Catching up on our Online Commentary & Diversions:
• Review: "...Fantagraphics Books’ new Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse: “Race to Death Valley” contains all you need to know to revel in the very different, deeply pleasurable work of [Floyd] Gottfredson. Working with one of the most famous — and most anodyne — cartoon characters in the world, Gottfredson turned the grinning, goody-goody Mouse into a plucky, even reckless adventurer, his smile transformed from a people-pleasing smirk into a challenge to the world.... Gottfredson drew Mickey with a nosy snout and the bright eyes of an adrenalin junkie. The mouse’s diminutive size inspired Gottfredson to have the character attempt daredevil races, leaping stunts, and develop a flurry-fisted fighting style.... This beautiful volume gives the Great Rodent his humanity." – Ken Tucker, Entertainment Weekly
• Review: "Fantagraphics does a very smart thing with [Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse Vol. 1], packing it full of historical materials to set the story for the comic strip. Having David Gerstein edit it is, of course, the smartest thing they could have done.... Simply put, it's the most extensive collection of 'extras' I've ever seen in one of these comic strip reprint series to date.... Reproductions are as great as you could ever hope for from material that's 80 years old and originally printed in the inkiest of newspapers you could imagine.... It's a kick to see this more interesting version of Mickey running around, saying and doing politically incorrect things. It's amazing to see how much detail an artist could pack into a small series of panels like this. But, most of all, it's a whole lot of fun." – Augie De Blieck Jr., Comic Book Resources
• Review: "This is, first of all, superb material.... Way back when, [Mickey Mouse] had a continuity and some darn good stories, illustrated with dynamic and expressive art. It was everything you could have wanted a newspaper strip to be, including being quite funny at times...and even suspenseful. The book itself is perfect and by that I mean I can't think of a single way it could have been improved. The reproduction is sharp. The editorial material fills you in nicely about the history of the strip, plus there are articles that discuss its merits and significance. The volume itself is handsome and will look good on your shelf." – Mark Evanier
• Plugs: Some great press mentions for our Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Free Comic Book Day comic, including the AP's Matt Moore and Whitney Matheson of USA Today Pop Candy, who says "This is sort of what FCBD is about, isn't it? Fantagraphics presents Floyd Gottfredson's amazing old Mickey strips from 1935 that are still entertaining today. Perfect for all ages..." The Wright Opinion's Brendan Wright says "The line work is beautiful and fluid, with plenty of panels that are funny to look at without reading the words. Thorough as always with this type of project, Fantagraphics has provided both an intro by David Gerstein an an appreciation of Gottfredson by classic Disney animator and official Disney Legend Floyd Norman."
• Review: "For Isle of 100,000 Graves, the cartoonist Jason works with a writer, Fabien Vehlmann, for what is at least the first time in his strong North American publishing run. It's a fun collaboration over which to muse because it's hard to tell exactly what Vehlmann brings to the table. The writer has grasped onto Jason's use of deadpan humor and wistful character moments to an uncanny degree.... Because of this deliberate care in both building their personalities and working from them in terms of how they react to certain story moments, both leads come across as incredibly endearing. A story-ending plot twist almost gets lost in a by-that-point hilarious one-liner about the methods used in bringing it about." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
• Review: "Underground-influenced comics fall into certain patterns — idiosyncratic art, rambling tales of daily life, copious use of mood-altering substances — but [Leslie] Stein makes hers [Eye of the Majestic Creature] fresh with the addition of a talking guitar.... Stein’s style is very readable, with sparse linework and a lead character that resembles a more tripped-out Little Orphan Annie, with huge blank buttons for eyes. Stein’s settings and other characters show more detail, especially in the complex stippling, demonstrating her outward focus.... Her world is full, even if it’s one that’s a bit off-kilter..." – Publishers Weekly
• Review: "Peter Bagge continues the saga of Lisa and Buddy Bradley and their son Harold in Hate Annual #9.... Peter Bagge has always made you care for these characters no matter what crazy problems they had. He has this rare gift of getting his readers to empathize with the drawings on the page and realizing them as real people.... Bagge shows us a very human side to the characters he creates and mirrors life in a sometimes painful way.... As we live our lives, we can look at these pages and see a little bit of ourselves in the drawn panels. This is what makes this series, and all previous ones, stand the test of time and remain a great read. Rating: 8.5" – The Comic Book Critic
• Interview:The Daily Cross Hatch continues serializing the transcript of Brian Heater's MoCCA panel conversation with Peter Bagge: "I started drawing Buddy in 1980, when he was a member of The Bradleys. He was always 10 years younger than me. He started out as an adolescent — not always exactly 10 years. That’s on purpose, because that 10 years gives me space. When you’re going through a crisis or a rough time, it’s not funny, but 10 years later, you can look at the whole situation more objectively and find the humor in it."
