• Interview: The L.A. Times Hero Complex blog's Noelene Clark talks to Jim Woodring about his L.A. Times Book Prize-nominated Weathercraft: "Art is always so reductive, and what I have going on in my comics is so simple and relatively easy to understand compared to real life, which is infinitely complex. So it might relate to real life in the same way that a chessboard would relate to a chessboard with an infinite number of squares on it. It’s sort of similar in some ways, but it’s much, much, much, much, much simpler and reductive and easier to understand."
• Review: "The strips themselves are great. In fact, it’s a crime these aren’t more well known. These daily strips are part of why Mickey Mouse became a popular character and world famous icon. The serialized adventures are exciting and fun, establishing a real personality for Mickey beyond what was possible in the animated shorts. The book has lovingly restored these strips from the original negatives and proof sheets – each one crystal clear and absolutely beautiful. If that were all there was to this book, I’d recommend it highly. But that’s not all. Co-Editor David Gerstein has... loaded this book with over 60 pages of supplementary articles and features that are a MUST for all Disney history buffs. [...] I cannot praise this volume highly enough." – Jerry Beck, Cartoon Brew
• Review: "I had high expectations for Castle Waiting, given that the first volume was outstanding, and I wasn’t disappointed. I found Volume 2 so strong, in fact, that it was my best graphic novel of 2010. [...] I normally am not a big fan of fantasy, but here, the characters are so strong in personality, so interesting and likable, that I want to spend more time with them. [...] The true strength of Castle Waiting, though, is Medley’s gorgeous art. The characters are perfect, distinctive and expressive, and the storytelling so strong you don’t even notice it. Instead, you’re visiting with this self-created family for a while — and it’s never long enough. When I close the cover, it’s always a melancholy action, because I want more time with these people, more adventures, more humor and good-heartedness." – Johanna Draper Carlson, Comics Worth Reading
• Review: "Mome 21 bats a good average, with many stories hitting their mark and a few clearing the fences. [...] Mome plays a unique role in the world of North American alternative comics. It’s one of the only long-form, regularly published comics anthologies out there, providing a vision of novelty and variety for the future of literary comics. When the series concludes later this year, a chapter in comics history will have closed." – Ao Meng, The Daily Texan
Andrew Sullivan's always-entertaining mostly-political blog The Daily Dish has showcased an ongoing "Bugs or Mickey Debate," attempting to tease out why it is that Bugs Bunny, arguably a more interesting character, is so much less popular than the iconic Mickey Mouse (latest installment here). If the debate is still ongoing next month, I wonder if our release of the first volume of Floyd Gottfredson's Mickey Mouse strips, which feature a far feistier and more adventuresome Mickey than the wide public is used to, will re-orient the debate. (Even those who don't buy the book will get a glimpse of this Mickey in our Free Comic Book Day release, which also spotlights Mickey.) Of course, the debaters so far seem also to be ignorant of the (more widely available) earliest Mickey animated cartoons, in which Mickey was also far more of an anarchic spirit.
We're thrilled to present the Fantagraphics guide to the 2011 MoCCA Fest, happening this weekend Saturday, April 9th and Sunday, April 10th at the Lexington Avenue Armory in New York City! Print this out and use it as your shopping checklist and your weekend schedule!
First off, take a look at all the amazing new releases that we will be debuting at the show! Many of these books won't be in stores for several more months, and copies are limited, so make our table your first stop, or risk missing out!
Secondly, check out our jam-packed schedule of awesome authors who will be signing at the Fantagraphics table over the weekend. Not only will they be signing our books, but several of them will be bringing previews of works-in-progress!
another update: Tim Kreider will be joining us on Saturday afternoon at 2:30 pm before his panel at 4:30 pm!
All this and more awaits you at the Fantagraphics booth, located at #J1, J2, K1, K2.
And finally, get a gander at all these great panels! If you haven't already heard from The Daily Cross Hatch, they've added a second room this year, and they'll be doing more one-on-one conversations like the ones with Gahan Wilson and Peter Bagge listed below! You won't want to miss it!
