Okay, you've already heard about our contest for this, and been informed about the Onion's recent interview with its director, but I just wanna testify and tell anyone who might be curious that they should go buy the new Criterion release of Terry Zwigoff's Crumb film already. I bought the Blu-Ray edition yesterday even though I think it's now the third iteration of the film that I've purchased; well worth it, though, because Criterion is the first to get it right. It's a handsome and thoughtful package, which includes a fascimile reproduction of Charles Crumb's (In)Famous Artists Test booklet, as well another booklet of 'liner notes'. And the DVD extras look fantastic: almost an hour of previously-unseen footage shot for the film, two Zwigoff commentaries (one new one conducted for this edition as well as the 2006 commentary he did with Roger Ebert for previous DVD editions), a new digital transfer of the film, etc. I'm already looking forward to picking up the Criterion edition of Zwigoff's first film, Louie Bluie, next.
Now if Criterion would just bring us Ghost World and Art School Confidential, we'd be in business...
• Review: "Originally serialized in the late ‘90s, this 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. ... Deitch’s artwork... is... utterly confident, building on the stylistic gestures of both the underground-comics scene that launched his career and the classic animation that inspired his talking-animal characters." – Publishers Weekly
• Review: "Some of the best comics of the last couple of decades are Jim Woodring’s wordless Frank stories. Dreamlike, idyllic and mind bendingly horrific visions are rendered with immaculate penwork and pacing. This tidy, near 200 page collection of black and white stories [The Portable Frank] is sufficient to put a permanent dent in your brain pan." – M. Ace, Irregular Orbit
• Review: "Fantagraphics cycles back to the first three years of Herriman’s Sunday Krazy Kat strips [in Krazy & Ignatz 1916-1918]. I do enjoy these early years of the kat kronikles — a bit more lyrical, a bit more varied, a bit less centered on the kat/mouse/cop routine. Yes, you need it. Of course." – M. Ace, Irregular Orbit
• Interview: In virtue of the Criterion Collection release of Crumb on DVD and Blu-ray, The A.V. Club talks to director Terry Zwigoff: "And I said, 'What did you think of it?' And he said, 'It was mortifying.' I said, 'Is it a bad film?' And he said, 'No, but I’m looking at myself in a mirror, so what am I supposed to say? Is it good? Is it bad? I just don’t want to look at it.' Something like that."
• Panel:The Comics Journal presents video of the "International Comics and Graphic Novels" panel at Comic-Con International last month, with Moto Hagio, Émile Bravo and others — part 1 is embedded above, with 4 additional parts at TCJ.com
We're teaming up with our pals at Seattle's venerable Scarecrow Video to give away Terry Zwigoff's classic documentary Crumb, new on DVD and Blu-Ray from the Criterion Collection, plus Zwigoff's debut film Louie Bluie, also new on Criterion DVD with cover artwork by Crumb! All you have to do is "like" this post on our Facebook page, or if you're not on Facebook, send an email to the friendly folks at Scarecrow; click here for all the details.
Plus! Stop by Scarecrow to pick up a coupon good for 20% off any purchase at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery that includes at least one Robert Crumb book, and at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery you can pick up a coupon for $2 off the Criterion Crumb DVD or Blu-Ray at Scarecrow. Feel the love!
This shouldn't come as news to too many folks, but I don't recall seeing it flogged before, so what the hell: the latest issue of THE PARIS REVIEW includes a very long interview with R. Crumb. It's kind of a layman's interview, covering a lot of well trodden ground, but it's lengthy and satisfying. You need to buy the print version for the full read.
Lastly, the photo in this post is a detail I nabbed from Facebook friend John Heneghan's photos, taken of Crumb recently in the south of France. The man looks GOOD, right? John has quite a few amazing pics of playing music with Crumb and hanging out with him, Gilbert Shelton and Robert Armstrong. Lucky guy.
• Review: "Instead of bringing to mind old black & white stories and advertisements, the color [Tales Designed to] Thrizzle now mines the endless well of cheap, awful color comics. The color scheme is so heavily into the CMYK scheme of old four-color comics, and employed so luridly, that the reader is once again forced to dig into each panel slowly. ... Kupperman can jab you with a quick joke like a fake ad or a cover for an old comic called 'Cowboy Oscar Wilde,' or he can wrestle you into submission with a shaggy dog joke. ... With... subtle changes, Kupperman has managed to keep the top humor periodical fresh." – Rob Clough, The Comics Journal
• Review: "This most recent compilation is the finest presentation of the Mr. Natural strips I’ve ever seen and is a must-buy for any Crumb fan whether they’ve been there since he first made his appearance in Zap or are coming on board with The Book of Genesis. Either way, this is not to be missed." – Joe Keatinge, Neon Monster
• Review: "Reading [Charles M. Schulz's] wonderful comics is enjoyable and comfortable, sort of like wearing a worn, favourite sweater. Fantagraphics Books has done a good job putting Schulz's cartoons together in a nice book. Whether you're watching Peppermint Patty skating and being coached by Snoopy, Snoopy dealing with a broken leg, or Lucy still pulling the football away from Charlie Brown at the last second The Complete Peanuts: 1975 to 1976 is a humourous, welcome reprieve from a stressful, often screwed up, world. Thanks Mr. Schulz!" – Glenn Perrett, Simcoe.com
• Review: "Like some Uncle Wiggly story gone mad — or perhaps Krazy Kat in disguise — Tony Millionaire’s mad cake batter boy goes on a frantic rampage to return a baby owl to its mother and embarks on an adventure that is in no way as linear as my sentence implies. Millionaire really does channel the cartoonists of the early 20th century, while still giving the work [Billy Hazelnuts and the Crazy Bird] a quality that’s somewhat reminiscent of ’70s underground comics — and it’s kid-friendly to boot! Good fun with good energy." – John Seven, Worcester Magazine
• Review: "I picked up Carol Tyler's You'll Never Know, Book One: A Good and Decent Man from the library on the strength of recommendations I have seen for it all over the web, and it didn't disappoint me... Tyler has a nice diary style that seems intimate and friendly but is also quite sophisticated. ... There aren't too many comics about middle-aged women, and it was nice to read about something other than youthful rebellion and angst for a change." – Brigid Alverson, Robot 6
• Interview:The A.V. Club's Jason Heller talks to Jim Woodring about Weathercraft and his career in comics: "It still is a bit of a hustle, to be honest. I really never know what I’m going to be doing or how I’m going to be making money. It’s the life I chose for myself, so I’m used to it, and I can handle it. But sometimes I sit back and think, 'You know, how am I making a living here? I don’t even know what’s going on.'"
