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Category >> Steve Ditko

First Looks: Gabriella Giandelli's Interiorae, Ditko's Mysterious Traveler
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Steve DitkoGabriella GiandelliComing AttractionsBlake Bell 16 Mar 2012 8:41 AM

http://www.fantagraphics.com/images/flog/mike/201203/2012-03-15_16-23-05_934.jpg

You might not think our two latest preview-copy arrivals have much in common (aside from striking artwork and the fact that both have covers with dwellings in the background and trees in the middle ground), but you'd be wrong. They both feature mysterious, ethereal, supernatural characters observing the actions and fates of mankind! Pretty uncanny, no?

Interiorae

Interiorae by Gabriella Giandelli collects her beautiful and haunting 4-issue "Ignatz" comic series with the art now presented in its original full color. We're hustling this one out to premiere at TCAF in May, where Gabriella is a special guest! It should be in stores shortly thereafter.

Mysterious Traveler: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 3

And here's Mysterious Traveler: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 3, the latest tome in editor Blake Bell's comprehensive series compiling Ditko's groundbreaking early work. We're not blowing smoke when we say this is some of the best work of his career. This should be hitting stores right around the same time as Interiorae.

Want to see more? We have sneak peek excerpts of both these books at their respective pages at the links above. We're trying out a new scrolling embedded preview in addition to the traditional PDF download for more instant gratification, so check it out. And of course we'll have more photos and video to come. (In fact, I owe you a lot of those previews.) Stay tuned!

Daily OCD: 1/23/12
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Steve DitkoreviewsPaul NelsonMomeMickey MouseMichel GagneLove and RocketsLewis TrondheimKevin AveryJohnny RyanJoe SimonJacques TardiJack KirbyJack DavisFloyd GottfredsonDisneyDaily OCDCarl BarksBest of 2011 23 Jan 2012 5:51 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Like a Sniper Lining Up His ShotWalt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the AndesPrison Pit Book 3

List: On the Inkstuds radio programme's "Best of 2011 with the Cartoonists" episode, Aaron Costain, Dustin Harbin and John Martz discuss their favorite comics of 2011 with host Robin McConnell, including:

Like a Sniper Lining Up His Shot by Jacques Tardi & Jean-Patrick Manchette
Approximate Continuum Comics by Lewis Trondheim
Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes by Carl Barks
Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse by Floyd Gottfredson
Prison Pit Book 3 by Johnny Ryan
Mome Vol. 22

Love and Rockets: New Stories #4

List: Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 was the second-highest vote-getter in Forbidden Planet International's "2011 FPI Master List" survey of "various comic types" to determine the best-loved comics of the year

Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture - A Career Retrospective

Review (Audio): Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture is a topic of discussion with host Mark Frauenfelder and guests Ruben Bolling and Dean Putney on this week's Boing Boing "Gweek" podcast

Approximate Continuum Comics

Review: "You know who’s great? Lewis Trondheim, the incredibly prolific French cartoonist. Evidence comes in... Approximate Continuum Comics, an English translation of a six-part series Trondheim published in the 1990s concerning his struggles in the comics industry, desire for success and acclaim and just general angst, anxiety and feelings of self-doubt. It sounds all terribly self-involved to the point of tedium, but Trondheim is simply too skilled a storyteller to allow his own ego to override the quality of his work. Approximate is filled with wonderful visual inventions, like an early daydream about dealing with obnoxious passangers on the subway. More to the point, Trondheim’s self-effacing sense of humor is so charming and revealing that the book never becomes too solipsistic or insufferable." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6

Young Romance: The Best of Simon & Kirby's Romance Comics

Review (Audio): Extra Sequential Podcast hosts Kris Bather and Mladen Luketin examine Young Romance: "Legendary creators Joe Simon and Jack Kirby effectively created the romance comics genre which was surprisingly dominant during the 1940s and 50s. We look at Fantagraphics’ entertaining new collection of some of their work."

