• Reviews: In three separate posts, Andrew Wheeler of The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent. looks at three of the Jason books which are compiled in Almost Silent: Meow, Baby! ("Jason knows the wellsprings of comedy: sex and death, embarrassment and familiarity. And he mixes and matches those elements, using his iconic cast, for a hundred and fifty wry and deeply amusing pages. ...a great introduction and a decently comprehensive catalog of his style, subjects, and strengths"), You Can't Get There from Here ("It's the touching story of Frankenstein's Monster and His Bride... one of the better Jason books; it has an inevitability to it, but it's not entirely bleak..."), and Tell Me Something ("a sad nearly-wordless noir story about some people and how none of them get what they want").
• Review: "...I’m happy to have this excellent collection [of Blazing Combat], handsomely packaged..., and all in one place for a good evening’s read. ... For lovers of great art, lovingly rendered in black and white and grey ink wash..., this is as good as it gets... This is one collection of war comics that even those not inclined to care about the genre can appreciate, and now it’s more affordable than ever." – Johnny Bacardi, Popdose
• Review: "Bottomless Belly Button is a 720-page family drama filled with neurosis, romance, mystery, comedy, fond memories, bad parenting, teen angst and sexual awakening. The book is big but not overwhelming, and sad with out being tragic. This is a graphic novel of the tallest order, from one of the most unique voices in the medium today." – Steve Ponzo, Multiversity Comics
• Review: "[Castle Waiting Vol. 1] is a massive and stunning work of art, from the production values by Fantagraphics to the beautiful comprehensive work inside. ... Not unlike Fables, Medley’s Castle Waiting tackles traditional fairy tales with inspired re-invention and especially to my liking, is that it does so with a bit of a feminist slant. The tales inside Castle Waiting are extremely female friendly and are something I’d love to see offered up to every little boy and girl as the required alternative to our more standard ‘happily ever after’ tales. ... The illustration... is flat out phenomenal. ...[T]he attention to detail, the consistency (every panel is picture perfect), the clarity of story telling, and the character design – down to the smallest facial expression, is just top notch. ... One of the best things about Medley’s Castle Waiting is the wonderful cohesiveness... It feels absolutely like a singular and uncorrupted vision in a way that few books manage. And I strongly believe that it is that uncorrupted and singular vision that makes this book so strong." – Kelly Thompson, Comic Book Resources
• Review: "It’s difficult not to be charmed by [Castle Waiting Vol. 1] as the stories are light, funny and entertaining. ... It’s a fun read. It’s well and clearly written. The art is top-notch for being b&w. ... This one comes recommended for those looking to get into comics and not knowing where to start, or those who enjoy comics from time to time but don’t want to invest in some huge story." – Emily Dresner, /project/multiplexer
• Profile: "It’s easy to fall in love with Jaime [Hernandez]’s characters, not only because of their obvious features, but also from their lifelike gestures and expressions, naturalistic in everyday scenes and exaggerated in comedic and suspenseful ones. His teachers, like Archie Comics artists Bob Bollings, Dan DeCarlo, and Harry Lucey, were experts in gestural drawings with their simplified cartooning. It’s a trait Jaime Hernandez has successfully adopted and made his own. 'I’m just happy that I’m still allowed to do comics. They’re still letting me because they’re paying my rent.'" – Christopher Irving, Graphic NYC (photos by Seth Kushner)
• Interview: The PsiOp Radio podcast talked to Hotwire editor/cartoonist Glenn Head on Sunday evening — download an MP3 here (they warn that there are some audio issues in the first hour)
• Plug: "[Unlovable] Volume II has just been released from Fantagraphics Books for your perusing pleasure and it doesn't disappoint. ... I can't ever get enough of Tammy Pierce, the awkward teenager that Esther Pearl Watson has brought to life over the years..." – Meighan O'Toole, My Love for You Is a Stampede of Horses (unfortunately the event mentioned in the post is canceled)
• Plug: "I'm all about vintage. Especially vintage comics. Fantagraphics Books wants you to like vintage comics as well and are releasing Our Gang Vol. 4 (1946-1947), a vintage 1946-1947 comic in a new TPB." – Omnicomic
• Shout-out:Jaleen Grove, who gave the talk about Russell Patterson at TCAF last weekend, gives her report from the festival with an important correction
• Guide: At Time's Techland blog, Douglas Wolk tells you "Where to Start with Love and Rockets": "Fantagraphics actually has a guide to navigating the various overlapping reprints of the three Love and Rockets series (and assorted associated projects) to date, since everything's been repackaged and reformatted so many times. That's useful if you want to read everything in chronological order – but I'd actually suggest that you don't."
