This week's comic shop shipment is slated to include the following new titles. Read on to see what comics-blog commentators and web-savvy comic shops are saying about them (more to be added as they appear), check out our previews at the links, and contact your local shop to confirm availability.
280-page black & white 7" x 10" softcover • $35.00 ISBN: 978-1-60699-785-7
"The level of drawing in these erotic fantasies is extremely high, sometimes rivaling the work of the iconic Western porno artist Tom of Finland...The content of the stories in Massive is completely unlike the feathery romanticism of yaoi manga and anime. Rough, even sadistic sex takes the place of wistful longing." -Charles Solomon, IndieWire
180-page full color 8" x 10" hardcover • $29.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-789-5
"The Late Child is a rich and intelligent work, one of the lushest and most giving graphic novels in recent memory." -Jason Sacks, Comics Bulletin
"Marguerite's partner on these books as well as in life, Romberger, leaves his ink drawings open enough for her watercolors to capture various types of natural light during the day…It is a significantly gentler and more pastoral book, traditionally beautiful. Calling 7 Miles a Second "beautiful" would lead to smirking inwardly while waiting to be challenged; the book carries ugliness inside itself as part of its very being. While that book's language pushed forward with velocity and free association, this one places each considered thought into a caption to ring out poetically."–Brian Nicholson, Bookslut
920-page black & white with color 9.75" x 13.25" x 7" hardcover • $500.00 ISBN: 978-1-60699-787-1
"While the early issues stand as rowdy documents of the 1960s counterculture, Zap was also more. In reinventing the comic book, it set off legal battles and conversations over censorship, brought attention to cartoonists as artists, and set an example for generations of alternative comics creators like Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes, Joe Matt and the Hernandez Brothers." –Dana Jennings, The NY Times
"The Zapatistas were a sort of 'supergroup'-the dharma warriors of comics. Inkslingers. Revolutionaries. The best of the best. Their only yardsticks for comparison were each other and that sort of fraternal competition raised the bar and kept their art constantly evolving and their social satire razor sharp." –Richard Metzger, Dangerous Minds
120-page black & white 7" x 9.75" hardcover • $24.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-460-3
"Spanish cartoonist Max's graphic novel is ambiguous but powerful, leaving readers to wonder whether Nick is going crazy or finding enlightenment-or perhaps they're the same thing." –Cat Auer, Playboy (This Winter's Best Books)
"Max's latest graphic novel translated by Fantagraphics purifies and condenses his cartooning and thinking. Vapor charts the struggles and strange encounters of Nicodemos, a long-haired, long-nosed monk, who has quit the ‘gigantic muddle' of the world to seek transcendence in a desert through self-deprivations." –Paul Gravett
336-page black & white with spot color 8.5" x 8.5" softcover • $39.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-777-2
"The Nancy books are beautiful, and that work is such that it will be pulled from shelves and re-examined years after other collections, ostensibly more exciting this very minute, have worked their way to the sales box." –Tom Spurgeon, Comics Reporter
"Have you ever taken the time to read and devour Ernie Bushmiller's masterpiece Nancy. Deceptibly simple and oddly corny, it is surprisingly funny and a virtual textbook on comic storytelling." –Andy Mansell, Heroes Online
272-page full color 9.25" x 13.25" softcover • $39.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-762-8
"Black Light vows to burn out your eyes…" –Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
"His covers are really noir: spirals, figures falling down through space, big spider webs, just great... The colors are all totally primary: just bright red, blue, almost no subtle colors... they really work." - R. Crumb
200-page full-color 7" x 9" softcover • $22.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-597-6
"...[A] significant artist and engaging storyteller." - Robert Kirby, The Comics Journal
"Carré's work, fittingly titled Heads or Tails, probes choice, ambivalence and fate; in her stories, there's a flip side to everything, rendered in full and brilliant colour." -Laura Kane, The Toronto Star
Many connoisseurs — including Art Spiegelman, Daniel Clowes, Scott McCloud (creator of the "Five-Card Nancy" card game), Joe Brainard, and Andy Warhol — have recognized that Bushmiller's often-corny Nancy approached its own kind of zen-like cartoon perfection. In its own way, it turned out Nancy was in fact the most iconic comic strip of all; The American Heritage Dictionary actually uses a Nancy strip to illustrate its entry on "comic strip." Fantagraphics' beloved Nancy series finally packages Nancy with the reverence it deserves. Our third volume contains another full three years of daily Nancy strips, from an era many regard as Bushmiller's finest.
