• Review: "Intentionally or not, Mome #19 is almost a theme issue, with the usual mix of abstraction and autobiography giving way to multiple narrative-driven stories with their roots in genre fiction. ... All-in-all, a solid outing for one of the best (and last) alt-comics anthologies on the market. [Grade] B+" – The A.V. Club
• Review: "Rhymes, lyrics, words used by your grandma (and only if they had emigrated to the U.S.) and situations that have been extinct for many years are the main features of Culture Corner. But when is this so bad? ... So this is a release of great value for fans of Wolverton, but also a great opportunity to learn about one of the most famous and funny in the business." – Thomas Papadimitropoulos, Comicdom (translated from Greek)
• Comic-Con: Eden Miller of Comicsgirl reports on the Moto Hagio spotlight panel at Comic-Con last week
• Interview:Frank Santoro joins Brandon Graham, Michael DeForge, and host Robin McConnell for an Inkstuds roundtable on "fusion in modern comics"
• Review: "...[T]he newer crop of contributors [in Mome Vols. 17, 18 & 19 is] a rough and tumble bunch who are bringing some fierce and hard-edged work to the table. ...[T]he balance is definitely in favor of the strong stuff, because it is strong stuff — well drawn in a variety of styles, and potentially troubling without cloaking itself in shopworn tropes. ... Once again, you're getting your bang for your buck." – Sean T. Collins, Attentiondeficitdisorderly
• Review: "And when you’re drawn into the world [of It Was the War of the Trenches] it’s hard not to rhapsodize about the drawing itself – Tardi’s gaze may be level, but his lines are sure and lush. His gentle contour line drawings are almost delicate, but then he fills them with a gray tone, or attaches them to nearly psychedelic intestines. It’s art that comes over you and stays with you – nicely offsetting an otherwise icy stare. ...Tardi seems a master, and this work a rare and intensely humane book." – Dan Nadel, Comics Comics
• Review: "Sequence by sequence and page by page, the re-readability of [Jason's] stories and scenes consistently offer more densely fulfilling reads than any three or four new $4 books... This particular story [Werewolves of Montpellier] ends in a graceful, yet awkwardly suspenseful and open-ended manner, but as with Jason books I’ve encountered before, this landing contributes to the matter-of-fact delivery he often employs in making you feel like you’re witnessing a story sliced out of a larger saga." – Brian Warmoth
• Review: "Those inclined to look for meaning could make a good case for this... as a story about people assuming false identities through a mix of circumstance and personal choice, but what Jason’s comics literally mean matters less than the pleasure of their deadpan humor and unexpected twists: His work has been building a whole habitat of crooks, monsters, and adventurers, just so he can explore their minor personal problems. Werewolves of Montpelier establishes yet another inviting corner of Jasonworld. [Grade] B+" – The A.V. Club
• Review: "...[T]he first 11 issues of [Dame Darcy's] sporadically released pamphlet Meat Cake — collected by Fantagraphics in a new trade-paperback edition — comprise some of the best alt-comics of the past 20 years. ...Darcy’s scratchy, fine-lined, loosely intricate artwork owes a slight debt to Edward Gorey, Victorian illustration, and the more demented wing of the E.C. roster (particularly Graham Ingels), but the dreamy vision and gleefully morbid sensibility are all her. Overall, Meat Cake’s dalliance with folklore, horror, camp, and transcendent bits of autobiography pack more of a poetic punch than the title is generally given credit for… [Grade] A-" – The A.V. Club
• Review: "Newave!is an astonishing collection of minicomics from the ’70s, ’80s and early ’90s... This book puts the lie to the notion that underground cartooning was fallow during this period; indeed, all it did was really go underground. ... Newave! gains momentum as it proceeds, an impressive feat for a 900-page anthology. ... The back half of Newave! features nary a dud. ... In an era when some cartoonists are learning how to create minicomics as part of a formal art education, Newave! should be a crucial text." – Rob Clough, The Comics Journal
• Review: "Out since last Halloween, this handsome collection of early 1980s exploitation VHS box art [Portable Grindhouse] is shaped like one of those old oversized clamshell cases. The all-color book collects the front and backs of many memorable cassette releases of that bygone era and will send you back to the days prowling dusty mom-and-pop video stores for you schlock fix. ... You won’t learn anything about the movies, but who needs that when the rest of the book is such a nostalgic gas?" – Tony Timpone, Fangoria
We have two new releases scheduled to find their way to comic shops this week. You can check out extensive previews for each book at their respective links below so you can be an informed consumer before taking your money down to your local shop. As usual, we'll let the blogosphere do our plugging for us:
240-page black & white/color 6.5" x 9.75" softcover • $22.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-367-5
"...[A] mail-order tome of electrical cages, creepy costumes, and other casual torture devices. DeMoulin [Bros.] marketed these gadgets to men's social clubs, who were all too happy to subject new recruits to shocking see-saws and detonating flower pots." – io9
"I think Midtown’s fucking with me? Or, Fantagraphics is releasing a 240-page reproduction of a 1930 catalog from De Moulin Bros. & Co., specializing in dangerous-looking props to use in lodge initiations and such. Featuring a new appreciation by David Copperfield, in his first Fantagraphics appearance since retiring the Anton Drek pseudonym." [Ha ha ha! - Ed.] – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics
"I can't tell if this is really cool-sounding or if that title reads like an unfortunate google translation." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
128-page color/b&w 7" x 9" softcover • $14.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-349-1
"A new Gilbert Hernandez story is set for this latest edition of Fantagraphics’ house anthology, along with the start of a 'satiric psychedelic epic' from writer Shaun Partridge and artist Josh Simmons. Also: Olivier Schrauwen, Tim Lane, T. Edward Bak, more." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics
"The 'short pieces by regular contributors' paradigm for Fantagraphics' anthology series seems to have mostly gone out the window; instead, this volume involves Josh Simmons pushing some buttons, Olivier Schrauen doing a piece that looks like a Paper Rad/Winsor McCay mash-up, Gilbert Hernandez with one of his weird-ass Roy stories, and so on." – Douglas Wolk, Comics Alliance
"I'm a regular reader of this square-bound anthology series, but even if I wasn't I'd be picking this up for the debut of a new story by Gilbert Hernandez featuring the always awesome Roy, as well as a new 'satiric psychedelic epic' by Josh Simmons and a guy who for some strange reason wants to call himself The Partridge in the Pear Tree." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
"This is a really good issue, leaning more towards Eric Reynolds' 'I edited Dirty Stories and my own comics can be terribly frightening' side than his art comics side. Some very potent, troubling short stories and some unorthodox yet beautiful-looking comics art." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
Vol. 19 of Mome isn't even out yet and we're already wrapping up work on the landmark 20th volume, due in October. Beginning with this issue the anthology sports a new design by Fantagraphics Art Director Adam Grano. The cover star is Fuzz from Ted Stearn's current ongoing Fuzz & Pluck serial "The Moolah Tree."
• Review: "Kelso’s work radiates a warmth, poetry, sympathy, and simultaneously earthy and otherworldly essence that few comics creators have brought to the table with such quiet confidence and grace. The closest comic in recent memory to match Artichoke Tales, both in breadth and depth, is Jeff Smith’s Bone. [Grade] A" – The A.V. Club
• Review: "...Fantagraphics’ hardcover edition of The Book of Mr. Naturalfeels like the perfect introduction to R. Crumb’s most enduring creation—and to the sexual peccadilloes that occasionally get both character and creator in hot water. ... It’s fascinating stuff, and should be mandatory reading for anyone who squirmed through Terry Zwigoff’s excellent Crumb documentary—or for anyone looking to get their danders up at Crumb’s allegedly misogynistic tendencies. [Grade] A-" – The A.V. Club
• Review: "[Editor Eric] Reynolds has done an amazing job of balancing serials with a variety of single-page strips and one-shots. Expanding Mome to include translations from international cartooning stars, short works from established cartoonists and left-field contributions from illustrators not known in the comics world have kept things interesting on an issue-to-issue basis. The eccentricity of Reynolds’ taste as an editor has been another major factor in preventing Mome from getting into a rut. ...[T]his issue of Mome is a fine overall read, and the first half is especially spectacular." – Rob Clough, The Comics Journal
• Review: "Percy Gloom is a moving, engaging, enlightening book. It’s exactly the sort of comic readers should be demanding – thoughtful and intelligent, a beautifully drawn narrative that unfolds its layers over the course of multiple readings. Cathy Malkasian’s produced two winning graphic novels, and she’s clearly a talent that deserves a far wider readership." – Michael C. Lorah, Newsarama
• Profile: For The New York Times, Reyhan Harmanci reports on how Mark Bodé is carrying on his late father Vaughn's legacy: "Vaughn Bodé created a world in his comics that Mark has fleshed out, making oil and spray paint paintings from his father’s cartoon panels and unfinished sketches. The younger Mr. Bodé perfected his father’s signature pieces: the ever-slouching Cheech Wizard, the science-fiction-inflected planet full of lizards, the cartoonishly lewd 'Bodé broads.' As Mark Bodé, 47, who is based in Daly City said, 'I am mortal and he is immortal, and the two of us work well together.'"
