• Plug: "I’ve only had the brick for two weeks, and I’ve barely made it through one-fourth of it, happily so. For over 30 years, The Comics Journalhas been a comics respite from hype and fluff. It keeps the rest of in check and on our toes. I’m a better comics reader because of it (and a reluctantly patient fan)." – Alex Carr, Omnivoracious (Amazon.com)
• Commentary: Sean T. Collins re-posts Comic Book Resources' video interview with Jaime Hernandez on that site's Robot 6 blog, adding his own commentary: "Ask anyone who’s reading the series in its book-formatted New Stories incarnation — including this autumn’s #4, which picks up where last year’s massively acclaimed 'Browntown'/'The Love Bunglers' storyline left off — and they’ll tell you: Jaime’s making some of the best work of his career, some 30 years after L&R made its debut."
• Conflict of Interest: Our own Eric Buckler spotlights Mome Vol. 22 in his weekly "Indie Comics Digest" for The Snipe
This week's comic shop shipment is slated to include the following new titles. Read on to see what comics-blog commentators and web-savvy comic shops are saying about them (more to be added as they appear), check out our previews at the links, and contact your local shop to confirm availability.
136-page full-color 8.25" x 8.25" hardcover • $19.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-386-6
"Then there’s also Richard Sala’s new book The Hidden ($19.99) about a group of strangers [description redacted due to being based on preliminary and out-of-date info - Ed.] during a global crisis. I’m going to want all three of those, but I reckon I’d grab The Hidden first." – Michael May, Robot 6
"For my splurge, I’d be hard-pressed to pick between [redacted] and The Hidden by Richard Sala ($19.99)." – J.K. Parkin, Robot 6
104-page black & white 7.5" x 10.75" hardcover • $18.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-448-1
"A new one from Jacques Tardi, an extrordinarily bleak noir thriller. If you're digging Criminal and want to know what to read next, don't miss Tardi's work — he's a master of the form." – Chris Butcher, The Beguiling
"I don’t know very much about this book, except for a few points that make me want to read this without even reading the solicitation text: 1. It’s drawn by Jacques Tardi. His It Was the War of the Trenches was an incredible book – a dark and beautiful graphic novel about the first world war that had a number of surprises and truly chilling moments. 2. It’s about snipers. Snipers are cool.... 3. These Fantagraphic editions are nice to own. They are very well designed, maintaining the original size of the French books, and have very high production values. That’s enough for me." – James Fulton, Inside Pulse
"...I’m saving my money to get Like a Sniper Lining Up His Shot ($18.99), the latest Jacques Tardi book from Fantagraphics, another hard boiled (and ultra-violent) noir in the same vein as West Coast Blues, which is not terribly surprising considering its the same writer, Jean-Patrick Manchette." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
"A sure thing, I'd imagine, another collaboration between pantheon-level cartoonist Jacques Tardi and the crime writer Jean-Patrick Manchette, whose previous English-language release West Coast Blues impressed many when it came out a while back." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
240-page full-color 7" x 9" softcover • $19.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-395-8
"A double-sized farewell issue, with return visits from a lot of the artists who've graced it in the past. I really hope that some new, regular print vehicle takes the place of this within the comics ecosystem, but it doesn't seem likely." – Douglas Wolk, Comics Alliance
"The FINAL volume of Mome, the great white hope for aspiring cartoonists to get published at Fantagraphics. An excellent overall anthology with moments of true greatness — the comics industry is much poorer for the loss of this fine publication. Our sincere thanks to Fanta and Eric Reynolds for 22 volumes of this series. We highly recommend them. In this final, double sized volume, thrill to new comics by Gabrielle Bell, Lilli Carre, Jordan Crane, Eleanor Davis, Tom K, Anders Nilsen, Laura Park, Jim Rugg, and a dozen more excellent cartoonists." – Chris Butcher, The Beguiling
"I should also point out that the final volume of Mome is out this week and easily the best volume of an already excellent series, featuring stellar work by folks like Eleanor Davis, Josh Simmons, Chuck Forsam, Tim Hensley and more. A steal at $20." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
36-page full-color 10" x 10" hardcover • $16.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-489-4
"CONFLICT OF INTEREST RESERVOIR: The Hidden is a new Richard Sala book, in color; $19.99. Even More Old Jewish Comedians collects portraits by Drew Friedman; $19.99. Like a Sniper Lining Up His Shot is a recent crime comic from the great Jacques Tardi; $18.99. And MOME Vol. 22 lays a long-running anthology to rest with a double-sized 240-page final issue; $19.99." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
The new Diamond Previews catalog is out today and in it you'll find our usual 2-page spread with our releases scheduled to arrive in your local comic shop in November 2011 (give or take — some release dates may have changed since the issue went to press). We're pleased to offer additional and updated information about these upcoming releases here on our website, to help shops and customers alike make more informed ordering decisions.
