• Review: "It's hard not to get swept away your first time reading this book through. The gentle tug of the stories' allure that keeps you reading is hard to ignore so it's recommended you give in. Read it all the way through at your own pace. Once you're done, wait a few days or a couple weeks even, and then read it again. A Drunken Dream and Other Stories is a collection of subtleties as much as it is one of short stories. While the plots themselves are straight-forward enough (taking to mind how strange some can be), the emotional tone of each individual experience is where these stories truly pack a memorable punch. [...] Inside and out, Moto Hagio's A Drunken Dream and Other Stories is a mature collection of stories that aims to provoke thought and feeling and succeeds endearingly at just that. A piece of manga history that only becomes more engaging with each subsequent read, A Drunken Dream presents a great opportunity to experience the charms, both subtle and poignant, of Moto Hagio's craft." – Lissa Pattillo, Anime News Network
• Review: "While reading A Drunken Dream and Other Stories, it felt like I was not so much reading the stories as getting submerged in pure book, and rather than try to explain why that is, I just feel the need to force everyone I know to buy it while making vaguely incoherent happy cries. [...] It is a dazzling treat, and will mesmerize you. [...] If this doesn't win some awards it will be a travesty. Wholeheartedly recommended." – Sean Gaffney, A Case Suitable for Treatment
• Tweet of the Week: "Best story in Drunken Dream is the antisocial girl/puppy one, though it's missing the last page where Mr. A kicks the shit out of everybody." – Joe "@snubpollard" McCulloch
• Review: "...[T]his superb retrospective compilation and biography [The Artist Himself: A Rand Holmes Retrospective] featur[es] scads of sketches, reproductions of drawings, cartoons and the paintings he created in his later life..., preserved with a copious collection of his wickedly wonderful underground and alternative comic strips for fans and soon to be devotees. [...] Rand Holmes was a true artist in every sense of the world and mostly produced work intended to change society, not fill his pockets. This book is a wonderful tribute and one any grown-up art lover will marvel at and cherish." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!
• Review: "As usual with Jason, these stories [in Low Moon ] are blackly funny, with characters whose core motivations are often unknown. [...] He's been a creator of great stories for many years, but there has always been something glancing and surface-y about his works before. Jason has always been deadpan, but he's showing, some of the time, unexpected depths in that pan." – Andrew Wheeler, The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.
• Review: "There are books that can be easily reviewed — they have straightforward plots that either make sense or don't, characters whose motives are explicable and definable, and settings that relate to places in the real world. And then there are the works of Jim Woodring, where nothing is explained, nothing is stable, and nothing is like anyone else's work. And it's absolutely goddamn genius. [...] There is no one like Jim Woodring, and comics are immeasurably strengthened by the fact that he's chosen this art-form to work in. [...] If you have any feeling in your soul, Weathercraft will confuse and mesmerize you." – Andrew Wheeler, The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.
• Plug: "At the age of seven (right on schedule!) Dylan has discovered Charles Schulz, and has polished off my entire collection of The Complete Peanuts hardcovers, from 1950 to 1976. As a result, by my math, he has read nearly 9,500 daily and Sunday strips. Most published before I was born, let alone before he was born." – Ken Jennings
• Plug (no pun intened): "Michael Kupperman is a funny guy, and pretty weird. His Tales Designed to Thrizzle carries on the madness... This one, however, rises to new heights with its appreciation of DRAINAGE!" – Lichanos, Journey to Perplexity
• Plug: "Drew Weing has finished his nautical adventure Set to Sea, bringing the story neatly back around in a circle. Told in a series of beautifully drawn single panels, Weing’s comic is the story of a sea-loving poet who gets shanghaied and learns the real thing is rougher and yet more beautiful than he had imagined. Fantagraphics has published a lovely print volume, and Weing is selling the original panels as well." – Brigid Alverson, Robot 6
• Interview: Our Italophone readers (or readers with the patience to work through a slightly jumbled autotranslation) will want to check out Comicsblog.it's interview with Set to Sea creator Drew Weing
• Coming Attractions: "It seems like it’s been forever since the gorgeous hardcover collection of the first set of Linda Medley's Castle Waiting stories. Fantagraphics will release 384 more pages of charming comics about the family-of-choice residents of a falling-down castle along the way." – David Welsh, The Manga Curmudgeon
This weekend is Seattle's BUMBERSHOOT festival ("bumbershoot" is old-timey for "umbrella" -- get it? it rains a lot here!), one of the biggest cultural events of the year in the great Pacific Northwest, and Fantagraphics will have a presence at the show in a few different ways, most notably a massive art exhibit curated by our own Larry Reid. Here's the skinny on all FBI goings-on:
NORTHWEST COMIX: A 30-YEAR SURVEY OF SEATTLE ALTERNATIVE CARTOONISTS Curated by Larry Reid in Association with Fantagraphics Books
Venue: Northwest Rooms
Open free to the public September 4-6 with admission to Bumbershoot 2010
This retrospective examines the Northwest's legacy as the birthplace of alternative comics (aka comix). Beginning with the work of Lynda Barry circa 1980, and running through today, the emphasis is on the role of comix in Seattle's youth movement of the '90s that went on to influence global popular culture. Curated by Larry Reid in conjunction with Fantagraphics Books, this exhibit features original artwork on display together with demonstrations by Friends of the Nib and Bureau of Drawers, as well as screenings of Hooked on Comix. Artists include Lynda Barry, Charles Burns, Peter Bagge, Jim Woodring, Ellen Forney, Patrick Moriarity, Mark Zingarelli, Roberta Gregory, Megan Kelso, Jim Blanchard, David Lasky, Justin Hampton, Ted Jouflas, and others.
