• Review: "The publication of I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planetsby Fantagraphics is a perfect example of publishers saving comics from obscurity. Hanks’ figures are blocky, the anatomy can be clumsy, and the writing is simplistic, yet on each page there is at least one panel that takes your breath away with its energy and power... There are terrifying images amidst his clunky compositions and strange leering grimaces in the faces of the heroes and villains alike. On top of all these aesthetic challenges and rewards, they are great stories, ...lively with a passionate definition of right and wrong, which gives them an infectious dynamism and excitement." - Christian Zabriskie, The Graphic Novel Reporter
Public confusion surrounding the overwhelming critical regard that the WATCHMEN graphic novel continues to be held in amongst those who haven't read the book but paid good money to see the feature film is rampant. "Wait, are comics for kids, or aren't they?" many have asked. Now that these people have seen WATCHMEN the movie, how do they erase it from memory and avoid wantonly dismissing the entire medium from which it sprung? We're here to help. Point them in the right direction with Fantagraphics Books' new "AFTER WATCHMEN, CLEANSE YOUR PALATE" program.. Please visit our homepage for more information on these fine "essentials" from Fantagraphics Books, perfect for anyone who sees WATCHMEN on film and can't believe that comics are worth taking seriously.
• Review: Comics Waiting Room on Ho! The Morally Questionable Cartoons of Ivan Brunetti: "...[I]f the material printed Ho! had been created in, say, Soviet Russia, Ivan would be the biggest star in the gulag. As it is, he’s one of the most twisted and funny motherfuckers putting pen to paper right in the U.S. of A. And I’m damned proud he’s one of us... Brunetti’s latest work is as strong as ever, and maybe even sicker. He’s an amazing cartoonist, and I respect his work immensely, even when some of it makes me queasy… especially if it makes me laugh then feel queasy."
• Reviews: The "What Are You Reading?" column at Robot 6 includes Tom Bondurant on Gilbert Hernandez's Heartbreak Soup ("At first I was afraid that Beto was introducing so many characters I wouldn’t be able to keep up with them, but the deeper I go into the book the better he manages everyone. The writing reminds me of Will Eisner’s slice-of-life stuff from his later career..."), Tim O'Shea on The Complete Peanuts 1969-1970 ("The intro by Mo Willems is great insight into what appealed to many about the series..."), Chris Mautner on A Mess of Everything by Miss Lasko-Gross ("[It] shows a good deal of progression [from Escape from "Special"], both in terms of storytelling and artistry"), and Jeff Lester on The Comics Journal Library Vol. 6: The Writers ("for which a more accurate title might have been 'Gary Groth Browbeats Bewildered Comics Writers'")
• Preview: Urban Aesthete looks at the forthcoming Abstract Comics anthology
• Profile: The Seattle Weekly, previewing Jaime's visit to Seattle, nicely describes Love and Rockets: "It’s a mutable universe that skips between characters at older and younger stages of life, where buxom pro wrestling queens, spaceship mechanics, and touring hardcore bands buoyantly intersect. No one stays lost for long; no grievance goes unforgotten; and deep-fried jungle slugs forever remain a delicacy."
• Review: Sean T. Collins on Supermen! The First Wave of Comic Book Heroes 1936-1941: "...[T]his... anthology of early superhero comics is, like Paul Karasik's Fletcher Hanks collection and DC's Jack Kirby omnibuses before it, a real 'here's how it's done' moment. Entertaining, left-field subject matter; eye-pleasing design; tactile paper stock; color technique and reproduction values that neither hide the material behind the haze of nostalgia nor try to mask its primitive origins with out-of-place high-gloss modernity; manageable length and heft; art presented at a powerful but not brobdingnagian size... truly [we are] living in the Golden Age of Reprints."
If you thought you'd never see a new Love and Rockets comic book again: surprise! Our 2009 Free Comic Book Day offering is a preview of this summer's second annual issue of Love and Rockets: New Stories! Official description: "This preview edition includes a sizeable chapter of the second half of Jaime's amazing super-hero romp 'Ti-Girls Adventures,' as well as Gilbert Hernandez's typically unique 'Chest Fever,' both from the upcoming Love and Rockets: New Stories #2, plus selections from #1 and a new cover by Gilbert and Jaime!" Head to the FCBD website for an exclusive sneak preview download, and visit your participating local comics shop (call to confirm participation and availability) on Saturday, May 2 to pick up your copy! (Yes, we will have them at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery; no, they will not be available online.)
• Review: Art Blog by Bob on The Wolverton Bible by Basil Wolverton: "As much as the horrific and Bosch-esque in Wolverton’s art strikes you immediately, it’s also important to recognize the beauty of many of his visions... The Wolverton Bible still has the ability to revolt and repulse viewers, but that is just one aspect of its overall ability to make these well-known stories seem new and, more importantly, inescapably human."
• Review: Blog @ Newsarama says "A few words about every single story in Supermen!" (spoiler alert!), praising editor Greg Sadowski and concluding "I honestly can’t recommend [the book] enough to any fans of the superhero genre."
This weekend is the Emerald City Con, our hometown comics event of the year. We'll be exhibiting all weekend and showcasing a host of new spring books including Gilbert Hernandez's LUBA, Bob Fingerman's CONNECTIVE TISSUE, Miss Lasko-Gross's A MESS OF EVERYTHING, the great HUMBUG boxed set, Archie Goodwin's BLAZING COMBAT, Boody Rogers' BOODY, Paul Hornschemeier's MOTHER, COME HOME, and much, much more. We'll also be hosting signings, including:
JAIME HERNANDEZ: all weekend!
PAUL HORNSCHEMEIER: all day Saturday!
DAME DARCY: Saturday from 1 to 3PM
BILL SCHELLY (author of MAN OF ROCK, the excellent JOE KUBERT bio): Saturday from 11 to 2PM
Also, STAN SAKAI will be in attendance in Artist's Alley all weekend, signing copies of USAGI YOJIMBO.
After the con on Saturday, join us at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery from 6:00 to 9:00 PM for an extraordinary exhibition of original artwork by Jaime Hernandez and Stan Sakai. Jaime and Stan, together with special guest Paul Hornschemeier, will be signing books and mingling with fans.
It's impossible to overstate the enduring influence of LOVE & ROCKETS on the comics medium, so we'll skip the superlatives. Suffice to say that Jaime will be on hand to greet fans and sign books. Stan's epic USAGI YOJIMBO adventure series has introduced generations of young readers to the world of comics, and his books are more popular than ever. His original drawings and paintings are inspiring. Jaime and Stan will be joined by their young colleague Paul Hornschemeier signing copies of his wonderful new graphic novel MOTHER, COME HOME.
This event serves as the official after-party for this weekend's Emerald City Comicon in Seattle, so expect to see other comics creators and luminaries. Adult beverages will be provided for grown ups and sodas for the kids.
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located just minutes south of downtown Seattle at 1201 S. Vale Street (at the corner of Airport Way S.) in the colorful Georgetown arts community. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.669.9059.