 Everything Is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson

Review: "Paul Nelson's life narrative is too good and too tragic.... The painful thing about reading this book [Everything Is an Afterthought], beautifully written and edited by Kevin Avery, is a lot of people are going to identify with Nelson's love for culture and what it means to him/us/them.... A very sad book. But the interviews with his fellow critics and friends (most love him to bits) [are] quite moving and a tribute to those who write to expose how 'their' feelings are attached to the shine or the mirror-like image of pop culture." – Book Soup Blog

Unexplored Worlds: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 2

Analysis: Comic Book Resources' Greg Burgas examines a 1957 Steve Ditko page as reprinted in Unexplored Worlds: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 2




What's in the November Diamond Previews
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Steve DitkospainRobert CrumbPopeyePat ThomasJoost SwarteJohn BensonEC SegarDiamondComing AttractionsCarl RichterBlake Bell 14 Nov 2011 1:19 AM

Shipping January 2012 from Fantagraphics Books

The new Diamond Previews catalog came out recently and in it you'll find our usual 2-page spread (download the PDF) with our releases scheduled to arrive in your local comic shop in January 2012 (give or take — some release dates may have changed since the issue went to press). We're pleased to offer additional and updated information about these upcoming releases here on our website, to help shops and customers alike make more informed ordering decisions.

This month's Spotlight item is editor John Benson's The Sincerest Form of Parody: The Best 1950s MAD-Inspired Sarirical Comics; Listen, Whitey!: The Sights and Sounds of the Black Power Movement 1965-1975 by Pat Thomas is "Certified Cool"; and the issue also includes Popeye Vol. 6: "Me Li'l Swee'Pea", the final (alas) E.C. Segar volume; more pre-Spidey classics in Mysterious Traveler: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 3 edited by Blake Bell; the über-definitive guide to R. Crumb art The Crumb Compendium by Carl Richter; the heretofore uncollected underground memoir Cruisin' with the Hound: The Life and Times of Fred Tooté by Spain Rodriguez; and the long-awaited, eagerly-anticipated Is That All There Is? by Joost Swarte.

See them all here!

Daily OCD: 11/7/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Steve DitkoreviewsPrince ValiantMichael KuppermanLove and RocketsLos Bros HernandezJaime HernandezinterviewsHal FosterGilbert HernandezGahan WilsonDisneyDaily OCDCarl BarksBlake BellBest of 2011 8 Nov 2011 2:12 AM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Love and Rockets: New Stories 2-Issue or 4-Issue Pack

List: Thus beginneth the Best of 2011 links, as Publishers Weekly names Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 by Gilbert & Jaime Hernandez one of their top 10 Best Comics of 2011: "Even in a long career of masterpieces, Jaime's story about missed opportunities for happiness is a revelation, while Gilbert continues to cement his place as the Jorodowsky of comics with a vampire tale."

Review: "Another great issue, with the continuation and ending of 'The Love Bunglers,' from Jaime Hernandez. It's a real knockout and quite touching for those that have followed the strip and these characters since the eighties. You almost have to remind yourself that, yes, these are characters, not real people! Apparently, nobody told Jaime that the quality of one's work is supposed to go down after working on a strip that long." – Jason, at his Cats Without Dogs blog

Commentary: "I've been thinking a lot about Jaime Hernandez's conclusion to his Locas story 'The Love Bunglers' (from L&R New Stories vol. 4) -- mainly b/c it was such an incredible piece that I cry every time I read it. I even recently threatened to force a friend to read all the Locas stuff, because it's so freaking good. But then I started wondering -- is it as awesome if you read it all at once?" – Alicia K., Wordnerdy

Review: "Readers and admirers, myself included, often think of Gilbert as the better writer of the two brothers and Jaime as the better artist. With only a few exceptions, Gilbert has been the best writer in American comic books over a three decade period. No one has produced more beautiful art for black and white comics the way Jaime has over that same period, a period in which he has been the best comic book artist in North America. 'Browntown' is one of the stories in which Jaime shows that he can write as well as draw comic books better than most and as good as the very best.... 'Browntown' is an incredible story with a sense of realism and gravity unseen in most comic books. 'Browntown' alone makes Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 one of the best comic books of 2010." – Leroy Douresseaux, I Reads You

