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Category >> Peanuts

Daily OCD: 12/21/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under SupermenRobert GoodinRobert CrumbRichard SalareviewsPrince ValiantPeanutsKevin HuizengaJohnny RyanJoe DalyJacques TardiHumbugHans RickheitGahan WilsonDash ShawCharles M SchulzCarol TylerBest of 2009 21 Dec 2009 5:44 PM

Online Commentary & Diversions are not slowing down, no sir:

List: New York Magazine's Dan Kois names You'll Never Know, Book 1: A Good and Decent Man by C. Tyler one of the ten Best Comics of 2009

List: The Daily Cross Hatch posts "The Best Damned Comics of the Decade Chosen by the Artists" — among the wide-ranging choices are I Killed Adolf Hitler by Jason, The Three Paradoxes by Paul Hornschemeier, Palestine and Safe Area Gorazde by Joe Sacco, The Complete Peanuts 1952-1953 (which doesn't exist, but 1950-1952 and 1953-1954 do), Ghost World and Eightball #22 (Ice Haven) & #23 by Daniel Clowes, Late Bloomer by Carol Tyler, Sammy the Mouse by Zak Sally, Locas and Locas II by Jaime Hernandez, Fear of Comics by Gilbert Hernandez, Explainers by Jules Feiffer, Jimbo in Purgatory by Gary Panter, and Schizo #4 by Ivan Brunetti

List: At their The SF Site: Nexus Graphica column, Rick Klaw and Mark London Williams name their top 5 comics of the year. For Williams it's West Coast Blues by Tardi & Manchette at #5 ("one of the year's best crime fiction reads, at least in comics"); for Klaw it's Humbug at #4 ("The slipcased set wisely includes several insightful and interesting extras") and Tardi's West Coast Blues and You Are There tied at #3 ("one of the best crime graphic novels ever produced" and "masterfully satirizes French society and politics unlike any comic before or since" respectively)

List: J. Caleb Mozzocco names some top 20 favorites: C. Tyler ranks his 17th favorite writer for You'll Never Know, Book 1; Johnny Ryan's Prison Pit: Book 1 sports his 4th favorite cover; and The Red Monkey Double Happiness Book by Joe Daly is his 20th favorite OGN/limited series (obviously it falls in the former category)

List: Comic Book Resources' Brian Cronin lists his Top Ten Comics of 2009, including Michael Kupperman's Tales Designed to Thrizzle #5 in the 10th spot ("continues to be a brilliantly absurd comic book every time out") and Ganges #3 by Kevin Huizenga in 4th place ("The first story is mind-boggling... Absolute top notch sequential work")

Guide: If you've always wondered what part of R. Crumb's enormous oeuvre was the best place to start, Robot 6's Chris Mautner takes you to "Comics College" with some solid advice

Review: "Few cartoonists ever had as lavish a tribute as a three-volume-slipcased collection, but few are as deserving as [Gahan] Wilson. Collecting 50 years worth of his monthly single page gag cartoons from Playboy, [Gahan Wilson: Fifty Years of Playboy Cartoons] is a definitive overview of a remarkable talent and viewpoint. ... Beautifully designed and printed, the books contain cut-out pages, and the slipcase itself becomes a window for a trapped photo of Wilson. Text extras include Wilson's prose short stories and an appreciation by Neil Gaiman. If these three volumes are a bit much for one sitting, periodic dipping in will always satisfy." – Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

Review: "[You Are There] is an absurdist satire,... and a pretty terrific one. ... It's easy to picture it as one of those long-form fourth-season Monty Python episodes... [I]t's seriously a master class on creating a sense not just of place but of a claustrophobic, chaotic, unsustainable state of mind. ... Killer stuff, and more fun than you remember it from French class." – Sean T. Collins

Review: "This time around, we get Strange Suspense by Steve Ditko, whom you may have heard of. ...[and] man! are these some cool comics. ... Ditko... had no restraints, and the stories show it. This is pretty wild stuff. ... We really get a sense of a master at work in this book, even though it was so early in Ditko's career. ... It's totally worth the price!" – Greg Burgas, Comic Book Resources

