• Gift Guide: At RevolutionSF, Rick Klaw includes Gahan Wilson: Fifty Years of Playboy Cartoons in his "Geek Gift Guide": "The incredible three hardcover boxed set celebrates one of art's funniest and most disturbing cartoonists. ... I promise every geek would be thrilled to find this under the tree. I just hope Santa doesn't throw out his back out delivering this massive collection."
• Gift Guide: Love & Maggie presents a "Los Bros Hernandez Chistmas Shopping Guide"
• Review: "[Gilbert] Hernandez is one of the four or five greatest cartoonists in the world, and it's satisfying to see him work through any plot with any restriction he'd like to place on it. The Troublemakers feels like a movie for more than its story: it's either all exterior information or nearly so, it has opening credits, it has a three-act structure, it uses a wide-panel 'shot' throughout. ... Attaching a world of significance to forms recognizable to most of us as pulp isn't a new thing, but I don't think any of the filmmakers famous for it have done it any better than Hernandez." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
• Plug: "Popeye Vol 4: Plunder Island: Prior to Fantagraphics’ awesome collections of E.C. Segar’s awesome comic strip, this was the only storyline from Thimble Theater I’d ever read before…in The Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics. Does that mean it’s some sort of classic? It should be; it’s fantastic. Anyway, the latest collection is $30 and 170 pages, and, like the first three volumes, it’s beautifully designed and so big and sturdy that it’s practically seaworthy." – J. Caleb Mozzocco, Newsarama
• Plug: "This is it. The crown jewel in the Popeye crown. If you only buy one volume in the series, blah blah blah. Seriously, hopefully you've been collecting all the Popeye books, because it's one of the greatest comics ever, but this volume contains what must surely be E.C. Segar's finest hour, namely, the 'Plunder Island' storyline, where in Popeye and friends search for treasure and come afoul of the Sea Hag." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
• Plug: "I've been in long time love with Femke Hiemstra. Her smoky and detailed fantasy landscapes are often coupled with outrageous characters, from vegetables to the floating head of Marie Antoinette. ... [Y]ou can pick up a copy of her splendid book, Rock Candy, which would make a perfect Christmas gift for the art lover or art lover to be." – J.L. Schnabel
• Mutual Appreciation: We love comedy genius Graham Linehan, and he loves us, as evidenced by the set dressing on The IT Crowd (not to mention interviews he's given); apparently he makes it explicit again in the bonus features to the 3rd season DVD set of the show, which we've yet to see, according to the DVD review at Den of Geek
• Things to see: Eric Reynolds comments on this link forwarded by Jason T. Miles: "I love knowing that there was a day in Fanta's past when they could call Kevin Nowlan on the phone for a last minute design job!"
• List: At NPR.org, Glen Weldon recommends "Tomes With Which to Tough Out Your Turkey Coma," including Linda Medley's Castle Waiting ("a wryly funny fairy tale narrative that's both women-centered and women-powered") and Gilbert Hernandez 's Palomar ("Dense, vividly realized and both literally and figuratively magical")
• Interview: Robot 6's Chris Mautner talks to Dash Shaw about The Unclothed Man in the 34th Century A.D., BodyWorld and other topics: "There’s a meshing going on between film/animation and comics. The meshing is happening in my own interests, the subject matter of my stories, the way my stories are created, and it’s been fueled a little by what’s going on outside of me..."
As the cast pairs off to commence moving Jain and Pin (and a pampered chicken) into the castle, the conversations range far and wide, from romance to war politics. You'll learn that the wise man always has the right goat for the job, and that sometimes you just have to say "Hooray for ridiculous." Plus, you'll find out what happens when a giant moves to your town (hint: making a pie requires semaphore signals).
Pay attention: there's some must-read stuff in today's Online Commentary & Diversions!
• Review: "Castle Waiting #15 - I love that Linda Medley is completely ignoring what makes her setting so interesting for the D&D set and focusing on the characters." - Kevin Church
• Review: "Although aiming at twenty-somethings also interested in getting laid, getting wasted and getting rich, [in Rocky Vol. 2] Kellerman nonetheless manages to move beyond the ever-fertile grounds of the battle of the sexes, bodily functions and morning-after guilt-trips to produce a lot of work that is truly fresh, funny and uniquely personal." - Win Wiacek, Now Read This!
