Updates of Online Commentary & Diversions may be oddly timed for the rest of the week as we're eyeball deep in MoCCA preparations.
• Review: "[Harvey] Kurtzman and company aimed high for a more sophisticated humor mag than the competition... Fantagraphics’ package for it is bar none — handsome, sturdy and restored with great care... I was most interested in the behind-the-scenes story of Humbug and the creative process that went into it — not to mention doomed it — and the book’s introduction and exclusive interviews more than satisfy on that count." - Rod Lott, Bookgasm
• Review: "In a way, Humbugalmost feels like a goof-humor version of The New Yorker or something. There’s a lot of fairly serious political/social commentary, cloaked in wry rainment. It’s a blend as interesting as any cocktail, and it’s goddamn great to have this stuff easily available. Hats away!" - Byron Coley & Thurston Moore, Arthur Magazine
• Review: "...[U]nparallel parodists Kurtzman and Elder ran rampant for themselves when they published these 11 exceptional issues of comic art anarchy. This two-volume hardcover box set has been reproduced from the original art and digitally restored to make everything look even better than when it first came out in 1957. This long-overdue definitive edition of Humbug is an essential slice of satire from the masters of the genre." - Jeffrey Morgan, Detroit Metro Times
• Review: "Everybody Is Stupid Except For Me [is] a compilation of the notorious Seattle libertarian [Peter Bagge]’s politically (and sexually) charged comics for Reason magazine... It’s great. So colourful (always my favourite part of Pete’s comics) and acerbic and smart-ass, but with a heart and purpose behind the bickering and keenly observes caricatures... It’s too early to say now, but right now I’m thinking it’s perhaps my favourite stuff of his, full stop..." - Everett True
• Review: "Connective Tissue... make[s] for an engaging read... While Darla sounds like she could be a handful, she is a good and sympathetic protagonist, making her a modern-day Alice in a 21st century Wonderland." - Jason Borelli, Beyond Race Magazine
• Preview: Spotlighting comics shipping this week, The Comics Reporter says of Uptight #3: "The previous issue of this series from the great Jordan Crane was super, super strong." Likewise, Chris Mautner at Robot 6: "The latest issue in Jordan Crane’s very good series about ghosts and melancholy comes to town. I feel we should be doing all we can to ensure Crane keeps making comics, don’t you?" And Matthew Brady says: "I missed the second issue of this series, but the first one was great... Check it out if you see it on the shelves."
• Profile: My Adventure Is Your Advantage spotlights the design work of our very own Art Director Jacob Covey, calling him "the bees knees of design" and presenting previously unseen previews of the forthcoming Abstract Comics anthology
• Profile: "[Dash] Shaw's online and bound comics inhabit surreal spaces both cerebral and emotional, leaping from zombie love stories to futuristic set pieces without resorting to predictability... It's probably safe to say he has arrived." - Wired
• Interview: Publishers Weekly's Heidi MacDonald asks our own Eric Reynolds for his thoughts about Book Expo America and its value for comics publishers like us; The Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon comments on the interview; meanwhile, The Daily Cross Hatch's Brian Heater gets a few words from Eric on the show floor
In our news section, we're pleased to bring you the lowdown on our books and comics slated for release in August, 2009, as will be seen in the pages of Previews. It's a big month! The list includes:
• The Complete Peanuts 1973-1974 by Charles M. Schulz • The Complete Peanuts 1971-1974 Box Set • Captain Easy, Soldier of Fortune: The Complete Sunday Newspaper Strips Vol. 1 by Roy Crane • Rock Candy by Femke Hiemstra • This Side of Jordan by Monte Schulz • Usagi Yojimbo: The Special Edition by Stan Sakai • Love and Rockets: New Stories #2 by the Hernandez Brothers • Like a Dog by Zak Sally
We also put up our actual Previews spread as a print-quality PDF file, just for fun. Jason Miles designed it and it'll clobber your eyeballs like a roundhouse from Capt. Easy himself. Click on through for the full dirt.
For your viewing pleasure, here is a video and photo slideshow preview of the brand-new edition of Usagi Yojimbo Book 7: Gen's Story, which we just got in stock last week. This is a newly redesigned edition of this all-ages classic, and the final Fantagraphics Usagi volume to be given the new design treatment, so now you can complete your collection! This book is in stock now, and is scheduled to be in stores approximately 4 weeks from now. Click here if the slideshow embedded above is not visible, and/or to view it larger in a new window (recommended).
The seventh volume in this legendary series about a wandering rabbit samurai in feudal Japan is now available in a newly redesigned edition! This dense tome collects issues 32 through 38 of the original Usagi series as well as the Usagi strip from Critters #38. In addition to the novel-length "Gen's Story," which forms the centerpiece of this volume, and which relates the heretofore untold story of the mercenary swordsrhino Gennosuke, Usagi Yojimbo Book 7 includes "Kitsune" (introducing a new romantic interest for Usagi), "The Last Ino Story" (the final fate of the Blind Swordspig Zato-Ino), "The Return of Kitsune," and "Broken Ritual," a tale of hara-kiri based on an idea by Sergio Aragonés, who also contributes this volume's introduction. This perennial favorite features dragons, ghosts, demons, bats and more, all in set in Sakai's warrior landscape. A classic!
