The newly formatted, 600+ page Comics Journal proved a resounding success with 2011’s edition. 2012’s Volume 302 is sure to prove just as essential and exciting to comics readers worldwide.
This edition’s cover feature is a long, intimate interview-portrait with and of Maurice Sendak, the greatest and most successful children’s book author of the 20th — and 21st — century, the author of Where the Wild Things Are, In the Night Kitchen, Outside Over There, Higglety Piggelty Pop, and the illustrator of works by Herman Melville, Leo Tolstoy, and Randall Jarrell. In his longest published interview (and one of the last before his death in 2012), Sendak looks back over a career spanning over 60 years and talks to Gary Groth about art, life, and death (especially death), how his childhood, his parents, and his siblings affected his art and outlook, his search for meaning — and also, on the lighter side, about his love (and hate) of movies. And his unbridled comments on the political leadership of the previous decade have already garnered national media attention and controversy.
Sharing equal billing in this issue's flip-book format: Kim Thompson conducts a career-spanning interview with French graphic novel pioneer Jacques Tardi. The two explore the Eisner Award-winner’s genre-spanning oeuvre comprising historical fiction, action-adventure, crime-thriller, “icepunk” and more, focusing on Tardi's working methods (with step by step illustration), collaborations and other media (such as film and animation), and his fascination with World War I. Plus, Matthias Wivel examines Tardi's adaptation of Léo Malet's 120, Rue de la Gare.
Also in this issue, Art Spiegelman conducts a wide-ranging aesthetic colloquy on classic kids’ comics (Carl Barks’s Donald Duck, John Stanley’s Little Lulu, Sheldon Mayer’s Sugar and Spike, and many more) with a group of comics critics and historians. Bob Levin provides a revelatory investigation of the twisted history of the "Keep on Truckin’" litigation and a fascinating biographical portrait of R. Crumb’s lawyer, Albert Morse. Warren Bernard writes a ground-breaking historical investigation of the 1954 Senate Subcommittee Hearing on Juvenile Delinquency. R.C. Harvey looks at Bill Hume's Babysan and Donald Phelps examines Percy Crosby's Skippy. And a tribute to the late Dylan Williams from his peers and the artists he published.
Plus: “How to Draw Buz Sawyer” by renowned newspaper cartoonist Roy Crane (and a previously unpublished interview), a new comic by Joe Sacco and one by Lewis Trondheim in English for the first time, Tim Kreider on Chester Brown, Tom Crippen on Mort Weisinger and Superman, Rich Kreiner on "difficult comics," and a visual gallery of and commentary on proto-comics.
The Comics Journal has been for 37 years the world’s foremost critical magazine about comics. It is now more vital than ever, a gigantic print compendium of critiques, interviews, and comics.
The first bit of frost of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review (video):Last Gasp's John Longhi reviews The Lost Art of Ah Pook by Malcom McNeill, a story originally created with William Burroughs. Longhi says, "I can see why Burroughs wanted to work with McNeill because he's one of the few guys who could capture the crazy wacked out details of his story writing. . . [It contains] all the wonderful social discord that made his writing fantastic."
• Review:Blacklung by Chris Wright gets high marks on Paste Magazine. Sean Edgar says, "Blacklung is a weird, compelling creation, telling a harrowing story of redemption and savagery through art that could initially pass as adorable before you get to the tongue necklaces. Highly recommended for those with strong stomachs."
• Review:School Library Journal announces their BEST BOOKS OF 2012 and in the graphics novels section, Noah Van Sciver's The Hypo is listed. "Van Sciver makes Lincoln real by picturing one of the hardest times in his younger life. . . Dickens-style squalor and melodrama plus Austen-style romance, all done in gritty cross-hatching."
• Plug:The NY Times listed Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons at the top of the Best Bathroom Reads of 2012. Dwight Garner believes "the prints collected here are droll and strange." Two of our favorite words to describe Fantagraphics-style creators such as Flannery O'Connor.
• Review: Roughly translated from Ediciones La Cupula, Jaime Hernandez's God and Science: Return of the Ti-Girls is reviewed. "Theexcitementthat overwhelms usafter readingeach of theinstallments ofthe sagaof [Ti-Girls] isdirectly proportional to itsartistic excellence,histalentas a storytellerandhuman greatnessthat livesin his cartoons."
