We didn't forget the Online Commentary & Diversions:
• Review: "The Lagoon is a horror story, if a low-key one; like much of the best horror it makes the connection between horror and the absurd... [Lilli] Carré's sinuous, snaking treatment of sound provides a through-line... but it still feels disconnected in ways that few writers today are gutsy enough to attempt. The overall effect is like Clive Barker fed through a twee filter. This'll stick to you." - Sean T. Collins
• Review: "Who knew that Prince Valiant, a comic strip I always assumed appeared next to the word 'boredom' in the dictionary, was so vibrant, colorful, action-packed and gosh-darned fun?... This new edition [Prince Valiant Vol. 1: 1937-1938] ups the ante not just through the fancy hardcover, but via state of the art technology that allows for a pristine detail and rich color that’s about as close to Foster’s initial intentions as we may ever be likely to get... The strip is full of brio and vigor and hits the ground running right from the start... Foster’s fight scenes are sumptuous in detail but economical in execution, with Foster rarely showing a glinting sword unless it’s either about to or already has carved someone in half... In a world where too often most art turns out to be exactly as shallow as first glance suggests, it’s nice to discover that something like Prince Valiant is capable of surprising, and even enthralling, the modern reader." - Chris Mautner, Robot 6
• Interview: The wheres and whens are a little confusing, but I guess Indy Mogul's The Reel Good Show did or is doing a live video interview with Dash Shaw today... if it gets archived we'll link it
• Events: As part of his current residency at Dartmouth College, Jules Feiffer gave a lecture Wednesday; The Dartmouth's Fan Zhang has the report (via The Daily Cartoonist). A highlight: "I was doing what so many comic book artists at the time were doing — I was stealing. You learn by stealing, you learn by swiping and, God willing, you emerge into your own style." Zhang also reports that Feiffer will participate in a panel discussion with fellow cartoonists Edward Koren, Edward Sorel and Jeff Danziger on politics in cartooning on August 12
I think we're all caught up on our Online Commentary & Diversions now:
• Review: "It's impossible not to love Jason's hapless cartoon characters; they're dog-faced descendants of Charlie Chaplin in that way, usually placed into situations far beyond their control or understanding... The five stories that make up Low Moon, Jason's newest collection of comics, hark back to the classic golden age of film... Each story reverberates with the little eccentricities that Jason has built a career on (instead of gunfights, the cowboys in the title story battle over long games of chess). Remarkably, none of them seem over-the-top or manipulative." - Paul Constant, The Stranger
• Review: "From Jordan Crane and Fantagraphics, Uptight #3. One of the best covers of the year and the last time, I suspect, that the guys in the crowd will read 'Back soon' and not feel that chill at the back of the neck." - Steve Duin, The Oregonian
• Review: "Sublife weaves a tighter, more focused narrative with intelligently ornate Chris Ware inspired design..." - Raina Lee, Lunch
• Review: "The current issue of theComics Journal (#297) has a wonderful in-depth interview with cartoonist Mort Walker, creator of Beetle Bailey, as well as a stable of other strips including Hi and Lois, Sam and Silo, and Boner's Ark that's a fun read." - Randy Reynaldo, WCG Comics
• Commentary: Looking at our recent spate of Special Edition releases at examiner.com, Spencer Ellsworth says "the notes, interviews and annotations give a look into some of the most innovative of the new generation of movers and shakers in the current comics renaissance."
• List: Industry news & analysis site ICv2 ranks sales of The Complete Peanuts at #3 on the list of "Top 10 Humor Properties Q1 2009"
• List: The Comics Reporter reports that at BEA a panel of librarians chose a list of "Hot Fall Graphic Novels," including our forthcoming titles Strange Suspense: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 1 and West Coast Blues by Manchette & Tardi
Start yer plannin'! These are all subject to last-minute change; we'll try to give advance notice of any changes if we can. We'll have more MoCCA-related announcements in the coming days so stay tuned.
