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Category >> Richard Sala

FANTAGRAPHICS 2010 PREVIEW Exhibition this Saturday!
Written by Larry Reid | Filed under Tony MillionaireRichard SalaPeter BaggeNate NealMichael KuppermanJoe DalyJim WoodringJacques TardiGilbert HernandezFantagraphics BookstoreeventsComing AttractionsCarol Tyler 6 Jan 2010 3:43 PM

Fantagraphics Books 2010 Preview

Don't miss an opportunity to get a sneak peek at some of the great books you'll be reading later this year at the FANTAGRAPHICS 2010 PREVIEW event this Saturday, January 9 at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery in Seattle.

On display will be work from Fantagraphics favorites like Peter Bagge (HATE ANNUAL #8), Tony Millionaire (BILLY HAZELNUTS AND THE CRAZY BIRD), Jim Woodring (WEATHERCRAFT), Jason (WEREWOLVES OF MONTPELLIER), Michael Kupperman (TALES DESIGNED TO THRIZZLE #6), Richard Sala (THE HIDDEN), and Gilbert Hernandez (LOVE & ROCKETS NEW STORIES #3), as well as new offerings from masters like Jacques Tardi and Carol Tyler and relative newcomers like Joe Daly and Nate Neal, among many others. 2010 promises more of the amazingly diverse yet cohesive line of compelling comics you've come to expect from Fantagraphics Books. See for yourself this Saturday.

The opening from 6:00 to 9:00 PM coincides with the colorful Georgetown Art Attack featuring visual and performing arts presentations at several locations throughout the historic neighborhood. For details and a map visit www.georgetownartattack.com.

Fantagraphics Bookstore is located at 1201 S. Vale Street (at Airport Way S.) only minutes south of downtown Seattle. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110.

Daily OCD: 12/21/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under SupermenRobert GoodinRobert CrumbRichard SalareviewsPrince ValiantPeanutsKevin HuizengaJohnny RyanJoe DalyJacques TardiHumbugHans RickheitGahan WilsonDash ShawCharles M SchulzCarol TylerBest of 2009 21 Dec 2009 5:44 PM

Online Commentary & Diversions are not slowing down, no sir:

List: New York Magazine's Dan Kois names You'll Never Know, Book 1: A Good and Decent Man by C. Tyler one of the ten Best Comics of 2009

List: The Daily Cross Hatch posts "The Best Damned Comics of the Decade Chosen by the Artists" — among the wide-ranging choices are I Killed Adolf Hitler by Jason, The Three Paradoxes by Paul Hornschemeier, Palestine and Safe Area Gorazde by Joe Sacco, The Complete Peanuts 1952-1953 (which doesn't exist, but 1950-1952 and 1953-1954 do), Ghost World and Eightball #22 (Ice Haven) & #23 by Daniel Clowes, Late Bloomer by Carol Tyler, Sammy the Mouse by Zak Sally, Locas and Locas II by Jaime Hernandez, Fear of Comics by Gilbert Hernandez, Explainers by Jules Feiffer, Jimbo in Purgatory by Gary Panter, and Schizo #4 by Ivan Brunetti

List: At their The SF Site: Nexus Graphica column, Rick Klaw and Mark London Williams name their top 5 comics of the year. For Williams it's West Coast Blues by Tardi & Manchette at #5 ("one of the year's best crime fiction reads, at least in comics"); for Klaw it's Humbug at #4 ("The slipcased set wisely includes several insightful and interesting extras") and Tardi's West Coast Blues and You Are There tied at #3 ("one of the best crime graphic novels ever produced" and "masterfully satirizes French society and politics unlike any comic before or since" respectively)

List: J. Caleb Mozzocco names some top 20 favorites: C. Tyler ranks his 17th favorite writer for You'll Never Know, Book 1; Johnny Ryan's Prison Pit: Book 1 sports his 4th favorite cover; and The Red Monkey Double Happiness Book by Joe Daly is his 20th favorite OGN/limited series (obviously it falls in the former category)

List: Comic Book Resources' Brian Cronin lists his Top Ten Comics of 2009, including Michael Kupperman's Tales Designed to Thrizzle #5 in the 10th spot ("continues to be a brilliantly absurd comic book every time out") and Ganges #3 by Kevin Huizenga in 4th place ("The first story is mind-boggling... Absolute top notch sequential work")