Review: "...Tyler’s sensitive 'voice' remains easily recognizable in her latest book, You’ll Never Know. ... This book is to be savored slowly and on its own terms." – Ng Suat Tong, The Comics Journal

Review: Scott Anderson of Prism Comics, examining the "rollicking compendium" Supermen! The First Wave of Comic Book Heroes 1936-1941, notes "Grisly deaths, drug addicts, crime lords, strippers, drunk molls, and morally iffy protagonists, that, ladies and gentlemen, is how they wrote comics for kids, millions of kids, in the innocent days of yesteryear." (Via Journalista)

Review: "...[F]or a cartoonist like Dash Shaw, who revels in drawing’s fluidity and expressive imperfections, the transition between comics and animation is a natural one. His splendid four-part animated web series for IFC.com, The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century A.D., underscores what’s best about all of his work—its eclecticism and intimate drama." – Nicole Rudick, Artforum

Plug: "The Definitive Prince Valiant Companion... is great stuff if you're a fan of the strip and those who are should add this to their last minute Christmas list right away." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6

Plug: "The Complete Peanuts 1971-1974... This collection of the 11th and 12th volumes of a planned 25-book set, designed by Canadian cartoonist and designer Seth, shows Schulz's staggering talent in the prime of his career and even introduces Linus and Lucy's little brother, Rerun." – Jonathan Kuehlein, Toronto Star

Interview: Big Shiny Robot! talks to Dash Shaw: "I’ve never sold a treatment and then executed something with the expectations of the publisher looming over my shoulder. ... These comics were going to exist in some form anyway. It’s all been a combination of drawing a ridiculous amount and total luck."

Things to see: A nice gallery of Richard Sala's Christmas cards through the years

Things to see: "Postcard from Fielder" part 3 by Kevin Huizenga

Things to see: On the Covered blog, Robert Goodin reimagines Carl Barks's Donald Duck

Things to see: Hans Rickheit's Ectopiary, page 3 — comment on Hans's blog (warning: gross picture)

First Look: The Complete Peanuts 1977-1978 (Vol. 14)
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under SethPeanutscontestsComing AttractionsCharles M Schulz 17 Dec 2009 4:45 PM

The Complete Peanuts 1977-1978 mockup cover

The 1975-1976 volume of The Complete Peanuts is still a few months away (March 2010) but we just can't wait to bring you this first glimpse of the volume after that, 1977-1978, featuring cover star Patricia "Peppermint Patty" Reichardt (yep, that's her full name, as revealed in 1971-1972). Design, as always, by Seth. Note that this is a preliminary version and that some details may change between now and next Fall when the book is released.

Hey, let's have some fun: the first person in the comments to correctly guess the cover star for the 1979-1980 volume wins a copy of our Unseen Peanuts comic from Free Comic Book Day 2007! Winner revealed tomorrow.

Daily OCD: 12/17/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Tony MillionaireSethreviewsPopeyePeanutsMichael KuppermanMatthias LehmannMaakiesJordan CraneJoe SaccoJasonJacques TardiGilbert HernandezGahan WilsonfashionEC SegarDaniel ClowesCraig YoeCharles M SchulzCarol SwainBest of 2009Abstract Comics 17 Dec 2009 3:21 PM

When these Online Commentary & Diversions posts get long enough I get an error message in our blogging interface; this is one of those, so buckle in:

List: Heeb's Graphic Novel Gift Guide includes Popeye Vol. 4: "Plunder Island", which editor Jeff Newelt says contains "heartfelt masterpieces of illustrated slapstick adventure." (via Robot 6)

List: Design Observer's recommended Holiday Books 2009 includes Abstract Comics: "...[T]his arresting book is like a scoop of primordial narrative, representational mud. Which is to say, it has vitaminic powers."

