• Review: "Oh, the things men do to torture themselves. [Catalog No. 439:] Burlesque Paraphernalia and Side Degree Specialties and Costumes is an amazing flashback to a time before the Internet, television, radio, movies and pretty much every other form of entertainment. [...] This book is chock full of some of the funniest and most sadistic devices ever dreamed up by the human mind. It’s almost as if the guy from the Saw movies had wanted to get laughs instead of frights — and fans of current outrage cinema may be happily startled to find something actually called 'The Human Centipede' in its pages." – Siobhan Greene, Fangoria
• Review: "It's an odd little notion, the idea that you've lived a better, fuller life for having killed people. That's probably a somewhat unfair aspect of Drew Weing's good-natured, lushly drawn storybook (that's the term the comic practically demands I use) Set to Sea — a tale of a big lummox of a poet whose lackluster verses about life on the open sea are given new verve when he's shanghai'd into service on an actual ship — for me to seize on. After all, Weing's bigfooted style and inviting rather than intimidating illustrative chops place him squarely in the adventure-comics tradition of Carl Barks and Jeff Smith." – Sean T. Collins, Attentiondeficitdisorderly
• Review: "Freed from the burden of making a 'serious' work, Anderson delves into some grim and gritty pulp material, and you can feel his relish and delight coming off the page. [Sand & Fury: A Scream Queen Adventure] basically deals with the story of a murdered woman who comes back from the dead as a banshee and eventually seeks revenge against her killer, who in turn may be a supernatural demon himself. It sounds like a Jim Balent comic, but Anderson creates a lovely noir atmosphere here, full of blood, sex and other nasty goings-on that never once becomes camp. It’s a nice, effective little horror comic." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
• Plug:The Venture Bros. co-creator Jackson Publick writes: "Venture alumnus, super-pal and yiddish-loving Italian-American Stephen DeStefano premiered his new graphic novel, Lucky in Love at the San Diego Comic Con, and I was fortunate enough to snag a copy. Now it's your turn. Go buy one."
• Interview:Graphic NYC 's Christopher Irving talks to Michael Kupperman. Irving on Tales Designed to Thrizzle: "Toss comic book art from the '40s and '50s into a blender with the dirty brand of humor that runs rampant in underground comics, and give it the pacing and spontaneity of skit comedy, and you get Kupperman’s distinctive Tales Designed to Thrizzle. Kupperman’s slick art has the polish and stiffness of old advertising art, creating a posed disconnect that adds a layer of absurdism to his offbeat stories." Sample Kupperman quote: "What I’m doing is more along the lines of sketch comedy. I grew up with Monty Python and SCTV, and those shows had a profound influence on me, through the writing and tone. My comic is humor for childish adults. I think I’m actually going to start putting that on the cover. It’s stuff that makes me laugh and part of my working method is to make stuff that will make others laugh as well."
• Profile: "One hundred-plus years after the newspaper comic strip was born in San Francisco, a reader might well ask: Who was the greatest comic artist of all time? Some scholars say the question was settled in 1924 by New York arts critic Gilbert Seldes, whose book on the American cultural scene, The 7 Lively Arts, devoted an entire chapter to a reclusive cartoonist in the Hollywood Hills named George Herriman and his avant-garde comic strip, Krazy Kat." – Anthony Mostrom, The Los Angeles Times (via The Comics Reporter)
• Profile: Katharine Zarrella of Interview magazine talks to Robert Pollard about his collage art and current exhibit thereof in New York City: "A handful of ex-bandmates are on Pollard's guest list, but what do they think of his artwork? 'It seems a lot of them dig it. I think secretly, and sometimes openly, my peers respect the insanity.'"
