The blackest ink in the pot of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:AV Club shows presidential love for Barack Hussein Obama and The Hypo. Noel Murray on Steven Weissman's book: "For the most part Barack Hussein Obama is just wild fun, built around the notion that a president can be easily reduced to his public image—and that we, the people, have the right to manipulate that image for our own delight." And Murray on The Hypo: "[Noah Van Sciverrenders] an American icon as a lumpen everyman, fighting through the same fog that many people find themselves in—even if few of those ordinary folks wind up in the Oval Office."
• Review:Publishers Weekly picks The Hypo by Noah Van Sciver as one of the best new books of the month. "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. . . .A thoroughly engaging graphic novel that seamlessly balances investigation and imagination."
• Review:Paste Magazine reviews Steven Weissman's newest book and Hillary Brown gives it a 8.1 (outta 10). "With its gold foil stamp and red, white and blue partial jacket, Barack Hussein Obama could well be a semi-official graphic rendering of a presidency. . . If this book is a portrait of anything, it shows the grind and the way that hope and idealism erodes when faced with the everyday, and that is valuable"
•Review:La Tempestad on Barack Hussein Obamaby Steven Weissman. Rough translation states "Through these pages, Weissman satirizes and creates a parallel reality of based on the stewards of American power."
• Review:MetroPulse enjoys reading Ralph Azham Vol. 1 "Why Would You Do That To Someone You Love" by Lewis Trondheim. Matthew Everett states "There’s action, drama, pratfalls, bad-ass mercenaries, and a last-panel surprise that promises future volumes will head off in entirely unexpected directions. . . Ralph Azham is off to a near-perfect start. It’s a quietly marvelous addition to the English-language catalog of a working world master. Get it while you can."
• Review:The Quietus peeks at Dal Tokyo by Gary Panter. Mat Colegate can barely contain himself: "Panter is probably one of the single most influential underground American cartoonists of all time, a kind of Ramones to Robert Crumb’s Jefferson Airplane, which makes his relative unknown status a bit baffling. A cartoonists’ cartoonist, maybe?. . . The man’s inks are practically sentient, devouring white space like it was candy floss as his crude likenesses become imbued with a very deliberate purpose, that of guiding the reader through Panter’s personal inferno: the urban Twentieth Century."
• Review:The Quietus continues comic coverage on Joe Daly's Dungeon Quest: Book Three. Mat Colgate states,"Dear J.R.R. certainly never had one of his characters wank off a gnome, did he? Indeed Dungeon Quest’s good natured, silly humour gives it much of its character and combines with Daly’s beautiful Charles Burns-esque artwork to make the book much more than the sum of its parts. It feels like a real labour of love and when you read it you’ll see why. Nerdgasm guaranteed. I’m in love with this comic."
• Review:Unshelved looked at Dungeon Quest: Book Three by Joe Daly. Gene Ambaum writes "I never know where this weird, Dungeons & Dragons-ish adventure will take me next. . . Every dungeon should have a vending machine [a la Dungeon Quest]! Makes more sense than turning a corner and finding an elf with a fully-stocked shop where there’s little to no foot traffic."
• Review:The Quietus focuses New York Mon Amour by Jacques Tardi. Mat Colgate states"Using only black, white and red, Tardi illustrates a seedy, roach-infested New York that’s utterly plausible. You can practically smell the trash on the sidewalks as you follow the hapless narrator’s spiral into madness and murder. . . .if you know anyone looking to take the plunge into comics, someone who’s interested in what the medium can do and the fascinating ways it can do it, then point them in this books’ direction."
• Review:BUTT Magazine sinks its teeth into No Straight Lines, edited by Justin Hall. "Justin’s 328-page anthology is a very thorough introduction to the world of GLBT comics. His knowledge on the subject is pretty extensive, probably because he’s been a fan of the medium since he was a kid. Justin tells me that’s how he learned to read. . . In fact, the entire collection features a healthy dose of realism from a genre usually characterized by fantasy."
• Interview: Brandon Soderberg of The Comics Journal interviews the elusive Josh Simmons on The Furry Trap and his recent short film, The Leader, plus horror in all aspects: "Often, the best horror is about losing. And maybe struggling to keep a shred of dignity while you do. But often, you don’t even get that. Sometimes, you get your throat cut while a clown is pulling your pants down. It’s not enough that you’re getting murdered, you’re being humiliated at the same time!" Simmons eloquently states.
• Review: Los Angeles Review of Books ponders Listen, Whitey! The Sights and Sounds of Black Power by Pat Thomas. Rickey Vincent says,"The book is meticulously detailed, reflecting Thomas’s skills as a researcher (and record producer), yet conversational in tone, balancing the voice of a rock critic with the heft of a historian. . .The book remains consistent with its vision, and Thomas delivers black power with authority."
