Fantagraphics is thrilled to be part of the third annual Short Run Small Press Fest here in Seattle on Saturday, November 30th at historic Washington Hall in the Central District. Even though Short Run is a festival spotlighting self-published works, limited editions, and handmade books, Fantagraphics will have a presence in many, many ways, as you will see below...
• Visit the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery at Table L-51 on the first floor of Washington Hall! We'll have an excellent array of independent comics in stock from publishers who weren't able to make the trek to Seattle, like Koyama Press, Uncivilized Books, PictureBox, and more.
Plus, throughout the day, Manager/Curator Larry Reid will be joined by special guests who got their start in small press: our own Ellen Forney, who self-published her title I Was Seven in '75 with a Xeric Grant, and Bruce Pavitt, co-founder of Sub Pop Records, which started as a zine back in 1979. Stop by the table for a chat -- all three of them have tons of experience and knowledge about self-publishing that they'd love to share with you!
• All throughout the day, Short Run will be screening animation, including pieces from our own Dash Shaw and Lilli Carré, alongside Reel Grrls, SEAT (Seattle Experimental Animation Team), and dozens of other animators from around the country. Screenings take place on the balcony level of Washington Hall.
• Fantagraphics staffers Jason T Miles [C-11] and Jen Vaughn [landing] will be exhibiting with comics of their own!
• And then there's the panels (all taking place on the first floor)!
---> 12:20 PM: Women in Comics // Our own Megan Kelso will lead and moderate a panel focused on the females with panelists Geneviève Castrée, Gabrielle Gamboa, Roberta Gregory, Julia Gfrörer, and Virginia Paine. I have to say, Megan has been doing some amazing planning and research for this panel, and it is not to be missed!
---> 2:40 PM : The World of Comics // A survey of comics around the globe with Jason T Miles, Pat Moriarity, David Lasky, and Leonard Rifas. (Inspired by our own Kim Thompson.)
But, wait! There's more... The day before Short Run Small Press Fest, Friday, November 29th, they'll be hosting Read/Write, a day of panels, workshops, and more at the Vera Project, including...
---> 2:00 PM : DIY Publishing in the Digital Age Panel // With our Associate Editor Eric Reynolds, plus Bruce Rutledge (Chin Music Press), self-publisher Alec Longstreth, and moderator Zack Soto (Study Group).
• And for full-disclosure, I, Janice, your friendly Flogger, should mention I'm one of the organizers this year, so there's that...!
For the complete Short Run Seattle schedule, including Read/Writeon Friday, November 29th at the Vera Project [ Warren & Republican Ave North ], and Short Run Small Press Fest on Saturday, November 30th at Washington Hall [ 153 14th Avenue ], visit shortrun.org! Both events are FREE and open to the public! See you there!
With Halloween looming, allow me to suggest thirteen frightening favorites from Fantagraphics Books. Spooky fun for everyone, in no particular order.
Daniel Clowes' modern masterpiece Ghost World eerily conveys the otherworldly cool of 1990s counterculture. Peculia, by Clowes colleague Richard Sala, collects the misadventures of the precocious protagonist of his EvilEye comic book serial. Northwest native Charles Burns' essential Big Baby anthology of contemporary horror comix includes classics like "Blood Club," "Teen Plague," and "Curse of the Molemen."
Mysterious Traveler collects proto-psychedelic horror from Steve Ditko's Charlton era. Similarly, Weird Horrors displays the late, great JoeKubert's pre-Code classics edited by Kubert scholar BillSchelly. WallyWood weighs in with Came the Dawn, featuring timeless tales from the "Vault of Horror," as well as mid-century socio-political nightmares like "The Guilty."
Join us at Fantagraphics Bookstore this Saturday, August 10 as we welcome two extraordinary young cartoonists to Seattle. Josh Simmons and Ben Catmull will appear from 6:00 to 9:00 PM to sign copies of recent publications from Fantagraphics Books. This'll be great fun!
Ghosts and Ruins is Ben Catmull's follow-up to his wildly popular debut Monster Parade. Josh Simmons’ recent collection of short stories, The Furry Trap, similarly explores a sinister world of undiluted horror. Simmons will also sign copies of earlier graphic novels House and Jessica Farm as well as his equally compelling minicomics.
This event coincides with the festive Georgetown Art Attack. Don’t miss the return of the Trailer Park Trannies drag show at the Georgetown Trailer Park Mall along with other colorful attractions throughout the historic industrial arts corridor.
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale Street, minutes south of downtown Seattle. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110. See you all soon.