List: Jason's Low Moon and Michael Kupperman's Tales Designed to Thrizzle Vol. 1 get shout-outs from our esteemed colleagues on the Matador Records/Beggars Group staff in their annual staff/artist end-of-year best-of Matablog megapost

List: Comics-and-More's Dave Ferraro's Favorite Comic Book Covers of 2009 include Luba by Gilbert Hernandez (designed by Jacob Covey), Uptight #3 by Jordan Crane, West Coast Blues by Tardi & Manchette (designed by Adam Grano), Abstract Comics (designed by Jacob Covey), and The Complete Peanuts 1973-1974 (designed by Seth)

Review: "Giraffes In My Hair: A Rock ‘N’ Roll Life... is my favorite graphic novel of the year, and it is marinated in a life lived through real rock and roll delivered via stories as wide-open and lung-puncturing as a two minute Ramones rant. Artist Swain is an alternative comics’ veteran... with an attractively scruffy style; storyteller Paley has an author-blessed background in the margins of the freak milieu... This comic book adaptation of a real life shows the biggest bruises and the smallest scars, but cuts out all the heroic flab. Again, one of the best graphic novels of the year, as well as one of the best rock books too." – Chris Estey, KEXP

Review: "The Playboy cartoons collected [in Gahan Wilson: Fifty Years of Playboy Cartoons] demonstrate above all Wilson's phenomenal range in subject, style, and inspiration. ... The menace in domestic relations, the evil that kids are capable of, the outright nastiness that man inflicts on man: it's all here, drawn in Wilson's inimitable comic style. ... And Fantagraphics has also served Wilson well.  This collection is a wonder of book design, with die-cut boards, marvelous color reproduction, and a fantastic slipcase.  The clear plastic panel on one side reveals the laminated  back board of the books, each one a different headshot photo of Wilson himself, his face smashed against the plastic, a prisoner in his own collection. It's a perfect expression of all the inspired madness within." – Thomas DePietro, The Barnes & Noble Review

Review: "[Abstract Comics] is a great book for the comics enthusiast and visual artist alike." – Book Soup Blog (via the Abstract Comics Blog)

Review: "The comics [in Abstract Comics] resemble IQ quizzes that test the ability to recognise patterns. But they are more difficult here — insanely difficult — as they replace simple geometric shapes with abstract comic lines, colours and collage. Solving them will no doubt provide tremendous pleasure but there are no answers given, of course." – Parka Blogs, who also have very nice photos and video of the book (also via the Abstract Comics Blog)

Reviews: Érico Assis of Brazilian site Omelete has the rundown on the recently released Brazilian edition of The Complete Peanuts 1950-1952 (Vol. 1): "But of course, the interest here is the historical value. Maybe time to recover, at least you remember the pop culture, were much simpler. If you like to do time travel, at least with the brain, Complete Peanuts gives you several hours of escapism for a past environment of children, a bit silly. And perhaps so happy." Also: "If Tales Designed to Thrizzle does not please a dedicated fan of Monty Python, I like my stuffed parrot. ... With the collection, it's time to conquer the world. At least the world of smart people who recognize the genius of Monty Python." (slightly broken English from Google translation)

Review: "In The Great Anti-War Cartoons, Craig Yoe has gathered an amazing assembly of peaceful protests that seeks to prove that the pen is truly mightier than the sword. ... All of it is thought-provoking and deserves a look. And where else will you see a collection like this? Art Spiegelman, Robert Crumb, Rube Goldberg, Honore Daumier… my god. Even if you don’t dig the message, you gotta dig the art. In the end, it’s obviously a book that’ll stick with me and would make a worthy addition to your collection. ... Grade: A" – Chad Derdowski, Mania

Review: "War sucks, and [in The Great Anti-War Cartoons] Yoe has selected a wide range of cartoons that make the point with elegance and grim wit. ...[I]n terms of craft, vision, and passion, political cartoons simply don't get much better." – Noah Berlatsky, Chicago Reader

Review: Noah Berlatsky is the 4th writer at The Hooded Utilitarian to take a crack at Ghost World in their critical roundtable: "I’ve never been able to quite wrap my head around what about the book so thoroughly irritates me."

Metacommentary: TCJ.com's Shaenon Garrity comments on the (TCJ-hosted) Hooded Utilitarian's critical roundtable on Ghost World: "...the other reason I like Ghost World: like it or hate it, you can talk about it endlessly."