"Reading Nancy in continuity, rather than in isolation, may be an unfamiliar experience, but it is one which reveals the strip’s patient and inquisitive reaction to the bric-a-brac and ins-and-outs of everyday life—an attentive curiosity whose effect is diminished by removing the comics from their daily or weekly contexts." – Sean Rogers, The Comics Journal
"Bushmiller's genius [was] to make everything in his strip so basic that anyone, anywhere, at any time, could get the joke." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club
"…Nancy possesses in spades the quality common to all great art — a singularity of vision…. The clarity and unity of purpose made it quite impossible to miss a single punch line. Nancy is simplistic, yes — but it is simplistic by design, a strip without clutter, diagrammatic in its relentless formalism. Set against today’s comic-strip landscape, …the dumbness of Nancy starts to look like some kind of genius. The roly-poly, Brillo-mopped mischief-maker and her lowlife pal Sluggo stand eternal, as iconic as the puppets in a Punch and Judy show or the Columbines and Harlequins of commedia dell'arte." – Jack Feerick, Kirkus Reviews
Many connoisseurs—including Art Spiegelman, Daniel Clowes, Scott McCloud (creator of the "Five-Card Nancy" card game), Joe Brainard, and Andy Warhol—have recognized that Bushmiller's often-corny Nancy approached its own kind of zen-like cartoon perfection. In its own way, it turned out Nancy was in fact the most iconic comic strip of all; The American Heritage Dictionary actually uses a Nancy strip to illustrate its entry on "comic strip." Fantagraphics' beloved Nancy series finally packages Nancy with the reverence it deserves. Our third volume contains another full three years of daily Nancy strips, from an era many regard as Bushmiller's finest.
We have to show off the office copy of Nancy Loves Sluggo that landed on our desk this week. Just check out that beautiful spine! This third volume of Ernie Bushmiller's popular daily comic strip collects his work from 1949-1951, an era many regard as Bushmiller's finest.
We're looking at a late November release for Nancy Loves Sluggo, so it's time for you to put in your pre-order if you haven't already. This would make a great gift for the classic comic strip aficionados in your life!
The first peak of sun of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review: Noah Berlatsky on Slate reviews 7 Miles a Second by David Wojnarowicz, James Romberger, and Marguerite Van Cook. "That feared and desired encounter is in part the collision of comics and art—but it's also, and emphatically, the intermingling of queer and straight…7 Miles a Second still represents a road largely avoided…even if 7 Miles a Second never went mainstream, this new edition remains a stirring reminder that everything pushed to the side isn't gone."
• Review:Full Page Bleed and Tom Murphy read 7 Miles a Second by David Wojnarowicz, James Romberger, and Marguerite Van Cook. "Like David Wojnarowicz's vision of himself, this is a volume that has an impossible amount of energy and emotion packed into its slim dimensions. It's a blistering book that, having been revived by Fantagraphics in the format it deserves, should now take its rightful place in the comics/graphic memoir canon."
• Review: The North Adams Transcript blog reviewed Delphine by Richard Sala. "Prince Charming’s journey is creepy and jarring, and the trappings of the likes of the Grimm Brothers take on a heightened presentation that becomes more personal than you would ever expect them to be," John Seven.
• Plug:The D&Q bookstore is ready to read prose book The Grammar of Rock by Alexander Theroux. Jade writes, "Cliché lyrics, diva meltdowns, and inarticulate diction are all up for close examination in Theroux’s comprehensive exploration of language in pop, rock, jazz, folk, soul, and yes, even rap (Ghostface Killah!)."
• Plug:LAMBDA announces nominees for awards and includes Justin Hall's No Straight Lines. Lambda Literary Awards celebrate achievement in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) writing for books published in 2012. More information here!
• Review:The Savage Critic looks at Gilbert Hernandez's Love from the Shadows. "It’s the work of a comics master tearing into the stained brown paper parcel of his unconscious, and finding a piping hot slurry composed of decades of pop culture detritus."
• Plug:The Daily Optimist shows off a few panels of Nancy Likes Christmas by Ernie Bushmiller. Dan Wagstaff writes, "I do have a strange and peculiar love of Ernie Bushmiller’s ‘Nancy’ comic strips… Fantagraphics are doing a great job of collecting them properly into books (designed by Jacob Covey)."
• Plug: Tom Heintjes on Cartoonician gives a short and concise history of Fritzi Ritz aka Aunt Fritzi from Ernie Bushmiller's Nancy. She was the star of her own strip before that created by Larry Whittington. "A young cartoonist named Ernie Bushmiller took the reins and went with his strength: the simple gags that would forever earn both the scorn and admiration of millions of comics fans."
• Interview: The Comics Reporter and Tom Spurgeon interviews Publisher Gary Groth: "I can look at most books and come up with a pretty accurate estimate as to how it will sell. Occasionally I'm wrong."
• Plug: Fantagraphics fan and friend, JT Dockery has a fundraising campaign/pre-order for his Despair book which features art from Chris Wright and Julia Gfrörer. I hope they are on a ship.
• Plug: Sam Costello at Full Stop lists The End of the Fucking World by Charles Forsman as one of the most anticipated books of 2013. "While there’s certainly violence and horror here, Forsman handles the subject as a character study, not a lurid glorification, making James sympathetic and his deeds all the more monstrous."
• Review: Michael May reviews Mr. Twee Deedle by Johnny Gruelle on School Library Journal. In reference to Good Comics for Kids, "There’s plenty for children to enjoy in the collection, but parents and educators will be even more rewarded. Not only by the history and context that Marschall provides, but by the sheer sweetness and transportive beauty of the illustrations as well. Each of the full-page, full-color strips is something not only to linger over, but to revisit often."
