• List:Publishers Weekly's Calvin Reid and Heidi MacDonald run down some "Graphic Novels as Gifts" suggestions, including Norman Pettingill: Backwoods Humorist ("A wooden cover introduces the amazing outsider art of Pettingill, who crafted detailed postcards of wildlife and rustic humor") and A Drunken Dream and Other Stories by Moto Hagio ("Haunting stories of longing, memory, and love from the legendary manga-ka who changed the face of Japanese comics").
• Review: "When experienced animators turn to creating comics or illustrating children’s books, I usually find the results successful and quite satisfying. That’s certainly the case with animator Mitch Schauer (Angry Beavers) and his first graphic novel, RIP M.D. (from Fantagraphics). [...] RIP M.D. would make an amazing 2D animated feature — if Hollywood were still making those. For now, graphic novels such as this are a great outlet for ambitious creators with ample imaginations. Check it out." – Jerry Beck, Cartoon Brew
• Review: "Temperance is a fascinating comic. Malkasian gives us an odd, fairy-tale-esque world where we must accept unreal things so that she can make her points. [...] Malkasian does a fine job of grounding the tale of Blessedbowl in a real-world concern while still making sure it’s fantastical enough so a sentient wooden doll doesn’t seem too out of place. Malkasian’s art is tremendous, as well. [...] Temperance is a fascinating book to read, and while it’s not difficult to figure out, it does raise some important questions about society and what people do to live in one. Malkasian has a lot on her mind, and it’s impressive that she manages to get her real-world concerns into this fable without becoming preachy. [...] It’s a very thoughtful comic, and I encourage you to check it out." – Greg Burgas, Comic Book Resources
• Interview:Robot 6's Tim O'Shea talks to Jason about Werewolves of Montpellier and other topics: "I’ve done boy meets girl and one of them dies in the end several times, so yes, I was a bit afraid of starting to repeat myself. But I think Werewolvesis sufficiently different. It’s a platonic relationship between the two characters for one thing, and none of them dies in the end."
• Interview: At About.com: Manga, Deb Aoki presents a transcription of Moto Hagio's panel appearances at Comic-Con (with translator Matt Thorn) and conducts her own Q&A with the creator of A Drunken Dream and Other Stories: "Well, when I was a child, I used to read manga and cry myself. I had similar reactions watching movies and reading comics. Basically, I'm just expressing my own feelings like that. So it was with my own parents, and for a lot of people of that generation, who said that manga is just for small children, it's very simplistic. But from my point of view, manga is just one medium like movies and novels; it can be just as deep and just as moving."
• Interview:io9's Cyriaque Lamar, who brilliantly sums up Prison Pit: Book 2 as "not unlike Masters of the Universe...if Masters of the Universe was a hentai that starred Gwar," talks to its creator Johnny Ryan: "I wanted to do a book about monster-men beating the shit out of each other. That's my main idea, that's all it's about. There's no real subtext to it. It's about the fighting."
• Interview: Thomas Papadimitropoulos of Comicdom catches up with Bill Griffith on the latest Zippy the Pinhead developments (the intro is in Greek but the interview is presented in English): "I keep trying to surprise myself with the daily Zippy strip. Zippy’s 'discovery' of his hometown, 'Dingburg,' where everyone is a pinhead like him, has taken the strip in a new direction for the last few years. It’s still a lot of fun for me to explore all the different pinhead personalities in Dingburg."
• Interview: At Marvel.com, Sean T. Collins talks to Frank Santoro about his match-made-in-heaven Silver Surfer story for Marvel's Strange Tales II: "I thought of this as my try-out for Marvel. I didn't take this as a chance to do a funny mini comic kinda thing. This was my shot! Was I ever gonna get another one? I'm gonna try to knock it out of the park! That was my thinking."
• Interview: At Pikaland, Melanie Maddison has an extensive chat with Lilli Carré: "My book The Lagoon, which is very mood-driven, took me about 3 years to finish, because I had a lot of starts and stops when working on it. This was partially due to still being in school and working at that time, but also because it was hard to always be in the right mindset to work on such a moody piece and figure out the trajectory of the story."
