The fresh-popped Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:Publishers Weekly discusses The Hypo by Noah Van Sciver, "Van Sciver’s psychologically astute examination of what might be termed Abraham Lincoln’s “lost years” (1837–1842) is as gripping and persuasive as the best historical fiction. . .This characterization of Lincoln is thoroughly human and identifiable, tracking a shadowy but formative period in the very uneven life of a man who shows little signs of becoming known as one of the greatest Americans. A thoroughly engaging graphic novel that seamlessly balances investigation and imagination." Wow!
• Plug: Noah Van Sciver's diary comics are showing up at The Comics Journal. Enjoy Day #1, Day #2 and Day #3.
• Plug:Comics Alliance JUMPED at the chance to be the first to comment on Naked Cartoonists. Senior writer Chris Sims comments, "Have you ever wanted to see Dilbert creatorScottAdams naked? Yeah, we haven't either, but apparently [Gary Groth] thought that was a good idea . . . joining artists like Will Eisner, For Better Or For Worsecreator Lynn Johnston, Jeff Smith (feel free to make your own Bone joke here) and . . . legendary MAD artist Sergio Aragones."
• Review:The Mary Sue names Moto Hagio's A Drunken Dream and Other Stories one of the 10 Feminist Manga to Read, that is licensed in the USA. Kellie Foxx-Gonzalez says,"Hagio is not only a storyteller, she is undoubtedly a feminist author, using her manga to explore gender, power, and women’s issues. If extended metaphors in manga as an avenue to explore philosophical questions is as appealing to you as it is to me, please, don’t hesitate to pick up this anthology."
• Commentary: Shannon O'Leary of Publishers Weekly says,". . . with No Straight Lines , the most definitive collection of queer comics to date, [Justin] Hall and Fantagraphics have made the voluminous but largely hidden history of LBGT (lesbian, bi-sexual, gay, transgender) comics finally visible as well."
• Review:The Awl and Kim O'Connor talk about autobio comics and include such underground greats like Aline Kominsky Crumb, Carol Tyler in addition to Chris Ware and Joe Sacco. While on the subject of Aline: "An important part of her project was to promote self-loathing as normal and even funny in an era when to do so was extremely unfashionable." O'Connor touched on the rawness of Chris Ware's work,"there's this sense of playful geometry that's deeply satisfying, even if it sometimes gives you the impression the artist's memory palace looks a lot like the Container Store. But the central delight in reading Jimmy Corrigan, as in all of Ware's work, is how it's painfully awkward and incredibly cool at the same time."
• Review: Rob Clough on the High-Low reviews Jim Woodring's Congress of the Animals: ". . . is interesting because it's much more linear a narrative than most of his comics.. . .Unlike the typical Frank story, there's a greater sense of urgency to Frank's wanderings, as he encounters many temptations and pitfalls along his journey to a destination unknown to even him."
• Review:The Critcal Mob released their short list of summer reads and a few Fantagraphics titles made the cut. Paul Guie looks at Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons: "O'Connor's artwork is frequently abstract and raw-looking. . .Nevertheless, her cartoons are always pleasing to look at thanks to the author's strong sense of composition. Panels are rarely cluttered by unnecessary lines, and O'Connor frequently frames her characters with an eye toward visual balance." Peanuts latest volume is also on Guie's radar: ". . . these later comics remain consistently witty and entertaining, and reflect Schulz's continued mastery of comedic timing within a four-panel layout.. . .Consistently subtle yet always timely, after 30 years, Schulz still had a winning formula on his hands." Last but not least, Guie takes Buddy Does Seattle to the beach,"Bagge's artwork [takes] the public's perception of '90s youth as angry and volatile and pushed it to hysterical levels. Heavily influenced by late-'60s counterculture cartoonists like Crumb, Bagge's drawings are fluid and grimy-looking, with frequent use of exaggerated facial expressions helping to cultivate an atmosphere of chaos."
