|Follow Ray Fenwick's residency at Struts Gallery|
|Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Ray Fenwick||6 Mar 2011 10:51 PM|
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Category >> Ray Fenwick
Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:
• Review: "Battling an administration that smugly created their own reality, even if (and sometimes, especially if) it flew in the face of reason, morality and/or common sense, [in Twilight of the Assholes] Kreider employed a vicious, scorched-earth set of tactics that matched the passionate intensity of the right, only imbued with a wicked and outrageous sense of humor to go with a keen sense of observation. Whether or not one agreed with all of Kreider’s observations about American culture..., the sheer relentlessness of Kreider’s attacks combined with the elegance and intensity of his line carried a certain punishing quality." – Rob Clough, The Comics Journal
• Review: "...[L]et us celebrate a title of subtle and peculiar power from a creator of signal grace and range. Uptight #4 continues Crane’s dual and quite distinct serials: the urban romance between Leo and Dee — which, despite its superficial placidity, includes in the present chapter two scenes of disquieting violence — and the far more whimsical (if decidedly Roald Dahlicious) misadventures of the waifs Simon and Rosalyn and Simon’s lariat-tailed cat, Jack. ...[T]he sublimity of Crane’s Uptight makes one gloomily deplore that so many of the main indies appear to be abandoning comic books as such." – Bryan A. Hollerbach, PLAYBACK:stl
• Review: "What is incredible about this journal is the diversity of the works represented. It appears that Mome does not favor any particular aesthetic. Rather they celebrate the multiplicity of aesthetic possibilities. As someone just barely scratching the surface of the graphic story form, I found this a terrific way to learn about the variety of comics and stylistic choices. [...] There is so much to see and so much to learn in Mome. The artists are of an exceptionally high caliber and for those who are interested in teaching comics as literature, or simply learning more about comics in general, this journal would be a wonderful beginning." – Becky Tuch, The Review Review
• Review: "...[A]t the center of What I Did is 'Sshhhh!' – a rather lengthy tale of the entire life of a (bird-)man, told in pictures, without the use of any words other than the section numberings. It’s an ambitious piece by Jason... 'Hey, Wait' is a touching tale about childhood tragedy that sticks with someone for his entire life. 'The Iron Wagon' is the only tale of the three where the original isn’t currently available, because it’s out of print. The book replicates the beautiful red tone of the original, and it’s a fantastic mystery, expertly told by Jason..." – Bill Jones, Pads & Panels
• Review: "[Interiorae] is less concerned about the petty secrets and lies of people and more interested in the idea of inbetween spaces. There’s the space between sleep and consciousness, the line between life and death, the space between commitment and detachment, the line between love and hate." – Rob Clough, The Comics Journal
• Profile: "Mascots is a collection of one to three panel comics that are really small paintings. Fenwick calls it a 'short story collection.' Though conceptually loose, the book developed from some paintings Fenwick had done, using found book covers as backgrounds and painting over top. He didn't approach the work as a narrative, but more as a series of vignettes with recurring themes and moods. [...] 'It's got a foot in the world of comics — in that it's text and image - but it's mostly language and not a ton of drawings. It's kind of a loose definition of comics,' Fenwick says." – Laura Kenins, New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal
Mascots presents an edited version of the collected paintings from Ray Fenwick's recently published book. The works, not unlike a group of short stories, are a collection of vignettes and staccato bursts of narrative that combine to form a surreal-and vaguely familiar-parallel world. Like Fenwick's previous work, the paintings are driven by language and typography, occupying a space where visual art, comics, prose and poetry bleed into one another.
Ray Fenwick is an artist living and working in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He has shown in Canada and the U.S. and is the author of two books. His previous book, Hall of Best Knowledge , earned a nomination for "Best Avant-Garde Graphic Novel" from The Canadian Cartooning Awards. For the month of March he will attend a residency at Struts Gallery, where he will be working on new audio pieces and text paintings.