• Profile: "One of the most serious gaps that this blog has not yet filled is as follows: having been scandalously silent of the great art of Drew Friedman, one of the most popular and recognizable contemporary American illustrators, a genius capable of combining, with previously unpublished results, a technique of hyper-realistic depiction with the strong sense of the grotesque that characterizes the creative temperament." – Lucca Boschi, Il Sole 24 Ore (translated from Italian)
• Events: At AOL's TV Squad, Aaron Broverman recaps Blake Bell's presentation "Steve Ditko & Bill Everett: Spider-Man, Sub-Mariner, Daredevil & Beyond" at Fan Expo in Toronto, "a panel I expect will be one of the hidden gems of the weekend"
• Review: "Underground feminist comic artist Farmer’s account of how she looked after her aging parents [Special Exits] is a quiet wonder. ... Farmer renders everything in busy, densely packed black-and-white frames whose cluttered look mimics the dusty house, its surfaces thick with cat hair and memories. The story is stunning for its antisentimental realism, as well as for the glimpses of fantasy... that flicker by like ghosts." – Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
• Review: "Billy Hazelnuts and the Crazy Bird is kind of horrifying, but hilarious nonetheless, and so lovingly detailed that one can’t help but enjoy reading it. ... It’s as crazy and weird as one would expect from a Millionaire story — and laugh-out-loud funny to boot. ... But it’s the humanity of his characters and their emotions that serve as our way into the story. ... The dense linework gives everything volume and weight, along with a leap-off-the-page energy. ... Millionaire’s narrative world is built on zany chaos, and a true storytelling wonder to behold. Yet, while it would be a scary and nightmarish place in which to live, it’s sure fun to spend some time there." – Matthew J. Brady, Indie Pulp
• Review: "Delving into the hidden world of secret societies of the Victorian Age in America, Charles Schneider blows the lid on the craziness... These revelations are culled from listings in DeMoulin Brothers Catalog No. 439... The actual catalog is a wishbook of possible DIY projects for the clever or crazy... As retail histories go, this is a vibrant one — if nothing else, it lets you know what foolishness your grandfather was up to when he looks back to the good old days and bemoans 'these kids today.' At least these kids today aren’t making a habit of using a Lifting And Spanking Machine on their friends." – John E. Mitchell, The North Adams Transcript
• Review: "Jack Cole was a brilliant artist and one of the most significant figures in American comics. ... In essence, these are single panel cartoons, beautifully composed and drawn as you would expect, accompanied by a gag or punchline. They are pleasing to look at and vaguely amusing, to be sure, but there is none of the surreal, chaotic, rollercoaster quality to be found in Cole’s comic book art. There is nothing too objectionable [in Classic Pin-up Art of Jack Cole] either, unless you regard cheesecake as commodification – which you’re perfectly entitled to do, of course." – P.P.O. Kane, The Compulsive Reader
• Interview:Comic Book Resources' Shaun Manning talks to Jason about his new graphic novel Werewolves of Montpellier: "Originally, I had thought the two werewolves would kill Igor, to make it more personal for Sven to go after them. But it just seemed so typical, it's what would have happened in any Hollywood film. It just didn't interest me. A conversation about looking at girls asses or the politeness of Frenchmen is more interesting."
• Interview:Caustic Cover Critic's Peter Lutjen talks to Bob Fingerman about book design: "My book Connective Tissue was my art, but the designer, Jacob Covey, completed it with his design and I was delighted. I really admire Jacob's work."
• Interview: At The Daily Cross Hatch, Brian Heater talks to Robert Pollard about his collage art: "It’s inspired by a recurring dream I used to have when I was in high school and college. In my dream was an unattended record store with racks and rows full of record sleeves by imaginary or dreamt rock bands. Needless to say, I was very disappointed when I awoke [and discovered] that it wasn’t real. Now it sort of is. At least slightly more real than the dream."
• Events:The Beat reports that Lilli Carré's short film "Head Garden" which you can watch here) is among the films selected for the first annual SPX Animation Showcase
THE 45 SPACE in New York will host "The Public Hi-Fi Balloon," an exhibit of collages by Robert Pollard incorporating pictures, words, and sound on August 27 and 28, 2010.
Pollard, whose super-human productivity as a songwriter is the stuff of indie-rock legend, created most of the works for this show in the past six months. "I've been working long hours daily getting ready for this show," he says. "It's going to be insane."
Among the works on display will be more than 60 imaginary record sleeves, as well as dreamed-up magazines and coffee table books. "You can see Duchamp in Pollard's collages, as well as the influence of the painterly spaces of De Chirico and Yves Tanguy," wrote Moody in the introduction to Town of Mirrors. Moody also noted "a residual pulse in the images of the swinging sixties, not the flowers-in-their-hair iteration, but the dark bad-acid psychedelia of that low, dishonest decade."