• Review:Lanacion reviews the writings and works of Alexander Theroux (Laura Warholic, Estoniaand The Strange Case of Edward Gorey) and translated, barely, Matias Serra Bradford states, "If left as an untreated rarity,AlexanderTherouxseemsmysteriousto the fantasticand impossible point of determiningthe trajectoryofa particle and itsposition."
• Review:The Snipe News looks at Joe Sacco's Journalism collection. "the decade’s worth of stories. . . are most notable not from any kind of torn-from-the-headlines sensationalism but for the empathy the author brings to his subjects. . . . Sacco has a feel for displaced persons in general."
This just in! PEN Center USA announced the winners of the 2012 Literary Awards and Joe Sacco takes home the Graphic Literature award for Outstanding Body of Work. A "distinguished panel of writers, editors, critics, and journalists judge the Literary Awards" which will be given out on October 22nd, 2012 at the 22nd Annual Literary Awards Festival in California. Joe Sacco is best known for his gripping comics journalism by telling the stories from inside war zones; observing, witnessing and documenting all that he sees. From his strip Centrifugal Bumble-Puppy in The Comics Journal of yore to his newest book, Journalism published by Metropolitan Books, Sacco is a comics force of nature.
The fresh-popped Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:Publishers Weekly discusses The Hypo by Noah Van Sciver, "Van Sciver’s psychologically astute examination of what might be termed Abraham Lincoln’s “lost years” (1837–1842) is as gripping and persuasive as the best historical fiction. . .This characterization of Lincoln is thoroughly human and identifiable, tracking a shadowy but formative period in the very uneven life of a man who shows little signs of becoming known as one of the greatest Americans. A thoroughly engaging graphic novel that seamlessly balances investigation and imagination." Wow!
• Plug: Noah Van Sciver's diary comics are showing up at The Comics Journal. Enjoy Day #1, Day #2 and Day #3.
• Plug:Comics Alliance JUMPED at the chance to be the first to comment on Naked Cartoonists. Senior writer Chris Sims comments, "Have you ever wanted to see Dilbert creatorScottAdams naked? Yeah, we haven't either, but apparently [Gary Groth] thought that was a good idea . . . joining artists like Will Eisner, For Better Or For Worsecreator Lynn Johnston, Jeff Smith (feel free to make your own Bone joke here) and . . . legendary MAD artist Sergio Aragones."
• Review:The Mary Sue names Moto Hagio's A Drunken Dream and Other Stories one of the 10 Feminist Manga to Read, that is licensed in the USA. Kellie Foxx-Gonzalez says,"Hagio is not only a storyteller, she is undoubtedly a feminist author, using her manga to explore gender, power, and women’s issues. If extended metaphors in manga as an avenue to explore philosophical questions is as appealing to you as it is to me, please, don’t hesitate to pick up this anthology."
• Commentary: Shannon O'Leary of Publishers Weekly says,". . . with No Straight Lines , the most definitive collection of queer comics to date, [Justin] Hall and Fantagraphics have made the voluminous but largely hidden history of LBGT (lesbian, bi-sexual, gay, transgender) comics finally visible as well."
• Review:The Awl and Kim O'Connor talk about autobio comics and include such underground greats like Aline Kominsky Crumb, Carol Tyler in addition to Chris Ware and Joe Sacco. While on the subject of Aline: "An important part of her project was to promote self-loathing as normal and even funny in an era when to do so was extremely unfashionable." O'Connor touched on the rawness of Chris Ware's work,"there's this sense of playful geometry that's deeply satisfying, even if it sometimes gives you the impression the artist's memory palace looks a lot like the Container Store. But the central delight in reading Jimmy Corrigan, as in all of Ware's work, is how it's painfully awkward and incredibly cool at the same time."
• Review: Rob Clough on the High-Low reviews Jim Woodring's Congress of the Animals: ". . . is interesting because it's much more linear a narrative than most of his comics.. . .Unlike the typical Frank story, there's a greater sense of urgency to Frank's wanderings, as he encounters many temptations and pitfalls along his journey to a destination unknown to even him."