• Commentary: Best Cover EVER on Forbidden Planet according to Richard: "The absolute iconic image. The raw power. Jaime’s incredible use of black in his art. The faces of the crowd. The stagediver (in heels) who’s just left the stage. But most of all, it’s the best comic cover ever because I swear that I’ve never looked at this cover and NOT heard the music they’re playing." The next best thing for Richard? Buying the new shirt featuring the cover of Issue 24.
• Plug:Comics Alliance and Caleb Goellner collect the most recent Adventure Time covers. James Hindle PLAYS an homage to Jaime Hernandez's distinctive cover. Check it out!
• Review:io9 recently created a list of the 10 Comic Characters Cooler than Batman. Jaime Hernandez's Maggie (the Mechanic) and Jacques Tardi's Adele Blanc-Sec topped the list. "Maggie is a survivor, who never stops kicking ass even she's dealing with depression and heartbreak." says Charlie Jane Anders and in reference to Adele Blanc-Sec:"She's a writer in pre-World War I Paris, which automatically makes her cool. . . She's not afraid to shoot guns, drink the hard stuff, or smoke like a man. She spent World War I in cryogenic suspension and then rocked the 1920s."
• Plug:The Last Vispo's editor Nico Vassilakis recently curated an online group of visual artists called Ten Turkish Visual Poets at Trickhouse.
• Interview: The powerful and deft Friedman brothers were interviewed about Any Similarity to Persons Living or Dead is Purely Coincidental by William Michael Smith of the Houston Press. Josh Alan Friedman talks about his brother's artwork,"Originally [Drew Friedman] worked with stippling technique, using a rapidograph pen. Bent over a desk like a watchmaker, doing thousands of dots. A technique made famous by 'Sunday in the Park with Georges' Seurat, but strictly shunned by art schools in the 20th century."
• Plug: Ron Regé, Jr. is up to something sneaky! At We Can Do It.
The sweetest smelling Online Commentaries & Diversions:
•Review: Partially and fully-reviewed on Em & Lo and SUNfiltered respectively is new book Significant Objects by Joshua Glenn and Rob Walker. Em and Lo said, "The book also organizes the stories and objects into groups that will be more familiar to thrift-store shoppers, based on the items’ original intended use: novelty items, figurines, kitsch, toys, etc."
•Review:Detroit News takes a look at No Straight Lines, edited by Justin Hall. Eric Henrickson wrote, "If 'No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics' isn’t the definitive look at the world of GLBT comics, it surely must come darn close. . . I knew there was a lot out there, but I was surprised at the depth of the genre — in sheer quantity and in quality. It’s also a great volume for comics historians."
•Review:Wandering Son, Volume 3 by Shimura Takako is reviewed on Experiments in Manga. Librarian Ash Brown says, "Shimura deals with her characters and with identity, particularly gender identity, with a tremendous amount of sensitivity. Wandering Son is one of the few comics that I have had the opportunity to read that has accomplished this as a fictional work rather than as a memoir." But that isn't all Wandering Son is about: "The fact that the characters aren't characters per se but actual individuals is one of Wandering Son's greatest strengths. Ultimately, the story isn't about the 'issues' surrounding personal identity so much as it is about the people themselves."
•Review: Hillary Brown of Paste Magazine examines Flannery O'Conner: The Cartoons, edited by Kelly Gerald. "Fantagraphics has done us a service of scholarship in publishing these early linocuts, executed for O’Connor’s high school and college newspapers, and the essay by editor Kelly Gerald that follows their reproduction makes some interesting connections to her later literary works, but most of them don’t stand on their own."
•Commentary:Drew Friedman visited MAD Magazine almost 40 years ago and wrote a little about his trip, picked up by Boing Boing.
•Plug: The MOST OCD-happy site of Hernandez Brothers mentions, Love & Maggie, lists the newest mentions of the month.
•Review:Pornokitsch goes WAY back to a sold-out Jules Feiffer illustrated novel, Harry, the Rat with Women. Jared says,"Everything is there and familiar, but somehow drawn and thin and somewhat ethereal; delicate but distorted." Now you know to get it when at Half-Price books!