FEBRUARY 10 - MARCH 6, 2011
KATHARINE MULHERIN CONTEMPORARY ART PROJECTS
Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:
• Review: "Surrealism is dangerous. Mostly, when you leave the rails, the result is less glorious freedom and more quick kablooie. It’s an easy method for the lazy writer, but somehow when Ray Fenwick does it, it works. Mascots, his second book, is short on — but not absent — narrative. Its pages are made up of paintings on book covers that are largely text-based... Somehow, they hang together enough to produce a fuzzy but charming impression." – Hillary Brown, Paste
• Review: "...[T]he impressive thing about [Special Exits] is that, despite depressing subject matter, it’s extremely readable and fairly funny. Yes, you’ll think about the horrors of getting old and failing to maintain your independence, not to mention the even scarier prospect of taking care of your own parents. But if Farmer’s book is meant to soothe your fears, it kind of works." – Hillary Brown, Paste
• Review: "The black-and-white Hey, Wait… and Sshhh! are low-key ruminations on grief, loss and aging that bear Jason’s trademark anthropomorphic animals, clean lines and Scandinavian black humor. [...] Jason’s beautiful craftsmanship overcomes The Iron Wagon’s familiar material and, along with the rest of What I Did, foreshadows the excellent work to come later in the decade." – Garrett Martin, Paste
• Review: "There's no doubt in anyone's mind that Roy Crane was a first-class cartoonist, frequently making panels on the newspaper page that were absolutely to die for, stop-and-study moments of the kind that inspire the best students and discourage the worst. There are times when reading these rousing adventures of Navy pilot Buz Sawyer and his support man Roscoe Sweeney that it's hard to believe anything this striking ever appeared on the comics pages..." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
• Review: "A book like this should be must reading for those who want to know how the shojo we know today came to be. A Drunken Dream and Other Stories is not just for lovers of girl's manga, however. It's a book worthy to be read by anyone who likes good comics with a touch of fantasy and a touch of sadness. As with any book by a great creator, the appeal is almost universal... Hopefully, this will be the start of getting Hagio's name on the same pillar as Tezuka, which is clearly where she belongs. If by some chance you haven't read this manga yet, you owe it to yourself to find a copy right away. [...] This is one of those books that is not to be missed. It's destined to be a classic." – Rob McMonigal, Panel Patter
• Review: "...[E]ach page is a single panel, but each of those panels is so attractively detailed and evocative that the storytelling structure never feels rigid. Instead, it comes across as economical and precise while still filled with event and emotion. It’s a quick read, but it’s very satisfying, and it just invites you to revisit the story again. [...] Set to Sea ... is artistically successful on every front, but Weing’s substantial craftsmanship never overwhelms the simple, heartfelt story he’s telling." – David Welsh, The Manga Curmudgeon
• Review: "Destroy All Movies is an addictive, ambitious, behemoth of a book and it’s funny as all hell. There are too many sidesplitting takedowns of bad movies to list in this review, but if you enjoy bad movies (and especially if you enjoy stuff like Mystery Science Theater 3000), you will love this book. [...] Destroy All Movies truly shines as a lengthy love letter to cult cinema, punk pride notwithstanding. [...] You will want to refer to it and reread it over and over. It’s got that much good, not-so-clean, fun packed into its 500-plus pages." – Less Lee Moore, Popshifter
• Reviews (Audio): The new episode of Easy Rider, the radio show for "rock, punk rock, country, power pop, garage and comics" from Radio PFM out of Arras in northern France, features FUC_ __U, _SS __LE: Blecky Yuckerella Vol. 4 by Johnny Ryan and Bent by Dave Cooper among their Comics of the Week
• Plugs: Chris Mautner of Robot 6 on the newest volumes of Krazy & Ignatz, Popeye & Prince Valiant: "What stands out for me here, other than George Herriman’s usual artistry, is the subtle jokes about race… Considering Herriman’s own ethnic and racial heritage, I find moments like this fascinatingly telling. [...] I’ve gone on and on about my love for Segar’s Thimble Theater… Suffice it to say I think it’s an American classic and earns my heartiest recommendation… I still can’t quite get over just how much fun Hal Foster’s medieval epic is. Far from the dull, staid, storybook slog a first glance would suggest, the strip bursts with life and adventure, and not a little bit of bloodsport."