• Review: "[Joe Daly's] latest, award-winning, on-going project Dungeon Quest is a delightful combination of nerdy discipline and pharmaceutical excess... Happily marrying the sensibilities of post-grunge, teenaged waste-lads... with the meticulous and finicky obsessions of role-playing gamers and the raw thrill of primal myths, this captivating and wittily indulgent yarn is enchantingly rendered in solid, blocky friendly black and white and garnished with lashings of smart-ass attitude. Strength: vulgar. Intelligence: witty. Dexterity: compelling. Mana: absolutely. Status: unmissable." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!
• Interview:The Daily Cross Hatch begins serializing another of Brian Heater's MoCCA panel conversations, this time with Gahan Wilson: "The people who do horror stories and grim stuff are remarkably sweet people.... It was very odd. Why are horror writers like this? And it suddenly occurred to me — of course, what horror writers are writing about is the vulnerability of themselves and their readers and everybody and how fragile everything is.... They’re experts at being scared. If they weren’t experts at being scared, they wouldn’t write about being scared and scare other people."
• Interview: If you read Japanese, enjoy excerpts from a conversation between Moto Hagio and her colleague Ryoko Yamagishi from Otome Continue Vol. 6 presented at Poco Poco
• Feature:Eye of the Majestic Creature creator Leslie Stein is the guest contributor in the latest installment of "What Are You Reading?" at Robot 6. Among her picks: Yeah! by Peter Bagge & Gilbert Hernandez: "Gilbert’s illustrations are excellent and Bagge’s writing is funny, as per usual."
• Review: "This book in particular reprints a run where Mickey Mouse enters Pluto in a dog race and ends up getting mixed up with a banker who wants to foreclose on a friendly old couple, snooty society types, high-stakes gamblers and the mob. The mob, people. It's really great stuff, with a ton of adventure and action balanced out with the humor I was expecting, which really holds up even here in the next century, right down to the fun Vaudeville-style wordplay. I would've devoured this thing if I was a kid, and while it's ostensibly a teaser for the bigger reprint volumes -- which, at $30 for 300 pages are looking like an even better deal than I thought -- it's awesome for all ages." – Chris Sims, Comics Alliance
• Review: "Joe Daly's comics are an unequivocal delight. The second volume of his role playing/video game send-up and tribute, Dungeon Quest, is a visual feast from beginning to end. Of course, this feast may be mere junk food, but his sheer commitment to the adventurous reality that his characters encounter makes the reader care about the most ridiculous of scenarios.... While there are a number of alt-comics fantasy series being published these days (with Trondheim & Sfar's Dungeon the best), Daly's fusion of underground comics sensibilities with the blunt directness of the video game playing experience is unique and leaves the reader wanting more." – Rob Clough, High-Low
• Interview: At Under the Radar, Jeremy Nisen talks to Eye of the Majestic Creature creator Leslie Stein: "Right now I pretty much write out the comic like a movie script and then just attack the page. As I go along I change some of the dialogue or add different sequences I've thought of to enhance the story, like if there's something I draw in a background on a whim, I might like it and incorporate it into the story. This way it's exciting as I go along, and not just laborious drawing. As for the concept, it just pops into the old bean. Magic!"
• Plug: In a pre-TCAF Q&A at the National Post, comic artist Niki Smith talks about her most-anticipated comic of the year: "Wandering Son is debuting at TCAF (from Fantagraphics) and I absolutely cannot wait to add it to my collection and push it on everyone I know. It’s a wonderful story of gender and sexuality and growing up."
