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Category >> Hal Foster

Daily OCD: 9/14/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Tim LaneTim HensleyRichard SalareviewsPrince ValiantJohnny RyanJoe DalyHans RickheitHal FosterAbstract Comics 14 Sep 2009 2:49 PM

Your Online Commentary & Diversions for today:

• Review: "With The Red Monkey Double Happiness Book, [Joe] Daly maintains some of the psychedelic trappings of his earlier stories but puts them within a framework of stoner noir (ala the film Pineapple Express) buddy story, only with Big Lebowski-style absurdity. However, the book can't really be reduced to familiar genre markers all that easily, and [a] firm, eccentric sense of place is the biggest reason why it works." - Rob Clough

• Review: "Needless to say, one could study the art found within Abstract Comics: The Anthology (published by Fantagraphics Books) for months, or one could flip through the entire thing in five minutes, and the conclusions one could draw from either experience of the volume could easily be justified as informed and insightful." - Alan David Doane, Comic Book Galaxy

• Review: "[Prince Valiant] creator Hal Foster is justly hailed for his stupendous full-pagers, full of panorama and carefully-researched settings.... We moderns are fortunate that  superb reprint editions of these classics are readily available..." - Brenda Clough, Book View Cafe Blog

• Review: "I love [Richard Sala's] older work and newer work alike - the evolution of Sala's inky, angular charmers is a treat to see - and [Delphine] (a retelling of Snow White) has been such a wonderful foreboding wander through the twisty, turn-y, dark forest." - Emily Martin, Inside a Black Apple

• Plug: "This week I started reading Prison Pit Vol. 1 and ... I ... it ... um ... the thing is ... it's .... wow." - Chris Mautner, Robot 6

• Analysis: Blog Flume's Ken Parille on Tim Hensley: "I can’t think of another cartoonist who approaches space -- and what we might call 'spatial color' -- in such a rigorously strange way."

• Interview: At The Daily Cross Hatch, part 3 of 4 of their interview with Hans Rickheit: "I can’t work from a script. If the book were really tightly scripted, I promise you I’d lose interest in it, and I might force myself to draw it, but the artwork would just become a lifeless thing. The book would suffer dramatically."

• Things to see: Baby vs. kangaroo and other absurdity from Tim Lane

More video previews
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under videoPrince ValiantpreviewsMomeJim FloraHal FosterFletcher Hanks 14 Sep 2009 11:36 AM
I won't choke your browser with any more embedded video players, but as promised, we've posted 4 more video previews of Summer '09 releases, which you can see at the product info pages at the following links: Mome Vol. 15 - Summer 2009, Prince Valiant Vol. 1: 1937-1938 by Hal Foster, The Sweetly Diabolic Art of Jim Flora, and You Shall Die by Your Own Evil Creation! by Fletcher Hanks. We should hopefully have another batch up soon.
Daily OCD: 9/11/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Tim LaneSteven WeissmanreviewsPrince ValiantPirus and MezzoJacques TardiHans RickheitHal FosterFletcher HanksFemke HiemstraDash ShawComing AttractionsBlazing CombatAl ColumbiaAbstract Comics 11 Sep 2009 2:28 PM

• Lists: Graphic Novel Reporter's "Graphic Novel Picks for Fall 2009" has Al Columbia's Pim & Francie: The Golden Bear Days as a pick for Tweens, while The Squirrel Machine, West Coast Blues, and The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century AD are on the Adult Fiction list

• Review: "...[T]hese extraordinary visions from a different, four-colour era [in You Shall Die by Your Own Evil Creation!] are as bold and striking as they are violent and strange.... Classic comics from a different age." - Grovel

• Review: "This new book from Fantagraphics of Femke Hiemstra’s work [Rock Candy] is gorgeous. The cloth hardbound book has a nice die-cut cover and the inside is jam packed with Femke’s works including tons of paintings and drawings alongside loose sketches.... The way the sketches are juxtaposed with the finished work in the book makes me feel like I’m getting an insider’s view. If you're a fan of 'pop surrealism,' this is a book for you." - Julia Rothman, Book By Its Cover

