I always was very fond of the mini-comics format -- take two to four 8 1/2 x 11 sheets, fold them once, staple, and voilà! You have an adorable little 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 comic book for mere pennies. But I could never really figure out what to do with this old-school, low-tech format.
For this catalog season, we have created 21 "FBI•MINI" booklets (most in this format, although there are a few oddities), as premiums for customers who order books directly from us. They are available free with the purchase of their "matching" book or books -- or for those customers who've already bought those books but are desperate to get the FBI•MINI, free with the purchase of $50 worth of any other Fantagraphics mail-order merchandise.
If any of these catch your interest (and if you're reading this blog surely at least one of them will) you can click right on any of them to a more detailed listing on our website -- or just click right here and all 21 will pop up for you to peruse.
• Review: "Picking up immediately following the events of the first Fantagraphics collection, The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec Vol. 2 continues the unusual escapades of the novelist title character.... Though the concepts and action propel the tale, the droll heroine with her asides and astute observations drives these fantastic comics. After a second attempt on her life almost succeeds, Blanc-Sec stands among a train wreckage and declares 'I am being taunted!' Tardi frequently breaks down the fourth wall to a humorous effect and his magnificent color art recalls the best of Hergé's TinTin stories." – Rick Klaw, The SF Site
• Plug (Video):Westfield Comics' Roger Ash talks up Is That All There Is?, our upcoming collection of Joost Swarte comics — and demonstrates how to pronounce Joost Swarte — in his latest "Westfield Comics Pick" video (stick it out to the end for some amusing outtake Easter eggs)
The new Diamond Previews catalog came out recently and in it you'll find our usual 2-page spread (download the PDF) with our releases scheduled to arrive in your local comic shop in January 2012 (give or take — some release dates may have changed since the issue went to press). We're pleased to offer additional and updated information about these upcoming releases here on our website, to help shops and customers alike make more informed ordering decisions.
• Review: "Artists of vision toiling within the gears of a vision-suppressing machine, Carl Barks and Floyd Gottfredson drew and wrote great swathes of the best popular art of the twentieth century, mostly in the least auspicious venues available: comic books and comic strips credited to Walt Disney.... Fantagraphics is currently collecting the work of both artists: Barks's transcendent Donald and Scrooge McDuck comics, and Gottfredson's sprightly Mickey Mouse serials. To the publisher's credit, the books are gorgeous but designed for readability rather than coffee-table displaying. This is great art you can feel guilt-free perusing in the bathtub....
"The initial volume in the Barks series is... all pleasure, a treasury of deceptively simple gag and adventure stories that fashioned with wit, irony, and impeccable craftmanship.... The longer stories here... are suspenseful, surprising, funny, and fresh... These kids' comics are far from kids' stuff -- this is for everyone....
"Like the goofy, violent, darker-than-expected cliffhangers of the second Indiana Jones flick, Gottfredson's Mickey Mouse -- especially in in its second volume, covering 1932 and '33 -- is an exhausting achievement in can-you-top-this adventure storytelling.... This kids' stuff isn't for kids, either. But it's revealing and thrilling, both a guide to what's long been wrong with this country -- and guide to what's great in its imagination." – Alan Scherstuhl, SF Weekly
• Review: "...I’d been looking forward to the Fantagraphics [Carl Barks Library] series, and I’m happy to say it’s being done right.... I like to think that Carl Barks, an unpretentious storyteller who created for an audience of children whose intelligence, ingenuity and decency he never doubted, would approve and be gladdened by how his work, this time around, is being put back out into the world." – Tom De Haven, The Comics Journal
• Review: "...[I]n this insightful and riveting biography, Avery has brought the flat-capped, sunglassed, mustachioed, Nat Sherman-smoking, hamburger eating, and Coca-Cola guzzling wordsmith back to life; a writer as fascinating -- and frustrating -- as many of his interview subjects.... Thankfully, more than half of the books pages are given over to reprints of Nelson's own work... And while Everything Is an Afterthought will bring renewed attention to the work of Paul Nelson, it's the work of Kevin Avery that resonates most as he tries -- and succeeds as much as possible -- to unravel the enigma of Paul Nelson's mind." – Bob Ruggiero, Houston Press
• Review: "Michael Kupperman’s Tales Designed to Thrizzle #7 has many more laughs than it does pages. It’s jokes that build on jokes that lead to more jokes through left turns, fakes, surprises, and nerdy pop culture references.... One premise leads to the next, like one of the better episodes of Monty Python or Mr Show... – this book is funny enough to make you crack up on a crowded bus." – Tom Mohrman, CultureMob
• Interview: David Fernández of Zona Negativa has a career-spanning Q&A (in English and Spanish) with Jason: "You don’t do comics for the money. You do it for love of the medium, for the need to tell stories in images. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. You feel a connection to other struggling cartoonists. It’s something you have in common. There some humility in it. So there are very few cartoonist assholes. I haven’t met any."