• Review: "Exuberantly expressive..., Santiago imbues his biography of famed Puerto Rican baseballer Roberto Clemente  with the furious energy of a Clemente triple. [...] Santiago evokes the world Clemente lived in, from the dusty Puerto Rican streets where he played baseball with bottle caps and tree branches to his years as a perennial All-Star. The art is scratchy and abstract when it’s dealing with home and homesickness, and then hardens into the stuff of superhero comics whenever Clemente steps to the plate." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club
• Review: "…The Complete Peanuts: 1979-1980… features a touching intro by Al Roker — who conducted the one of the last interviews with Schulz — along with two years’ worth of strips that find Schulz still going strong as a documentarian of life’s simple pleasures and overwhelming anxieties." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club
• Review: "Jacques Tardi’s 1972 graphic novella The Arctic Marauder... is a fine example of the French artist’s early work, which combines turn-of-the-century adventure stories with deadpan zaniness. It’s recommended for those who like submarines disguised as icebergs, world-domination plots, detailed schematics of bizarre inventions, heroic dowagers, and sudden reversals, as well as for those who’d like to see all of the above rendered in Tardi’s typically detailed linework, which looks amazing even when obscured by ice and snow." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club
• Interview:The Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon talks at length with Dungeon Quest creator Joe Daly: "I want to develop a dedicated fan base, even if it's a small fan base, and reward their dedication with my best efforts to entertain them. More than a 'comics guy' or a 'writer' or 'artist' I want to build a reputation as an entertainer. I feel that the value of sheer entertainment is often overlooked or dismissed in today's sophisticated and occasionally pretentious comics world."
• Interview: At TCM's Classic Movie Blog Movie Morlocks, Paul Gaita talks to Drew Friedman: "I’m going from freaks back to Old Jewish Comedians for the third and final book — and again, I had to leave some comedians out. I feel bad about that, but I’m not going to do a fourth book. That’s it. I’m done with the Jews. I’m becoming an old Jew myself — I don’t need to draw them anymore." (via The Comics Reporter)
• Interview:The Daily Cross Hatch's Brian Heater begins serializing a transcription of his MoCCA panel conversation with Peter Bagge: "I’m slowly turning [Buddy Bradley] into the crazy old guy who works at the dump. That’s why I gave him the Popeye look. Though I’m always on the verge of having him get rid of it. I keep thinking that I’ll have another character make fun of him for it. He doesn’t need the eyepatch, he doesn’t need to shave his head, and there’s no reason for him to be wearing a captain’s hat."
• List: In light of the impending end of the anthology, Robot 6's Chris Mautner names "The six best stories in Mome" (to date... there's one issue yet to go)
• Review: "Hernandez of Love and Rockets continues his obsessive study of faux Z-movies featuring L&R character Fritz, a lisping, freakishly large-chested post-ingenue. This latest offering [Love from the Shadows] is imaginatively staged, beautifully drawn and deftly dialogued, with odd discordant undertones and psychosexual notes that include incest and insanity." – Richard Pachter, The Miami Herald
• Review: "More stoner/fantasy silliness from Daly. There seems to be more of a focus on plot and creating lengthy action sequences than in previous. The jokes don’t seem as frequent, or at least are more subtle this time around. [...] Dungeon Quest Book Two is still a fun romp, especially if you’re at all familiar with the fantasy genre or role-playing games in particular." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
• Review: "Crane's drawings are clear, simple, rounded. They combine perfectly with the primary colors used in printing newspapers. His characters were drawn more cartoonish than realistic, with free and lightweight lines, without much concern for details. In layout, Crane was able to explore the space of the entire page of the Captain Easy strip, alternating horizontal and vertical panels to get a more dynamic effect. The author also used horizontal panels to show beautiful panoramic images of fights and persecution." – Gustavo Guimaraes, Ambrosia (translated from Portuguese)
• Interview: At The Rumpus, Ted Wilson has a fun chat with Jim Woodring: "People sometimes avoid me but not because I am or am not a garbageman. I really have no idea what you are asking. Do people avoid garbagemen? Not in my experience. In fact I learned that some women simply cannot resist a man in any kind of a uniform. I’m not kidding."