• Review: "I said, 'It seems to me that when comics become abstract, they really cease to be comics and become, for all effective purposes, simply abstract art.' But this anthology [Abstract Comics], in its best work as well as in its not-best, shows that that's not true. Comics really are a coherent enough medium to support their own tradition of abstraction. That tradition doesn't quite exist yet. But, in this anthology, [editor] Andrei [Molotiu] shows conclusively that it could." - Noah Berlatsky, The Hooded Utilitarian

• Review: "...magnificent reproductions, done in a sturdy hardcover [Prince Valiant Vol. 1: 1937-1938] with oversized pages and entirely restored colors and shadings (indeed, those of us who’ve seen Prince Valiant reprint editions in the past will need some mental time to adjust to how much we’ve been missing)." - Steven Donoghue, Open Letters Monthly (via Steven Hart)

• Commentary: At Comics Comics, Jeet Heer offers some follow-up thoughts to Dan Nadel's previous essay on Prince Valiant

• Interview: Adrian Kinnaird of From Earth's End talks to Abstract Comics contributor Draw: "I had an epiphany. The gutter is where all the action in a comic takes place, it's where the reader creates the comic reading experience.... I wasn't trying to create effects, I was trying to create a visual representation of what happens in the gutter of a comic."

• Preview: Rich Johnston of Bleeding Cool looks ahead to our February '10 release King of the Flies: Hallorave by Pirus & Mezzo: "King Of The Flies looks like it should disturb and entertain on an equal basis."

• Preview: Akileos Editions will be releasing a translated edition of Blazing Combat in France

• Things to see: At the Covered blog, Steven Weissman's Zip-a-Toney take on Superboy #116

• Things to see: The clown appears to be the "food" in this scenario, from Tim Lane

Daily OCD: 9/8/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Tim LaneThe Comics JournalreviewsPrince ValiantMichael KuppermanLove and RocketsKevin HuizengaJordan CraneJacques TardiHumbugHal FosterGilbert HernandezDash ShawBasil Wolverton 8 Sep 2009 5:03 PM

Some major comics writing out there over the holiday weekend making for an extra-beefy (and late) Online Commentary & Diversions update:

•Review/Profile: "Sure I'd read [Hal] Foster before, but I'd never found a way in. Fortunately, Fantagraphics recently released Prince Valiant Vol. 1: 1937-38, and I was able to absorb the material in a wholly new way.... I found this first book completely engrossing. Prince Valiant opens up a world that I wanted to stay in -- a wide-eyed early 20th century approach to fantasy with a now-vanished sincerity and wholesomeness. It's an all too rare pleasure in comics." - Dan Nadel, Comics Comics

• Review: "Medieval swordplay and adventure have never been as glorious as in Foster's Sunday-only comic strip. Although much reprinted (including an earlier version from the same publisher), this edition has been reproduced from pristine printer's proofs to give the gorgeous artwork its crispest version ever.... Foster's script is literate and full of vivid characterizations, like the headstrong but cunning Val and carefree Sir Gawain. But nothing surpasses his artwork—rich with details of armor, weapons and dress, the story comes to life with a palpable sense of magic and danger. Each drawing is a flawless illustration, perfectly composed; even a battle of 20 men comes alive in a tiny panel, with every action clearly delineated. Prince Valiant is one of the best-drawn comics ever, and this new edition does ample justice to its achievement." - Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

• Review: "Underneath the screaming and plagues, the giddy joy that [Basil Wolverton] seems to take in his art radiates off the page, just like it does in his secular work.... His creatures from sci-fi and horror, his fascination with grotesque bodily exaggeration, his devout Christian faith -- here it all comes together into an operatic and apocalyptic peak.... The Wolverton Bible might seem like a paradox to its religious audience and its alt-comics fans -- even if Wolverton himself never saw the contradiction." - Martyn Pedler, Bookslut