• Commentary:SFWeekly talks about Love and Rockets' art show at the Cartoon Art Museum, Chris Hall explains "If Love and Rockets brought one innovation to the comics field, it could be its lack of misogyny. . . Love and Rockets has, from the beginning, been praised for consistently depicting strong, complex women characters."
• Commentary:Jordan Hurder posted some APE coverage on the Hernandez Brothers and our company: "Fantagraphics crushed this show. It helps that they had Los Bros celebrating 30 years of Love and Rockets and Jim Woodring was already there as a special guest, but there was a consistent buzz around their table, and there were lines for pretty much every signing they had."
• Commentary:Jaime, Gilbert and Mario Hernandez appeared at APE much to JK Parkin of Robot 6 's delight. "All three Hernandez Brothers were at the show, and when they hit the Fantagraphics table the crowds surrounded them."
• Interview:The Comics Reporter links to some great vids from SPX interviews with Jaime Hernandez, Gilbert Hernandez and Daniel Clowes.
• Review:Simcoe looks at Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge: Only a Poor Old Man by Carl Barks. Glenn Perrett says, "The stories are entertaining and the illustrations are excellent with a wonderful use of colour. . . Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge: Only a Poor Old Man will appeal to young and old."
• Review:Pat Afforo looks at Stigmata by Lorenzo Mattotti and Claudio Piersanti. "If anyone has not read it you are definitely in for a ride and it is not a smooth one at the very least. This book covers a lot of different topics: religion, redemption, reincarnation, sin, good vs. evil, and above all love."
• Review:AV Club has high hopes for Rich Tommaso and his future books starring The Cavalier Mr. Thompson. Noel Murray posits,"Tommaso’s talented enough that The Cavalier Mr. Thompson might one day be seen as the lurching beginning to something truly great. . ."
•Interview:The Guardian asks Chris Ware some questions. In answer to Rosanna Greenstreet's question 'Which living person do you most admire and why?' Ware answers,"For intellect: Art Spiegelman. For art: Robert Crumb. For poetry and vision: Gary Panter. For decency: Barack Obama. For genuine goodness: Charles Burns. For genius: Charlie Kaufman. For soulfulness and love: Lynda Barry. For words: Zadie Smith. For unique life's work and superhuman effort expended: Ira Glass, Dave Eggers."
Ready to horrify Tom Spurgeon and many other people, Josh Simmons's short film, The Leader, is out for a frightful October. We couldn't even make this post at night, we were worried about the repercussions of night-time viewing. Don't say we didn't warn you.
You remember of the horrors of Josh Simmons from Jessica Farm or House. That copy of The Furry Trap sits on your bookshelf behind a picture or totem of any kind so when you pass it at night you don't recall images of "Demonwood" or "Night of the Jibblers." Now there is a new type of Simmons horror and it is the kind that arrives as a small, unassuming mini-comic. Flayed Corpse is the first in a line of new Simmons mini-comics published by Charles Forsman's micro publishing company, Oily Comics. Dip your toes in the eerily calm lake that is the world Simmons built for you, just so he could hear you scream.
The cleanest sock you've never lost of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review: The Comics Journal and Tucker Stone hit up two of our books this week. Stone lauds Jacques Tardi's New York Mon Amour, "The later three stories are all excellent installments in the various ways the city can grind you into oblivion. . . " And on the subject of The Furry Trapby Josh Simmons, "There’s been a solid amount of recommendations already for this volume, and there’s not going to be any contrarian tut-tutting to be found here: this is worth reading, owning, and possibly gifting . . . having this much nasty in one hardcover is a reading experience like no other, and one you’d do well to deny not one minute longer."
• Review:The Comics Reporter reviews Lorenzo Mattotti and Jorge Zentner's latest translated collaboration. "The Crackle Of The Frost finds an elegant balance between abstraction and more traditional cartoon rendering. . . it's fully realized, and satisfying, and occasionally beautiful."
• Review:The Library Journal sent us this review of The Hypo by Noah Van Sciver, M. C. says "Perhaps our most beloved president, Abraham Lincoln threatens merely to disappear into sainthood for most of us. Van Sciver has made him real by portraying one of the most difficult times in the future leader’s younger life. . . It’s rather like an American version of Dickens infused into a Jane Austen love story, and Van Sciver’s moody cross-hatching works exceedingly well in showing these lesser-known facets of Lincoln’s nonpolitical life. . . An excellent choice for compelling leisure reading as well as for use in classrooms."
• Review:Comics Bulletin covers what goes on under the covers of Sexytime edited by Jacques Boyreau. Jason Sacks says, "Sexytime is a glorious representation of work that was forgotten shortly after it was created, but is full of joyful reminders of the recent past. . .Oh god! Oh god! Oh god! Yes! Yes! Yes! is this a great book."
