•Commentary: Ron Richards of iFanboy writes a con review and 1/2 of his swap was Fantagraphics fun, "I did a little dance when I saw [Love and Rockets: New Stories #5] was available . . . After the amazing #4 of this series, I can’t wait to see what Los Bros Hernandez come up with this time out"
•Commentary: Heidi MacDonald and Cal Reid finalize their digital SDCC thoughts on Publishers Weekly: "Comixology announced [many] new e-book distribution deals . . . . and perhaps most significantly, Fantagraphics, which had been a staunch hold out on the digital front. The Fantagraphics partnership will kick-off with the jewel in the crown: the much-loved work of the Hernandez Brothers starting with Love and Rockets New Stories #1-4 ."
•Commentary (photos): Cal Reid and Jody Culkin on Publishers Weekly photo-document a lot of the fun going on at Comic-Con including the Hernandez Brothers panel and signing.
•Commentary: Sonia Harris enjoyed her Comic-Con experience according to the report on Comic Book Resources. "[No Straight Lines editor] Justin Hall had a big year, speaking on panels about gay comic book characters and hosting a party on Friday night at the increasingly interesting Tr!ckster event for the launch of No Straight Lines."
•Interview:Chicago Pride finds the time to talk to editor Justin Hall on No Straight Lines, "My worry was that the literary queer comics were going to vanish, that there was no one looking out for that work. Especially with the gay publishers and the gay bookstores dying out."
•Review: Tom Spurgeon on the Comics Reporter covers the Tales Designed to Thrizzle digital comics release, "Kupperman's work looks super-attractive in print, which while that sounds counter-intuitive to its digital chances, is actually a vote for the print version having its own sales momentum that digital won't all the wayoverlap."
•Review:NPR hits home with Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons. Glen Waldon: "What emerges is a portrait of a much-beloved artist as a young woman, when the sardonic and even brutal humor behind O'Connor's most memorable creations is still gestating."
•Plug (award): Cannibal Fuckface from Johnny Ryan's Prison Pit is a nominee in the Designer Toy Awards for "Best Toy from a Comic." Cast your vote today or we might bludgeon you.
•Plug (pictures): Can't make it Los Angeles? Check out artwork Keenan Marshall Keller posted from FREAK SCENE art show featuring Johnny Ryan (with Prison Pit pages), Jason T. Miles, Jim Rugg and many more.
•Commentary:A.V. Club enjoyed the Fantagraphics/D&Q panel at San Diego and Noel Murray believes, "real legacy of Comic-Con [is] the elevation of the medium’s literary merit and public profile combined with the preservation of its past . . . The outcome of all that? Handsome hardcover editions of Floyd Gottfredson Mickey Mouse strips . . ."
•Commentary: Cameron Hatheway of Bleeding Cool was a bit livid that Mickey Mouse Vol. 1 and 2 beat out our other title up for the Archival Reprint Collection/Project Eisner. "A part of me thought Prince Valiantwould be a sure thing because of its 75th anniversary this year, and people would be getting all nostalgic. Way to go, majority of voters; Prince Valiant will continue to roam the seven seas and seeking adventure without an Eisner to his name. I hope you’re all proud of yourselves! How do you even sleep at night? A pox upon your castles!"
•Commentary: Directly from the Comic-Con floor, Tom Spurgeon from The Comics Reporter is rich with the compliments, "speaking of Fantagraphics, I was surprised to see the Dal Tokyo book. It looks great. I also really liked the design on the second Buz Sawyer volume, a really atypical image being used."
•Commentary: Tom Spurgeon dishes up the best comics to buy at Comic-Con International and online on The Comics Reporter. On Gary Panter's Dal Toyko, ". . . I'm trying to get over the notion of only recommending comics that catch some sort of big-time marketing hook or novelty current as opposed to just being awesome comics. This is the kind of book that has peers, not betters." In reference to the Kickstarted, Fantagraphics-distributed The Cavelier Mr. Thompson by Rich Tommaso, Spurgeon mentions "It's one of the works that the generation-two alt-cartoonist serialized on-line. I heard three different people on the [Comic-Con] floor waxing rhapsodic about Tommaso's natural-born cartooning sensibilities."