• Review: "As an historical object, sure, great. I think it should be in print. Kurtzman was a very important figure in comics, and the art and design of the pieces here are of an exceedingly high quality. I'm glad I can see more examples of Jaffee's, Elder's and Davis' work." Otherwise, Chris Allen gives up on Humbug

• Review: Joe McCulloch of Jog - The Blog has a major review of Tardi & Manchette's West Coast Blues -- I've read through it three times and it's too complex for a simple pull quote

• History/preview/profile/analysis: "The 300th issue of The Comics Journal is soon to hit the stands, and the magazine everyone in comics loves to hate rattles on, chugging and sputtering and picking up disreputable beardy guys like a Toonerville Trolley of spite.... In some Inglourious Basterds­-like alternate history, the 1990s ended with the twisted faces of Kim Thompson and Gary Groth hovering, laughing maniacally, over the charred and bullet-riddled corpse of Wizard magazine." - Shaenon K. Garrity, comiXology

• Analysis: du9 presents a new translation by Derik Badman of a 2006 piece by David Turgeon on Poison River by Gilbert Hernandez: "What first strikes the reader about this work is its narrative density. It isn’t uncommon for a single page to show as many places, times, and situations as there are panels." (Via Journalista)

• Interview: Jason Thibault of Optimum Wound talks to Tim Lane as part of their "Masters of Ink" series: "You do what seems the impossible and most absurd: you learn to breathe underwater, and revel in it. Get drunk on the water in your lungs. Cultivate a functional level of positive insanity. And develop tough skin. Stick with it if only because your reasons are inexplicable."

• Interview: The Daily Cross Hatch wraps up presenting Brian Heater's chat with Jordan Crane: "I was in Portugal and I saw a really tiny kid with a really giant cat. He looked exactly like the kid in The Clouds Above. The kid was so small that the cat was the same size as him — it’s not a big cat, but next to him, he was huge. And then I just kind of went from there."

• Plug: "Fantagraphics collected the first four issues of this hysterically random comic [Tales Designed to Thrizzle] into one gigantic visual laugh riot." - Kate Izquierdo, Geek Monthly

• Plug: At Super I.T.C.H., Steven Johnston takes note of Humbug ("much of it is prime satire from the creators of MAD!") and The Wolverton Bible ("particularly including some genuinely horrific scenes from the Book of Revelations").

• Events: See Dash Shaw in Brazil

• Things to see: A trio of new Amazing Facts... and Beyond! with Leon Beyond strips by Kevin Huizenga

Daily OCD: 8/24/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Tim LanereviewsPrince ValiantPeter BaggePeanutsPaul HornschemeierNell BrinkleyMomeJordan CraneJasonHal FosterDave CooperDash ShawCharles M SchulzCharles BurnsCarol TylerBlazing CombatAl Columbia 24 Aug 2009 2:56 PM

A new week brings an avalanche of new Online Commentary & Diversions:

• Profile: For the Philadelphia Inquirer, Tirdad Derakhshani looks at the past, present, and future of Prince Valiant: "The release Tuesday of Prince Valiant, Vol. 1: 1937-1938, the first in a new series of gorgeously printed, hardcover Valiant collections from Fantagraphics Books, served as a bittersweet reminder of the century-long rise and eventual decline of a great American art form, the comic strip."