• Review: "If war is hell, Blazing Combat is heaven. ...[A]lthough the subject matter is bleak, the presentation it’s been given is beautiful. This is as good as war comics get." - Rod Lott, Bookgasm
• Review: "Adam Grano’s bold cover design is the perfect complement to Fantagraphics’ comprehensive collection of [Blazing Combat]... It’s remarkable how little these stories have aged, as many cover thematic ground that resonates to this day." - Kevin Church
• Review: "Anders Nilsen's comics have the rare power to generate queasy laughter... Random cruelty, futility, ennui, and an implied assault on human complacency are the order of the day [in Monologues for Calculating the Density of Black Holes]. When Nilsen wants you to feel his boredom, or taunt you for your own, he's merciless... Nilsen is a relentlessly interesting comics creator. ...I'm looking forward to his next performance in the wasteland." - Byron Kerman, PLAYBACK:stl
• Review: "The Lagoon is a peculiar book, continually confounding the reader's expectations. It starts out in many ways like a mystery or thriller novel does... But as the book progresses, it turns into a very different beast (no pun intended); a hidden romance, a story about longings, and family relationships... [T]his is a story that feels lush and moody in a way that comics often try to be but rarely succeed... The art in The Lagoon is a beautiful, lush, textured affair from [Lilli] Carré. It's almost like a cross between Charles Burns and Craig Thompson... The Lagoon is a beautiful graphic novel, ...a very solid, well-crafted book, and whatever Carré’s next project is, it’ll be one to keep an eye out for." - Greg McElhatton, Read About Comics
• Review: "I love love love Unlovable... The cover has glitter, too. LOVE it!... [Tammy] Pierce's earnest attempts to fit in at school and with her friends [are] funny and endearing, and sometimes embarrassing... Those days were such a pain in the ass, but they were the best." - MacKenzieLand
• Interview: SciFiPulse.Net talks to Greg Sadowski, editor of Supermen! The First Wave of Comic Book Heroes 1936-1941. Choice quote: "Some have written that I chose artists strictly for their name value, but the truth is that after you’ve gone through hundreds of golden age books, the same guys stop you time after time: Cole, Eisner, Everett, Fine, Hanks, Kirby, Wolverton, and every now and then a few others. That’s how they became 'name' artists in the first place - because they were the best."
• Things to see: Speaking of Flickr, here's a photo of Andrice Arp posing with a blowup of her cover art for Mome Vol. 15 (which I'm going to get up on the site here for pre-order real soon, I promise) from the good folks at Tugboat Press
Erstwhile Fantagraphics staffer Jen Ralston returned to the fold for the weekend, with a slice of real estate for her adorable stuffed felt creatures.
Zuniga took a page from the Ajax Wood book of shades-wearing con badassery.
More pretty, pretty books & comics. Sadly I failed to get a photo of Dame Darcy when she was at our table, especially since she was resplendent and colorful in a fancy turquoise dress.
So, this year's Stumptown Comics Fest was a-hoppin' on Saturday when I was there. Stumptown has cemented a place in my heart as my favorite comics show. Personal highlights this year:
1: Meeting and talking to T. Edward Bak, who showed me his gorgeous original pages for the story which begins serialization in the next issue of Mome. He's doing the pages in a sketchbook and they'll actually be printed larger than actual size. He also told me about the grant he received [correction!] has applied for (hope I didn't just jinx it!) to adapt the story into an online educational resource and introduced me to his intern (!) -- go man go!
2. Finding a lot of really talented young cartoonists I hadn't heard of before, meeting some whom I'd heard of but hadn't seen much of their work, buying stuff from them. I do most of my comics shopping at cons, so I went a little splurge-happy. I found some pretty exciting and interesting stuff and can't wait to start digging into my haul.
3. More shopping at such fine concerns as Little Otsu (new Lilli Carré book!) and the ever-reliable Sparkplug (several excellent-looking comics and, finally, the Renee French t-shirt I've been wanting for years but they never had in my size until now).
4. It's always nice to see those familiar con faces and say howdy. Comics people are good people.
5. 14 awesome new Yodas in the Yoda sketchbook (not scanned yet). I saw Douglas Wolk's sketchbook making the rounds too, and I can't wait for him to post his scans.
I'm sure there's more that I'm forgetting. Many thanks to the Stumptown organizers and volunteers for putting on a swell show. I'm already looking forward to next year.
