• Lists: The Comics Reporter asked its readers to "Name Five Comics You Enjoyed This Year" — spot the Fantagraphics releases in the results
• Gift Guide/List/Plug: At Comic Book Resources, Kelly Thompson's "Awesome Women in Comics Holiday Gift List 2009" includes Ghost World by Daniel Clowes: "This tale of smart alternative teens just never gets old... Enid and Becky are both incredibly savvy teens that I think women can both relate and aspire to."
• Review: "The bewildering events of this fourth volume [of Delphine] race towards a stunning conclusion, one that is quietly horrifying, yet terrifying in its sadness. ... The fourth book is a must for those who have read earlier issues, but it will make the uninitiated really want Delphine." – Leroy Douresseaux, Comic Book Bin
• Review: "Fortunately for today’s readers, Blazing Combat — nearly impossible to find for over a generation — is now conveniently available and immaculately produced in hardcover from Fantagraphics. Anybody who wants to read great great comics, war stories, or a superb tutorial in short form comics writing and unsurpassed comics illustration needs to read this one." – Michael C. Lorah, Newsarama
• Review: "It was, frankly, a nostalgic blast of fresh air to be able to read a graphic novel of Peter [Bagge]’s again, even if this is a series of unconnected pieces instead of a coherent narrative. ... Anybody who read Hate back in the day already knows to pick [Everybody Is Stupid Except for Me] up just because it’s Peter, and for you kids today who never read Hate, this is a good place to start with the guy." – Kevin Bramer, Optical Sloth
• Plug: "This is an uber-cool title by Jacques Tardi and Jean-Patrick Manchette... you can add this graphic novel West Coast Blues to the list of greats by this total fab (and late) French author." – Book Soup Blog
• Profile: Possibly apropos of the above-mentioned nomination, French blog Beware looks at the work of Daniel Clowes in an article titled "Cynisme et Comic Books" (autotranslation)
• Plugs: Robot 6's Chris Mautner and guest columnist Charles Hatfield are both reading The Comics Journal #300; the former says "regardless of what kind of comics reader you are, there's something in here you're going to want to read," while the latter says "in good Journal fashion, [it] contains a lot to chew on and some stuff that I emphatically disagree with. It’s a great issue that leaves me with both a nostalgic wistfulness... and a keen desire to write about comics into the unforeseeable future!"
• List: At Robot 6, Sean T. Collins's top 6 "deeply creepy 'alt-horror' cartoonists" includes Renee French ("her frequently deformed (more like unformed) characters and hazy, dreamlike, soft-focus pencils recall [David] Lynch's unnerving debut Eraserhead with its dust-mote cinematography and mewling infant thing"), Hans Rickheit ("It just so happens that his 'normal' is grotesque and harrowing to the rest of us"), Al Columbia ("It's as though a team of expert [animation] craftsmen became trapped in their office sometime during the Depression and were forgotten about for decades, reduced to inbreeding, feeding on their own dead, and making human sacrifices to the mimeograph machine, and when the authorities finally stumbled across their charnel-house lair, this stuff is what they were working on in the darkness") and Josh Simmons ("one of a very few comics creators still capable of shocking... doing serious, dangerous work")
• Review: "West Coast Blues is a brilliant story, and Manchette was a phenomenal writer of the modern world, putting others to shame at times. Just that simple, really. This is a book that can’t be reduced to familiar genre markers." – Brian Lindenmuth, BSCreview
• Review: "Bruce Paley tells his tale with no frills and no holds barred. ... The book is at times quite funny and other times terribly depressing, but it is never dull and I found it hard to put down. Carol Swain’s artwork fits the mood of the book well. It’s fairly simple but it hits all the right notes and evokes the right emotions. I was completely unfamiliar with her work prior to this book, but I’ll keep an eye out for her in the future. ... I found this book to be incredibly compelling in its own laid back sort of way. ... There’s no shortage of books out there about the 1960’s and ‘70s, but this one felt a lot more personal than most. Paley’s words mingled with Swain’s artwork so perfectly that you almost felt like the guy was sitting across the table from you, sharing a beer or two and swapping stories. If you’re interested in that era or you just like a good autobiography, I’d give Giraffes in my Hair: A Rock 'n' Roll Life a shot." – Chad Derdowski, Mania.com
Fantagraphics is storming APE this weekend in San Francisco. Come check out a slew of new books and get 'em signed by some amazing cartoonists!
FANTAGRAPHICS SIGNINGS AT APE:
11AM - 1PM: Jon Vermilyea (MOME) & Frank Santoro (MOME)
12PM-12:45PM: SPOTLIGHT ON DASH SHAW
1PM - 3PM: Dash Shaw & T. Edward Bak (MOME)
3PM - 5PM: John Pham
5PM - 7PM: Renée French & Andrice Arp (MOME)
11AM - 1PM: Jon Vermilyea (MOME), Frank Santoro (MOME) & Dash Shaw
1PM - 3PM: T. Edward Bak (MOME) & John Pham
3PM - 5PM: Renée French (MOME) & Andrice Arp (MOME)
NEW BOOKS INCLUDE:
The Troublemakers by Gilbert Hernandez
In the Service of the Hypothetical by Robert Williams
Pim & Francie by Al Columbia
Sublife #2 by John Pham
The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century A.D. by Dash Shaw
MOME Vol. 16 by various
The Great Anti-War Cartoons by Craig Yoe
Ganges #3 by Kevin Huizenga!
