At each event, Jim will entertain audiences a fantastic slide show and discussion of the hidden meanings behind every mysterious idea and totem in WEATHERCRAFT. And in Brooklyn, on June 18, New Yorkers will have the opportunity to view all of the original artwork from the book, as well as many preliminary pieces that went into making it.
ABOUT WEATHERCRAFT: After 30 years of making acclaimed comic books, Jim Woodring has created his first-ever, long-form original graphic novel. WEATHERCRAFT sends Jim's sloth-like character, Manhog, on a psychedelic quest for enlightenment. Woodring's transformative imagination lures the reader in and makes that person part of a looping story in which actions speak and words don't exist. Wooodring's fluid panels and detailed linework makes this journey though the "Unifactor" universe one that rewards with exquisite new discoveries upon every reading.
WEATHERCRAFT: Black-and-white, 104 pages, 7" by 9.75" • ISBN: 978-1-60699-340-8 • $19.99 US
• Review: "Over the last few decades, Jim Woodring has been drawing a series of wordless, blissfully cruel slapstick fables, set in a world of grotesque entities and psychedelic minarets: half unshakable nightmare, half Chuck Jones cartoon filtered through the Bhagavad Gita. Weathercraft... flows so smoothly and delightfully from each image to the next that it’s easy to ignore that it has its own idea of sense, which may not jibe with anybody else’s." – Douglas Wolk, The New York Times
• Review: "For those who find the work involving enough, Weathercraft will resonate with them on some emotional level — there's moments that unnerve, moments that touch — and while it is an immersive experience, the comic, especially in its hardcover form, operates most like a testimony of events. It's a comic, through and through, but it hews closer to a religious tome than it does a Love & Rockets installment." – Tucker Stone, comiXology
• Review: "It’s better to experience Woodring’s work than to try and understand it. Weathercraft focuses on Frank’s frequent nemesis Manhog — a representative of humanity at its morally weakest — as he goes through multiple stages of degradation on his way to almost achieving a higher consciousness. The humanoid mongrel Frank hangs around the edges of the story with his loyal pets, but Weathercraft is mainly about how Manhog — and by extension the reader — sees how sick, freaky, and beautiful the world can be… [Grade] A-" – The A.V. Club
• Review: "Megan Kelso is best known for elegant, small-scale comics... with a historical or memoiristic bent. So it’s surprising and wonderful that Artichoke Tales, her first novel-length work, is the sort of world-building fantasy story that comes with a family tree and a map on its endpapers. ... Kelso’s ligne claire artwork is consistently sweet and airy, depicting blobby, dot-eyed characters whose body language says as much as their words. The approach provides a likable surface for a story with much darker and stickier depths, about a land whose cultural heritage is rotting away in the aftermath of a civil war." – Douglas Wolk, The New York Times
• Review: "South African comic book writer/artist Joe Daly’s Dungeon Quest: Book One takes a hilariously askew look at the madness of fantasy quest games. ...[R]eaders with a high tolerance for absurdity and a healthy sense of humor about the subject matter will probably love what's on offer here." – Matt Staggs, Suvudu
• Review: "Watching [Wally] and his equally gangly, geometric cohorts stretch and sprint and smash their way across Hensley's brighly colored backgrounds and block-lettered sound effects is like reading your favorite poem — or even... Wally Gropius itself — as translated into a language with a totally different alphabet. ... And wonder of wonders, the book finds its own way to be really funny amid all these highfalutin hijinks..." – Sean T. Collins, Attentiondeficitdisorderly
• Review: "[Wally Gropius] has quickly become one of my favorite graphic novels. ... The comic is too odd to be described as 'commentary.' It seems far more synthetic than parodic: it blends recognizable influences into something truly new... The plot of Wally Gropius has been described as surreal or random, but it’s coherent and far more complex than I first thought... The book is an encyclopedia of cartoony facial expressions and bodily gestures, and should be studied at the CCS as such. WG radiates a real sense of joy, of 'cartooning unfettered.' ... Hensley is one of the best, and most idiosyncratic, writers of text in comics." – Ken Parille, Blog Flume
