Attention critics, bloggers, and pundits! If you are putting together your own Best of 2009 list and need to be reminded which of your favorite Fantagraphics releases were released this year, by all means use our complete and up-to-date 2009 Releases section as your guide. And then when your list is posted we will include it in a future installment of Online Commentary & Diversions such as below:
• List: At Chicago Now, Marissa Meli names her top 8 Worthiest Comics and Graphic Novels of 2009; at #8: "Besides having a title worthy of naming your hipster band after, You Shall Die by Your Own Evil Creation! was way before its time; a freak-out in the middle of the white bread Golden Age. ... With a magical space wizard, the Leopard Women of Venus, and Zomax, the Demonized Marine Scientist on your shelf, you may not buy another comic book."
• Review: "...[The Great Anti-War Cartoons] offer[s]... a feast of great early 20th century illustration. There are a few recognizable names here, like Winsor McCay and Art Young, but a number of great discoveries as well..." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
• Review: "[Weathercraft] is a wordless story about strange creatures in a strange world. ... With an open mind you are sucked into a surreal world that is both a dream and a nightmare of geometric chickens, tornadoes of eyes, harp-playing frogs... It is an immense mental gut-punch. 6 out of 6 stars" – Lærke Pickering Thomasen, Geek Culture (translated from Danish)
• Review: It's rare for me to editorialize here, but I found Alan Bisbort's comments on The Wolverton Bible in the Hartford Advocate to be seemingly disregardful of the actual contents of the book
• Review:The Hooded Ultilitarian's critical roundtable of Ghost World continues, this time with guest writer Charles Reece: "If I’m correctly following Žižek’s Lacanese, this wide-scale commercial co-optation of not just the aesthetic Sublime, but pretty much anything that once gave off a sense of 'authenticity,' has resulted in our no longer being able to identify ourselves in relation to these (formerly) Master Signifiers."
• Plug: At Comics Alliance, Douglas Wolk declares Gahan Wilson: Fifty Years of Playboy Cartoons "Your high-end gift item of the week... It's extraordinarily nicely designed (by Jacob Covey) — three hardcover, full-color volumes in a slipcase with a few other ingenious design fillips inspired by the macabre comedy of Wilson's cartoons."
• List:Details magazine names Ghost World #10 on The 25 Greatest Gen X Books of All Time: "This caustically funny duo-tone tale follows the iconic cat-eyed adolescent Enid Coleslaw in her quest to find meaning, or at least cruel humor, in an age where everything's disposable."
• Review: "Strange Suspense collects dozens of Ditko stories from the 1950’s... Almost a decade before Ditko moved to Marvel, these stories bear his unmistakable style. His fine line work and flair for the abstract that would serve him so well on Doctor Strange particularly, is on full display. ... If you only know Ditko for his work at Marvel or later at DC, here is the chance to explore Early Ditko, unconstrained by editors or the Comics Code. While all of this work is marvelous, clearly Ditko is best at home in horror where he could let his imagination run wild, creating monsters and demons and the things that go bump in the night. Rediscover Ditko today!" – Tim Janson, Newsarama
• Review: "Brian Kane, author of the [Definitive Prince Valiant] Companion and surely the world’s foremost authority on the strip and its creator, Hal Foster, has once again done a herculean amount of work, and Fantagraphics has once again clothed that work in a sturdy, pretty volume. Prince Valiant hasn’t been treated this well since the ersatz King of England sang his praises. Those unfamiliar with the character – a young man who finds adventure, fame, and even love at the court of the legendary King Arthur – will find here all the background information they could ever want... But even long-time Prince Valiant fans will find plenty to fascinate them in this volume." – Khalid Ponte, Open Letters
• Review: "Delphine is a morbid interpretation of the symbology of fairy tales resounding with echoes of unrequited love and abandonment. This is perhaps Sala’s darkest and most intricate story ever – impressive in its nuance and ever shifting emotions. One can only hope that it is not ignored." – Ng Suat Tong, The Comics Journal
• Interview: From TCJ.com: "Every weekday from now until December 25, we’ll be posting a conversation between cartoonists from The Comics Journal #300, complete and online! In today’s installment, it’s a chat between L’Association publisher Jean-Christophe Menu and Kramers Ergot publisher Sammy Harkham."