• Interview:Paul Gravett presents a transcription of the Comica-sponsored conversation between Dave McKean and Lorenzo Mattotti which took place in London last month: "I had read Piersanti’s novels, When he was buying a portfolio of mine, we were introduced. A French publisher wanted a short comic for an anthology about religion, so I asked Claudio because I knew he was interested in philosophy and spiritual problems. He had the idea of a man who finds he has stigmata wounds on his hands and doesn’t know what to do." (via The Comics Reporter)
• Interview: At The Comics Journal, Ken Parille talks to Ivan Brunetti about teaching comics: "To me, art is not about talent, it’s about hard work. It’s about developing one’s intelligence, thoughtfulness, and sensitivity. To some degree, the potential for these things seems to vary, implying they are perhaps innate, but I think anything can be nurtured (or neglected). Something might not come easy, but it can be learned. It’s matter of will, desire, determination, and hard work."
• Feature: At the Drawing Words & Writing Pictures blog, Best American Comics series co-editor Matt Madden spotlights Alexey Sokolin's "Life, Interwoven" from the Abstract Comics anthology as a 2010 Notable Comic: "The comic is made entirely of hatching lines, scribbles, swooping lines, and, way down beneath it all, hints of representative imagery. It almost looks like what began as a conventional comic mutated as the marks and lines broke free of the images. It’s also interesting the way the comic can read either as a six page comic, a series of six drawings (a sextich?), or six iterations of the same page being increasingly overwhelmed with line."
• Review: "...Freeway is often stunning. Kalesniko spent 10 years on the book, and the time and care is evident in the structural complexity. [...] One of the unique properties of comics — utilized well by artists like Chris Ware and Richard McGuire — is the ability to connect disparate pieces of information using the page like a chart. Kalesniko doesn’t draw any arrows or experiment with layouts, but he does convey the impression of a man dealing with his daily frustrations by letting every sight, sound, and sensation send him on a trip through his own head. And in Freeway, Alex Kalienka’s head is as vivid as the book’s depiction of key Los Angeles landmarks. Kalesniko renders both the exterior and interior spaces with a mix of loving care and impassioned disgust." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club
• Review: "This mesmeric saga [Freeway] is deliciously multi-layered: blending compelling narrative with tantalising tidbits and secret snippets from the golden age of animation with rosy reveries of the meta-fictional post-war LA and the sheer tension of a paranoid thriller. Kalesniko opens Alex mind and soul to us but there’s no easy ride. Like Christopher Nolan’s Memento, there’s a brilliant tale here but you’re expected to pay attention and work for it. Illustrated with stunning virtuosity in captivating black line, Alex’s frustration, anger, despair, reminiscences and imaginings from idle ponderings to over-the-top near hallucinations are chillingly captured and shared in this wonderful book..." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!
• Plug: "Freeway by Mark Kalesniko (published by @fantagraphics) is one of the best graphic novels I've read this year." – Ted Adams (founder/CEO, IDW Publishing)
• Plug:Grovel previews Freeway: "This 400-page epic looks set to be a stunning piece of work, as Kalesniko squeezes a lifetime of events into the mental wanderings of a single car journey."
