The strongest umbrella in the wind of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review: Paul Constant of The Stranger looks at The Last Vispo: Visual Poetry 1998-2008, edited by Nico Vassilakis and Crag Hill. "As an art book, it demands hours of investigation. . . For those linguistic pioneers looking to find the future of fiction, this could be one of the most informative poetry anthologies to be published in the new millennium."
• Review:NPR's My Guilty Pleasure looks at the Jacques Tardi graphics novels of Adèle Blanc-Sec who is "young writer with the brains of Sherlock Holmes, the body of Angelina Jolie and the stoic fortitude of the Marlboro Man." Rosecrans Baldwin states, "The books are part adventure comic, part hardboiled fiction. They're terrific whodunits that conjure up all the precise atmospheric detail of, say, a Georges Simenon novel, but with twice the plot."
• Review:Blacklung by Chris Wright gets reviewed on Nerds of a Feather. Philippe Duhart says, "Wright’s genius is further evident in his ability to use these aberrant cartoonish characterizations to convey human emotion, particularly terror. Wright’s portrayal of violence is stark and chilling – despite or perhaps because of his singular style. . . Black Lung worked on all counts. Plus, pirates."
• Review (video):Kapow Comics down in Australia reviews Chris Wright's Blacklung. Al states "this is a complicated book with musings on philosophy, literature, mortality and especially, religion has a big focus." Sonya says, "Every single character changes in this story, their journey changes them . . . [Blacklung] prayed on my mind. It lingers with you."
• Review: Glen David Gold looks at Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons edited by Kelly Gerald in the LA Review of Books. In an attempt to see how the bread is made, Gold, "Cartooning was O'Connor's first artistic passion. . . . An article in the local paper and a pile of rejection slips from The New Yorker indicate how serious she was. . . not an early blush of Flannery the fiction writer at work. But I'd still recommend it to the curious. Come at it without expecting same genius, but look at it because it's an extreme close up of biography."
• Review:Publishers Weekly looks at Jack Jackson's Los Tejanos and Lost Causes. "Comics’ current vogue for nonfiction was pioneered in these two works from the late underground comix founding father Jackson, who died in 2006. Jackson brought an R. Crumb–style crosshatching and love of facial grotesquery to these two densely researched historical graphic novels."
• Plug:Publishers Weekly and Ada Price show a sneak peak of The Heart of Thomas by Moto Hagio. Enjoy 14 pages of pure genius but don't forget to read each one right to left! We're talking manga here.
• Review: Rob Clough of The Comics Journal enjoys The Hypo by Noah Van Sciver."he’s made a fairly significant leap as both a draftsman and a storyteller in a relatively short period of time . . . Van Sciver’s greatest achievement in this book is his storytelling restraint. He lets his cross-hatching gets across the grime . . He wants to show the reader a different side of the Lincoln we grew up reading about in the history books, but also wants the reader to connect this younger man to the future president."
• Review:Fantasy Literature takes a peek at Castle Waiting Vol. 1 by Linda Medley and Ruth Arnell is in love. "the charming ink illustrations have a piquant charming quality that match the story wonderfully. . . Linda Medley has written a gentle feminist fairy tale comic book that truly deserves to have a wider audience."
• Review: Sonia Harris of Comics Book Resources reads Black Hole by Charles Burns all in one sitting, one evening. "Reading Black Hole all at once in a nice, tidy bundle, it is impossible to experience what Black Hole was for all those years while it was slowly seeping out, issue by issue. . . it is visceral poetry, a true expression of the medium with imagery and words working together to create the most intimate impact. Black Hole is beautiful and terrible, it is a treasure."
The first bit of frost of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review (video):Last Gasp's John Longhi reviews The Lost Art of Ah Pook by Malcom McNeill, a story originally created with William Burroughs. Longhi says, "I can see why Burroughs wanted to work with McNeill because he's one of the few guys who could capture the crazy wacked out details of his story writing. . . [It contains] all the wonderful social discord that made his writing fantastic."