• List:Politics and Prose, perhaps the most graphic novel-friendly bookstore in Washington DC, lists their Favorite Graphic Literature of the Year:
"Every few years a graphic novel comes around that is so good you have to stop reading for a while, because if you read anything else you'd only be disappointed. ... The Squirrel Machine... is a masterpiece of comic fantasy. When I finished this book, I immediately returned to the introduction and read the whole book again, and again. Read this book to see what heights serial art can achieve in narrative and in the creation of worlds that exist in one character's mind. Read it if you think you can handle it, for it abandons the typical narrative structure and accomplishes its ends as only serial art of the highest quality can. This is a fine, gut-wrenching book, written and drawn by a true master." – Thad Ellerbe
"West Coast Blues is an unflinching story, perfect for any fan of the thriller." – Adam Waterreus
"C. Tyler's You'll Never Know, Book One: A Good and Decent Man... is also an impressive and beautiful history of the era; Tyler creates a panorama of images that sweep across the page as she documents her father's childhood, her parent's engagement, and her own young life. Her pen, ink, and color transform her creative panels (at times evoking a scrapbook) into vibrant memories intertwined by her restless imagination." – Adam Waterreus
"[With Abstract Comics] it becomes a treat to take a page of art — or a simple panel — and consider how the shapes, texture, depth, and color interact with one another; to reflect on how, when one takes the time, the enjoyment one ordinarily finds in reading a purely textually-oriented, narrative-driven written story can — with the graphic form — be translated into something completely different." – Adam Waterreus
"From Wonderland with Love: Danish Comics in the Third Millennium... is fantastic! This amazing collection just blew me away. There was not one moment when reading this book — in one sitting, slouched and unblinking on my couch, coffee going cold — that I did not completely love. ... Mythic and dreamlike, meditative and fantastical, this is a superb and surprising collection." – Adam Waterreus
• Review: "...[F]rom the moment he showed up [Michael] Kupperman was a master of stomping around the living room of modern reality and shoving pieces of conceptual furniture next to one another to awesome, knees-out-from-under effect. Kupperman's work has always had that charge that the really good stuff has... Kupperman doesn't get enough credit for building a comic book vehicle in Tales Designed To Thrizzle that serves to facilitate those skills. ...I'm not certain anything under heaven or earth could make something greater than Kupperman's peerless ability to craft funny moments." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
• Review: "Unclothed Man delivers just the right amounts of story, whimsy, art, and heft for four two-minute entries. It offers actual nutritive cultural substance, as opposed to so much web filler one often gets. And you’ll want to go back and watch them a few more times. There’s a lot of variety behind the series’ simple elegance." – Michael Shaw (no relation), Tubefilter
• Plug: "Compiled by Portland, Oregon-based trash cinema expert Jacques Boyreau, Portable Grindhouse honors the pulp video era that inspired Quentin Tarantino." – Hugh Hart, Wired
...this time in Norway, under the translated title Værverk, from our good friends at Jippi Forlag. North Americans can secure one of twenty "scalped" signed and sketched-in copies direct from Mr. Woodring, and/or wait for the Fantagraphics edition this coming Spring.
FANTAGRAPHICS BOOKSTORE & GALLERY CELEBRATES THIRD ANNIVERSARY ON DECEMBER 12 WITH ART, MUSIC, COMIX & MORE!
November 25, 2009 - SEATTLE, WA. The third anniversary celebration for Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery on Saturday, December 12, from 6:00 to 9:00 PM, promises to be an unforgettable affair. The event features appearances by an international cadre of compelling cartoonists and artists as well as the world premiere of PORTABLE GRINDHOUSE with editor Jacques Boyreau. An entertaining panel discussion will be held the following Sunday afternoon, December 13.
PORTABLE GRINDHOUSE: The Lost Art of the VHS Box collects colorful cover art from a selection of vintage exploitation genre films. Cleverly packaged in a VHS slipcase, this anthology celebrates the film format that changed pop culture forever. On opening night Portland-based editor and B movie aficionado Jacques Boyreau will unveil a monumental site-specific "Portable Grindhouse" mural designed by Candice Schroeder. Boyreau commissioned Schroeder to create an equally impressive mural for his "SuperTrash" movie memorabilia exhibition currently on display at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.