• Richmond, VA: Don't miss this! Dash Shaw brings his animation and comic slideshow presentation to Velocity Comics tonight -- his talks are always compelling and fascinating, so get there on time! (more info)
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery hosts two of the country’s most accomplished young cartoonists on Saturday, August 10. Josh Simmons and Ben Catmull will appear from 6:00 to 9:00 PM to sign copies of recent publications from Fantagraphics Books.
Ghosts and Ruins is Ben Catmull's follow-up to his wildly popular debut Monster Parade. With a rendering style suggestive of Edward Gorey's gothic masterworks, Catmull ingeniously imagines haunted dwellings and the circumstances of their otherworldly occupants. Ghosts and Ruins provides a perfect complement of exquisite art and enchanting narrative. Josh Simmons’ recent collection of short stories similarly explores a sinister world of undiluted horror. By turns macabre and malevolent, The Furry Trap follows in the footsteps of his gripping graphic novel Jessica Farm. Simmons will also sign copies of his equally compelling minicomcs Habit, Training, and Flayed Corpse.
This event coincides with the festive Georgetown Art Attack. Don’t miss the return of the Trailer Park Trannies drag show at the Georgetown Trailer Park Mall along with other colorful attractions throughout the historic industrial arts corridor.
Ben Catmull and Josh Simmons book signing Saturday, August 10, 6:00 to 9:00 PM Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery 1201 S. Vale Street, Seattle, WA 98108 Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM 206.658.0110 | www.facebook.com/fantagraphicsbookstore
Prepare to be fully entertained at Fantagraphics Bookstore in the month of August. On Saturday, August 10 we'll host a haunting reception for Ben Catmull and Josh Simmons. Catmull will sign copies of his new book Ghosts and Ruins, while Simmons will sign his recent collection of horror stories The Furry Trap. Frightening fun coinciding with the colorful Georgetown Art Attack. (Catch the Trailer Park Trannies drag show at the Georgetown Trailer Park Mall.)
On Saturday, August 24, Fantagraphics Bookstore welcomes Brandon Graham. The cartoonist behind popular projects like Prophet, Multiple Warheads, and King City returns to his former Seattle home to sign copies of Walrus from PictureBox press.
Don't miss Fantagraphics Follies at the Bumbershoot Arts Festival on Saturday, August 31. This lively variety show in the format of a late night talk show features diverse works from some of the country's most accomplished cartoonists: Jim Woodring demonstrates his giant pen, Ellen Forney takes a turn on the couch, Eroyn Franklin presents a shadow puppet show, Kelly Froh does a multimedia comedy routine, and Danny Bland performs a beat poetry act. Peter Bagge's Can You Imagine? featuring Steve Fisk is the house band and the host is played by Fantagraphics curator Larry Reid. The festival also includes Death Cab for Cutie, the Breeders, the Zombies, Superchunk, Redd Kross, MGMT and many more. Fun! (Oh yeah, them, too.)
Join us this weekend at CAKE at Center on Halsted in Chicago from Saturday, June 15 through Sunday, June 16th! Table 13-14 is the place to be. We're pumped to announce our special guests, Kim Deitch, Ben Catmull, Charles Forsman, Leslie Stein, Josh Simmons, Tom Kaczynski, Lilli Carré, and Noah Van Sciver! Check out our lush signing schedule:
Our artists will be partaking in programming throughout the weekend, so check out their panels! - See more at: http://www.fantagraphics.com/index.php?option=com_myblog&show=Fantagraphics-at-Stumptown-Comics-Fest-2013-in-Portland.html&Itemid=113#sthash.R89fGTf6.dpuf
We have some lip-bustin' new books to debut at CAKE.
Our cartoonists will be partaking in programming throughout the weekend, so check out their panels!
On Friday, June 14th Kim Deitch has a signing from 6pm-8pm at Chicago Comics. (3244 N Clark)
Saturday, June 15th
Noon-1:00pm // Chris Ware: Special Guest Chris Ware is the author of Jimmy Corrigan - the Smartest Kid on Earth, which received the Guardian First Book Award and was included in the 2002 Whitney Biennial of American Art. His most recent book, Building Stories, was voted a 2012 Top Ten Book of the Year by the New York Times, Time Magazine and Publishers Weekly. Jake Austen, editor of the vital and influential Chicago cultural magazine Roctober, will host Mr. Ware in conversation, speaking on Ware's career and his connection to Chicago and its living comics history.