• Plug: "The inimitable Drew Friedman has a new hardcover book out of his incredible celebrity portraits and caricatures drawn over the last 15 years... Our pals at Fantagraphics published the handsome hardcover, titled Too Soon?: Famous/Infamous Faces 1995-2010." – David Pescovitz, Boing Boing
• Plug: "A new Love and Rockets is out. It apparently contains one of the best Jaime Hernandez stories ever, which makes me shiver with excitement. In celebration, I photographed and uploaded my current favorite Jamie Hernandez story ever 'Penny Century.'" – Will Hines [Ed. note: Reproducing so much of the story is a little borderline, but what the hey.]
• Analysis:Love & Maggie continue their series of detailed, annotated rundowns of their Top 10 Issues of The Comics Journal with the third part of their examination of issue #71
• Review: "This is too much of an event to ignore: Fantagraphics, Seattle’s eclectic and prolific comics publisher,... is publishing its first volume of manga — comics that may be Japan’s most popular and influential art form. [...] A Drunken Dream and Other Stories is a four-decade anthology of graphic short stories by Moto Hagio, the 'founding mother' and premiere creator of shojo manga... Does Hagio’s work justify the hype? Her visual storytelling and graphic invention, by turns fluid, crisp, and stately, certainly do. ...Moto’s other later [stories] do indeed raise manga to literature." – Eric Scigliano, Seattle Met
• Review: "...[F]ew comics fans should have difficulty getting into A Drunken Dream and Other Stories... The stories in A Drunken Dream range from weird, powerful allegories... to dreamy tales of love and loss... But the best pieces here focus on memories of childhood, of playmates treated cruelly or parents and children misunderstanding each other. [...] Few stories in the entire history of the medium have been more overwhelming than 'Hanshin: Half-God,' a tale of conjoined twins — one haggard, one gorgeous — and their spiteful, symbiotic relationship. It’s a potent metaphor rendered with the intensity of an EC comic. [Grade] A-" – The A.V. Club
• Review: "Blake Bell’s Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko set the recent standard for how to put together a coffee-table book about a legendary comics artist, and Bell takes on another innovator of the medium with Fire & Water: Bill Everett, the Sub-Mariner, and the Birth of Marvel Comics... Because Everett didn’t have as long or as consistent a career as Ditko, Bell doesn’t subject Everett’s work to the keen analysis he brought to Strange and Stranger. But he makes up for the diminished insight with page after page of Everett’s vivid, varied work, showing how it all emanated from a man who was a lot like his most famous creation: a destructive antihero, always a little angry at the puny humans around him. [Grade] B" – The A.V. Club
• Review: "...The Complete Peanuts, Vol. 14: 1977 - 1978... shows just how much Schulz was all over the map during that time. [...] This is still a worthwhile volume of Complete Peanuts, though; it has a charming introduction by Alec Baldwin, the usual top-quality production of the whole Fantagraphics reprint library, and some fun story arcs..." – The A.V. Club
• Review: "Only a brain incubated in the warm, nourishing goo of Looney Tunes and vintage Disney cartoons could have produced Sammy the Mouse. [...] As always, Sally’s use of silent panels and dynamic perspectives guide readers’ eyes toward nightmarish horizons and grotesque situations... A grimy, metaphysical malaise drips from every line of Sally’s lush yet unwholesome artwork, especially when he’s plundering the iconography of innocence and youth in the service of disorienting discomfort. [Grade] A-" – The A.V. Club
• Review: At What Things Do, Jordan Crane writes "In the new issue of Love and Rockets (New Stories, no.3), Jaime has a story called Browntown. It just might be the best thing he’s ever done. In fact, I’d go so far as to say, it just might be the best comic I’ve ever read. Its construction is durable yet intricate, a bunch of simple parts working together flawlessly. It’s put together like a watch."
• Review:Guttersnipe's Shawn Conner on the "Counterculture Comix" exhibit at Bumbershoot last weekend, with photos by Robyn Hanson: "Curated by Larry Reid of Fantagraphics Books, it was an eye-popping display, even if you were familiar, as I was, with most of the work..."
