Our own Kim Thompson was interviewed about our Prince Valiant series this morning by host Patrick Neas on Kansas City's classical station KXTR, who provided us with an MP3 of the session (5.26 MB) to share with you! (Note that the contest mentioned at the end of the interview is over.)
(Above: the cover to Volume 3, coming in February/March 2011!)
• Review: "Greg Sadowski‘s excellent Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950s (Fantagraphics Books) was the first of a quartet of books on horror comics to surface this fall, and for my money, it’s arguably the most invaluable of the bunch. [...] There are some real revelations here, and I can tell you that this hardcore horror comics scholar/collector/creator is eternally grateful for all that Sadowski and Benson have added herein to a richer knowledge of these unique comics and this grossly misrepresented and misunderstood period in comics history. With an eye toward entertaining fully as well as curating, Sadowski’s greatest accomplishment here is making Four Color Fear such a fun and engaging read, cover-to-cover. [...] In this, Sadowski brings far more care to his anthology than any of the original editors of these comics seemed to; the cumulative effect, at times, is intoxicating, and the ways in which both the individual art styles and the narrative content are woven into a satisfying tapestry are often witty, sly and insidious. There’s a lot of smart work, here, and as a result it’s a super read for everyone, whether you’ve never before sampled this era’s strange fruit or are (like me) a long-time fan and collector." – Steve Bissette, The Schulz Library Blog
• Review/Interview: "That meeting place between responsible parenting and letting your kids love monsters is at the heart of the new graphic novel Rip M.D.... The parental dilemma (just how much horrific stuff should we let our kid get into?) is mined as a story point, while the book itself serves as a family-friendly gateway to gruesomeness. ..[T]the story focuses on Ripley’s personal growth as he accepts responsibility for these monstrous misfits. It’s a legitimately positive message delivered via a story about creatures, all of which sits close to Schauer’s heart. 'I grew up an only child, predominantly surrounded by adults,' Schauer recalls. 'I had to find something to entertain myself. It turned out to be monsters. [...] I’m trying to pull from the emotion I felt when I first saw those classic monsters, not as something to fear but something that was misunderstood.' [...] Rip M.D. doesn’t skimp on the macabre while reinforcing the ideal of an understanding family and the importance of not passing judgment on society’s outcasts…at least until you know them well enough to deliver an informed diagnosis." – Jack Bennett, Fangoria
• Review: "In High Soft Lisp, Gilbert traces the relationship history of Fritz Martinez, the ultimate sex goddess in a career full of them, and in so doing reveals that her every fetish outfit and sexual free-for-all is fruit from the poisoned tree. Lots of characters in this book enjoy the living shit out of Fritz’s sexuality, not least Fritz herself, but to a man and woman they’re revealed to be creepily predatory about it, embracing the worst in themselves and encouraging the worst in Fritz. And here’s the thing: What have we been doing over the hundreds of pages we’ve spent watching Fritz adorably and kinkily fuck her way through the post-Palomar cast of Beto’s comics? What has Beto been doing? What does that say about all of us?" – Sean T. Collins, Attentiondeficitdisorderly
• Review: "Mome... is where the smart kids with the sharpest pencils, shiniest pens, biggest brushes and best software go to play before they blow your minds in great big award-winning graphic novels. It is intense, sometimes hard to read and crafted to the highest production standards. This volume signals five incredibly impressive years and the eclectic graphic mix presented here augurs well for the next fifty… Whether you’re new to comics, fresh from the mainstream ghettos or just need something new, Mome always promises — and delivers — a decidedly different read." – Win Wiaceck, Now Read This
• Interview:Bef got two minutes with Jaime Hernandez
• Plug: In the head-scratchingest gift guide ever, Tom Mason of Comix 411 suggests our Prince Valiant volumes as a wedding gift for Prince William: "One or two volumes would be nice for the royal couple. They can pretend it’s history."
