The strongest umbrella in the wind of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review: Paul Constant of The Stranger looks at The Last Vispo: Visual Poetry 1998-2008, edited by Nico Vassilakis and Crag Hill. "As an art book, it demands hours of investigation. . . For those linguistic pioneers looking to find the future of fiction, this could be one of the most informative poetry anthologies to be published in the new millennium."
• Review:NPR's My Guilty Pleasure looks at the Jacques Tardi graphics novels of Adèle Blanc-Sec who is "young writer with the brains of Sherlock Holmes, the body of Angelina Jolie and the stoic fortitude of the Marlboro Man." Rosecrans Baldwin states, "The books are part adventure comic, part hardboiled fiction. They're terrific whodunits that conjure up all the precise atmospheric detail of, say, a Georges Simenon novel, but with twice the plot."
• Review:Blacklung by Chris Wright gets reviewed on Nerds of a Feather. Philippe Duhart says, "Wright’s genius is further evident in his ability to use these aberrant cartoonish characterizations to convey human emotion, particularly terror. Wright’s portrayal of violence is stark and chilling – despite or perhaps because of his singular style. . . Black Lung worked on all counts. Plus, pirates."
• Review (video):Kapow Comics down in Australia reviews Chris Wright's Blacklung. Al states "this is a complicated book with musings on philosophy, literature, mortality and especially, religion has a big focus." Sonya says, "Every single character changes in this story, their journey changes them . . . [Blacklung] prayed on my mind. It lingers with you."
• Review: Glen David Gold looks at Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons edited by Kelly Gerald in the LA Review of Books. In an attempt to see how the bread is made, Gold, "Cartooning was O'Connor's first artistic passion. . . . An article in the local paper and a pile of rejection slips from The New Yorker indicate how serious she was. . . not an early blush of Flannery the fiction writer at work. But I'd still recommend it to the curious. Come at it without expecting same genius, but look at it because it's an extreme close up of biography."
• Review:Publishers Weekly looks at Jack Jackson's Los Tejanos and Lost Causes. "Comics’ current vogue for nonfiction was pioneered in these two works from the late underground comix founding father Jackson, who died in 2006. Jackson brought an R. Crumb–style crosshatching and love of facial grotesquery to these two densely researched historical graphic novels."
• Plug:Publishers Weekly and Ada Price show a sneak peak of The Heart of Thomas by Moto Hagio. Enjoy 14 pages of pure genius but don't forget to read each one right to left! We're talking manga here.
• Review: Rob Clough of The Comics Journal enjoys The Hypo by Noah Van Sciver."he’s made a fairly significant leap as both a draftsman and a storyteller in a relatively short period of time . . . Van Sciver’s greatest achievement in this book is his storytelling restraint. He lets his cross-hatching gets across the grime . . He wants to show the reader a different side of the Lincoln we grew up reading about in the history books, but also wants the reader to connect this younger man to the future president."
• Review:Fantasy Literature takes a peek at Castle Waiting Vol. 1 by Linda Medley and Ruth Arnell is in love. "the charming ink illustrations have a piquant charming quality that match the story wonderfully. . . Linda Medley has written a gentle feminist fairy tale comic book that truly deserves to have a wider audience."
• Review: Sonia Harris of Comics Book Resources reads Black Hole by Charles Burns all in one sitting, one evening. "Reading Black Hole all at once in a nice, tidy bundle, it is impossible to experience what Black Hole was for all those years while it was slowly seeping out, issue by issue. . . it is visceral poetry, a true expression of the medium with imagery and words working together to create the most intimate impact. Black Hole is beautiful and terrible, it is a treasure."
This week's comic shop shipment is slated to include the following new title. Read on to see what comics-blog commentators and web-savvy comic shops are saying about it (more to be added as they appear), check out our previews at the link, and contact your local shop to confirm availability.
24-page black & white 6.75" x 10.25" comic book • $3.95
"I do believe Castle Waiting Vol. II #18 wraps up the current storyline for Linda Medley’s long-running fantasy comic..." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
"If I had $15, I’d keep my purchases solely to Castle Waiting #18, the final issue in Volume 2 of Linda Medley’s slow-moving, but charming fantasy series. I don’t know if Medley is planning on a Vol. 3 or not — I hope so — her cast has grown on me and I want to continue to learn more about them." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
24-page black & white 6.75" x 10.25" comic book • $3.95
The conclusion to Castle Waiting Volume II! The castle folk prepare for winter as Dr. Fell surprises everyone with a previously hidden talent, and the exasperated poltersprites move to claim the Keep as their own.