Guide: If you've always wondered what part of R. Crumb's enormous oeuvre was the best place to start, Robot 6's Chris Mautner takes you to "Comics College" with some solid advice

Review: "Few cartoonists ever had as lavish a tribute as a three-volume-slipcased collection, but few are as deserving as [Gahan] Wilson. Collecting 50 years worth of his monthly single page gag cartoons from Playboy, [Gahan Wilson: Fifty Years of Playboy Cartoons] is a definitive overview of a remarkable talent and viewpoint. ... Beautifully designed and printed, the books contain cut-out pages, and the slipcase itself becomes a window for a trapped photo of Wilson. Text extras include Wilson's prose short stories and an appreciation by Neil Gaiman. If these three volumes are a bit much for one sitting, periodic dipping in will always satisfy." – Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

Review: "[You Are There] is an absurdist satire,... and a pretty terrific one. ... It's easy to picture it as one of those long-form fourth-season Monty Python episodes... [I]t's seriously a master class on creating a sense not just of place but of a claustrophobic, chaotic, unsustainable state of mind. ... Killer stuff, and more fun than you remember it from French class." – Sean T. Collins

Review: "This time around, we get Strange Suspense by Steve Ditko, whom you may have heard of. ...[and] man! are these some cool comics. ... Ditko... had no restraints, and the stories show it. This is pretty wild stuff. ... We really get a sense of a master at work in this book, even though it was so early in Ditko's career. ... It's totally worth the price!" – Greg Burgas, Comic Book Resources

Review: "...Tyler’s sensitive 'voice' remains easily recognizable in her latest book, You’ll Never Know. ... This book is to be savored slowly and on its own terms." – Ng Suat Tong, The Comics Journal

Review: Scott Anderson of Prism Comics, examining the "rollicking compendium" Supermen! The First Wave of Comic Book Heroes 1936-1941, notes "Grisly deaths, drug addicts, crime lords, strippers, drunk molls, and morally iffy protagonists, that, ladies and gentlemen, is how they wrote comics for kids, millions of kids, in the innocent days of yesteryear." (Via Journalista)

Review: "...[F]or a cartoonist like Dash Shaw, who revels in drawing’s fluidity and expressive imperfections, the transition between comics and animation is a natural one. His splendid four-part animated web series for IFC.com, The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century A.D., underscores what’s best about all of his work—its eclecticism and intimate drama." – Nicole Rudick, Artforum

Plug: "The Definitive Prince Valiant Companion... is great stuff if you're a fan of the strip and those who are should add this to their last minute Christmas list right away." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6

Plug: "The Complete Peanuts 1971-1974... This collection of the 11th and 12th volumes of a planned 25-book set, designed by Canadian cartoonist and designer Seth, shows Schulz's staggering talent in the prime of his career and even introduces Linus and Lucy's little brother, Rerun." – Jonathan Kuehlein, Toronto Star

Interview: Big Shiny Robot! talks to Dash Shaw: "I’ve never sold a treatment and then executed something with the expectations of the publisher looming over my shoulder. ... These comics were going to exist in some form anyway. It’s all been a combination of drawing a ridiculous amount and total luck."

Things to see: A nice gallery of Richard Sala's Christmas cards through the years

Things to see: "Postcard from Fielder" part 3 by Kevin Huizenga

Things to see: On the Covered blog, Robert Goodin reimagines Carl Barks's Donald Duck

Things to see: Hans Rickheit's Ectopiary, page 3 — comment on Hans's blog (warning: gross picture)

Delphine original cover art by Richard Sala
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Richard SalaOriginal Art 16 Dec 2009 12:07 PM

original Delphine art by Richard Sala

If you're like me you like seeing stuff like this: over at his blog Richard Sala posted this snapshot of the original paintings for the front and back covers of Delphine #4. Head over there for a better view.