• Review: "[Daniel] Clowes isn’t as zany as he used to be, so there’s a void to be filled here, and Wally Gropius does that ably: The hardcover collects Hensley’s Gropius stories from the anthology seriesMome (with a little extra material thrown in), and his immaculate, vaguely ’50s style owes as much to Mort Walker, Archie Comics, and other vintage teen-humor strips as it does to Clowes. ... [Grade] B" – The A.V. Club
• Review: "...Captain Easy follows a mysterious agent-for-hire as he travels exotic lands, battling bad guys. ...Crane’s art is stunning, combining simple cartoony figures with richly detailed backgrounds in clever, colorful layouts. It isn’t even necessary to read the dialogue or captions to follow the action; just scan Crane’s dynamic lines, which make every panel look like a unique work of pop art… [Grade] A-" – The A.V. Club
• Review: "I was pretty excited when I found out that Fantagraphics was publishing an anthology of The Best American Comics Criticism. ... Editor Ben Schwartz did a great job selecting pieces that comprise a vibrant narrative of the industry. From graphic novels with literary aspirations to comics about capes, the breadth of content in here is really fantastic. ... But of all the essays in the book, only one is written by a woman. That’s a big let down." – Erin Polgreen, Attackerman
• Plug: "Drew Friedman is the master American caricaturist of our time. Not only are his portraits of the famous so realistic, they induce double takes, but he also captures truths about personality and draws out (pun intended) the funny in everyone." – Michael Simmons, LA Weekly
• Plug:G4 drops a nice mention of "the ongoing and lovingly assembled Complete Peanuts series" in their review of the Snoopy Flying Ace game for Xbox 360
• Interview:Comics Comics' Nicole Rudick sat Al Columbia down for his most candid and revealing interview ever: "So, yeah, I can still draw Pim and Francie. They’re a lot of fun to draw. Almost too much fun. You start to get intoxicated working on them. It’s like, 'This is too much fun. This shouldn’t be allowed. This shouldn’t be legal.' I always put it aside because it just gets me too . . . they’re very intense and fun and maybe fun upsets me."
• Interview:The Daily Cross Hatch's Brian Heater concludes his conversation with Gene Deitch: "I hate the term '2D.' That’s bullshit. They put us in that category. They say they’re making 3D. They’re not 3D. What Pixar does is not 3D because it’s shaded. The screen is flat. It’s a flat picture. It’s just an illusion."
• Profile: Taylor Dungjen of University of Cincinnati student newspaper The News Record profiles U of C faculty member C. Tyler: "You might say Tyler is a proud American. You might even call her a patriot. She says she is a liberal hippie chick who supports American troops."
• Review: "Rather than a narrative arc, with ascensions and declines, Artichoke [Tales] feels like a series of expansions. The characters and their world grow to envelop the reader in a singular, charming way." – Paul Constant, The Stranger
• Review: "Without a single word, Woodring tells an enormous tale of redemption and heartbreak. Weathercraft crackles with the power of myth, and it extends far beyond its pages with a life of its own; one could imagine a postapocalyptic culture forming an entire religion based on this one thin book. You've never read anything quite like Weathercraft, but at the same time it feels eerily familiar, like a dream you had last night." – Paul Constant, The Stranger
• Review: "Weathercraftis at once far wilder and more subtle than I could have imagined. The imagery and the surroundings are more hallucinatory, the mixture of cartoon-cute and skittering, undulating grotesquerie more effectively creepy, and the characterizations and themes more layered and nuanced than any version of this book that played out in my head. ... Weathercraft paints small moments of beauty and mystery on a huge canvas of twisted wonder." – Jason Michelitch, Comics Alliance
• Review: "...[Wally] Gropius is more concerned with verbal jazz and abstract gags, all presented in an innocent-looking approximation of the bright, clean style of ’60s Harvey Comics. ... I liked enough of the gags, and Hensley’s overall confidence in putting them over in such a currently declassé comics art style, that I would recommend it." – Christopher Allen, Comic Book Galaxy
• Review: The French edition of Daniel Clowes 's The Death Ray (Eightball #23) was examined on Le Grand Journal on French television network Canal+ last month (YouTube link) — for non-Francophones Kim Thompson summarizes it thusly: "The guy can't stop gushing about the beauty of the drawings, the coloring, the design, the thematic elements of ennui (yes, he actually says 'ennui') and violence 'even against squirrels.'"
