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Category >> Prince Valiant

The Definitive Prince Valiant Companion - Previews, Pre-Order
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under videoPrince Valiantpreviewsnew releasesHal FosterBrian Kane 18 Nov 2009 2:43 PM

The Definitive Prince Valiant Companion

Brand new on our website and available for pre-order: The Definitive Prince Valiant Companion, in both softcover and hardcover editions. This ultimate book for Valiant fans has been long out of print; Hal Foster biographer Brian M. Kane has completely updated the book with over 30 years of material, new interviews & articles, rare archival material, and a special color section of strips from every era. Download an exclusive 9-page PDF excerpt containing a new essay by Kane right here, and view a photo & video slideshow preview of the hardcover edition embedded below. Click here if it is not visible, and/or to view it larger in a new window (recommended — and we also have a slideshow of the softcover). This book is scheduled to be in stock and ready to ship in about 3 weeks (both editions will be released simultaneously) and in stores right around the same time (subject to change).

Daily OCD: 11/10/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under reviewsPrince ValiantJohnny RyanJim FloraHal FosterBob FingermanAl ColumbiaAbstract Comics 10 Nov 2009 2:56 PM

Online Commentary & Diversions:

• Review: "The different techniques — ink on paper, watercolor, pencil, black or color, collage, digital manipulation, minimalist drawing, patchwork, cartoony lines... — associated to the different strategies and presences of 'comics' elements in these variations will make us wonder, on the one hand, on a progressive dilution of any formal determination in relation to this art (bringing it closer, thus, to freer or more conceptual artistic disciplines, in which the gesture is more important than, say, talent, virtuosity, technical prowess), and, on the other hand, in the phantasmatical emergence of an unifying idea (a name: 'abstract comics'), but which is, in the last instance, irreducible to something directly analyzable." – Pedro Vieira de Moura, SuccoAcido

• Review: "I wish to add my voice to the chorus of those who really, really like Johnny Ryan's left-hand turn into violent fantasy with the promise of more to come, Prison Pit. ... Prison Pit should help anyone paying attention to appreciate how carefully Ryan designs and executes his work. You could not achieve the gruesome effects and consistent energy Ryan does here without being absolutely on top of that style... Ryan's general intelligence — I think he's one of the smartest cartoonists — is also on display in how quickly he picks up the rhythms of the kind of sprawling manga and art-comics fantasies that this book frequently recalls. ... Crucially, I never knew exactly where Ryan was headed but every scene in Prison Pit seemed to flow naturally from the previous one right up to the brutally funny, icky and appropriate ending. I hope there are ten more." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter

• Review: "Unlike anything Ryan's done thematically, or really, unlike anything Fantagraphics has published before, Prison Pit is a non-stop action comic. It's pretty successful in that regard, with imaginative character designs and some surprising battles, full of many odd transformations and characters surviving the loss of limbs, even a head. And although the genre is different, Ryan can't seem to deviate from a fascinating mix of sex and violence and bodily fluids." – Christopher Allen, Comic Book Galaxy

• Plug: "[Pim & Francie] is an arrangement of drawings — sometimes preparations for drawings — generally honed in on the journey of two old-timey animation-looking kids. Sometimes there's dialogue, sometimes there's 'scenes,' but most of the work's interest comes from wrenching you though time and space as the narrative stretches just thin enough to part in spots, only to gum together again for a little while, until it's pulled again." – Joe McCulloch, Jog - The Blog

• Plug: "Hal Foster's Prince Valiant is probably my all time favorite comic strip, and this new collection consolidating the strips from 1937-1938 is very well produced." – San Antonio Board Gamers

• Reviewer: TCJ Assistant Editor Kristy Valenti puts on her freelancer cap once again and reviews Samuel R. Delaney & Mia Wolff's Bread & Wine for comiXology

• Events: The Daily Cross Hatch's Brian Heater reports from last weekend's King Con in Brooklyn, with audio from the Bob Fingerman Spotlight panel