• Review: "Tardi's art [in The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec Vol. 1] well deserves the praise that he's a grandmaster of comics. It's detailed, expressive, authentic, and distinctive. His world-building is thorough, the setting established through both background art and scene selection. Frequent recaps keep the reader up to speed, while emphasizing how amusingly convoluted everything quickly becomes. Tardi knows the conventions of this kind of rollicking, complicated adventure, and the story points out how ridiculous they are at the same time it's engaging in them." – Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
• Review: "Jason is a Norwegian living in France; the Montpellier of the title [Werewolves of Montpellier] is his adopted home. This biographical trivia might suggest that this is his most personal work yet, but if it is, it’s only in the sense that his personal vision of comics is running on all cylinders here; while nothing he’s put out (in English, anyway) has been bad, he’s continually refining his sensibility, and this is Jason at his most Jason." – Jonathan Bogart, FA
• Review: "Fantagraphics has always been the industry leader in getting old comic strips back into print..., and while their Prince Valiant reprints from the 1990s were wonderful at the time, this new edition is the best the strip has looked since it was originally printed on Sunday broadsheets in the 1930s and 40s. With Foster’s original colors — and he was as brilliant and forward-thinking in his use of color as he was brilliant and medium-changing in his black-and-white drawing — and a strong, heavy binding, these are archival editions, the sort of books that should be passed down to the next generation." – Jonathan Bogart, FA
• Interview: At The Daily Cross Hatch, it's the penultimate installment of Brian Heater's chat with Jaime Hernandez: "It’s very difficult for me when people ask me to do a talk or an example of a page—how I break down a page and stuff like that. It’s not that easy for me. There are teachers and there are doers—I’m a doer. I don’t know how this stuff happens, it just spills out of me, it’s that kind of thing. [...] I don’t want to fight that, because I’m afraid it will ruin it and it will change it, or my art won’t be that distinctive. I’d rather just leave that to the gods."
• Reviews: At Vice, it's time for another installment of "Nick Gazin's Comic Book Witch Hunt":
"Name a funnier comic than Popeye. Wrong, idiot, there isn’t one. Not only is Popeye the best ever, but this volume of Fantagraphics Popeye series is the best one yet. Oh yeah? Name a better one. Wrong. ... Like most great strips, Popeye has a strong philosophy. That philosophy is the world’s full of crooks. I wish there was a real Popeye to enforce some sort of rough fist-justice but I’m pretty sure there’s no justice and there’s certainly no Popeye, just crooks."
"The original [Prince Valiant] was a giant Sunday page with some of the greatest illustrations ever done. The colors in the latest reprint series are so superior to those in the previous printings that the old ones might as well have been in black and white. This shit is tremendous. ... Get this book or I’ll get you."
"I keep waiting for the quality of the comics in these [Complete Peanuts] books to take a sharp downturn but it hasn’t hit yet. ... So many personality types that I find in adult life were first found in these comics."
"Jason returns with another really good comic [Werewolves of Montpellier]... Jason uses just a few lines but his aesthetics are super superior and he can express intense emotions with simplicity."
"...[T]he art and colors [in Captain Easy Vol. 1] are mind bogglingly beautiful. It’s like Darger. Beautiful candy-colored lunacy."
• Review: "Dungeon Quest: Book One offers an interesting and amusing read, full of lots of laughs about youth and nerd culture, with a surprising layers of sardonic social commentary folded in for good measure." – Jordan Magill, San Francisco Book Review
• Review: "...I had more fun reading this book than just about any other comic I’ve read so far this year. ... There’s a sort of Hergé-like mechanical perfection to his artwork; not only is it super-clean and super-crisp, but the panel-to-panel consistency is so strong that his characters sometimes don’t look drawn so much as stamped out by some sort of automatic drawing machine. ... Steve and Millennium Boy are funny — sometimes on purpose, sometimes not — and it’s a pleasure to walk around with them. ... I haven’t played an RPG since I was a teenager, but I think I’d play a Dungeon Quest one in a heartbeat." – J. Caleb Mozzocco, Newsarama
• Review: "This amazing, sweeping epic... spans decades of time and hundreds of miles of geography, and it deals with no less than war, fear, religion, trust, memory, violence and the mysterious, barely understood ways in which these broad, vague emotions are used to form communities and society, and/or how they can tear them apart. ... I can’t recommend Temperance highly enough. It’s a book that everyone should read, and then reread." – J. Caleb Mozzocco, Newsarama
• Review: "If the message and method of delivery seem simple, the artwork is anything but. In that regard, Set to Sea is the comics equivalent of good poetry. It’s not what’s being said so much as how beautifully Weing’s saying it." – J. Caleb Mozzocco, Las Vegas Weekly