• Review: "...Al [Columbia] decided to dredge up old ghosts, unfinished pieces, trifles he had thrown away then reconsidered and offered them up to us as proof that he hasn’t forgotten us. This 240-page book [Pim and Francie: The Golden Bear Days, Fall 2009]... has certainly filled in some gaps for me as to what goes on in Columbia’s mind... There seems to be something both amazing and horrifying around every corner, in any dark space, in the thick of the forest, in the bulbous eyes of maniacal creatures and the straight realistic lines of buildings that all have a dark window somewhere... It is truly a viscous treat and I am sure this one will never wash off." - Rachael M Rollson, Panel to Panel

• Review: "Though Low Moon doesn’t have the slow-building impact of Jason’s longer works, he’s still one of comics’ best storytellers, and it’s always a treat to spend time in his world of off-brand pulp clichés and not-always-so-funny animals. [Grade] B+" - The A.V. Club

• Review: "Jason is an immensely skilled artist capable of manipulating his self-restricted vocabulary to stretch space and time. Low Moon moves in a slow burn as the two antagonists move closer to their eventual showdown. In what is probably the best story in the book You Are Here, time moves more quickly as a father and son attempt to deal with the alien abduction of the father's wife. The father builds a rocket while the son grows up and has a life of his own. Eventually they pile into the rocket, and things end badly, but perhaps a bit more emotionally than with the other stories." - Michael Buntag, NonSensical Words

• Review: "Rage of a different kind in Everybody Is Stupid Except for Me and Other Astute Observations by Peter Bagge. This collection of satirical rants from the American libertarian magazine Reason... is philosophically more about punk individualism than Ayn Rand, and artistically the heir to 1980s indie comics. Indeed, Bagge is an indie star, famous for his wonderfully elastic cartooning style and punk-inflected comedies." - Roger Sabin, The Observer

• Review: "These are good comics [in Everybody Is Stupid Except for Me and Other Astute Observations], fun to read and definitely funny, definitely searing and when he hits a target he gets it right. Also there’s something to be said for the journalist tone of the writing and the structure of the strips would translate well into a proper newspaper, were he so inclined." - Ibrow

• Review: "For fresh talent in comics, you have to go to the anthologies and there's none better at the moment than Mome... the highlight [of Vol. 15] is Dash Shaw's hallucinatory story about a tidal wave, which uses swaths of colour and elongated panels to create a sense of vertigo." - Roger Sabin, The Observer (same link as above)

• Review: "Schulz had gone from a fairly grounded sense of consensus reality to Snoopy's flights of fancy to outright weirdness... That seems to be the essence of Sparky Schulz to me: even with the pressure of the daily grind and his position as the lynchpin of what had become a vast empire, Schulz wrote to amuse himself... At his best in this volume [The Complete Peanuts 1973-1974], Schulz gave the readers some of the best stories of his career." - Rob Clough

• Review: "Ace cartoonist Jordan Crane makes a curious split comic choice. The first half [of Uptight #3 ], 'Vicissitude,' is the opening chapter of a brooding adult tale of marital dysfunction and deceit, while the second, 'Freeze Out,' is a kid’s story, the further adventures of Simon and his cat Jack, who were featured in Crane’s great graphic novel, The Clouds Above. Miraculously, the pairing works — each is superior in its own genre — but you might want to wait until 'Freeze Out' is collected on its own before showing it to your kids." - John Seven, Worcester Magazine

• Review: "Blazing Combat (Fantagraphics, 2009) collects the entire run in a beautiful, incredibly well-bound hardcover book... The stories' tone is very 1960s, ironic with a cynicism stemming from brokenhearted humanism." - Carol Borden, The Cultural Gutter

• Review: "Needless to say, I love the streak of darkness that permeates [Charles] Burns' work. I mean that both figuratively and literally, as his one-of-a-kind illustration style is at-a-glance recognizable because of his heavy use of black ink... That starkness emphasizes the cruel features on the faces of his characters - deep wrinkles, harsh teeth, beady eyes and unflattering noses, to say nothing of the occasional freak. Like the look of his characters, Burns is one of a kind, and Skin Deep is a good introduction to the man's singular vision - a good way to get your toe wet before diving in." - Rod Lott, Bookgasm