• Roundtable: Speaking of our own multilingualist Kim Thompson, he participates in The Comics Journal's roundtable discussion on comics translation
Seattleites, you won't want to miss this: "The Lobster and the Liver," a feature-length documentary about the great Jim Woodring, will play at the Seattle True Independent Film Festival this Friday, June 4th at 7pm at the Central Cinema ( 21st and Union ). I've seen it, and although it will likely embarrass Jim to say so, I thought it was fantastic and one of the best docs about a cartoonist I've ever seen. Watch the trailer here or embedded below.
• Review: "Part theater of cruelty, part joyous liberating revolution, Jim Woodring's freakishly beautiful Weathercraft is at once the most direct and most elliptical of his Frank comics that I can remember reading." – Sean T. Collins, Attentiondeficitdisorderly
• Plug:Newsarama's J. Caleb Mozzocco calls Dame Darcy's Meat Cake "something to get excited about"
It couldn't be a finer time to be a Fantagraphics fan as we have three major book releases scheduled to land in comic shops this week (with scuttlebutt that some shops may have received them last week). Read on for blogospheric descriptions and reaction:
104-page black & white 7" x 9.75" hardcover • $19.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-340-8
"Anecdotal as this is, I’ve heard absolutely nothing but good things about this new Jim Woodring project, a 104-page return to his signature Frank character, although the story itself focuses on damned, slovenly humanoid swine thingy Manhog as he taps into strange cosmic powers. As it was before, expect Woodring’s excellent command of physical comedy (and his story pacing, which always seems to denote improvisation but never dawdles or rambles) to segue from the pliable bodies of cartoon figures into something mythic and transformative about mysteries lurking just behind the atmosphere." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics
"The all-new Weathercraft is my book of the week and would be my book for most weeks, frankly." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
64-page full-color 10" x 12.5" hardcover • $18.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-355-2
"...Tim Hensley... mix[es] and sampl[es] elements in a self-evident way for a gleeful result, though this artist takes it so far that individual character poses seem exclusively isolated from long-forgotten humor comics and pressed into the service of a patchwork ideal of a ‘teenage’ comic (teenage-as-a-genre), possibly going down as the most striking of the original MOME serials once the goats are culled from the sheep. Here’s the collected edition, a 10″ x 12.5″ hardcover album, 64 color pages, almost all of them pretty to very funny. Yet it’s oddly difficult to describe Wally Gropius in more specific terms, but know that it’s about a rich boy and a determined girl and their courtship, and how prolix borrowed comic devices can build into something distressing indeed." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics
"Tim Hensley’s sly satire of silly ‘60s kids comics is an amazingly accomplished, spot-on imitation of the look and feel of those books, but with a sharper edged and heavier weight. One-part Archie Andrews, two-parts Richie Rich, Wally Gropius isn’t the German architect (although he’s often confused for him), but is rather a teen rock star bazillionaire." – J. Caleb Mozzocco, Newsarama
114-page 10.5" x 14.75" full-color hardcover • $39.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-161-9
"...an anticipated-by-many contemporary reprint project collecting Roy Crane’s influential Sunday spin-off from the comedic daily strip titled Wash Tubbs back when it started in 1924, but had since itself become an adventure-toned showcase for the Captain Easy character. Edited by Rick Norwood, with a vintage (1974) foreword by Charles Schulz and a new introduction by Jeet Heer..." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics
"The best adventure comic everywhere; Crane's clean, thought-out action scenes are a tonic for all those confused superhero fight scenes out there today." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
As always, complete details and extensive previews of each book can be found at their respective links. Bug your local comic shop to make sure they have them in stock before smashing open your piggy bank.
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