Latest con report ever... And the most anticlimactic one, too.
Our last day at BEA 2009 in NYC was a fairly uneventful one, but one simple pleasure was seeing Abrams' preview of the forthcoming Art of Jaime Hernandez book, edited by Todd Hignite and designed by Jordan Crane. Here's a couple sample shots:
After the BEA, Jason Miles and I traipsed around Manhattan a bit, including a stop at two of NYC's finest bookstores, The Strand and Forbidden Planet. Was pleased to see Jason's Dead Ringer (from La Mano) proudly on display at FP:
You should go buy this now.
At the Strand, it was a thrill to see Fantagraphics widely represented in the store, including a few books in the window, and more. Here's a few samples:
But the absolute highlight of my trip was Sunday evening, connecting with two of my oldest and dearest comic pals, Joe Sacco and Thom Powers. Thom invited me to a barbeque at a friend's house, and texted me the directions. "Tell the doorman you're there for Leslie and Shoba's party," he wrote. I assumed Leslie and Shoba were two female pals of Thom's. I was half-right. Lo and behold, the barbeque was actually at the apartment of none other than Soba, star of Joe Sacco's fantastic graphic novel of the same name. Turns out "Shoba" is the new, Americanised spelling of his name. We had a great time and consumed a lot of beer. The details are hazy. But here's a pic a Joe and Shoba, together again for the first time in awhile:
Let me tell you, Shoba is a mean chef.
That's it for BEA 2009, a full month after it ended. It's beautiful here and summer is in the air, Flogging goes better when it's cold and wet out. I'm outta here! Happy 4th, all!
Still catching up with Online Commentary & Diversions. There's more, but I'm out of time, so more catch-up tomorrow!
• Review: "The backbone of the family, and also its Achilles heel, Luba is a larger-than-life personality who jumps off every page, whether she's the focus of the segment or just a background player. [Gilbert] Hernandez collects over 100 stories here, ranging from graphic novellas to single-page episodes, with his usual dizzying cocktail of sexual intrigue, humor and soap opera-style angst." - Publishers Weekly (Starred Review - near end of page)
• Review: "There are two excellent interviews in the back of [Blazing Combat]... The interviews are part of what makes the comic so fascinating. Of course, it wouldn’t matter if the stories weren’t good, and they are... [Archie] Goodwin does a fine job keeping each story fresh and even getting into the heads of the characters... It’s a testament to Goodwin’s ability that he manages to write 28 (generally) anti-war stories, but never feels like he’s simply repeating himself... The art helps the book shine, as well... There’s not a poorly-illustrated story in the entire book, and some are eerily beautiful... These are both excellent comics and fascinating historical documents, and Blazing Combat is totally worth a read." - Greg Burgas, Comic Book Resources
• Profile: I don't think I would have guessed that Joost Swarte was influenced by Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, but so says he: The Walrus spotlights Swarte, who provides a cover illustration for the current issue, and whose long-gestating Fantagraphics collection Modern Swarte is still in the works
• Interview: At Newsarama, Zack Smith enjoys a lengthy chat with Jules Feiffer (and breaks the news to him that Explainers is nominated for an Eisner Award... oops, sorry Jules)
• List: Moolies posts his/her (?) "Top 10 graphic novels," including Safe Area Gorazde by Joe Sacco ("It's truly appalling reading, and the reason is because he's such a great artist, and a great listener too"), Peter Bagge's Buddy Bradley saga ("There's so much painful and embarrassing truth in Bagge's work, and it's carried along by a sharp, wisecracking sense of humour"), and Love and Rockets ("A stunning, extraordinary, even feminist (or humanist) body of work... It's always a joy, and I'm so glad they're still writing these stories")
• Plug: "We should all learn about Nell Brinkley in college. So if you’re currently in college, go check out The Brinkley Girls already. And if you’re out of college already, well go check it out anyway, because everyone seriously needs to see this book—Brinkley was that good." - J. Caleb Mozzocco, Newsarama
• News: Publishers Weekly has the scoop on RIP, MD, a new series of youth-oriented graphic novels we plan to start publishing next year in collaboration with animation studio Lincoln Butterfield
• Review: "[Miss] Lasko-Gross... us[es] a dark and biting humor that both self-deprecates and pokes fun at alterna-teens along the way... The art pulls everything together wonderfully, ...and each section receives a beautiful splash page or panel with an embedded title to welcome you into the vignette... Though Fantagraphics has billed A Mess of Everything as the second part of a trilogy, it stands well alone for new readers of Lasko-Gross’ work, like myself, who want to skip straight to the unique uneasiness of the teen problems we carry through adulthood. [Grade] 8/10" - Zane Austin Grant, PopMatters
• Review: "This lovingly restored collection of Humbug's five [sic - it's eleven] issues is accompanied by essays, interviews and annotations, providing a glimpse into what Mad had wrought." - Richard Pachter, The Miami Herald
• Plug: Socio-political blog Third Rate in the Tropics, prefacing a video examining the Israeli/Palestinian divide, says "One of the best works I've ever come across on the topic is Palestine, a graphic novel by Joe Sacco."