• Review:Blacklung by Chris Wright gets high marks on Paste Magazine. Sean Edgar says, "Blacklung is a weird, compelling creation, telling a harrowing story of redemption and savagery through art that could initially pass as adorable before you get to the tongue necklaces. Highly recommended for those with strong stomachs."
• Review:School Library Journal announces their BEST BOOKS OF 2012 and in the graphics novels section, Noah Van Sciver's The Hypo is listed. "Van Sciver makes Lincoln real by picturing one of the hardest times in his younger life. . . Dickens-style squalor and melodrama plus Austen-style romance, all done in gritty cross-hatching."
• Plug:The NY Times listed Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons at the top of the Best Bathroom Reads of 2012. Dwight Garner believes "the prints collected here are droll and strange." Two of our favorite words to describe Fantagraphics-style creators such as Flannery O'Connor.
• Review: Roughly translated from Ediciones La Cupula, Jaime Hernandez's God and Science: Return of the Ti-Girls is reviewed. "Theexcitementthat overwhelms usafter readingeach of theinstallments ofthe sagaof [Ti-Girls] isdirectly proportional to itsartistic excellence,histalentas a storytellerandhuman greatnessthat livesin his cartoons."
• Review:Lanacion reviews the writings and works of Alexander Theroux (Laura Warholic, Estoniaand The Strange Case of Edward Gorey) and translated, barely, Matias Serra Bradford states, "If left as an untreated rarity,AlexanderTherouxseemsmysteriousto the fantasticand impossible point of determiningthe trajectoryofa particle and itsposition."
• Review:The Snipe News looks at Joe Sacco's Journalism collection. "the decade’s worth of stories. . . are most notable not from any kind of torn-from-the-headlines sensationalism but for the empathy the author brings to his subjects. . . . Sacco has a feel for displaced persons in general."
The first rain-free (HA!) day of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:The Comics Journal looks at Ron Rege Jr.'s The Cartoon Utopia. Katie Haegel writes, "Almost impossible to categorize, the work in Cartoon Utopia is both fully realized in a formal sense and wonderfully idiosyncratic. Like, it’s really out there. . . to me the work is much stronger when it depicts magic in action, which Regé accomplishes by telling us stories about historical figures and their relationship to the natural world."
• Review:Robot 6 reviews The Cartoon Utopia by Ron Rege Jr. Chris Mautner writes "with Rege drawing science, new age spiritualism, the occult, astrology and Jungian archetypes to come up with a personal grand unification theory. There are no plots or characters in the book to speak of, instead Rege merely muses and illustrates his theories, which mainly have to on the interconnectedness of all living matter."
• Plugs: Best covers of the week by Andy Khouri on Comics Alliance. Ron Regé Jr'sThe Cartoon Utopia: "This cover really makes me smile, and maybe gives me a sense of four-color spiritual well-being. But cartoon utopia looks more outdoorsy than I expected."
• Review:Page 45 enjoys the gentle pages of The Cartoon Utopia. Stephen L. Holland states, "Regé is back with a spiritual manifesto and ode to creativity: a singular, secular vision delivered with all the fervour of a religious sermon. It’s a call not to arms but to peace and perception unshackled from the conditioning of ages, exhorting all to see new possibilities, infinite possibilities, so enabling one’s full potential to be realised in both senses of the word."
• Review:Barack Hussein Obamaby Steven Weissman is reviewed on Bookslut. Martyn Pedler says, "His Obama begins as a kind of smug, stoner everyman: telling 'your momma' jokes, discussing old movies with visiting dignitaries . . . Weissman’s pages -- drawn in ballpoint into a moleskin notebook -- use a four-panel gag structure that makes the book immediately addictive."
• Review:Publishers Weekly takes on Barack Hussein Obama by Steven Weissman.". . . readers will likely have to be content with being one part giddy and three parts puzzled. . . Perhaps that’s Weissman’s point: that the farce of contemporary politics has the capacity to make one simultaneously giddy, confused, and disenchanted."