Review: "Love and Rockets: New Stories #2 reminds us, as the first issue did, that comic books from the Hernandez Brothers are always a welcome thing. A year may be a long wait, but when it comes to Los Bros’ coolness and greatness, time is neutral. I can always reread this and enjoy it just as much as I did the first time." – Leroy Douresseaux, I Reads You

Nuts

Review: "...Nuts, which ran in National Lampoon throughout the ’70s, ...offered a largely autobiographical look at the way childhood actually is: a perpetually confusing state of existence, in which kids are jostled to and fro by adults who don’t seem to know what they’re doing (but want to make sure that their offspring are parked somewhere out of the way while they do it).... They’re wonderful pieces of comic art..., applying Wilson’s usual sense of the grotesque and macabre to phenomena like summer camp and sick days. And they’re not all bitter either... He mixes the sour and the sweet exceptionally well." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club

Plug: "I’ve written at length about this strip [Nuts] before, but it’s worth reiterating I think just how goddamn wonderful this comic is, and how great it is to have a decent collection available after lying fallow for so long. Wilson captures the anxieties and traumas of childhood as few cartoonists have before or since." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6 (for their weekly "What Are You Reading?" column which features our own Jacq Cohen this week)

Prince Valiant Vol. 4: 1943-1944

Review: "Again, stunning drawings. And quite bloody! Valiant is being tortured, people are killed left and right [in Prince Valiant Vol. 4]. There's a strange sequence in the book involving another knight, Tristram, who I don't think has been introduced earlier, that looks like a double of Valiant, but with a mustache! He is killed by a jealous king, but instead of Valiant and Gawain, who are there, seeking vengeance they just ride off. Not quite sure what was going on in Foster's mind there." – Jason, at his Cats Without Dogs blog

Mark Twain's Autobiography 1910-2010

Interview: Michael Kupperman is the guest on this week's Boing Boing "Gweek" podcast. He's interviewed by Reuben Bolling about Mark Twain's Autobiography 1910-2010 and sticks around to weigh in on other topics

Pogo Vol. 1

Plugs: At The Beat, Torsten Adair spotlights a whole mess of our recent and upcoming releases, declaring "If you’re going to ship your book bucks to Washington, it’s better to send them to Fantagraphics than Amazon!"

Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes

Plug: "Carl Barks was a genius when it came to turning Donald Duck and company into comic book characters, and his creation of Uncle Scrooge continues to delight and amuse countless generations. Thankfully, that trend will continue thanks to Fantagraphics’ release of Carl Barks’ Walt Disney’s Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes." – Kevin Kelly, Wizard World

Mysterious Traveler: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 3

Plug: As every month, Comic Book Resources' Greg Burgas is "Flippin' through Previews": "You can get more creepy pre-Spider-Man work from Steve Ditko on page 280, as Fantagraphics has Mysterious Traveler: The Steve Ditko Archives volume 3."

Iowa Celebrates the Literature of Comics
Written by janice headley | Filed under Wally WoodSteve DitkoRobert CrumbJoe SaccoJessica AbelJaime HernandezJack KirbyJack DavisHarvey KurtzmanHal FosterGilbert HernandezGary GrotheventsEC ComicsDaniel ClowesCraig YoeChris WareCarl Barks 6 Oct 2011 8:13 AM

Comics at the University of Iowa

Comics are taking center stage in America's Heartland this autumn, as the University of Iowa presents the exhibit Graphic Language: The Art and Literature of Comics, which runs through December 11th.

This exhibit is truly impressive, featuring original artwork from Carl Barks, Steve Ditko, Hal Foster, and Jack Kirby, as well as Winsor McCay, Frank Frazetta, and Milton Caniff.

There's gonna be a special section devoted to original work for EC Comics, from artists like Wally Wood, Harvey Kurtzman, Jack Davis, Johnny Craig, and Bernard Kriegstein.

