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Category >> Love and Rockets

Daily OCD: 10/27/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under reviewsMegan KelsoLove and RocketsJohnny RyanJaime HernandezEllen Forney 27 Oct 2009 12:06 PM

Here you go, today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

• Review: "Locas II, by Jaime Hernandez, combines lush artwork with vivid, heart-in-mouth storytelling. ...[I]f you haven’t encountered its two heroines before, you might find yourself a little lost in the ongoing magic realist soap opera that is Hernandez’s stock-in-trade. It would be a bit like dropping in on Coronation Street for the first time — albeit a Corrie soundtracked by The Germs and Big Black. ... [But] even if you find yourself lost somewhere in the middle of Locas II, the lostness makes a kind of sense. The lives Hernandez chronicles are a little lost. ... Best of all, there's the creamy out-and-out gorgeousness of Hernandez's cartooning, with its echoes of Peanuts, the old Archie comics and 'good girl' art (never, outwith [Russ] Meyer's movies, have so many worn so little so often). Can you fancy a drawing? Look at the portrait of Frogmouth on page 405 and tell me it's not possible." – Teddy Jamieson, The Herald

• Review: "The Good: Prison Pit reminded me a lot of Gwar, professional wrestling and the comic strips my friends and I used to draw in junior high. ... It was gross as hell and filled with blood and gore and just straight-up repulsive juvenile humor. It was a lot of fun. The Bad: It’s probably too awesome for a lot of people to handle. ... The Bottom Line: Dude, it’s great. Just shut up and buy it. ...I’m giving Prison Pit an A and as soon as I’m done writing this review, I’m going to sit down and re-read it." – Chad Derdowski, Mania

• Events: At comiXology, Kristy Valenti (moonlighting from her Assistant Editor position at The Comics Journal) recaps the graphic novels panel with Ellen Forney, Megan Kelso, Gary Groth & Top Shelf's Leigh Walton at last weekend's Seattle Bookfest

Hernandezes & Rosenkranz at Wonder Woman Day
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Patrick RosenkranzLove and RocketsLos Bros HernandezJaime HernandezGilbert Hernandezevents 26 Oct 2009 10:36 AM

Rebel Visions author Patrick Rosenkranz sent us some photos of the sights (including the Hernandez Bros.) at the Wonder Woman Day charity event at Excalibur Books & Comics in Portland, OR yesterday to share with you. Below: The Bros., their artwork for the charity auction, and Rosenkranz & friend. More of Patrick's photos are in our Flickr set, including the cutest little Supergirl you ever did see.

Gilbert & Jaime Hernandez at Wonder Woman Day, Excalibur Books & Comics, Portland OR, Oct. 25, 2009

Gilbert Hernandez artwork at Wonder Woman Day, Excalibur Books & Comics, Portland OR, Oct. 25, 2009

Jaime Hernandez artwork at Wonder Woman Day, Excalibur Books & Comics, Portland OR, Oct. 25, 2009

Patrick Rosenkranz at Wonder Woman Day, Excalibur Books & Comics, Portland OR, Oct. 25, 2009

Daily OCD: 10/23/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under reviewsLove and RocketsJacques Tardifan artEleanor DavisCarol Swain 23 Oct 2009 3:50 PM

Some Online Commentary & Diversions to wrap up your week:

• Review: "Artist Carol Swain brings a sober British reserve to her husband Bruce Paley's tales of hippie and punk excess for a nostalgic feel with the winning Giraffes In My Hair: A Rock ‘n' Roll Life. ...[F]rom the late ‘60s through the early ‘80s, his peripatetic adventures with drugs, women, and punker Johnny Thunders make for a series of fun, roguish vignettes. ... Swain uses pencil to understated effect, and works up a lyrical, nostalgic vibe. Her simple scenes arrange a loose chronological narrative into a warm experience conveyed as in a film or a song—at its best, Giraffes plays like Dylan's 'Tangled Up in Blue,' if you will. ... Highly recommended." – Byron Kerman, PLAYBACK:stl