3:00 - 4:30pm // Eyeworks: Parallel Lines: The Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation is a film festival with a focus on abstract animation and unconventional character animation. The festival programs showcase outstanding experimental animation of all sorts: classic films, new works, and rare masterpieces. Founded in 2010 byAlexander Stewart (Library Book, Sideral) and Lilli Carré (Heads or Tails, The Lagoon), Eyeworks is held annually in Chicago, with additional curated programs presented in Chicago and other cities throughout the year. The Eyeworks program showing at CAKE this year, Parallel Lines, features animated work that highlights an overlap between alternative comics and experimental animation. The screening will include both classic and contemporary works on this theme, showcasing narrative and graphic parallels between the two forms. Immediately following the screening there will be a Q&A, with presented animators Kim Deitch, Kevin Eskew, and Leif Goldberg.
Sunday, June 16th
12:30 - 1:30pm // Mega-Solutions to Micro-Publishing: Oily Comics: In the current expansion of the micro-publishing field, Special Guests Oily Comics is a premiere imprint. Operated by Chuck Forsman (The End of the Fucking World, Snake Oil) and Melissa Mendes (Lou, Freddy), Oily Comics features some of the best talent in alternative comics. Joining them on stage will be fellow Special Guest Michael DeForge (Adventure Time, Elizabeth of Canada, Lose), and German cartoonist, Anna Haifisch (The Buddies, Future Tense). CAKE co-organizer Max Morris will moderate this exciting discussion.
2:00 - 3:00pm // Kim Deitch: Special Guest Kim Deitch came from a legacy in the animation field and continues to form a legacy of his own. From the hey-day of the undergrounds, through the breakthrough of Raw, Kim Deitch remains a seminal force in alternative comics. Deitch will be speaking about his new book, The Amazing, Enlightening and Absolutely True Adventures of Katherine Whaley, out this year from Fantagraphics. He will be joined by Caitlin McGurk (Good Morning You), librarian at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum.
3:30 - 4:30pm // Intimate Anxiety: Beyond the shock tactics of portraying "inappropriate" subject matter in comics, we find the medium is exquisitely suited for grappling with explicit content, unchained from the trappings of taboo. Intimate Anxiety focuses on three artists' ferocious visions of sex and death, made all the more visceral through gorgeous and painstaking details. Special Guest Phoebe Gloeckner sets the standard for work that probes these realms. From her experimental memoir, Diary of a Teenage Girl, to her iconic illustrations for RE/Search to her current work dealing with the ongoing femicide in Cuidad, Juárez, Gloeckner continues to confront difficult realities with groundbreaking graphic integrity. Julia Gfrörer's art vibrates off of the page while crafting oblique erotic worlds laced with terror. Through sparse text and a perfect sense of visual timing, Gfrörer's comics, such as Too Dark to See, Flesh and Bone and Black Is the Color bring language to the unspeakable. Joining them will be Special Guest Heather Benjamin, whose obsessively rendered drawings aim straight for the jugular vein. Author of the cult art zine Sad Sex and contributor to the prolific output of Collective Stench, Benjamin's art delves headfirst into complicated scenarios that are emotionally fraught and sexually feral. Moderated by Caroline Paquita, author of Womanimalistic and founder of Pegacorn Press, Intimate Anxiety is a conversation about the power and truth that lies within impropriety.
So come visit Jacq and all our cartoonists at tables 13-14 this weekend at CAKE! 3656 N Halsted, Chicago, IL 60613
The tantric release of Online Commentaries & Release:
• Review:The LA Times and Noel Murray interviews Gilbert Hernandez about Julio's Day, Marble Season (from D&Q), plus the future books Love and Rockets: New Stories #6 and Maria M. LA Times: Gilbert says " ‘Julio’s Day’ is very simple. I mean, there’s a lot of heavy stuff going on, but I wanted it to read like a very simple, direct story."
• Interview:comiXology interviews Gilbert Hernandez about his most recent comic Julio's Day on their podcast.
• Review: Tom Spurgeon looks at Gilbert Hernandez's latest work, Julio's Day, on the Comics Reporter. "I found Julio's Day moving at times, again for reasons I'm not really certain I can fully articulate. The idea that we may be known as much for the choices of those around us and things that happen in proximity to ourselves as much as if not more than by the choices we make is either the ultimate comfort or the first back-of-throat rumblings of an existential howl."
• Plug:Publishers Weekly lists Julio's Day as a pick of the week: "A marvelous and tightly scripted epic whose last page is a heart-stopper."