AN EVENING WITH TONY MILLIONAIRE
Venue: Leo K. Theatre
Monday, September 6, 2010 • 5:30 pm- 6:30 pm
Tony Millionaire is the multiple award-winning creator of the self-syndicated comic strip, Maakies, which appears in weekly newspapers across the country. Maakies has been adapted to the small screen in 1998 for Saturday Night Live and in 2008 as The Drinky Crow Show for Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. Moderated by Eric Reynolds of Fantagraphics Books.
LISTEN WHITEY: A HISTORY OF BLACK POWER RECORDINGS Hosted by Pat Thomas
Venue: Words & Ideas Stage
Saturday September 4, 2010 • 3:45PM - 4:45PM
Pat Thomas' forthcoming Fantagraphics book, Listen Whitey: The Sounds of Black Power 1965-1975, chronicles his huge collection of rare and out-of-print Black Power poetry, speeches, interviews, jazz, soul, rock, and pop recordings. He will be speaking about this exhaustive collection and providing unique insight into the historical movement, while playing tons of music and recordings.
Also, if you live in Seattle, you might want to get in on this contest asap to win a few thousand dollars worth of killer swag, including a bunch of Fantagraphics books!
• Review: "Originally serialized in the late ‘90s, this cartwheeling shaggy-dog story begins, like a lot of metafiction, with the semblance of reality... But by the time a frog demon reanimates a 19th-century French peasant whose brains it has eaten, it’s fairly clear that Deitch is making stuff up. The fun of [The Search for Smilin' Ed] is the way it constantly darts back and forth across the line between genuine show-business lore (a favorite Deitch theme) and delirious whole-cloth invention. ... Deitch’s artwork... is... utterly confident, building on the stylistic gestures of both the underground-comics scene that launched his career and the classic animation that inspired his talking-animal characters." – Publishers Weekly
• Review: "Some of the best comics of the last couple of decades are Jim Woodring’s wordless Frank stories. Dreamlike, idyllic and mind bendingly horrific visions are rendered with immaculate penwork and pacing. This tidy, near 200 page collection of black and white stories [The Portable Frank] is sufficient to put a permanent dent in your brain pan." – M. Ace, Irregular Orbit
• Review: "Fantagraphics cycles back to the first three years of Herriman’s Sunday Krazy Kat strips [in Krazy & Ignatz 1916-1918]. I do enjoy these early years of the kat kronikles — a bit more lyrical, a bit more varied, a bit less centered on the kat/mouse/cop routine. Yes, you need it. Of course." – M. Ace, Irregular Orbit
• Interview: In virtue of the Criterion Collection release of Crumb on DVD and Blu-ray, The A.V. Club talks to director Terry Zwigoff: "And I said, 'What did you think of it?' And he said, 'It was mortifying.' I said, 'Is it a bad film?' And he said, 'No, but I’m looking at myself in a mirror, so what am I supposed to say? Is it good? Is it bad? I just don’t want to look at it.' Something like that."