• Review: "West Coast Blues is just the right mixture of action, suspense, and surprise to keep just about any reader’s attention. ... It’s hard to ignore the strength of Tardi’s art in making West Coast Blues such a strong graphic novel. ... West Coast Blues is a sharp, beautiful book. ... For people looking for a noir thriller, you’ve come to the right place." – Greg McElhatton, Read About Comics

• Things to see: At the Covered blog, a version of Love and Rockets #23 by the artist KG

• Things to see: Oh, these fairy tale illustrations for The Guardian by Eleanor Davis are just lovely

Daily OCD: 10/21/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under reviewsPeanutsLove and RocketsJean SchulzGilbert Hernandezcomics industryCharles M SchulzBill MauldinBarry Windsor-Smith 21 Oct 2009 2:02 PM

Your midweek Online Commentary & Diversions:

• Review: "It’s probably not fair to expect Hernandez to issue another creative virtuoso like Palomar, but in the pages of Luba, he comes closer than might be expected. ... Although Luba doesn’t hit as hard as Palomar, it remains a compelling portrait of family in all its messy glory.  Alternately sexy and vulgar, beautiful and mean, optimistic and intolerant, Luba and her family encompass all the ugliness and amazement that comes with being part of the human entity." – Michael C. Lorah, Newsarama

• Profile: "Cartoonist Bill Mauldin was a genius at bringing the experiences of World War II home to the moms and dads, kids, wives or girlfriends of the GIs on the front lines in a very human way. ... To my knowledge, none of our wars since has produced a chronicler anywhere near the greatness of Mauldin." – Wesley G. Hughes, San Bernadino County Sun (via Newsarama)

• Video: A massive Peanuts ice sculpture depicting A Charlie Brown Christmas is being constructed in Nashville; The Daily Cartoonist has the PR and a promo video featuring members of the Schulz family

• Industry: Our own Eric Reynolds takes part in a roundtable on the topic of "Comics in the Age of Digital Piracy" at Graphic Novel Reporter

• Editorial: At his website, Barry Windsor-Smith writes eloquently in support of health care reform in the United States

Daily OCD: 10/20/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Zak SallyWillie and JoeTim LaneSteven WeissmanSteve DitkoStan SakaiRobert CrumbRichard SalareviewsPopeyePaul HornschemeierMonte SchulzMomeMichael KuppermanLove and RocketsLos Bros HernandezLilli CarréKim DeitchKevin HuizengaJohnny Ryanjohn kerschbaumJaime HernandezIgnatz SeriesGary GrothGabrielle BellGabriella GiandelliFemke HiemstraFantagraphics historyDash ShawBill MauldinAnders NilsenAbstract Comics 20 Oct 2009 4:52 PM

Online Commentary & Diversions is back! This is a catch-up post so it's a honker:

• Best-of List: Sandy Bilus of I Love Rob Liefeld belatedly compiles the critics' 2008 end of year best-of lists and semi-scientifically determines that Dash Shaw's Bottomless Belly Button was the #1 comic of 2008, with Ganges #2 by Kevin Huizenga at #6. Also on the Top 100 list, in descending order: Love and Rockets: New Stories #1, The Education of Hopey Glass by Jaime Hernandez, The Lagoon by Lilli Carré, Willie & Joe: The WWII Years by Bill Mauldin, the year's issues of Mome, Sammy the Mouse #2 by Zak Sally, Abandoned Cars by Tim Lane, Popeye Vol. 3 by E.C. Segar, Interiorae #3 by Gabriella Giandelli, Petey & Pussy by John Kerschbaum, Angry Youth Comix #14 by Johnny Ryan, and Deitch's Pictorama by the Deitch brothers. (We also compiled the lists into our own handy shopping guide of 2008 Critics' Picks.)