Daily OCD: 12/9/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Trina RobbinsTony MillionaireTim LaneThomas OttTerry ZwigoffRoger LangridgeRichard SalareviewsPrince ValiantPopeyeNell BrinkleyMichael KuppermanKevin HuizengaJoe SaccoHal FosterGary PanterEC SegarDash ShawDaniel ClowesCharles M SchulzBob FingermanBest of 2009Al Columbia 9 Dec 2009 3:12 PM

Chock full o' Online Commentary & Diversions:

• List: The Village Voice 's R.C. Baker names 2009's Best Comics and Graphic Novels. Among the choices: "A lucid nightmare, Al Columbia's dazzlingly well-drawn Pim & Francie features vignettes of its young protagonists menaced by creepy relatives or starring in exceedingly grim fairy tales. These inky visions seem unearthed from the deepest vaults of Uncle Walt's id. ... Anything but Victorian, Nell Brinkley (1886–1944) celebrated the Roaring '20s with sinuous lines and colors as lurid as William Randolph Hearst's presses could muster. Author Trina Robbins notes, in the lavishly oversize The Brinkley Girls, that the illustrator 'closely resembled the girls she drew.' But Brinkley, with her thrilling fantasias of pirate abductions and aviatrix romances, remains an inspiration beyond flapper flamboyance to any young lady seeking to break into the boys' club of high-end illustration."

• List: Greek site Comicdom is halfway through counting down the top 100 comics of the '00s. On the list so far: Tales Designed to Thrizzle Vol. 1 by Michael Kupperman at #99 ("Following at a discreet distance from the legacy of Monty Python, Michael Kupperman should be considered a genius by any man who has laughed with the group of Britons"), Billy Hazelnuts by Tony Millionaire at #67 ("In the surrealist vein of Krazy Kat and the otherworldly, oneiric atmosphere of Little Nemo... misanthropy and almond sweetness"), Safe Area Gorazde by Joe Sacco at #60 ("The shock was, however, not an end in itself, since what actually manages to come across is the sense of pain and loss that each of the interviewees had experienced"), and Fred the Clown by Roger Langridge at #53 ("Ingenious comics by an equally intelligent designer who not only knows the history of the instrument and understand what makes it work"). [Quotes cobbled from autotranslation.]

• Review: "There have been a lot of great comic book releases this year, but none has the beauty and melancholy resonance of Fantagraphics' Prince Valiant: Volume 1-1937-1938. ... As for Hal Foster, Fantagraphics has given this artist his due and helped place him in his proper context as a great American artist and master of the comics form." – Mark Rhodes, Omnicomic

• Review: "Employing a storytelling dynamic not unlike that of Serling’s science fiction classic, Thomas Ott’s The Number 73304-23-4153-6-96-8 is itself a visit... to a dimension not of sound, but of sight and mind that at once both rewards and confuses. ... Ott’s hyper-meticulous attention to how detail relates to used space and negative space is at once both unsettling and captivating, utilizing a form of technical, pen-like cross-hatching for essentially every line that can only be described as Robert Crumb on Adderall. ... The Number is a universally literate work of fiction that is a quick first read with potential for longer lasting examination." – C.R. Stemple, Pads & Panels

• Review: "The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century A.D. is a fascinating first animated work [third, actually — ed.] from one of today's most original and unusual artists. Shaw adapts well from the comics page to the cinematic form. ... Almost as well as his comics, this film expresses Shaw's ongoing desire to look at the world from a slightly askew perspective, to express his fascination with the complexity of people's inner universes. ...[T]he film... [is] a probing, emotional examination of what it means to make art and to forge meaningful human interactions..." – Ed Howard, Only the Cinema

• Plugs: More Segar birthday/Popeye Google fallout: Mark Evanier

• Plug: In an interview with IFC found by our own Janice Headley, musician Chuck Prophet names Ghost World as a favorite movie: "A coming-of-age teen flick movie that pivots around Skip James’ 'Devil Got My Woman' can do no wrong with me. And shouldn’t with anyone else."

• Interview: At Comics Comics, Dan Nadel presents audio of the panel with Gary Panter & Peter Saul at the Brooklyn Comics & Graphics Festival last weekend

• Interview: New in the TCJ.com audio archives: Gary Groth's 1997 interview with Charles M. Schulz

• Things to see in the future: The Daily Cartoonist reports that the "Schulz’s Beethoven, Schroeder’s Muse" exhibit which ran at the Charles M. Schulz Museum & Research Center last year is moving to an online home a week from today — we'll try to bring you a link when it launches

• Things to see: A potpourri of Amazing Facts... and Beyond! with Leon Beyond by Kevin Huizenga (BTW we tend only to link to Kevin's AFAB...WLB strips since he's on our roster, but that's not to give short shrift to Dan Zettwoch, who routinely knocks these out of the park too)

• Things to see: An interesting oldie from Bob Fingerman

• Things to see: Progress on Tim Lane's Temptations cut-outs diorama

• Things to see: Richard Sala's "Psycho Santa Movies," in color! (from 2003)

