• Review: "Josh Simmons' book The Furry Trap is truly disturbing in its depravity. Makes Ultra Gash Inferno look cute. An inspiring & exhilarating read! How many comics can you honestly say made you sick or upset when you read them? Furry Trap made me question the First Amendment at times." – Sammy Harkham
• Review: "By this point, the reader will know if [Dungeon Quest] is their cup of tea; anyone who enjoys alt-comics takes on fantasy and/or stoner humor will find this a sheer delight. I'd say the sheer level of craftsmanship and the way Daly shifts storytelling modes so quickly would at least interest other readers, especially those who enjoy deadpan absurdism, since that's the core of Daly's sense of humor. For the continuing fan of this series, Daly continues to raise the stakes in each volume and adds richness and depth for those who are looking for more detail. Above all else, he does for the reader what he does with his party: he keeps things moving even when his characters are navel-gazing." – Rob Clough, High-Low
• Review: "...Moto Hagio has more on her agenda than simply trotting out tired 'girly' storylines. Her protagonists struggle with loss, rejection, and insecurity in a manner sure to strike readers as honest and familiar, never reductive or patronizing.... The stories collected here [in A Drunken Dream] span 31 years of Hagio’s career and, while the later stories do seem a bit looser and more confident, the earlier stories certainly don’t suffer by comparison." – Andrew Fuerste-Henry, No Flying No Tights
• Review: "Boasting [Fantagraphics'] usual high-production values and showcasing the genesis of the indie comics icon, [Usagi Yojimbo, Book 1:] The Ronin is a meticulously curated artifact of comics history.... The book is worth buying for the art alone. Sharply reproduced on gratifyingly durable stock, the quality of the lines leap out from the page even in these early stories." – Abhimanyu Das, Slant Magazine
• Profile: At Comic Book Resources, Shaun Manning talks to Nicolas Mahler about his superhero spoof Angelman: "Mahler said he does not have an in-depth knowledge of the major events and storylines [in superhero comics] of recent years, but said he is still familiar with the culture. 'I think my point of view is very '80s, that is when I stopped reading them,' he said. 'After that, I only have very superficial information. I know more about the fanboys, actually. I enjoy the scene around superheroes more than the stories themselves. I like it when people take this very seriously, and can debate endlessly about little faults in a superhero's universe."'
• Interview: Following an introduction in his native Greek, Comicdom's Tomas Papadimitropoulos posts his untranslated (i.e. English) Q&A with Hans Rickheit: "I am compelled to draw these comics.... These stories follow a certain pattern of logic that makes sense to me. I don’t have the vocabulary to explain how it works, that is why I draw them as comic strips."
• Interview:The A.V. Club's Keith Phipps has a great Q&A with Daniel Clowes: "I can look at my early work and see what a pained struggle it was to draw what I was drawing. I was trying so hard to get this specific look that was in my head, and always falling short. I could see the frustration in the lines, and I remember my hand being tensed and redrawing things a thousand times until I finally inked it, and just having this general tense anxiety about every drawing. I think that comes through in the artwork, and gives it this certain kind of manic energy, this kind of repressed energy, so you feel like it’s sort of bursting at the seams or something."
• Interview (Audio):Daniel Clowes sits down for a chat on Bay Area NPR station KQED's Forum with host Michael Krasny
• Video: Via Meltdown Comics and Boing Boing, a charming short film by Rocío Mesa about a couple of dedicated Daniel Clowes fans
• Plug: "...[W]e recommend checking out Love and Rockets Library: The Complete Vol. 1 from Fantagraphics, which collects every issue of the landmark alt-comic series between 1982 and 1996. In Love and Rockets, Gilbert and his brother Jaime Hernandez wrote stories ranging from satire to political intrigue, and introduced such noteworthy characters as Luba, the temperamental, full-figured mayor of a Central American village, and Maggie Chascarrillo, a punk rock-loving Mexican girl who becomes a solar mechanic. ...[T]here's no better time to become a Los Bros Hernandez zombie than right now." – Phil Guie, Critical Mob
• Interview (Video):VICE's Rocco Castoro: "Johnny Ryan has been filling the back page of VICE magazine with twisted comics for the past ten years. Not to toot our own horn here, but it's fair to say that his strips are some of the funniest and grossest being published anywhere right now. We sat down with Johnny at his house in LA to discuss how he got started, his feelings towards R. Crumb, and how he used to barely give a shit about the work he submitted to us."
• Interview: At Stumptown, our pal Gavin Lees sat down for a chat with the great Stan Sakai on assignment for Bleeding Cool: "My abilities as a storyteller have matured over the years, I hope, and if you look at the early years of Usagi, you can see a huge difference in the character. His proportions have changed — at the beginning, he was maybe three-heads high, now he’s more like five-heads. So, he’s gotten sleeker and he’s not as cuddly any more. That may be because I’ve concentrated on more dramatic stories, rather than humorous, as the series went on. Most of the changes are unconscious on my part, though, just myself maturing as an artist and a storyteller."