For quite some time we've had the 1987 first hardcover edition of Love and Rockets Book 3 (Las Mujeres Perdidas, as it was known for subsequent editions), available to order from our warehouse. Apparently all this time we've been displaying the wrong cover art, which is a shame — that's the actual cover above (and back cover below) and holy cow, look at that gorgeous coloring by Eric Vincent. This edition also features a spiffy endpaper pattern featuring your favorite L&R characters, plus a color section reproducing the covers of the original issues! This really is a handsome package thanks to then-Art Director Doug Erb, and a true vintage L&R collectible — and it can be yours for the insane discounted price of just $12.50! Order today!
• Review: "What to say about Catalog 439? It's a crazy-arse thing, full of richly illustrated intricate drawings of smartly dressed men torturing each other with ridiculous devices. [...] What you get with this book then is not just a fascinating glimpse into a little known corner of American social history, but the template for many of the ad pages from the silver and bronze age comics that so many of us comic collectors love. I really enjoyed it and, although it isn't about comics, I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in the history of comic book advertising." – Dom Sutton, London Loves Comics
• Review: "At this point, I don’t know what else there is to say about Jamie Hernandez or Love and Rockets. I suspect that one day he’s going to make a truly terrible comic, if only because he must feel at least a little bit bad about showing nearly every other creator up so often. ...Penny Century is yet another masterpiece from a guy who turns them out seemingly like clockwork. If you haven’t read it, you need to. ...Jamie Hernandez’s exploration of life continues as an unimpeachable standard for comic book mastery." – Michael C. Lorah, Newsarama
• Review: "[Artichoke Tales] is far and away the best comic I've ever read from Megan Kelso, succeeding on almost every level. Her clear-line style gives an airy ease to her often detail-heavy drawings of nature and the people who inhabit it; similarly, her complex exercise in fantasy worldbuilding — and I don't mean detailed maps with funny names, I mean real worldbuilding, constructing cultural and religious and economic structures rooted in environment and history and exerting macro and micro influence across the lives of all the characters involved — is subsumed into an absorbing, briskly moving house-divided family soap opera. [...] I dug this book to a degree that surprised me and look forward to returning to it. It's a rich vein of alt-fantasy being tapped here." – Sean T. Collins, Attentiondeficitdisorderly
• Review: "Kelso's simple line and rounded forms belie the seriousness of the story. [...] Ultimately, Artichoke Tales is not so much a story about conflict as a story about the people reacting to the conflict, doing their best to live lives of integrity in a land of constant unrest. Although good intentions are often thwarted, it ends on a note of hope." – Brigid Alverson, Graphic Novel Reporter
• Plug: "I picked [A Drunken Dream and Other Stories] up at San Diego and it's one of those 'seminal' manga works that actually lives up to its hype. If you like Tatsumi, this is a good bet." Lydia Park, Ask Yavin IV (Funny, we don't remember seeing her at San Diego... That's a joke because she's a cartoon character.)
• Plug: "This is amazing news — one of my favourite cartoonists finally receives his due. I was starting to think that he had slipped through the cracks of cartoon history. ...[Rand Holmes] was a fantastic draftsman, surprisingly old-school, and his meticulous inking something that I could only ever hope to dream to aspire to." – Rod Filbrandt
• Plug: "...[T]he second volume of [Johnny Ryan's] battle epic Prison Pit... is amazing, nasty, and Lovecraftian." – Ryan Sands, Same Hat!
• Interview: "Newsarama: Billy Hazlenuts is like a children’s fable gone wrong, reminiscent in way of the old, dark Grimm Brothers tales with a modern, high-octane approach. Is that what you’re going for? Tony Millionaire: Take a closer look at those Grimm's Fairy tales, or even better, Hans Christian Anderson, and you'll tell me my stories are chocolate milk sopped on toast compared to that stuff."