•Commentary: Director of PR, Jacq Cohen, was interviewed on the Graphic Novel Reporter about her Comic-Con memories and First Second editor, Calista Brill, loves our books: "I got myself the latest in Fantagraphics' beautiful collected Uncle Scrooge series."
•Commentary: Overheard at Comic-Con. Matt Groening was talking to Eric Reynolds about Twee-Deedle in reference to "perfect" comics reproduction and he said, "Speaking of perfect..." and leaned over and grabbed a Donald book and said, "These are PERFECT."
•Plug: Mark Frauenfelder on BoingBoing mentions Significant Objects (because he's in it!): "Culture jammers extraordinaire Rob Walker and Joshua Glenn bought a bunch of less-than-worthless objects at thrift stores and garage sales and then assigned people to write a short story about one of the objects."
•Review:Reason.com reviews Daniel Clowes work making comics into art. Greg Beato says, "Clowes. . . brought a different sensibility to his comics: An obsessive compulsive commitment to craftsmanship. . . Clowes strove to make the comic book as artful as possible, a complex but organic object that was perfect in all its parts. "
•Interview:The Guardian prints a small Q&A with Daniel Clowes who IMMEDIATELY posts his full answers to some the questions since someone had fun in the editing room. "It doesn't take much to alter the tone or meaning of someone's words in an interview with some editing."
•Interview: Gary Groth interviews Gilbert Shelton at SDCC on the Beat and The Comic Books, Heidi MacDonald, "Among the topics were origins of Wonder Worthog and Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, talked about working with Harvey Kurtzman and how he knew Janis Joplin. . ."
•Plug:The Comics Bulletin covers the Comic-Con International and the Fantagraphics panel on new releases. Danny Djeljosevic says, "Fantagraphics is Fantagraphics. They put out killer material and in beautiful packages to boot."
•Review (audio): Dann Lennard of Kirby Your Enthusiasm podcast covers THREE of our books in his Australian-based comics podcast. Is That All There Is? by Joost Swarte "If you like Herge and Tintin, it might not be for you. It's pretty full-on. . . if you're into sex and violence, you might like this." On Sincerest Form of Parody, edited by John Benson: "This full color book . . .collects work from another EC publication called Panic, not quite as good as MAD and didn't last as long, but features quite good artists and humor. It's the pick of the other titles." In regards to The Hidden by Richard Sala, Lennard says its "actually quite a powerful, horrific book of violence, it's really quite sickening in places."
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!
Given the 30 Anniversary celebration of Love and Rockets this week, our article and fact-making robot decided we should have a separate post on all the goings-on. If we missed your 30th Anniversary coverage, please
know. Commentaries and fun memories below:
•Interview: Heidi MacDonald interviews Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds on going digital with comiXology starting with Love and Rockets: New Stories. On THE BEAT Reynolds notes, "When the notion of 'digital comics' first became a reality, I’ll admit that many of our authors and many of us in the office actively resisted the idea and pretended to tell ourselves we’d never embrace it. But I think we’re all pragmatic enough to understand the realities of where the future is headed."
•Commentary:CNET noticed a lot of comiXology announcements at San Diego Comic Con International but put a spotlight on Love and Rockets: New Stories. Seth Rosenblatt continues, ". . . few people read the "Love and Rockets" comic when it was first published, but it inspired every single one of the people who did to make comics. Of course, that probably didn't happen on a one-to-one basis, but "Love and Rockets" is nevertheless a massively influential comic that probably has stronger sales now than it ever did when it first hit the stands."
•Commentary: Marc Frauenfelder of BoingBoing says little about Fantagraphics going digital but it packs a punch: "Fantagraphics, the world's greatest comic book publisher. . ."
