• Convention sketches inspired by song lyrics is a pretty great idea, and an Atlanta comic fan named Erich collects them and posts them on his blog. Above: Lisa Leavenworth + Mudhoney by Peter Bagge (hat tip: CBR)
• Review: "In this Golden Age of Comic Strip Reprints, Gottfredson's Mickey Mouse was, I had long assumed, the one that had gotten away.... It should go without saying that Fantagraphics has done their usual stellar job in regards to editorial presentation... and design... In addition to over two and a half year's worth of the strip, the book contains an impressive amount of introductory material and contextual essays... There are other neat bonus features, such as cover images from foreign editions collecting storylines from the strip. As for the comics themselves, they entertain on a couple of levels. First, it should be of interest to comics fans as one of the Great Comic Strips Of All Time.... The comic strip should also be of great interest to Disney aficionados, as it represents one of the earliest transitions of the animated characters into another medium..." – Patrick Markfort, Articulate Nerd
• Review: "This is a comic book that feels like a video nasty. Its characters could well have been discovered from drawings scratched into school desks, its plot may well have been cribbed from the insane diary of a 9 year old. But that is what makes the 2 volumes of Prison Pit (published to date) so brilliant and unique. Writer/Artist Johnny Ryan has taken all those dreams, that desensitisation to violence, and our eagerness to doodle the grotesque, and turned it into a full ongoing epic.... Prison Pit is insane; it is a title that simply shouldn’t exist outside of a teenager’s head. But it does, and it’s brilliant. A forgotten level of comedic violence, an absence of exposition and dialogue that all reduces down into a paste of pure barbaric fun." – Kevin Scully, Comicsphere
• Review: "...Yeah! is a surprisingly delightful fun fantasy of kicky pop music, weird alien fans, and evil twin competition bands.... Witty, high-spirited, and thoroughly fun, it’s the greatest Saturday morning cartoon adventure that never was. Although originally in color, Fantagraphics has reprinted the series in black-and white. It’s a sound artistic (Gilbert’s art is bold and vibrant in its original inks) and economic (keeping the price under $20) decision, and while purists may argue otherwise, a black-and-white Yeah! will appeal to teens, young girls, and manga fans: a whole new market for this sadly under-lauded comic." – guest contributor Bully the Little Stuffed Bull (with help from John DiBello), Robot 6
• Plugs:Panel Patter's Rob McMonigal spotlights a number of our 2011 releases as recommendations for SPX purchases, saying "It is stupidly easy to spend money with Fantagraphics, because they put out so many great books every year."
• Review: "The harmony of words and illustration strengthen Kelso’s voice as a narrator of stories that appeal to women of all ages.... This collection of short stories is a fantastic starting point for those of you who still view comics as Marvel/DC, or as ‘kiddie’ entertainment. (Shame!!) While playing with fantasy elements we all loved reading as little kids, Kelso incorporates today’s real life issues — STDs, pregnancy, being broke, infidelity — into her comics. Raw, yet refined, Queen of the Black Black is an enjoyable, meaty read that left me pumped to experiment with my own comics style." – Erina Davidson, Bust
• Review: "The book itself is stunning.... Fantagraphics is well-known for their quality book projects and this may be one of their best yet.... The Mickey Mouse strip itself is a hoot — especially in these early days. Mickey’s a feisty little guy in the strips, more so than in most of his animated appearances. He frequently packs heat (gasp!), knows all kinds of dirty tricks, and isn’t afraid to get into some real fisticuffs.... Even if you don’t care much for Mickey or the whole Disney mouse machine, this book should be on your bookshelf just for the slice of 1930s Depression-era Americana and the amazing joy of Mickey’s flinty 'can-do' attitude.... Watch for this wonderful series to do very well in various comics awards next year. This is important stuff." – K.C. Carlson, Comics Worth Reading
• Review: "There's still an agreeable edge to the series at this point [The Complete Peanuts 1979-1980] — Peppermint Patty's resigned acceptance to a life of D-minuses is really kind of savage — but Charles Schulz was relaxed enough to enjoy a few in-jokes and celebrity shout-outs to the likes of Bill Mauldin and various tennis stars.... Each time that Schulz started one of his longer, weirder stories..., readers will find themselves wondering how in the world he resolved it. He succeeded every single time." – Grant Goggans, The Hipster Dad's Bookshelf (via Spurge)
• Review: "Like crisps, chocolate and bad puns; once you get the taste of Robert Crumb on your palate, it’s almost impossible to shift the craving for more. Here’s another re-released edition [Vol. 13] from the superb and multi-award winning Complete Crumb Comics series that will tickle the bad-taste-buds of discerning comics cognoscenti and is bound to make a whole new generation of fans among the cool kids..." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!