After Jaime’s two-part super-hero epic from Love and Rockets: New Stories #1 and #2, we return to the enthralling minutiae of the “Locas” cast’s lives for the first time in three years. In the main story "The Love Bunglers" (presented in two parts) Ray finally gets his date with Maggie: The couple goes to an art opening and to dinner, they discuss the crazy world of dreams, and Maggie asks Ray for a huge favor. Also in this volume, “Brown Town, Blue Sun,” a new installment in Jaime’s beloved “little kids” flashback series: A ten-year-old Maggie and her family move away from Hoppers to a desert ghost town…
And on the Gilbert side of the ledger, “Scarlet by Starlight” is a story of humans exploring alien terrain, one of whom gets caught up in the natives' mating season with a furry creature who bears a striking resemblance to Fritz (of High Soft Lisp fame). “Killer/Sad Girl/Star” picks up the “Sad Girl” character from LRNS #2, and how no one in her family takes her budding film career seriously.
All this, plus: a letters page!
Download an EXCLUSIVE 12-page PDF excerpt (930 MB) with glimpses of each story.
• Review: "Set to Sea's one-panel-per-page layout lets Weing's visual storytelling shine, but only if you resist the urge to tear through the pages quickly. Go too fast, and you'll miss the touching, wordless way Weing communicates the death of a supporting character. Or, worse, you'll skim over a gorgeous arctic sunset clearly inspired by theGustave Dore engravings for Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner." – Glen Weldon, NPR
• Plug: "Drew Weing’s graphic novel debut [Set to Sea] is a Popeye-esque delight. Weing’s linework — and abundant crosshatching — is a visual feast that well serves the story of a deadbeat poet who is shanghaied and learns to live and love the yarns he’s been spinning." – Benn Ray (Atomic Books), Largehearted Boy
• Plug: "I don't know Drew but I've been reading [Set to Sea] online and I think it's a damn fine yarn worthy of your dollars and a place on your bookshelf." – Steve Rolston (Queen & Country, The Escapists, Ghost Projekt)
• List: "Featuring riotous fake ads, and strips like 'Snake and Bacon,' TDTT is subversive, twisted and awesome. With the 'can comic books be funny?' debate ever-raging, Tales Designed to Thrizzle answers a glorious 'Yes!'" – Max Minor, "Comic Books You Should Be Reading," Nerd City
• List:io9's Cyriaque Lamar recommends the Love and Rockets "Maggie the Mechanic" storylines as one of "5 comic books that will see you through Scott Pilgrim withdrawal," saying "these initial forays into scifi strongly resemble the unexplained weirdness of Pilgrimverse." (via Newsarama)
• Commentary: "Love and Rockets is spectacular, and amazingly approachable (What brought me over to the dark side of actually reading it was free time and finding Locas in my local library...), and the kind of thing that I feel embarrassed to have been reticent to read in the first place, which explains why I admit to it in public like this." – Graeme McMillan, Robot 6
• Commentary:The Hooded Utilitarian's critical roundtable on Popeye concludes with Robert Stanley Martin: "I perceive Segar’s Popeye as a period piece, but I can’t summon a rigorous aesthetic basis for that view. All I can muster is my own idiosyncratic opinion."
Behold Jaime Hernandez's cover art for the 2nd issue of Marvel's Strange Tales Vol. 2, solicited for November 2010. (Pointed out by someone on Twitter whom I've since forgotten, sorry!) Looks like Gilbert's in the issue as well, along with Paul Hornschemeier and others. Update yer pull lists!
