Jason's latest book, Low Moon, has not even been released yet in the U.S. (look for it to premiere at MoCCA, as well as to-be-officially-announced June events at the Strand in NYC, Portland OR, and our very own bookstore), and our hard-working Norwegian has already completed his next opus, another full-color 48-pager in the same format as the Eisner-Award nominated The Last Musketeer and the Eisner Award-winning The Left Bank Gang. Here is an exclusive preview of the first page from Werewolves of Montpellier, scheduled for release next summer. (In between, we will be releasing a Low Moon-format omnibus collection of several out of print Jason books, including Meow, Baby!, Tell Me Something, and You Can't Get There from Here, titled Almost Silent.)
Jason's regular colorist Hubert will soon be applying his magical hues to Werewolves. And in fact this seems like as good a moment as any to offer our heartfelt apologies to Hubert for forgetting to include his credit in the printed edition of Low Moon. Hubert has colored every full-color book of Jason's since Why Are You Doing This?, done an exemplary job every time (in fact, he was Eisner nominated too, for The Left Bank Gang), so I'm sure most regular Jason fans will automatically know that he was the man behind Low Moon's typically stunning chromatics, but we're still embarrassed. We hope Low Moon will sell out quickly so we can rectify this in a future edition.
Today's hot batch of Online Commentary & Diversions:
• Review: "...[T]he furtive griminess that Jason wrings from his stock character designs is impressive to behold... [Y]ou'll enjoy any number of his typical moments of storytelling grace..." - otherwise Tom Spurgeon is unfortunately somewhat sparing in praise for Jason's Low Moon at The Comics Reporter
• Review: "Miss [Lasko-Gross]' previous book, Escape from 'Special,' launched her fearless plan to produce an autobiographical trilogy. [A] Mess [of Everything]tackles the high-school years, which involve mean girls, mean boys and plenty of awkward social situations. Each anecdote is super-short with cringeworthy dialogue that you'll identify with and will remind you of how fortunate you are to have lived through that rough period." - Whitney Matheson, "Three Graphic Novels You Should Read Immediately," USA Today Pop Candy
• Review: "I’ve read some crazy comix, and while he won’t scare you under the sheets like S. Clay Wilson, [John] Kerschbaum can be as raw as R. Crumb, Peter Bagge, and [Johnny] Ryan, who may be his closest comix cousins... No fan of adult funny animal comics (like Fritz the Cat) will want to miss Petey & Pussy... Petey & Pussy is some funny shit." - Leroy Douresseaux, Comic Book Bin
• Plug: "Fantagraphics is shortly to publish a new edition of Prince Valiant, Hal Foster's legendary, Golden Age comic strip of knights, swashbuckling, romance and chivalry... Foster's artwork is amazing. Foster was an exceptional talent in an era of exceptional talents." - OK Erok
• Plug: "The fifth issue of Tales Designed to Thrizzle is in and it's even weirder than the last one. See aliens give a bloke sexy lady legs! Twain plus Einstein plus enraged badger! Hobo fashion! If you've not read any of Michael Kupperman's stuff before now's yer chance..." - Gosh! Comics
• Review: "Low Moon collect[s] five good examples of Jason's bitter, funny sense of humor... Despite the funny animal surface, Jason's actually one of the best crime writers of this generation, and three of these pieces are very dark crime stories, with a sort of science fiction story about estrangement from love and the title story, a very funny parody of western movie clichés that doesn't require any knowledge of the originals. If you're feeling bleak about the bleak underbelly of human existence, this probably isn't your best relief, but if you can see the humor in it, there's pretty much no better guide working today." - Steven Grant, Comic Book Resources
• Preview: New York Magazine posts an exclusive excerpt from A Mess of Everything by Miss Lasko-Gross, saying "she writes about her own high-school years with affectionately brutal honesty."