• Review: "Dungeon Quest is unlike anything I have ever seen in the comic world. The closest comparison is some old comic strips in Dungeon Magazine from the mid-eighties but Dungeon Questtakes the level of insanity in those strips and adds +100 in delirium bonuses. If you know a manic dice roller, go out and purchase them both editions without thought. They will love you forever. [...] The story sounds a little like Bilbo Baggins' quest, right? Well, take Bilbo and drag him through a funhouse filled with drag queens and stand-up comedians from the eighties and you might end up with Dungeon Quest. The filth that spews from this book will make you blanch and make you laugh your lungs up." – Martin John, The Outhouse
• Review: "In short, The Arctic Marauder is pure fun, silly and dark camp. It’s a beautiful book, with an appealing cover and a sturdy hardcover binding. Tardi’s narrative voice keeps the proceedings puckishly light and pleasant, while the plot itself explores oceanic depths and throws out characters rife with madness and egocentrism. There aren’t many books quite like it; comics readers are better off for having Tardi available here in the States." – Michael C. Lorah, Newsarama
• Review: "The fun of getting caught up in a story that’s convoluted for its own sake, or the dazzle of pictures that preen the skill and effort that went into crafting them — they’re the hallmarks of a book that one reads to relax. Books that require an effort are ultimately more satisfying, but the smaller satisfactions are occasionally what one needs. The Arctic Marauder is fun, and it was nice to sit down with it after a long day." – Robert Stanley Martin, Pol Culture
• Review: "Screenwriter and novelist Claudio Piersanti's dark tale of a man driven to the depths of despair is beautifully captured in Mattotti's astonishing art [in Stigmata]. No artist is better suited to capturing all the intense violence, anger and despair this character suffers through." – John Anderson, The Beguiling blog
• Review: "Daddy's Girl is a comic book with a difference. Debbie Drechser uses mostly black and white illustrations to openly deal with the dark subject of abuse. [...] This is simply put, a masterpiece. The deeply disturbing subject matter of sexual abuse is brought to life with a startling brutality. It's impossible not to be impacted by the experiences within the pages. [...] It's a memorable, moving, bold, and — at times — emotionally challenging read that definitely rates a 5/5 from me." – Charlene Martel, The Literary Word
• Review: "Because Theroux knew Gorey personally — and remains a fervent fan — The Strange Case [of Edward Gorey] jumps from memories of the man to a more generalized biography, in between astute analyses of what makes Gorey books like The Hapless Child and The Gashlycrumb Tinies so haunting. The Strange Case isn’t organized like a conventional bio or critique; it’s more rambling and personal, working carefully past the psychic blockades of a man who once explained away the darkness of his work with the non-committal comment, 'I don’t know any children.'" – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club
• Review: "Rendered in an incomprehensibly lovely panorama of glowing artPrince Valiant is a non-stop rollercoaster of stirring action, exotic adventure and grand romance; blending realistic fantasy with sardonic wit and broad humour with unbelievably dark violence... Beautiful, captivating and utterly awe-inspiring the strip is a World Classic of storytelling and something no fan can afford to miss." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!
• Review: "These superb oversized... hardback collections are the ideal way of discovering or rediscovering Segar’s magical tales. [...] There is more than one Popeye. If your first thought on hearing the name is an unintelligible, indomitable white-clad sailor always fighting a great big beardy-bloke and mainlining tinned spinach, that’s okay: the animated features have a brilliance and energy of their own... But they are really only the tip of an incredible iceberg of satire, slapstick, virtue, vice and mind-boggling adventure… [D]on’t you think it’s about time you sampled the original and very best?" – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!
• Interview: At Newsarama, Zack Smith talks to Hans Rickheit about Ectopiary ("one of those webcomics that has everyone talking"), future plans and coelocanths: "The story divides into three parts which do not resemble each other. I wanted to draw an exotic science fiction, although the first hundred pages will contain very little in that vein. These stories aren't written; they simply occur to me. I prefer it that way. Good science fiction writers write about strange and inexplicable things. My job is make the strange things they write about."