Martin Terrier, ice-cold mercenary-turned-contract-killer, has his future all mapped out: He has just executed what he intends to be his final job and is ready to move on to the next phase of his life, which involves discreet retirement accompanied by a long-lost girlfriend. But Terrier’s employers are emphatically not pleased with his decision, old enemies begin to re-emerge, and soon Terrier is forced to once again ply his brutal trade.
Five years after West Coast Blues, his acclaimed adaptation of Jean-Patrick Manchette’s Le Petit bleu de la côte ouest (a.k.a. Three to Kill), Jacques Tardi returns to the world of guns, crime, betrayal and bloodshed with this stunning, grisly, and remarkably faithful interpretation of Manchette’s last completed crime thriller. Manchette himself claimed to have written the novel in an attempt to emulate the ultraviolent, hellbent-for-leather, pitch-black ambiance of Robert Aldrich’s Kiss Me Deadly, and Tardi matches him bullet for bullet and blow for blow. As The Village Voice noted of the original novel (La Position du tireur couché, released in English under the title The Prone Gunman by City Lights in 2001), “Thirty pages before the finale, it’s hard not to wonder how the book could possibly end... But the book does end, in circumstances far worse than you might easily imagine, on a note of extraordinary bleakness.”
• Review: "...Shimura Takako tells this story in such a gentle, unobtrusive way, one might believe that this story flows naturally – as if it simply spun itself from nature and is the way it is supposed to be. I think Matt Thorn’s tidy translation, which goes down the mental gullet with such smoothness, is a big reason for how readable this is. Wandering Son is not flashy or aggressive, nor does it pander or try to be hip and stylish. Takako draws the reader in so quietly that some may be surprised to find themselves on a journey of discovery and exploration with these characters. It’s like seeing preadolescence for the first time or seeing it again through fresh eyes and a new perspective.... If only more comic books were so evocative and so clear in their storytelling like Wandering Son, an ideal comic book. Ages 8 to 80 will like Wandering Son. [Grade] A" – Leroy Douresseaux, I Reads You
• Review: "Of the three books collected in this volume [What I Did], Hey, Wait... is a really evocative portrait of how childhood experiences can affect one throughout his entire life, and The Iron Wagon (which adapts an early-twentieth-century Norwegian novel) is a pretty good murder mystery that makes good use of Jason's deadpan style, but it's the middle entry, Sshhhh!, that really sticks with me, immediately jumping to the top of my favorites among the cartoonist's works.... It's sad, wonderful, exhilarating work, a great example of how amazing Jason is at what he does, and how nobody else can do it like him." – Matthew J. Brady, Warren Peace Sings the Blues
• Review: "The plot often takes a sharp turn towards the absurd and downright crazy, but eventually the story always comes back to our heroine. Adele Blanc-Sec takes no crap... It’s really nice to see such a strong female character at the centre of all this mayhem, and her character really pulls the book together.... Tardi’s artwork is great to look at; his panels are vibrant and full of life. In his hands Paris 1911 is a busy metropolitan city still hanging on to its 18th century spirit and facade.... The first volume ofThe Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec left me with more questions than answers, and volume 2’s release date of November seems all to far away! I look forward to reading more of Adele Blanc-Sec’s adventures." – Will Pond, Good Comic Books