• Interview (audio): Speaking of Steven Weissman, Obama and the elections, he is interviewed on KPFK 90.7 FM's show Beneath the Surface.
• Review: Cartoonist Lilli Carré finds herself Boing-Boing-ed. Brian Heater describes Heads or Tails collection, "These strips, which originally in the pages of places like The Believer and Mome, find the artist dipping her toes into new pools, the sort of freedom afforded by the low commitments of the short story form, often to truly wonderful effect."
• Interview: Eddie Wright of MTV Geek interviews Johnny Ryan about Prison Pit 4 and why us humans love it so much. "Well, I think it connects to comic fans because it's the stripped down essence of what popular superhero comics are, which is men beating the living shit out of each other. People love it."
• Review:Reglar Wiglar spit takes while reading Johnny Ryan's Prison Pit 4. Chris Auman says, "This is Ryan’s depraved ID unleashed in its purest form: blood, guts, genitalia and fecal matter abound—actually they don’t abound so much as they’re sprayed all over absolutely everything in a fantastical sci-fi orgy of digustedness."
• Plugs: Best covers of the week by Andy Khouri on Comics Alliance. continues with Wallace Wood's Came the Dawn: "And while we're talking smart use of interior art, here's another superb example. This collection is all about the mastery of Wally Wood, so the cover presents a taste of his work in an uncluttered and respectful way, while also establishing a trade dress for Fantagraphics' new EC artists line." Chris Wright's Blacklung: "I see a lot of Joann Sfar in this densely demonic and stylishly constructed cover, and that's enough to convince me to investigate the work of newcomer Chris Wright." Spacehawk mini-comic by Basil Wolverton: "Basil Wolverton may be best known for his grotesque caricatures in MAD Magazine, but he worked in a lot of genres. Spacehawk was evidently one of his early works, and if this gorgeously lurid cover is anything to go by it was a delightfully daffy sci-fi pulp."
• Review:Booklist Online carves out a place in their hearts for Wallace Wood's Came the Dawn. Ray Olson writes, "This volume presenting all his horror and crime stories chronologically shows him refining what is at first a crude though powerful sense of mise-en-scène into one that is assured, highly detailed, and lightly caricatural."
• Review:AV Club reviewed all our new books Came the Dawn by Wallace Wood and Corpse on the Imjin by Harvey Kurtzman. Noel Murray writes, "in writer/artist-driven volumes, printed in black and white, with additional essays and archival material . . . [and] both immediately reveal the value in the artist-driven approach. . . Feldstein’s stories were like the comic-book equivalent to some of the seediest B-movies, and Wood’s art fit Feldstein’s text, with lots of deep shadows and wrinkles reflecting a complicated world." On Basil WolvertonSpacehawk, "As with Kurtzman’s war comics, it’s remarkable to see art so twisted applied to such vivid pulp tales—almost as though Wolverton was trying his hardest to be Alex Raymond, but couldn’t help turning out images to rival Salvador Dalí." Gary Panter's "Dal Tokyo would evolve, strip-by-strip, into a distinctly Panter-esque swirl of science fiction and pure abstraction, in keeping with the artist’s one-of-a-kind sense of design, and his pursuit of comics that resemble music and poetry."
•Plug:Web Cast Beacon reviews all free Halloween Comics Fest freebies. They enjoy Tales from the Crypt and Spacehawk. YES, mail in those ad coupons, people.
• Interview:Jim Woodring is interviewed by Peter Bebergal on hippies, hallucinations and all the good stuff that goes into his latest work, Problematic, a skechbook. "I frequently saw things at night — silently jabbering heads at the foot of my bed, distorted animals and objects hanging in the air over me. Often I saw a huge staring eye that made me vomit with fear."
• Plug: On Boing-Boing, Mark Frauenfelder tips his digi-hat to Floyd Gottfredson: "Gottfredson's Mickey is a plucky, goodhearted imp, bursting with energy and impulsively eager for adventure. . . [Carl] Barks will always have a special place in my heart, but I've added Gottfredson to my short list of great American cartoonists."