• Review:The Critcal Mob released their short list of summer reads and a few Fantagraphics titles made the cut. Paul Guie looks at Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons: "O'Connor's artwork is frequently abstract and raw-looking. . .Nevertheless, her cartoons are always pleasing to look at thanks to the author's strong sense of composition. Panels are rarely cluttered by unnecessary lines, and O'Connor frequently frames her characters with an eye toward visual balance." Peanuts latest volume is also on Guie's radar: ". . . these later comics remain consistently witty and entertaining, and reflect Schulz's continued mastery of comedic timing within a four-panel layout.. . .Consistently subtle yet always timely, after 30 years, Schulz still had a winning formula on his hands." Last but not least, Guie takes Buddy Does Seattle to the beach,"Bagge's artwork [takes] the public's perception of '90s youth as angry and volatile and pushed it to hysterical levels. Heavily influenced by late-'60s counterculture cartoonists like Crumb, Bagge's drawings are fluid and grimy-looking, with frequent use of exaggerated facial expressions helping to cultivate an atmosphere of chaos."
• Commentary: Best Cover EVER on Forbidden Planet according to Richard: "The absolute iconic image. The raw power. Jaime’s incredible use of black in his art. The faces of the crowd. The stagediver (in heels) who’s just left the stage. But most of all, it’s the best comic cover ever because I swear that I’ve never looked at this cover and NOT heard the music they’re playing." The next best thing for Richard? Buying the new shirt featuring the cover of Issue 24.
• Plug:Comics Alliance and Caleb Goellner collect the most recent Adventure Time covers. James Hindle PLAYS an homage to Jaime Hernandez's distinctive cover. Check it out!
• Review:io9 recently created a list of the 10 Comic Characters Cooler than Batman. Jaime Hernandez's Maggie (the Mechanic) and Jacques Tardi's Adele Blanc-Sec topped the list. "Maggie is a survivor, who never stops kicking ass even she's dealing with depression and heartbreak." says Charlie Jane Anders and in reference to Adele Blanc-Sec:"She's a writer in pre-World War I Paris, which automatically makes her cool. . . She's not afraid to shoot guns, drink the hard stuff, or smoke like a man. She spent World War I in cryogenic suspension and then rocked the 1920s."
• Plug:The Last Vispo's editor Nico Vassilakis recently curated an online group of visual artists called Ten Turkish Visual Poets at Trickhouse.
• Interview: The powerful and deft Friedman brothers were interviewed about Any Similarity to Persons Living or Dead is Purely Coincidental by William Michael Smith of the Houston Press. Josh Alan Friedman talks about his brother's artwork,"Originally [Drew Friedman] worked with stippling technique, using a rapidograph pen. Bent over a desk like a watchmaker, doing thousands of dots. A technique made famous by 'Sunday in the Park with Georges' Seurat, but strictly shunned by art schools in the 20th century."
• Plug: Ron Regé, Jr. is up to something sneaky! At We Can Do It.
•Interview (audio): NPR affliate 89.c KPCC interviewed both Significant Objects' editor Joshua Gleen and contributor Mark Frauenfelder (of BoingBoing and MAKE). Madeleine Brand says, "One's man trash is another man's treasure, especially if it comes with a really good story."
•Review:The Comics Journal shakes down Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons, edited by Kelly Gerald.
•Interview (video):Bill Moyers interviews on comics journalist Joe Sacco "I'm not interested in tears, I'm not even interested in sentimentality. But I am interested in telling peoples' stories who are repressed or are poor." Sacco and collaborator Chris Hedges will join Bill Moyers for a chat TONIGHT, Wednesday, July 25 at 2 PM ET.
•Commentary: More insight on upcoming books from Fantagraphics as Bleeding Cool covered the SDCC Fantagraphics/D&Q panel. On Chris Wright's Black Lung:"The story was hard to follow, but that’s a good thing, because it sounds like the sort of surreal, go for broke, graphic storytelling that readers expect when they buy a Fantagraphics book. . . lyrical, anthropomorphic, violent and layered. Enough praise couldn’t be shed for this book. . ." On Ron Rege, Jr.'s Cartoon Utopia: "Beings from the future try to help us evolve, sending us messages, trying to show us what life can be like without “forced entertainment” (i.e. television). Drawn in an idiosyncratic, gorgeous, dense style. . ."
•Review:The Comics Journal locks their tractor beam onto Josh Simmon's collection called The Furry Trap. Brandon Soderberg says, "Josh Simmons’ work eschews the cheap thrills and glib cynicism of most horror comics. . .Simmons is a belligerent cartoonist, drawing without censure, adding a nervous energy to an ostensibly pleasant, bubbly style — like Gary Panter doing Where’s Waldo?, or Peanuts with all the existential despair laid completely bare. And he’s fully dedicated to simple, panel-to-panel pay-off, . . ."