Daily OCD: 12/7/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Stephen DeStefanoRichard SalareviewsRenee FrenchPeter BaggeJosh SimmonsJoe DalyJacques TardiIvan BrunettiHans RickheitDash ShawDaniel ClowesBlazing CombatBest of 2009awardsAl Columbia 7 Dec 2009 4:56 PM

Online Commentary & Diversions:

• List: Your Official Selection nominees at the 37th Festival International de la Bande Desinée d'Angoulême include the French editions of Dungeon Quest Book 1 by Joe Daly (coming in May from Fantagraphics), Eightball by Daniel Clowes (a collection with no English analogue), and Misery Loves Comedy by Ivan Brunetti

• 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

• Review: Greek site Comicdom seems to have a positive review of Pim & Francie by Al Columbia (the autotranslation is a bit mangled)

• 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

• Profilish: At Robot 6, Sean T. Collins gives an update on his "Sinister Six" alt-horror cartoonists, including Hans Rickheit, Josh Simmons and Al Columbia (Elsewhere: The Comics Reporter reviews Simmons's disturbing Cockbone mini)

• 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!"

• Things to see: Dash Shaw's new minicomic (almost missed it)

• Things to see: Stephen DeStefano presents a selection of inspirations and references for his in-progress Lucky in Love

• Things to see: Just a reminder that Renee French continues to kill it on her daily art blog

Daily OCD: 11/20/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Steve DitkoRichard SalareviewsPortable GrindhousePaul HornschemeierOlivier SchrauwenMiss Lasko-GrossLilli CarréJoe DalyJacques BoyreauHans RickheitGilbert HernandezFantagraphics BookstorecontestsCarol TylerBlake BellBlabBest of 2009audioAlexander Theroux 20 Nov 2009 5:20 PM

Oh lordy, I felt like I was never going to get through this installment of Online Commentary & Diversions:

• Interview/Reviews/Contest: The Seattle Geekly podcast visits Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery ("full of dangerous amounts of awesome") and talks to curator Larry Reid as part of their current episode's focus on "geek gifts"; plus reviews of Strange Suspense: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 1 ("If you're interested in the history of the comics genre, this is a must-have") and Hans Rickheit's The Squirrel Machine ("steampunk style mashed up with H.R. Giger... the art is amazing"). Plus, they're having a contest giving away a copy of Strange Suspense!

• List: Graphic Novel Reporter begins their Best of 2009 survey of educators and comics pros; so far A Mess of Everything by Miss Lasko-Gross ("Lasko-Gross’ words and pictures felt incredibly authentic") and Luba by Gilbert Hernandez have been named

• Review: "Rolling in like a slow, fuzzed-out guitar line from an Orange-brand amp, The Red Monkey Double Happiness Book lives up to the good vibes promised in its title. ... Having recently finished Thomas Pynchon's Inherent Vice and Jonathan Lethem's Chronic City, I couldn't help but consider The Red Monkey Double Happiness Book as a distant third-cousin to those titles. ...The Red Monkey Double Happiness Book is a weekend read, best consumed with your feet propped up, opposable digits or not." – Alex Carr, Omnivoracious (Amazon.com)

• Review: "Paul Hornschemeier excels at a sort of cryptic-cute comic that is better read than described. It's a blend of darkness and sharply delineated perfectionism that, whether he likes it or not, sometimes brings to mind his Chicago contemporary Chris Ware What he knows, though, is that he can go places Ware can't — Hornschemeier's style is every style. ... His diversity of styles is most apparent in All and Sundry: Uncollected Work 2004-2009... It's just a stew of stuff that, like the best sketchbooks, offers an intimate invitation to spy on the ramblings of a formidable creative." – Byron Kerman, PLAYBACK:stl

• Review: "For being a company that puts out the reprints of one of the safest comics of all time, Peanuts, Fantagraphics sure lives on the edge of the comics medium, particularly in the realm of anthologies. Blab! is just such an anthology, featuring a variety of visual quirks that hover closer to straight up art pieces than comics work, but still do not seem out of place with the more narrative pieces that slide between the pictorial pages. ...[T]here's probably someone for everyone in Blab!, if you take the time to look." – Panel Patter