• Things to see: Several vintage Jim Flora illustrations (including possibly some previously unpublished ones) ran in last Sunday's UK Telegraph Sunday jazz supplement — the Jim Flora Art blog has a link to a PDF

Daily OCD: 10/5/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Tim HensleyrockRobert PollardRobert GoodinreviewsPrince ValiantPeanutsLove and RocketsKevin HuizengaJim FloraJaime HernandezJacques TardiHal FosterFrom Wonderland with LoveEllen ForneyDash ShawCharles M Schulzart 5 Oct 2009 2:52 PM

Lots of Online Commentary & Diversions today:

• Review: "The graphic novel, it turns out, is a form especially well-suited to the noir genre. Maybe this isn’t surprising — comics have always run the gamut of moods from goofy to autobiographical to just plain smutty. But it still gives a shiver of pleasure to stumble upon a graphic novel that captures the hardboiled tone of classic noir as perfectly as West Coast Blues, Jacques Tardi’s adaptation of a 1976 crime novel by Jean-Patrick Manchette. ... The plot includes bursts of bruality, dark realizations, alluring women and grizzled observations from its antihero — all the best conventions of noir, in other words, preserved and reborn in a fresh new medium. File it next to Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler." – Molly Young, We Love You So

• Review: "...[West Coast Blues is] a well-crafted piece of genre entertainment. I dug it." – Sandy Bilus, I Love Rob Liefeld

• Review: "I had a significant crush on The Death Of Speedy Ortiz the summer I was 20 years old, reading and re-reading the serialized story with a passion I had never brought to a single comic story before then. ... I thought it was wonderful that summer I read it 10,000 times, and I remain convinced it's a special story every time I've picked it up since." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter

• Review: "One of the many, many things I like about Kevin Huizenga's work is that a lot of his comics are about things that are not likely candidates for visual representation, and he manages to make them fascinating to look at anyway. Most of [Ganges #3] is about the process of perceiving one's own consciousness--the sort of hyperconsciousness of your own mind that happens when you're trying to get to sleep and can't--which is potentially the least interesting thing anybody could draw. And it looks fantastic..." – Douglas Wolk, The Savage Critics

• Review: "[Prince Valiant Vol. 1: 1937-1938] is gorgeous. ... [Hal] Foster is frequently cited as an influence on other great cartoonists, and part of it is his precise line and the way he builds a convincing world from authentic architecture, clothing and armaments. That's part of the appeal, but Foster also excels at staging. ... Unlike daily strip collections, the full, weekly Prince Valiant page ends up a brisk, headlong read... Prince Valiant is something I picked up expecting to admire. I had no idea I would love it. – Christopher Allen, Comic Book Galaxy

• Review: "Although far from all the artists represented in the new anthology From Wonderland with Love are so experimental with form and content that you must ask yourself if this can really still be termed comics, it is truly the cream of the crop who are assembled here. This collection offers a great perspective on how broad and versatile the talent pool is in Denmark." – Torben Rølmer Bille, Kulturkapellet (translated from Danish)

• Review: "Charles M. Schulz is my favorite cartoonist, so I was excited to see that the 12th volume in the [Complete Peanuts] series has an introduction by the legendary Billie Jean King... This is a important series of books which I give an ‘A Plus’ and I think it would be the ultimate part of a Peanuts fan’s collection!" – The Catgirl Critics' Media Mewsings

• Interview: At Largehearted Boy, author Jami Attenberg talks to Ellen Forney, saying "This mixture of openness and strength makes her work... extremely powerful and relatable, and probably very necessary for your bookshelf." From Ellen: "Sometimes I have to reflect and remind myself that I do have many more skills and more experience in my repertoire at this point, and to appreciate that the challenges don't freak me out so much. Still, some challenges are exhilarating and some are a pain in the ass."