The hottest, sweatiest Online Commentaries & Diversions:
•Review: Ray Olson continues the reading journey of Joe Daly's Dungeon Quest Vol. 3 and reviews it on Booklist Online: "For at times, the yarn becomes seriously exciting, especially during the travel and fight scenes when everybody clams up. . . Because of Daly’s cartooning chops, nonpareil entertainment."
•Plug:Comics Reporter only needs 140 characters sometimes, especially when talking about Joe Daly's work. Tom Spurgeon says on Twitter, "Dungeon Quest Vol. 3 is so good at one point 1000 copies danced around my bed like in an old Warner Brothers cartoon."
•Review: Writer on the go Maria Popova reviews Significant Objects at Brain Pickings. "Part Sentimental Value, part MacGuffinism, Significant Objects reminds us of the storiness of our lived materiality — of the artifacts we imbue with meaning, with loves and losses, with hopes and desperations."
•Interview:Comic Book Resources interviews Gary Groth on The Comics Journal digital archives move to Alexander Street Press. Chris Mautner quotes Groth,"The magazine is a journalistic repository that comprises the history of comics from the year I co-founded it, 1976, to present, though the first 25 pre-Internet years are probably the most valuable; so, depending upon how valuable you think those 274 issues of The Comics Journal are, this will allow academics and students access to every one of those issues. There are literally tens of thousands of pages comprising interviews with hundreds of creators (many of whom have sadly died), reviews and criticism, investigative journalism, and debate about issues"
•Review:Booklist Online looks at Angelman. Ray Olson compares the creator Nicolas Mahler to another creator: "Mahler is, however, minimalist musical lampooner and prankster Erik Satie."
•Review:Fredrik Strömberg's Jewish Images in The Comics is reviewed on The Jewish Daily Forward. "The current comics renaissance has produced a plethora of engaging and positive Jewish images to fill the collection. . . Like most surveys, “Jewish Images” sacrifices depth for breadth, and Strömberg plays a lot of catch-up for readers who may not be familiar with Jewish laws, traditions or history. Still, this is a work of tremendous ambition, spanning countries, languages, and artistic styles," says Mordechai Shinefield.
•Plug: The first of many Love and Rockets appropriations via Covered. François Vigneault remakes Jaime Hernandez's L&R cover #31 after the jump.
•Review: Tucker Stone glibbly describes what makes Love and Rockets: New Stories #5 so damn good on The Comics Journal. "[Jaime] opts to take a step back from the heavy drums of emotional extremes, focusing on some lesser used characters as they wander through some summer business. Gilbert takes a more direct approach to the spectacle, pouring a heavy mix of the snarling violence that’s laced so much of his recent work all over the streets of Palomar, the fictional village that so many of his critics clamor for him to return to. It’s a meaty read. . . It’s the new Love and Rockets. What the fuck else did you have planned?"
•Review: Shimura Takako's Wandering Son Volumes 1 - 3 are reviewed on Pol Culture . Robert Stanley Martin says, "Shimura handles a sensitive early-adolescent subject with considerable grace. She captures the doubts--and the joys--of the two characters as they explore and come to terms with their cross-gender tendencies."
•Review:Booklist Online enjoys the latest and last Popeye Volume 6 "Me Li'l Swee'Pea" by E.C. Segar. Gordon Flagg states,"It’s a testament to the brilliance of Segar’s creation and the solid foundation he laid down in his decade drawing Popeye that the one-eyed sailor endures as a pop-culture icon to this day."
•Review: New Noise Magazine and Marco Lalubin take a peek at Mysterious Traveler: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 3 A rough French translation says,"Steve Ditko reaches one of the most memorable creative peaks of his career here, first by turning in more carefully worked-over stories and second by frequently displaying a twisted and cruel sense of humor modeled on what EC Comics had been doing in the first half of the 1950s. Especially dazzling are his attempts at graphic boldness, his compositions reaching the same level (at least for the period collected here) as Jack Kirby (albeit less chaotic) -- particularly amazing in that they paradoxically give the impression of respecting the physical constraints of the classic comic book page"
•Review:A Prince Named Valiant reviews the latest Prison Pit - wait no, not at all. They reviewed Prince Valiant Vol 5 1945-1946 as their name might suggest. Michael J. Bayly says, "With stunning art reproduced directly from pristine printer's proofs, Fantagraphics has introduced a new generation to Foster's masterpiece, while providing long-time fans with the ultimate, definitive version of the strip."