• Review: "[A.B.] Frost looked like he was painting with the line…on a half-dozen cups of coffee. Trust me, that’s hard to do... Also, it looks like Fanta-Graphic Books might have brought Stuff and Nonsense back in print in 2003. [Yes. -Ed.] Pick up and copy and be ready to weep - this work is untouchable." - Tony DiTerlizzi

• Plug: "Carol Tyler's You'll Never Know is my favorite book of the year thus far. This memoir/biography/scrapbook is both formally challenging and emotionally devastating. Any critic serious about compiling a year-end list needs to keep this book under consideration." - Rob Clough, Robot 6 (guest contributor)

• Tweet: "Still, the most beautifully designed bk so far this yr is still IMO Fantagraphics 'The Brinkley Girls': http://bit.ly/CSYpH Swoon-worthy." - bookjones

• Things to see: Mark Murphy shares some convention sketches, including Dave Cooper, Paul Hornschemeier and many others

• Things to see: Tim Lane ponders "What would it be like to punt the Venus of Willendorf into outer space from the surface of the moon?” and "...but WHAT about THE CHILDREN?"

Daily OCD: 8/17/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Tom KaczynskiThe Comics JournalreviewsRay FenwickPrince ValiantJoe DalyJasonHal FosterFantagraphics BookstoreDave CooperAbstract Comics 17 Aug 2009 2:53 PM

Online Commentary & Diversions

• Analysis: "For me, Tom [Kaczynski]'s work is an oasis in the desert... Tom K builds comics that could be likened to a brick house. These are solid comics." - Frank Santoro, Comics Comics

• List: I haven't heard of pop group 3OH!3 before, but their frontman Sean Foreman has pretty good taste in comics going by this Top 10 list he gave to The AOL Radio Blog: Black Hole, Bottomless Belly Button, Monster Parade, Epileptic, Jimmy Corrigan...

• Review: "For my money, [Joe] Daly is hilarious, with an ear for great dialog, a nice feel for the way characters and convertibles glide across the landscape of the comic page, and a zest for uniquely convoluted plots [in The Red Monkey Double Happiness Book]."- Steve Duin, The Oregonian

• Review: "Previous assemblages of [Prince] Valiant being out of print, Fantagraphics, a leader in the field, has stepped forward with gloriously restored art reproduced in generous dimensions and abetted by the essays of experts. This initial volume... demonstrates just why Valiant continues to burn so brightly... Simultaneously nostalgic and eternal, Hal Foster's populist masterwork deserves this accessible enshrinement." - Paul DiFilippo, The Barnes & Noble Review

• Review: "I dont think I’ve ever read anything like Low Moon by Jason and I mean that in a good way... Low Moon has a brilliant almost tightrope deadpan mix of sad and funny... Jason is capable of stories with heart like no other; particularly stories with an aura of heartrending and heartbreak. Low Moon might be the second most melancholy book that I’ve read over the past year... Low Moon by Jason continues to push the medium forward and confound readers expectations with brilliant stories that defy categorization." - Brian Lindenmuth, BSCreview

• Profile: La Perse looks at the "disturbing... beautiful" comics of Dave Cooper (Google translation)

• Plug: Cartoon Brew recommends The Comics Journal #299 for the reprint of Myron Waldman's Eve, "a rare treat for Fleischer Studio fans - or anyone interested in clever, cartoon story-telling."

• Plug: "[Abstract Comics is] more proof that comics are truly an art form. They can be just as weird, surreal, absurd, artistic, expressive and transcendent as any other medium." - Corey Blake

• Plug: At Arts Journal, Regina Hackett blurbs the "Comics Savants" exhibit at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery: "Some of these people are the best of the best."