• Review: "Just like Heartbreak Soup and Locas, Lubais hard to put down, and Beto’s art gets better as it gets more experimental... there’s tons of good material here, and the humongous format can’t be beat in terms of bang for your buck." - The A.V. Club
• Review: "The 'family history' graphic novel subgenre can feel overdone at times... but volume one of Carol Tyler’s autobiographical You’ll Never Knowis the kind of smartly conceived, affectingly personal work that makes comics and memoirs look fresh... Carol Tyler works wonders with colored pencils and offbeat page designs... the breadth of her visual imagination is so impressive that... overreach is excusable. Also impressive: the thematic complexity of You’ll Never Know... [Grade] A-" - The A.V. Club
• Review: "The handsome hardcover collection The Brinkley Girls brings together a generous sampling of [Nell] Brinkley’s work, leaning heavy on her stories of industrious women and the he-men they love... Brinkley’s art is so drop-dead gorgeous that readers may long to razor out every page to hang on the wall. [Grade] A-" - The A.V. Club (same link as above)
• Review: "...the fantastic Brinkley Girls hardcover put out by Fantagraphics... you would be doing yourself a favor by checking it out. Curse you Fantagraphics, I'm trying to save money you bastards." - This Is Why I Hate You
• Review: "Sally gets the cover in this 11th volume of The Complete Peanuts... Schulz is still in top form here in my opinion. There are few books I laugh at more, or enjoy more thoroughly than these fine collections. Highly recommended!" - Todd Klein
Your Online Commentary and Diversions for the day:
• Review: "It’s great to read comics that are fun, inventive, and delighting in the medium instead of dour, 'relevant,' and procedural. Supermen is a teasing look at a truly Golden Age." - Dave Lartigue, Dave Ex Machina
• Review: "Never before reprinted, Fantagraphics recently collected Humbug, complete with new essays, interviews, and annotations, in two handsome hardback volumes. [...] Jack Davis and Will Elder... elevated the comic-book parody beyond the standards of Mad and Trump. For Humbug, Davis produced some of the best work of his long career. Al Jaffee... tackled varied topics... all with equal skill and irreverence..." - Rick Klaw, San Antonio Current
• Review: "Blazing Combat... features a collection of some of the most beautiful black and white comic art you have ever seen... It also features interviews and some of the most beautiful printing I have seen. Honestly, put down those monthly comics for a week and buy something you will enjoy a lifetime. From cover to cover, this book is what keeps me in comics." - Jimmy Palmiotti, Newsarama
• Review: "Supermen! The First Wave of Comic Book Heroes 1936-1941 is the book I've been waiting for - a crazed whirlwind tour through the raw badlands of early superheroes, the best and the weirdest of the early days... Fantagraphics Books has assembled 20 of these quirky gems into a nicely designed, affordable full-color paperback. It's like a roadmap of alternative history, where you can imagine that a character like Stardust the Super Wizard became a star... It's one of the best comic collections of the year. Bring on a sequel!" - Nik Dirga, Blogcritics
• Profile: The University of Cincinnati describes how faculty member C. Tyler, inspired by her graphic memoir You'll Never Know, is teaming up her students with military veterans to tell the veterans' stories in comics format, in order to help veterans talk about their experiences and share them with the civilian public to increase awareness of veterans' issues
Expected to arrive in comic book shops this week: Castle Waiting Vol. II #15 by Linda Medley. Due to the intricacies of shipping and distribution, comic shops get new issues of Castle Waiting before we do ourselves, so you Wednesday warriors get the first crack! As always, check with your local shop to confirm availability.
Uh oh, I'm starting to post Twitter reviews. We're through the looking glass here, people.
• Review: "Jaime Hernandez again shows mastery in portraying both recognizable situations and complex emotions [in The Education of Hopey Glass]. The illustrations are beautiful. The man has achieved perfection with his drawing style." - Koen (translated from Dutch)
• Review: "Linda Medley's Castle Waiting... [is a] beautifully designed volume... 457 pages of glorious black and white illustration... The artwork is absolutely charming, hearkening back to older pen-and-ink styles, but with a cartoony touch to it. The characters are individually realized, both by the art and the writing... This would be a good comic book to give to younger people, perhaps especially if you know a girl who likes comics but is turned off by more mainstream fare... The twining of the fairy tales with the story is deftly and delightfully done. I love this series." - Little Bits of Everything
• Review: "Tales Designed to Thrizzle #5... [is] a comedy rag and reads like Monty Python writing a comic: lots of absurdity and naughty silliness coupled with incorrect history and ever-so-subtle statements here and there. Plus the art is spectacular! Michael Kupperman really makes it feel like you're reading some weird alternate-universe cartoon book from the 30s or something and it just makes the whole thing feel so weird, it's great!" - Timmy Williams, The Daily Cross Hatch
• Review: "Blazing Combat from Fantagraphics. Outstanding 1960's Warren goodness. Archie Goodwin et al. artists at their best." - John Siuntres (Word Balloon), on Twitter
• Plug: "I also came upon Michael Kupperman's Tales Designed to Thrizzle Vol. 1. Even though I've read most of this material in periodical form, it's still a joy to revisit Kupperman's absurd, hilarious universe." - Chris Mautner, Robot 6 "What Are You Reading?" [ed. note: I'm going to have this book up for pre-order here on the website this week if it kills me]
The Castle is full of mysterious behavior! Preparations for Jain's housewarming continue apace, and Tolly takes a break from packing to journey outside the hedge to fetch a gift with Simon... though Tolly may have an ulterior motive as well. And what's Henry doing out there too? Meanwhile, a mysterious feline has something to teach Pin, and the normally dour Dr. Fell is still in a festive spirit. All this and more in this issue of Linda Medley's hit series.
Scheduled to arrive at your local comic shop this week: Castle Waiting Vol. II #14 by Linda Medley. As previously noted, Castle Waiting comics arrive in comic shops before we have the issues available here on the website, so hit your area brick-n-mortar if you want the issue now! Here's a first look at the cover:
(A small meta note: from now on we'll only be posting New Comics Day updates on weeks when we actually have new titles shipping to comic shops. No update means nothing new from us that week.)