The lady is complaining that the fall has broken her just-purchased "ballen" (round Christmas tree ornaments) and her "piek" (an ornament for the top of the tree), but both words have a sexual connotation ("balls" and "dick" if you will), resulting in a Beavis and Butt-head huh-huh-huh effect.
"Balls" works easily in either language, but the "piek" follow-up stumped me for days (not least because I had to ask Joost to explain it, which he did).
And then I figured it out. The penis reference was a cul-de-sac, but...
In one of the stories in Joost Swarte's upcoming Is That All There Is?, translated from the Dutch, a character speaks entirely in rebuses. Accordingly, Joost had to create an entirely new set of drawings for the English-language rebus, which I basically came up with and he tweaked. The whale is Joost's idea, and while the rebus purist in me objects a little to replacing that many letters, it's such an adorable whale I can't really squawk. Can you decode it?
Book goes to the printer next week! With Complete Pogo Volume 1 now in print and the Swarte book at the printer, many are the doubters who are having to eat their words even as I type this.
• Review: "Alex Toth worked in a multitude of genres while at Standard (crime, romance, and horror among them) and they are, to the last one, collected here. Also, Toth’s Standard work has been reprinted somewhere between infrequently and not at all, and to have it all collected (and collected beautifully; the digital restoration keeps the original look perfectly) in this work fills in a sizable gap in comics history. Bravo for Fantagraphics.... If you’ve ever wanted to see what the 'big deal' is with Alex Toth, I can think of absolutely no better place to start. There’s no better bang for your buck this year thanSetting the Standard." – Alonso Nunez, Giant Fire Breathing Robot
• Review: "Field mouse Sibyl-Anne... lives a quiet life in the French countryside, alongside her friends Sergeant Verboten (a porcupine), Floozemaker (a crow), and fellow mouse Boomer. When the greedy, power-hungry rat Ratticus shows up, his destructive ways turn the animal community upside down.... Macherot’s plotting is lively and unexpected... Thompson’s translation is colloquial and funny and, one can assume, smooths out some of the original’s mid-century social attitudes." – Publishers Weekly
• Interview:Comic Book Resources' Alex Dueben talks to Gabrielle Bell about her comics and her experience being in Mome at the beginning and end: "Well, it was very stressful. I wasn't very fast. I was really struggling, and it was hard to do. It was a good challenge. It really helped me to learn to put out comics regularly, but I think I wanted my own space to put my comics. Now I have my blog, and it certainly doesn't bring me much money or fame [laughs], but it does feel good that it's mine. I'm doing it as almost my own personal newsletter. Mome was very helpful and a good challenge. Maybe I outgrew it?"
Eric Verhoest et Thomas Spitaels ont le plaisir de vous inviter à l’inauguration de Trafic par
Vernissage en présence de l’artiste, le jeudi 8 septembre 2011 de 18h00 à 20h30 _
Eric Verhoest en Thomas Spitaels hebben het genoegen u uit te nodigen op de opening van Trafic door
Vernissage in het bijzijn van de kunstenaar op donderdag 8 september 2011 van 18u00 tot 20u30
Rue Ernest Allardstraat, 27 Bruxelles 1000 Brussel Belgium Tel : +32 2 514 91 52 Fax : +32 2 346 16 09
(Apologies to Tom Spurgeon for swiping his title.) That is one classy invitation, too.
I doubt the fact that the show's title is the same as the title of Jacques Tati's final movie is a coincidence; as I recall Tati's Playtime is Joost's favorite movie.
Working my way through the Joost Swarte book, I stumbled across this panel (I'm showing the French version because the Dutch one I have only in black and white, and it needs to be shown in color for the full effect), in which a woman Joost's hero Jopo is trying to pick up leaves him a kiss-off message written in lipstick on a mirror. And I thought, uh-oh.
This Swarte book is being printed in a "co-production," which means that two or more publishers simultaneously go to press on the same book in different languages. In order to achieve this, the publishers have to make sure that any alterations for translation purposes appear only in the BLACK layer (the covers are excepted from this) — so any text has to either be in a common language, or distractingly translated via a footnote. A red lipstick scrawl telling someone to fuck off (or in the case of the French version that he's a "testicle," which is kind of like calling someone a dick) in a foreign language is a definite reader-annoyance.