• Things to see: Ray Fenwick attends Dweebo's School of Art (a day-long collaborative drawing performance); plus further adventures of Dweebo & Pupil

Daily OCD: 8/14/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under reviewsPrince ValiantMichael KuppermanLilli CarréJasonHal FosterFrom Wonderland with LoveEros ComixAbstract Comics 14 Aug 2009 1:01 PM

A nice batch of reviews in today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

• Review: "Starstudded. The comics medium merges with pictorial art into a groundbreaking narrative form in a new gorgeous anthology [From Wonderland with Love] with the Danish highlights of the last ten years.… jam-packed with cherry-picked quality material which is guaranteed to find happy readers far beyond the circle who consider themselves comics fans." - Nikolaj M. Lassen, Weekendavisen (translated from Danish)

• Review: "..[T]his brilliant, anarchic collection of errant dips into the cultural gestalt is laugh-out-loud hilarious. Like stuff that's fearless, brilliant and non-linear? Thrizzle is for shizzle." - Richard Pachter, The Miami Herald

• Review: "Fantagraphics continues on its quest to reprint and repackage history’s greatest and most influential comics in glorious, high-quality collections. This first collection of Hal Foster’s Prince Valiant strips has to be seen to be believed – it’s a lovingly crafted, tabloid-sized book with the highest production values. The artwork has been recreated from Foster’s own engraver’s proofs, providing better quality than even the original newspaper run would have got. Prince Valiant is widely regarded as one of the best adventure comics ever created, and there’s two years worth of material here – a real treat for fans of the original or new readers looking for some classic medieval adventure." - Grovel

• Review: "I certainly prefer Norwegian cartoonist Jason to Hemingway. For one thing, Jason doesn't hate women, as far as I can tell. And for another, his new book of short graphic stories, Low Moon, has a bunch of clever touches that made me chuckle out loud." - Noah Berlatsky, comiXology

• Review: "...[E]ven if the very mention of the word 'abstract' makes you poke your fingers in your ears and go 'La la la la,' I’d strongly recommend the book, as it contains a number of strikingly beautiful images and sequences... I found Abstract Comics to be a revealing, thought-provoking and genuinely lovely book that I’ll be sure to be rereading in the months to come." - Chris Mautner, Robot 6

• Review: "MILFs on Mars, by the artist known as Rebecca... is a collection of black and white pin-up drawings of naked (or mostly naked) women posing in spacey science fiction Martian environments... The drawings are well done and almost tame enough to not be called hard core. However, that cannot be said (or written) because some of the poses consist of inquisitive homosexual women physically probing other people. Need I say more?" - Bernard C. Cormier, Brunswick News

• Things to see: Not enough artists exploit the animated GIF as a medium; Lilli Carré has done it twice recently, to wondeful effect

Daily OCD: 8/5/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Zak SallyvideoreviewsPrince ValiantHal FosterFletcher HanksErnie BushmillerCCIAbstract Comics 5 Aug 2009 4:27 PM

Your midweek Online Commentary & Diversions:

• Review: "Crude but powerful drawings; an eye-shattering color palette; helter-skelter plotting, often with anticlimactic, fall-off-a-cliff endings; unintentionally manifested author obsessions; stupendous indulgence of schadenfreude, terror and glee at the misery of humanity, salted with some token morality. Yes, that's the Fletcher Hanks formula for a unique, unforgettable, Golden Age comics masterpiece, and all these bizarro traits are indeed on glorious display here [in You Shall Die by Your Own Evil Creation!]..." - Paul Di Filippo, Sci Fi Wire

• Plug: "I'm very impressed with Fantagraphics's restart of this wonderful series [Prince Valiant]. The reproduction quality is much improved over their old softcover series; it's the best I've seen... This is the perfect series to introduce kids to great comics adventure." - Bud Plant

• Plug: "Abstract Comics: The Anthology: I'm one of those who considers the first two words of this title to be an oxymoron. That, ironically, probably makes me a good candidate for reading this book... You can’t argue with the list of contributors..." - J. Caleb Mozzocco, Newsarama

• Commentary: At ArtsJournal, Regina Hackett on our Nancy announcement

• Comic-Con: In his column for Comic Book Resources, Steven Grant offers some rebuttal to our own Eric Reynolds's initial analysis of the show... slicker marketing and products, eh?