"Castle Waiting creates a vibrant fantasy world not unlike The Lord of the Rings' Middle-earth but with a focus on the lives of women.... Fun to read and look at, Castle Waiting will enthrall fantasy readers of both genders." – Time
Read the first 3 pages below (click images for larger versions):
Castle Waiting is the story of an isolated, abandoned castle, and the eccentric inhabitants who bring it back to life. A fable for modern times, it is a fairy tale that’s not about rescuing the princess, saving the kingdom, or fighting the ultimate war between Good and Evil — but about being a hero in your own home. The opening chapter tells the origin of the castle itself, which is abandoned by its princess in a comic twist on “Sleeping Beauty” when she rides off into the sunset with her Prince Charming. The castle becomes a refuge for misfits, outcasts, and others seeking sanctuary, playing host to a lively and colorful cast of characters that inhabits the subsequent stories, including a talking anthropomorphic horse, a mysteriously pregnant Lady on the run, and a bearded nun.
Linda Medley lavishly illustrates Castle Waiting in a classic visual style reminiscent of Arthur Rackham and William Heath Robinson. Blending elements from a variety of sources — fairy tales, folklore, nursery rhymes — Medley tells the story of the everyday lives of fantastic characters with humor, intelligence, and insight into human nature. Castle Waiting can be read on multiple levels and can be enjoyed by readers of all ages.
The Cleanest Mug in the Kitchen of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:Booklist reviews the Mysterious Traveler: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 3, by Steve Ditko and edited by Blake Bell. Gordon Flagg notes these horror stories feature "Ditko’s distinctly off-kilter drawings and boldly potent composition" and the "meticulous restoration means that the stories look far better here than they did upon their original appearances."
• Review:Booklist enjoys Mort Meskin's Out of the Shadows, edited by Steven Brower. "Meskin’s powerful compositions add a fitting dynamism to superhero tales featuring the Black Terror and Fighting Yank. His bold use of shadows and other solid black areas impart a moody atmosphere to horror and crime stories, and even the romance and sci-fi pieces included here benefit from his economic illustration style and attractive page designs," writes Gordon Flagg.
• Review:Black Gate picks up Linda Medley's Castle Waiting: Volume 2 for a good read. John O'Neill stated, "it retold the fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty (sort of), as seen by an odd cast of mostly minor characters. It was well written and beautiful, feminine in perspective and mood, incredibly slow-paced, and wholly original. I loved it."
• Interview: Gary Panter spent a whole hour talking to Benjamen Walker on the Too Much Information show at WFMU about life, Dal Tokyo, the evolving medium of comics and more.
• Interview: New Statesman interviews Chris Ware on Building Stories, Jimmy Corrigan and the time inbetween books. "Kim Thompson at Fantagraphics was really willing to experiment [with format]; I remember how much he and I sweated the idea of putting out a comic book that was just 1/2" shorter than the standard format in 1993."
Our production department has been cranking away and all the rest of our books coming out in 2012 (and one for next year) are now at the printer. I have a bunch of new cover images and excerpts to share, so let's take a peek, shall we?
Everybody wants to know: what new books will Fantagraphics be debuting at the San Diego Comic-Con? Well, attendees, get ready to be among the very first to feast your eyes on the following, most of these fresh from the printers! Find 'em all at Booth #1718!
• The Adventures of Venusby Gilbert Hernandez A rare foray into all-ages work, “The Adventures of Venus” was Gilbert Hernandez’s contribution to the kids’ anthology Measles which he edited in 1999 and 2000. This super-affordable little hardcover collects all the previously uncollected “Venus” stories from Measles, plus a new story done just for this book!
• The Lost Art of Ah Pook Is Here: Images from the Graphic Novel by Malcolm McNeill (not officially out 'til October!) In 1970, William S. Burroughs and artist Malcolm McNeill agreed to collaborate on a book-length meditation on time, power, control, and corruption that evoked the Mayan codices and specifically, the Mayan god of death, Ah Pook. McNeill created nearly a hundred paintings, illustrations, and sketches for the book, and these, finally, are seeing the light of day in The Lost Art of Ah Pook.
• Observed While Falling: Bill Burroughs, Ah Pook, and Me by Malcolm McNeill (not officially out 'til October!)Observed While Falling is an account of the personal and creative interaction that defined the collaboration between the writer William S. Burroughs and the artist Malcolm McNeill on the graphic novel Ah Pook Is Here. The memoir chronicles the events that surrounded it, the reasons it was abandoned and the unusual circumstances that brought it back to life.