We had a swell time at the Stumptown Comics Fest in Portland this past weekend and the big news for us there was that Jaime Hernandez received the Stumptown Comic Arts Award for Best Cartoonist! Festival special guest and our longtime pal Stan Sakai picked up the award for Best Letterer, and our newest hire, Jen Vaughn, shares the award for Best Anthology as co-editor of Lies Grown-ups Told Me. Congrats to all!
Fantagraphics is rockin' the convention scene from coast to coast this coming weekend, and you can also find us at the 9th Annual Stumptown Comics Fest in Portland, Oregon! Drop by the Oregon Convention Center this Saturday, April 28th and Sunday, April 29th!
You can find us at Booth 101, right near the entrance to the lobby, panels, workshops, and registration!
And many of our fine Fantagraphics artists will be featured in panels this year! Go check 'em out!
Saturday, April 28th
2:00-2:45 pm // WILD MAN: A Confluence of Art, Science and History:T Edward Bak's natural history-oriented graphic novel-biography, WILD MAN: The Strange Journey and Fantastic Account of the Naturalist Georg Wilhelm Steller was serialized from 2009-2011 in the Fantagraphics comics anthology MOME. The artist has conducted his own research throughout SE Alaska and the Aleutian archipelago, as well as St. Petersburg (Russian Federation) where he recently delivered presentations of his work for this ongoing project. Mr. Bak will relate his travel experiences, share WILD MAN artwork, relate the challenges of his process and research, and discuss his recent collaboration with writer Sarah Mirk on the Oregon History Comics project, "Voices from Celilo Falls", which further explores his interest in North Pacific natural history. (Room B111)
1:00-1:45 pm // Frank Santoro's Comic Book Layout Workshop: Frank Santoro (Cold Heat, The Comics Journal) will present a Layout Workshop for comic book makers via Skype. Borrowing lessons from his Correspondence Course, Frank will lead an informal talk and workshop which will revolve around formats available to makers in 2012 - and how comics composed for print might be translated to the web. (Room B113)
1:00-1:45 pm // Spotlight on Peter Bagge:Best known for his comic-book series Hate, which helped to define the grunge generation, and his recent contributions to Reason magazine, Peter Bagge is always willing to confront hard-hitting societal issues with intelligence, wit, and funny bone intact. Join us for a conversation with the multiple Harvey and Eagle Award-winning cartoonist, whose newest series, Reset, has just been launched in the Dark Horse Originals line. Moderated by Ryan Alexander-Tanner. (Room B114)
2:00-2:45 pm // Of Rabbits and Ronin: Spotlight on Stan Sakai: World-renowned cartoonist Stan Sakai has been writing, drawing, and even hand-lettering his beloved rabbit samurai series Usagi Yojimbo for twenty-seven years and counting. Join Sakai for a discussion of Usagi's history and future, as well as demonstrations and all-ages audience participation! Moderated by Usagi series editor, Diana Schutz. (Room B114)
Sunday, April 29th
4:00-4:45 pm // Making History: What do a Victorian robot, theology scholar, and rabbit ronin have in common? They're the stars of three very different stories in historical settings: Boilerplate: History's Mechanical Marvel; Family Man; and Usagi Yojimbo. Join their creators -- Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett, Dylan Meconis, and Stan Sakai -- for a lively discussion of history and storytelling. (Room B114)
2:00-2:45 pm // The New Underground:Frank Santoro referred to the current independent comics scene as a dawn of a new "Golden Age". There is a theory that if you go deep enough underground you hit the actual main stream. This generation is equally fluent in zines and Tumblr accounts; genre exploration and abstract art; printing process and independent distribution. Join panelists Chris Cilla, Max Clotfelter, Farel Dalrymple, Julia Gfrorer, Jack Hayden, Jason Miles, Jesse Moynihan, Emily Nilsson, Zack Soto, Angie Wang and Malachi Ward for a roundtable discussion on the future of underground comics. (Room B116)
Usagi Yojimbo: The Special Edition, the deluxe, slipcased two-volume hardcover set collecting the complete first decade of Stan Sakai's long-running, beloved series, with bonus materials including a color cover gallery, a career-spanning interview and more, has sold through its print run and is now a collectible. However! We have received a small shipment of dent-and-ding copies returned from the distributor, so if you don't mind a slipcase with a bonked corner or other superficial damage and you love bargains, good news because you can buy one of them for $50 — that's half price — from our mail-order department or from the fabled back room at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery. Fifty bucks for 1,160 pages of top-notch comics and fascinating bonus features is a heck of a deal, and we don't imagine these will last long, so don't delay!
Wondering where Stan Sakai is gonna be this weekend??? ...Oh, right, it's in the headline.
Yes, Sakai-san will be at WonderCon this weekend, and you can find him all three days at Table D-4, as in bring dollars 4 buying copies of the very early Usagi Yojimbo trades and some art, as he reports on Facebook he will have on hand.
WonderCon runs from Friday, March 16th to Sunday, March 18th, at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California.