• Panel:The Comics Journal presents video of the "International Comics and Graphic Novels" panel at Comic-Con International last month, with Moto Hagio, Émile Bravo and others — part 1 is embedded above, with 4 additional parts at TCJ.com
We all knew it, but now it's official! Congratulations to Jim Woodring for being awarded this year's Stranger Genius Award in Literature. Announcing the award on The Stranger's blog Slog, Paul Constant says "Woodring is the first Stranger Genius of Literature who has been published by local publisher Fantagraphics Books (they've been ardent promoters of Woodring's work from the very beginning of his career). Quite simply, that's insane: They're the best comics publisher in the world. They publish geniuses on a regular basis, and many would argue that Woodring is the greatest cartooning genius on the Fantagraphics roster. We agree with that sentiment." Well thanks Paul! Read the rest of the announcement for more info, including what Jim plans to do with the $5000 prize money.
• Review: "By the 1980s, however, the anti-establishment sensibility of the underground comix had been replaced by a faith in just 'do-it-yourself' — making your own 'zines,' and that sense of independence is what [editor Michael] Dowers praises [in Newave! The Underground Mini Comix of the 1980s]." – George Elliott Clarke, The Chronicle Herald
• Review: "...Jim Woodring's Weathercraft creates a fantastic alternative universe. ...Woodring constructs a nightmarish tale in which Manhog falls victim to the villainous depredations of the all-too-aptly named Whim and the spells of the witchy pair Betty and Veronica. Those unfamiliar with the Woodring dreamscape may want to pick up The Frank Book collection as a primer, but the stand-alone Weathercraft requires no real prep work — just an openness to disturbing, id-derived imagery." – Cliff Froehlich, St. Louis Post-Dipatch
• Review: "Although King of the Flies... is anchored in a sharply delineated but deliberately generic suburbia, the book plunges us into an often violent, always profane environment that recalls David Lynch's Blue Velvet. Using multiple narrators, the book is an intricately constructed series of interlocking short stories that acidly etch a disquieting portrait of modern alienation and unease." – Cliff Froehlich, St. Louis Post-Dipatch
• Review: "French master Tardi gives an infantry-level view of World War I's meat-grinder carnage in grim vignettes that primarily keep tight, telling focus on the stories of individual soldiers. ...[It Was the War of the Trenches] deserves a place on the top shelf of graphic lit." – Cliff Froehlich, St. Louis Post-Dipatch
• Review: "Reading Jacques Tardi's It Was the War of the Trenches, I realized just how short most American war comics fall in portraying the reality and horror of war. ... Tardi brings every ounce of his talent to the task of trying to articulate the sheer horror of this war. And while he doesn't flinch once, neither does he resort to trite 'war is bad' or 'good versus evil' oversimplifications. He merely puts you directly in the soldiers' viewpoint and then tries to relate their experiences to you. ... It's a raw, uncompromising, devastating book, and, I'm kind of sad to say, unlike anything that's been published on these shores." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
• Review: "...St. Louisan Tim Lane's Abandoned Cars, one of 2008's essential comics, has recently been reissued in paperback with two variant covers that vividly recall the lurid pulps of the 1930s." – Cliff Froehlich, St. Louis Post-Dipatch
• Review: "It can sometimes be hard to get a grip on what Jason is going for in his stories, since even when he approaches a familiar subject, he takes a strange angle and dwells on the types of moments that wouldn’t normally receive focus in these sorts of tales. Werewolves of Montpellier goes even further afield... Leave it to Jason to dwell on the awkwardness of the 29 non-full-moon days of the month in which the werewolf has to pass as a normal human." – Matthew J. Brady, Indie Pulp
• Review: "What I think is most interesting about [The Best American Comics Criticism] is that in his choices of pieces, [editor] Schwartz is laying out a theory of lit comics. It's a theory that rings very true to me. Part of this theory goes that as literary comics grew, they made necessary a reevaluation and relearning of certain classic comics." – Robert Boyd, The Great God Pan Is Dead (via The Comics Reporter)
• Profile: Steve Duin of The Oregonian talks to Patrick Rosenkranz about assembling The Artist Himself: A Rand Holmes Retrospective: "With rare access to Holmes' journals and sketchbooks, Rosenkranz succeeds in giving readers access to the cartoonist that Holmes denied his closest friends. And he succeeds because of a compulsion, born 45 years ago, to understand the world in which these artists moved 'and how what happened in their lives affected their work.'"
• Comic-Con: At About.com: Manga, Deb Aoki gives a quick report from the Moto Hagio Spotlight Panel at Comic-Con 2010, with a promise of more to come: "...Hagio-sensei charmed the audience with her self-effacing wit and matter-of-fact responses to questions..."
I thought I could keep up with Online Commentary & Diversions while at Comic-Con. Ha ha ha ha ha.