Profile: Turkish cartoonist Adem Mermerkaya looks at the work of Joe Sacco (autotranslation is little help I'm afraid but it looks fairly substantive if you read the language)

Things to see: A whole mess of new stuff — sketches, gags, abstractions — on T. Edward Bak's art blog, plus an early character design and research for his current Mome story 

Things to see: Matthias Lehmann's latest addition to his art blog is particularly nice

Democracy/fashion: Vote for the next Maakies t-shirt design from Waterloo

Schulz's Beethoven: Schroeder's Muse exhibit now online
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under PeanutsCharles M Schulz 16 Dec 2009 1:39 PM

Schulz & Schroeder

The Schulz's Beethoven: Schroeder's Muse exhibit mounted by the Charles M. Schulz Museum last year has now opened in its new online iteration. This interactive exhibit allows you to listen to the excerpts of music in the strips as you read, plus experience more Beethoven performances, clips, and background information. This really is a must-see for any Peanuts fan.

Alec Baldwin & Peanuts
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under PeanutsComing Attractions 15 Dec 2009 12:23 AM

We've received a few questions about our announcement last week that Alec Baldwin will contribute an Introduction to an upcoming volume of The Complete Peanuts. The idea was inspired by this Vanity Fair "Proust Questionnaire" with Baldwin from earlier this year, wherein Baldwin names Charlie Brown his "hero of fiction." So there you go.

Confidential to Gary Groth: here's a suggestion for another 30 Rock star to write a Peanuts intro sometime in the future (found while researching this post):

Tina Fey in a Snoopy t-shirt

Steak knives
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under PeanutsIn-joke CentralComing Attractions 11 Dec 2009 3:18 PM

Cadillac: Where Craftsmanship is a Creed

Lots of excitement in the office today: Gary Groth has earned the Glengarry leads, closing the deal with Alec Baldwin to write the Introduction to The Complete Peanuts 1977-1978 (Vol. 14), coming Fall 2010. The title of this post comes from Gary's interoffice email, and Ted Jouflas replied with the above image. (I'm more of a 30 Rock man myself.)

UPDATE: Baldwin-mania continues as Kim Thompson confirms, in an email titled "Everybody loves my Schweddy balls," that Peppermint Patty is the cover star of that volume.

Daily OCD: 12/10/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under reviewsRay FenwickPrince ValiantPeter BaggePeanutsjon vermilyeaJohn HankiewiczHal FosterDon FlowersDash ShawCharles M Schulz 10 Dec 2009 2:03 PM

Starting with today's Online Commentary & Diversions, some minor formatting changes to hopefully make it easier to scan all that text:

Review: "Published in the oversize Sunday page format ala the Fantagraphics’ Popeye collection (also, brilliant), Prince Valiant Vol. 1: 1937-1938 collects the earliest of Foster’s tales of the exiled Prince of Thule. ... The colors are warm and vibrant, and the line art pristine. The stories themselves are a delight. ... The art is consistently stunning... each page is spectacular to behold. ... The strips in Prince Valiant Vol. 1: 1937-1938 are merely the first installment of a massive, groundbreaking, and thoroughly exciting adventure saga that was better than nearly anything during its time, and remains better than nearly anything on the shelves today." – Michael C. Lorah, Newsarama

Plug: On Twitter, The Believer calls Dash Shaw's animated IFC.com web series The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century A.D. "eye-meltingly lovely"

Plug: "Fantagraphics is so cool. If I won the lottery I’d buy a copy of everything they stock and build a library to house it all." Thanks, Anika in London!

Things to see: Comic Book Resources presents a hilarious one-off Peter Bagge strip from Neat Stuff #1 as part of their "Year of Cool Comic Book Moments"

Things to see: Comicrazys presents a bunch of classic Don Flowers strips (via Mike Lynch)

Things to see: Sean T. Collins posts a bunch of updates to his awesome David Bowie sketchbook, starting with Jon Vermilyea

Things to see & buy: Wow, this etching by John Hankiewicz is really something (having done some etchings myself, I know a lot of work went into it), and also for sale

Things to see & buy: How'd you like a refillable glass water bottle with graphics designed by Ray Fenwick (or one of two other artists)? Faucet Face can make it happen (via Drawn)