• Review: "It's a surprisingly rare thing to find the great comic artist who can not only draw with poetry and beauty, but write like a demon as well. In this lavish scrapbook of uncollected ads, posters, covers, ephemera and one-offs [All and Sundry], [Paul] Hornschemeier's skills are nearly as verbal as they are visual, his art encompassing many different styles, from richly layered classical surrealism to densely structured and primary color-heavy McSweeney's-style illustrations. But taken together, the work exhibits an instantly recognizable and distinctive panache. The depth of his art truly comes to life in the melancholic squibs of text and short fictions studding this collection. For all his talents, Hornschemeier is a working artist who clearly takes on all kinds of assignments, from bookstore ads and bookmarks to a quirky little piece on Anderson Cooper commissioned by CNN. Perhaps the intrusion of the journeyman keeps an exquisite volume like this so rewarding and yet grounded." – Publishers Weekly (starred review)

• Review: "What I liked [in Abstract Comics], I liked for more than just the strips themselves--I liked them for the proof they offer that comics really is still a Wild West medium in which one's bliss can be followed even beyond the boundaries of what many or even most readers would care to define as 'comics.' That an entire deluxe hardcover collection of such comics now exists is, I think, one of the great triumphs for the medium in a decade full to bursting with them." – Sean T. Collins

• Review: "Hallelujah... for Michael Kupperman! He returns with his second collection, Tales Designed to Thrizzle Vol. 1, which brings under one cover the first four issues of the same-named comic. And comic it sure as hell is. I'm not entirely certain when I've read anything that made me laugh out loud as often as this volume, with the possible exception of Kupperman's debut Snake 'n' Bacon's Cartoon Caberet. Women who've given birth to multiple children and older readers are advised to secure some kind of adult diaper." – Late Reviews and Latest Obsessions

• Review: "The only problem with Love and Rockets: New Stories is that it's an annual. Volume 2 was, well, fabulous. ... Both Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez are in full form in this volume. Lucky us." – Ace Bauer

• Review: "Willie & Joe is an extraordinarily compiled and presented tribute to Bill Mauldin, the two-time Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist who chronicled life in the U.S. Army from 1940 to 1945. The set is bound in army green canvas and typeset in the font of an old manual typewriter, the kind an army clerk might have used during the Second World War. The collection is a sensory delight, pleasing to touch and beautiful to see. ... There are many scholarly works written on the topic of World War II, and those books can teach us a lot about the war, but anyone who wants to feel what American soldiers felt during the Second World War should seek out Willie & Joe. ... For the winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, for the man who was once America’s most celebrated enlisted man, Willie & Joe is a fitting, and wonderful, tribute." – David Mitchell, BiblioBuffet

• Review: "[Prison Pit Book 1 by Johnny Ryan is an] over-the-top, ultra-violent, gross-out,  juvenile, yet fun and hilarious book... The dialogue that does exist retains his comic sense of disjunction and fights are as demented as you’d expect. This is not a jokey book, but his humor is retained in subtle ways—if you can envision subtle Johnny Ryan humor. ... This is just a balls-out, funny, sicko, good time. My only complaint with Prison Pit is how quickly the story ends, but hopefully the subtitle (Book One) is a promise and not a joke." – Lincoln Michel, The Faster Times [Ed. note: Book Two is in progress and due next year.]

• Review: "Longtime [Richard] Sala readers will recognize some familiar tropes right away [in Delphine]: strange surroundings, shady characters who seem to hold malevolent secrets. And Sala's art is familiar as well, but taken to a new level — lovely watercolors on the covers and moody washes on the gray interiors. The creamy paper that's typical of the Ignatz releases lends additional otherworldly, othertimely atmosphere to the story. And the logo itself is so good it deserved to be used for a long-running series. But it's the story that departs from Sala's work in some major ways... so resonant and unsettling that... it has to rank as one of Sala's major works." – Christopher Allen, Comic Book Galaxy