• Review: "Richard Sala’s reinvention of Snow White is a sparkling macabre gem. The 2-color art glows in handsome sepia that is pitch perfect for this delightfully demented tale of a strange land. Sala populates Delphine with cast of horror carnival rejects that is diverse enough to both excite and confound the imagination. This issue [#3]’s creepy locales: dark tunnels, a creepy house, and a gloomy castle are the true stars of this chapter. They make this scary tale an absolute winner. ...[Grade] A" – Leroy Douresseaux, Comic Book Bin

• Reviewer: A new book review from Laura Warholic author Alexander Theroux for The Wall Street Journal, this time of an interesting-sounding collection of "literary invective" called Poison Pens

• Plug: "I grew up in the video age and I’m still in awe of the technology that first allowed me to watch thousands of movies in the privacy of my own home. Call me sentimental and nostalgic, but when I first got wind of Jacques Boyreau’s upcoming book Portable Grindhouse: The Lost Art of the VHS Box it made me giddy with excitement." – Kimberly Lindbergs, Cinebeats

• Events: Graphic Novel Reporter has photos of C. Tyler giving her presentation at the Miami Book Fair last weekend

• Things to see: Two from Lilli Carré — a new animated drawing and a peek at her strip in the new issue of The Believer

• Things to see: Some great new stuff from Olivier Schrauwen recently, too

Daily OCD: 10/28/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Zak SallyUsagi YojimboTom KaczynskiSupermenStan SakaiRichard SalareviewsJoe DalyHans RickheitCraig YoeBoody Rogers 28 Oct 2009 1:58 PM

Blurbs, "Babe" and big bucks in this episode of Online Commentary & Diversions:

• Review: "The Red Monkey Double Happiness Book features two full-length stories, 'The Leaking Cello Case' and 'John Wesley Harding.' Both stories start off in the every day then morph into oddball mysteries that never go quite where you expect them to. As odd as some of the capers and misadventures get they are always conveyed with a kind of casual, deadpan poker face that manages to make them all the more believable. ... The art is a curious mix of cartoonish realism, and the city of Cape Town is vividly portrayed... Red Monkey Double Happiness Book is a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining read for the mystery/crime comic fan looking for something a bit different than the harder noir stuff that seems to dominate these days." – Brian Lindenmuth, BSCreview

• Review: "...[T]he appearance this week in bookstores of Hans Rickheit’s comix masterpiece, The Squirrel Machine, is a genuine milestone in the... artistic business of reconciling one’s inside to one’s outside, so much so that I must confess that I am truly taken aback by Rickheit’s entire effort, in the best sense of the word. This carefully constructed tale... strikes me as being one of the few original works of art that I’ve seen published in North America over the last two decades, on a par with the better work of Dan Clowes or Charles Burns. ... This is not a tale for the squeamish nor is it a tale for the literal-minded; it is very much a bravura performance in the tradition of Surrealism, or Fantastic Art, or even Symbolism... In short, strongly recommended!" – Mahendra Singh

• Feature: Matthew J. Brady presents "12 Things I Learned from Supermen!" including "In these stories, disbelief must often not only be suspended, but strung up and mercilessly whipped, then drawn and quartered"

• Events: At his blog, Tom Kaczynski (Mome) reports from the Zak Sally/John Porcellino reading/book launch in Minneapolis last weekend

• Things to see: Pappy's Golden Age Comics Blogzine presents a Boody Rogers "Babe" story that does not appear in our Craig Yoe-edited Boody book (via Stephen Thompson at Yoe's Super I.T.C.H. blog)

• Things to see: Halloween greetings from Richard Sala!

• $$$: Via The Beat, somebody sold a mint slabbed copy of Albedo #2 (1st appearance of Usagi Yojimbo) on eBay for $5100, making it possibly the most expensive Fantagraphics comic ever sold (corrections welcome); Stan Sakai comments on his LiveJournal

Ganges #3 by Kevin Huizenga: Preview, Pre-Order
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Sergio PonchioneRichard Salapreviewsnew releasesKevin HuizengaIgnatz Series 22 Oct 2009 7:21 AM

Ganges #3 by Kevin Huizenga

Now available for preview and pre-order following sell-out debuts at SPX and APE: Ganges #3 by Kevin Huizenga. The eagerly-awaited new issue of this Eisner-nominated, critically-adored series (in our deluxe, oversized "Ignatz" format) finds everyman Glenn Ganges dealing with a bout of insomnia and traversing strange mental landscapes. The first three pages can be previewed here. This issue is scheduled to be in stock and ready to ship sometime in the next 2 weeks and in stores approximately 4 weeks after that (subject to change).