(This brand new 5th softcover printing features all-new design by Fantagraphics art director extraordinaire Jacob Covey. This is the final Fantagraphics Usagi book to receive the redesign treatment, so complete your collection today!)
• Review: Comics Waiting Room on Ho! The Morally Questionable Cartoons of Ivan Brunetti: "...[I]f the material printed Ho! had been created in, say, Soviet Russia, Ivan would be the biggest star in the gulag. As it is, he’s one of the most twisted and funny motherfuckers putting pen to paper right in the U.S. of A. And I’m damned proud he’s one of us... Brunetti’s latest work is as strong as ever, and maybe even sicker. He’s an amazing cartoonist, and I respect his work immensely, even when some of it makes me queasy… especially if it makes me laugh then feel queasy."
• Reviews: The "What Are You Reading?" column at Robot 6 includes Tom Bondurant on Gilbert Hernandez's Heartbreak Soup ("At first I was afraid that Beto was introducing so many characters I wouldn’t be able to keep up with them, but the deeper I go into the book the better he manages everyone. The writing reminds me of Will Eisner’s slice-of-life stuff from his later career..."), Tim O'Shea on The Complete Peanuts 1969-1970 ("The intro by Mo Willems is great insight into what appealed to many about the series..."), Chris Mautner on A Mess of Everything by Miss Lasko-Gross ("[It] shows a good deal of progression [from Escape from "Special"], both in terms of storytelling and artistry"), and Jeff Lester on The Comics Journal Library Vol. 6: The Writers ("for which a more accurate title might have been 'Gary Groth Browbeats Bewildered Comics Writers'")
• Preview: Urban Aesthete looks at the forthcoming Abstract Comics anthology
• Profile: The Seattle Weekly, previewing Jaime's visit to Seattle, nicely describes Love and Rockets: "It’s a mutable universe that skips between characters at older and younger stages of life, where buxom pro wrestling queens, spaceship mechanics, and touring hardcore bands buoyantly intersect. No one stays lost for long; no grievance goes unforgotten; and deep-fried jungle slugs forever remain a delicacy."
This weekend is the Emerald City Con, our hometown comics event of the year. We'll be exhibiting all weekend and showcasing a host of new spring books including Gilbert Hernandez's LUBA, Bob Fingerman's CONNECTIVE TISSUE, Miss Lasko-Gross's A MESS OF EVERYTHING, the great HUMBUG boxed set, Archie Goodwin's BLAZING COMBAT, Boody Rogers' BOODY, Paul Hornschemeier's MOTHER, COME HOME, and much, much more. We'll also be hosting signings, including:
JAIME HERNANDEZ: all weekend!
PAUL HORNSCHEMEIER: all day Saturday!
DAME DARCY: Saturday from 1 to 3PM
BILL SCHELLY (author of MAN OF ROCK, the excellent JOE KUBERT bio): Saturday from 11 to 2PM
Also, STAN SAKAI will be in attendance in Artist's Alley all weekend, signing copies of USAGI YOJIMBO.
After the con on Saturday, join us at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery from 6:00 to 9:00 PM for an extraordinary exhibition of original artwork by Jaime Hernandez and Stan Sakai. Jaime and Stan, together with special guest Paul Hornschemeier, will be signing books and mingling with fans.
It's impossible to overstate the enduring influence of LOVE & ROCKETS on the comics medium, so we'll skip the superlatives. Suffice to say that Jaime will be on hand to greet fans and sign books. Stan's epic USAGI YOJIMBO adventure series has introduced generations of young readers to the world of comics, and his books are more popular than ever. His original drawings and paintings are inspiring. Jaime and Stan will be joined by their young colleague Paul Hornschemeier signing copies of his wonderful new graphic novel MOTHER, COME HOME.
This event serves as the official after-party for this weekend's Emerald City Comicon in Seattle, so expect to see other comics creators and luminaries. Adult beverages will be provided for grown ups and sodas for the kids.
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located just minutes south of downtown Seattle at 1201 S. Vale Street (at the corner of Airport Way S.) in the colorful Georgetown arts community. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.669.9059.
CELEBTRATED CARTOONISTS JAIME HERNANDEZ AND STAN SAKAI APPEAR AT FANTAGRAPHICS BOOKSTORE & GALLERY ON APRIL 4
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery proudly presents two of the most accomplished and popular cartoonists in America on Saturday, April 4, from 6:00 to 9:00 PM. Jaime Hernandez, co-creator of the phenomenal Love and Rockets series, will appear with Stan Sakai of Usagi Yojimbo fame for an exhibition of original art and book signing event. They will be joined by special guest Paul Hornschemeier signing copies of his handsome new hardcover Mother, Come Home.