• Commentary: At Comics Comics, Dash Shaw comments on and posts a transcript of a panel he was on at TCAF earlier this year

• Things to see: Coffee shop sketchbookery by Robert Goodin

• Things to see and buy: Puzzle paintings by Tim Hensley for sale via Buenaventura. I got one of an earlier edition from Tim at Comic-Con for a steal and it is a glorious thing

• Things to see and buy: The 2010 Jim Flora calendars are in

• Tunes: At Stereogum, "How Wrong You Are," the new song and video from Robert Pollard's Boston Spaceships

Daily OCD: 9/28/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Thomas OttSteven WeissmanreviewsPrince ValiantPopeyehooray for HollywoodHans RickheitHal FosterCarol SwainBasil Wolverton 28 Sep 2009 1:46 PM

Online Commentary & Diversions:

• Review: "[The Squirrel Machine is a] darkly disturbing, brilliantly drawn story... B&W pen and ink drawings elucidate complex machines and Victorian-era architecture in baroque detail, while surrealist imaginings take turns for the truly repugnant. Sexual perversion, putrefaction and serial-killer style artworks are all ornately portrayed, as are the buildings, shops, horse-drawn carriages and crumbling mansions of a 19th-century small town. The story, while told primarily in pictures, includes a stilted and formal dialogue that only adds to the perversity. ... Though not for the faint of heart, this obscure tale will offer rich rewards to the right kind of reader, one who appreciates grotesque horror, angry mobs and the creative explosion of a repressed Victorian sexuality." – Publishers Weekly

• Review: "In this memoir [Giraffes in My Hair], [Bruce] Paley openly shares his stories of the '60s and '70s, and by the end you'll feel like he's a long-lost uncle. ... At some point, this book will probably become a movie, but I suggest you check out the uncensored version with [Carol] Swain's great artwork, which sets the scene perfectly. It's a miracle Paley survived to tell these anecdotes, but I'm glad he did." – Whitney Matheson, USA Today Pop Candy

• Plug: Animator Jan Stephens recommends the works of Thomas Ott

• Profile: Joe Heller, editorial cartoonist for the Green Bay Post-Gazette, talks to the Philadelphia Inquirer's Tirdad Derakhshani in a syndicated article about the influence of Prince Valiant ("The release of Prince Valiant, Vol. 1: 1937-1938, the first in a new series of gorgeously printed, hardcover Valiant collections from Fantagraphics Books, served as a bittersweet reminder of the century-long rise and eventual decline of a great American art form, the comic strip"), with accompanying video

• Hooray for Hollywood: Popeye optioned for CGI movie; please don't screw it up

• Onomatopœia: Stephen Worth at the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive Project Blog presents a great Basil Wolverton rarity: an article Wolverton wrote for the Daily Oregonian in 1948 titled "Acoustics in the Comics." Learn the difference between "SCHALAMPF!" and "PFWUMPFPH!" (It's a re-run, but still worth a look)

• Things to see: Is Steven Weissman (a) prepping for Halloween, (b) inventing a new superhero, or (c) hoping to get cast on the next season of Project Runway? Whatever it is, I like it

Daily OCD: 9/23/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under reviewsPrince ValiantLove and RocketsLos Bros HernandezHal FosterGahan WilsonDame Darcy 23 Sep 2009 2:42 PM

Online Commentary & Diversions, short but sweet:

• Plug: "Fantagraphics Books is now reissuing the first two years of Prince Valiant in the rich original colors — the pages are reproduced from Foster’s own engraver’s proofs. Every panel packs a one-two punch. A witch named Horrit once prophesied that Val would 'never know contentment,' but fans of the strip will find it here." – Cullen Murphy, Vanity Fair

• Review: "There hasn't been a bad time to be a fan of Los Bros Hernandez since they started making comics almost 30 years ago, but it's sure a good time to be a fan now.... [I]t's clear that the brothers are both still full of stories, and here [in Love and Rockets: New Stories] they take advantage of the new format to try out a number of new ideas, with a high rate of success. Looking forward to 2010." – Christopher Allen, Comic Book Galaxy

• Profile: At Graphic NYC, Christopher Irving enjoys a nice long chat with Gahan Wilson: "Circus freaks were also a big influence. My father used to take me to the circus, and though I loved circuses, what I really wanted to see was the sideshow. I dug the sideshow."

