from Mark Twain's Autobiography 1910-2010 by Michael Kupperman, saying "Come on, that's a helluva CV know matter how you slice it. The least you could do is read about it."

Daily OCD: 10/19/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under The Comics JournalRon Regé JrreviewsPrince ValiantMaurice TillieuxLove and RocketsLos Bros HernandezKurt Wolfgangjohn kerschbaumJoe SaccoJaime HernandezinterviewsHal FosterGilbert HernandezGary GrothDaily OCD 19 Oct 2011 7:26 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Prince Valiant

Review: "One of the greatest comic strips of all time and a peak in visual splendor and breath-taking adventure, the story of Prince Valiant's 30+ year odyssey is getting a marvelous presentation in Fantagraphics' series of books, which just reached Volume 4.... What might surprise modern readers is the relative complexity of Valiant, who grows and matures subtly over the years. The strip is violent, sexy, serious, droll and above all eye-catching.... The pleasure of how solidly and carefully [these volumes] are made is part of the pleasure of reading them. You feel like a little kid as you prop the giant volume up and literally dive into the tale that fills your vision, much as kids and adults did more than 70 years ago. It's a worthy presentation for one of the most important and entertaining works in comic strip history." – Michael Giltz, The Huffington Post

The Cartoon Utopia - Ron Regé Jr.

Interview: Vice's Liz Armstrong talks with Ron Regé Jr. about his upcoming book The Cartoon Utopia: "I'm not interested in making a bunch of storyboards or writing a script. Comics are the visual representation of language. So comics are the most ancient and the most vital and most important art form that humanity has ever known. It's also the oldest. Cave paintings, having the form of an image that represents an idea, is what comics are. I wrote an essay called, 'Fuck Other Forms of Art.'"

Mome Vol. 26 - Kurt Wolfgang

Interview (Audio): Kurt Wolfgang is the subject and guest of host Mike Dawson's latest episode of the "TCJ Talkies" podcast at The Comics Journal

Petey & Pussy

Interview (Audio): Speaking of Mike Dawson-hosted podcasts, John Kerschbaum sits in on the new episode of The Ink Panthers with Dawson and co-host Alex Robinson

Love and Rockets: New Stories #4

Culture: Jeet Heer reports on the Iowa Comics Conference at The Comics Journal, featuring the Hernandez Brothers, Joe Sacco, Gary Groth and others. On the new issue of Love and Rockets: New Stories: "Everyone, of course, has been raving about Jaime’s story in this issue, which like the magnificent 'Browntown' in L&R #3 is one of best comics ever done. I’ll freely confess that at the end of the new issue when I saw how Jaime had tied together the fates of Hopey, Maggie, and Ray I started crying like a baby. ...Gilbert’s recent comics have the protean energy and relentless will to reinvention that rivals the Crumb of Weirdo and Hup."

Commentary: Robot 6's Sean T. Collins spotlights Heer's article and adds his own thoughts: "The only thing more striking than the fact that Jaime set this career-defining hurdle for himself is that he freaking cleared it.... It's worth noting that in his contribution to New Stories #4, Gilbert takes Fritz to a place of potential finality not unlike the one that his brother Jaime's leading players occupy at the end of 'The Love Bunglers.' Yeah, it’s really quite a comic."

Analysis: At Robot 6, Matt Seneca examines page 89, by Jaime Hernandez, from Love and Rockets: New Stories #4: "It’s a wonderful meeting of form and content: a completely unified page on the subject of unification, a single unit made up of eight perfectly chosen, gorgeously cartooned panels, each one complete in itself as a composed single drawings.  This is comics at the highest level, with nothing wasted and everything on the page done as well as it possibly could be."

Gil Jordan, Private Detective: Murder by High Tide

Plug: Kim Thompson points out that ActuaBD "referred to our Gil Jordan edition as 'très beau,' which is nice."

Daily OCD Extra: Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes preview & Gary Groth interview at the L.A. Times
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under previewsinterviewsGary GrothDisneyDaily OCDCarl Barks 11 Oct 2011 5:04 PM

Walt Disney presents Donald Duck - Carl Barks

Geoff Boucher of the Los Angeles Times talks to Gary Groth about The Carl Barks Library — "There is in fact an emotional truth at the center of Barks' work; he even said that this was his primary goal, though I can’t dig up the quote at the moment, perhaps I’m thinking of when he told an interviewer that in his stories he was 'telling it like it is' and 'laying it on the line.' The comics critic Don Phelps once told me that it was Barks who made Donald Duck a citizen of the nation of comics characters, which I always remember as being a particularly eloquent way of saying that he invested Donald with such humanity." — and presents a 10-page preview from Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes.

