Online Commentary & Diversions returns (probably) Tuesday next week, as your humble correspondent travels to and from the MoCCA Festival. Fortunately, looks like things are quiet out there (as I doom myself saying that):
• Review: "[Luba] seems more and more like a great book every time I pick it up. I guess I shouldn't be surprised... It's going to be until the end of the year before I can attempt a bigger piece on the book... I feel I can wait that six months before a summary statement because there won't be many works in this calendar year better than this one, and if there [are] I'll be so happy I won't care... For now I just want people to know how good it is and remind folks that it's out there. It's a good read, too... It's going to be a good year spent in this book's company." - Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
• Review: "To say they don’t make them like this anymore is a gross understatement... [The Brinkley Girls: The Best of Nell Brinkley's Cartoons 1913-1940] is a very welcome introduction to an artist whose skills need to be seen to be believed, and an even more welcome reminder that newspapers used to offer readers a lot more than just news and commentary — they also used to offer honest-to-God fine art." - J. Caleb Mozzocco, Las Vegas Weekly
Updates of Online Commentary & Diversions may be oddly timed for the rest of the week as we're eyeball deep in MoCCA preparations.
• Review: "[Harvey] Kurtzman and company aimed high for a more sophisticated humor mag than the competition... Fantagraphics’ package for it is bar none — handsome, sturdy and restored with great care... I was most interested in the behind-the-scenes story of Humbug and the creative process that went into it — not to mention doomed it — and the book’s introduction and exclusive interviews more than satisfy on that count." - Rod Lott, Bookgasm
• Review: "In a way, Humbugalmost feels like a goof-humor version of The New Yorker or something. There’s a lot of fairly serious political/social commentary, cloaked in wry rainment. It’s a blend as interesting as any cocktail, and it’s goddamn great to have this stuff easily available. Hats away!" - Byron Coley & Thurston Moore, Arthur Magazine
• Review: "...[U]nparallel parodists Kurtzman and Elder ran rampant for themselves when they published these 11 exceptional issues of comic art anarchy. This two-volume hardcover box set has been reproduced from the original art and digitally restored to make everything look even better than when it first came out in 1957. This long-overdue definitive edition of Humbug is an essential slice of satire from the masters of the genre." - Jeffrey Morgan, Detroit Metro Times
• Review: "Everybody Is Stupid Except For Me [is] a compilation of the notorious Seattle libertarian [Peter Bagge]’s politically (and sexually) charged comics for Reason magazine... It’s great. So colourful (always my favourite part of Pete’s comics) and acerbic and smart-ass, but with a heart and purpose behind the bickering and keenly observes caricatures... It’s too early to say now, but right now I’m thinking it’s perhaps my favourite stuff of his, full stop..." - Everett True
• Review: "Connective Tissue... make[s] for an engaging read... While Darla sounds like she could be a handful, she is a good and sympathetic protagonist, making her a modern-day Alice in a 21st century Wonderland." - Jason Borelli, Beyond Race Magazine
• Preview: Spotlighting comics shipping this week, The Comics Reporter says of Uptight #3: "The previous issue of this series from the great Jordan Crane was super, super strong." Likewise, Chris Mautner at Robot 6: "The latest issue in Jordan Crane’s very good series about ghosts and melancholy comes to town. I feel we should be doing all we can to ensure Crane keeps making comics, don’t you?" And Matthew Brady says: "I missed the second issue of this series, but the first one was great... Check it out if you see it on the shelves."
• Profile: My Adventure Is Your Advantage spotlights the design work of our very own Art Director Jacob Covey, calling him "the bees knees of design" and presenting previously unseen previews of the forthcoming Abstract Comics anthology
• Profile: "[Dash] Shaw's online and bound comics inhabit surreal spaces both cerebral and emotional, leaping from zombie love stories to futuristic set pieces without resorting to predictability... It's probably safe to say he has arrived." - Wired
• Interview: Publishers Weekly's Heidi MacDonald asks our own Eric Reynolds for his thoughts about Book Expo America and its value for comics publishers like us; The Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon comments on the interview; meanwhile, The Daily Cross Hatch's Brian Heater gets a few words from Eric on the show floor
If you're one of the first 10 people who ordered the exclusive Luba: Collectors Edition (signed, numbered, and sketched in by Gilbert Hernandez, with a special deluxe cloth binding), your copy is on its way to you this week. Gilbert is sending them back to us in batches of 10, so the next 10 orders will go out as soon as we get the next shipment from him. Only 30 copies exist and they are nearly all spoken for, so if you've been on the fence about ordering it, get off that fence and make your order now! It's the ultimate collectible for the elite Beto fan, available ONLY direct from Fantagraphics.
600-page black & white 7" x 10.25" hardcover • $100.00 SOLD OUT
• Review: "Low Moon collect[s] five good examples of Jason's bitter, funny sense of humor... Despite the funny animal surface, Jason's actually one of the best crime writers of this generation, and three of these pieces are very dark crime stories, with a sort of science fiction story about estrangement from love and the title story, a very funny parody of western movie clichés that doesn't require any knowledge of the originals. If you're feeling bleak about the bleak underbelly of human existence, this probably isn't your best relief, but if you can see the humor in it, there's pretty much no better guide working today." - Steven Grant, Comic Book Resources
• Preview: New York Magazine posts an exclusive excerpt from A Mess of Everything by Miss Lasko-Gross, saying "she writes about her own high-school years with affectionately brutal honesty."