• Plug: "Want a collection of one of the most brilliant comics of the modern era? Fantagraphics has released a collection of Gilbert Hernandez's Luba." - Matt Price, The Oklahoman/Nerdage
• Review: "[Jason] has proven over the years that no character, no genre, no classic plot is safe when he is in the room... Once again, [in Low Moon,] Jason squeezes an abundance of tension from scenes stripped of background noise and faces drained of emotion... [C]ount me among those who feels lucky to return time and again to Jason's cartoons, wondering when and if his winning streak will ever end." - Steve Duin, The Oregonian
• Review: "The King of Persia [by Walt Holcombe, collected in Things Just Get Away from You] is a gem of a book. The black and white artwork is whimsical and lush, with lovely crosshatching. The dialogue ranges from lyrical to comical within the same page, or even the same panel. There are wordless sequences in which the strength of the artwork shines. The story is bittersweet... it's packed full of humor and melancholy, each strengthened by its juxtaposition with the other." - Little Bits of Everything
Now available for preview and pre-order: Low Moon by Jason. This hardcover volume collects the titular serial strip from the New York Times Magazine, plus 4 more all-new short stories featuring murder, cavemen, sex, and alien abduction, all with Jason's trademark wry, deadpan sensibility. This book is scheduled to debut at the MoCCA Art Festival in NYC in June; it should be in stock and ready to ship in late June and in stores approximately 4 weeks after that.
View a photo & video slideshow preview embedded here. Click here if it is not visible, and/or to view it larger in a new window (recommended). And at our product info page, download a 12-page PDF excerpt!
Plus, as an extra bonus, decorate your computer screen or mobile phone with this exclusive free desktop wallpaper based on the back cover art! Select the size that matches your screen resolution:
All last week and this week we're bringing you a sneak peek at our Fall 2009 - Winter 2010 schedule of releases! Today's excerpt from our latest book distributor's catalog includes the 3rd volume of Glenn Head's Hotwire Comics anthology; Almost Silent, a hardcover compilation of some of Jason's out-of-print work; Unlovable Vol. 2 by Esther Pearl Watson; and the midcentury Italian cheesecake of Bella Donna: The Pin-Up Girls of Kremos. (Note that all the info in this catalog is subject to change along the way to the books' release, including release dates, prices, cover art, book specs, etc.) Click here to download the PDF!
• Review: "...[T]he primitive funnybooks rescued from obscurity by Greg Sadowski in Supermen! The First Wave of Comic Book Heroes 1936-1941 contain within their awesomely naïve and rudimentarily brilliant pages all the seeds of the postmodern graphic novel... Compounded equally from pulp fiction, movies, newspaper strips, and sheer desperate commercial-deadline-brainstorm lunacy, these early superhero tales created their own fresh synthetic mythology and compositional tools on the fly." - Paul DiFilippo, The Barnes & Noble Review
• Review: "[Bottomless Belly Button] reads almost like a John Updike novel... [Dash Shaw] really utilizes the medium to its fullest capacity..." - Benn Ray (Atomic Books) on WYPR (Baltimore public radio - streaming audio)
• Review: "[The Wolverton Bible] is fascinating read; it's a fascinating document by one of the most important illustrators of the 20th century." - Benn Ray (Atomic Books) on WYPR (Baltimore public radio - streaming audio - same link as above)
• Review: "Fantagraphics’ collection of the four issues of Blazing Combat blew me away from the start. The size and heft of the hardback reminded me of my textbooks from my school days. And once I cracked open the book, I found myself getting a hell of an education with this one."- Tim O'Shea, Robot 6, "What Are You Reading?"