Iowa Celebrates the Literature of Comics
Written by janice headley | Filed under Wally WoodSteve DitkoRobert CrumbJoe SaccoJessica AbelJaime HernandezJack KirbyJack DavisHarvey KurtzmanHal FosterGilbert HernandezGary GrotheventsEC ComicsDaniel ClowesCraig YoeChris WareCarl Barks 6 Oct 2011 9:13 AM

Comics at the University of Iowa

Comics are taking center stage in America's Heartland this autumn, as the University of Iowa presents the exhibit Graphic Language: The Art and Literature of Comics, which runs through December 11th.

This exhibit is truly impressive, featuring original artwork from Carl Barks, Steve Ditko, Hal Foster, and Jack Kirby, as well as Winsor McCay, Frank Frazetta, and Milton Caniff.

There's gonna be a special section devoted to original work for EC Comics, from artists like Wally Wood, Harvey Kurtzman, Jack Davis, Johnny Craig, and Bernard Kriegstein.

And covering the spectrum, the exhibit also spotlights contemporary cartoonists like Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez, Joe Sacco, Daniel Clowes, R. Crumb, Chris Ware, and Jessica Abel, as well as Alison Bechdel, Phoebe Gloeckner, Craig Thompson, John Porcellino, Jeff Lemire, James Sturm, and Matt Madden.

Holy crap, right? Well, it gets even more envy-enducing...

To tie into the exhibit, the University of Iowa presents Symposium on Comics, Creativity, and Culture: International and Interdisciplinary Perspectives, running through this weekend with some impressive panels:

Joe Sacco
Joe Sacco // photo credit: Jacob Covey

Friday, October 6th

3:15-4:15 PM // Preservation and Presentation: The Art and Business of Comics Publishing: Join our fearless leader Gary Groth in panel with Peggy Burns (Drawn and Quarterly) and Craig Yoe (YOE! Books). [ University Capitol Centre 2520D ]

7:30 PM // Joe Sacco: Keynote Lecture and UI Lecture Committee Featured Speaker [ Shambaugh Auditorium ]

Gilbert & Jaime Hernandez
Gilbert & Jaime Hernandez // photo credit: Patrick Rosenkranz

Saturday, October 8th

1:30-3:30 PM // Editing Comics Criticism and Scholarship: This round table discussion features Gary Groth, along with John Lent (Editor, The International Journal of Comic Art) and Frenchy Lunning (Editor, Mechademia) [ University Capitol Centre 2520D ]

7:30 PM // Gilbert & Jaime Hernandez: Keynote Lecture and UI Lecture Committee Featured Speaker [ Shambaugh Auditorium ]

You can view the entire schedule of events at the University of Iowa website. If you read this FLOG and live in Iowa, you better be there!

Daily OCD: 9/1-2/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under The Comics JournalShimura TakakoRichard SalareviewsPrince ValiantmangaKim DeitchJack JacksoninterviewsHal FosterGary GrothDaily OCD 2 Sep 2011 7:48 PM

Yesterday's and today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

The Hidden

Review: "Sala consistently introduces red-cheeked, innocent characters and then puts them through the meat-grinder, and in The Hidden he plays with mad science. ...Sala’s novel features plenty of 'tell,' because if it’s one thing mad scientists enjoy, it’s expository dialogue. There are gorgeous single-panel pages filled with huge dialogue balloons, and it’s to the author and illustrator’s credit that it’s always a hoot; Sala is a professional when it comes to tongue-in-cheek visuals (the friendly looking characters with spilled intestines) and storytelling.... Its ending is... abrupt..., but it leaves ample room for a welcome continuation. The lushly colored package is vintage Fantagraphics, of course." – Alex Carr, Omnivoracious (Amazon.com)

The Comics Journal #301

Review: "Relaunching in a book-sized format, Comics Journal #301 came out from Fantagraphics this summer, and has already gone through a second printing. The magazine is dense, with over three hundred pages, containing enough essays, interviews, reviews, and art pages to easily fill 2-4 of the old issues.... Where else in comics journalism are you going to find a viewpoint of comics encompassing enough to put so many different realms of the artform under the same microscope and give it all due consideration? The drastic shift in format indicates a willingness of Fantagraphics to take risks with its flagship publication." – Greg Baldino, Bleeding Cool