• Events/things to buy: Find out what's new with Dame Darcy — includes teacups and a lecture at Pacific Northwest College of Art

Daily OCD: 9/14/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Tim LaneTim HensleyRichard SalareviewsPrince ValiantJohnny RyanJoe DalyHans RickheitHal FosterAbstract Comics 14 Sep 2009 1:49 PM

Your Online Commentary & Diversions for today:

• Review: "With The Red Monkey Double Happiness Book, [Joe] Daly maintains some of the psychedelic trappings of his earlier stories but puts them within a framework of stoner noir (ala the film Pineapple Express) buddy story, only with Big Lebowski-style absurdity. However, the book can't really be reduced to familiar genre markers all that easily, and [a] firm, eccentric sense of place is the biggest reason why it works." - Rob Clough

• Review: "Needless to say, one could study the art found within Abstract Comics: The Anthology (published by Fantagraphics Books) for months, or one could flip through the entire thing in five minutes, and the conclusions one could draw from either experience of the volume could easily be justified as informed and insightful." - Alan David Doane, Comic Book Galaxy

• Review: "[Prince Valiant] creator Hal Foster is justly hailed for his stupendous full-pagers, full of panorama and carefully-researched settings.... We moderns are fortunate that  superb reprint editions of these classics are readily available..." - Brenda Clough, Book View Cafe Blog

• Review: "I love [Richard Sala's] older work and newer work alike - the evolution of Sala's inky, angular charmers is a treat to see - and [Delphine] (a retelling of Snow White) has been such a wonderful foreboding wander through the twisty, turn-y, dark forest." - Emily Martin, Inside a Black Apple

• Plug: "This week I started reading Prison Pit Vol. 1 and ... I ... it ... um ... the thing is ... it's .... wow." - Chris Mautner, Robot 6

• Analysis: Blog Flume's Ken Parille on Tim Hensley: "I can’t think of another cartoonist who approaches space -- and what we might call 'spatial color' -- in such a rigorously strange way."

• Interview: At The Daily Cross Hatch, part 3 of 4 of their interview with Hans Rickheit: "I can’t work from a script. If the book were really tightly scripted, I promise you I’d lose interest in it, and I might force myself to draw it, but the artwork would just become a lifeless thing. The book would suffer dramatically."

• Things to see: Baby vs. kangaroo and other absurdity from Tim Lane

More video previews
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under videoPrince ValiantpreviewsMomeJim FloraHal FosterFletcher Hanks 14 Sep 2009 10:36 AM
I won't choke your browser with any more embedded video players, but as promised, we've posted 4 more video previews of Summer '09 releases, which you can see at the product info pages at the following links: Mome Vol. 15 - Summer 2009, Prince Valiant Vol. 1: 1937-1938 by Hal Foster, The Sweetly Diabolic Art of Jim Flora, and You Shall Die by Your Own Evil Creation! by Fletcher Hanks. We should hopefully have another batch up soon.
Daily OCD: 9/11/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Tim LaneSteven WeissmanreviewsPrince ValiantPirus and MezzoJacques TardiHans RickheitHal FosterFletcher HanksFemke HiemstraDash ShawComing AttractionsBlazing CombatAl ColumbiaAbstract Comics 11 Sep 2009 1:28 PM

• Lists: Graphic Novel Reporter's "Graphic Novel Picks for Fall 2009" has Al Columbia's Pim & Francie: The Golden Bear Days as a pick for Tweens, while The Squirrel Machine, West Coast Blues, and The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century AD are on the Adult Fiction list

• Review: "...[T]hese extraordinary visions from a different, four-colour era [in You Shall Die by Your Own Evil Creation!] are as bold and striking as they are violent and strange.... Classic comics from a different age." - Grovel