The newest (and one old one*) Online Commentaries & Diversions:
•Review:The Hypo by Noah Van Sciver gets theBoing-Boingtreatment. Brian Heater states,"The Hypo's relatively limited scope afford the cartoonist the ability to approach the historical giant as a human, offering an empathetic examination of a troubled individual destined for greatness."
•Review: Heidi MacDonald is excited about The Hypo as well. On The Beat she thinks,"This could be one of the sleeper books of the fall."
•Review:NPR gives Jaime Hernandez's God and Science the run-around and Glen Weldon states, ". . .a book that gleefully grafts a gee-whiz superhuman sensibility onto a set of nuanced, all-too-human relationships. Within its breezily charming pages, the pointless battle between capes-lovers and capes-haters subsides: detente at last."
•Review: The Tearoom of Despair reviews Love and Rockets #28 from a loooong time ago because as Bob Temuka says it is "the perfect comic."
•Plug:The Huffington Post uses some panels from Love and Rockets story "100 Rooms" to illustrate making art in New York and Daniel Maidman says "it changed my life."
•Plug: Graeme McMillan of Robot 6 at Comic Book Resources is adding Gilbert Herandez's graphic novel Julio's Day to his buy list for October. ". . . this never-collected Gilbert Hernandez strip from the second series of L&R is one of those things that goes on my 'Want' list almost as soon as I discovered it existed."
•Plug: Old Spock drawing by Jaime Hernandez on Comics Alliance in Best Art Ever (This Week) by Andy Khouri.
•Interview:Brokelyn interviews three indie cartoonists on 'making it' and sacrifices. Eye of the Majestic Creature's Leslie Stein tells Brad Pearson, "I love drawing New York; it provides so many details for street scenes, from all the shops and people to seemingly insignificant things like takeout menus shoved in doorways and gum spots on the cement. The energy of New York is very inspiring. Everyone is here for a reason; everyone is creative."
•Review:CBR recently found the original Mark of the Bat, Josh Simmons' made before it was compiled in The Furry Trap. Matt Seneca states". . . the violence here is far from entertaining. It hits like real violence does, as something that shouldn’t be happening, and by forcing the audience to recognize it as such, it casts our gaze back from Simmons’ bootleg onto all the “real” Batman comics we’ve read. . .The proof is here: comics isn’t about “creating IP” or “managing franchises,” and it never will be. It’s about making as bold a statement as you possibly can with nothing more than ink and paper."
•Plug:The Comics Reporter talks about the state of our interns, L&R and Tom Spurgeon is rather obsessed about Dal Tokyo by Gary Panter: "It seems like that we should be freaking out about this a little bit. I used to dream about reading that work. Granted, I don't have much of a dream life, but Dal Tokyo is basically out."
•Review:Out.Com can't stop talking about No Straight Lines. Jerry Portwood says "You won't find erotic comics or manga, so don't even start. But you will find everything from 'lesbian underground comix, to gay newspaper strips, to bi punk zines, to trans webcomics, and dealing with everything from coming out, to marriage equality, to the AIDS epidemic, to hilarious dance styles, and bad choices for a one-night stand'."
•Commentary:Projects of Design posted photos and recipes for their Significant Objects drinks from the release party. "It was only fitting that we fête the culmination of the Significant Objects project by honoring the supposed junk items that were raw material for this experiment. Faculty member Emilie Baltz invited three mixologists to have their own hand in creating drinkable odes to some of the items found in the book."
* Did you figure out the older review? Winners receive smug sense of self-worth!
Join editor Justin Hall for a signing and reading at Floating World Comics in Portland, OR on Thursday, August 9th! He'll be joined by cartoonists Erika Moen, Robert Triptow, and Vaughn Fricke from 6:00 to 8:00 PM.