• Review: The Weekly Crisis looks at West Coast Blues by Jacques Tardi. "The narrative is almost a ‘dark twin’ of Hitchcock’s North by Northwest as George is forced to adapt and go on the run as the forces arrayed against him close in."
• Plug:Jessica Abel posted some cool ideas on visual scripting and laying out your ideas she learned from Alison Bechdel.
Seattle is once again the center of the alternative comix universe with shows opening all over town this weekend. On Friday, January 11 at Roq la Rue from 6:00 to 9:00 PM is the post-apocalyptic group show "I'll Love You Til The End Of The World" featuring Fantagraphics favorites Camille Rose Garcia and Scott Musgrove. The same evening you'll find "Friends" at Cairo, featuring Intruder artists Max Clotfelter, Darin Shuler, Aidan Fitzgerald, Tom Van Deusen, Marc J. Palm, David Lasky, Nikki Burch, Ben Horak, Jason T. Miles, Tim Miller, James Stranton, Kazimir Strzepek and Alexa Kristine Koenings. (The future of alternative comix now.)
The comix action moves to Georgetown on Saturday evening, with a show of "Paintoons" by John Ohannesian at the One Night Stand Gallery (located directly above Fantagraphics Bookstore.) John has been busy in recent months as a Fantagraphics freelancer faithfully restoring classic strips like Nancy, Buz Sawyer, and Popeye for your reading pleasure. It'll be interesting to see how this exercise informs his cartoon paintings. Across the street at LxWxH Gallery is Bette Burgoyne's "Forest," a 30-foot narrative scroll drawing. And, of course, don't miss the Problematic reception with Jim Woodring at our bookstore. Lots of great surprises await.
Creator of the seminal NANCY comic strip in addition to Fritzi Ritz, Ernie Bushmiller would have been 107 today. A truly 'algebraic' comic, the oddly yet perfectly balanced strip was and still is hugely popular with comic strip readers despite its squat protagonist and cornball comedy. A cartoonist who rarely took a day off, Bushmiller inspired generations of future cartoonists and Fantagraphics is proud to reprint the strips. As Tom Spurgeon was so nice to point out, when Fantagraphics was located in Stamford, Connecticut, our neighbor WAS Ernie Bushmiller! Celebrate the love of Bushmiller and read some Nancy today. The strip below was reformatted to fit the blog.
But why stop at reading Nancy in appreciation of Bushmiller, you could also a Nancy tattoo! OSU Librarian Caitlin McGurk sports Nancy's head while cartoonist and Fantagraphics intern Ben Horak flexes a Sluggo tattoo. But we're still looking for the elusive 'three rocks' tattoo. Happy Birthday, Mr. Bushmiller.
Recently Fantagraphics stopped by Ohio State University's Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum in Columbus. This structural testament to housing and preserving original cartoon strips makes it a one-of-a-kind-place. Curator Jenny Robb said hello but my after-hours and behind the scene tour guide was librarian Caitlin McGurk!
Students of OSU and traveling scholars (like me!) can request to see original art and read books in the main reference room. The room itself is lined with popular comics reference material, less Marvel's Anatomy and more History of Chinese Comics that was written by a scholar rather than a draw-er.
Caitlin pulled everything I asked for from the collection and more! Fantagraphics utilizes the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library when creating our classic reprint lines. They even have an amazingly sophisticated camera for large scans---we're talking longer and wider than a human.
The stacks were automated, slowly sliding over on tracks after a crank is turned AND button pressed. To avoid trouble, the stacks are lined on the bottom with emergency-stop bars. It's pretty damn cool. The Library houses the larges manga collection in the United States, possibly the world.
The flat files have dim lighting, plastic sleeves around the strips and dust covers to fit over the artwork to prevent sliding or damage. GLOVES are a must.
Prince Valiant by Hal Foster lay inside one of the drawers, well many strips lay in there just begging to be looked at.
Dan DeCarlo's Betty & Veronica cover was not only environmentally topical but sassy like most of his artwork.
Ernie Bushmiller's Nancy. People seem to love her or hate her but Ernie Bushmiller's mathematically complex and erudite leading lady is a joy to see. Caitlin pulled one of the wackiest strips she could find for me dating back to November 16th, 1947.
How many can YOU blow?
Last but not least, was an original Nell Brinkley in a gold frame. Having won over the hearts of many a Gibson girl Brinkley's sparkling ladies went from pining lovers to adventurous maidens.
The collection also boasted some amazing newspaper inserts called The Book of Magic, originally printed with broadsheet newspaper The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The Book of Magic was full of comics, stories and ads geared towards children.
A big, warm hug to Caitlin McGurk for the after hours tour and the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum for existing! You should make a stop there on your next visit to Ohio or on a road trip. Look out because in 2013 they are moving to a primo new building complete with comics festivities!