• Review: The A.V. Club gives Humbug an A-minus: "Fans of vintage Mad will immediately be at home thanks to familiar artists and attitudes, although Humbug ultimately feels a bit like an alternate-universe Mad, one 1950s grown-ups could stack between Playboy and Harper’s on the coffee table... Humbug remains a fascinating showcase for a group of artists operating at the height of their powers and inspiration. The lovingly assembled package — beautifully reprinted and filled out with extras like a long Roth and Jaffee interview — doesn’t hurt either."
• Review: The A.V. Club says "The Wolverton Bible shows the often-surprising result of [the] collaboration between a pulpit-pounding televangelist organization and one of the loopiest cartoonists of his era.... it features some of [Basil] Wolverton's most breathtaking art, and he finds plenty of opportunities in Bible stories and end-times predictions for his sense of the grotesque and horrific... for Wolverton fans, it's a must-see, and a look at a truly surprising chapter of the man's career."
This edition of our highly anticipated, much-lauded archival collection of the classic satirical magazine Humbug, limited strictly to 600 copies, includes a special, limited edition bookplate signed by Jack Davis, Al Jaffee and Arnold Roth. (Click here and here to view front and back.)
• Review: From Publishers Weekly's starred review of Humbug: "MAD's early years have been justly lauded for their japing assault on postwar American culture, but this outstanding two-volume boxed set reflects the history of comedy in the period after staff stars like Kurtzman jumped ship in 1956... for dry cocktail laughs and low schoolboy snorts, it's hard to think of a better pair of books to have at your nightstand."
• Review: Comics Bulletin takes a good look at the revelations contained in The Complete Peanuts 1971-1972, concluding "The Complete Peanuts 1971-1972 reprints [some] of what many consider the peak years of the comic strip... [it] was better than perfection; it was glorious."
• Commentary: Jog presents an appreciation of Muñoz and Sampayo's Sinner
We have a whole mess of exclusive short excerpts of new and upcoming books that have gone up on the ICv2.com site recently. They're intended for "industry pros" but there's no reason everyone can't check 'em out:
• Review of the Year: Brick Weekly holds forth on The Wolverton Bible: "If you think that God was the greatest contributor to the Bible then you are wrong. In fact, when compared to the creative feats of legendary cartoonist Basil Wolverton, God’s work seems trite and superficial at best. So, throw out all of your old Bibles because you don’t need them any more..." And it goes on from there...
• Reviews: The San Antonio Current says "The Wolverton Biblecollects everything [Basil Wolverton] did for the [Worldwide Church of God], presenting illustrations in chronological Biblical order — from Adam springing up from earth á la Spider-Man’s nemesis the Sandman all the way through the Old Testament and then hopping to the fantasy-friendly Book of Revelation, where eyeless corpses run rampant and jet planes tumble helplessly from the sky"; furthermore, "Humbugcould be a comics blockbuster... it fills gaps in some cartoonists’ CVs and entertains like hell while doing it."
• Reviews: Andrew Wheeler rounds up some recent books: of The Lagoon by Lilli Carré he says "Carré has an expressive style reminiscent of Richard Sala -- and her stories are in the same literary territory as Sala's as well, so the gloomy blacks and busy cross-hatching add to the ominous, overwhelming feeling... there's real spookiness in these pages -- and she's telling a story in ways (particularly trying to evoke sounds and scents through a comics page) that I've rarely seen"; and of Jessica Farm Vol. 1 by Josh Simmons, Wheeler says "Josh Simmons might just be the Gutzon Borglum of comics. Simmons's... plan... is crazy, and I admire it for that."
• Review: For Robot 6, Chris Mautner waxes rhapsodic about Humbug: "It's very easy with a book of this nature to engage in wild hyperbole... And yet, how else to talk about a project of this nature, a large collection of work featuring some of the most stellar cartoonists of their day, originally edited by one of the most important and influential humorists (and I really don't think this is hyperbole here - I'd put him up there with Richard Pryor in terms of significance) of the 20th century?... Something should be said about the packaging and restoration work, which is nothing short of astounding... I think it’s pretty safe to say that this collection will be on my top ten/best books of 2009 list at the end of the year. Really, how could it not? Apparently I like it more than breathing."
• List: From GQ, another one of those ubiquitous "what to read after Watchmen" lists, this one with The Girl from HOPPERS by Jaime Hernandez ("Hoppers... makes Gotham and Metropolis seem as bland as Scranton"), Safe Area Gorazde by Joe Sacco ("Graphic in every sense of the term... it’s the best argument around for comics as a journalistic medium"), and Bottomless Belly Button by Dash Shaw ("honest, meditative"), as well as work by Jessica Abel and Charles Burns
• Review: For The Savage Critics, Sean T. Collins says The Last Lonely Saturday by Jordan Crane is "pretty much the best love story in comics form I've ever come across... It's an intelligent, moving, beautiful, terrific little comic."
• Review: Rob Clough says that Beasts! Book 2 "mingles myths, warnings, fairy tales, correctives, and genuinely unexplained phenomena and allows its artists to run with them. The end result is a consistently beautiful, lovingly assembled book that forms a kind of metacommentary on the entire notion of the fantastic."
• Review: The SF Site's "Nexus Graphica" says R. Crumb & David Zane Mairowitz's Kafka is "a terrific guide to Kafka's life and work — Mairowitz deftly sums up Franz' family/Jewish/pre-Holocaust European experiences and influences, and Crumb's heavy inkings lend the exact tones of darkness to recreations of both Kafka's life — and work." (See sidebar)
• Preview: The First Post presents a slideshow of images from Humbug, saying "the short-lived Humbug [was] an exquisite satirical work that, over its 11 issues, routinely equalled MAD in its displays of creative genius... providing a level of trenchant satire that was almost unheard of at the time."
• Preview: Bryan Munn, in "hyping" The Complete Peanuts 1971-1972, states "Now that two whole decades of Peanuts have been reprinted in the deluxe hardcover format published by Fantagraphics and designed by Seth, we can really get a sense of what a huge achievement this project is and will continue to be for a generation."