• Plug: "Reading [The Complete Peanuts 1971-72 and 1973-74] in one fell swoop, I've kind of come to the conclusion that this period is really the apex of Schulz's career. ...he was never as consistently hilarious or as poignant as he was in the early to mid-70s. If you're only buying two volumes of this series, it should be these two." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6

• Plug: "This just in! Steve Ditko book to be awesome: Seriously, just look at this thing. Wow." – J. Caleb Mozzocco, Newsarama

• Plug: Wunderkammer, the blog of Portuguese shop Ghoulgear, recommends Rock Candy: The Artwork of Femke Hiemstra as a "beautiful book" of "stunning works"

• Profile: Dan Taylor of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat catches up with Monte Schulz on his book tour for This Side of Jordan: "'It’s weird doing this,' Schulz said by phone from Nevada City during a break between book shop dates. 'It makes me nervous, at every single stop. I just realized I’m not a very public person.'"

• Interview: At Marvel.com, Sean T. Collins' series of chats with Strange Tales contributors continues with Stan Sakai talking about the creation of Samurai Hulk: "Actually, I tried to make it as much of a parallel to the modern Hulk as possible. Such as his name-he is referred to as Sashimonowhich means 'banner.' It's a samurai banner. And obviously there's no gamma rays, so he's cursed into turning into the Hulk by a witch called Gama, which is Japanese for 'toad' — she kinda looks like a toad." Oh man I can't wait for that.

• History: Steve Duin at The Oregonian digs up a nugget: Gary Groth on the 50th anniversary of Superman in Amazing Heroes, 1988: "My only interest in Superman, marginal at that, stems from his continuing presence as a symbol of banality and infantilism in the history of the American comic book." And it goes on!

• Events: Gabrielle Bell, Kim Deitch, Hope Larson and Anders Nilsen will be on a comics panel discussion at the University of Richmond next Sunday, Oct. 25 — here's the Facebook invitation

• Things to see: Leon Beyond on mnemonics, by Kevin Huizenga

• Things to see: Michael Kupperman's The Mannister, come to life!

• Things to see: Paul Hornschemeier's illustrations for James Kennedy's in-progress novel The Magnificent Moots (via Paul's blog)

• Things to buy: Commission yourself a cute portrait by Steven Weissman

• Oddity/thing to buy: The R. Crumb snowboarding jacket, as revealed by Robot 6

• Random quote of the day: "Guido Crepax: popular enough to have an entire half-shelf in the Fantagraphics library, circa mid-1990s; not popular enough to have his books stolen by the interns." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter

Daily OCD: 10/8/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Robert CrumbLove and RocketsLos Bros Hernandez 8 Oct 2009 1:22 PM

This is the shortest Online Commentary & Diversions update in recent memory, and it's 100% old school:

• Interview: Harry Lee Green at Hairy Green Eyeball reproduces a vintage 1973 interview with Robert Crumb from Inside Comics #1

• Plug: A bit more Love and Rockets nostalgia from Mike Sterling — I love those panels too (who wouldn't?)

Daily OCD: 10/7/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Robert PollardreviewsOriginal ArtLove and RocketsLos Bros HernandezFemke HiemstraErnie BushmilleraudioAl ColumbiaAbstract Comics 7 Oct 2009 1:57 PM

Online Commentary & Diversions? Yes:

• Review: "An abstract comic? What the hell is that? And more importantly, what’s the point of a comic if it doesn’t tell a story? These are the questions a book like Abstract Comics raises right off the bat. Thankfully, it also answers them. The anthology, edited by Andrei Molotiu, covers the time period of 1967-2009 and is in all respects a Serious (capital S) volume. ... Worth a look, for sure, and maybe more." – Molly Young, We Love You So

• Plug: Ulrich Scheele of artblog peeks at the "charming" and "wonderful" Rock Candy: The Artwork of Femke Hiemstra

• Plug: "When it comes to creepy comics, Al Columbia isn't only a member — he's the president. And in Fantagraphics' Zero Zero #4, Columbia produced a short story called 'I Was Killing When Killing Wasn't Cool' that is so startling and nightmarish in its quiet elegance that it'll stick with you forever." – Rickey Purdin, Rowdy Schoolyard

• Plug: Some Love and Rockets nostalgia from California retailer/comics blogger Mike Sterling

• Commentary: At Comics Comics, Jeet Heer declares "It’s a good time to be a Nancy-boy."