And covering the spectrum, the exhibit also spotlights contemporary cartoonists like Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez, Joe Sacco, Daniel Clowes, R. Crumb, Chris Ware, and Jessica Abel, as well as Alison Bechdel, Phoebe Gloeckner, Craig Thompson, John Porcellino, Jeff Lemire, James Sturm, and Matt Madden.

Holy crap, right? Well, it gets even more envy-enducing...

To tie into the exhibit, the University of Iowa presents Symposium on Comics, Creativity, and Culture: International and Interdisciplinary Perspectives, running through this weekend with some impressive panels:

Joe Sacco
Joe Sacco // photo credit: Jacob Covey

Friday, October 6th

3:15-4:15 PM // Preservation and Presentation: The Art and Business of Comics Publishing: Join our fearless leader Gary Groth in panel with Peggy Burns (Drawn and Quarterly) and Craig Yoe (YOE! Books). [ University Capitol Centre 2520D ]

7:30 PM // Joe Sacco: Keynote Lecture and UI Lecture Committee Featured Speaker [ Shambaugh Auditorium ]

Gilbert & Jaime Hernandez
Gilbert & Jaime Hernandez // photo credit: Patrick Rosenkranz

Saturday, October 8th

1:30-3:30 PM // Editing Comics Criticism and Scholarship: This round table discussion features Gary Groth, along with John Lent (Editor, The International Journal of Comic Art) and Frenchy Lunning (Editor, Mechademia) [ University Capitol Centre 2520D ]

7:30 PM // Gilbert & Jaime Hernandez: Keynote Lecture and UI Lecture Committee Featured Speaker [ Shambaugh Auditorium ]

You can view the entire schedule of events at the University of Iowa website. If you read this FLOG and live in Iowa, you better be there!

Daily OCD: 8/4/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Willie and JoeThe Comics JournalSteve DitkoreviewsRand HolmesPatrick RosenkranzKrazy KatKim DeitchinterviewsGilbert HernandezGeorge HerrimanDisneyDaily OCDCarl BarksBill MauldinaudioAlex Chun 4 Aug 2011 6:59 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Krazy & Ignatz 1935-1936: A Wild Warmth of Chromatic Gravy

List: The Hooded Utilitarian, nearing the top of their results in their International Best Comics Poll, reveals George Herriman's Krazy Kat at #2, with a brief essay by Jeet Heer 

The Comics Journal #301

Review: "...The Comics Journal #301... is crammed with fantastic content. The volume's texture, heft, and text make it the readers' equivalent of a dense slab of chocolate cake.... In short, Gary Groth and his editorial team have produced a stellar contribution to comics history and scholarship. It is a feast for comics aficionados and neophytes alike. " – Casey Burchby, SF Weekly

http://www.fantagraphics.com/images/flog/mike/201108/donald-blad1.jpg

Plug: The Forbidden Planet International blog shares our latest update on Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes with its readers, and then bums them out with news of the book's unavailability in the UK

Willie & Joe: Back Home

Plug: "I second Tom Spurgeon’s recommendation of Bill Mauldin’s Willie and Joe Back Home. I was amazed by how brutally frank the comics are, and how affecting. I actually prefer it to his WWII work — it’s even more impassioned, and the cartooning loosens enough to show off a really expressive, cutting line." – Dan Nadel, The Comics Journal

The Pin-Up Art of Humorama

Plug: "Alex Chun has a new volume available from Fantagraphics Books in his series which profiles the 'few dollars a drawing' gag writers who sold work to the Humorama line of digest publications during the 1950s and into the early 1970s. As I have been writing on the lesser known artists who contributed, with the scant information available...I eagerly await the book!" – Jim Linderman, Dull Tool Dim Bulb

The Artist Himself: A Rand Holmes Retrospective [Pre-Order]

Interview (Audio): Patrick Rosenkranz discusses Vancouver-based underground comix artist Rand Holmes with Vancouver-based Inkstuds host Robin McConnell in advance of the Holmes exhibit and presentation this Saturday at Vancouver comic shop Lucky's. Vancouver!

http://www.fantagraphics.com/images/flog/mike/201108/beto_dimension.jpg

Analysis: At Entrecomics, Alberto Garcia examines the Steve Ditko influence/homages in some of Gilbert Hernandez's early work — even if you don't read Spanish, the images will have you going "ah-haaaa..."