Floating World Comics is located at 400 NW Couch St. in the the heart of the Pearl District. Tell 'em we say hi!
This week's comic shop shipment is slated to include the following new title. Read on to see what comics-blog commentators and web-savvy comic shops are saying about it (more to be added as they appear), check out our previews at the link, and contact your local shop to confirm availability.
328-page black & white/color 7.75" x 10.25" hardcover • $35.00 ISBN: 978-1-60699-506-8
"No Straight Lines: 4 Decades of Queer Comics features work by Alison Bechdel, Maurice Vellkoop, Dan Savage, Howard Cruse, Trina Robbins, Joyce Farmer and many more notable cartoonists. That’s enough to make it my splurge choice of the week." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
"Editor Justin Hall curates 328 pages of hugely diverse stories, strips and excerpts in No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics, an omnibus spanning nearly half a century’s comics development; $35.00." – birthday boy Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
"There are a ton of interesting cartoonists in Justin Hall's anthology, and Fantagraphics is letting you have a sustained look at the thing in various forms here. I'd say this is the most formidable book of the week, the one you need to make a decision on now that it's out." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
The sun is shining on the newest Online Commentaries & Diversions:
•Interview: Creator of the epic series Dungeon Quest, Joe Daly, is interviewed about the third graphic novel on The Comics Journal by our own Eric Buckler. "I liked the idea of creating a character without shame, and a almost healthy polymorphous sexuality, and within that a kind of an innocence, or at least a pureness. I also try to challenge myself to see what cartooning can achieve, what it can get away with. There seem to be things that cartoon characters can get away with, that would be far less acceptable if they were real people."
•Interview:David Gerstein, editor of the Mickey Mouse books (with Gary Groth) is interviewed on Comics Alliance. Chris Sims asks, "[Sorcerer's Apprentice] Mickey seems like a completey different chaacter than the one we see in Gottfredson's work." To which Gerstein replies, ". . . Mickey didn't need to share as much screen time with his supporting cast in his early days; he got adventure shorts largely to himself, and got to be this urgent, driven little squirt in a wild, swashbuckling world."
•Commentary:Filmmaker Magazine makes a nice comparision to Gabriella Giandelli's Interiorae and David Lynch's Blue Velvet film. ". . . a sudden surge the perspective into one of the panels suddenly seems impossible, breaking with the traditional formula of one panel = one captured frame of time. [In the example panel] the character exists in unfolding time not in separate spaces, but the same space all at once." It is also a classic Burne Hogarth tool!
•Plug:Steven Heller, top designer and professor, posted his summer reading list at the SVA school site which included *drumroll please* Significant Objects. "Contributions from writers explaining why things like a rabbit candle, mermaid figurine and Santa nutcracker are worth writing about."
•Review:HeroesCon Online reviews Jaime Hernandez's God and Science: Return of the Ti-Girls. Andy Mansell says, "The story is fun, exciting, fast paced and way over the top, but it is not a satire of superheroes. The difference between Jaime’s work and a genre parody is one of tone. God and Science is a genuine love letter to super-hero comic books."
•Plug: Our friends at Love & Maggie have compiled a lovely list of Love and Rockets related-links for your perusal.
•Review: D&Q's storefront, Librairie Bookstore, enjoyed Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons. Jade says, "In terms of artistic ability, she’s far from the genius of woodcut and linocut artists Frans Masereel, Lynd Ward, and Giocomo Patri. Yet considering how O’Connor produced these works during her teenage years, there is some undeniable talent here."
•Interview:Comics Book Resources covers the Gilbert Shelton interview conducted by Gary Groth at Comic-Con International. Bridget Alverson quotes Shelton, "I could only have animal comics and Little Lulu, but Donald Duck and Little Lulu are great stuff."
He'll be hosting an awesome event at Books Inc. in the Castro this Thursday, July 26th at 7:30 PM, and he'll be joined by a cast of contributors, including Trina Robbins, Ed Luce, Rick Worley, and Robert Triptow for a series of comic book readings to celebrate the release of this important anthology!
Books Inc. is located at 2275 Market Street in San Francisco. Don't miss it!