•Commentary: Tom Spurgeon of the Comics Reporter made a call out for all press people to cover Love and Rockets' 30th Anniversary while at Comic Con, in addition to a digital comics distribution announcement. "I also think it's wholly appropriate that Fantagraphics is kicking this off with the Hernandez Brothers and Love And Rockets, certainly the first major project they published there at the company (although not the official first project they published) and obviously a mighty contribution to American popular art." This was followed by a con report stating, "My hunch from reading these things on the faces of people and talking to those around them is that Los Bros Hernandez had a very good show."
•Interview: Geoff Boucher from the LA Times asked Jaime Hernandez for his 30 best Comic-Con memories. "7. I remember when those “Turtle” guys started. . .20. I remember the days before comics were called “graphic novels."
Pam, one of the many fantastic Comic-Con International organizers
•Commentary: Sean T. Collins took a page from Tom Spurgeon's playbook and wrote a full week of Love and Rockets coverage as lines formed to meet the Hernandez Brothers. One small bit of the snippet of his lengthy coverage: "Gilbert and Jaime are both masters of the form of comics. . . Mario Hernandez is the great lost alternative cartoonist, the Lost Bro Hernandez. His interest in cosmopolitanism, leftist politics, the conflation of activism and terrorism by the authorities, the pas de deux between terrorism and authoritarianism, the revolutionary and counterrevolutionary power of art and pop culture, the Third World as a petri dish for first-world government’s reimportation of radicalism, all within the framework of vaguely science-fictional thrillers — he is in many ways the perfect comics-maker for our present moment."
•Commentary:Entertainment Weekly covered all aspects of the Hernandez Brothers panel. Jonathan W. Gray says, "Early artwork from the brothers, including the self-published first issue of Love and Rockets. Groth also showed a slide with Jaime’s rendering of a female Robin, an image that, according to Jaime, inspired the creation of Carrie Kelly in Dark Knight Returns" and overall, "The Hernandez brothers are legends who produced the most enduring indie comic series in history with Love and Rockets. It’s important that their sprawling oeuvre remain accessible for new fans, and their new agreement with Comixology to reprint their work digitally ensures that."
•Plug: Steve Appleford of the Pasadena Sun interviewed the Jaime Hernandez for the 30th Anniversary of Love and Rockets . "[My brothers and I] would go as often as we could to the shows. Whoever had the car, if we could afford gas."
•Commentary: Noel Murray of the A.V. Club spent a hell of a lot of time on the convention floor and covered the Hernandez Brothers panel: "Cartoonist Mike Allred stood up during the Q&A and gushed over the Hernandez brothers, saying that reading Love And Rockets as a young adult had rekindled his love of comics, not just because of Los Bros’ aesthetic and narrative sophistication, but because Jaime and Gilbert were able to put across what they loved: about Kirby, about punk rock, about wrestlers, and about women."
•Commentary: David Luna on Comic Book Resources covered the San Diego Comic-Con panel called 30th Anniversary of Love and Rockets featuring all three of the Hernandez Brothers and a packed room. Jaime Hernandez stated, "I got my cake and ate it too because I like drawing women and if I made them strong enough, not strong enough beating up people, but powerful just in their personalities and their lives and their brains, then I could draw them any way I wanted to."
•Plug:Mister Phil remembering and scanning ads from Love and Rockets back in the 80's is one of the greatest joys on the internet right now. See above.
•Commentary:UT San Diego.com and Peter Rowe touch on the Hernandez Brothers contribution to comics in their unique way. Gilbert Hernandez speaks, "[Characters who age and change] is a hallmark of great comic strips that inspired the [us], like 'Gasoline Alley.' Superhero comics are built on hype," he said. "But comic strips earn your respect over time."
•Plug:Love and Rockets get a con-based mention in Baldo comic by Hector D Cantu and Carlos Castellanos. See above (reformatted to fit our FLOG).