• Review: "[Jason] has proven over the years that no character, no genre, no classic plot is safe when he is in the room... Once again, [in Low Moon,] Jason squeezes an abundance of tension from scenes stripped of background noise and faces drained of emotion... [C]ount me among those who feels lucky to return time and again to Jason's cartoons, wondering when and if his winning streak will ever end." - Steve Duin, The Oregonian
• Review: "The King of Persia [by Walt Holcombe, collected in Things Just Get Away from You] is a gem of a book. The black and white artwork is whimsical and lush, with lovely crosshatching. The dialogue ranges from lyrical to comical within the same page, or even the same panel. There are wordless sequences in which the strength of the artwork shines. The story is bittersweet... it's packed full of humor and melancholy, each strengthened by its juxtaposition with the other." - Little Bits of Everything
Public confusion surrounding the overwhelming critical regard that the WATCHMEN graphic novel continues to be held in amongst those who haven't read the book but paid good money to see the feature film is rampant. "Wait, are comics for kids, or aren't they?" many have asked. Now that these people have seen WATCHMEN the movie, how do they erase it from memory and avoid wantonly dismissing the entire medium from which it sprung? We're here to help. Point them in the right direction with Fantagraphics Books' new "AFTER WATCHMEN, CLEANSE YOUR PALATE" program.. Please visit our homepage for more information on these fine "essentials" from Fantagraphics Books, perfect for anyone who sees WATCHMEN on film and can't believe that comics are worth taking seriously.
• Review: For Robot 6, Chris Mautner waxes rhapsodic about Humbug: "It's very easy with a book of this nature to engage in wild hyperbole... And yet, how else to talk about a project of this nature, a large collection of work featuring some of the most stellar cartoonists of their day, originally edited by one of the most important and influential humorists (and I really don't think this is hyperbole here - I'd put him up there with Richard Pryor in terms of significance) of the 20th century?... Something should be said about the packaging and restoration work, which is nothing short of astounding... I think it’s pretty safe to say that this collection will be on my top ten/best books of 2009 list at the end of the year. Really, how could it not? Apparently I like it more than breathing."
• List: From GQ, another one of those ubiquitous "what to read after Watchmen" lists, this one with The Girl from HOPPERS by Jaime Hernandez ("Hoppers... makes Gotham and Metropolis seem as bland as Scranton"), Safe Area Gorazde by Joe Sacco ("Graphic in every sense of the term... it’s the best argument around for comics as a journalistic medium"), and Bottomless Belly Button by Dash Shaw ("honest, meditative"), as well as work by Jessica Abel and Charles Burns
(Disclaimer: Signature plates are limited in quantity and available only while supplies last. In the event that we run out, signature plates will not be backordered. Bookplates are not available separately from their respective books and are only available to individual consumers.)
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