The Search for Smilin' Ed!

Lore: Kim Deitch's "Mad About Music: My Life in Records" column returns over at TCJ.com, with more on Elvis Presley and the early days of rock 'n' roll

Daily OCD: 7/11/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Steve DitkorockreviewsRaymond MacherotPaul NelsonMomeMickey MouseMaurice TillieuxLewis TrondheimKevin AveryFloyd GottfredsonFlannery OConnorDisneyDave McKeanDaily OCDBlake BellBasil Wolvertonaudio 11 Jul 2011 6:24 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1: Race to Death Valley

Review: "Fantagraphics, always a publisher you can count on to rescue classic comic material from oblivion, has published a gorgeous 288 page hardcover archive edition of Mickey [Mouse]'s earliest serialized comic strip adventures and he's quite a different character than we know today...a little rambunctious, a little mischievous, and a whole lot of fun. This book takes readers on a glorious ride through depression-era adventures as Mickey battles villains, becomes a fireman, visits a circus, and meets his faithful pup Pluto for the first time. Besides the many great comic strips, Fantagraphics has filled the book with a ton of supplemental material... This is an absolute must-have for any Mickey Mouse fan. Grade A" – Tim Janson, Mania

Celluloid [Pre-Order]

Review: At Comic Book Resources, Greg Burgas and Kelly Thompson engage in a dialogic analysis of Dave McKean's Celluloid.

Burgas: "McKean’s art is astounding, as it always is. He moves from his very rough pencil work that he used on Cages and moves quickly into a multimedia extravaganza, with photographs interspersed with film reels (more photographs, of course, but used in a different way) and paintings and more detailed pencil work. The colors are magnificent, too... It’s an astonishing work of art, to be sure..."

Thompson: "I agree that the success of this book is in that it is beautiful from cover to cover. As a rule I tend to prefer McKean’s very rough pencil work, though I very much appreciate the layering mixed media styles he uses, and I found all of it very beautiful and successful in that way. I was impressed with the color choices and the really wonderful cubist look he achieved for some of the work, and some of the mixed media he used toward the end was some of my favorite in the book period.... After discussing it, I feel more pleased with the book as a whole because I’ve been forced to admit that I don’t recall seeing many more effective executions of erotic subject matter as a legitimate work of art in this way..."

Burgas: "What is compelling about Celluloid is that McKean tackles a difficult subject and elevates it beyond a simple porn comic. I think the very fact that Celluloid makes you wonder about sex in many of its iterations is impressive. As you can see, both Kelly and I had our issues with it, but it’s a gorgeous comic nevertheless. It’s definitely something that you don’t see every day!"

Approximate Continuum Comics

Review: "I have the impression that Lewis Trondheim is the most important European artist of his generation. Such is the creativity and productivity and so the breadth of his work that, for me at least, wins the title deservedly. Approximate Continuum Comics... is the first part of Trondheim's autobiographical adventures.... The brilliant humour of Trondheim, his sharp-tongued reason, the way with which it shows the mix of imagination with reality. Equally impressive is the effortless way in which the most espressive artwork works serving the story." – Aristides Kotsis, Comicdom (translated from Greek)

Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko

Review: "Bell does the best job of any attempt I've ever seen to bring together everything we know about Ditko's life and work. The result [Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko] is fascinating, frustrating and eventually presents a sad portrait of an immense talent that withdrew from the world and denied it of his work and himself of the audience, acclaim and success that was easily within his grasp." – Tom McLean, Bags and Boards