Review: Charles Hatfield of The Comics Journal flips through Julio's Dayby Gilbert Hernandez. "When it comes to Beto, the lightning keeps striking, and if it doesn’t strike exactly the same place twice, it does testify to the same divided genius…It is the great lost Beto comic, belatedly given new form and new life.
• Review:Grovel's Andy Shaw reads Julio's Dayby Gilbert Hernandez. "Just buy it now. This is Gilbert Hernandez at his finest, distilling a lifetime into a single volume of pleasure and pain.Julio’s Day is a literary classic, and another incredible piece of work from a true master of comics."
• Plug:Largehearted Boy plugs Julio's Day. "Gilbert compresses the history of the 20th century as well as the life of a man into a riveting, masterful story," writes Benn Ray.
• Review:The A.V. Club looks at The Adventures of Jodelle by Guy Peellaert. "The essays-which at 80 pages take up more of the book than Jodelle-are this volume's real selling point... Peellaert foregrounded the eroticism of advertising, and exposed how pulp imagery affects the public's understanding of everything from politics to gender. And he did it without resorting to polemics. The Adventures Of Jodelle book-both the comic strip and the supplemental material-is a delight both visually and intellectually," writes Noel Murray.
• Plug:Largehearted Boy plugs The Adventures of Jodelle by Guy Peellaert. "Think of Barbarella animated in that Yellow Submarine style and you get the idea of what Jodelle's adventures look like. This is comics as art."
• Plug: Angel House Press is celebrated National Poetry Month with a focus on visual poetry, inspired by latest collection of it The Last Vispo, edited by Nico Vassilakis and Crag Hill. Check here for a month of visual poetry.
• Review: Heroes Complex at the LA Times looks at 50 Girls 50 by Al Williamson. Noel Murray writes, "These pieces are classic EC: punchy, knowing and ironic in the best sense of the word, in that they force readers to examine their own expectations. The best stories in '50 Girls 50 have readers rooting for heels, or celebrating war, all while framing the situation in such a way that readers question their responses." In reference to the whole EC Comics Library line, Murray writes, "All of these books are essential purchases for comics fans, but for those on a budget who are looking to prioritize…These are the books that best show off how EC took genre stories seriously, striving to create comics that didn’t treat readers as naive or ignorant."
• Review:Fangoria reviews the next two EC books. Rick Trembles enjoys 'Tain't the Meat by Jack Davis. "Jack Davis’ dark comedic touch is all over this collection, diffusing the ghastly nature of the stories somewhat, an aspect to his work that was obviously lost on his opponents." Meanwhile with Al Willliamson's 50 Girls 50, Trembles writes "here we’re dazzled by romanticized sci-fi heroics and delicate line-work of the ilk of FLASH GORDON’S original artist Alex Raymond, Williamson’s main inspiration. Dinosaurs, spaceships, and outlandish otherworldly creatures populate the flora of faraway worlds, accompanied by buxom, exotically garbed beauties."
• Review: Nick Gazin sets his VICE sights on 'Tain't the Meat by Jack Davis. "Even though he wasn't a perfectionist, Jack Davis's laziness is better than most people's best work. When Davis does invest himself in a drawing it's just a mind bender. This is a must have for anyone who loves horror, EC, Jack Davis, any of that stuff."
• Review: Comics Bulletin looks at 3 New Stories from Dash Shaw. "This is a short, floppy-sized comic, but it's incredibly rich in complexity and depth. Shaw delivers an amazing collection of stories here."
• Interview:DigBoston and Clay Fernald talk to Dash Shaw about 3 New Stories, New School, Bottomless Belly Button and more. Shaw says, "Words and pictures are very different. They don't sit comfortably next to each other. Some cartoonists try to bring them closer together. Ware is like that. I like that space between things. I want the differences between things to be activated."
• Plug: Largehearted Boy hosts Atomic Books look at new comics included 3 New Stories. "Dash Shaw is a modern comics master. He experiments with everything from structure to narrative to color. If you're unfamiliar with his work, he's sort of like Gary Panter illustrating a Chris Ware story, or, in this case, 3 stories of dystopian societies," writes Benn Ray from Atomic Books.
• Review:Nerds of a Feather enjoys Tom Kaczynski's Beta Testing the Apocalypse. Beta Philippe Duhart states "The thin lines, sharp angles, and rigid geometry…brings a clarity and simplicity that expertly balances the abstractness of the themes at the heart of Beta Testing the Apocalypse…One doesn’t need to have read iek to grasp Beta Testing’s themes and criticisms. One only needs to have only gone apartment hunting."