•Review: One of the original critics and reviews of Love and Rockets in the 80's, Brian Hayes writes a short 'n' sweet memory about the series, both old and new! On Hayfamzone: "Gary Groth and his associates have enriched the world of comics by publishing [Love and Rockets ] for all these years."
•Commentary: Sonia Harris spoke on a lifetime of love with the Hernandez Brothers' 30th Anniversary on Comic Book Resources. Harris exclaimed, "Gilbert Hernandez . . . told me that he remembered me from my first ever comic book convention in London, nearly 25 years ago. . . I explained to Jaime that after a misspent youth identifying with Hopey, then an awkward adolescence identifying with Maggie, I’ve now come to identify more with Izzy."
30 Years. Three. Zero. In 1982, Gilbert, Jaime and Mario Hernandez published their first comic with Fantagraphics, which debuted at that year’s Comic-Con International in San Diego. In 2012, Fantagraphics Books announces the best anniversary present you can give the comics making trio: a year of celebrating Love and Rockets.
Jaime Hernandez remembers his first Comic-Con well. “The first time we spotted Love and Rockets some guy was already selling it for half-off.” Fellow professionals took an interest in the Hernandez brothers’ creation. “Chris Claremont walked up and joked that all the women on the cover should have ‘X’es on their belts,” Jaime joked. “I brought along some pages from the next issue and Frank Miller looked through them ‘studying’ my inking style.”
Thirty years later, fans will line up around that same block to get books signed at this year’s Comic-Con International, where Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez are invited special guests of the show and will even have a special section devoted to their work in the official convention souvenir program. Look for a major Love and Rockets-related announcement to be made at the show as well during the Love and Rockets panel on Saturday (see below for more details).
Fantagraphics and the Hernandez Brothers will debut three new books at the show. First up is the newest work by Gilbert and Jaime, Love and Rockets: New Stories #5 , featuring Gilbert’s return to Palomar and Jaime’s much-anticipated follow up to “The Love Bunglers” (from #4). Also debuting is God and Science: Return of the Ti-Girls, Jaime’s superhero epic combining material from Love and Rockets: New Stories #1and#2 plus 30 all-new pages by Jaime. Meanwhile, don’t forget the children: Comic-Con also hails the release of Gilbert's children-focused graphic novel, The Adventures of Venus.
Fantagraphics is also partnering with Graphitti Designs for the 30th Anniversary and debuting six new Love and Rockets t-shirts at the show. SDCC attendees might want to pack one shirt less for the show, instead picking up one of these colorful designs featuring their favorite Hernandez characters for a great price of $18.99 each, available at the Fantagraphics booth.
Panel by panel and page by page, Fantagraphics is proud to have a thirty year relationship with such prolific creators as the Hernandez Brothers and welcomes all SDCC attendees to come to the Fantagraphics Booth (1718-1722) and visit these special guests, who will be signing daily. Also, don’t miss the 30th Anniversary of Love and Rockets panel on Saturday at the con, from 1:30pm – 3:00pm in Room 24ABC. Fantagraphics publisher Gary Groth will moderate a lively trip down memory lane with all three Hernandez Brothers and make a major announcement regarding the future of the series.
For more information as it is released, check the Fantagraphics blog for announcements. Thirty years of the Love and Rockets is at your fingertips!
Gilbert, Jaime, & Mario will be the guests of honor, speaking to Professor Charles Hatfield's class on Monday, March 26th at the California State University, Northridge (in greater Los Angeles).
Class will be in session from 4:30 to 6:00 PM in Jerome Richfield Hall, Room 319. And, no test anxiety -- you don't have to be a student to attend! This event is free, open to the public, and is sure to be an inspiring and entertaining evening!
We like the way the Cottesloe Theatre (the smallest of the 3 stages in London's National Theatre) labels their rechargable batteries with the names of Love and Rockets, Hate, Angry Youth Comix and Ghost World characters. Instagram photo (via Twitter) by Mike Winship, who informs us "Sadly, Maggie & Luba have been lost to the great battery dump in the sky*... (*ground)."
