• Review: For Robot 6's "What Are You Reading?" column, guest contributor Kevin Church says of Sam's Strip, "It was either going to be the biggest success in the world or end within two years. Since it’s all collected in one volume now, you can likely work out how it went down."
• Review: Las Vegas Weekly gives Sam's Strip 4 stars: "How on earth did Sam's Strip... fail to set the funny pages on fire back in 1961...? The answer -- provided through this complete collection of 500 strips -- is that the time just wasn't right. Well, it's certainly right now."
• Review: Thought Balloonist Charles W. Hatfield examines Bottomless Belly Button by Dash Shaw: "Shaw is very good and getting better... With Bottomless Belly Button he has pulled off something remarkable: a 700-plus page book that doesn't feel like a stunt but rather is perfectly proportioned, intimate, and subtle, a privileged entryway into a private world that nonetheless feels universal in its emotive resonance and applicability... Bottomless Belly Button has depths. It evokes the power of memory and the phenomenal richness of ordinary experience with the sort of Proustian precision of observation and recall that alternative comics have been chasing since Spiegelman."
• Review: The title of The Washington Post's Express Night Out review of The Complete Peanuts 1971-1972 makes what is surely the first reference to Spin¨al Tap in a Peanuts review. From the review: "[These] volumes... are a spectacular tribute to Schulz's work... References to Bob Dylan's age aside (one strip mentions his 30th birthday — yikes!), Peanuts remains surprisingly fresh and timeless. Although Charles Schulz wrote these strips over 20 years ago, the ongoing popularity of the made-for-TV holiday specials... means that the Peanuts gang continue to remain relevant in popular culture. It would be a pity, however, to relegate Peanuts to special occasions only — Schulz's work should and can be enjoyed all year round."
• Review: Sacha Peet says "I finally read Unlovable by Esther Pearl Watson the other day. I love it. The drawings are great, and the life of Tammy Pierce is enthralling."
• Review: The A.V. Club "Comics Panel" likes Mome Vol. 14, saying of two featured stories, "Both [Dash Shaw and Lilli Carré] combine striking illustration with a nuanced sense of place and character for a winning mix of the classic and the progressive."
• Review: Italian site Il Sole 24 Ore says our collection of Mort Walker & Jerry Dumas's Sam's Strip is "exceptional... As always, the presentation of Fantagraphics is superb and worth sharing," according to the Google translation
• Review: Bookgasm says of Supermen!: "...any self-respecting comics fan is going to eat [these stories] up like a Saturday-morning bowl of sugared cereal … and slurp up any leftover milk. If there’s a better gift of comics history this year… well, I’d no doubt fall in love with that one, too... Fantagraphics has done an amazing job in assembling this unique and colorful curio."
• Review: Comics Worth Reading gives "a big tip of the hat to the fine folks at Fantagraphics for getting Sam's Strip back into print after all these decades. As usual, they have spared no expense in putting together a visually excellent package... If you ever had more than a passing interest in newspaper strips, you owe it to yourself to check out this collection."
• History: In his Savage Critics post about "vaporware" comics projects culled from the pages of mid-1980s Amazing Heroes Preview Specials, Douglas Wolk digs up our never-produced Alan Moore anthology series and a choice quote from Kim Thompson
Sam’s Strip was ahead of its time when it debuted in 1961. Mort Walker and Jerry Dumas’ offbeat creation took the inside joke of breaking the “fourth wall” to a new level, playing with the basic elements of the cartoon form, experimenting with different art styles and featuring famous characters from other strips. Sam and his cartoonist assistant owned and operated the comic strip they inhabited. The Yellow Kid, Jiggs, Krazy Kat, Dagwood, and Charlie Brown were among the many familiar faces who made walk-on appearances. Sam and his assistant discussed the inner workings and hidden secrets of life within the panel borders. This type of self-referential humor, called “metacomics” by scholar Thomas Inge, had been explored previously by Al Capp, Ernie Bushmiller, and Walt Kelly and has been used on a more regular basis by such contemporary cartoonists as Garry Trudeau, Berke Breathed, and Bill Griffith. Sam’s Strip, which never appeared in more than 60 newpapers, was too esoteric for most readers, and was terminated by its creators in 1963. It is considered a cult classic among comic-strip aficionados today.
This collection features the complete 20-month run, almost 510 daily strips, of Sam’s Strip. Mort Walker and Jerry Dumas provide first-hand accounts of the creation of the strip and other rare, behind-the-scenes material, including unpublished sketches, original artwork, photographs and sales brochures. Take a trip beyond the fourth wall and rediscover this unique behind-the-scenes look at the world of comic strip humor.