• Interview:Comics Bulletin and Keith Silve interview James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook on 7 Miles A Second. Van Cook remembers, "David was a poet of the soul, there was always a tension between beauty and the vileness of what society did to anyone who was not of the mainstream. I once asked him what he did with the money he got from hustling when he was so young and he told me he would take a bus to the country and walk around. We thought it was so ironic that selling one's body and selling art had many of the same qualities. We laughed rather darkly, about how the body and art are commodified and priced so arbitrarily."
• Interview (video): Back in January, Carol Tyler spoke to University of Southern California Provost's Professor Henry Jenkins and students as part of the USC Visions and Voices series. Mike Lynch was good enough to blog about it as soon as USC put up on the internet. She speaks about personal life and drawing comics, including the You'll Never Know series.
• Plug:Manga Bookshelf lists its first quarter favorites of 2013 and include Moto Hagio's newest book. "The Heart of Thomas was my most eagerly anticipated manga of the year, and while its January release date set the bar perhaps unfairly high for the year to come, I can’t bring myself to be sad about that."
• Review:Comics Worth Reading pulls out the Castle Waiting Vol. 2: Definitive Edition by Linda Medley. Johanna Draper Carlson writes "…it’s engrossing and beautifully drawn. I was surprised, reading the whole thing at once, how much of what figures in the final chapters was mentioned very early on. It gave me new appreciation for Medley’s long-term storytelling."
• Review:Calgary Public Library's Teen Blog speaks out on Castle Waiting Vol. 1 and 2 by Linda Medley. Adrienne writes, "Castle Waiting is a great comic book that takes elements from fairytales such as 'Sleeping Beauty' and combines them with a good dose of humour and plots about bearded ladies, two-headed girls, pregnancy and hidden libraries..I highly recommend her"
• Review: Strange Journal reviews Castle Waiting. "I’ve really fallen for it, it’s what they’d call a triple threat in show business: It can sing, dance AND act…In the tradition of Jeff Smith’s Bone and the better parts of Dave Sim’s Cerebus, Medley has conjured an amazing and beautiful world and filled it with flawed, interesting folks eking out their existence in a castle on the edge of the world," states Adam Blodgett.
• Review: Delphine by Richard Sala is reviewed on Comics Bulletin. Jason Sacks "We're used to fairy tales telling the story of a journey by a girl from innocence to the real world. Delphine inverts the gender of those classic tales, but uses those familiar tropes to tell a familiar story. Richard Sala treads a world of metaphor and allusion, a world that feels as familiar as Grimm's Fairy Tales and as mysterious as our own heart."
• Review: Nick Gazin sets his VICE sights on Out of the Shadows by Mort Meskin (edited by Steven Brower). "Shadows everywhere. The stories are just a lot of old timey chatter where people call each other chum and stuff but the compositions and choices that Mort Meskin made are pretty sophisticated."
• Interview:The Comics Journal posts an article titled Crockett Johnson and the Invention of Barnaby. Philip Nel writes about it all including the creation of fairy godfather, Mr. O'Malley's favorite catchphrase. Barnaby is coming so soon, we'll all cry "Cushlamochree!"
• Review: iFanboy hypes up Impossible Tales: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 4 (by Steve Ditko and edited by Blake Bell) coming out this May. Josh Christie states: "Steve Ditko is one of those guys you could picture on the Mount Rushmore of comics creators…Like so many of the great comics from the 1950s, the drug-fueled, macabre scenes look more like something out of an alternate dimension rather than from the states’ apple pie and bubblegum past."
• Review:Arkham Comics reviews Messages in a Bottle by B. Krigstein (edited by Greg Sadowski). A rough translation states, "Messages in a Bottle is a magicalbook,atimeless andstunningclarity:a lesson incomics aswe do notmeet every day."
• Review:Noah Van Sciver's The Hypo is reviewed on We Read Comics "Sciver absolutely nails it…We see Lincoln's plain spoken style, his humbleness, his self-doubt, and his honesty here with so much fucking economy and elegance."
• Interview:Noah Van Sciver appears on Comic Impact to talk about The Hypo and his newest comics project.
• Plug:The End of the Fucking World (Spoiler alert!) on The Chemical Box. "Similar to Derf’s analysis of Jeffery Dahmer in 'My Friend Dahmer', you can see James (along with Dahmer) struggling with their basic instincts."
• Plug:The Beat waxes on about Julia Gfrörer and Black is the Color. Zainab Akhtar writes, "Gfrorer’s work is consistently excellent, featuring themes of myth, folk lore, mysticism and spirituality, coupled with her fine-lined, evocative art."