• Review: "This new book from Fantagraphics of Femke Hiemstra’s work [Rock Candy] is gorgeous. The cloth hardbound book has a nice die-cut cover and the inside is jam packed with Femke’s works including tons of paintings and drawings alongside loose sketches.... The way the sketches are juxtaposed with the finished work in the book makes me feel like I’m getting an insider’s view. If you're a fan of 'pop surrealism,' this is a book for you." - Julia Rothman, Book By Its Cover

• Review: "I said, 'It seems to me that when comics become abstract, they really cease to be comics and become, for all effective purposes, simply abstract art.' But this anthology [Abstract Comics], in its best work as well as in its not-best, shows that that's not true. Comics really are a coherent enough medium to support their own tradition of abstraction. That tradition doesn't quite exist yet. But, in this anthology, [editor] Andrei [Molotiu] shows conclusively that it could." - Noah Berlatsky, The Hooded Utilitarian

• Review: "...magnificent reproductions, done in a sturdy hardcover [Prince Valiant Vol. 1: 1937-1938] with oversized pages and entirely restored colors and shadings (indeed, those of us who’ve seen Prince Valiant reprint editions in the past will need some mental time to adjust to how much we’ve been missing)." - Steven Donoghue, Open Letters Monthly (via Steven Hart)

• Commentary: At Comics Comics, Jeet Heer offers some follow-up thoughts to Dan Nadel's previous essay on Prince Valiant

• Interview: Adrian Kinnaird of From Earth's End talks to Abstract Comics contributor Draw: "I had an epiphany. The gutter is where all the action in a comic takes place, it's where the reader creates the comic reading experience.... I wasn't trying to create effects, I was trying to create a visual representation of what happens in the gutter of a comic."

• Preview: Rich Johnston of Bleeding Cool looks ahead to our February '10 release King of the Flies: Hallorave by Pirus & Mezzo: "King Of The Flies looks like it should disturb and entertain on an equal basis."

• Preview: Akileos Editions will be releasing a translated edition of Blazing Combat in France

• Things to see: At the Covered blog, Steven Weissman's Zip-a-Toney take on Superboy #116

• Things to see: The clown appears to be the "food" in this scenario, from Tim Lane

Daily OCD: 9/8/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Tim LaneThe Comics JournalreviewsPrince ValiantMichael KuppermanLove and RocketsKevin HuizengaJordan CraneJacques TardiHumbugHal FosterGilbert HernandezDash ShawBasil Wolverton 8 Sep 2009 4:03 PM

Some major comics writing out there over the holiday weekend making for an extra-beefy (and late) Online Commentary & Diversions update:

•Review/Profile: "Sure I'd read [Hal] Foster before, but I'd never found a way in. Fortunately, Fantagraphics recently released Prince Valiant Vol. 1: 1937-38, and I was able to absorb the material in a wholly new way.... I found this first book completely engrossing. Prince Valiant opens up a world that I wanted to stay in -- a wide-eyed early 20th century approach to fantasy with a now-vanished sincerity and wholesomeness. It's an all too rare pleasure in comics." - Dan Nadel, Comics Comics

• Review: "Medieval swordplay and adventure have never been as glorious as in Foster's Sunday-only comic strip. Although much reprinted (including an earlier version from the same publisher), this edition has been reproduced from pristine printer's proofs to give the gorgeous artwork its crispest version ever.... Foster's script is literate and full of vivid characterizations, like the headstrong but cunning Val and carefree Sir Gawain. But nothing surpasses his artwork—rich with details of armor, weapons and dress, the story comes to life with a palpable sense of magic and danger. Each drawing is a flawless illustration, perfectly composed; even a battle of 20 men comes alive in a tiny panel, with every action clearly delineated. Prince Valiant is one of the best-drawn comics ever, and this new edition does ample justice to its achievement." - Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