The 1-2-3-4 color process Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Interview: Italy's VICE interviewed Josh Simmons on his work like The Furry Trap. Here is a snippet translated by journalist Tim Small, "In comics, I think the good horror cartoonists are few. But I like Renee French, Junji Ito, Al Columbia, Charles Burns and Suehiro Maruo. Horror directors have probably have the most influence on me of all. The best movies from John Carpenter, David Cronenberg, George Romero and Tobe Hooper were huge from me as a kid."
• Review: Rob Clough has more coverage than a local news team. He writes a tribute to Gilbert Hernandez and his work collected in Heartbreak Soup, Human Diastrophism, and Beyond Palomar on the High-Low, "In Gilbert's Palomar stories, there's a rawness that dominates the proceedings: raw anger, raw sexuality, raw passion for life, death and art." To round out his Love and Rockets weekend, Clough writes another High-Low review of the most recent Love and Rockets: New Stories #5 with both Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez. "Both brothers, after thirty years, are looking forward and looking back at the same time, revisiting characters on the verge of adulthood like in the earliest days of their comics (characters who were the same age as they were, essentially) while still spending time with characters who are now pushing fifty."
• Interview (audio and transcript): A work long in the making, Ron Rege was interviewed by Maria Sputnik on Gazeta Comics a few years ago about Cartoon Utopia. Rege says, "And I love it that…with comics it’s a one-on-one communication. It’s not like a bunch of people in a movie theater sitting watching the movie all at the same time. It’s one person quietly and they’re looking at exactly what I drew…The marks I made with my hand are what they’re looking at. So it’s a one-to-one communication."
• Review: In case you needed another reason to read Ghost World, Kerry looks at Daniel Clowes' masterpiece at Hello Giggles. "Enid Coleslaw remains one of the best characters I’ve ever encountered because she seems like a real person. She’s not a hero or a role model; she’s flawed and confused. She’s not a bad person, but she does bad things. She makes mistakes, alienates people and cries a lot. But she’s also funny, smart and strong."
The newly folded and stapled Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:The Quietus enjoys The Furry Trap. Mat Colegate says, "Put simply, [Josh] Simmons understands the pace of nightmare. That hideous inexorability that stops you from screaming yourself awake, the slow thudding heartbeat of moment on terrifying moment that, if you think about it, comics are a perfect medium to provide."
• Review:Indie Wire and Leonard Maltin take a look at Volume 3 of Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse: "High Noon at Inferno Gulch" by Floyd Gottfredson (edited by David Gerstein with Gary Groth): "The latest in this handsome, lovingly-edited hardcover series of Mickey Mouse daily comic strips (covering 1934-35) is, again, a tribute to the artistry and storytelling skill of the long-unappreciated Floyd Gottfredson."
• Review:Comics Heroes of the UK chimes in on some Hernandez Brothers books. After reading The Adventures of Venus by Gilbert Hernandez Matt Bielby says "...in fun little adventures full of rests, comic books, football and sci-fi daydreams. Kids may not love it, but we certainly did." In regards to God and Science by Jaime Hernandez, Bielby states, "It's a lightweight, bouncy superhero. . . but there's some touching stuff about madness, motherhood and the dangers of getting what you want along the way."
• Review: Tom Spurgeon of The Comics Reporter describes a variety of consumer options that come before purchasing the series Beyond Watchmen. These include buying Love and Rockets in addition to some Popeye or Barnaby from Fantagraphics. "These [Love and Rockets] paperback books they've been doing strike me as super-accessible, lovely little volumes. You can get them for cheap enough that I'm also tossing in the first four issues of the New Stories iteration of the title, which has included some of the best work anywhere over the last half-decade. Los Bros forever."
• Plug:Steven Weissman's got some graphic novel love art for you. Uncut vinyl sheets featuring campaign fun from Barack Hussein Obama are available to purchase here!
• Commentary: We missed this but more praise to Larry Reid for being an example on the Huffington Post on how to save bookstores! By effectively hanging regular shows and inviting guest community curators, you bring in new and/or different audiences. Yay, Larry!
Josh Simmons and Al Columbia pay their respects to Rachel, Gregory, the Cap'n and the many countless, now faceless victims of the Jibbler Attacks.
To read more on the horrors, grab a copy of Simmons' graphic novel The Furry Traptoday. While you're in the mood close the blinds, lock the door and boot up the computer to see a frightening trailer for Simmons' short film "The Leader".