Saturday, April 9th
11:30 am // Teaching Comics:Jessica Abel joins fellow panelists Bill Kartalopoulos and Tom Hart in a discussion from reading for content/visuals, to teaching how to “read” their visual rhetoric, to thinking about how to tell a story visually, what makes comics worth teaching? (Room A)
1:30 pm // Building a Book, From Start to Finish: Mark Newgarden moderates a panel with Stephen DeStefano (as well as Ben Katchor and Lauren Redniss), with an exploration of the blood, sweat, and tears that go into making a book. (Room A)
1:30 pm // Gahan Wilson: Playboy and Beyond: We explore the long, storied career of satirist Gahan Wilson. (Room B)
2:30 pm // Volunteer of the Year: Peter Kuper will present Al Jaffee with the Klein Award! (Room A)
2:30 pm // Dash Shaw and Brecht Evens in Conversation: Dash Shaw and Brecht Evens are among the most prodigious and prolific young artists working in comics today. Both began publishing ambitious work while still in school, and both have since gained notice for their lush, inventive, and thoughtful comics. (Room B)
4:30 pm // The State of Editorial Cartooning: Brian Heater presents a panel with Tim Kreider (along with Ruben Bolling and Ted Rall) on the trials and tribulations of creating political cartoons in 2011. (Room A)
5:30 pm // MoCCA Presents the Cross Hatch Carousel: Cartoonists and voice actors perform live comics readings, featuring our own Michael Kupperman and Ted Stearn, as well as Jeffrey Lewis, R. Sikoryak, Kate Beaton, Lisa Hanawalt, Julie Klausner, and more. (Room A)
Sunday, April 10th
12:30 pm // Almost True: Calvin Reid leads a discussion on where autobiography and fiction collide with Gabrielle Bell and Leslie Stein (and Joe Ollmann and Pascal Girard). (Room A)
1:30 pm // Peter Bagge: A History of Hate: Brian Heater spotlights Peter Bagge, in a one-on-one conversation with one of alternative comics’ most influential and enduring voices. (Room B)
1:30 pm // The Enterprising Will Eisner: Charles Brownstein leads a panel with Jules Feiffer, as well as Denis Kitchen and Paul Levitz. Come learn about who Will Eisner was as an entrepreneuring artist in a time when New York was the center of the commercial art universe, and how his art was shaped by that environment. (Room A)
3:30 pm // Ink Panthers Live: The popular podcast live, with special guests, like John Kerschbaum. (Room B)
We just got the go-ahead to share this image with you — a 3D rendering of Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1: Race to Death Valley by Floyd Gottfredson, created by our art department to give you a sense of the book as an object in space (and your first look at what the spine looks like). Cooooool. Click the image for a bigger version.
• Plug: "It really is amazing that there are generations growing up, only knowing the Disney characters from the theme parks. Thankfully, Fantagraphics is doing something about it, restoring and publishing a complete archive of the Mickey Mouse comic strip by cartooning legend Floyd Gottfredson." – Stefan Blitz, Forces of Geek
• Plug: "Fantagraphics' collection of Floyd Gottfredson's complete run on the Mickey Mouse comic strip of the 30s and 40s is one of the most exciting things on upcoming comics collection list (although I'm most excited about the same publisher's announced reprinting of Carl Barks' complete run of Donald Duck/Uncle Scrooge comics)." – Pop Culture Safari
• Plug: "I've been looking forward to Wilfred Santiago's Roberto Clemente biography 21 for what seems like years now, maybe because it's actually been a couple of years. But you wait for the good ones." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
• Review: "This book kills. It’s well worth the price of admission just to gawk at the artwork, which, had I not read the back cover, I would have guessed was the work of a master cartoonist who had honed his craft for decades. [...] Drew Weing does to Set to Sea what Quentin Tarantino did with Pulp Fiction. He (Tarantino) took the done-to-death stories of the fighter who decides not to throw the fight, the mob hit gone bad, and the goon messing with the mob boss’s wife — all fairly clichéd bits — and takes up the challenge of smashing together a brutally entertaining piece of work. That is exactly what Set to Sea is — but without all the gangsters and boxers and dancing." – Chris Reilly, The Panelists