• Review: Page 45 looks at The Lost Art of Ah Pookand Stephen L. Holland ponders "Malcom Mc Neill has taken the time to put this eye-frazzling book of art – some of it sequential – into context, for the work itself is very much lost. . . There are vast scenes of ancient ritual, carnal lust and very modern warfare transcending time just as they were always intended."
• Review:Booklist Online likes Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge: Only a Poor Old Manby Carl Barks. Ian Chipman states, "from the bitter cold of the Klondike to the bottom of the Caribbean. . . Barks’ comics are an absolute treasure that have aged remarkably well, and are finally getting wide-scale publication to introduce them to a new generation of readers."
• Review: Gene Ambaum of Unshelved happily views covers from Action! Mystery! Thrills!, edited by Greg Sadowski. "Beautiful full-color reproductions of unblemished comic book covers show the amazing art and the breadth of genres on the newsstands before Fredric Wertham screwed everything up in the 1950s. . . The colors are bright, and the art is just plain fun."
• Review: Is That All There Is? by Joost Swarte gets reviewed on Bookgasm. JT Lindroos states, ". . . it’s impossible not to enjoy this ultimately all-too-brief volume for every single panel it presents. Swarte is consistently projecting an incisive and curious mind at work, perfectly tuned to his showstopping skills as an artist nonpareil."
• Review: Rod Lott of Bookgasm spends a long, loooong time checking out Sexytime. "[Editor Jacque Boyreau] has a knack for picking images; much like Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart and hardcore porn, Boyreau knows it when he sees it. And luckily, he shares it, this time from the visual-presentation experts of Fantagraphics Books — a match made in poster-art heaven."
• Plug: Matt Bielby writes about The Complete Crumb Volume 1 by R. Crumb in Comic Heroes Magazine: "It's incredible stuff, much of it obviously for completists only, but even the most obscure volumes track a fascinating, and developing, world view."
• Interview: Charles Burns is interviewed on Cult Montreal by Emily Raine about The Hive, his creepy artwork and the Black Hole movie. "It’s not my intention to be creepy per se, or that’s not the reason I’m writing stories. I think they end up being whatever they are. Maybe I’m just a creepy guy, I don’t know."
• Interview (audio): One of our favorite creators, Ellen Forney, speaks to KUOW/NPR on bi-polar disorder, comics and her new work, Marbles.
• Plug:Jaime Hernandez will be at the Copenhagen Comics Fest in Copenhagen, Denmark in June of 2013. Mark them calendars!
Fantagraphics and comiXology add to your digital Love and Rockets Library today with the release of Book 2 from Locas storyline by Jaime Hernandez, The Girl from H.O.P.P.E.R.S.
The 30th anniversary Love and Rockets celebration continues with this second of three volumes collecting the adventures of the spunky Maggie; her annoying, pixie-ish best friend and sometime lover Hopey; and their circle of friends, including their bombshell friend Penny Century, Maggie's weirdo mentor Izzy -- as well as the aging but still heroic wrestler Rena Titaon and Maggie's handsome love interest, Rand Race. After Maggie the Mechanic, the first volume in this series, Hernandez refined his approach, settling on the more naturalistic environment of the fictional Los Angeles barrio, Hoppers, and the lives of the young Mexican-Americans and punk rockers who live there. At $14.99, these 290 pages will keep you entertains and intrigued for hours on end.
"Jaime's characters are so convincing and his stories so compelling that it is easy to overlook his greatest strength: the most economically handsome drawing style in comics." - Booklist
"No one in comics has ever used the comics longform, the number of pages and the years between books, to such beautiful effect. Jaime Hernandez is comics' poet laureate of memory and meaning." - Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
Fantagraphics and Jaime Hernandez release another Love and Rockets treasure via comiXology, this time the 2012 release of God and Science: Return of the Ti-Girls. Dressing up as a superhero for Halloween? Then you can't miss this read while waiting for kids to ring your doorbell.