Pollard is the leader of the seminal indie-rock band Guided by Voices, which emerged from Midwestern obscurity in the early 1990s to conquer the national scene with such transcendentally lo-fi albums as Bee Thousand, Alien Lanes, and Under the Bushes, Under the Stars. One of Spin magazine's "Top 50 Rock & Roll Front Men of All Time," Pollard recently electrified fans and critics alike when he announced that the original lineup of Guided by Voices would be reuniting for a series of shows this fall.
Pollard created the cover art for most Guided by Voices releases, not to mention those of his many other musical projects. The cover collage for Guided by Voices' 1997 album Mag Earwhig was displayed in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.
Pollard's music and his visual art are unified at a fundamental level. "They both have to do with re-assembling familiar imagery to create interesting landscapes," he says. "One with sight, the other with sound."
Pollard was introduced to the New York art world in 2007, when visual artist Todd DiCiurcio and actor Michael Imperiole co-hosted "Do the Collage," a show that included the original art for several classic Guided by Voices album covers. DiCiurcio will co-host "The Public Hi-Fi Balloon" with Vanity Fair executive online editor Michael Hogan.
The 45 Space is located at 45 Bond Street (between Lafayette Street and the Bowery) in Manhattan. Opening night is Friday, August 27, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. The exhibit will also be open to visitors on Saturday, August 28, from 2 p.m. until 11 p.m.
• Review: "Charles Burns offers a glimpse of what might happen if EC Comics existed today with three tales of intrigue and absurdity in this softcover reissue... [of Skin Deep]. A master of the unearthly atmosphere — David Lynch has nothing on him — Burns unleashes tales of a man transplanted with a dog’s heart, a failing marriage with an alarming secret, and, best of all, an evangelist’s son’s encounter with God and his path to millions because of it. At once cautionary, creepy and curious, Burns is consistently one of comics’ deepest thinkers." – John Seven, Worcester Magazine
• Review: "The Troublemakers is the second in a series of graphic novels adapting movies starring or co-starring Rosalba 'Fritz' Martinez from the popular Love and Rockets series. An adaptation of a fictional movie starring a fictional character… I can totally dig that. ... Well, Hernandez has totally captured the look and feel of a B-movie with this one. You’d swear that Roger Corman, Russ Meyer or Samuel Z. Arkoff had a hand in it somewhere… only it’s a whole lot prettier because the guy is a hell of an artist. ... The characters are all very distinct and memorable and the story keeps you intrigued from page one to 120. It actually feels like you’re watching a movie while reading it. ... One can imagine a young Quentin Tarantino taking in a Saturday afternoon viewing of The Troublemakers and being quite inspired." – Chad Derdowski, Mania.com
• Review: "...[A] phallic-galactic odyssey of epic proportions...Prison Pit, the latest [Johnny] Ryan work published by Fantagraphics, is just that, an apologia for sidereal 'poor taste' able to shake the guts of the average reader of comics... Yes, he has hit the target with a homemade bomb and high destructive capacity. Ryan, bastard, you've nailed it." – Alita Comics blog (from mangled Google translation)
• Review: "Jordan Crane is a pretty incredible cartoonist, and this issue of his anthology series [Uptight] demonstrates that wonderfully, with two stories that are different enough that it's impressive that they came from the same creator, but both beautifully drawn and well-told." – Matthew J. Brady
• Review: "I really love comics. Reading a collection like Joe Daly's Red Monkey Double Happiness Book, I'm reminded of just why. ... It's drawn like a combination of Tintin, Dilbert, and King of the Hill. It's hilarious, both in terms of the plot and the one-liners. So, like so many other great comics, it's sui generis. ... Daly's plots move at a breezy pace, but his art is sharply detailed, and drawn expertly from a variety of perspective points. The palette is vibrant and fun. ...[T]his is some seriously funny shit." – Byron Kerman, PLAYBACK:stl
• Review: "Rickheit’s artwork [in The Squirrel Machine] is stunning, from the beautifully disgusting instruments to the ornate architecture. It’s like steampunk crossed with the animal-appropriating art of Damien Hirst or Ebony Andrews, with complicated machines adorned with the heads and torsos of unfortunate livestock." – Garrett Martin, The Boston Herald