• Review: "Glenn Ganges — the protagonist of the first volume of the series Ganges — is a dreamer, an eccentric, a loving husband, but first and foremost a restless man. Meaningless details do not give rest to him, he makes a mountain out of a molehill, and his fantasies replace the reality. Five stories under one cover are the five pieces of a day in the life of Ganges.... I’d like to meet this Ganges." – Ray Garraty, Endless Falls Up
We're all a-buzz over the 2011 Small Press Expo, which is just around the corner on September 10th & 11th in Bethesda, Maryland! And here are our Fantagraphics panel highlights -- plot your weekend accordingly:
Saturday, September 10th
Excruciating Detail: Drawing the Grotesque 1:00 pm | White Flint Amphitheater
Historical comics ranging from Chester Gould’s Dick Tracy to the horror comics of the 1950s have specialized in images of the grotesque. Sean T. Collins will speak with cartoonists Lisa Hanawalt (I Want You), Benjamin Marra (Night Business), Tom Neely (The Wolf), and Johnny Ryan (Prison Pit) about the act of drawing horrific, visceral, visual detail in contemporary comics that speak to horrors that are both timeless and contemporary.
The Secret History of Women in Comics 1:30 pm | Brookside Conference Room
The increased involvement of women in the comics field over the past several years has been a significant positive change in a historically male-dominated industry. However, just as it’s worth celebrating this progressive revolution, it is also worth noting that today’s women cartoonists are part of a lineage of pioneering women who have made many contributions to the field. Heidi MacDonald will discuss this history with Jessica Abel, Robyn Chapman, Alexa Dickman and Diane Noomin.
Anders Nilsen: Questions and Answers 2:00 pm | White Flint Amphitheater
This year Drawn and Quarterly publishes Anders Nilsen’s opus Big Questions. A dozen years in the making, this book sensitively depicts a philosophical crisis in a community of birds whose lives are forever changed by the destructive intervention of human violence. Nilsen has also published books including Dogs and Water, Don’t Go Where I Can’t Follow, Monologues for Calculating the Density of Black Holes, and more. Nilsen will discuss his work with moderator Bill Kartalopoulos.
The entry of comics as “graphic novels” into the publishing landscape has encouraged work that conforms to the narrative biases of conventional literary fiction. Joe “Jog” McCulloch will talk to Marc Bell (Pure Pajamas), Matthew Thurber (1-800-MICE) and Jim Woodring (Congress of the Animals) about producing graphic narratives that follow less conventional, more associative, and even visually based narrative logics that lend integrity to apparent surreality.
Stories of Cultural Identity 3:30 pm | Brookside Conference Room
America’s own culture wars are only part of a global struggle with identity, as nations the world over attempt to address the challenges of assimilating multiple cultures within a stable society. Moderator Rob Clough will talk to Jessica Abel (La Perdida), Marguerite Dabaie (The Hookah Girl), Sarah Glidden (How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less) and G. B. Tran (Vietnamerica) about comics that deal with issues of cultural identity.
Johnny Ryan Q+A 5:30 pm | Brookside Conference Room
As comics have increasingly entered into the worlds of literary publishing and gallery arts, Johnny Ryan has almost single handedly extended comics’ satirical, parodistic, disreputable and scatological traditions in his comic book series Angry Youth Comix. More recently, he has entered the realm of visual pulp with his epic, no-holds-barred, manga-inflected graphic novel series Prison Pit. Ryan will discuss the development of his work with moderator Chris Mautner.