• Plug: Demencha calls Ed Piskor a Hip Hop Archeologist and more in reference to Hip Hop Famiy Tree. "His classic indie comic composition and narrative ease make the strip readable, informative (who knew Rammelzee went tagging with Basquiat?), and respectful to the art forms and artists it covers," writes J.P. McNamara.
• Review: In an oddly religious review, Mirrors of Christ looks at Eye of the Majestic Creature by Leslie Stein. "Sadly in this story the lyre (guitar) did not participate in the worship of God but in the desire of the flesh."
• Review:Orgasm reviews Sexytime edited by Jacques Boyreau. "…if you want an oversized coffee-book that your guests might enjoying flipping through the pages as you bring refreshments, Sexytime is for you. And hey, it might even get you laid."
• Review:Josh Simmons' story from The Furry Trap, 'Mark of the Bat' is reviewed on Vorptalizer. Seat T. Collins comments, " 'Mark of the Bat' picks and picks and picks at our dovetailed drive for cruelty and need to feel superior to others until the fingernail tears off. It leaves a mark."
• Plug:Comics Workbook enjoys reading The Portable Frank digitally thanks to comiXology.Leah writes, "Woodring’s way of transitioning images between panels (in, ya know, a pretty trippy way) lends itself really well to the panel by panel viewing of the digital reader."
• Plug: Tucker Stone mentions the new issue of The Comics Journal on the Comics Journal, not trying to get to incestuous. "The new issue of the Journal is pretty good; the Tardi interview is great."
• Plug:Textures of Ether looks at Abstract Comics. "Do Abstract Comics artists need to be aware of comics history?…Molotiu’s articles explore the theory behind Abstract Comics and are always interesting to read. They would make a welcome addition to any future AC anthology."
• Review: Nick Gazin checks out Cruisin' with the Hound by Spain Rodriguez on VICE. "Spain's comics always feel lively and real and there's this sense that he was probably too cool to be making comics but somehow he was. You can tell he was for real because he put the most energy into drawing motorcycles and cars and his people always look kinda like they're secondary to their machines. Great book from a great artist and story teller."
• Plug: Musical notation in Peanuts is analyzed on the Hooded Utilitarian. "In this sense, Schulz again collapses into Charlie Brown — locked out of high art virtuosity and romantic opportunities, disappointed in art as in love.…Schulz has, perhaps, found a way to invert Lichtenstein," writes Noah Berlatsky.
• Plug (video): Al Jaffee and Robert Grossman are interviewed on the Imperium about the Harvey Kurtzman retrospective at the Society of Illustrators. Jaffee states, "His concepts were, to us at the time, revolutionary because he was breaking the third or the fourth wall, whatever you want to call it."
The sweetest tea of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:The Atlantic writes on The Heart of Thomas by Moto Hagio. Noah Berlatsky looks at it from every angle, "The boys' love genre, then, freed Hagio and her audience to cross and recross boundaries of identity, sexuality, and gender…Bodies and character flicker in and out, a sequence of surfaces, tied together less by narrative than by the heightened emotions of melodrama—jealousy, anger, trauma, desire, friendship, and love in the heart of Thomas."
• Plug: David Brothers and Comics Alliance posts a preview of The Heart of Thomas plus a few thoughts on Moto Hagio that works outside of his comfort zone. "What there is, though, isdrama. No -- it has melodrama…the sheer level of theatrical drama in this book is enough to keep a skeptic hooked…Heart of Thomas is a trip, and a good one. I wasn't expecting to enjoy it as much as I did, and it was nice to enjoy something outside of my usual comfort zones."
• Plug: Johanna Carlson of Comics Worth Reading is ready for the world to read The Heart of Thomas by Moto Hagio. "This solid hardcover contains the entire classic shojo series, and it’s a must-read for anyone interested in the development of the genre. It’s also surprisingly gripping in its own right…"
• Review: Chris Mautner interviews Jim Woodring's Problematic on Robot 6. "Problematic is both a stroll through Woodring’s unique imagination and an opportunity to see his working process" and Woodring thinks "having a pocket sketchbook on me at all times means fleeting impressions and ideas that might otherwise be lost are captured…Everything I draw is reality-based."
• Plug:BoingBoing is ready for Jim Woodring's Problematic to come out. "There are many reasons to be grateful to be alive, and owning this brand new facsimile edition of artist Jim Woodring's Moleskine sketchbooks is as good as any," says Mark Frauenfelder.