• Interview: The Inkstuds radio program talks to Abstract Comics editor Andrei Molotiu, with musical selections by Andrei

• Things to see and buy: From the Robert Pollard camp, "New collages and price reductions on Bob art work for Rocktober. All collages from EAT 7 are avaliable." Available framed and unframed.

Daily OCD: 10/5/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Tim HensleyrockRobert PollardRobert GoodinreviewsPrince ValiantPeanutsLove and RocketsKevin HuizengaJim FloraJaime HernandezJacques TardiHal FosterFrom Wonderland with LoveEllen ForneyDash ShawCharles M Schulzart 5 Oct 2009 2:52 PM

Lots of Online Commentary & Diversions today:

• Review: "The graphic novel, it turns out, is a form especially well-suited to the noir genre. Maybe this isn’t surprising — comics have always run the gamut of moods from goofy to autobiographical to just plain smutty. But it still gives a shiver of pleasure to stumble upon a graphic novel that captures the hardboiled tone of classic noir as perfectly as West Coast Blues, Jacques Tardi’s adaptation of a 1976 crime novel by Jean-Patrick Manchette. ... The plot includes bursts of bruality, dark realizations, alluring women and grizzled observations from its antihero — all the best conventions of noir, in other words, preserved and reborn in a fresh new medium. File it next to Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler." – Molly Young, We Love You So

• Review: "...[West Coast Blues is] a well-crafted piece of genre entertainment. I dug it." – Sandy Bilus, I Love Rob Liefeld

• Review: "I had a significant crush on The Death Of Speedy Ortiz the summer I was 20 years old, reading and re-reading the serialized story with a passion I had never brought to a single comic story before then. ... I thought it was wonderful that summer I read it 10,000 times, and I remain convinced it's a special story every time I've picked it up since." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter

• Review: "One of the many, many things I like about Kevin Huizenga's work is that a lot of his comics are about things that are not likely candidates for visual representation, and he manages to make them fascinating to look at anyway. Most of [Ganges #3] is about the process of perceiving one's own consciousness--the sort of hyperconsciousness of your own mind that happens when you're trying to get to sleep and can't--which is potentially the least interesting thing anybody could draw. And it looks fantastic..." – Douglas Wolk, The Savage Critics

• Review: "[Prince Valiant Vol. 1: 1937-1938] is gorgeous. ... [Hal] Foster is frequently cited as an influence on other great cartoonists, and part of it is his precise line and the way he builds a convincing world from authentic architecture, clothing and armaments. That's part of the appeal, but Foster also excels at staging. ... Unlike daily strip collections, the full, weekly Prince Valiant page ends up a brisk, headlong read... Prince Valiant is something I picked up expecting to admire. I had no idea I would love it. – Christopher Allen, Comic Book Galaxy

• Review: "Although far from all the artists represented in the new anthology From Wonderland with Love are so experimental with form and content that you must ask yourself if this can really still be termed comics, it is truly the cream of the crop who are assembled here. This collection offers a great perspective on how broad and versatile the talent pool is in Denmark." – Torben Rølmer Bille, Kulturkapellet (translated from Danish)

• Review: "Charles M. Schulz is my favorite cartoonist, so I was excited to see that the 12th volume in the [Complete Peanuts] series has an introduction by the legendary Billie Jean King... This is a important series of books which I give an ‘A Plus’ and I think it would be the ultimate part of a Peanuts fan’s collection!" – The Catgirl Critics' Media Mewsings

• Interview: At Largehearted Boy, author Jami Attenberg talks to Ellen Forney, saying "This mixture of openness and strength makes her work... extremely powerful and relatable, and probably very necessary for your bookshelf." From Ellen: "Sometimes I have to reflect and remind myself that I do have many more skills and more experience in my repertoire at this point, and to appreciate that the challenges don't freak me out so much. Still, some challenges are exhilarating and some are a pain in the ass."