The acclaimed anthology of contemporary comics steams toward its landmark 20th issue. This issue leads off with the cover story, the first part of the satiric psychedelic epic "The White Rhinoceros," drawn by Josh Simmons and written by The Partridge in the Pear Tree. It is our privilege to welcome the great Gilbert Hernandez to the pages of Mome with a brand-new story starring his beloved character Roy! Also debuting this issue, exciting newcomer D.J. Bryant, with what may be the most hard-boiled story to appear in Mome yet. And making return appearances: Olivier Schrauwen, Tim Lane, Conor O'Keefe, and Robert Goodin with new stories, and T. Edward Bak with the continuation of his epic "Wild Man" serial.
Download an EXCLUSIVE 9-page PDF excerpt (1.6 MB) with a page from every artist in the issue, plus the Table of Contents.
Online Commentary & Diversions, back after a short respite:
• Review: "Almost to a story, the bits and pieces of Mome [Vol. 18] just suck the careful reader in. Indeed, almost every contribution practically begs for critical examination, not to mention a different frame of mind. ... Some of the individual stories are just stunning. ... This is great art, good comics, and, in my opinion, odd when taken as a collection." – Jeremy Nisen, Under the Radar
• Review: "Right up front let’s admit this: Wally Gropius is a terrifying comic book and everyone reading this should buy it immediately. Tim Henlsey has crammed more horror into these 64 pages than any comic in recent memory. ... It is also a terrifying book to talk about, because its level of craft is so high, its surface so impenetrable, that it’s like trying to write about Kubrick or something: You know it’s all in there, but it’s hard to find a foothold. ... Hensley’s drawings... and are so fluid and articulate that it’s hard to believe he could or does draw or even hand write any other way. ... In his hands [the book's aesthetic] is a complete language. It’s a bracing, enervating way of making comics because there’s so much dissonance between what I want to read the lines as and what the drawings those lines form actually mean." – Dan Nadel, Comics Comics
• Review: "[Jim Woodring] has been called one of the great cartoonists of his generation and at this point, there’s little doubt of his visual storytelling prowess. But it’s the intense, visionary images and worlds that spring from his mind and on to his pages that truly separates him from his peers. ... Weathercraft, like all his Unifactor stories, is absolutely wordless. It’s a quiet, cosmic adventure that relies on Woodring’s extraordinary control of visual language and blends his understanding of Vedantic beliefs with stylized, Max Fleischer nightmares to explore ideas about the evolution of consciousness." – Paul Rios
• Review: "Read [Weathercraft] a third time, thinking about Woodring’s video commentary, and recognize how cohesive it is. There’s a real clarity to the plot and to Woodring’s character designs and panel compositions. You will think that, in some way, the key to much of this is the artist's omnipresent wavy line, but will be unsure." – Ken Parille, Blog Flume
• Review: "Kupperman’s all over the map, and manages to amuse with all the non sequiturs more often as not... If you have a soft spot for this sort of shenanigans, kinda like much of Adult Swim but smarter than the run of that mill, you could do worse than to pick [Tales Designed to Thrizzle #6] up..." – Johnny Bacardi, Popdose
• Review: "...Sand & Fury: A Scream Queen Adventure... is a romp concocted of homage to the weird horrors of filmmakers David Lynch and Dario Argento, with a shout out even to Roman Polanski’s Repulsion. But it also features the signature Anderson political subtlety. ... A graphic text is, by nature, more explicit — graphic — than it can be subtle. So, Anderson’s love scenes verge on kink, while the death scenes owe much to the gore of recent vampire flicks and George Romero’s Zombie franchise. ... Sand & Fury is not classic literature, but it is fine pop art. Check it out." – George Elliott Clarke, The Chronicle Herald
• Review: "The story booms with Deitch's explosive composition techniques and the narrative recoil — somehow even the genetically modified beavers here make perfect sense — is no less compelling. The Search For Smilin’ Ed! offers perhaps not as discrete a narrative as those found in Alias the Cat (2002) and The Boulevard of Broken Dreams (2007), but the joy of Deitch is that his work is almost impossible to tug apart. And who doesn't want their demons, time travelers, midgets and voyeuristic aliens in one oily melee?" – John Reed, Los Angeles Times