"Gilbert's stories are typically excellent in this issue, as he manages a certain luridness in one story that brings sexuality to the fore, and goes the other direction in a more oblique, subtle story. Of course, the story that got everyone buzzing was the second half of Jaime's "The Love Bunglers", which is an ending for this thirty-year cycle of stories--and one where Jaime sticks the landing with authority."
"This was Bagge's first feature-length Buddy Bradley story in years, and it's a doozy. Buddy, Lisa and young Harold visit Lisa's parents in a story called 'Hell,' and Bagge truly pulls out all the stops in depicting extreme familial weirdness. His dialogue is as sharp as ever, his line is quite lively and his uncanny ability to depict the creeping weirdness of suburbia is even more disturbing than in the initial run of New Jersey stories in Hate."
"Kupperman's 'Quincy, M.E.' story in this issue is a tour-de-force of twisting narrative structures and just plain crazy silliness. Kupperman's art has become increasingly bland as his aesthetic references have changed from 1920s comic strips to 1950s comic books, forcing the reader to perform double-takes at the crazy juxtapositions he creates. If his comics aren't as visually exhausting and exciting as they once were, he still provides an avalanche of ideas and jokes for the reader to sort through."
• Review: "Norwegian cartoonist Jason has returned with more full-color stories populated by lonely, and at times sociopathic, anthropomorphic characters. Cats, dogs, and ducks steal, fight, murder, and drink themselves into oblivion. Although brimming with black humor, the tales are far from ridiculous; the disjunction between the cute creatures and their actions often serves to highlight the despair inherent in their lives. Text is light, as the images drive the narratives. In these spare, mute panels, infused with flat oranges, greens, and browns, small movements covey great meaning and emotion.... Visually exciting, at times hilarious and at times devastating, Athos in America will only add to Jason’s well-deserved reputation as a star of the graphic novel world." – Publishers Weekly
• Review: "This volume [Amazing Mysteries: The Bill Everett Archives Vol. 1] provides an illuminating look at the artist’s numerous attempts at catching Sub-Marineresque lightning in a bottle for a second time, a task that mostly eluded him. The comics studios of the golden age were product mills that threw any idea against the wall in hope it would stick, and Everett did much the same. Forgotten sci-fi and superhero creations, as well as forays into westerns, historical retellings, and crime comics, populate this loaded volume, which reads like it fell straight out of some four-color twilight zone." – Publishers Weekly
• Review: "Over 150 pages of reprints, a brilliant back-of-the-book by Benson running 26 pages, and an introduction by my old buddy, cartoonist/historian Jay Lynch..., this book is a welcome addition to any comics library.... [I]f nothing else, The Sincerest Form of Parody saves you a lot of time separating the wheat from the chaff. But in and of itself, it is a very worthy book – entertaining on his own, and critical from a historical point of view. You should check this one out..." – Mike Gold, ComicMix
• Review: "[Jordan] Crane’s comic, The Last Lonely Saturday, explores the trials and release of life after loss. Crane’s story beautifully follows a husband’s weekly ritual to pay respect to his wife. In no more than a few pages, Crane retells the husband and wife’s entire history. From the comic’s meticulous book design, with its quaint size and the rounded, hand-lettered type in the first pages, readers can expect the story to be heart-warming. But Crane pulls at readers’ heartstrings with surprising grace. While the story is rooted in the traditional American cliché of lovers reunited in the afterlife, the story is told deftly." – Juan Fernandez, The Tartan (via Robot 6)
• Review: "[Freeway] captures the frustration of being stuck in traffic, particularly the array of images (violent and otherwise) that traffic brings to my mind (even better than Falling Down). Like me, Alex also relieves his frustrations with a lot of swearing." – Gene Ambaum, The Unshelved Book Club
• Plug: "I ran into animator Michel Gagné at the Annie Awards last week (where he picked up an Annie for Best Video Game, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet) and asked him about his next project. Turns out Gagne had been toiling on a labor of love (literally) that has just gone on sale this week.... That book, Young Romance: the Best of Simon & Kirby’s Romance Comics, is not the usual thing we endorse here at Cartoon Brew – but as a life-long Jack Kirby fan and oddball comic book buff, this project is right up my alley.... I’ve ordered my copy and highly recommend it, sight unseen. Thanks, Michel!" – Jerry Beck, Cartoon Brew
• Plug: "Joe Simon and Jack Kirby created Captain America but they literally created the romance comic genre. The pages [of Young Romance] were packed with dialogue and dramatic art as women fought for love." – Will Harris, KOMO News
It's still over 8 months away but the Alternative Press Expo folks are wasting no time in announcing their first batch of special guests, including 3 Hernandez Brothers (Gilbert, Jaime & Mario), continuing their Love and Rockets 30th Anniversary U.S. Domination Tour (not the actual name of the tour), and the one and only Jim Woodring, debuting (knock on wood) his new book Problematic: Selected Sketchbook Drawings 2004-2011!