• Interview/Review:Publishers Weekly looks at 7 Miles a Second, and Grace Bello interviews artists James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook on writer David Wojnarowicz, the gay activist who wrote the comic before dying of AIDS-related complications. Romberger is quoted, "It really is so much about what David was about, channeling his anger into a statement…" "The gay experience is not only 'less invisible'—it’s on prime time TV. But the feral energy and raw hunger in 7 Miles a Second still resonate" states Bello.
• Review: Jason Sacks of Comics Bulletin presents 20 Facts and Opinions on Joe Kubert's Weird Horrors & Daring Adventures, edited by Bill Schelly. "Schelly and the always sterling Fantagraphics production team do a nice job of preserving the look and feel of these comics…the master cartoonist was equally at home doing broad humor as intense action/adventure as well as lighter, Archie-style teen humor."
• Review:Comics Alliance and Caleb Goellner continues their Best of 2012 series with Prison Pit Book 4by Johnny Ryan. "It was like looking at a baby book of bad ideas from boyhood as an adult who'd learned to function in polite society…it's bliss to kick back and watch humankind's most immature impulses play out in the safety of Ryan's Prison Pit."
• Review:The Weekly Crisis lists its Top 10 books of 2012 and Johnny Ryan's Prison Pit Book 4 lands at #2. Taylor Pithers states "he is interested in is fighting and hyper violence, which to be fair, would be more acceptable to the masses if it was drawn by Ivan Reis or another one of Geoff Johns' collaborators…Honestly, there isn't a comic that has given me more belly laughs in my entire life."
• Review: Comiks Debris posts its Best of 2012 books and Johnny Ryan'sPrison Pit Book 4 comes in as #8.Marc-Oliver Frisch writes "structurally, Prison Pit reminds me a lot of Jarmusch's The Limits of Control… The artwork looks ugly, crude and perfunctory. The characters eat, shit, fuck and, most of all, fight their way through the book…It's one mean, sick motherfucker of a comic, and I can't wait what happens next."
• Plug: Tucker Stone on The Comics Journal rates his top comics of 2012. Prison Pit Book 4by Johnny Ryan comes in at 18. "…it’s hard to explain how intense the surprise was for a follower of Angry Youth and Ryan’s humiliation comics to open that first Prison Pit…"
• Review:Delphine by Richard Sala gets reviewed on Comic Book Resources. Kelly Thompson claims, "One part comic book and one part fever dream…Rare is the opportunity that I'm so engaged I consider yelling at an inanimate object such as a book…Delphine is also a nice contrast to the unrelentingly bright and happy fairy tales that are so often seen when it comes to modern reinterpretations of those early dark tales."
• Review:The New York Journal of Books thumbs through Spacehawk by Basil Wolverton. "Basil Wolverton rises to the occasion and gives the reader a detailed and hilarious look at megalomania while throwing in some fantastic aerial fight scenes…Fantagraphics Publishing brings Wolverton’s art to the reader in as detailed and perfect a form as possible. Each wave of space, every geometric shape and all the incredibly ugly aliens look better than they ever have in their entire lives," writes Mark Squirek.
• Review: Crave Online looks at Spacehawk by Basil Wolverton. "This is the medium when there were no rules, no event series and no giant corporations standing watch over what the creators were doing. If you love the Golden Age, science fiction and adventure, nothing compares to the world Basil Wolverton put together for Spacehawk," writes Iann Robinson.
• Review: The Weekly Crisis lists its Top 10 books of 2012 and Josh Simmon's The Furry Trap ranks as #1. Taylor Pithers writes, "The Furry Trap is pure exploitation; violent, disgusting, and bound to make you feel uncomfortable but it also does what the best fiction is meant to, it stays with you long after you have put the book down…Simmons is a cartoonist of the highest caliber. This is not a book for the faint hearted, but if you can stomach it will be a true experience."
• Review:NPR and Glen Weldon write on Books of 2012 they haven't told you about. Heads or Tails by Lilli Carré "The whole collection has the feel of a dream in which remembering how to fly is as simple as forgetting that you can't."
• Review: Noel Murray and The A.V. Club write about the Top 10 Fiction books of 2012. Heads or Tails comes in at #7. "Lilli Carré’s stories are like dreamy what-ifs that take the familiar and tweak it."
• Plug: Whitney Matheson of USA Today's Popcandy mentions her favorite things including Heads or Tailsby Lilli Carré: "…a lovely volume from one of my favorite cartoonists that includes several beautifully strange short stories. I'm a longtime fan and even have a framed Carre print hanging in the baby's room."