Mome Vol. 22

Plug: "The 22nd -- and final -- issue of MOME from @fantagraphics is the best one yet. So sad." – Whitney Matheson (USA Today Pop Candy), via Twitter

Gil Jordan, Private Detective: Murder by High Tide + Sibyl-Anne Vs. Ratticus

Plug: Sceneario takes note of the new entries in our new Franco-Belgian comics line with interest and excitement (en Français)

Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons

Preview: At Flavorwire, Emily Temple shares some glimpses of the cartoons to be included in Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons, saying "Her style is distinctive — the charmingly brusque drawings are cut from linoleum and then essentially stamped when she applied ink to the ridges, and while the content is largely related to her experience as a student, you can still feel the slightly skewed, individualistic perspective that appears in O’Connor’s short stories.... Lovers of her work will doubtless find joy and meaning in her cartoons, and other people will probably like them too."

Preview: Jamie Frevele of The Mary Sue picks up on the preview of Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons, saying "...while not as demented as some of her writing, the dark humor is still there, even in the short span of a single panel."

Plug: "Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons is the first compilation of her graphic work in pen-and-ink and linoleum cuts. Before her writing career the young student aspired to be a cartoonist, and she developed a visually bold and eye-catching style. The results are witty and acid comments on campus life and American culture that show O'Connor developing her own acerbic point-of-view." – M. Bromberg, BellemeadeBooks

Plug: The Portland Mercury's Jacob Schraer amusingly abandons writing about Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons to post a video of Miss Piggy — that's OK, we all have days like that

Everything Is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson by Kevin Avery

Interview (Audio): Kevin Avery, author/editor of Everything Is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson, is a guest on the Rockcritics Podcast. Host Scott Woods says "I’ve mentioned a few times here already Kevin Avery’s wonderful book, Everything is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson. Half a personal biography of Nelson, half a compilation of select Nelson reviews and essays, it’s one of the finest books I’ve ever read about a writer — and, needless to say, about rock criticism."

Wolvertoons

Profile: "[Basil] Wolverton was one of the pioneers who made today’s highbrow comics scene what it is; his twisted abstract portraiture, all sweatbeads and pleading eyes, floated like a buoy in a sea of banal comic art, influencing kindred spirits like Robert Williams and Big Daddy Roth. Though best known for his nightmare caricatures in the vein of Lena Hyena, his sf and horror work — jewels like the 'Brain Bats of Venus' — is equally disturbing (or invigorating). God knows what brain bat attached itself to Wolverton’s fertile grey matter, but it certainly wasn’t of this atmosphere." – Joe Alterio, HighLobrow

Daily OCD: 6/23/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Wilfred SantiagoTim KreiderThe Comics JournalSteve DitkoShimura TakakoreviewsLinda MedleyKim DeitchJim WoodringGene DeitchDave McKeanDaily OCDBlake BellBill EverettaudioAnders Nilsen21 23 Jun 2011 6:20 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Castle Waiting

List: Castle Waiting Vols. 1 & 2 take two spots on Nancy Pearl's "10 Terrific Summer Reads" list at NPR.org: "The black-and-white drawings are precisely crafted, with small, endearing touches that render each character entirely unique. The dialogue is clever and filled with subtle grace notes of drollness and humor. The set will be especially appealing to readers of all ages who enjoy seeing and reading traditional fairy tale tropes teased and played with, all with a sense of good-humored fun."

Congress of the Animals

Review: "...Congress of the Animals finds twisted fabulist Woodring at the top of his darkly delightful game: Open the book at random and the odds are very good that your gaze will alight upon something that stings, bites, drips, oozes or squelches. Tentacled plant-beasts threaten the unwary, factories powered by crushed blackbirds produce who-knows-what, slimy amphibians enact bizarre rituals and a tribe of naked, faceless men whom the jacket copy refers to as "blind gut-worshippers" — easily the most potent nightmare fuel Woodring has ever produced — drug passersby for mysterious purposes of their own. You certainly won't want to live inside the covers of Congress of the Animals, but it's a fascinating and thrilling feat of imagination, and one hell of a place to visit." – Glen Weldon, NPR.org