As an added bonus, DASH SHAW is an official APE guest this year and will be signing copies of his new book, THE UNCLOTHED MAN IN THE 35TH CENTURY A.D. For anyone who buys the book at one of his Fanta signings during APE, Dash will do an original PAINTING on the front cover! You will not want to miss out.
Scheduled to make their way to comics shops this week:
Mome Vol. 16 - Fall 2009 (note: mistakenly listed as Summer 2009 on Diamond's shipping list) - with the Mome debuts of cover artist Renee French, Nicolas Mahler, Archer Prewitt, & Ted Stearn, plus the usual mess of other great stuff.
You Are There by Jacques Tardi & Jean-Claude Forest - the landmark Eurocomics graphic novel, newly translated and presented for North American audiences for the first time.
More info and previews can, of course, be seen at the links above, so have a look-see, confirm availability with your local shop, and buy buy buy.
This issue features several of our favorite alternative comic artists of the last 15 years, bringing us great joy. Archer Prewitt is the first, with an all-new “Funny Bunny” strip created in between his active musical career. “The Moolah Tree” is the new Fuzz & Pluck graphic novel from Ted Stearn, following Fuzz & Pluck and Fuzz & Pluck: Splitsville, beginning serialization here. We are equally proud to debut new work from Renée French, whose work is also featured on the front and back cover of this issue. And Nicholas Mahler debuts to ask "What Is Art?" (translated by secret weapon Kim Thompson).
Also: the second chapter of T. Edward Bak's "Wild Man - The Strange Journey - and Fantastic Accounts - of the Naturalist Georg Wilhelm Steller, from Bavaria to Bolshaya Zemlya (and Beyond)"; a new "Cold Heat" story by the team of Ben Jones, Frank Santoro & Jon Vermilyea; Dash Shaw interprets an episode of "Blind Date" into comics form; and new stories from Lilli Carré, Conor O'Keefe, Laura Park, Nate Neal, and Sara Edward-Corbett, with incidental drawings by Kaela Graham.
It brings us great joy to welcome four of our favorite comic artists to the Mome fold in this Fall's Volume 16: Renée French (who graces the cover), Nicholas Mahler, Archer Prewitt and Ted Stearn. Of course, our returning artists are also nothing to sneeze at: T. Edward Bak, Dash Shaw, Lilli Carré, Conor O'Keefe, Laura Park, Nate Neal, Sara Edward-Corbett, and the "Cold Heat" crew of Ben Jones, Frank Santoro and Jon Vermilyea. This issue is now available for pre-order in our online shop. Download our free 12-page PDF excerpt for a sample page from each contributing artist. This book is scheduled be in stock and shipping in mid-September, and in stores approximately 4 weeks later (subject to change).
Here are some thoughts on last year's comics that I would like to share with you. I don't dare call this a "Best Of" list -- these are merely some comics that I read and that stand out to me, excluding Fantagraphics releases because it's my job to love them all equally, though you'll find some stuff from Fanta folks in here. Listed more or less alphabetically:
• Against Pain by Ron Rege Jr. (D&Q) - A nice hefty slab of Ron's unique vision. I'm always compelled by Ron's stuff and it's great to have this much of it in one place.
• Capacity by Theo Ellsworth (Secret Acres) - A warm, cleverly constructed, visually stunning tour through the artist's amazingly fertile creative imagination. Ellsworth synthesizes his mind-bogglingly detailed fantastical world-building with autobiography in a really natural and satisfying way without seeming like a crazy person, which is quite a feat.
• Dead Ringer by Jason T. Miles (La Mano) - A big, haunting slab of swampy beauty, mortality, cartoon gore, poetry and lovely chipboard. Morbid, funny, sublime, and lowbrow all at once. I get to sit next to this guy at work.
• Fight or Run: Shadow of the Chopper by Kevin Huizenga (Buenaventura) - Huizenga makes an experimental comic and the result is pure, distilled, uncut, unadulterated Comics Fun. Nifty!
• The Man Who Loved Breasts by Robert Goodin (Top Shelf) - Like a master class in expressive cartooning. Just look at George Olavatia's face from panel to panel, for Pete's sake.
• Trubble Club (online and self-published mini) - Cute, weird, gross, sad, funny jam comics from over a dozen participants (including Laura Park and Lilli Carré). Almost every panel goes in a delightfully unexpected direction.
• Welcome to the Dahl House by Ken Dahl (Microcosm) - His story in Papercutter hooked me on his acerbic worldview and crackerjack cartooning. This is mostly earlier stuff and as such a little rougher but it brings you up to where the greatness is.
• Renee French's blog - I look forward to Renee's daily drawings more than anything else in my RSS feeds. I especially love her lo-fi cameraphone (?) doodle snapshots and she occasionally flat out blows my mind.
One of the Beasts! made the cover of The Stranger 's new Sasquatch Music Festival Guide: The lovely and sympathetic bigfoot portrait from Renee French. (Who is a swell gal to boot-- have you seen her great blog?)