Due to our hectic release schedule and the geographic vagaries of distribution, our comic shop arrivals are a bit of a jumble lately. Our first two titles here may have been available at some shops last week — see last week's post for additional blurbs — and are on the official shipping list for this week; the titles listed thereafter are not on the list yet but may ship to some shops this week. We apologize for any confusion and as always entreat you to contact your local shop to confirm availability. (Ordering in advance is always a good idea, too.) Previews and more info about each book, as always, at the links below:
64-page black & white 9" x 11.75" hardcover • $16.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-435-1
"One of the most interesting looking releases of the week, this is Fantagraphics’ representation of Adele Blanc-Sec creator Jacques Tardi’s 1972 Jules Verne-esque, Edwardian era 'icepunk' adventure." – J. Caleb Mozzocco, Newsarama
"Another gorgeous book, this time from Fantagraphics' continued and sustained exploration into Jacques Tardi's album-making career." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
"I found myself enjoying Tardi’s Adventures of Adele Blanc Sec earlier this year, and Chris [Mautner]’s review has tipped me in favor of picking up this latest translation of his work." – Graeme McMillan, Robot 6
"This blog is steadily turning into one comic shop employee quietly humping the leg of Seattle-based publisher Fantagraphics but they are excelling themselves lately, and their line of Jacques Tardi translations is one of their greatest efforts to date. Le Démon Des Glaces or The Arctic Marauder is a 1972 satirical, Jules Verne-esque steampunk tale about a ship in the Arctic Ocean discovering an abandoned vessel. [...] Expect mad scientists, monsters from the deep, futuristic machinery in an 1899 futuristic way, and the most purple of purple prose." – Gosh! Comics
"This is a gorgeous, simply breath-taking example of Tardi's early work. This retro-sci-fi tale involves the mystery of a ship stuck on top of an iceberg. How'd it get there? The answer involves monsters of the deep, mysterious futuristic machines and mad scientists." – Benn Ray (Atomic Books), Largehearted Boy
136-page black & white 6" x 8.25" softcover • $12.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-436-8
"Joe Daly's wildly odd series of archly-told adventure comics continues. What a great initial run of books we've seen from South Africa's Daly, and this one may feature his most potent cartooning yet." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
"Dungeon Quest Volume 2 by Joe Daly is out, giving you another installment of nerdy stories inspired by role-playing games..." – Gosh! Comics
200-page two-color 6.25" x 8" hardcover • $22.99 ISBN: 978-1-56097-892-3
"I’m not much of a sports fan, but there was a lot more to Clemente than baseball, and Wilfred Santiago’s biography has a real richness to it, bringing in Clemente’s background and upbringing and wrapping it all together in deceptively simple, almost primitive looking art." – Brigid Alverson, Robot 6
344-page black & white 8.5" x 7" hardcover • $28.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-438-2
"How dark could Peanuts get during the Peanut President's administration? 'Very, very dark,' Al Roker writes the introduction to this volume. Have I mentioned how much I love the indexes to the Fantagraphics editions? It's useful to know that a Zamboni appears twice in this volume." – Douglas Wolk, Comics Alliance
192-page black & white 6.25" x 10" hardcover • $28.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-417-7
"CONFLICT OF INTEREST RESERVOIR: If you didn’t locate Jacques Tardi’s The Arctic Marauder or Joe Daly’s Dungeon Quest Vol. 2 last week, they’re both probably still worth looking at. Supposedly some stores are getting Wilfred Santiago’s Roberto Clemente book (21: The Story of Roberto Clemente) too, along with a best-of Thomas Ott collection (R.I.P.: Best of 1985-2004) and the ’79-’80 Peanuts book. Build a wall." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
Diamond Comics Distributors has confirmed with us that the following 4 books are shipping this week, though only one is included on their official weekly shipping list. Therefore, most of these will likely be reappearing with additional comics-blogger blurbs in next week's New Comics Day post. Be extra-sure to contact your local shop to confirm availability. Previews and more info about each book, as always, at the links below:
136-page black & white 6" x 8.25" softcover • $12.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-436-8
"Joe Daly's D&D/stoner/sword-and-sorcery semi-parody epic continues. Opening caption: 'In their ongoing mystical quest to find the missing parts of the Atlantean resonator guitar our heroes find themselves wandering through the primeval gloom of Fireburg Forest in an attempt to find the prophet and poet, Bromedes, and return his borrowed penis sheath...' That about sums up the aesthetic here." – Douglas Wolk, Comics Alliance