Wandering Son Vol. 1

Review: "This book does something I love. It takes me inside a world I’ve never known.... Shimura’s writing does a good job of exposing the readers to the realities of being transgender. Wandering Son ignited my imagination and got me trying to relate to and understand these characters as deeply as possible.... Shimura has crafted an excellent opening volume.... The quiet pace and subject matter make this series a perfect read for the alternative comics crowd. Fans of shoujo and josei manga will enjoy it too. I’d love for everyone to at least give the first volume of Wandering Son a try. It’s a rare gem of emotional honesty and complexity that rewards those willing to take the risk and move outside their typical reading habits." – Ed Sizemore, Comics Worth Reading

Monologues for Calculating the Density of Black Holes

Review: "Monologues for Calculating the Density of Black Holes by Anders Nilsen... touched a special spot that I strive towards in my reading; it created atmosphere. There’s a weight to the unhinged timeline and nonsensical dialogue. It feels calculated, even as it touches on topics such as 'Godzilla vs. Richard Simmons.' The drawings are simple, yet they effortlessly convey time and feel appropriate for the content. It was a quick read, but one that I’ll be revisiting. Check it out." – Au Yeah!

21: The Story of Roberto Clemente

Interview: Newsarama's Michael Lorah talks to Wilfred Santiago about the creation of 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente: "A baseball sequence is all about interpretation; there are cold, unchangeable facts. If the batter hits a home run to left field in the second inning, etc., then those are unchangeable facts about that scene. So it’s about the reading of the particulars. I mean, if you are saying sad things while laughing maniacally, it’s different than if you are saying them while sobbing and in tears. Therefore, it’s all about what role that particular game sequence plays in the story as a whole. It’s not a book about baseball, even though there’s baseball in it."

Celluloid [Pre-Order]

Interview (Audio): Inkstuds host Robin McConnell rang up Dave McKean (on Skype presumably) for a conversation about his latest book: "Celluloid, fresh out from Fantagraphics, is a remarkable work exploring pornography through a very particular lens. Needless to say, it is fantastic."

Strange Suspense + Unexplored Worlds: The Steve Ditko Archives Vols. 1-2

Interview (Audio): Blake Bell goes on the Collected Comics Library podcast to talk with host Chris Marshall about the ongoing Steve Ditko Archives and the upcoming Bill Everett Archives

The Comics Journal #301

Opinion: At Robot 6, Sean T. Collins comments on the excerpt from Tim Kreider's Cerebus essay from The Comics Journal #301 which appears at TCJ.com

The Search for Smilin' Ed!

Lore: Kim Deitch continues his new column over at TCJ.com, "Mad About Music: My Life in Records," featuring (among other things) a few of his dad Gene's jazz illustrations (as seen in our book Cat on a Hot Thin Groove)

Revealed: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 3
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Steve DitkoComing AttractionsBlake Bell 25 May 2011 9:36 AM

Mysterious Traveler: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 3
(cover design subject to change)

At his blog, The Steve Ditko Archives editor Blake Bell spills the beans on the upcoming third volume, Mysterious Traveler, due in January 2012!

"What makes this volume so special," says Blake, "is that meteoric improvement in Ditko’s work as he toils in obscurity for a company that treated their comic books like toilet paper for their more profitable magazine and song books. Such is the irony of one of the great living artists of the 20th century – working with stories churned out for an audience of children, Ditko produced the highest quality material in the industry with no editorial oversight at an amazing pace (all the stories within were produced in 1957 alone)."

Check out Blake's post for the whole scoop, and you can keep up with all the latest updates by "liking" The Steve Ditko Archives Facebook page and/or by following @blake_bell on Twitter.