Wandering Son Vol. 1

Review: "...[T]his gentle, inviting series about two transgendered elementary school students... has truly captured my attention.... Wandering Son feels at times more like a series of character sketches that all connect together than a narrative-driven book, but it’s a structure that makes me that much more intrigued... Takako’s art is beautiful here, delicate line drawings that fit well with her story.... Last but not least, props need to go to Fantagraphics for a great physical design of the book.... This isn’t quite like anything else on the market right now, and I’m thrilled to see Fantagraphics exposing it to a wider audience." – Greg McElhatton, Read About Comics

Prince Valiant Vol. 4: 1943-1944

Plug: "One of the great things about the major newspaper comics collection projects is that you look at a new volume, like this one in the Prince Valiant series, and you realize there is volume after volume of high-quality work to come." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter

 Jack Jackson's American History: Los Tejanos & Lost Cause [

Interview: The normally Love and Rockets-focused Love & Maggie blog steps out of their usual purview to hit up Gary Groth for more information about our forthcoming series Jack Jackson's American History (starting next year with Los Tejanos/Lost Cause) — if you're at all interested in these books, definitely check this out

The Search for Smilin' Ed!

Lore: "Before resuming I should say this: Drug taking, by myself and others, really peaks in this chapter. It isn’t something I’m proud of or a thing I endorse. But it is the way it all happened." So begins the ninth installment of Kim Deitch's epic memoir-in-music "Mad About Music: My Life in Records" at TCJ.com

Daily OCD: 8/15/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Willie and JoeWarren BernardSupermenShimura TakakoRick MarschallreviewsPeanutsOlivier SchrauwenMichael KuppermanMarschall BooksmangaKim ThompsonKevin HuizengaJohnny GruelleJim WoodringJacques TardiinterviewsIgortIgnatz SeriesGreg SadowskiGary GrothFrancisco Solano LópezDisneyDaily OCDCharles M SchulzCarl BarksBill MauldinaudioAlex Toth 16 Aug 2011 12:07 AM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Willie & Joe: Back Home

Review: "...[T]he cartoons in Willie & Joe: Back Home capture Mauldin at a low ebb personally, and ferociously inspired professionally.... The material in Back Home is bitter but witty, and remarkable for its courage. Given the platform of a major syndicate, Mauldin used his moral authority — as a firsthand observer of atrocity, venality, and want — to try and make his complacent countrymen feel a little shame. Where his wartime cartoons had said, 'I am one of you' to grunts in the trenches, his post-war work said, 'What the hell happened to you?' to the people who stayed home. At the time, the public rejected Mauldin’s lectures. Today they’re a blistering reminder that life after WWII wasn’t all suburban bliss and baby boom." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club

Willie & Joe: The WWII Years

Review: "Told with humor and a great depth of sensitivity, these comics offer a human lens to an epic more often expressed in grandiose terms. Over the past couple of years Fantagraphics has amazed me consistently with its archival releases of seminal cartoonists' work, and Willie and Joe: The WWII Years is yet another fine example." – David Gutowski, Largehearted Boy

Setting the Standard: Comics by Alex Toth 1952-1954

Review: "Toth brought clarity and drama to the page — the equivalent of a top Hollywood director elevating rote material through elegant framing and camera moves.... Nearly every drawing in this book is purposeful and exciting, and they flow together to tell stories so clearly that the words are often superfluous. Setting the Standard is a treasure trove..." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club

Review: "...Jacques Tardi is certainly in Toth’s league when it comes to rendering seamy genre fare with real artistry. Like a Sniper Lining Up His Shot ... is a wonderfully wicked piece of work, tracking a hitman as he tries to sever all ties with his past and retire with his childhood sweetheart. The story’s a familiar one... but Manchette’s approach is especially violent and gory, with a tough twist ending. And Tardi picks up on the sadness underlying the brutality, sketching a black-and-white world where the choice to go to the dark side is irrevocable, no matter how hard characters work to wrest control of their fates." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club

The Man Who Grew His Beard

Review: "...Belgian artist Olivier Schrauwen does a fine job of approximating the high weirdness of early-20th-century newspaper comics in The Man Who Grew His Beard, a collection of seven deeply strange short stories.... Schrauwen mixes ink and paint in ways that blur the distinctions between comics and fine art, and he brings back certain themes — instruction and erotica, primarily — that suggest how men try and fail to place parameters on the primal. But The Man Who Grew His Beard isn’t meant to be 'understood' so much as it is to be entered and experienced, in all its wildness." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club