176-page black & white 9" x 12" softcover • $24.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-364-4
"The next-to-last volume of Fantagraphics' reprint of all of George Herriman's miraculous 'Krazy Kat' Sunday strips. I could go on about this stuff all day, so I won't start, except to say: not for fast quaffing, for slow sipping." – Douglas Wolk, Comics Alliance
"Hey, it's a book featuring page after page of the best comic ever. Krazy Kat is so good that if you don't get it, it's better for you in the long run that you do whatever is necessary to change yourself until you do get it." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
"Fantagraphics are still enthusiastically plowing on with their plan to collect every Krazy Kat Sunday page ever, which is about as ambitious a plan as they come. A Kind, Benevolent and Amiable Brick is the penultimate volume of the series, collecting over 150 pieces published between 1919 and 1921. As usual, they’re housed in a handsome package designed by the esteemed Mr. Chris Ware so they’ll match the others on your shelf, or near enough, providing he isn’t pulling a wacky Acme Novelty Library design on us." – Gosh! Comics
"CONFLICT OF INTEREST RESERVOIR: And speaking of commonalities with Spawn and Youngblood, Krazy & Ignatz 1919-1921: A Kind, Benevolent and Amiable Brick offers 176 pages of blood-drenched chrome and muscle carnage as you like it..." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
112-page full-color 7" x 9" softcover • $14.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-394-1
"From Fantagraphics you can get the latest instalment in their acclaimed comics anthology Mome, now in its sixth (!) year. There’s stuff from Sara Edward-Corbett, Steven Weissman (Chewing Gum in Church), Sergio Ponchione (Grotesque), Nate Neal, Dash Shaw (Bottomless Belly Button), Jon Adams, Tom Kaczynski, T. Edward Bak, Derek Van Gieson, Kurt Wolfgang, Lilli Carré (The Lagoon), Nicolas Mahler (Van Helsing’s Night Off) and Josh Simmons, whose biography goes 'Simmons draws comics about happy bunnies, cirkus folks, and violent sex. He is a nice young man.'" – Gosh! Comics
On all of them:
"If I had $15: It’s a toss-up between the latest volume of Mome [and] the second volume of Joe Daly’s great stoners-meet-D&D fantasy Dungeon Quest... Splurge: Two big books out this week from Fantagraphics, both must-buys, at least for me. The first is Krazy & Ignatz 1919-1921 which collects more wonderful Herriman goodness. The second is The Arctic Maurader, the latest release in Fanta’s ongoing Jacques Tardi library. This one is particularly interesting as it’s a) a parody/homage of sorts to the classic Jules Verne/H.G. Wells/19th-century pulp stories; and b) done in a scratchboard-style motif designed to emulate woodcuts that apparently all but drove the artist around the bend. Since I’m splurging, I’ll get them both." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
• Review: "[The Complete Peanuts 1979-1980] is... a genius volume... Some of the pieces here – especially the longer storylines – are absolute classics. [...] Plus, there’s just the sheer kookiness of some of Schulz’s pop-cultural references and inventions, which continues to astound here... Schulz is at the height of his powers as a cartoonist here, as well. [...] Such graphic flair! Such economy of line! A Peanuts nut couldn’t ask for more, really." – Naomi Fry, The Comics Journal
• Review: "Littered with violence, inappropriate sexual innuendos, misguided bravado and infused with hilarity, Dungeon Quest (of which two 136 page volumes are available) promises a uniquely entertaining graphic novel experience." – Rick Klaw, The SF Site: Nexus Graphica
• Profile: Anthony Mostrom of the Los Angeles Times gives a brief history of E.C. Segar and the creation of Popeye: "Segar had no idea just how fat his checks would become after the invention of Popeye. Indeed, he flirted with the idea of dropping the character after the 'Dice Island' story ended. Who would have guessed that a character so grotesque of face would be so instantly loved, his fame so long-lived that he would become part of a Google logo 80 years later?" (Via Newsarama)
This interview was conducted over email by Fantagraphics' Eric Buckler. Thanks to Eric and Joe!
Cartoonist Joe Daly grew up in apartheid South Africa. His perspective on storytelling and illustration have a deeply infused characterization and a mythical slapstick. The comics reflect a bizarre and amazing facet of imagination that is at once familiar as it is far flung and not of this planet. His characters in Dungeon Quest are on a mission to find the Atlantean Resonator Guitar, and will go through everything from beating the shit out of some homophobic goons to returning a magic penis sheath to a large breasted demigod. The crew will be suited up with new armor, weapons, and will have loads of new mind altering opportunities in the all new Dungeon Quest Book 2. Daly is the creator of Scrublands and The Red Monkey Double Happiness Book.