• Feature:The Guardian's Alex Rayner on the Significant Objects project: "The texts are good. Meg Cabot's acutely phrased teen tale reads like the perfect high-school diary entry, William Gibson's ashtray anecdote is filled with military-industrial intrigue, Sheila Heti pours a lot of sexual frustration into a miniature porcelain Cape Cod souvenir shoe, and Neil LaBute's golden-bunny-candle narrative is as sinister as you'd expect."
• Review: "Kelso’s work radiates a warmth, poetry, sympathy, and simultaneously earthy and otherworldly essence that few comics creators have brought to the table with such quiet confidence and grace. The closest comic in recent memory to match Artichoke Tales, both in breadth and depth, is Jeff Smith’s Bone. [Grade] A" – The A.V. Club
• Review: "...Fantagraphics’ hardcover edition of The Book of Mr. Naturalfeels like the perfect introduction to R. Crumb’s most enduring creation—and to the sexual peccadilloes that occasionally get both character and creator in hot water. ... It’s fascinating stuff, and should be mandatory reading for anyone who squirmed through Terry Zwigoff’s excellent Crumb documentary—or for anyone looking to get their danders up at Crumb’s allegedly misogynistic tendencies. [Grade] A-" – The A.V. Club
• Review: "[Editor Eric] Reynolds has done an amazing job of balancing serials with a variety of single-page strips and one-shots. Expanding Mome to include translations from international cartooning stars, short works from established cartoonists and left-field contributions from illustrators not known in the comics world have kept things interesting on an issue-to-issue basis. The eccentricity of Reynolds’ taste as an editor has been another major factor in preventing Mome from getting into a rut. ...[T]his issue of Mome is a fine overall read, and the first half is especially spectacular." – Rob Clough, The Comics Journal
• Review: "Percy Gloom is a moving, engaging, enlightening book. It’s exactly the sort of comic readers should be demanding – thoughtful and intelligent, a beautifully drawn narrative that unfolds its layers over the course of multiple readings. Cathy Malkasian’s produced two winning graphic novels, and she’s clearly a talent that deserves a far wider readership." – Michael C. Lorah, Newsarama
• Profile: For The New York Times, Reyhan Harmanci reports on how Mark Bodé is carrying on his late father Vaughn's legacy: "Vaughn Bodé created a world in his comics that Mark has fleshed out, making oil and spray paint paintings from his father’s cartoon panels and unfinished sketches. The younger Mr. Bodé perfected his father’s signature pieces: the ever-slouching Cheech Wizard, the science-fiction-inflected planet full of lizards, the cartoonishly lewd 'Bodé broads.' As Mark Bodé, 47, who is based in Daly City said, 'I am mortal and he is immortal, and the two of us work well together.'"
• Review: "The graphic novel King of the Flies: Hallorave... gives us a glimpse of internal mayhem inside a controlled environment, executed with elegance and a touch of mystery. ... King of the Flies has been compared to the work of Charles Burns for its graceful depiction of adolescent suburban horror. This is a weird tale that’s easy to get drawn into..." – Irina Ivanova, The Indypendent
• Plugs: At Largehearted Boy, Atomic Books owner Benn Ray lists his picks of the week, including Artichoke Tales by Megan Kelso ("Beautiful, expansive, lyrical") and The Book of Mr. Natural by Robert Crumb ("Did reading R. Crumb’s Book of Genesis leave you now craving more? The Book of Mr. Natural is your natural (heh-heh) next step").
• Plugs: Douglas Wolk includes a goodly number of Fantagraphics releases on his Summer Comics Preview list at TIME / Techland.
• Interview: At TCJ.com's Guttergeek, Chris Reilly says "Billy Hazelnuts and the Crazy Bird is a tie for best graphic novel of the year with Jim Woodring’s Weathercraft" and proceeds to talk to Tony Millionaire: "Sometimes the story will present opportunities I hadn’t thought of (the personality of the cat for instance), and I’ll go with it if it feels right. Then I jam it all into an ending and hope it doesn’t all end up in a big pile of shit. I’m often nervous that I’m writing a crappy book. I’ve done it before and you can’t tell till it’s done and it is disappointing. So far I’m very happy with the Billy Hazelnuts books, but I’ll have to give the Crazy Bird one more read before I’m convinced of its greatness."