• Barack Hussein Obama by Steven Weissman (not officially out until September!) It’s neither a biography nor an experiment, but a whole, fully-realized parallel America, a dada-esque, surrealistic satirical vision that is no more cockeyed than the real thing, its weirdness no more weird, its vision of the world no more terrifying, where the zombie-esque simulacra of Joe Biden and Hillary and Newt and Obama wander, if not exactly through the corridors of power, through an America they made and have to live in, like it or not.
• Buz Sawyer Vol. 2: Sultry's Tigerby Roy Crane (not officially out until September!) In the last adventure in our 2nd volume, Buz is kidnapped and flown to Africa by mysterious assailants. His friend Chili Harrison bets International Airways chief Mr. Wright $200 that even in this desperate situation, Buz will manage to get involved with a pretty girl. Long-time readers of the strip will have no trouble guessing who wins that bet.
• The Cavalier Mr. Thompson: A Sam Hill Novel by Rich Tommaso (not officially out until August!)Welcome To Big Spring, Texas and The Cavalier Hotel. A place brimming with all manner of colorful characters. And then, Ross Thompson – a slick operator from Chicago — came into their humble abode and turned everything upside down. Big Spring was a just string of yarn for Mr. Thompson to pull and pull at, until the entire community came unraveled! Now you’ll have to crack open this here book for yourself to find out just how he done it...
• The Crackle of the Frost by Lorenzo Mattotti & Jorge Zentner (not officially out until September!)In 2011, Fantagraphics presented the extraordinary Stigmata, a stunning display of Mattotti’s whirling, emotional, black and white linework, as well as his painted illustrations for Lou Reed’s The Raven. The Crackle of the Frost ups the visual ante even on those masterpieces, combining the narrative drive of the former with the lush color illustrations of the latter to create a graphic-novel masterpiece with panel after panel of sumptuous full-color paintings.
• Dal Tokyo by Gary Panter (not officially out until August!)Gary Panter began imagining Dal Tokyo, a future Mars that is terraformed by Texan and Japanese workers, as far back as 1972, appropriating a friend’s idea about “cultural and temporal collision” (the “Dal” is short for Dallas).
• Is that All There Is? (softcover) by Joost Swarte (not officially out until September!) Under Swarte’s own exacting supervision, Is That All There Is? collects virtually all of his alternative comics work from 1972 to date, including the RAW magazine stories that brought him fame among American comics aficionados in the 1980s.
• Jewish Images in the Comics by Fredrik StrömbergJewish Images in the Comics showcases more than 150 comic strips, comic books and graphic novels from all over the world, stretching over the last five centuries and featuring Jewish characters and Jewish themes.
• Love and Rockets: New Stories #5 by Gilbert & Jaime Hernandez(not officially out until September!) In Jaime's story “Crime Raiders International Mobsters and Executioners,” Tonta comes to visit for a weekend and sees what kind of life the Frog Princess is living with Reno and Borneo. On the other-brother side, Gilbert celebrates the 30th anniversary by bringing one of his current characters (“Killer,” granddaughter to the legendary Luba) into the Palomar milieu.
• Sexytime: The Post-Porn Rise of the Pornoisseur edited by Jacques Boyreau(not officially out until August!) An oversized coffee table book celebrating the art of the 1970s porn movie poster, Sexytime collects over a hundred of the most outrageously over-the-top porn movie posters of the era. It includes “classics” like The Sex-Ray Machine, Candy Goes to Hollywood, and The Senator’s Daughter starring such ’70s porn stalwarts as Annie Sprinkle, John Holmes, and Seka.
• Tales Designed to Thrizzle #8 by Michael KuppermanBreak out your crayons as Red Warren, "America's Grandpa," brings you his highly educational "Train & Bus Coloring Book." The guests at a sophisticated weekend party sure get nervous when a certain mystery writer shows up on her goat. Learn the story of French national hero Bertrand de Copillon, a.k.a. "The Scythe." And originally serialized in the Washington City Paper and online at Fantagraphics.com, the true story of the first lunar mission, "Moon 69." All this and more in the eighth and final issue of the series that changed the face of comic book humor, Tales Designed to Thrizzle!
• Significant Objects edited by Joshua Glenn & Rob WalkerSignificant Objects began in 2009 as a bold online inquiry into the relationship between narrative and the value of everyday objects. It has been the subject of speculation by everyone from NPR to litbloggers to The New York Times’ Freakonomics crew. A collection of one hundred Significant Objects stories is published in this hardcover volume.
• No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comicsedited by Justin Hall Queer cartooning encompasses some of the best and most interesting comics of the last four decades, with creators tackling complex issues of identity and a changing society with intelligence, humor, and imagination. This book celebrates this vibrant artistic underground by gathering together a collection of excellent stories that can be enjoyed by all.
• Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture - A Career Retrospective by Jack Davis Jack Davis arrived on the illustration scene in the euphoric post-war America of the late 1940s when consumer society was booming and the work force identified with commercial images that reflected this underlying sense of confidence and American bravado. Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture is a gigantic, unparalleled career-spanning retrospective, between whose hard covers resides the greatest collection — in terms of both quantity and quality — of Jack Davis’ work ever assembled!
• Wandering Son Vol. 3 by Shimura Takako; edited and translated by Matt Thorn As shown in the first two volumes of this acclaimed series, Shuichi and his friend Yoshino have a secret: Shuichi is a boy who wants to be a girl, and Yoshino is a girl who wants to be a boy. After an unhurried, almost leisurely buildup that gave us an opportunity to get to know and understand our protagonists, artist Shimura picks up the pace in this latest volume, with tears and laughs aplenty. A sophisticated work translated with rare sensitivity by veteran translator and comics scholar Matt Thorn.
• Castle Waiting Vol. II #17 by Linda MedleyLinda Medley continues to gather loose ends and drop new hints in this new issue of the beloved series. Chess has a surprising revelation about the identity of baby Pinter's father — could it be tied in with the war? The Hammerlings Dayne & Tolly bid farewell to the castle, but not before leaving behind a surprise gift which Rackham discovers later (along with the strange gift Dr. Fell left in an earlier issue). Sister Peace has a tete-a-tete with the demon Leeds regarding religious artifacts — did you know demons collect them? Simon struggles with his reading lessons until Jain helps him have a breakthrough. And Jain faces off with the castle ghost!
• Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons by Flannery O'Connor; edited by Kelly Gerald Flannery O’Connor: The Cartoons, the first book devoted to the author’s work in the visual arts, emphasizes O’Connor’s most prolific period as a cartoonist, drawing for her high school and college publications in the early 1940s. Her cartoons are a creative threshing floor for experimenting and trying out techniques that are deployed later with such great success in her fiction.
• God and Science: Return of the Ti-Girls byJaime Hernandez Originally serialized in Love and Rockets: New Stories, “Ti-Girls Adventures” managed to be both a rollickingly creative super-hero joyride. Aside from being presented in a large format that really displays Jaime Hernandez’s stunning art, God and Science will be a “director’s cut” version that includes a full 30 new pages in addition to the original 100-page epic, including four new full-color faux Ti-Girls covers, several expansions of scenes, an epilogue set back in Maggie’s apartment, and a long fantasy/timewarp sequence that draws the focus back on Penny’s awful predicament.
This week's comic shop shipment is slated to include the following new title (contact your local shop to confirm availability and U.S. holiday hours), which is also now available and shipping from our mail-order department:
Linda Medley continues to gather loose ends and drop new hints in this new issue of the beloved series. Chess has a surprising revelation about the identity of baby Pinter's father — could it be tied in with the war? The Hammerlings Dayne & Tolly bid farewell to the castle, but not before leaving behind a surprise gift which Rackham discovers later (along with the strange gift Dr. Fell left in an earlier issue). Sister Peace has a tete-a-tete with the demon Leeds regarding religious artifacts — did you know demons collect them? Simon struggles with his reading lessons until Jain helps him have a breakthrough. And Jain faces off with the castle ghost!
Preview the first 3 pages (click each image to enlarge):
The up-to-the-minute Online Commentaries & Diversion:
•Plug: Our newest Jacques Tardi release, New York Mon Amour is out and available at your favorite comic shops. One of our such shop, Forbidden Planet, is very excited to have it in stock. Joe says, "I’m so glad the Fanta crew has been making these titles available again to English language readers."
•Interview:WMFU host of Too Much Information, Benjamin Walker, questions Michael Kupperman about comics as a serious form of literature at his MIT Center for Civic Media conference talk. Kupperman: "You see high points. You have to build to that humor. Sometimes there's just enough for three panels—I like to keep it short, keep the audience wanting more. It's kind of—there can be a central idea I need to do it."
•Review: On The Comics Journal, Jeet Heer takes a close look at Spain Rodriguez's newest collection of stories. In Heer's words, Cruisin' with the Hound: The Life and Times of Fred Toote "is a splendid book, a startling view of a plebeian world that tends to be submerged by the North American tendency to pretend that class doesn’t exist. The book is also evidence of the strength of the autobiographical comics tradition, which has room not just for minute introspection but also for stories of lively brutality."
•Review:Comics Worth Reading sits down with the latest issue (#16) of Linda Medley's Castle Waiting series. Johanna Draper Carlson glowingly states, "it’s [Medley's] character work, the small bits of perfectly realized dialogue, that make this series so rewarding."