• Review: "Combining the utterly irresistible power of nostalgia and insatiable curiosity with science-fiction, conspiracy theory, urban history, fact and legend, show-biz razzmatazz, supernatural horror, Film Noir and a highly developed sense of the meta-real, [in The Search for Smilin' Ed] Deitch once more weaves an irresistible spell that charms, thrills and disturbs whilst his meticulous drawing holds the reader in a deceptively fluffy, yet inescapable grip." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This! (via Bill Kartalopoulos)
• Review: "Widely acknowledged as the greatest adventure strip ever created, Prince Valiant is also arguably the best comic strip in that medium’s history. However, reprint collections have failed to truly capture the beauty and consummate artistry of Hal Foster’s creation…until now, that is. ...[T]his new Fantagraphics edition goes beyond simply correcting the shortcomings of past reprints — in truth, it is more of a revelation than a mere restoration. ... Ultimately, Prince Valiant is much more than a series of fantastic adventures in some legendary era; rather, it is a depiction of the making of a fully rounded and realized human being. ... Hal Foster’s Prince Valiant is a story to be read and cherished — today, tomorrow, always." – ForeWord Reviews
• Review: "With this second hardcover collection, Fantagraphics allows gives fans of the character much reason to rejoice. Thanks to the use of the original proof sheets (and the marvels of modern printing technology), these strips look better than they did when originally published. ... Wherever Prince Valiant goes, adventure follows and every bit of it is breathtakingly beautiful thanks to the work of the legendary Hal Foster. ... I don’t know that I can put into words what I have witnessed on the printed page, but I do know this: If you have any interest in this medium we call sequential art, whether as a fan, a historian or someone who hopes to make a living as an artist, you probably ought to pick up some of Hal Foster’s Prince Valiant. ... There are not enough words in the English language to describe how stunningly beautiful the artwork is in these comics. If there was ever any doubt about whether or not comics are art, an afternoon spent with Hal Foster’s Prince Valiant should put those doubts to rest to anyone with a functioning pair of eyeballs. ... I couldn’t put the thing down and had to tear myself away from it, as I quickly found myself carrying the book around with me and devouring it during every moment of free time. If you like adventure and you like art, you gotta pick yourself up some Prince Valiant. It sets the standard for both. Grade: A" – Chad Derdowski, Mania
• Interview:Anime News Network's Carlo Santos talked with Moto Hagio at Comic-Con International: "For true manga connoisseurs, the real highlight of Comic-Con 2010 was not a movie preview or a celebrity sighting, but simply being in the presence of a living legend. In this interview, Hagio sits down to share the wisdom of her years as an artist, with renowned manga scholar Matt Thorn interpreting." Sample quote: "In any generation, there's only a limited number of artists who can do science fiction well. The biggest challenge of doing science fiction is that, since it's not based in reality ... in order to bring readers into it, you need to have sufficient vision to create an attractive story."
I thought I could keep up with Online Commentary & Diversions while at Comic-Con. Ha ha ha ha ha.
• Coming Attractions: At Robot 6, Chris Mautner takes a look through the 46 (!!!) upcoming books listed in our Fall/Winter catalog (note: listed release dates may no longer be accurate and are all subject to change)
• History/Profile/Review: "What A Drunken Dream reveals is an author whose childhood passion for Frances Hodgson Burnett, L.M. Montgomery, and Isaac Asimov profoundly influenced the kind of stories she chose to tell as an adult. ... For those new to Hagio’s work, Fantagraphics has prefaced A Drunken Dream with two indispensable articles by noted manga scholar Matt Thorn. ... Taken together with the stories in A Drunken Dream, these essays make an excellent introduction to one of the most literary and original voices working in comics today. Highly recommended." – Katherine Dacey, The Manga Critic
• Review: "Anyone interested in the historical development of manga and the women who’ve contributed to the art form should read this book. I hope A Drunken Dream sells well enough for Fantagraphics or other publishers to consider putting out some of Hagio’s longer works. Her short stories are great, but I’d love to see what she does with a longer storyline." – Anna Neatrour, TangognaT
• Plug: "What Osamu Tezuka is to shonen and seinen manga, Moto Hagio is to shojo manga -- a true innovator who challenged and stretched the conventions of the medium by created touching, memorable and truly artistic comics stories. ... Fantagraphics had copies of the absolutely gorgeous hardcover edition of A Drunken Dream available for sale at their [Comic-Con] booth..." – Deb Aoki, About.com: Manga
• Interview:The Comics Journal's Shaenon Garrity sat down with Moto Hagio & translator Matt Thorn for a conversation at Comic-Con International: "I find it very embarrassing to read my very early work, but when you see the stories arranged chronologically it gives a good overall impression of my career. In Japanese, too, it’s common to present an author’s works in a sample spanning his or her whole career, so it’s turned out very much like that."