• Review: John Mitchell on Supermen!: “Supermen points to a time when comic books were a new and exciting form — admittedly low brow in presentation, but filled with visual and narrative leaps that would affect how we told stories visually for decades to come... This book chronicles the exciting, silly, fun and experimental world in which these kinds of [superhero] characters were forged — fairy tales from the modern era."
• Review: Lady, That's My Skull takes lunch with The Wolverton Bible, saying "It is a fascinating look at the side of an artist that most fans are not familiar with due to the scarcity of the material."
• Review: My Year Online on Ted Stearn's first Fuzz & Pluck collection: "[I] laugh[ed] out loud at many points. This is all down to Ted Stearn’s genius in depicting expressions, his excellent slapstick timing and great storyboards, where you can never tell what will happen next..."
• Reviews: The blogger behind Fluid Motion has "been reading a lot of comics by Jason recently," offering micro-reviews of 3 of his books
• Review: Newsarama enthuses about Popeye Vol. 3 (scroll about halfway down): "As with previous volumes of Popeye, it's a cornucopia of mangled English, slapstick, violence and hamburger soliciting... Fantagraphics continues to knock it out of the park with their work on the production of these books... With his fun designs and slapstick exaggeration, Segar's art has always been a plus, and nothing about that changes here... It's packed with adventure and humor, strong art, inventive and complex stories, and features more slam-bang punching than any other ten comics. It is a true, to use a much abused word, classic."
• Review: I'm not sure if this review originally ran in Rain Taxi or is original to the Powell's Books blog where it appears now, but: John Pistelli delves into The Lagoon by Lilli Carré: "The Lagoon's artisanal craftsmanship and child's-eye ironies reflect the baffled wisdom of a heroine too young to be foolish... it is a gorgeously bleak work for so young an artist."
• Interview: Baldur Bjarnason presents a 21-minute audio interview with el jefe Gary Groth recorded at the 2000 San Diego Comic Con
• Review of the Year: Brick Weekly holds forth on The Wolverton Bible: "If you think that God was the greatest contributor to the Bible then you are wrong. In fact, when compared to the creative feats of legendary cartoonist Basil Wolverton, God’s work seems trite and superficial at best. So, throw out all of your old Bibles because you don’t need them any more..." And it goes on from there...
• Reviews: The San Antonio Current says "The Wolverton Biblecollects everything [Basil Wolverton] did for the [Worldwide Church of God], presenting illustrations in chronological Biblical order — from Adam springing up from earth á la Spider-Man’s nemesis the Sandman all the way through the Old Testament and then hopping to the fantasy-friendly Book of Revelation, where eyeless corpses run rampant and jet planes tumble helplessly from the sky"; furthermore, "Humbugcould be a comics blockbuster... it fills gaps in some cartoonists’ CVs and entertains like hell while doing it."
• Reviews: Andrew Wheeler rounds up some recent books: of The Lagoon by Lilli Carré he says "Carré has an expressive style reminiscent of Richard Sala -- and her stories are in the same literary territory as Sala's as well, so the gloomy blacks and busy cross-hatching add to the ominous, overwhelming feeling... there's real spookiness in these pages -- and she's telling a story in ways (particularly trying to evoke sounds and scents through a comics page) that I've rarely seen"; and of Jessica Farm Vol. 1 by Josh Simmons, Wheeler says "Josh Simmons might just be the Gutzon Borglum of comics. Simmons's... plan... is crazy, and I admire it for that."
• Review: The A.V. Club "Comics Panel" likes Mome Vol. 14, saying of two featured stories, "Both [Dash Shaw and Lilli Carré] combine striking illustration with a nuanced sense of place and character for a winning mix of the classic and the progressive."
• Review: Italian site Il Sole 24 Ore says our collection of Mort Walker & Jerry Dumas's Sam's Strip is "exceptional... As always, the presentation of Fantagraphics is superb and worth sharing," according to the Google translation
• Review/profile: The Oregonian says that Most Outrageous by Bob Levin is "The most challenging and thought-provoking book I read last year... unforgettable... among the great essays on human frailty," and discusses how the commercial success of The Complete Peanuts enables us to publish more challenging work
• Review: Brick Weekly says of The Lagoon by Lilli Carré, "Carré’s cartooning is purely excellent, evolving nicely from her earlier work and pulling you into a world of vividly drawn characters and lush environments" (scroll past the video game review)