Mark your calendars for October 13-14 at the Concourse in San Francisco, and stay tuned for future news and updates!
It just wouldn't be Comic-Con without the Hernandez Brothers, and CCI has confirmed today that all 3 of the comics-creating bros., Gilbert, Jaime and Mario, will be special guests of the 2012 convention in July. This, of course, will be just one stop on their epic Love and Rockets 30th anniversary tour — stay tuned for lots more details and announcements!
The first Online Commentary & Diversions post of the year might very well end up being the longest:
• List: Humorist and television personality John Hodgman, asked to name his 5 favorite comics in an open Q&A session on his Tumblr blog, says "Love and Rockets: I don’t like to choose between brothers, but Jaime Hernandez is one of the greatest drawers of human faces and human want on the planet."
• List:Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge: Only a Poor Old Man by Carl Barks is #39 on The A.V. Club 's list of "most anticipated entertainments of 2012": "Only a Poor Old Man will bring Scrooge McDuck, possibly Barks’ greatest creation, into the spotlight. The bespectacled miser will dive around in his money bin and burrow through it like a gopher, and his timeless adventures will get the treatment they deserve."
• List: Tucker Stone, whose Best of 2011 previously appeared at comiXology, presents a slightly modified list for Flavorwire's "10 of the Year's Most Buzzed-About Comic Releases":
"Last year’s Love and Rockets was a huge deal, but this year’s installment is arguably even better.... Comics has yet to provide Love and Rockets with anything approximating 'competition,' but it doesn’t appear that the Hernandez brothers have any reason to be concerned about that quite yet. They’re still way better at this than everybody else on the planet."
"The big thing this year was watching all the great young cartoonists of the early 2000s carving out their places in the pantheon. Huizenga’s a perfect example — he’s been regularly turning out excellent comics for years now, and yet Ganges #4 still reads like a revelation.... It’s a fascinating experience reading these comics, and they’re gorgeous to boot."
"The continuing adventures of Johnny Ryan’s most violent fantasies run amuck, [Prison Pit] is rapidly becoming the comic that I look forward to the way a fat kid looks forward to syrup-encrusted cake. There’s no getting around the hoary old cliche — 'these aren’t for everybody' — so God help you if you can’t figure out a way to enjoy these books."
• List: The prolific Sean T. Collins, after having contributed to CBR's Top 100, runs down his personal 20 Best Comics of 2011 on his Attentiondeficitdisorderly blog AND at Robot 6, withGanges #4 by Kevin Huizenga at #15...
"Huizenga wrings a second great book out of his everyman character’s insomnia. It’s quite simple how, really: He makes comics about things you’d never thought comics could be about, by doing things you never thought comics could do to show you them. Best of all, there’s still the sense that his best work is ahead of him, waiting like dawn in the distance."
"...[T]he payoff... feels like a weight has been lifted from Woodring’s strange world, while the route he takes to get there is illustrated so beautifully it’s almost superhuman. It’s the happy ending he’s spent most of his career earning."