• Review: "It’s like Let the Right One In — the horror of the supernatural is set against a dull and mundane urban background, without the lights and glamour of an American city, just miles of concrete, drainpipes and bannisters. Many of the stories [in Pocket Full of Rain ] share Steig Larsson’s sense of Scandinavian unease, and reek of Doc Martens, subtitled pop culture and Automatic for the People-era R.E.M. The title story was first published in 1995, and feels like Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron by Dan Clowes." – Grant Buist, The Name of This Cartoon Is Brunswick
• Review: "I’m in love. With the town of Palomar. How could you not? You’d have to have a heart of stone not to fall in love with Hernandez’s creations. The characters [in Heartbreak Soup] are so warm, and lifelike, that even the ones that are supposed to be annoying (like Tonantzin and Toco) are just so loveable, you can’t help but sigh and say, 'Oh you!' under your breath, even though you don’t even really know the character too well yet!" – Lisa Pollifroni, lisaloves2read
Ta-da! It's your first look at art director Jacob Covey's beautiful final cover design for Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1: Race to Death Valley by Floyd Gottfredson! (Click the image for a bigger version.) The book went to the printers last week and is scheduled to be available in early June. And that's not the only exciting Mickey update we have for you!
On Monday we sent out digital copies of our promotional BLAD ("Book Layout And Design") brochure for the book to members of the press; today, we are pleased to offer it to everyone as a 3MB PDF download! Inside you'll find tons of information about the book including samples of the strip and preliminary versions of some of the bonus features. (Note that details regarding the book may have changed since we first put the BLAD together — you'll notice that the cover image it shows is an earlier, unfinished version, for instance.)
Yesterday at Comic Book Resources, Shaun Manning talked to series co-editor Gary Groth. A small sample: "Most of Gottfredson's Mickey Mouse strips have not been reprinted, and the few collections that do exist are out of print. Asked how these early strips came to be neglected, Groth said, 'The easy and honest answer is, I don't know. Why did it take 'til 2004 before Peanuts was properly reprinted? Mickey Mouse strips have been reprinted or excerpted desultorily in other, larger books over the eras, but never systematically. Sometimes the determining factor to these things is a weird confluence of circumstances, and with Mickey, now is the time.'"
On CBR's Robot 6 blog, Sean T. Collins commented further: "...I’m sure Groth wouldn’t mind if I said that the real star attraction for the piece are the actual Gottfredson strips used to illustrate it. Simply put, my jaw literally dropped once I opened up these action-packed images, so impressed was I by their power and grace. And since most of Gottfredson’s work has been reprinted rarely, if that, chances are you’ll be bowled over too."
• Review: "Like WWI itself, it's difficult to summarize It Was the War of the Trenches — each moment and story is precise and poignant and devastating, and they add up to far more than the sum of their parts, but they add up as a mosaic does, with each shard forming a point of color that only makes sense from a distant perspective. [...] Tardi is one of the giants of world comics, and this is one of his strongest works, a rare combination of ability, ambition, and subject. ...It Was the War of the Trenches is immediate and moving and deeply involving from page to page, showing once again the power that comics has to both illuminate dark corners of the world and to turn them into a compelling narrative accessible to nearly everyone." – Andrew Wheeler, The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.
• Feature: At The SF Site: Nexus Graphica, Rick Klaw dubs Jacques Tardi "the Martin Scorsese of European comics" and runs down his reactions to all of our recent English reprints of Tardi's work: "Before my discovery of the French artist Jacques Tardi, how did I enjoy comics?"
• Interview (Audio): Guests Jean Schulz, Nat Gertler (The Peanuts Collection) and Kevin Fagan (Drabble) discuss the legacy of Charles M. Schulz on yesterday's episode of Southern California Public Radio's AirTalk (via Spurge)