•Plug: Summer art sales continue, this time with Johnny Ryan's A Famous Night (gig posters for concerts the never happened). Buy one for your walls and never have to entertain you in-laws at home again.
•Review:Comic Book Resources focuses on Barry Windsor-Smith's The Freebooters. While examining the first page, Greg Burgas said,"It’s amazing that Barry Windsor-Smith didn’t go blind drawing this page and the two that follows it, but luckily for readers, he managed to produce many beautiful pages after this. This is a fantastic way to begin this comic. . ."
The most-current Online Commentaries & Diversions:
•Interview:MTV Geek questions Noah Van Sciver about his new graphic novel, The Hypo, and why he chose to focus on the man before the president. ". . . it’s important to see who [Lincoln] became, or I should say how he became is more spectacular when you think about who he was, and where he came from, because I don’t even know if that’s possible anymore, to come from nothing and then become a president, you know?"
•Review: Drew on ComicAttack.net reviews kid-friendly The Adventures of Venus by Gilbert Hernandez. "It’s not quite Betty and Veronica, but it’s not quite Calvin and Hobbes; it’s that special place in between that catches that transition from childhood into adolescence, which doesn’t get captured on the comic book page much, and is a rare treat that Hernandez delivers here to such perfection."
•Interview (audio):ABC News Radio's Sherry Preston interviews Daniel Clowes (at the 30 minute mark) as his work is on display at the Oakland Museum of California. "I was more interested in kinda funny comics and comics about real life situations. And I thought it made no sense that there weren't comics about every subject you can imagine." You'll love the following story.
•Commentary: TURN IT OUT in clothes inspired by Daniel Clowes' Ghost World and America's two favorite juveniles on Trent.
•Plug:Follow the White Rabbit eloquently mentions Jacques Tardi's New York Mon Amour. A rough translation might say, "Altogether, a perfect Edition for the lovers of this French author that already amazed us at 'The cry of the people,' 'The war of trenches' or 'The extraordinary adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec'."
•Commentary: Chris Mautner of Robot 6 gives a nice mention to Michael Kupperman's Tales Designed to Thrizzle #8. "A pretty solid issue overall, the best and funniest part being the opening segment, a parody of coloring books, this time involving trains that … well, it’s not fit for polite conversation, really."
•Review: Greg Burgas of Comic Book Resources breaks down one beautiful page by Archie Goodwin and Alex Toth from Blazing Combat. "This story shows off [Toth's] strengths very nicely, because it’s one of the bleaker stories in the volume (none of them are happy; I mean “bleak” in that the landscape is stripped of vegetation and is dotted with destroyed building, giving this story its post-Apocalyptic tenor) and Toth does very well with that."
•Plug:The Daily Beast features an excerpt from Joe Sacco and Chris Hedges' new book Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt. In this article, they "detail the effects of coal mining in West Virginia, a state destroyed by mountaintop removal."
•Interview: Peering from under a swell hat, Noah Brand from The Good Men Project interviews TCJ contributer and cartoonist Tim Kreider on the art of writing. "Cartooning also seems to allow me to express a much sillier, stupider, more puerile part of my personality than writing. I get all stiff and serious and writerly when I sit down to write prose."
The last time we were lucky to have a visit from Joe was in 2007, when he and our Store Manager/Curator Larry Reid discussed Palestine: The Special Edition. You can watch video from that here. And, as you'll see in the video below, it was another riveting discussion, this time with our head honcho Gary Groth at the helm!
(Sadly, I missed the first couple of minutes of their talk, sorry!)
You can also check out some more beautiful shots from our new Editorial Intern Matt Burke (and some not-as-beautiful iPhone shots from me), both below, and on the Fantagraphics Flickr feed!
Gary Groth rocks the mic // photo credit: Matt Burke
The crowd before the Q&A began // photo credit: Matt Burke
Joe chats with local cartoonist Kelly Froh while Fantagraphics' own Russ Battaglia gives a grin
Joe signs a book for Marketing Director Mike Baehr
If you can't wait for the official release date, the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is the only place on the planet where you can get it before June 19th! I bet your Dad would like a copy! We're located at 1201 S. Vale Street in Seattle's Georgetown district. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone: (206) 658-0110.