• Interview: Tom Spurgeon at The Comics Reporter: "It's my hope that the following interview with Tim Kreider comes close to replicating the experience of reading the author's new book, the Fantagraphics-published February offering Twilight of the Assholes. Both are long, both I hope are funny at times nearly all the way through (the book surely is), and both book and interview prove uncompromising in terms of both self-laceration and repeatedly stabbing the country's excesses, shortcomings and hypocrisies right in the face. [...] Kreider is... maybe as skilled a writer as there is out there also working with cartoons, and luckily Twilight of the Assholes includes both the cartoons and mini-essays explaining each one. I find him almost terrifyingly funny, both when I agree with him and when I don't." Kreider: "I think historians are likely look back on those eight years as a last chance squandered, a disastrous passing beyond the point of no return, the moment when America went irreversibly over the edge into terminal decline. Which is great news for me, as my cartoons happen to comprise a document of what it felt like to live through that time."
Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:
• List/Coming Attractions: On Publishers Weekly's "Spring 2011 Adult Announcements" preview, the following upcoming titles rank on The Top 10: Comics & Graphic Novels:
"Many recent comics biographies have been presented as educational material, but Wilfred Santiago's 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente uses a more expressionist style to tell the story of the baseball superstar who rose from poverty to the top of the game and died a hero's death. Long in the making, it arrives just in time for opening day."
"The comic strip gets a much needed new edition of the first volume of Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse, Vol. 1: Race to Death Valley. While perhaps an unexpected gem, Floyd Gottfredson's tough, bold mouse is a seasoned adventurer and these are driving, hard-boiled tales. After reading this volume, you'll never look at Mickey, the tuxedo-clad corporate spokesmouse, the same again."
• List: On WFMU's Beware of the Blog, radio host Noah Zark includes Destroy All Movies!!! The Complete Guide to Punks on Film on his Top 13 of 2010: "Those who know me know I have a real love for punk rock music and film. Destroy All Movies adoringly brings both worlds together in this well designed unholy writ!"
• List: Carve Your Name Comics' Greg Townley (a.k.a. "Johnny") names his top 20 favorite comics and graphic novels of 2010:
"14) Werewolves of Montpellier by Jason — Jason’s work is haunting and surreal. I love all his books, but this one earns high points for including a character based on Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. [...] Jason’s allusion to the complex film icon really elevates this book."
"17) Wally Gropius by Tim Hensley — This book is like Richie Rich on acid – one of the most original, visually exciting books I’ve read this year."
"20) King of the Flies- 1. Hallorave by Mezzo and Pirus — King of the Flies, the first part of a proposed trilogy, is surreal and unsettling. It requires repeat readings to unearth the interwoven secrets at play."
• List: Meltcast co-host Chris Rosa's top 10 Best Comics of 2010 includes Werewolves of Montpellier by Jason at #7 and Fire & Water: Bill Everett, The Sub-Mariner and the Birth of Marvel Comics by Blake Bell at #10
• List: At his X-Ray Spex blog Will Pfeifer names Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 one of his Graphic Novels of the Year: "Gilbert's stuff is a lot of fun (and a lot of weird, too), but it's Jaime's shattering look back at Maggie's troubled past that elevates this book above even Love and Rockets' normally stellar standards. 'Browntown' is one of the best stories ever to appear in Love and Rockets, and if you know how brilliant the book is — easily one of the best comic series ever — you know that's high praise indeed."
• List: Also at X-Ray Spex, Pfeifer lists his best Books About Comics of the Year, including:
From Shadow to Light: The Life and Art of Mort Meskin by Steven Brower: "...[W]hen I started collecting in the late 1970s[,] Meskin's art stood out, mostly because his figures and compositions always seemed to explode off the page. And now there's an elaborate book that (a) examines his whole life (b) reprints lots of vintage art and (c) includes plenty of originals? Tell me this isn't the best time — ever — to be a comic book fan."
The Best American Comics Criticism, ed. by Ben Schwartz: "Some great reading between these covers even if, strictly speaking, it's not all 'comics criticism.'"
Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950s: "...[T]his is a great collection, with vintage work from Basil Wolverton, Joe Kubert, Howard Nostrand, Bob Powell and especially Jack Cole, who delivers a couple of twisted masterpieces here. Also, there are fascinating, detailed end notes and a lurid collection of covers in the middle."
