This post has been in progress for nearly a month now... with so much to catch up on, I'll just be highlighting a few selected items and then giving you links to the regularly-updated stuff. As always, click for better viewing and possible commentary at the sources.
"I'm organizing a new experimental animation festival called Eyeworks with Alexander Stewart, and we're very excited to announce the details! It will be a mix of abstract animation and unconventional character animation, shown on 16mm film and video. It's taking place November 6th in Chicago, at 247 S. State Street at the DePaul CDM Theatre."
To paraphrase Tom Spurgeon, if I were in Chicago, I would totally go to that. Trailer above; more info and programming details here.
A lot of catching up to do with this batch of clips & strips — click for improved/additional viewing and possible artist commentary at the sources:
• A couple of things Bill Griffith has recently shared on Facebook: the rejected first draft of the home screen for the Zippy Comix iPhone app, and a "lost" Wacky Packages design that Bill says is "almost sacrilegious"
• List:Publishers Weekly's Calvin Reid and Heidi MacDonald run down some "Graphic Novels as Gifts" suggestions, including Norman Pettingill: Backwoods Humorist ("A wooden cover introduces the amazing outsider art of Pettingill, who crafted detailed postcards of wildlife and rustic humor") and A Drunken Dream and Other Stories by Moto Hagio ("Haunting stories of longing, memory, and love from the legendary manga-ka who changed the face of Japanese comics").
• Review: "When experienced animators turn to creating comics or illustrating children’s books, I usually find the results successful and quite satisfying. That’s certainly the case with animator Mitch Schauer (Angry Beavers) and his first graphic novel, RIP M.D. (from Fantagraphics). [...] RIP M.D. would make an amazing 2D animated feature — if Hollywood were still making those. For now, graphic novels such as this are a great outlet for ambitious creators with ample imaginations. Check it out." – Jerry Beck, Cartoon Brew
• Review: "Temperance is a fascinating comic. Malkasian gives us an odd, fairy-tale-esque world where we must accept unreal things so that she can make her points. [...] Malkasian does a fine job of grounding the tale of Blessedbowl in a real-world concern while still making sure it’s fantastical enough so a sentient wooden doll doesn’t seem too out of place. Malkasian’s art is tremendous, as well. [...] Temperance is a fascinating book to read, and while it’s not difficult to figure out, it does raise some important questions about society and what people do to live in one. Malkasian has a lot on her mind, and it’s impressive that she manages to get her real-world concerns into this fable without becoming preachy. [...] It’s a very thoughtful comic, and I encourage you to check it out." – Greg Burgas, Comic Book Resources
• Interview:Robot 6's Tim O'Shea talks to Jason about Werewolves of Montpellier and other topics: "I’ve done boy meets girl and one of them dies in the end several times, so yes, I was a bit afraid of starting to repeat myself. But I think Werewolvesis sufficiently different. It’s a platonic relationship between the two characters for one thing, and none of them dies in the end."
• Interview: At About.com: Manga, Deb Aoki presents a transcription of Moto Hagio's panel appearances at Comic-Con (with translator Matt Thorn) and conducts her own Q&A with the creator of A Drunken Dream and Other Stories: "Well, when I was a child, I used to read manga and cry myself. I had similar reactions watching movies and reading comics. Basically, I'm just expressing my own feelings like that. So it was with my own parents, and for a lot of people of that generation, who said that manga is just for small children, it's very simplistic. But from my point of view, manga is just one medium like movies and novels; it can be just as deep and just as moving."
• Interview:io9's Cyriaque Lamar, who brilliantly sums up Prison Pit: Book 2 as "not unlike Masters of the Universe...if Masters of the Universe was a hentai that starred Gwar," talks to its creator Johnny Ryan: "I wanted to do a book about monster-men beating the shit out of each other. That's my main idea, that's all it's about. There's no real subtext to it. It's about the fighting."
• Interview: Thomas Papadimitropoulos of Comicdom catches up with Bill Griffith on the latest Zippy the Pinhead developments (the intro is in Greek but the interview is presented in English): "I keep trying to surprise myself with the daily Zippy strip. Zippy’s 'discovery' of his hometown, 'Dingburg,' where everyone is a pinhead like him, has taken the strip in a new direction for the last few years. It’s still a lot of fun for me to explore all the different pinhead personalities in Dingburg."
• Interview: At Marvel.com, Sean T. Collins talks to Frank Santoro about his match-made-in-heaven Silver Surfer story for Marvel's Strange Tales II: "I thought of this as my try-out for Marvel. I didn't take this as a chance to do a funny mini comic kinda thing. This was my shot! Was I ever gonna get another one? I'm gonna try to knock it out of the park! That was my thinking."
• Interview: At Pikaland, Melanie Maddison has an extensive chat with Lilli Carré: "My book The Lagoon, which is very mood-driven, took me about 3 years to finish, because I had a lot of starts and stops when working on it. This was partially due to still being in school and working at that time, but also because it was hard to always be in the right mindset to work on such a moody piece and figure out the trajectory of the story."