• Review: "Did you know the Earth is honeycombed with tunnels containing archives of the entire history of popular culture, as recorded on alien-designed microchips by a council of pygmies? Leave it to underground-comics legend Kim Deitch to make that concept simultaneously deeply attractive and deeply creepy in The Search For Smilin’ Ed... The story gets more twisted with every page, though it always makes sense in a Deitch-ian way. Deitch has trod this ground many times before... but he retains an astonishing ability to tap into the deepest desires of pop-culture junkies, and to show how the satisfaction we seek from nostalgia can lead us to some dark corners of our collective showbiz past. [Grade] B+" – The A.V. Club
• Review: "The second in the proposed Billy Hazelnuts trilogy by Tony Millionaire finds the Popeye-strong, sentient cake fed up with the 'filthy world of beasts,' made up as they are from 'disgusting blobs of meat.' The first Billy was about his origins; Billy Hazelnuts and the Crazy Bird is about the responsibilities of parenthood, and how they don’t necessarily sync up with maturity." – The A.V. Club
• Review: "Everybody dies in [It Was the War of the Trenches]. It's sad, gory, brutal, depressing, visceral, and overwhelming. It brings those poor soldiers back to life and, instead of celebrating any victories or glorifying any heroic acts, just shoots them in the gut all over again and leaves them to die in the mud and filth of no man's land. It's an impressive work of art that floods the reader with a feeling of hopelessness. How Tardi managed this feat without having participated in the first world war is really quite amazing. It is worth reading." – Sandy Bilus, I Love Rob Liefeld
• Interview: Robin McConnell, host of the Inkstuds radio program, calls up Dash Shaw to catch up on his latest projects
• Review: "There's no cartoonist out there that makes better use of expanding canvasses than Kim Deitch. Literally and figuratively. The rhapsodic spreads — one, two, even four pages — he drops into his narratives are one of comics' finest stand-alone effects, and he creates short stories that are perfectly enjoyable as discrete units but somehow defy those idiosyncratic qualities to work just as effectively as building blocks in his grander books, like this new one [The Search for Smilin' Ed!] from Fantagraphics." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
• Review: "Like Weirdo, Raw, and Drawn And Quarterly before it, Fantagraphics’ Mome has been the go-to showcase of its time for emerging alt-comics visionaries. Mome #18is another excellent installment of the anthology series — so excellent, in fact, that it’s hard to single out a highlight. ... [Grade] A-" – The A.V. Club
• Review: "At this point, no one should need any convincing that Krazy Kat is one of the greatest works of comic art ever created, and that it should form the foundation of any good collection. All that’s needed is the knowledge of where to start and what format to choose. With that in mind, Fantagraphics has outdone itself with Krazy And Ignatz 1916-1918: Love In A Kestle Or Love In A Hut. ... Herriman’s work probably hasn’t looked this good since it first appeared in newspapers more than 90 years ago. ... [Grade] A" – The A.V. Club
• Review: "Tales Designed to Thrizzle #6 looks great. The script hits all the right marks. If you’re the type of reader who enjoys self-referential nods to the comics of yesteryear, Kupperman’s title sets the standard all such titles should shoot for." – Michael C. Lorah, Newsarama
• Review: "R.I.P. Best of 1985-2004 is a nicely timed reminder that Thomas Ott has been one of the world's most interesting cartoonists for a quarter century now. ... As juvenilia goes, this stuff is ridiculously good. ... Ott's work seems both old-fashioned and completely fresh at the same time. ... As a reminder of where he's come from, the impeccably produced R.I.P. is a very valuable collection, and deserves to be on the bookshelf of any serious horror comics fan." – Bart Beaty, The Comics Reporter [Fantagraphics' edition of this book is due in early 2011 - Ed.]
• Interview:Tony Millionaire talks to Comic Book Resources' Shaun Manning about continuing the adventures of Billy Hazelnuts: "I'm not sure exactly how it will roll out, because I love to make concrete plans for a story and then as it goes along, learn something and then change the storyline a little."