Ganges #4

Review: "Kevin Huizenga’s Ganges #4 continues the artist’s increasingly masterful hybrid of direct storytelling and experimental abstraction.... The story suits Huizenga’s style, since he can document both the familiar minutiae of daily life and the sense of unreality that takes hold whenever someone is up half the night. Huizenga works in visual motifs of endlessly branching possibilities and spiraling shapes, showing how becoming 'lost in thought' can be terrifying. In short: This is another terrific installment of a series that’s fast becoming a classic." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club

Mr. Twee Deedle, Raggedy Ann’s Sprightly Cousin: The Forgotten Fantasy Masterpieces of Johnny Gruelle

Review: "Mr. Twee Deedle, Raggedy Ann’s Sprightly Cousin: The Forgotten Fantasy Masterpieces of Johnny Gruelle... collects the strip that illustrator Gruelle created to fill the void left by Little Nemo when Winsor McKay departed The New York Herald. Though not as imaginative as McKay, Gruelle’s Mr. Twee Deedle was every bit as colorful and lavishly rendered, telling gentle fairy stories that explore a rich fantasy world existing in tandem with our own, like children having elaborate playtimes mere feet away from their parents’ more prosaic lives." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club (NOTE: This review was based on samples of the strip provided to the reviewer; the book itself is incomplete and still in production.)

Drawing Power: A Compendium of Cartoon Advertising 1870s-1940s

Review: "...Drawing Power... brings together an eclectic set of examples of comics being used to sell products. The pages are fun to look at — from Mickey Mouse pitching Post Toasties to Dr. Seuss illustrating ads for Esso Marine Products — but the topic is a little too large for a 120-page book, especially one so loosely organized. Then again, maybe that’s the point: to create a reading experience as chaotic and laced with odd beauty as cartooning itself." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club

Review: "I have long admired Woodring’s brilliant, hallucinatory, and bizarre Frank comics. But his work has taken a leap forward with last year’s Weathercraft and this year’s Congress of the Animals. The Frank world is one the reader benefits by being immersed in. What might seem a bit incomprehensible in a short strip blossoms into a dark Dionysian dream in these two graphic novels.... If I keep mention them together, it is because I believe they beg to be read together. They show different but complimentary sides of Woodring’s vision. And also because these two books combine to form, I believe, one of the greatest achievements in recent comics. If you are a fan of the strange, the uncanny, the bizarre, the hallucinatory, and the fantastic, I can’t recommend them enough." – Lincoln Michel, The Faster Times

The Complete Peanuts 1950-1952 (Vol. 1) [NORTH AMERICA ONLY]

Review: For Magnet, Marc Bianchi of the band Her Space Holiday (they're good!) pens an appreciation of Charles M. Schulz's Peanuts, adding "A good place to rediscover the Peanuts is through the retrospective that Fantagraphics started releasing in 2004. They are complete and total masterpieces, from the elegant layouts provided by famed comic-book artist Seth to the wonderful guest introductions each volume has... If you are ever in a shop that carries these books, I highly suggest thumbing through one of them. Especially the earliest works (1950-1952 or 1953-1954). You are guaranteed to find something that in one panel can tear your heart apart and, in the next, put it back together again."

Wandering Son Vol. 1

Review: "To say that Wandering Son isn't a manga for everyone is perhaps stating the obvious, but despite the potential to make light of its cross-dressing, coming of age tale it proves itself to be an impressively subtle and considered take on growing up within this opening volume.  ...[G]ive it time and you'll find an impressive, character-driven series beneath its simplistic surface that will both charm and fascinate you, leaving you rooting for its characters and wanting to follow them through to (you hope) eventual happiness." – Andy Hanley, UK Anime Network

Supermen! The First Wave of Comic Book Heroes 1936-1941

Review: "Supermen!: The First Wave of Comic Book Heroes, 1936-1941 promises to fill gaps in 'the origins and early development of superheroes and the comic book form.' Editor Greg Sadwoski has assembled an eye-catching collection of stories, magazine covers, and house ads showing unfamiliar faces from the first years of American adventures comics. ...Supermen! is most interesting for what didn’t lead anywhere.... Seeing what didn’t work or become the norm can be as illuminating as seeing what did." – J.L. Bell, Oz and Ends (via Robot 6)

Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes

Plug: "...[D]espite his undeniable gift for crafting  elegant and vibrant storytelling that transcends all genres, sadly there has never before been a comprehensive, affordably priced reprinting of Carl Barks' Disney work…until now. Fantagraphics Books recently announced that it will begin reprinting the entire catalog of the master’s Disney material, beginning with the release of Walt Disney’s Donald Duck: 'Lost in the Andes' by Carl Barks in October, 2011." – Bill Baker, The Morton Report

Plug/Interview (Audio): On Boing Boing's Gweek podcast, guest Ruben Bolling (Tom the Dancing Bug) and hosts Mark Frauenfelder & Rob Beschizza discuss Carl Barks amongst themselves and The Carl Barks Library with our own Gary Groth

Mark Twain's Autobiography 1910-2010

Interview (Audio): The hosts of Comics Alliance's "War Rocket Ajax" podcast talk to Michael Kupperman about his new book Mark Twain's Autobiography 1910-2010, crafting his brand of humor and sundry other topics (such as bleu cheese): "It's about things taking the turn that you don't expect, the ball taking the bounce you don't expect. That for me is an example of trying to make the sentence end up in a place that's different from where it started."

Baobab #1

Interview (Audio): Enjoy a lengthy conversation between Baobab creator/Ignatz Series editor Igort and Inkstuds host Robin McConnell

Ana (Unpublished)

Tribute: At The Comics Journal, Kim Thompson's obituary of Francisco Solano López: "Argentina’s Francisco Solano López was a titan of South American comics, on a level with the great Alberto Breccia, the temporary honorary Argentinean (during the 1950s) Hugo Pratt, and the hugely influential writer Hector Oesterheld (who collaborated with all three)." (Excerpt courtesy TCJ's Tim Hodler)

Daily OCD: 8/9/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Tony MillionaireRobert CrumbPeanutsNate NealJoyce FarmerJacques TardiJack DavisGary GrothDaily OCDCharles M SchulzCarol Tyleraudio 9 Aug 2011 7:00 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Tony Millionaire 1

Interview? (Audio): Tony Millionaire appeared on host Benjamen Walker's radio show Too Much Information on WFMU — we haven't had a chance to listen yet so we don't know exactly what form it takes but you can download or stream the episode here

The Sanctuary

Profile: At GALO Magazine, Emily Crawford Misztal talks to Nate Neal and looks at his debut graphic novel The Sanctuary: "While the language and the ways of the characters in the book will be unfamiliar to readers, the motives that drive them are as old and familiar as the sun. Neal sees the ancient setting as a way to get at the core of what it means to be human—in any era. 'It is a chance for me to examine human behavior on a more universal level,' Neal said. 'Sex, power, revenge, the primal stuff, is underneath everything that we do. There’s more covering over what we do now. With the cavemen, I can strip everything away and get right down to it.'"

Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture: A Career Retrospective

Plug (Video): Roger Ash of Westfield Comics sits down on camera to recommend our upcoming release Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture

R. Crumb (AP Photo)

News: The Washington Post's Michael Cavna gets Gary Groth's comments on Robert Crumb's withdrawal from the upcoming GRAPHIC festival in Sydney, Australia

Special Exits

Commentary: At Robot 6, Brigid Alverson examines the topic of aging as "the final frontier" of comics storytelling and praises creators such as Joyce Farmer and Carol Tyler for their handling of the subject matter (in Special Exits and You'll Never Know, respectively)

The Complete Peanuts 1950-1952 (Vol. 1) [NORTH AMERICA ONLY]

Feature: Rob Lammle of mental_floss posts an entertaining list of "10 Peanuts Characters You've Probaby Forgotten" — devotees of our The Complete Peanuts series will be familiar with some of them, and some of them give hints as to what to expect in future volumes!

It Was the War of the Trenches

Analysis: At Taking Its Time, Jeff Hayes writes on the use of Jacques Tardi's It Was the War of the Trenches in an academic setting, specifically the high school English classroom: "In using a text like It Was the War of the Trenches, democratic education is being practiced. It is not just because of how the book is constructed visually; we must look at it also as an artifact of importance in presenting how another culture views historical events-how those events may or may not have affected the lives of others we do not think of in the rush of war and the aftermaths that follow as we choose what is important in history and what is not."