• Things to see: The rejected alternate cover for Abstract Comics: The Anthology (link fixed)

• Video: Scenes from Zak Sally's Fear of Song record release show

Photo preview: Prince Valiant Vol. 1: 1937-1938 by Hal Foster
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Prince ValiantpreviewsHal Foster 3 Aug 2009 4:17 PM

Prince Valiant Vol. 1: 1937-1938 by Hal Foster - front cover by you.

Here's your much-delayed photo preview of Prince Valiant Vol. 1: 1937-1938 by Hal Foster. Bask in the beauteousness of this lovely volume. The slideshow player is embedded below; if it's not visible to you, or to see it full-screen (recommended), click here; if you don't like slideshows, browse here. (Note: we usually have video previews as well, but I need to replace my broken camera before I can shoot any more of those. Sorry!)

Daily OCD: 8/3/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Tim KreiderRichard SalareviewsPrince ValiantPopeyeMichael KuppermanLove and RocketsLilli CarréJim FloraJaime HernandezHans RickheitHal FosterFrancesca GhermandiFletcher HanksEC SegarCCICarol TylerBasil WolvertonAbstract Comics 3 Aug 2009 2:53 AM

Let's see what kind of Online Commentary & Diversions the weekend held for us... a lot, apparently:

• Review: "Carol Tyler is a unique figure in the world of comics... She's now put together the first volume of what promises to be her masterwork, a 'graphic memoir' about her father's experiences in World War II that effortlessly mixes media in a charming, affecting, and devastating package. You'll Never Know goes beyond biography, autobiography and even as a means a therapy to ask a number of deeper questions that may well not have ready answers. It's a stunning achievement, a perfect marriage of form and content, and is my early contender for not only comic of the year, but comic of the decade." - Rob Clough

• Review: "Jordan Crane's Uptight series is a lo-fi throwback of a series... Crane's line is elegant but unfussy, with slightly scratchy character designs that have a grace and fluidity to them reminiscent of Jaime Hernandez." - Rob Clough

• Review: "Grotesque has been one of the most playful entries in the underappreciated Ignatz line. Sergio Ponchione has a very 'American' quality to his line in terms of his line (thick and rubbery) and character design (a series of homages to masters like EC Segar and more contemporary figures like Charles Burns)... Ponchione's sight gags in this issue were something to behold, like a dead baron's tombstone growing arms and legs and coming after his brothers." - Rob Clough (same link as above)

• Review: "Issue #4 of Delphine was the conclusion of the series, and it certainly did not disappoint... Delphine benefitted from the Ignatz format: big pages that let the backgrounds breathe, nice paper, and creepy one-tone color. It was a perfect format for a fairy tale gone horribly wrong." - Rob Clough (same link as above) 

• Review: "When life is on the skids, there are those who just lean into it and those who try to drive their way out. Some get run over, some step on the gas. In Pop. 666 [by Francesca Ghermandi, serialized in Zero Zero], fortunes change at moment’s notice, and events are never anything short of bizarre... This weird and creepy sci-fi horror crime comic is a loopy piece of work, and it deserves to be experienced by more readers..." - Jamie S. Rich, Robot 6

• Review: "I realize as I was reading the book that I’d previously thought of Val as a bit of a wimp due to his hairstyle, but nothing could be farther from the truth. In the first volume he kills a giant crocodile, wears a false mustache, scares an ogre to death, enters a jousting tournament in disguise, gets drunk, falls in love with a girl who already has a fiance, pursues girl with said fiance when she is kidnapped by vikings, and fights off a horde of vikings single-handed. That Prince Valiant is a busy guy!... It is really great seeing an essential part of comics history like Prince Valiant being treated so respectfully in this new edition." - TangognaT

