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Category >> Love and Rockets

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 5:52 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 2:22 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 2:57 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 3:52 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 1:14 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 9:35 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.

Daily OCD: 10/1/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Tom KaczynskireviewsOlivier SchrauwenNoah Van SciverMomeLove and RocketsKevin HuizengaJaime HernandezJacques TardiHans RickheitFletcher HanksEmile BravoDaniel Clowes 1 Oct 2009 4:02 PM

October, when kingdoms rise, and kingdoms fall, but Online Commentary & Diversions goes on and on:

• Review: "If the world of alt-comics feels appealing but intimidatingly vast (what doesn’t these days), MOME is the perfect place to start. ... The volume is thick, slick and printed in what looks like Technicolor. An anthology is only as good as the sensibilities of those who compile it, of course, so it’s worth noting that a subscription of MOME equals four issues per year of work culled from the depths by an outfit that not only has keen vision in such matters, but also a stake in finding the very best. What’s not to trust?" – Molly Young, We Love You So

• Review: "...[Locas II,] the latest collected chunk of the (mis)adventures of locas Maggie and Hopey (and the occasional 'loco,' like Ray, the consort of sexy Frogmouth -- does it seem like a good soap opera yet? -- and their sprawling, recurring cast of compelling, sometimes hard-to-figure supporting characters) all brought me squarely back to Los Angeles. In the 80s. ... But returning to L&R, even sporadically, isn't simply an exercise in nostalgia. ...[W]hat's ultimately compelling about the L&R saga is the way the characters change over the years. ... So it's not just a [madeleine] cookie from our past, but something still fairly warm from the oven." – Mark London Williams, The SF Site: Nexus Graphica

• Review: "There is such a relentlessly fervid, even crazed, sheen to all [Fletcher Hanks's] work, that you can't look away. ... Hanks seemed nearly demon-driven in these stories of constant fighting, killing, betrayal and revenge. The panels are often cramped, and the color schemes are nearly incandescent, and you're not sure whether to liken the rawness of it all -- elastic, rubber-boned physiognomies included -- to listening to a record by Fear, circa 1980, or watching a half-dressed man shouting on the corner." – Mark London Williams, The SF Site: Nexus Graphica (same link as above)

• Review: "Tardi's intricate, cartoony, and beautiful art perfectly expresses Forest's ideas and words. The humorous You Are There masterfully satirizes French society and politics unlike any comic before or since." – Rick Klaw, The SF Site: Nexus Graphica

• Plug: "It always amazes me how [Kevin] Huizenga can take everyday moments, like, in [Ganges #3], trying to get to sleep, and turn them into extravagant, elaborate displays of cartooning genius." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6

• Interview: At Comic Book Galaxy, Alan David Doane poses 5 questions to our favorite Associate Publisher, Eric Reynolds

• Profile: "Comics creator Hans Rickheit's new graphic novel, The Squirrel Machine, is a stylish and surreal tale of brothers dabbling in the forbidden unknown. ... He lives in Philadelphia, but his work pulls from the style and antiquity of 19th Century New England. 'The objects, places, and people from that time period in New England grabbed my imagination," Rickheit says. 'I find them visually more interesting than modern trappings, modern buildings. And they're more fun to draw, because they're just so ornate.'" – John Seven, Worcester Magazine

• Profile: Rodger Coleman, inspired by his Little Enid Coleslaw doll from Presspop, waxes appreciative of Dan Clowes, Eightball & Ghost World

On his blog, Tom Kaczynski takes note of the inclusion of his story "Million Year Boom" from Mome Vol. 11 in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2009 (along with Mome stories by Olivier Schrauwen and Émile Bravo — don't tell anyone, but they ain't American)

• Things to see: Noah Van Sciver pens a strip about his trip to SPX with John Porcellino for The Beat

Daily OCD: 9/25/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Steven WeissmanreviewsR Kikuo Johnsonmaurice fucking sendakLove and RocketsLos Bros Hernandez 25 Sep 2009 2:33 PM

First Online Commentary & Diversions post from my shiny new computer:

• Profile: "Published in 1982, the [Hernandez] brothers’ Love and Rockets #1 is considered to mark a creative resurgence in comics, and for good reason. From the beginning the Bros. produced work that was subversive and masterfully crafted, combining the punk ethos with their own crisp intelligence." – Molly Young, We Love You So (the official blog of the Where the Wild Things Are movie — !!!)

• Review: "...Jaime [Hernandez]... confirm[s] my beliefs in the heights of his cartooning powers as he delivers the finale to a raucous, yet still quite moving, tale of female superheroes [in Love and Rockets: New Stories #2].... I'd follow him to the gates of hell at this point. With the brothers still working at such a high level of quality after over 25 years, anything they do is worthy of attention and analysis. I don't think I'll ever tire of experiencing their work." – Matthew J. Brady

• Interview: At Marvel.com, Sean T. Collins's series of interviews with Strange Tales contributors continues with R. Kikuo Johnson: "And I also felt like out of the entire Marvel U., Alicia Masters as a young artist, living and struggling after college, was the character I could put the most autobio into. I think the fact that she's a blind artist is hilarious. She's just a hilarious character."

• Things to see: At his blog, Steven Weissman says a fond farewell to Nick Magazine

• Things to see: Photos of the gala all-star Simpsons' Treehouse of Horror signing and exhibit at Family in L.A.

• Things to see: How about a great big batch of Hernandez Bros. rarities? (Via multiple sources)

Daily OCD: 9/23/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under reviewsPrince ValiantLove and RocketsLos Bros HernandezHal FosterGahan WilsonDame Darcy 23 Sep 2009 3:42 PM

Online Commentary & Diversions, short but sweet:

• Plug: "Fantagraphics Books is now reissuing the first two years of Prince Valiant in the rich original colors — the pages are reproduced from Foster’s own engraver’s proofs. Every panel packs a one-two punch. A witch named Horrit once prophesied that Val would 'never know contentment,' but fans of the strip will find it here." – Cullen Murphy, Vanity Fair

• Review: "There hasn't been a bad time to be a fan of Los Bros Hernandez since they started making comics almost 30 years ago, but it's sure a good time to be a fan now.... [I]t's clear that the brothers are both still full of stories, and here [in Love and Rockets: New Stories] they take advantage of the new format to try out a number of new ideas, with a high rate of success. Looking forward to 2010." – Christopher Allen, Comic Book Galaxy

• Profile: At Graphic NYC, Christopher Irving enjoys a nice long chat with Gahan Wilson: "Circus freaks were also a big influence. My father used to take me to the circus, and though I loved circuses, what I really wanted to see was the sideshow. I dug the sideshow."

• Events/things to buy: Find out what's new with Dame Darcy — includes teacups and a lecture at Pacific Northwest College of Art

Xaime for Stüssy
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Love and RocketsJaime Hernandezfashion 23 Sep 2009 12:59 PM

Jaime Hernandez Stüssy t-shirt

One of our most-requested items is Love and Rockets t-shirts... we continue to disappoint on that front, but Stüssy fills in the gap with some Jaime Hernandez t-shirts in their new Fall line — plus they've got a spiffy video interview with Jaime up right now (sorry no direct permalink — their site is totally Flash-ified). Hat tip to Martin Wong of Giant Robot, who adds that "Locas [is] a must for the library of anyone who likes indie comics, punk rock, or well-told fiction."