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View a photo & video slideshow preview of the book embedded here. Click here if it is not visible, and/or to view it larger in a new window (recommended).

BONUS! Here are two newly-uploaded slideshow previews of this summer's Ignatz releases, Delphine #4 by Richard Sala (open in new window) and Grotesque #3 by Sergio Ponchione (open in new window).

Daily OCD: 10/20/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Zak SallyWillie and JoeTim LaneSteven WeissmanSteve DitkoStan SakaiRobert CrumbRichard SalareviewsPopeyePaul HornschemeierMonte SchulzMomeMichael KuppermanLove and RocketsLos Bros HernandezLilli CarréKim DeitchKevin HuizengaJohnny Ryanjohn kerschbaumJaime HernandezIgnatz SeriesGary GrothGabrielle BellGabriella GiandelliFemke HiemstraFantagraphics historyDash ShawBill MauldinAnders NilsenAbstract Comics 20 Oct 2009 5:52 PM

Online Commentary & Diversions is back! This is a catch-up post so it's a honker:

• Best-of List: Sandy Bilus of I Love Rob Liefeld belatedly compiles the critics' 2008 end of year best-of lists and semi-scientifically determines that Dash Shaw's Bottomless Belly Button was the #1 comic of 2008, with Ganges #2 by Kevin Huizenga at #6. Also on the Top 100 list, in descending order: Love and Rockets: New Stories #1, The Education of Hopey Glass by Jaime Hernandez, The Lagoon by Lilli Carré, Willie & Joe: The WWII Years by Bill Mauldin, the year's issues of Mome, Sammy the Mouse #2 by Zak Sally, Abandoned Cars by Tim Lane, Popeye Vol. 3 by E.C. Segar, Interiorae #3 by Gabriella Giandelli, Petey & Pussy by John Kerschbaum, Angry Youth Comix #14 by Johnny Ryan, and Deitch's Pictorama by the Deitch brothers. (We also compiled the lists into our own handy shopping guide of 2008 Critics' Picks.)

• Review: "It's a surprisingly rare thing to find the great comic artist who can not only draw with poetry and beauty, but write like a demon as well. In this lavish scrapbook of uncollected ads, posters, covers, ephemera and one-offs [All and Sundry], [Paul] Hornschemeier's skills are nearly as verbal as they are visual, his art encompassing many different styles, from richly layered classical surrealism to densely structured and primary color-heavy McSweeney's-style illustrations. But taken together, the work exhibits an instantly recognizable and distinctive panache. The depth of his art truly comes to life in the melancholic squibs of text and short fictions studding this collection. For all his talents, Hornschemeier is a working artist who clearly takes on all kinds of assignments, from bookstore ads and bookmarks to a quirky little piece on Anderson Cooper commissioned by CNN. Perhaps the intrusion of the journeyman keeps an exquisite volume like this so rewarding and yet grounded." – Publishers Weekly (starred review)

• Review: "What I liked [in Abstract Comics], I liked for more than just the strips themselves--I liked them for the proof they offer that comics really is still a Wild West medium in which one's bliss can be followed even beyond the boundaries of what many or even most readers would care to define as 'comics.' That an entire deluxe hardcover collection of such comics now exists is, I think, one of the great triumphs for the medium in a decade full to bursting with them." – Sean T. Collins

• Review: "Hallelujah... for Michael Kupperman! He returns with his second collection, Tales Designed to Thrizzle Vol. 1, which brings under one cover the first four issues of the same-named comic. And comic it sure as hell is. I'm not entirely certain when I've read anything that made me laugh out loud as often as this volume, with the possible exception of Kupperman's debut Snake 'n' Bacon's Cartoon Caberet. Women who've given birth to multiple children and older readers are advised to secure some kind of adult diaper." – Late Reviews and Latest Obsessions

• Review: "The only problem with Love and Rockets: New Stories is that it's an annual. Volume 2 was, well, fabulous. ... Both Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez are in full form in this volume. Lucky us." – Ace Bauer

• Review: "Willie & Joe is an extraordinarily compiled and presented tribute to Bill Mauldin, the two-time Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist who chronicled life in the U.S. Army from 1940 to 1945. The set is bound in army green canvas and typeset in the font of an old manual typewriter, the kind an army clerk might have used during the Second World War. The collection is a sensory delight, pleasing to touch and beautiful to see. ... There are many scholarly works written on the topic of World War II, and those books can teach us a lot about the war, but anyone who wants to feel what American soldiers felt during the Second World War should seek out Willie & Joe. ... For the winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, for the man who was once America’s most celebrated enlisted man, Willie & Joe is a fitting, and wonderful, tribute." – David Mitchell, BiblioBuffet