• Review: "Of the artists that meant the world to me when I was young enough that lots of artists meant the world to me, Jaime Hernandez is the only one I know of that can still kill me dead with his newest and latest. Your mileage may vary, but Jaime's three-part story in the latest Love and Rockets brought to mind the same sweep of romance and regret and pursuit of all that's sweet in life as much as battered and broken insides allow that I remember all too well from the summer between my junior and senior years in college, when I would have put everything about my wonderful life on hold to climb into a black and white comic book for a little while. There are three or four panels in this newest effort worth some cartoonists' entire careers." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
• Review: "Set to Sea is [an] auspicious debut... Weing's nameless, landlubbing protagonist aches to rhapsodize about the sea but discovers that something's missing. After dozing drunkenly on a dock, he awakes to discover he's been shanghaied. His adventures provide ample material for a volume of poetry in this hilariously violent picaresque tale." – Richard Pachter, The Miami Herald
• Review: "A book like The Best American Comics Criticism invites argument. If you put 'best' in your title, argument will follow. I’ve got arguments, but I wanted to start by praising both the editor, Ben Schwartz, and the publisher, Fantagraphics, for making the effort." - Derik Badman
• Review: "...[T]his story is one where Deitch tries to tie the various unruly strands of his many stories together. In a way, I almost prefer that these overlapping, nesting, and sometimes contradictory stories never really congeal, but The Search for Smilin' Ed is, like all of Deitch's work, a compelling and highly personal piece of work." – Robert Boyd, The Great God Pan Is Dead
• Review: "Although the images are very haunting, they are extremely beautiful. Pim & Francie is a pretty unique book. ... This book as a whole is actually quite creepy, haunting, scary, beautiful, and intoxicating. I seem to enjoy it more every time I look/read through it. With images on almost every single page, this book is worth a lot more than its cover price." – Steven Thomas
• Review: "Wally Gropius ...[is] John Stanley for the 21st century. Not that Stanley doesn’t work just fine in 2010, but Hensley is worthy of that sort of praise. I wish this guy was writing Archie." – Chris Reilly, Guttergeek
• Review: "I loved this book and am glad I... could read something this wonderfully twisted... I really wish I could tell you what genre this is, but The Squirrel Machine defies that sort of commercial branding." – Chris Reilly, Guttergeek
• Review: "Man, Joe Daly is awesome. ...[H]e is back with thunder in his pen and ants in his pants. [Dungeon Quest] is as good as Scrublands on page one and it just gets better and funnier, more bizarre and familiar (if you have ever met or hung out with Larpers) with each page turn. Welcome back, Joe Daly. You rule." – Chris Reilly, Guttergeek
• Review: "The Troublemakers... is Gilbert [Hernandez] doing a Quentin Tarantino, in that he dips into a sleazy old unpleasant genre of crime exploitation films of the 60s and 70s and cherry-picks a bunch of the good bits and smashes them together and cooks them into a really sweet pie." – Chris Reilly, Guttergeek
• Review: "The Culture Corner... is the biggest score for fans of Wolverton since the publication of the Wolverton Bible. I guess you could also say that this is the first reprint collection of Wolverton material since the Wolverton Bible if you wanted to nit-pick. Great stuff." – Chris Reilly, Guttergeek
• Interview: At WFMU's Beware of the Blog, Kliph Nesteroff talks to Drew Friedman: "When I was talking to Albert [Brooks] at this party he said, 'Drew, did you know that Harpo's ex-wife married Frank Sinatra?' I said, 'No, it was Zeppo's ex-wife.' He said, 'No, no, it was Harpo's ex-wife.' I said, 'No, it was Zeppo's ex-wife. Look, we have Andy Marx, Groucho's grandson standing right here. Let's ask him.' I said, 'Andy, which one of your uncles married Frank Sinatra's wife?' He said, 'Well, that was Zeppo's wife.' That's why I love L.A. It's handy to have Groucho's grandson [around] when you need him." (Note: audio of this conversation will be available from the Inkstuds podcast soon; we'll keep you updated)
• Profile:Seattle Times book editor Mary Ann Gwinn reports on the partnership between Rick Marschall's Rosebud Archives and Fantagraphics Books: "Now Marschall's company, Rosebud Archives, and Fantagraphics have formed a joint publishing enterprise that will draw from Marschall's immense collection, reclaiming the work of the great 20th-century magazine and newspaper artists for the 21st-century public."
• Commentary: At The Hooded Utilitarian, Shaenon Garrity kicks off a critical roundtable on Popeye with a 7-part appreciation: "Popeye hangs on, indestructible..., the last of a tougher, smellier, funnier breed."
• Reviewer: At Comics Comics, our own Jason T. Miles looks at something I'm also fond of: Andy Helfer & Kyle Baker's late-1980s run on The Shadow