Sunday, September 11th
You Don’t Know Jacques: The Work of Jacques Tardi 1:00 pm | White Flint Amphitheater
In a special slideshow presentation, Fantagraphics co-publisher Kim Thompson will discuss the career of seminal French cartoonist Jacques Tardi, whose work Thompson has been translating in a new series of English-language editions. Relatively unknown until recently in the US, Tardi is a giant of French comics publishing. Active for over forty years and the author of dozens of books, Tardi is a foundational figure of auteurial bande dessinée.
In the early 2000s, corporate publishers nearly raced to acquire graphic novels. Now, as the mainstream publishing industry faces severe contractions and as online media assumes many traditional functions of publishing, cartoonists face a rapidly changing publishing landscape, one that includes a resurgent small press. Johanna Draper Carlson will speak with Domitille Collardey, Mike Dawson, Meredith Gran, Roger Langridge and Julia Wertz about publishing options today.
Diane Noomin Q+A 4:00 pm | White Flint Amphitheater
Jim Woodring: Seeing Things 5:00 pm | White Flint Amphitheater
Jim Woodring first made his mark with his probing, autobiographically-based series Jim. Since then, he has expansively focused on his character Frank, an anthropomorphic cartoon character moving wordlessly through a hallucinatory world of delight and terror, drawn in both meticulous pen-and-ink and gem-like color. His latest book is the Frank graphic novel Congress of the Animals. He will discuss his career in this spotlight session with moderator Ken Parille.
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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.)
• 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
• 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."
• 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
• 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)
• 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
• 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."
• 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)
• Review/Interview:Vice's Nick Gazin looks at The Complete Peanuts 1981-1982 — "I expected that the quality of the Peanuts comics would be waning by now, but I’m still laughing at the jokes and recognizing the personalities of characters I know in the gang.... It’s a beautifully designed, thick, brickish volume with lots of memorable storylines.... All in all it’s a beautiful two years worth of Charles Schulz’s creative output. It’ll make you laugh, it’ll make you think." — and talks to Monte Schulz about his dad's work on the strip — "The early 80s were a strange time for us. In 1981, Dad underwent quadruple bypass surgery after feeling in poor health for most of the previous year. The idea of surgery terrified him, but the medications he’d been taking had left him so debilitated that surgery became the option he was forced to consider. So he had the procedure and survived, and found a wealth of material from the experience, which he poured into his strip." — and his own career as a writer
• Review: "Jaques Tardi has already proven with West Coast Bluesthat he is just the man for the job when it comes to illustrating the particular brand of noir crime Jean-Patrick Manchette so deftly dished out. There’s a palpable feeling of safeness when you open [Like a Sniper Lining Up His Shot] — nothing to do with the subject matter, of course, but with such certifiable masters captaining the ship you’re quite willing to... [trust] that it will lead somewhere totally unexpected, which it does.... Remember that feeling you got in your guts just before the end of Kiss Me Deadly? It feels a bit like that. The first page grabs you roughly by the hair and the book happens in those split seconds before the last page punches your lights out." – Hayley Campbell, The Comics Journal
• Review: "Fantagraphics Books has done an excellent job putting the comic strips of Mickey Mouse in this impressive volume.... Also included in this book is a section on 'The Gottfredson Archives: Essays and Archival Features.' Fans of Mickey Mouse or cartoon strips will enjoy the wonderful stories and illustrations of Floyd Gottfredson created approximately 80 years ago and beautifully presented by the publisher." – Glenn Perrett, Simcoe.com
• Interview: At art:21 Thea Liberty Nichols talks to Lilli Carré: "I frequently switch back and forth between working on comics and animation. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to work with pages, where I can really focus on the details and nuances from one panel to the next, and an overall page composition. After I’ve been working on something like that for a while, it feels very freeing to switch to working on an animation, and draw 12 drawings for every second of film. It becomes much looser in terms of each individual drawing, and is more about the overall feel and movement." (Via The Comics Reporter)
• 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.'"
• 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!
• 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."