• Plug: "Want a collection of one of the most brilliant comics of the modern era? Fantagraphics has released a collection of Gilbert Hernandez's Luba." - Matt Price, The Oklahoman/Nerdage
Just a stack of original Gilbert Hernandez pages for Love and Rockets: New Stories #2 sitting around the office waiting to be scanned, bathing us all in the brilliant radiance of their presence. You know, nothing to get worked up over.
• Review: "Jaime [Hernandez]'s entry [in Love and Rockets: New Stories #1]... is like a huge riff on what might have happened if superhero comics started their evolutionary path by focusing on more female-centered concerns instead of testosterone-fueled fisticuffs... Gilbert's contributions are hard to describe, mainly because they are so surreal. They really have to be experienced and interpreted on your own." - John Jakala, Sporadic Sequential
This exclusive, ultra-limited edition (just 30 copies are available) of the new 600-page hardcover Luba omnibus graphic novel features a special, deluxe cloth binding, and each copy will be signed and numbered with an original hand-drawn sketch by Gilbert Hernandez. See photos below — more images will become available when we receive the books back from Gilbert (if the edition does not sell out beforehand). The ultimate collectible for the elite Beto fan, available ONLY direct from Fantagraphics.
Note: Despite previous indications that this edition would be a future convention exclusive, we have instead decided to make it available via website and phone orders. If you have already ordered the standard edition and would like to upgrade, please call (1-800-657-1100; 206-524-1967 outside the U.S.) or email us before placing your order. Act quickly — supplies are extremely limited!
600-page black & white 7" x 10.25" hardcover • $100.00 SOLD OUT
Due to the somewhat obsessive nature of my link gathering, I had the idea to start calling these posts "Daily OCD: Online Commentary & Diversions." What do you think, readers? Too cutesy-poo? Offensive to sufferers of real OCD?
• List: The Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon names "The Ten All-Time Best Long-Running Comics Series," with Love and Rockets Vol. I at #2 ("The best long-running and organic artistic achievement in serial comic book form... The Hernandez Brothers inspired and outworked a greatest generation of comics auteurs. Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez are each among that handful of artists who must be given serious consideration when talking about the best cartoonists working. In Love & Rockets each created fictional worlds for the ages and used them as a vehicle for enormous artistic development, lapping the majority of their peer group. One so inclined could argue with seriousness a top 25 of American graphic novels where 1/3 of the titles listed came from this series") and Acme Novelty Library at #8 ("...a mind-bending achievement... ACME punched right in the scrotum the notion that every issue of a single comic book series had to look like the others... Its primary value is that it presented [Chris] Ware's giant talent to enough of an audience to bring him thousands of hardcore fans... Ware can dream up a single-page that if it were the only thing he ever published people might still know his name")
• List: The A.V. Club's Noel Murray offers commentary on Spurge's list ("There’s no one definitive L&R storyline; it’s just story after amazing story, accumulating over the past three decades like personal correspondence. [...] Ware... turn[ed] comic books into a kind of readable sculpture...") and lobbies for the inclusion of Johnny Ryan's Angry Youth Comix
• Review: "Miss Lasko-Gross' self-caricature in her autobio stories [in A Mess of Everything] is an interesting mash-up of a typical teen with low self-esteem and that of an indignant outsider determined to make her increasingly confident voice heard -- and loudly. [...] Lasko-Gross' greatest strengths as an artist are her character design, gesture and use of body language. It's the way she stages her characters that makes looking at each page interesting... I love the touch of the exaggerated and the grotesque that she injects into her drawings, distorting faces and bodies to reflect emotional tumult." - Rob Clough
• Review: "Formerly-suppressed, entirely classic, these stories [in Blazing Combat] are all solid examples of comic storytelling and craftsmanship... [T]he teams here make things look too easy. Not surprising since we’re talking about master artists like Toth, Frazetta, Severin, Crandall and others. The stories have all aged surprisingly well... Highly recommended..." - Matt Maxwell, Robot 6
• Events: Portland, your Free Comic Book Day cup runneth over, as Andrice Arp and the other contributors to the excellent free anthology comic Bird Hurdler will be appearing at various locations throughout town -- Andrice has the full itinerary and details on her blog
Now older but perhaps not so very much wiser, the hammer-wielding matriarch Luba has relocated to the United States of America, where she continues to contend not only, as an immigrant, with a brand new and not always welcoming culture but also her tempestuous extended family — her eccentric sisters Fritz and Petra, her nurturing but often disapproving cousin Ofelia, her many children ranging from the fully grown (Guadalupe and Doralis) to the latest brood sired by her husband Khamo (Casimira, Socorro, Joselito, and Conchita) — many of them in turn each with her own network of family members, lovers, and friends (including a number of other escapees from Palomar).
These “America” stories — over 100 of them, ranging from quick one-page blackout sketches to bona fide graphic novellas — were originally published in a number of different comics and reprinted in a trilogy of oversized paperbacks. Luba finally collects in one compact, affordable hardcover the entirety of these tales, showcasing Gilbert Hernandez’s wicked wit, great compassion, and uncanny understanding of how human beings love, squabble, and ultimately find a way to make it through this life. Tales of sex, violence and rock and roll rub elbows with stories of love, sensitivity, and understanding — and thanks to the miraculous alchemy of Hernandez’s peerless storytelling, what emerges is a coherent, exciting, funny portrait of one of the richest group of fictional characters ever to spring from a cartoonist’s mind.
NOTE: Stay tuned for the future announcement of the Collectors Edition of Luba, signed by Gilbert Hernandez, with a special binding, and strictly limited to 30 copies, which will most likely be a convention exclusive starting this summer!
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