• Review: "Deadpan dialogue, drawings that move from panel to panel with the strange and deliberate force of kung fu performance art, and a subtle interweaving of humor and angst come together to make [Werewolves of Montpellier] a brief knockout of a book." – Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
• Review: "...[T]his cartwheeling shaggy-dog story begins, like a lot of metafiction, with the semblance of reality... But by the time a frog demon reanimates a 19th-century French peasant whose brains it has eaten, it’s fairly clear that Deitch is making stuff up. The fun of [The Search for Smilin' Ed] is the way it constantly darts back and forth across the line between genuine show-business lore (a favorite Deitch theme) and delirious whole-cloth invention. There are stories within stories, unreliable explainers, secret passageways that lead from one part of the tale to another." – Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
• Review: "Wally Gropius is a book that’s constantly lying to the reader, with a terrifying chaos roiling just immediately below its surface. The book is a flood of visual and textual information, but the information itself is near constantly false. ... For me, it’s a book that lies constantly, that lies at its very core, but that nevertheless ends up getting at a greater truth of things. And so, yeah: I thought that was pretty neat." – Abhay Kholsa, The Savage Critics
• Review: "There’s more derring-do [in Prince Valiant Vol. 2: 1939-1940] than you can shake a sword at! Foster’s stories are filled with vivid, colorful characters, none more engaging than the aptly named Valiant and his never-ending quest for adventure. The artwork is breathtaking. Foster’s figures are handsome and graceful whether eating a sumptuous feast or fighting on a crowded battlefield. ... Even if the age of chivalry is not your flask of ale, Foster’s art and storytelling will win you over." — Rich Clabaugh, The Christian Science Monitor
• Review: "This book is why Fantagraphics is one of the best and most important comic publishers in the business today. [Blazing Combat] is a series that could have easily been forgotten to the ages but Fantagraphics always is at the forefront of making sure important works of sequential art are remembered. ... This is a brilliant collection of stories that should be required reading. Intelligent, gripping stories and fantastic art! Grade A +" – Tim Janson, Mania and Newsarama
• Review: "Formally inventive and emotionally acute, Bottomless Belly Button indeed proves to be all those things: as fascinating and affecting a depiction of family ties as Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections or Wes Anderson's The Royal Tenenbaums." – Ed Park, Los Angeles Times
• Plugs: Alex Carr of Amazon's Omnivoracious blog has Weathercraft by Jim Woodring ("I am woefully ignorant when it comes to Woodring’s Frank comics, and this looks like the weirdest place to start") and Dungeon Quest Book 1 ("After The Red Monkey Double Happiness Book, I will read anything Joe Daly produces") on his summer vacation reading list
• History: For the Los Angeles Times, Ben Schwartz compiles an oral history of the 1980s heyday of L.A. alternative comics with Matt Groening, Gilbert & Jaime Hernandez, David Lynch (!), and Gary Panter
• Review: "Exploration, thankfully, is precisely what Weathercraft is all about. Woodring’s latest graphic novel is a deep exploration of Unifactor, through looking glasses, behind tears in the world’s fabric, under sea and into space, this time all experienced through the beady eyes of Frank’s principle antagonist, Manhog." – Brian Heater, The Daily Cross Hatch
• Interview: At Newsarama, Michael C. Lorah discusses Weathercraft with Jim Woodring: "This is Manhog’s book. He’s a more interesting character than Frank in a lot of ways. He’s deep, whereas Frank is bottomless."
• Review: "Fantagraphics has done the world the great service of reprinting Basil Wolverton's Culture Corner... [T]hese strips will delight any Wolverton fan with their characteristic doggerel, gratuitous violence, and slapstick humor that pokes fun at the American self-improvement genre. ... [T]he Fantagraphics edition is well worth the price: it's a handsomely bound item, augmented with the sketches and a nice essay by Wolverton's son." – Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing
• Review: "Foster’s humorous, quick-moving stories charge relentlessly forward. ... Whether Val is plotting a way to upend a larger force or enjoying good times with old friends, Foster’s twist-laden narrative comes across with a casual warmth, as if telling of merry adventures around a campfire. Similarly, Foster’s detailed renderings enforce the earthy grounding of Prince Valiant and his cohorts. ... The artistry, the witty and creative plot twists, and the evocative and charming characters all make for a truly timeless, and utterly enjoyable adventure comic strip experience. Any reader who appreciates the innocent high adventure of yore needs to get on board with Hal Foster’s Prince Valiant." - Michael C. Lorah, Newsarama
• Interview: Mark L. Miller of Ain't It Cool News discusses Werewolves of Montpellier with Jason: "The opening concept, the guy who dresses up as a werewolf and then is chased by real werewolves, I had in my mind a long time. I thought it was a fun, silly concept. But something was missing. It was only when I got the idea to mix it with an Audrey Hepburn movie that the story really took off."