• Commentary: At Comics Comics, Dash Shaw comments on and posts a transcript of a panel he was on at TCAF earlier this year

• Things to see: Coffee shop sketchbookery by Robert Goodin

• Things to see and buy: Puzzle paintings by Tim Hensley for sale via Buenaventura. I got one of an earlier edition from Tim at Comic-Con for a steal and it is a glorious thing

• Things to see and buy: The 2010 Jim Flora calendars are in

• Tunes: At Stereogum, "How Wrong You Are," the new song and video from Robert Pollard's Boston Spaceships

Daily OCD: 10/2/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Tim LanePeanutsMomeLove and RocketsKevin HuizengaJaime Hernandez 2 Oct 2009 12:14 PM

Friday Online Commentary & Diversions fun:

• Quote of the week: "Right at the outset of the show, the con's lasting image was burned in my brain: Kim Thompson and Gary Groth carrying a wooden palette piled high with empty boxes to the exit door by our table. They weren't fucking around. No interns, no 'assistants.' Now that's what I call, 'Keeping it Real'." – from Frank Santoro's SPX report at Comics Comics

• Review: "I've gone on record several times here saying how much I love [Jaime Hernandez's] Ti-Girls saga [in Love and Rockets: New Stories] and how it seems to 'get' the superhero genre in ways that the Big Two just don't seem to anymore. All that holds true here [in issue #2] and more, with a wonderful, fitting ending for our heroines. I wonder what he'll do for an encore." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6

• Review: "...[M]oreso than any continuing comic I can think of, Ganges places maximum emphasis on how events don't matter so much in a life as how they're processed, by means ranging from simple moment-to-moment experience to fleeting reflections on whole segments of a guy's youth gone by. ... Literalization of funnybook iconography powers the book's wit -- I mean, word balloons that literally float, ok? -- but it's how Huizenga builds on these ideas that matters, stacking images of thought streams and leaping licks of heartburn and disembodied heads with eyes closed to convey the enormity of a night passing, of conscious thought retreating, like a terrible shift in life itself. ... Totally assured work, supremely technical so as to address the personal. Kevin Huizenga is this reading generation's Chris Ware, and his work cannot be ignored." – Joe McCulloch, Jog - The Blog

• Plug: "...[Mome Vol. 16] verily brims with Renée French, Archer Prewitt, T. Edward Bak, Dash Shaw and new Fuzz & Pluck from Ted Stearn. And it includes two exclusive Cold Heat stories..." – Joe McCulloch, Jog - The Blog (same link as above)

• Things to see: Tim Lane continues to pay bills and give thrills, this time with his poster for the St. Louis International Film Festival

• Math: Their heart's in the right place, but the Lehigh Valley Express-Times jumps the gun by a year on the 60th anniversary of Peanuts

• Separated at birth: Eric Reynolds and Cannonball?

What you're missing
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Robert CrumbLove and RocketsJR WilliamsGilbert HernandezFantagraphics history 2 Oct 2009 8:35 AM

Williams, Crumb, Hernandez, Dougan

Carol Hernandez is at it again, posting some amazing historical photos on the Love and Rockets/Hernandez Bros. Facebook page, including the above snapshot of J.R. Williams, Robert Crumb, Gilbert Hernandez, and Michael Dougan leaving their marks on the then-new (1989) Fantagraphics delivery van. Also making guest appearances: Hank Ketcham, Dave Stevens, Paul Westerberg, Glenn Danzig, Vampira and many more. If you're not a Facebook fan of L&R, you are MISSING OUT.