• Review: "Underneath the screaming and plagues, the giddy joy that [Basil Wolverton] seems to take in his art radiates off the page, just like it does in his secular work.... His creatures from sci-fi and horror, his fascination with grotesque bodily exaggeration, his devout Christian faith -- here it all comes together into an operatic and apocalyptic peak.... The Wolverton Bible might seem like a paradox to its religious audience and its alt-comics fans -- even if Wolverton himself never saw the contradiction." - Martyn Pedler, Bookslut

• Review: "As an historical object, sure, great. I think it should be in print. Kurtzman was a very important figure in comics, and the art and design of the pieces here are of an exceedingly high quality. I'm glad I can see more examples of Jaffee's, Elder's and Davis' work." Otherwise, Chris Allen gives up on Humbug

• Review: Joe McCulloch of Jog - The Blog has a major review of Tardi & Manchette's West Coast Blues -- I've read through it three times and it's too complex for a simple pull quote

• History/preview/profile/analysis: "The 300th issue of The Comics Journal is soon to hit the stands, and the magazine everyone in comics loves to hate rattles on, chugging and sputtering and picking up disreputable beardy guys like a Toonerville Trolley of spite.... In some Inglourious Basterds­-like alternate history, the 1990s ended with the twisted faces of Kim Thompson and Gary Groth hovering, laughing maniacally, over the charred and bullet-riddled corpse of Wizard magazine." - Shaenon K. Garrity, comiXology

• Analysis: du9 presents a new translation by Derik Badman of a 2006 piece by David Turgeon on Poison River by Gilbert Hernandez: "What first strikes the reader about this work is its narrative density. It isn’t uncommon for a single page to show as many places, times, and situations as there are panels." (Via Journalista)

• Interview: Jason Thibault of Optimum Wound talks to Tim Lane as part of their "Masters of Ink" series: "You do what seems the impossible and most absurd: you learn to breathe underwater, and revel in it. Get drunk on the water in your lungs. Cultivate a functional level of positive insanity. And develop tough skin. Stick with it if only because your reasons are inexplicable."

• Interview: The Daily Cross Hatch wraps up presenting Brian Heater's chat with Jordan Crane: "I was in Portugal and I saw a really tiny kid with a really giant cat. He looked exactly like the kid in The Clouds Above. The kid was so small that the cat was the same size as him — it’s not a big cat, but next to him, he was huge. And then I just kind of went from there."

• Plug: "Fantagraphics collected the first four issues of this hysterically random comic [Tales Designed to Thrizzle] into one gigantic visual laugh riot." - Kate Izquierdo, Geek Monthly

• Plug: At Super I.T.C.H., Steven Johnston takes note of Humbug ("much of it is prime satire from the creators of MAD!") and The Wolverton Bible ("particularly including some genuinely horrific scenes from the Book of Revelations").

• Events: See Dash Shaw in Brazil

• Things to see: A trio of new Amazing Facts... and Beyond! with Leon Beyond strips by Kevin Huizenga

Daily OCD: 8/26/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under reviewsPrince ValiantJohnny RyanFantagraphics Bookstoreart shows 26 Aug 2009 12:51 PM

A short-n-sweet Online Commentary & Diversions update:

• Review: "While Prison Pit does, in fact, have a definable story throughout, it’s one that feels as though it were crafted in the margins of a spiral-bound notebooks stowed safely away in some backpack littered with the Sharpie penned names of metal bands. And though Ryan didn’t go so far as to in append a listening soundtrack to the back of this volume, one can almost certainly be assured that it contains its share of Cannibal Corpse and Slayer tracks." - Brian Heater, The Daily Cross Hatch

• Events: The Seattle Weekly recommends that you see the "dark, cynical, ornery, a tad cantankerous" Comics Savants exhibit at our Bookstore & Gallery today

• Crime: Prompted by the release of Prince Valiant Vol. 1: 1937-1938, The Journal News "LoHud" blog recalls the 1989 theft of over 100 Valiant originals from the Museum of Cartoon Art