"Religious fundamentalism... has worn a thousand faces in a millennia-long carnevale procession of war and weirdness, and David B. paints portraits of three of its masks with bloody brilliance. Focusing on long-forgotten heresies and treating the most outlandish legends about them as fact, B.’s high-contrast linework sets them all alight with their own incandescent madness."
"I picture Gilbert Hernandez approaching his drawing board these days like Lawrence of Arabia approaching a Turkish convoy: 'NO PRISONERS! NO PRISONERS!' In a year suffused with comics funneling pitch-black darkness through a combination of sex and horror, none were blacker, sexier, or more horrific than this gender-bending exploitation flick from Beto's 'Fritz-verse.'"
"...[L]et's add to the chorus praising Jaime's 'The Love Bunglers' as one of the greatest comics of all time, the point to which one of the greatest comics series of all time has been hurtling toward for thirty years.... You can count the number of cartoonists able to wed style to substance, form to function, this seamlessly on one hand with fingers to spare. A masterpiece."
"The hype and acclaim surrounding Xaime Hernandez’s conclusion to his 'Love Bunglers' saga has been overwhelming, and every ounce of it is deserved. This is simply a phenomenal achievement in comics. A moving, thoughtful story of missed opportunities, loss and eventual reconciliation that provides in many ways a fitting conclusion to all of Xaime’s 'Locas' stories. I’d be hard pressed to think of a better comic that came out this year."
"More than the new Carl Barks collection, more than the return of Pogo, the resurrected, re-appreciated comic strip I found myself falling in love the most with this year was Gottfredson’s plunky, adventure-loving mouse, a scrappier version of Disney’s iconic creation. More to the point, I was completely taken with the stunning packaging and background information Fantagraphics and the books editor put together for this series. It’s new benchmark for reprint projects."
"Three volumes into this grand guginol series and it continues to surprise and delight, this time introducing a new character and suggesting via an end sequence that Ryan has been reading a lot of Fort Thunder comics."
"Incredibly inventive, Schrauwen, like Yokoyama, seems intent on pushing the comics medium into new and interesting directions. But where Yokoyama is concerned mainly with motion and exploration, Schrauwen is concerned mainly with perception and the interior world of the mind. This is great, mind-blowing work."
• List: Also on Robot 6's roundup of best-of lists from its writers, Tim O'Shea ranks Pogo Vol. 1 at #9: "Damn if this was not worth the wait... Volume 1 of the complete syndicated daily strips of Pogo would be enough to put this book on my list. But the fact that Fantagraphics has a foreword by Jimmy Breslin; an introduction by Steve Thompson; a piece on the Pogo Sunday Funnies by Mark Evanier; and Swamp Talk (R.H. Harvey annotations on the strips) is just icing on the cake."
• List: David McKean's Celluloid gets a "See Also" shout-out on Cyriaque Lamar's list of The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Comics of 2011 at io9: "A decidedly adult erotica graphic novel with no dialogue, this is the famed Sandman cover artist going at page after page of a sexy hallucination, whipped up by a magic porno movie projector. Dreamscapes with boners."
"After 'Browntown' in last year’s installment of New Stories, there was a worry that Jaime might have peaked — how on earth was he going to top that story? The achingly beautiful conclusion to 'The Love Bunglers' in this volume was the answer. Pulling together strands from Maggie’s entire 30-year history in two pages was nothing short of stunning, with his art as cooly confident as ever, making it a real emotional sucker punch. Gilbert’s work developing Fritz’s movie back-catalogue is a real mind-bender, too, weaving inter- and meta-textual strands together that lets his characters say so much, while saying so little. It is terrifying how talented these guys are."
"Forget Pogo and Carl Barks — we already knew they were classics — the real reprint revelation of 2011 was good ole' Mickey Mouse.... To read these strips is to rediscover a love for Mickey and marvel at Gottfredson's amazing grasp of storytelling and humour, as well as his flawless artwork. Naturally, with Fantagraphics overseeing the reprints, the design, packaging and presentation is gorgeous — a real worthy successor to their Peanuts series."