• Review: "[Prison Pit Book 1 by Johnny Ryan is an] over-the-top, ultra-violent, gross-out,  juvenile, yet fun and hilarious book... The dialogue that does exist retains his comic sense of disjunction and fights are as demented as you’d expect. This is not a jokey book, but his humor is retained in subtle ways—if you can envision subtle Johnny Ryan humor. ... This is just a balls-out, funny, sicko, good time. My only complaint with Prison Pit is how quickly the story ends, but hopefully the subtitle (Book One) is a promise and not a joke." – Lincoln Michel, The Faster Times [Ed. note: Book Two is in progress and due next year.]

• Review: "Longtime [Richard] Sala readers will recognize some familiar tropes right away [in Delphine]: strange surroundings, shady characters who seem to hold malevolent secrets. And Sala's art is familiar as well, but taken to a new level — lovely watercolors on the covers and moody washes on the gray interiors. The creamy paper that's typical of the Ignatz releases lends additional otherworldly, othertimely atmosphere to the story. And the logo itself is so good it deserved to be used for a long-running series. But it's the story that departs from Sala's work in some major ways... so resonant and unsettling that... it has to rank as one of Sala's major works." – Christopher Allen, Comic Book Galaxy

• Plug: "Reading [The Complete Peanuts 1971-72 and 1973-74] in one fell swoop, I've kind of come to the conclusion that this period is really the apex of Schulz's career. ...he was never as consistently hilarious or as poignant as he was in the early to mid-70s. If you're only buying two volumes of this series, it should be these two." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6

• Plug: "This just in! Steve Ditko book to be awesome: Seriously, just look at this thing. Wow." – J. Caleb Mozzocco, Newsarama

• Plug: Wunderkammer, the blog of Portuguese shop Ghoulgear, recommends Rock Candy: The Artwork of Femke Hiemstra as a "beautiful book" of "stunning works"

• Profile: Dan Taylor of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat catches up with Monte Schulz on his book tour for This Side of Jordan: "'It’s weird doing this,' Schulz said by phone from Nevada City during a break between book shop dates. 'It makes me nervous, at every single stop. I just realized I’m not a very public person.'"

• Interview: At Marvel.com, Sean T. Collins' series of chats with Strange Tales contributors continues with Stan Sakai talking about the creation of Samurai Hulk: "Actually, I tried to make it as much of a parallel to the modern Hulk as possible. Such as his name-he is referred to as Sashimonowhich means 'banner.' It's a samurai banner. And obviously there's no gamma rays, so he's cursed into turning into the Hulk by a witch called Gama, which is Japanese for 'toad' — she kinda looks like a toad." Oh man I can't wait for that.

• History: Steve Duin at The Oregonian digs up a nugget: Gary Groth on the 50th anniversary of Superman in Amazing Heroes, 1988: "My only interest in Superman, marginal at that, stems from his continuing presence as a symbol of banality and infantilism in the history of the American comic book." And it goes on!

• Events: Gabrielle Bell, Kim Deitch, Hope Larson and Anders Nilsen will be on a comics panel discussion at the University of Richmond next Sunday, Oct. 25 — here's the Facebook invitation

• Things to see: Leon Beyond on mnemonics, by Kevin Huizenga

• Things to see: Michael Kupperman's The Mannister, come to life!

• Things to see: Paul Hornschemeier's illustrations for James Kennedy's in-progress novel The Magnificent Moots (via Paul's blog)

• Things to buy: Commission yourself a cute portrait by Steven Weissman

• Oddity/thing to buy: The R. Crumb snowboarding jacket, as revealed by Robot 6

• Random quote of the day: "Guido Crepax: popular enough to have an entire half-shelf in the Fantagraphics library, circa mid-1990s; not popular enough to have his books stolen by the interns." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter

Sala's Delphine blues
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Richard SalaOriginal Art 18 Sep 2009 10:44 AM

Delphine by Richard Sala - original art

Richard Sala has a great new post up on his blog talking about his process for creating the interior art for his recently completed Ignatz miniseries Delphine, including why he painted it in blue tones rather than the sepia tones it was printed in. Fascinating stuff!