ERIC BUCKLER: Would you talk about how you pace your storytelling?
JOE DALY: Comics can be a very efficient form for story telling, so it's very easy and natural for a comic narrative to progress very quickly. I think a cartoonist is usually trying to counteract that natural tendency by trying to slow things down. You're always moving away from the last plot point and towards the next one, and so I try to be aware of what's needed in order to heighten the moment of arriving at that plot point. It often requires adding more panels, slowing down the action, and letting the dialogue ramble to build tension as one is moving into "the big moment." Very seldom do I encounter a situation where I find I need to eliminate panels. That said, it becomes a fine line between building tension and padding, so the idea is to let the plot point dictate how much tension is required to precede it, and then add no more or no less panels than is required. As a reader you have to arrive at a plot point organically, in a way that you're a little unaware that you've even hit a plot point. I know as a reader I don't like to feel rushed or shunted along from plot point to plot point, as if one were on a conveyor belt. One of my main criticisms of my Red Monkey stories, is that they tend to be plot dominant, and the reader is moved from point to point too quickly. A story shouldn't be all about plot, the reader needs breathing space, unfocused space, where they can engage in the story in a non-rational kind of way. Of course, some readers favor structure and plot heavy stories, and some don't: they'll prefer the rambling, looser approach. I think each story should inform the pace that's required to tell the story, and since I've found myself doing these strange action adventure stories (with quite a lot of dialogue) I've found it's natural to keep "medium pace," somewhere between Chris Ware's work (extreme patience) and an in your face superhero action comics (extreme immediacy).
BUCKLER: Why black and white? Did you consider using color on this comic?
DALY: My first two books were already in color, and I wanted to try something different. I'd discovered while working on the Red Monkey stories, which were in color, that coloring the work took me almost as much time as writing and drawing the work, and so given that I'm currently unable to employ a colorist on my books I decided to eliminate this time consuming process altogether. I was also interested in shifting from a clear line art style to a high contrast black and white art style, simply to broaden my abilities as a drawer and inker, and that's the process I'm engaged in at the moment. I think black and white, whether it's in photography, or in film, or in comics can be very elegant and complete. When "completeness" can be achieved in black and white, it's all the more impressive and satisfying to me, because of the purity and simplicity of black and white. I think perhaps black and white also engages the reader's own imagination more than color, in that they are filling in the white spaces with their own projected colors. When one leaves things out, one creates suggestions. Also, working in black and white helps to keep the cost of the book down.
BUCKLER: Can you talk about lexicons you draw when creating dialogue in Dungeon Quest?
DALY: For Dungeon Quest I was trying to evoke the kind of language that me and my video gaming friends would use when playing video games when we were 10-14 year olds. It as a strange mixture of general profanity, South African school-boy slang, American slang we'd learned from TV and movies, technical jargon and the pseudo-poetic language of high fantasy/adventure which would be used in the actual game. Saved games could be titled things like "got to get splendid key from orange dude," "kief!," "totally fucked," "dawn light factory skyline," "given frayed rope to little whore," "in lonely place," "got to open fucking bay doors," stuff like that. It became a kind of esoteric lexicon. I don't apply this lexicon directly to the writing in Dungeon Quest. I'm drawing from it, allowing it to inform my dialogue. It's a flavor.
Millennium Boy, Steve, Lash Penis, and Nerdgirl continue on their twin mystical quests to find the missing parts of the Atlantean Resonator Guitar, as well as to locate the prophet and poet Bromedes and return his borrowed penis sheath, in this second hilarious, violent, and rip-roaringly entertaining installment of Joe (The Red Monkey Double Happiness Book) Daly's role-playing-game-inspired graphic novel series.
Fortified and empowered with a brand new collection of weapons and resources (including the magical Egyptian Book of Thoth, the Iron Crocodile badge, and the rectally transported Gliding Charger of the Eel), the valorous quartet must contend with river trolls, a leaf monster, glo-babies, and copious amounts of killer weed and serious blow.
Will they succeed in one or more of their noble quests? Or are the dice of fate loaded in their disfavor? You'll have to read Dungeon Quest Book Two to find out!