Jaime Hernandez, together with his brother Gilbert, revolutionized the comic book form with their epic series Love and Rockets. Introduced in 1982, their mythical tale of contemporary multicultural society re-energized a moribund medium and gave birth to the “alternative comics” genre. Jaime’s central characters, Maggie and Hopey, emerged as icons for a generation of disaffected youth and their stories remain relevant and compelling today. With nearly 100 comic books to his credit, and over a dozen collected anthologies published by Fantagraphics Books, Jaime Hernandez is among the most influential cartoonists of his generation. In the words of Alan Moore, "Jaime's art balances big white and black spaces to create a world of nuance in between, just as his writing balances our big human feelings and our small human trivias to generate its incredible emotional power. Quite simply, this is one of the twentieth century's most significant comics creators at the peak of his form, with every line a wedding of classicism and cool."
Much like Jaime Hernandez, Stan Sakai relies on his cultural heritage in the expansive adventure series Usagi Yojimbo. Sakai chronicles the escapades of wandering Samurai bunny Miyamoto Usagi in feudal Japan with beautifully crafted artwork and an engaging narrative style that appeals to readers of all ages. Usagi Yojimbo is at once poignant, edifying, funny, and spellbinding – a singular achievement in the comics medium. Fantagraphics Books and Portland-based Dark Horse Comics have collected his work in over 24 volumes. According to comic book sage Stan Lee: “One of the most original, innovative, well-executed comic books anywhere to be found.”
Mother, Come Home is Paul Hornschemeier’s piercing graphic-novel debut, long out of print and now available for the first time in hardcover. It secured the cartoonist’s place as one of his generation’s most skillful and ambitious practitioners, and proved a harbinger of the subject matter that the artist would go on to explore most consistently in later work: the nuclear family.
The exhibition and reception on Saturday, April 4 will serve as the official after-party for the Emerald City ComiCon. Expect an array of comics professionals and luminaries to be in attendance. Admission is free. Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale Street at Airport Way S. in Seattle’s colorful Georgetown arts community. Open daily, 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sunday until 5:00. Phone 206.658.0110.
Jaime Hernandez, Stan Sakai
Love and Rockets and Usagi Yojimbo Art exhibition and book signing
Saturday, April 4, 6:00 – 9:00 PM Emerald City ComiCon after-party Special guest Paul Hornschemeier
Exhibition continues through May 6, 2009.
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery 1201 S. Vale Street (at Airport Way S.) Seattle, WA 98108 206.658.0110 Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM www.fantagraphics.com/bookstore
Stan Sakai sent me an email asking if I knew anything about the strange beast pictured here. It's new to me and apparently the Japanese text doesn't address the creature. Does anyone know its story-- or at least a name?
Comments appreciated. Stan would like to know more about this unusual obakemono and I'd just love to see a hairy cyclopian leg show up in an Usagi Yojimbo story.
• Review: John Mitchell on Supermen!: “Supermen points to a time when comic books were a new and exciting form — admittedly low brow in presentation, but filled with visual and narrative leaps that would affect how we told stories visually for decades to come... This book chronicles the exciting, silly, fun and experimental world in which these kinds of [superhero] characters were forged — fairy tales from the modern era."
• Review: Lady, That's My Skull takes lunch with The Wolverton Bible, saying "It is a fascinating look at the side of an artist that most fans are not familiar with due to the scarcity of the material."
• Review: My Year Online on Ted Stearn's first Fuzz & Pluck collection: "[I] laugh[ed] out loud at many points. This is all down to Ted Stearn’s genius in depicting expressions, his excellent slapstick timing and great storyboards, where you can never tell what will happen next..."
• Reviews: The blogger behind Fluid Motion has "been reading a lot of comics by Jason recently," offering micro-reviews of 3 of his books
• Review: Newsarama enthuses about Popeye Vol. 3 (scroll about halfway down): "As with previous volumes of Popeye, it's a cornucopia of mangled English, slapstick, violence and hamburger soliciting... Fantagraphics continues to knock it out of the park with their work on the production of these books... With his fun designs and slapstick exaggeration, Segar's art has always been a plus, and nothing about that changes here... It's packed with adventure and humor, strong art, inventive and complex stories, and features more slam-bang punching than any other ten comics. It is a true, to use a much abused word, classic."
• Review: I'm not sure if this review originally ran in Rain Taxi or is original to the Powell's Books blog where it appears now, but: John Pistelli delves into The Lagoon by Lilli Carré: "The Lagoon's artisanal craftsmanship and child's-eye ironies reflect the baffled wisdom of a heroine too young to be foolish... it is a gorgeously bleak work for so young an artist."
• Interview: Baldur Bjarnason presents a 21-minute audio interview with el jefe Gary Groth recorded at the 2000 San Diego Comic Con