• Review: "If Spielberg shed the skin of Hergé’s style in an effort to get to the heart of his stories, the compelling work of Dutch cartoonist Joost Swarte performs the procedure in reverse.... Swarte, equally inspired by the underground comix that emerged from the American counterculture of the 1960s and ’70s, adapted the clear line and reanimated it with subversive content unlike the perennially chipper Boy Scoutism of Hergé’s Tintin. ...Is That All There Is?, collecting the bulk of his comics oeuvre to date (excluding a body of children’s comics), provides an overdue opportunity to linger over and consider his narrative work.... Like a Rube Goldberg machine designed according to De Stijl aesthetics—with a rhythm and blues soundtrack—Swarte’s comics communicate a historically freighted, European sense of the absurd, poised toward a globalizing, postmodern present." – Bill Kartalopoulos, The Brooklyn Rail
• Review: "The real joy of Swarte’s work... is the architectural elegance of his illustrations and his fine ability to colour them using everything from watercolour to retro duo-tones. Looking at Swarte’s mostly 20th century work [in Is That All There Is?] now, what’s also — and tangentially — interesting is the retro-futuristic look of it: the settings are near-future, but everything’s styled circa the 1940s, much in the same way Ridley Scott imagined the future in Bladerunner. For sheer design swagger you need to check Swarte out." – Miles Fielder, The List
• Review: "These stories [in Athos in America] are a little less open-and-shut than Jason usually makes. His comics are always good, but I usually don't think about them too much after reading them. This one's more of a think stimulator than previous books.... It's a beautiful book. This is definitely Jason's best book yet. Good job, Jason." – Nick Gazin, VICE
• Interview:Chicago Publishes has an interview with Mome contributor Laura Park: "I’m really happy with the stories I did for MOME. I love short stories. Novels are the format now — it’s a selling format. You can have graphic novels in a bookstore, because non-comics people might buy them. Whenever you can get a comic from the comic shop into a bookstore, it’ll make more money. But short stories are kind of magical to me. My favorite writer is Flannery O’Connor. She has novels, but her short stories are the ones that linger and itch away through you."
• Review: "The good news: it’s here, it’s real. The better news: it’s incredible. Walt Kelly’s lively, robust, and poetic world is faithfully and lovingly produced in this, the first of a proposed twelve volume series. The hardcover is printed horizontally, maintaining the integrity of the 'strip' format, with ample margins to avoid any gutter-loss. Fantagraphics knew this first volume would be scrutinized by hardcore Pogofans, and they’ve outdone expectations, dating each strip, providing historical context for the more esoteric 1940s references, and even reproducing the color Sunday strips.... Through the Wild Blue Wonder is one of our Best Comics and Graphic Novels of 2011, and there might not be a better gift this holiday for the historical and literary comics fan." – Alex Carr, Omnivoracious (Amazon.com)
• Review: "The usually tight-gripped Disney empire agreed to turn over their most treasured property to Fantagraphics (yes, again!). The results are eye-opening, featuring a Mickey that might be unfamiliar to most present-day fans. The stories are dense, packing plenty of dialogue into the strips — and the themes are darker than the bright-eyed, factory-sealed tales of today. Mickey is multi-dimensional in the first volume, Race to Death Valley, making rash decisions without much concern for everyone’s safety. Thankfully, Minnie is by his side to both reign him in and sometimes encourage his recklessness. The reproduction is crisp — the black inks are meticulous in their separation, and the book is augmented with over 50 pages of essays and Mickey esoterica. Volume 2, Trapped on Treasure Island, published last month, and Fantagraphics has a gift edition slipcase that contains both volumes. This dynamic look is a revelation in the life of the character who started it all for Disney." – Alex Carr, Omnivoracious (Amazon.com)
• Plug: At Comic Book Resources' "Black Friday Comics Shopping Guide": "Fantagraphics is all over the legacies of some of the best artists ever to work for the Walt Disney company with Floyd Gottfredson's Mickey Mouse, vol. 1 ($29.99) and Carl Barks' Donald Duck ($24.99). Disney's most famous characters need no introduction, but their modern incarnations are so far from their roots that these collections will surprise anyone seeing these strips for the first time. Any of these volumes is a guaranteed smile."
• Plug: Deb Aoki's Manga Gift Guide at About.com Manga includes Wandering Son Vols. 1 & 2 by Shimura Takako: "This critically acclaimed series is available as over-sized hardcovers, which makes them especially gift-worthy, but the story is also charming and sensitive in a way that doesn't bash the reader over the head with a preachy agenda. Volume 2 is due out soon, so get that too if you can."
I always was very fond of the mini-comics format -- take two to four 8 1/2 x 11 sheets, fold them once, staple, and voilà! You have an adorable little 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 comic book for mere pennies. But I could never really figure out what to do with this old-school, low-tech format.
For this catalog season, we have created 21 "FBI•MINI" booklets (most in this format, although there are a few oddities), as premiums for customers who order books directly from us. They are available free with the purchase of their "matching" book or books -- or for those customers who've already bought those books but are desperate to get the FBI•MINI, free with the purchase of $50 worth of any other Fantagraphics mail-order merchandise.
If any of these catch your interest (and if you're reading this blog surely at least one of them will) you can click right on any of them to a more detailed listing on our website -- or just click right here and all 21 will pop up for you to peruse.