• Interview:The Comics Journal interviews Ron Regé, Jr. on The Cartoon Utopia, evolving comics and more. Regé on his book, "People should use bibilomancy—randomly opening to a page—to access the information if they’d like. Nothing in the book tells you to treat it that way, but I think people will get the idea anyway."
• Interview (audio): Erik Davis and Expanding Mind interview Ron Regé, Jr. on the radio about The Cartoon Utopia! Adventure indeed.
• Review:Comics Bulletin and Jason Sacks investigate Blacklung. "Chris Wright seems to channel Melville or Conrad in this book as he explores the uniquely idiosyncratic world that he creates…nobody has ever created characters that look like the characters in this book, with their strange faces and lumpy, malformed bodies…This slim graphic novel is a dense read unlike anything else you've read in comics."
• Review: Noel Murray and The A.V. Club write about the Top 10 Fiction books of 2012. Athos in America is #5. "Jason’s blank-faced animal-headed characters reveal unexpectedly deep passion via deadpan tales of dislocation."
• Review: Sonia Harris of Comics Book Resources places Love and Rockets: New Stories #5 by Jaime Hernandez and Gilbert Hernandez as #5 of her Top 16 Books of 2012. Harris says,"Watching these people’s lives change on the page, along with the gradual evolution of the Hernandez brother’s art and writing is the closest thing to real life created in a comic book. Nothing on the screen could ever compare to the life and complexity these two men breathe into their characters year after year with such consistent quality and affection."
• Plug: Tucker Stone on The Comics Journal rates his top comics of 2012. Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez have cause to celebrate as Love and Rockets:New Stories #5makes it at #13. "It was great, and of course it was, because it’s them, and it was great for all the same reasons you’d expect it to be…"
• Review:NPR and Glen Weldon write on Books of 2012 they haven't told you about like Wandering Son by Takako Shimura. "Wandering Son is not the kind of manga in which a happy ending is guaranteed… You'll thus be grateful for the moments of realistic, untempered joy Shimura allows her two protagonists here, as you wait with nervous anticipations for the travails that lie ahead for them…"
• Review:Manga Bookshelf recounts its Favorite Manga Series of 2012 including Wandering Son by Takako Shimura. "This series about two transgender children in modern-day Japan has been a favorite since it debuted last year thanks to its delicate, truthful storytelling and understated artwork…Its most recent volume (three) goes a bit darker and deeper, only heightening my interest in the series" says Melinda Beasi.
• Review: Noel Murray and The A.V. Club write about the Top 5 Archival books of 2012. Harvey Kurtzman's Corpse on the Imjin! landed at #1. "Kurtzman book is especially stunning, almost like a coffee-table art-book combined with a literary collection…an anthology with a strong individual perspective that tries to tell the truth about what war is like from the point of view of the people on both sides of the battlefield."
• Review: Noel Murray and The A.V. Club write about the Top 5 Archival books of 2012. Ernie Bushmiller's Nancy Is Happy: Complete Dailies 1946-48: "bristle-headed Nancy and poor slob Sluggo inadvertently irritate the grown-ups in their lives, in scenarios that Bushmiller illustrated with absurd visual gags—so basic that anyone, anywhere, at any time, could get the joke."
• Review: Nick Gazin of VICE has a pretty fuckin' fancy (his words) edition of The Clouds Above by Jordan Crane. "Jordan Crane is a cartoonist with supreme abilities. He's great at making lines, hand text, and backgrounds and stuff…This is beautifully colored also. Did I mention Jordan Crane's great color sense? His colors are good."
• Review: Steve Donaghue enjoys Prince Valiant Vol. 1 by Hal Foster on Open Letters Monthly. "The ambition becomes most emphatic the more you scrutinize the work. Foster often said he put in between 50 and 60 hours a week on creating the strip, and it shows in these magnificent reproductions, done in a sturdy hardcover with oversized pages and entirely restored colors and shadings."
• Plug:Record Collector magazine (UK) picks Listen, Whitey! by Pat Thomas as one of the top 12 books of 2012. "A socio-polictal account of American racial struggles...an extraordinary study of the way the message of [the Black Panther] movement was recounted and defined on vinyl. "In-depth" doesn't begin to describe it."
• Plug: Tucker Stone on The Comics Journal rates his top comics of 2012. Dungeon Quest 3 by Joe Daly makes the mark at 17. "in times like these, with sandwiches like mine, you have to root for the one who brung you, and that’s dick jokes. Dungeon Quest had so many of them, and they were all wonderful."