December 12 also marks the third anniversary of Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery. To celebrate the occasion, Fantagraphics Books has assembled an amazing group of cartoonists to socialize and sign books. Among the stellar line-up of guests: Femke Hiemstra (ROCK CANDY) from Amsterdam, Paul Hornschemeier (ALL & SUNDRY) and Jay Ryan (BEASTS!) from Chicago, Portland's Dame Darcy (MEAT CAKE), and Seattle's own Peter Bagge (HATE), Jim Woodring (FRANK), Scott Musgrove (THE LATE FAUNA OF EARLY NORTH AMERICA), and Jim Blanchard (TRUCKER FAGS IN DENIAL.) Musical entertainment will be provided by Bagge's pop combo CAN YOU IMAGINE? featuring Steve Fisk and an opening set by the enchanting DAME DARCY.
On Sunday, December 13 from 4:00 to 6:00 PM, Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery presents a panel discussion focusing on PORTABLE GRINDHOUSE. Five distinguished experts in the field will screen short clips from their favorite exploitation film and discuss its influence on their work, as well as the broader social implications of the genre.
Panelists include artist Lisa Petrucci (KICKASS KUTIES ) of Something Weird, cartoonist Marc Palm of Scarecrow Video, Seattle Times pop culture critic Mark Rahner with film critic and curator Robert Horton, co-writers of horror comic ROTTEN. The panel is moderated by PORTABLE GRINDHOUSE editor Jacques Boyreau and will be followed by a book signing and reception. Admission is free as always.
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery Third Anniversary Celebration Saturday, December 12, 6:00 - 9:00 PM
PORTABLE GRINDHOUSE Book Launch Party Featuring Editor Jacques Boyreau
CAN YOU IMAGINE? featuring Steve Fisk And DAME DARCY
From Chicago Paul Hornschemeier (ALL & SUNDRY) & Jay Ryan (BEASTS!) From Amsterdam Femke Hiemstra (ROCK CANDY) From Portland Dame Darcy (MEAT CAKE) Seattle's own Peter Bagge (HATE), Jim Blanchard, Jim Woodring (FRANK) and more!
Sunday, December 13, 4:00 to 6:00 PM
PORTABLE GRINDHOUSE PANEL & BOOK SIGNING
Screening and panel discussion on vintage exploitation video with
Lisa Petrucci (KICKASS KUTIES) Something Weird Video. Mark Rahner (ROTTEN) Seattle Times pop culture critic Robert Horton KUOW film critic and Frye Art Museum film curator Marc Palm (AKA Swellzombie) Scarecrow Video Moderated by PORTABLE GRINDHOUSE editor Jacques Boyreau
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery
1201 S. Vale Street (at Airport Way S.) Seattle, WA 98108 206.658.0110 Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM www.fantagraphics.com
...in Denmark, under a different title (Alkymisterne), from our pals at Aben Maler (co-publishers of From Wonderland with Love — ooh, they've got previews). Jim Woodring shares his thoughts on the occasion on his blog, along with a link to this translated review from tegneseriesiden.dk ("To go into [Weathercraft] is like sticking your head deep in a witches' pot and letting your brain cook slowly. It is an attack that has the ability to flush from the visual into your other senses, it is like to smell and hear and above all feel with the eyes, synesthesia in cartoon form"). Meanwhile, North American readers will have to wait until our version, which will look different, comes out this Spring.
• Review: "[Pim & Francie]'s spine calls its contents 'artifacts and bone fragments,' as if they're what's left for a forensic scientist to identify after a brutal murderer has had his way with them; Columbia obsessively returns to images of 'bloody bloody killers.' ... Many of the pieces are just one or two drawings, as if they've been reduced to the moment when an idyllic piece of entertainment goes hideously awry. But they're also showcases for Columbia's self-frustrating mastery: his absolute command of the idiom of lush, old-fashioned cartooning, and the unshakable eeriness of his visions of horror." – Publishers Weekly
• Review: "With [Pim & Francie], Al Columbia has created not only one of the more unsettling works of horror in the medium of comics, but it also happens to be one of the greatest myth-making objects... Whether Columbia planned more complete stories for any of the efforts collected here is an interesting question, but for my money he has instead come up with dozens of nightmarish scenarios that have a greater cumulative effect by skipping set-ups or endings. The ending, one suspects, is always going to be a variation of horrific death and dismemberment." – Christopher Allen, Comic Book Galaxy
The third anniversary celebration for Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery on Saturday, December 12 promises to be an unforgettable affair. The event features appearances by an international cadre of compelling cartoonists and artists as well as the world premier of PORTABLE GRINDHOUSE with editor Jacques Boyreau.