Originally serialized in Love and Rockets: New Stories, “Ti-Girls Adventures ” managed to be both a rollickingly creative super-hero joyride (featuring three separate super-teams and over two dozen characters) that ranged from the other side of the universe to Maggie’s shabby apartment, and a genuinely dramatic fable about madness, grief, and motherhood as Penny Century’s decades-long quest to become a genuine super-heroine are finally, and tragically, fulfilled.
This 138 page "director's cut" includes 30 new pages of story available for only $17.99. The print edition of this book moved a fan to dress up as Boot Angel, the new protagonist in the this book. You'll love it too .
"For what's essentially an evocative throwback to the kid's superhero comics of yore, there's a lot going on here--youth versus seasoned oldsters, absolute power corrupting absolutely, mother/child dysfunction--and it's all wrapped up in a package of terrific dialogue, stellar artwork, and enough raw fun to drown in." -Publishers Weekly
"It's only when you try to unpack the story that you realize what a graceful and economical storyteller Jaime Hernandez has become no matter what genre he might choose to utilize." -Tom Spurgeon, Comics Reporter
People teased me & Mike about how excited we were to see the exhibit ("Don't you see their originals all the time at the office?"), but it really did give me goosebumps to see these 30-year-old pages in person. When Mike & I got back to the hotel, he tweeted this:
Yup, pretty much.
The opening reception was packed from the beginning of the event to the very end! It was hard to keep track of Jaime, GilbertandMarioas everyone wanted a chance to talk with them!
Speaking of Mario, this show gave me a whole new appreciation for his work! I mean, just check out that groovy Jim Flora-esque portrait of the Bros he drew in 1997! So great! I wanna see more of Mario's artwork!!
The exhibit runs through March 10th, 2013, so if you live in the San Francisco area, or will be visiting, I cannot urge you enough to drop by the Cartoon Art Museum at 655 Mission Street. Not only will you get to see this jaw-dropping exhibit, but the whole museum itself is an absolute treasure. I wish we could've spent more time there!
Fantagraphics Bookstore and Georgetown Records are pleased to announce a sensational series of music, comix, and literary events for the remainder of this year. Don't miss a minute!
On Friday, November 2, David Lasky and Noah Van Sciver appear for a joint exhibition and book signing from 6:00 to 9:00 PM. Musical entertainment will be provided by K recording artist Dennis Driscoll, who promises to cover some Carter Family material. The following Saturday, November 10 at 7:00 PM, newly christened "Stranger Genius" Ellen Forney will present her courageous new graphic memoir, Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, & Me in the Microsoft Auditorium of the Seattle Public Library Central Branch. On Saturday, November 24 at 6:00 PM, we host a book launch party for The Last Vispo Anthology, edited by longtime Fantagraphics staffer Nico Vassilakis. The evening features readings by many contributors and music by another "Stranger Genius" honoree Lori Goldsten (former Earth and Nirvana cellist), joined by former Black Cat Orchestra bandmate Kyle Hanson. On Saturday, December 8, from 6:00 to 9:00 PM, Fantagraphics Bookstore commemorates its 6th anniversary in style with Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez celebrating 30 years of Love & Rockets. Special guest artist and musician Geneviève Castrée will perform for the occasion. The series concludes on Sunday, December 30 from 2:00 to 4:00 PM with Nathan Bulmer signing Eat More Bikes collection from Koyama Press. All events are all ages and free. Make plans to move to Seattle now.
The kissiest babyface on a campaign of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review: The Las Vegas Weekly breaks out their ballots and their copies of Barack Hussein Obama by Steven Weissman. J. Calob Mozzococco says, "Weissman’s delicate line work and fine-art design style further remove the narrative from the caricature-style visuals usually associated with comics about politicians, and is perfectly suited to the meandering, poetic, almost meditative comic."