• Review: "It's like a great adaptation of an old 1990s straight-to-video erotic thriller made unpredictable with a touch of magical realism. Hernandez's strength remains his depictions of women; like Love and Rockets, the female leads of The Troublemakers are both strong and believable, no matter how atypical their situations and dimensions may seem. – Garrett Martin, The Boston Herald (same link as above)
• Review: "An abstract comic? What the hell is that? And more importantly, what’s the point of a comic if it doesn’t tell a story? These are the questions a book like Abstract Comics raises right off the bat. Thankfully, it also answers them. The anthology, edited by Andrei Molotiu, covers the time period of 1967-2009 and is in all respects a Serious (capital S) volume. ... Worth a look, for sure, and maybe more." – Molly Young, We Love You So
• Plug: "When it comes to creepy comics, Al Columbia isn't only a member — he's the president. And in Fantagraphics' Zero Zero #4, Columbia produced a short story called 'I Was Killing When Killing Wasn't Cool' that is so startling and nightmarish in its quiet elegance that it'll stick with you forever." – Rickey Purdin, Rowdy Schoolyard
• Review: "The graphic novel, it turns out, is a form especially well-suited to the noir genre. Maybe this isn’t surprising — comics have always run the gamut of moods from goofy to autobiographical to just plain smutty. But it still gives a shiver of pleasure to stumble upon a graphic novel that captures the hardboiled tone of classic noir as perfectly as West Coast Blues, Jacques Tardi’s adaptation of a 1976 crime novel by Jean-Patrick Manchette. ... The plot includes bursts of bruality, dark realizations, alluring women and grizzled observations from its antihero — all the best conventions of noir, in other words, preserved and reborn in a fresh new medium. File it next to Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler." – Molly Young, We Love You So
• Review: "I had a significant crush on The Death Of Speedy Ortiz the summer I was 20 years old, reading and re-reading the serialized story with a passion I had never brought to a single comic story before then. ... I thought it was wonderful that summer I read it 10,000 times, and I remain convinced it's a special story every time I've picked it up since." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
• Review: "One of the many, many things I like about Kevin Huizenga's work is that a lot of his comics are about things that are not likely candidates for visual representation, and he manages to make them fascinating to look at anyway. Most of [Ganges #3] is about the process of perceiving one's own consciousness--the sort of hyperconsciousness of your own mind that happens when you're trying to get to sleep and can't--which is potentially the least interesting thing anybody could draw. And it looks fantastic..." – Douglas Wolk, The Savage Critics
• Review: "[Prince Valiant Vol. 1: 1937-1938] is gorgeous. ... [Hal] Foster is frequently cited as an influence on other great cartoonists, and part of it is his precise line and the way he builds a convincing world from authentic architecture, clothing and armaments. That's part of the appeal, but Foster also excels at staging. ... Unlike daily strip collections, the full, weekly Prince Valiant page ends up a brisk, headlong read... Prince Valiant is something I picked up expecting to admire. I had no idea I would love it. – Christopher Allen, Comic Book Galaxy
• Review: "Although far from all the artists represented in the new anthology From Wonderland with Love are so experimental with form and content that you must ask yourself if this can really still be termed comics, it is truly the cream of the crop who are assembled here. This collection offers a great perspective on how broad and versatile the talent pool is in Denmark." – Torben Rølmer Bille, Kulturkapellet (translated from Danish)
• Interview: At Largehearted Boy, author Jami Attenberg talks to Ellen Forney, saying "This mixture of openness and strength makes her work... extremely powerful and relatable, and probably very necessary for your bookshelf." From Ellen: "Sometimes I have to reflect and remind myself that I do have many more skills and more experience in my repertoire at this point, and to appreciate that the challenges don't freak me out so much. Still, some challenges are exhilarating and some are a pain in the ass."
• Commentary: At Comics Comics, Dash Shaw comments on and posts a transcript of a panel he was on at TCAF earlier this year