• Review: "Imagine a book publisher had released a retrospective on 'The Graphic Novel' in 1976, or that a cinema hosted a look back at France’s nouvelle vague in 1957, or that a gallery exhibit somewhere spotlighted American Abstract Expressionism in, say, 1946. The experience would have been not unlike reading Abstract Comics: The Anthology today." - Sean Rogers, The Walrus

• Review: "[The Wolverton Bible] is a fascinating testimony to the peculiar vision of the life of an original artist and a somewhat unorthodox view of the 'holy book' by a faithful believer." - Iconoctlán (translation from Google)

• Review: "Popeye Vol. 1 would be enthralling if only for the change in the Thimble Theatre order of things, letting the reader watch as a new character takes over and reshapes the strip into his own image. Fortunately, what it's turned into is a thoroughly fun adventure strip that made me eager for more... There are so many fun newspaper reprint projects going on right now that it's easy to miss a lot of them. Now that I know how good Popeye is, I'm making it a priority to read the rest." - Greg McElhatton, Read About Comics

• Review: "[Bottomless Belly Button is a] wonderful book that I strongly recommend for every comic fan... Dash Shaw is a name to remember." - Laurent De Maertelaer, freaky.be (translation from Google)

• Plugs: "Abstract Comics: ...[I]t's fascinating to see what you can do with comics when you're dealing with non-representational, non-narrative imagery, stretching the limits of the medium... Locas II: Oh man, it's another huge collection of Jaime Hernandez's amazing stories from Love and Rockets... Greatness." - Matthew J. Brady

• Plug: "This third volume of Flora visual treats includes newly-discovered artwork that Irwin [Chusid] himself dug out of a time capsule that was buried in a top-secret location. Or maybe I made up that last part." - Liz Berg, WFMU's Beware of the Blog

• Plug: "...I have just started the new Fletcher Hanks collection, You Shall Die By Your Own Evil Creation!, and am happy to see it is just as insane as the first one." - Tom Bondurant, Robot 6

• Plug: "Nobody else’s comics read like these [in You Shall Die By Your Own Evil Creation!]. They’re savage and brutal but have moments of eerie and unexpected beauty... And don’t read this stuff right before bed: strange dreams are a documented side-effect." - Matt Maxwell, Robot 6 (same link as above)

• Plug: "Paul Karasik's Fletcher Hanks collections are the gift that keeps on giving." - Chris Sims, Chris's Invincible Super-Blog [the accompanying panel is one of my favorites too]

• Preview: Hans Rickheit has a peek at the hardcover of The Squirrel Machine

• Profile: "Michael Kupperman does funny very well... 'Right now, I'm working on two more short pieces for Marvel, one featuring the Avengers, and I'm going to try to get some of that Marvel spirit of the '70s, with the explosive, sound-effect laden fight scenes.'" - Gary C.W. Chun catches up with Kupperman in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin

• Interview: "I've greatly enjoyed Chicago-based cartoonist, artist and animator Lilli Carré's first few forays into the world of comics. Longer works such as Tales of Woodsman Pete and especially The Lagoon were stuffed with undeniably interesting formal techniques... There's a soulful element to Carré's writing that helps greatly to involve the reader in the surface narratives..." - Tom Spurgeon, introducing his Q&A with Lilli at The Comics Reporter

• Opinion: Another great (non-comics) NYT column from Tim Kreider

• Second thoughts: Gil Roth offers some regrets about a negative review he gave to Richard Sala's Evil Eye in The Comics Journal back in 1998

• Comic-Con Rhetorical Question of the Day: "...[H]ow many members of the 501st Stormtrooper Legion do you see at the Fantagraphics booth?" - Sean T. Collins (The Unneeded Answer: we had maybe 2 cosplayers, period, in the booth all week, and no Stormtroopers, although they are more than welcome.)