• Coming Attractions: At Robot 6, Chris Mautner takes a look through the 46 (!!!) upcoming books listed in our Fall/Winter catalog (note: listed release dates may no longer be accurate and are all subject to change)
• History/Profile/Review: "What A Drunken Dream reveals is an author whose childhood passion for Frances Hodgson Burnett, L.M. Montgomery, and Isaac Asimov profoundly influenced the kind of stories she chose to tell as an adult. ... For those new to Hagio’s work, Fantagraphics has prefaced A Drunken Dream with two indispensable articles by noted manga scholar Matt Thorn. ... Taken together with the stories in A Drunken Dream, these essays make an excellent introduction to one of the most literary and original voices working in comics today. Highly recommended." – Katherine Dacey, The Manga Critic
• Review: "Anyone interested in the historical development of manga and the women who’ve contributed to the art form should read this book. I hope A Drunken Dream sells well enough for Fantagraphics or other publishers to consider putting out some of Hagio’s longer works. Her short stories are great, but I’d love to see what she does with a longer storyline." – Anna Neatrour, TangognaT
• Plug: "What Osamu Tezuka is to shonen and seinen manga, Moto Hagio is to shojo manga -- a true innovator who challenged and stretched the conventions of the medium by created touching, memorable and truly artistic comics stories. ... Fantagraphics had copies of the absolutely gorgeous hardcover edition of A Drunken Dream available for sale at their [Comic-Con] booth..." – Deb Aoki, About.com: Manga
• Interview:The Comics Journal's Shaenon Garrity sat down with Moto Hagio & translator Matt Thorn for a conversation at Comic-Con International: "I find it very embarrassing to read my very early work, but when you see the stories arranged chronologically it gives a good overall impression of my career. In Japanese, too, it’s common to present an author’s works in a sample spanning his or her whole career, so it’s turned out very much like that."
• Review: "Deadpan dialogue, drawings that move from panel to panel with the strange and deliberate force of kung fu performance art, and a subtle interweaving of humor and angst come together to make [Werewolves of Montpellier] a brief knockout of a book." – Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
• Review: "...[T]his cartwheeling shaggy-dog story begins, like a lot of metafiction, with the semblance of reality... But by the time a frog demon reanimates a 19th-century French peasant whose brains it has eaten, it’s fairly clear that Deitch is making stuff up. The fun of [The Search for Smilin' Ed] is the way it constantly darts back and forth across the line between genuine show-business lore (a favorite Deitch theme) and delirious whole-cloth invention. There are stories within stories, unreliable explainers, secret passageways that lead from one part of the tale to another." – Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
• Review: "Wally Gropius is a book that’s constantly lying to the reader, with a terrifying chaos roiling just immediately below its surface. The book is a flood of visual and textual information, but the information itself is near constantly false. ... For me, it’s a book that lies constantly, that lies at its very core, but that nevertheless ends up getting at a greater truth of things. And so, yeah: I thought that was pretty neat." – Abhay Kholsa, The Savage Critics
• Review: "There’s more derring-do [in Prince Valiant Vol. 2: 1939-1940] than you can shake a sword at! Foster’s stories are filled with vivid, colorful characters, none more engaging than the aptly named Valiant and his never-ending quest for adventure. The artwork is breathtaking. Foster’s figures are handsome and graceful whether eating a sumptuous feast or fighting on a crowded battlefield. ... Even if the age of chivalry is not your flask of ale, Foster’s art and storytelling will win you over." — Rich Clabaugh, The Christian Science Monitor
• Review: "This book is why Fantagraphics is one of the best and most important comic publishers in the business today. [Blazing Combat] is a series that could have easily been forgotten to the ages but Fantagraphics always is at the forefront of making sure important works of sequential art are remembered. ... This is a brilliant collection of stories that should be required reading. Intelligent, gripping stories and fantastic art! Grade A +" – Tim Janson, Mania and Newsarama
• Review: "Formally inventive and emotionally acute, Bottomless Belly Button indeed proves to be all those things: as fascinating and affecting a depiction of family ties as Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections or Wes Anderson's The Royal Tenenbaums." – Ed Park, Los Angeles Times
• Plugs: Alex Carr of Amazon's Omnivoracious blog has Weathercraft by Jim Woodring ("I am woefully ignorant when it comes to Woodring’s Frank comics, and this looks like the weirdest place to start") and Dungeon Quest Book 1 ("After The Red Monkey Double Happiness Book, I will read anything Joe Daly produces") on his summer vacation reading list
• History: For the Los Angeles Times, Ben Schwartz compiles an oral history of the 1980s heyday of L.A. alternative comics with Matt Groening, Gilbert & Jaime Hernandez, David Lynch (!), and Gary Panter