(The above 3 items via Sandy Bilus at I Love Rob Liefeld)
• Review: "Jacques Tardi’s It Was the War of the Trenches is pretty brutal. [...] It’s one thing to read about the brutality of trench warfare, another entirely to experience it in the way Tardi details it here. This wasn’t an easy read — I alternated between anger and horror the whole time — but it was a good one." – Brigid Alverson, Robot 6
• Review: "It's all very well told, with realistic details coming through even when the art takes such a cartoony style, but being the first half of a two-volume series, [Lucky in Love Book 1] is somewhat incomplete, setting up themes that will presumably be dealt with later. Still, it's quite good. However, there was one scene that I thought was excellent on its own and stood out in the memory the most. [...] War is hell, with effects reaching far outside and long beyond the actual conflict, and this scene manages to illustrate that rather effectively." – Matthew J. Brady, Warren Peace Sings the Blues
• Plug: "Ray Fenwick's Mascots is... narrated by Cthulu... I think. [...] What Fenwick paints is funny and punny, but also unexpectedly observant with just a little bit of metaphysical musing thrown in. I know that doesn't make too much sense as a combination, so just read these pages and maybe you'll understand." – Julia Pohl-Miranda, 211 Bernard (Librairie Drawn & Quarterly)
We noticed that our new releases have been omitted from Diamond's shipping lists over the last few weeks, which means they've been arriving in comic shops with little to no notice (which means very few blurbs from the usual blog sources we quote here). We've contacted Diamond about it and we're getting it straightened out (I won't go into the gory details, and I'm not sure if it was a Diamond policy change, but there was a reasonable explanation and solution). Anyhoo, the books below are already out or arriving tomorrow — check with your local shop to confirm availability.
104-page black & white 5.5" x 7.25" softcover • $11.99
64-page full-color 9" x 12.5" hardcover • $18.99
"A surprising and disturbing rumination on sex and violence..." – Chris Butcher, The Beguiling
136-page full-color 5.25" x 7.75" hardcover • $22.99
"These bright, full-color paintings blur the lines between traditional art and comics, between lettering and language. Each piece in Mascots stands on its own, but it also functions within the context of the other paintings as well, to reveal a larger world." – Benn Ray (Atomic Books ), Largehearted Boy
"Ray Fenwick gives you more typographical mania in Mascots, his follow-up to 2008’s Hall of Best Knowledge. It’s a series of full colour paintings on found book covers. In the preview he seems to be going on and on about Cthulhu and the pronunciation of 'Cthulhu,' but more importantly, he engages in superfluous and plentiful footnotes and thus gets top marks from me." – Gosh! Comics
192-page black & white 7.25" x 9.25" hardcover • $19.99
"A new work by Lorenzo Mattotti! Little else needs to be said..." – Chris Butcher, The Beguiling
"Finally Stigmata by Lorenzo Mattotti and Claudio Piersanti is available in english for us non-French readers. I’ve been looking forward to reading this book for years..." – Martin Flink
1160-page black & white/color 2-volume hardcover 7.5" x 11" x 3" slipcased set • $100.00
"The first seven volumes of Stan Sakai's fabled bushido bunny tales are collected in the Usagi Yojimbo Special Edition..." – Cyriaque Lamar, io9
"An amazing treatment of a great comic." – Chris Butcher, The Beguiling
"If you feel like you just can't get enough of Stan Sakai's acclaimed samurai rabbit comic, this 2 volume set should easily tide you over." – Benn Ray (Atomic Books), Largehearted Boy
Just arrived in our warehouse and ready to ship:
136-page full-color 5.25" x 7.75" hardcover • $22.99
The second book from Ray Fenwick, author of 2008’s acclaimed Hall of Best Knowledge. In Mascots, a collection of impressionistic stories combine to create a wildly absurd — yet vaguely familiar — parallel world. Like Fenwick’s previous work, the acclaimed Hall of Best Knowledge (one of Booklist’s “Top Ten Graphic Novels of 2008”), Mascots is driven by lettering and language, part art and part comics, this time taking the form of bright, full color paintings on found book covers. These paintings can be experienced individually, each on their own terms, but together they reveal a surreal world that captures the mood of our times with manic energy.
Bonus Savings: Order Mascots together with Hall of Best Knowledge and save 20% off both!
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