• Plug: "I’m a little mortified to admit that Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes is my first exposure to Carl Barks (after decades of being interested in finally seeing why he’s so revered as a comic creator), but it definitely won’t be my last. Fantagraphics’ first volume of Barks material is a great place to start; a mixture of epic quests, short stories, and gag strips that are all impressively funny and awesome." – Greg McElhatton, Robot 6
• List: On his Domino Books blog, Austin English explains why Joyce Farmer's Special Exits is his favorite comic of 2011: "Farmer's cartooning allows for her characters to act out their illness and struggles in front of the reader. Farmer's drawing of her aging father is something to behold — it's not Farmer saying 'here is what my sick father went through.' Instead we see a drawing age and wither in front of us, and speak to us with both intelligence and dementia. I’ve never seen anything in comics done with such skill — let alone see a graphic novel (often the territory of poorly conceived topical heart wrenchers) speak about tragedy with so much depth and clarity."
• List: Comics writer Vito Delsante declares Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 the Best Single Issue of 2011 on his Best of 2011 blog post: "The Hernandez Brothers, since New Stories 3, have really created the most important mythology in comics since Stan and Jack (and Steve).... Jaime Hernandez should win every single award in comics in 2012."
• List: We rank 4 entries on Renee Lott's Top 10 Comics of 2011 at her Blogwithfeet
• Review: "I've been digging the new Fantagraphics release Jason Conquers America which commemorates ten years of the venerable publisher's relationship with the Norewegian artist.... My favorite story in the collection revolves around a crow who naps in a bed in a field and wakes up obliviously in an entirely new life. (Telling any more would spoil the revelation.) In 23 short wordless panels, Jason creates a powerful and compelling commentary that proves how powerfully expressive comics can be." – Stray Riffs
• Review: "A new comic from the top humorist in comics is always welcome. This issue [of Tales Designed to Thrizzle] is the usual combination of dada and surprisingly tightly-wrapped narrative gags surrounding the sort of cultural detritus mined by Drew Friedman & Mark Newgarden.... 'Quincy, M.E.'... is one of Kupperman's best strips because he keeps adding new layers of plot to an already-ridiculous story.... I still miss the sheer density of detail in Kupperman's older work that made reading it almost exhausting, but the avalanche of ideas remains intact, as does his ability to elicit laughs." – Rob Clough, High-Low
• Review: "...Prison Pit... [is] a marriage of pro wrestling, manga, bromance and filth.... Johnny Ryan has an almost Kirbyesque level of character design, but with obviously more genitalia, and it can at times be a joy just to see what is going to come on the next page.... Johnny Ryan is a cartoonist at the top of his game right now and he may just be the closest thing the comic world has to marmite." – Taylor Pithers, The Weekly Crisis
• Interview:The Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon talks with Todd DePastino, biographer of Bill Mauldin and editor of our Willie & Joe books. Spurgeon says Willie & Joe: Back Home is "one of my three favorite comics-related books from 2011, and, I think, one of the year's best." From DePastino: "When I look at these cartoons, I think of literary critic Dominic LaCapra's claim that some books are good to think about and a very few are good to think with. Mauldin's postwar cartoons are good to think with. They not only provide a window to the times, like, say, good photographs or reporting might, but they also raise fundamental questions and issues that are with us still."
• Review: "These comics are beautiful. Each single-panel comic is blown up to a full page, so that Mauldin’s artistry can truly (and easily) be admired without squinting. The sentiments expressed are astonishing and bravely progressive for the time.... I’d never thought or heard about the poor reception combat vets received after WWII. (I mistakenly thought that only happened to our soldiers after the Vietnam War.) I wish I knew what they experienced. I’ll settle for giving [Willie & Joe: Back Home] to the next WWII vet I meet and hope that it sparks a conversation." – Gene Ambaum, The Unshelved Book Club
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