• Review: "If nothing else, Supermen! puts Fletcher Hanks’ career in perspective... These are comics designed to make you tear your hair out waiting for the next issue, just to see if these guys could top themselves. Great fun all around." - Tom Bondurant, Robot 6, "What Are You Reading?" (same link as above)
• Review: "Jason is an expert at expressing a complex idea with simple visuals and dialogue. Most of his works contain little to no dialogue, actually -- entire stories can be read in facial expressions, twitches, color changes and movements. The entirety of Tell Me Something contains 7 lines of dialogue. It tells the story of 2 lovers and the trials they go through to be together, using dual layered story arcs differentiated simply by the panel borders to convey depth and reshape the story into an intriguing form." - The Inside Flap [Ed. note: Tell Me Something is out of print, but will be collected along with other Jason stories in a forthcoming hardcover]
• List: For Robot 6, Chris Mautner names "Six ‘retired' artists we'd like to see return to comics," including Brian Biggs ("...Frederick and Eloise [brings] a whimsical, storybook approach that never seem[s] overly twee or sweet. Indeed, [it is] often grounded by some dark undercurrents, not to mention backed by some serious artistic chops"), Dave Cooper ("Surreal, mind-warping books like Suckle, Ripple and his ongoing series Weasel, which chronicled a number of sweaty, paunchy, disturbingly neurotic and oversexed characters, had Cooper earning acclaim equal to the likes of Clowes and Ware"), and Mary Fleener ("...[S]he remains one of the most original voices in comics, with an art style that’s completely her own (no one draws a sex scene like her)." [Note to Mautner: Mary Fleener had a new comics story titled "Niacin" in Hotwire Comics Vol. 2, which we put out last year])
• Interview: At Robot 6, Tim O'Shea talks to Esther Pearl Watson about Unlovable Vol. 1. Choice quote: "I was a lot like Tammy and still am. It’s everything I fear."
• Review: Poopsheet praises Petey & Pussy by John Kerschbaum, noting the "deeply weird cast" of characters, the "unpredictable plots in which everybody winds up humiliated and covered in one horrible substance or other, which is just what they all deserve. All this is, of course, very, very funny. John is a ninja of comedy timing," and a story moment that "makes you happy to read comics."
• Reviews: Andrew Wheeler rounds up a lot of books, including Willie & Joe: The WWII Years by Bill Mauldin ("Not just one of the best books of comics to come out last year, not even one of the best books to come out in 2008, but an excellent, essential, carefully-designed work of real historical importance and vital art... a great monument to one of the best cartoonists of the 20th century"; Petey & Pussy by John Kerschbaum ("Another one of those books that makes me laugh out loud and then feel guilty about it; this is probably offensive to many people, disgusting to more, but uncomfortably funny for nearly all of us... The stories are drawn in a tight, clean style, and are full of things I don't want to describe on the open Internet. I laughed a lot; I'll admit that"); Fuzz & Pluck: Splitsville by Ted Stearn ("...like Mark Beyer's Amy + Jordan, only much better drawn and with a coherent story"); The Maakies with the Wrinkled Knees by Tony Millionaire ("grotesquely gorgeous art"); and The Last Musketeer by Jason ("a wry and very entertaining story")
• Review: Stripper's Guide on Jerry Dumas & Mort Walker's Sam's Strip: "...one of the most delightful and intellectually daring strips that ever appeared in newspapers... And Fantagraphics has done it up in a perfect package. The reproduction quality is top-notch, and they've given us a superb bonus -- a section of annotations by Jerry Dumas and Brian Walker... if you are a comic strip fan and you don't have this book on your shelf then there is something really wrong with you. Seriously. Go buy the book."
• List: Ben Towle names some favorites from 2008 including Most Outrageous by Bob Levin ("...fascinating... a fantastic book..."); Petey & Pussy by John Kerschbaum ("What more can I say? This book’s #%&*in’ hilarious. Oh, I guess this: it’s also beautifully drawn."); and Fuzz & Pluck: Splitsville by Ted Stearn ("beautiful")
• Plug: In an interview with Newsarama, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Diaz says "I adore that Richard Sala miniseries Delphine that he's putting out through Fantagraphics" (new issue out this summer!)
• List/reviews: The Metabunker names and reviews their selections for the best comics of 2008, including Explainers by Jules Feiffer ("After half a century, Jules Feiffer’s classic Village Voice strips read at once as a succinct period portrait and an eloquent portrayal of everyday human affairs at any time... His nervous line captures well both the specific anxieties of the time, and the more general ones of simply being alive, with empathy and humour, while his unadorned, precise language captures with precision the way we continue to verbalise these problems to each other and ourselves, most of the time without making much sense. Revelatory and funny human white noise.") and Bottomless Belly Button by Dash Shaw ("...such a rare example of a young artist pulling out all the stops — as a young artist should — creating a vibrant cacophony of formal experiments and engrossing storytelling.")