• Plug: "The inimitable Drew Friedman has a new hardcover book out of his incredible celebrity portraits and caricatures drawn over the last 15 years... Our pals at Fantagraphics published the handsome hardcover, titled Too Soon?: Famous/Infamous Faces 1995-2010." – David Pescovitz, Boing Boing
• Plug: "A new Love and Rockets is out. It apparently contains one of the best Jaime Hernandez stories ever, which makes me shiver with excitement. In celebration, I photographed and uploaded my current favorite Jamie Hernandez story ever 'Penny Century.'" – Will Hines [Ed. note: Reproducing so much of the story is a little borderline, but what the hey.]
• Analysis:Love & Maggie continue their series of detailed, annotated rundowns of their Top 10 Issues of The Comics Journal with the third part of their examination of issue #71
Hot Stuff by Jonathan Bennett Random Access by Charles Burns Anemone and Comics masthead by Lilli Carré Boy’s Club by Matt Furie Eric Gill’s Busy Day by Tom Gauld Giorgio & Dimitrius by Leif Goldberg I Have No Idea by Lisa Hanawalt Race Murdock by Eric Haven Sketchbook by Anders Nilsen Plut by Emelie Östergren Goof Ballz by Andrew Jeffrey Wright
Them's good comics. The issue is also the only place you'll find interviews with both Wallace Shawn and "Weird" Al Yankovic. Order it here and tell 'em we sent ya.
• Review: "Underground feminist comic artist Farmer’s account of how she looked after her aging parents [Special Exits] is a quiet wonder. ... Farmer renders everything in busy, densely packed black-and-white frames whose cluttered look mimics the dusty house, its surfaces thick with cat hair and memories. The story is stunning for its antisentimental realism, as well as for the glimpses of fantasy... that flicker by like ghosts." – Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
• Review: "Billy Hazelnuts and the Crazy Bird is kind of horrifying, but hilarious nonetheless, and so lovingly detailed that one can’t help but enjoy reading it. ... It’s as crazy and weird as one would expect from a Millionaire story — and laugh-out-loud funny to boot. ... But it’s the humanity of his characters and their emotions that serve as our way into the story. ... The dense linework gives everything volume and weight, along with a leap-off-the-page energy. ... Millionaire’s narrative world is built on zany chaos, and a true storytelling wonder to behold. Yet, while it would be a scary and nightmarish place in which to live, it’s sure fun to spend some time there." – Matthew J. Brady, Indie Pulp
• Review: "Delving into the hidden world of secret societies of the Victorian Age in America, Charles Schneider blows the lid on the craziness... These revelations are culled from listings in DeMoulin Brothers Catalog No. 439... The actual catalog is a wishbook of possible DIY projects for the clever or crazy... As retail histories go, this is a vibrant one — if nothing else, it lets you know what foolishness your grandfather was up to when he looks back to the good old days and bemoans 'these kids today.' At least these kids today aren’t making a habit of using a Lifting And Spanking Machine on their friends." – John E. Mitchell, The North Adams Transcript
• Review: "Jack Cole was a brilliant artist and one of the most significant figures in American comics. ... In essence, these are single panel cartoons, beautifully composed and drawn as you would expect, accompanied by a gag or punchline. They are pleasing to look at and vaguely amusing, to be sure, but there is none of the surreal, chaotic, rollercoaster quality to be found in Cole’s comic book art. There is nothing too objectionable [in Classic Pin-up Art of Jack Cole] either, unless you regard cheesecake as commodification – which you’re perfectly entitled to do, of course." – P.P.O. Kane, The Compulsive Reader
• Interview:Comic Book Resources' Shaun Manning talks to Jason about his new graphic novel Werewolves of Montpellier: "Originally, I had thought the two werewolves would kill Igor, to make it more personal for Sven to go after them. But it just seemed so typical, it's what would have happened in any Hollywood film. It just didn't interest me. A conversation about looking at girls asses or the politeness of Frenchmen is more interesting."
• Interview:Caustic Cover Critic's Peter Lutjen talks to Bob Fingerman about book design: "My book Connective Tissue was my art, but the designer, Jacob Covey, completed it with his design and I was delighted. I really admire Jacob's work."
• Interview: At The Daily Cross Hatch, Brian Heater talks to Robert Pollard about his collage art: "It’s inspired by a recurring dream I used to have when I was in high school and college. In my dream was an unattended record store with racks and rows full of record sleeves by imaginary or dreamt rock bands. Needless to say, I was very disappointed when I awoke [and discovered] that it wasn’t real. Now it sort of is. At least slightly more real than the dream."
• Events:The Beat reports that Lilli Carré's short film "Head Garden" which you can watch here) is among the films selected for the first annual SPX Animation Showcase