• Review: "The solid blacks and blocky grotesquerie of The Lagoon strongly recall Charles Burns’ Black Hole, a story in which adulthood is equated with monstrosity. In The Lagoon, too, sexual maturity and horror are linked. But that link is mediated by a third term — a metaphor, a song." – Noah Berlatsky, The Hooded Utilitarian (reprinted from the Chicago Reader)
• Review: "The mind of Tony Millionaire is a funny, wacky and kinda disturbing place, but man do I love it! ... Billy Hazelnuts and the Crazy Bird is an incredible book for all ages. There is nothing else like it being published today and I think that is why it’s so special! In a time when comic fans are counting every penny and scrutinizing every purchase, rest assured this book is worth every penny." – Secret Identity
"To celebrate the release of the new art book, The Art of Jaime Hernandez — The Secrets of Life and Death, Family is pleased to be hosting a signing and conversation with the books principal creators Jaime Hernanadez, Todd Hignite, and Jordan Crane on Tuesday, May 4th at 7pm." More info on the Family blog.
During Jaime Hernandez's recent visit to NYC for the MoCCA festival, The Village Voice's R.C. Baker took him to MOMA (making the unfailingly-punctual artist late for his signing at our table) and then wrote this cover story about it for this week's issue. The Maggie-and-Hopey-in-the-Big-Apple cover illo is the icing on the cake. (Also of note in the issue: "The Band Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb" by Ward Sutton.)
• Interview: At Graphic Novel Reporter, Peter Gutiérrez has a Q&A with Jaime Hernandez & Todd Hignite, author of The Art of Jaime Hernandez: "I was a little surprised to find out that my approach to sex in comics is different from the norm. I've always tried to treat it as naturally as somebody talking about having to buy groceries, and I guess it paid off. Who knew?"
• Review: "As for this book, yes, it's completely lovely, gorgeously designed by Jacob Covey. Its contents are so damn delightful that within one week of finishing reading the book, I was actively entertaining buying what seemed to be all of it again in another format. It's an absolute treasure, a work of art I'm glad to own. ... Locas II is recommended, strongly, if you haven't read the material, but do some research [link added - Ed.] and make sure you're not duplicating yourself too much if you have." – The Hipster Dad's Bookshelf
• Review: "No one smiles. It’s am emotional world presented in emotionless, static drawings and strange greens and beiges. Nothing is visually beautiful, and while all of this would seem to work against the impact of the story, it ultimately conveys a feeling of overwhelming nervousness, or waking up way too early in the morning and blearily staring into an unfamiliar world, and this is what infects you until it all makes sense. ... [Mother, Come Home] is not a light read, but it feels much lighter than the works that it seeks to shadow, and should be a welcome addition to any collection." – Collin David, Graphic Novel Reporter
• Plugs: In their "Graphic Novels Prepub Alert," Library Journal's Martha Cornog spotlights August releases Nancy Is Happy: Complete Dailies, 1942–1945 ("Nancy has inspired numerous pop culture variations and tributes as well as a forthcoming serious analysis: How To Read Nancy (Karasik & Newgarden, Fantagraphics, Aug. 2010). The who’s who among Nancy Revivalists includes Art Spiegelman and Dan Clowes — who wrote the introduction. This first reprint volume collects the second four-year span of the run. The first four years will appear later, since the archival material is more sparse and difficult to collate") and RIP M.D. ("A 'full-color, all-ages adventure' with an animated cartoon series in development, a promising bet for reluctant readers.")
• Plug: At Robot 6, Sean T. Collins on our MoCCA table: "You could safely shop only from Fantagraphics and still experience a hella great comics industry in microcosm."
Thanks to all the artists, attendees, and MoCCA staff & volunteers for helping make the 2010 MoCCA Art Festival our most successful ever! We sold out of numerous titles, some within hours (and to the chagrin of our artists who ran out of books to sign — sorry!), and had mobs of fans turn out for our signings.