• Interview in the future:Matt Thorn wants to know what you'd like him to ask Moto Hagio at her spotlight panel at Comic-Con
112-page full-color 10.25" x 14" hardcover • $29.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-348-4
"...[M]ore nuanced and detailed than ever before." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics
"Oh, these are so gorgeous it's not even funny. We're on an upswing in terms of the legacy enjoyed by Hal Foster's legendary creation -- people are reading it again, and enjoying it..." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
48-page full-color 7" x 10" softcover • $12.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-359-0
"I’ve seen shorter Jason works featuring a werewolf character or two before, but a whole comic all about werewolves by him kinda blows my mind. See, he doesn’t draw his characters as humans, but as anthropomorphic animals, right? So the werewolves in this story are anthropomorphic cartoon cat men when they’re in their 'human' form, and when they’re in their wolf-man form they’re basically anthropomorphic cartoon cat men with shaggier hair. I’m sure I’m thinking too much about it; I’ve read a review copy already, and I’m happy to report one need not think too much about anything in here—it’s another fairly straightforward, bittersweet comedy from an artist who’s become something of a bittersweet comedy factory over the years. It’s a pleasure, from cover to cover." – J. Caleb Mozzocco, Newsarama
"New Jason – top o’ the list. The popular harassment this time around involves romantic werewolves (or at least a romantically-addled fake werewolf and the authentic lycanthropes he’s irritated) — sure to score big with the Twilight die-hard inside your head..." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics
"Every ten months or so, the Norwegian cartoonist Jason unleashes a new, brief, brilliant graphic novel on the world... This one involves a bored burglar who dresses up as a werewolf, and what happens when he encounters actual werewolves." – Douglas Wolk, Comics Alliance
"The idiosyncratic Norwegian cartoonist Jason delivers a tale about a burglar who dresses up as a werewolf...and the real-life werewolves who are less than impressed with his antics..." – Cyriaque Lamar, io9
"New Jason. I know of many people that look forward to these books in this format as much as anyone has ever anticipated anything in comics." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
Form your own impressions by checking out the previews for each book at the links above, and get the scoop on availability from your local shop.
For 35 years, Hal Foster created epic adventure and romantic fantasy in his legendary Sunday strip, Prince Valiant. Realistic in its visual execution and noble in its subject, depicting a time in which the fabled warriors of history and legends fought together for the greater good, it remains one of the great masterpieces of the medium.
In this second volume, Prince Valiant helps his father reclaim his throne in the kingdom of Thule, fights alongside King Arthur, and is made a knight of the Round Table in recompense for his bravery and wit. Bored by the peace he helped to create, Val decides to independently pull together the forces to battle the Huns’ descent on Southern Europe. When Val’s army breaches the Huns’ stronghold, however, he discovers that corruption reigns still further west in Rome. Thus Val sets off with Sir Gawain and Tristam of Arthurian legend fame, and the familial kinship of the trio sees them through chivalrous escapades, false imprisonment and daring escapes. By the end of this volume, they go their separate ways, and Val boards a ship to Sicily—yet a storm approaches, throwing him off-course, as adventure follows him everywhere.
Fantagraphics is proud to present these strips, which, thanks to the use of original proof sheets and advances in printing technology, are even brighter and crisper than when they were originally published 70 years ago. Foster’s work, painterly and sweeping, is finally treated to the grand depiction it deserves. These illustrative, time-honored comic strips will enthrall old readers and just as easily awe new ones.
Download an EXCLUSIVE 12-page PDF excerpt which includes Mark Schultz's Introduction and 9 strips (6.55 MB). Also, read editor Kim Thompson's Afterword from Vol. 1, detailing the production and restoration of these new editions, right here on our website.