• New York City, NY: Are you attending BookExpo America? Hey, so are we! Visit us at Booth #3422. Noah Van Sciver will be signing copies of The Hypo: The Melancholic Young Lincoln from 1-3 PM, and you can catch him at 11 AM on the Uptown Stage as part of the panel "Meet 2012 Graphic Novel Authors!"
Thursday, June 7th
• New York City, NY: You've got another chance to meet Noah Van Sciver at Booth #3422 at the BookExpo America. He'll be signing copies of The Hypo: The Melancholic Young Lincoln from 10 AM-12 PM.
• Worldwide: Our warehouse hero Ajax Wood (occasionally Cannibal Fuckface) can be heard worldwide at 9 PM PT with his old band Last Gasp (cough) on radio station KEXP, streaming online across the globe at KEXP.ORG, or at 90.3 FM if you live in Seattle. (Full disclosure: fine, yeah, I work there, too.)
• Spokane, WA: And Jen Vaughn, the latest addition to our marvelous marketing team, will be making an appearance at the Saranac Art Projects, giving a talk about life at The Center for Cartoon Studies! She'll also be available to review your portfolios, so head over there at 2 PM! (more info)
The FantaMenace is our entry in Hazardfactory's annual Power Tool Races at the Georgetown Carnival next Saturday. Powered by a Makita disc sander and built by Close Enough Engineering on a concept by Larry and Bella, this tool is wicked quick. We plan a triumphant return to the podium this year after our 2010 victory in the Georgetown Chainsaw Massacre. Don't miss Joe Sacco, Girl Trouble, Bubble Man and so much more. Free fun all day long. Listen to Fantgraphics Bookstore curator Larry Reid discuss the Carnival with Marco Collins on Tuesday at 3:30 PM on Jet City Streamradio.
Please join us at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery as we welcome two of the country’s most acclaimed contemporary cartoonists: Jeffrey Brown on Saturday, June 2 and Joe Sacco on Saturday, June 9. These remarkable artists represent the current diversity of alternative comix and their potential to impact both popular and political culture.
Upon graduating from the Art Institute of Chicago, Jeffrey Brown came to the attention of comix readers with works dealing with relationships and romantic misadventures. His primitive rendering style complemented his candid observations in a series of accessible graphic novels comprising the “Girlfriend Trilogy.” His recent work has taken a turn to humor and satire. Public response to his latest book, Darth Vader and Son (Chronicle Books, April 2012), has been nothing short of phenomenal. Brown imagines the Dark Lord in the role of “Father Knows Best” to mischievous young Skywalker. At once ridiculous and revealing, Darth Vader and Son resonates with generations of Star Wars fans. As co-writer of the new movie, Save the Date, Brown will appear at the Seattle International Film Festival with director Michael Mohan following screenings on Thursday, May 31 and Friday, June 1. This romantic comedy, nominated for a Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, also features Brown’s comics. At his appearance at Fantagraphics Bookstore on June 2 at 6:00 PM, Brown will discuss his comix career followed by a book signing and informal reception.
Joe Sacco’s journalism studies at the University of Oregon informed his career in comix. Following a trip to the occupied territories of the Middle East in 1991, Fantagraphics Books published his provocative comic book series Palestine. Sacco’s unfiltered portrayal of the tragic consequences of the continuing conflict helped alter American perceptions of Palestinian refugees. Now in its 14th printing, Joe Sacco’s Palestine is widely regarded as one of the transformative works in the comix medium. He has subsequently visited other regions ravaged by war and reported on the suffering of civilian populations, including atrocities in the Balkans (Safe Area Gorazde), Chechnya (Chechen War, Chechen Women), and elsewhere. His latest work, Journalism (Metropolitan Books, June 2012), collects Sacco’s documentary reports from North Africa, India, Iraq, and other areas of social and political unrest. Sacco will discuss his unique approach to comix and journalism prior to signing books at Fantagraphics Bookstore from 6:00 to 8:00 PM on Saturday, June 9. Arrive early and enjoy the colorful Georgetown Carnival arts festival featuring lively visual and performing arts presentations throughout the historic neighborhood.
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale Street (at Airport Way S.) minutes south of downtown Seattle in the heart of the historic Georgetown arts community. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110.
Jeffrey Brown discussion and book signing Saturday, June 2, 6:00 to 8:00 PM
Joe Sacco discussion and book signing Saturday, June 9, 6:00 to 8:00 PM