Real estate: If you have $2.9 million, you could own a house that Charles M. Schulz lived in in the 1970s, reports the San Francisco Chronicle (via Comix 411, who breaks the asking price down to 58,000  Complete Peanuts box sets)

Video/slideshow catch-up: Peanuts & more
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under videopreviewsPeanutsFrom Wonderland with LoveFemke HiemstraCharles M SchulzAbstract Comics 9 Dec 2009 12:57 PM

They're long past due in terms of the books' release dates, but please enjoy these Flickr video & photo slideshows of The Complete Peanuts 1973-1974 (link to Flickr) and the 1971-1974 Box Set (link to Flickr) nonetheless.

And there are more recent photo/video uploads of summer books — I'll just link to them so as not to clog the page with embedded players:

Abstract Comics: The Anthology (slideshow - order/more info)
From Wonderland with Love: Danish Comics in the Third Millennium (slideshow - order/more info)
Rock Candy: The Artwork of Femke Hiemstra (slideshow - order/more info)

There's about 8 more to come, which I hope to have done by the end of the year, so stay tuned.

First Look: Fantagraphics Releases for March 2010
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Walt KellyTim LaneRobert CrumbPeter BaggePeanutsKrazy KatJacques TardiJack ColeComing AttractionsCharles M SchulzBasil Wolverton 9 Dec 2009 7:00 AM

IT WAS THE WAR OF THE TRENCHES

Just as we received our office copies of the new issue of Previews, we've already submitted our March 2010 releases for the next issue, and as always we just can't wait to give our website readers an exclusive first look at our offerings! It's another big month — heck, I guess they all are — with 9 books & comics headed your way. We've got us another Jacques Tardi masterpiece (pictured above), the next volume of The Complete Peanuts, a brand new Hate Annual from Peter Bagge, another great collection of Walt Kelly's Our Gang, our new collection of the earliest Krazy Kat Sundays, and a great, never-before-reprinted Basil Wolverton rarity, plus an R. Crumb classic in hardcover for the first time, and softcover reprints from Tim Lane and Jack Cole! Here's the scoop.

Daily OCD: 12/4/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Stephen DixonrockPortable GrindhousePopeyePeanutsJacques BoyreauEC SegarBeastsAl Columbia 4 Dec 2009 3:30 PM

Online Commentary & Diversions:

• Review: "Like a Dog compiles several of [Zak Sally's] stories from the last 15 years in one sweet, annotated hardcover. I'm amazed by how the styles vary -- one minute Sally can talk about working in a punk-rock T-shirt shop, the next he's going on about Dostoevsky -- but most stories are quite compelling and, man, the guy is just so cool. Sally is an intensely personal writer, and I appreciate how much he reveals about himself within these pages. His work can get a little messy sometimes, but I say that's just another reason to like it." – Whitney Matheson, USA TODAY Pop Candy

• Review: "...[T]he work contained in [Strange Suspense: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 1] (and kudos to Fantagraphics on the excellent and handsome production work) constantly reminds you of just how stellar an artist Ditko would prove to be. ... For historians, both amateur and otherwise, who thrill to the prospect of seeing that maturity take place, this is the book for you." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6

• Plug: Jason Parker of Benevolent Street says "I will be buying [Portable Grindhouse: The Lost Art of the VHS Box] soon!"

• Plug: Mike Sterling calls Popeye Vol. 4 "Another collection of the classic strip, and it continues to be great."

• Plugs: Among the blogs taking note of our upcoming collection of Stephen Dixon stories What Is All This?: Condalmo, Thumb Drives and Oven Clocks, Converstaional Reading and Gurldoggie

• Things to see: A new music video from The Francies (a.k.a. Al Columbia — via Floating World)

• Monsters: On Jacob Covey's Beasts! Blog, an update from monster-hunter Ken Gerhard (interviewed in Beasts! Book 2) on the trail of Sasquatch!

• Monsters: Tennessee mayor loses his shit over "our muslim president" [sic] pre-empting A Charlie Brown Christmas (link via Eric Reynolds)