The year's penultimate Online Commentary & Diversions:
• List:Comic Book Resources begins their countdown of the Top 100 Comics of 2009. At #82, "Because I Love You So Much" by Nikoline Wedelin: "Found in the pages of the recent anthology of Danish comics, From Wonderland with Love, this collection of strips about a mother who discovers that her daughter is being sexually abused by her dad is one of the most harrowing and utterly stunning stories about a difficult subject matter I've ever read and easily equal to the works of, say, Phoebe Gloeckner or Debbie Dreschler." (Chris Mautner)
• List: Robin McConnell of Inkstuds re-posts his Best of 2009 and Best of the 2000s lists previously run at The Daily Cross Hatch
• List:Comicdom continues their Top 100 of the 00s with Black Hole by Charles Burns at #2: "I start, taking for granted that with Black Hole, Burns played the blues of the pelvis with unparalleled mastery."
• Review: "...[A] love letter to 70s exploitation movies. Beto being Beto, there’s a depth of visual symbolism and complexity of character that provides an emotional structure to the narrative not seen in the source material that inspired these stories. ...Elmore Leonard meets Roger Corman. ... There’s a wonderful luridness to the story that Hernandez revels in... The Troublemakers... shows the artist at the height of his powers, capable of crafting characters with surprising depth even in the basest of genre stories." – Rob Clough, The Comics Journal
• Interview:Comic Book Galaxy's Alan David Doane presents an exactly-decade-old chat with Barry Windsor-Smith, conducted on the occasion of the release of OPUS Vol. 1: "I mean, if I'd really wanted to sell it, I could have called it 'Tits Galore' or something like that." (I pulled the goofiest quote, but really, it's a substantive read.)
My totally awesome and amazing wife commissioned this "jumble" of iconic cartoon characters from our good pal Jeremy Eaton as a Christmas gift to me. I am a lucky man. Can you name them all? Sorry for the glare.
Get a custom "JUMBLE" from Jeremy Eaton for a mere $50, thru Dec. 27. That's right, choose any two cartoon characters and the artist will create an 8" x 10" Custom Jumble on heavyweight manila drawing paper, featuring both of your favorites in an exclusively-styled combination. I own one of these and you should, too. Contact him through his website.
Last night I headed down to Seattle's great Elliot Bay Book Co. to see my old friend Chelsea Cain read from her latest novel, Evil at Heart, the third book in her NY Times bestselling thriller series from Minotaur (following Heartsick and Sweetheart), featuring serial killer Gretchen Lowell and her nemesis-slash-soulmate, Detective Archie Sheridan. The series has sold a kajillion copies, been featured on HBO's True Blood, and been praised by no less an authority as Stephen King as well as just about everyone else on the planet, so you don't need to take my word for it when I tell you that if you like a good, character-driven thriller, you should really pick these up.
Now that Chelsea's a superstar in the book world, I thought it would be fun/self-serving to point out one of her earliest "literary" efforts, a little-seen entry in the world of underground funnybooks. Back in 1997, Chelsea was one of the first people to proudly take up the challenge of contributing to my then-new anthology for Fantagraphics, Dirty Stories, a fairly self-explanatory collection of transgressive, "smutty" comics that also featured work by Jaime Hernandez, Dylan Horrocks, Reneé French, Peter Bagge, Jessica Abel, Paul Pope, Dave Cooper, and many others. Chelsea collaborated with our mutual pal Jeremy Eaton on a funny little parody of sexual politics, power, and political correctness titled "The Adventures of Whitecop: P.C. Misogynist." The book is long out-of-print (although volumes two and three are still available), but you can read the entire story on Jeremy's blog; it's a hoot. Here's the first page:
All you Cain collectors out there will need to update your checklists and try to find a second-hand copy of this rare gem.
Oh, and since I already pointed out the self-servingness of this post, according to Chelsea at her reading last night, there's a character in Evil at Heart named after me. *Blush!* I can't wait to find out what cruel fate awaits me.
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