Cartoonist Josh Simmons of The Furry Trap, House and the on-going Jessica Farm recently got behind the camera. Soon to be released, The Leader features the same home-brewed style of horror as Simmons' comics, the kind that happen in your backyard or the parking lot of your local grocery store. Watch the trailer now and start counting your sleepless nights until this short film is released.
•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. . ."
My very first Comic-Con International at San Diego was rather fan-freakin'-tastic. It is easier than people make it out to be but I imagine that if it started on TUESDAY night instead of Wednesday, we all would have died. This pictures are my con pictures so if that are mostly different than our previous CCI photo diaries. The caveat train is pulling away from the station!
Wednesday: I showed up the morning times with PR Director Jacq Cohen and our co-workers, Mike Baehr and Janice Headley had the table set UP! Aside from our many new releases we were thrilled to have new Love and Rockets shirts available. Here is the Fanta-crew dressed in all but that one with all those dirty words on it. Soak it in, that's the one time you'll ever see Gary Groth with his shirt untucked.
Oni Press and SCAD teacher Chris Schweizer immediately came over to look at his favorite cartoonist, Jason. Everyone will be sportin' a Schweizer nose-tupee next year, just you watch.
Then we caught Eddie Campbell reading our Prince Valiant while at the Top Shelf booth but once again, who could blame him?!
Speaking of Top Shelf, we spent most of the week occasionally locking gazes these lovely gents. Director of Digital, Chris Ross, and cartoonist of Cleveland, Joseph Remnant.
That night, Comics Reporter Tom Spurgeon, CBR's Kiel Phegley, International Freelancer Douglas Wolk and Fantagraphics' Jacq Cohen and I posed for a bunch of photos and examined gorgeous work at the CBLDF fundraiser.
. . . Until the BOSS showed up. Then we took Gary Groth and heir-to-the-throne Conrad to the Tri!ckster spot on J avenue to browse their books (our own event to happen on Friday night)
Friday: Two of the funniest men in comics, Steven Weissman and Johnny Ryan (creators of Chocolate Cheeks and Prison Pit respectively) chat up Jacq and Janice.
Gary Panter's Dal Tokyo finally came out for this show. Jon Chad's Leo Geo from Roaring Brook is a similar trim shape. They are perfect for the collector of art objects with really, really deep bookshelves. Trim de jour!
This photo COMPLETELY encapsulates the family aspect of not only Fantagraphics but most comic companies. Gary Groth watches, eats and even signs some of Gilbert Shelton's Fabulous Furry Freak books.
The Hernandez Brothers continued to work hard interviewed by MTV (below), Entertainment Weekly, MultiShow Brazil and many other news outlets.
For the Tr!ckster event parties, we co-sponsored a queer-themed drink and draw party to coincide with our new queer comics anthology called No Straight Lines. Check out this big sexy bear!
Drag Queens Dolly Disco and Grace Towers posed in the best Michael Jackson-Circus of the Damned leotards and put all us ladies to shame.
Jacq and I ran as fast as our heels could take us to the Eisners, saw Mickey Mouse Vol. 1 and 2 be awarded for Best Archival Collection/Print in comic strips! Eddie Campbell and Andrew Aydin tried to steal me away but no siren song is as sweet as Fantagraphics.
Saturday: No worse for the wear, Jacq Cohen and I adhered to my STRICT 5-2-1 rule. 5 hours of sleep, 2 meals a day and 1 shower to maintain humanity at cons. Jacq added 2 sets of clothes and I admit, it pays off. (And you like that OLD SCHOOL equipment? I'm trying to refit the credit card slider into a denim fanny pack . . . maybe for SPX)
Meanwhile, Drawn and Quarterly upped their dress game with full-on bow ties for Tom Devlin from Beguiling owner Peter Birkemoe. We were a bit jealous.
The Hernandez Brothers continued their BREAKNECK pace of signing books and getting visits from artists like Joe Keatinge, Matt Fraction and Bongo Comics' editor Chris Duffy!
While it may seem like you have seen a hundred Hopeys at comic cons (or dated a hundred Hopeys -- Jacq Cohen), this is the first cosplay the Hernandez Brothers have seen in thirty years of comics. Thank you, Dawn, for your Boot Angel get-up!
Jaime Hernandez and cartoonist Ed Piskor talked shop.
Almost had a heart attack when we saw this. I'm not ruining anyone's day by saying over 50% of our books are not for kids so it is sometimes surprising to see them pouring over Peanuts or Uncle Scrooge Comics (especially when The Furry Trap is TEN feet away)
BOOM! designer and fellow Center for Cartoon Studies alum, Carol Thomspon, laid her hands on our sweet trans-manga Wandering Son and couldn't let go.
So that's the whole she-bang! Thank you to the CCI organizers and all the people who helped out, bought comics, asked questions and brought me coffee. See you next year!