•Interview (audio): Steven Weissman talks about comics, math and trying to identify with such public, political characters on the Inkstuds podcast with Robin McConnell. Weissman talks about the impotes impotus for Barack Hussein Obama. "Initially, it was just his name and. . . the dreams his followers had for him. . . I started to treat Hillary Clinton as a Lucy van Pelt character."
• Interview: On the quest to The Cartoon Utopia, Ron Regé Jr. is interviewed by Ryan Ingram on Comic Book Resources. Regé states,"Similar to Lynda Barry's "What It Is," [The Cartoon Utopia] should be approached slowly, as a textbook would. It might also be useful when read via bibliomancy, opening the book to a random page to access the information in a magical way."
• Review (audio):Comic Books are Burning in Hell talks about Johnny Ryan and Prison Pit 4 with all the usual suspects: Joe McCullough, Matt Seneca, Chris Mautner and Tucker Stone. "While visually Prison Pit is very clean, composed and controlled, plotwise, I think, its the ultimate noise comic. Its fucking total destruction and nothing else. And I value the hell outta that."
• Review: Grovel enjoys the comics, yes literary but still comics of Lorenzo Mattotti and Jorge Zentner in The Crackle of the Frost. Andy Shaw states, "It’s a wilfully arty book – more of an essay in mood that just happens to have a plot, than a traditional story – but the writing is interesting and the artwork is stunning. . . so is one for the literary, rather than the mainstream comics enthusiast."
• Interview:Comic Book Resources coverage on the APE panel featuring all three Hernandez Brothers. Steven Sautter writes,"There was no set plan in those early days, no grand storyline or over-arcing plot; the Hernandez brothers simply told the stories they felt like telling, none of them counting on the eventual longevity of "Love and Rockets."
• Plug: Liv Suddall of It's Nice That thoroughly enjoys the content and design of Is That All There Is? by Joost Swarte. "With a more-than-just-a-nod nod to Tintin creator Hergé, this surprisingly raunchy book is a big slice of aesthetic pleasure from start to finish and should probably be on everyone’s wish list this Christmas."
• Review: Brigid Alverson and Chris Mautner speak on the CBR about what comics they'd spend their money on, including You'll Never Know Book 3: A Soldier's Heart. "Tyler’s superb storytelling makes this a book to read over and over again," says Alverson while Mautner thinks "Tyler is a great cartoonist and woefully under-appreciated, so here’s hoping this final volume gets her some of the recognition she so richly deserves."
• Review:Ralph Azham Vol. 1 "Why Would You Lie to Love" by Lewis Trondheim is reviewed by Rob Clough of High-Low. "What's interesting about this book is that what starts as a seemingly lightweight exercise winds up going to some pretty dark places. . .There's never been a cartoonist as versatile as Trondheim who was able to work on virtually any kind of project and certainly not one who could blend his funny animal-style into any genre."
• Plug: Tom Spurgeon at The Comics Reporter gives a good reason or three to get Ralph Azham. "Lewis Trondheim is a wonderful, prolific and very mainstream-oriented cartoonist -- by the last I mean he has books in print that I can give to just about anybody on my Christmas shopping list, with everyone getting a different book. I liked this one quite a bit on the first read; the writing seemed way more measured than a lot of fantasies in comics form usually seem to me."
• Interview (audio):Pat Thomas of Listen, Whitey! is interviewed on WFMU's Gaylord Fields show and they spin some tunes together. The interview is spliced between great songs by The Patridge Family, Amiri Baraka and Shahid Quartet.
• Review:Whisperin' and Hollerin' reviews a recent Pat Thomas talk on music and the Black Panther movement as discussed in his book Listen, Whitey! "Pat shows us a very cool and funny clip from that with actual Black Panthers playing violins with the Partridge Family for added surreality."
• Plug: Martin Eden on the Forbidden Planet International lists his "Best Cover EVER?" as Love and Rockets #1. "It’s such a simple idea, but so well crafted, so beautiful to look at. And Jaime Hernandez’ art on this cover hints at the stunning artwork we are to be treated to over the next few decades – the effortless character dynamics and the lifelike poses and the general amazingness. So good."