• Scene/Plug:Comic Book Resources' Sonia Harris shares a charming Hernandez Bros. anecdote from Comic-Con and plugs the new Love and Rockets: "I won’t spoil it for you, but I can tell you that it is even better than the 3 that have come before it (and they were fantastic.) Seriously, Love and Rockets is just getting better and better."
During a pig roast party in Georgetown last Saturday night, Jim Woodring and Fantagraphics Bookstore curator Larry Reid ran into the proud owner of Fantagraphics old delivery truck. At a 1991 signing at Fallout, this white Econoline van was adorned with exquisite images by Woodring, Daniel Clowes, the Hernandez Brothers, Peter Bagge, Roberta Gregory, Aline Komisnky-Crumb, Michael Dougan, Paul Mavrides and R. Crumb, who lettered his famous "Keep on Truckin" phrase on the front bumper. The van was sold for a song and sat derelict for years, but the owner reported that restoration of the historic vehicle began two weeks ago. We'll keep you posted.
• Review: "...Wilfred Santiago... has done something very extraordinary and that's create a graphic novel that will eventually stand the test of time. If there was ever a novel that every Latino/Latina (baseball fan or not), comic book fan, family or anyone who volunteers/works in nonprofit must own in their library, it's 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente. Am I exaggerating? No, being the comic book nerd that I am, I haven't been this moved from a novel since I read Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.... While Roberto Clemente was a fantastic baseball player, it was his humanity in this graphic novel that shone brightly. And I thank Wilfred Santiago for creating his masterpiece and Fantagraphics for publishing it. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!" – Cesar Diaz, Latino Sports
• Review: "[Megan Kelso's] interest in open-ended narrative is apparent and, while occasionally frustrating, important, and her gouache work in the title story [in Queen of the Black Black] is lovely and subtle..." – Hillary Brown, Paste
• Scene:The New Yorker's Vanna Le reports from Lou Reed's reading of The Raven at the Strand bookstore in NYC last week: "Mattotti's illustrations, which were projected in a slide show, saturated the room with a kind of terror and despair. There was also something about the sound and sudden fits of fury in Reed's voice that seemed to mirror Poe's tormented vision." From the accompanying slideshow of images of the book: "Lorenzo Mattotti skillfully brings out the terror and elegance of Reed and Poe’s joint masterwork…. The book is an aesthetically stunning treat — but it isn’t only for the coffee table. Mattotti’s artwork is as enigmatic and suspenseful as the poetry itself."
It was my birthday a couple of weeks ago, the big four-zero, and I thought I'd share this awesome little card given to me by my old pals, Peter & Joanne Bagge. Pete drew it, and in true Bagge tradition, Joanne colored it:
If you've always wanted to get a behind-the-scenes look inside our glamorous offices and see what things are like around here on a day-to-day basis, this segment that The A.V. Club came by to film for their "Pop Pilgrims" series should give you a pretty good idea. Host Dan Telfer and his crew got the grand tour from Gary Groth, and we had Peter Bagge stop by to give his perspective and insights. My favorite parts are the bits that show my co-workers just going about their day and getting shit done. (I missed all the hubbub that day because I was on my way to... oh, some darn convention or other.) They wrote up a nice profile of us too — be sure to check it out.