Daily OCD: 5/23/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Steve DitkoRobert CrumbreviewsPeter BaggeMickey MouseLove and RocketsLewis TrondheimLeslie SteinGilbert HernandezGahan WilsonFloyd GottfredsonDisneyDave McKeanDaily OCDBlake Bell 23 May 2011 7:46 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1: Race to Death Valley

Review: "Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse: Race To Death Valley kicks off Fantagraphics’ latest series of vintage newspaper strips... About halfway through the [first story] arc, ...Gottfredson’s Mickey Mouse begins to develop the characteristics that would sustain it for decades to come: a fast pace, frequent narrow escapes, and an industrious hero who throws himself fully into every endeavor, in ways that both get him into trouble and help get him out. ...Gottfredson... took the broad idea of a good-natured mouse and sketched in his own attitudes about hard work, courage, and the importance of having reliable friends when the jams get especially sticky." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club

Love from the Shadows

Review: "[Gilbert] Hernandez’s latest book Love from the Shadows is a confounding hybrid, inserting Love And Rockets’ watermelon-chested, lisping Fritz into a violent dream-novel that combines the fluid reality of Luis Buñuel with the two-fisted crime sagas of Jim Thompson. ...[T]he beauty of comics as a medium is that it invites re-reading; and Hernandez’s mastery makes Love from the Shadows easy to pore back over, savoring how its meaning shifts from page to page." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club

Review: "There’s fiction, there’s Meta-fiction and then there is Gilbert Hernandez.... Now he returns to his eccentric sideline to translate the wildly experimental independent/exploitation/sexploitation tale Love from the Shadows into a stunning graphic rollercoaster ride of broken families, counter-culture angst, embezzlement, greed madness, obsession, charlatanry, psychics and mysterious aliens in possibly the greatest tribute to scurrilous lowbrow movie maestro Russ Meyer ever seen." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!

Eye of the Majestic Creature

Review: "Speaking of confounding comics, Leslie Stein’s bizarre Eye of the Majestic Creature collects the first four issues of Stein’s self-published comic.... Stein riffs on loneliness, relationships, creativity, family, and intoxication via cutely psychedelic art and short vignettes that are heavy on fancy and light on explanation. At times the book comes from so deep inside Stein’s head that it reads almost like notes for a comic, not a finished work. But then Stein pivots into a moment or image of deep emotional resonance and beauty... and the loose narrative style pays off. These four issues do get better as they go, so consider this a promising introduction to a potentially major new talent." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club

Hate Annual #9

Review: "...Peter Bagge is back... with Hate Annual #9, the latest in his yearly reports on the life of his slacker-turned-entrepreneur character Buddy Bradley. Usually Bagge fills out the Hate annuals with strips he’s drawn for other publications throughout the year, but #9 is nearly all Buddy, and it’s one of the best Bradley stories in years... The story is wonderfully digressive in the best Bagge tradition, too..." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club

Yeah!

Review: "An overt attempt to bring back the silly rock-’n’-roll fun of Josie & The Pussycats and Jem & The Holograms, Yeah! follows the adventures of a girl-group that’s wildly popular on other planets, but can’t get any attention on Earth. ...Yeah! is... a pleasure to read, with an anything-goes storytelling style and an infectious affection for pop music, as well as for pop culture about pop music." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club

Approximate Continuum Comics

Review: "...[T]he comics in Approximate Continuum constitute a highly amusing portrait of that mostly under-explored time in a person's life when things become more important and more ridiculous in equal measure and we find ourselves constantly and even quietly adjusting to wholesale changes in life and attitude and orientation that we once had hopes to master. It speaks to how well-observed the book is that you could pick it up sans context of any kind and find much to enjoy. ...Approximate Continuum Comics consistently hits the pleasure points afforded by great cartooning and a wicked sense of humor, and should be fair comfort to anyone that feels they're at a point in their life when they need to give themselves a good talking-to." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter

Unexplored Worlds: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 2

Review: "Even if you’ve read the first volume [of The Steve Ditko Archives], Unexplored Worlds offers plenty more surprises.... While the 'twists' rarely match up to the initial imagination of any given piece, Ditko’s art is solid throughout. As always, Fantagraphics’ top-notch presentation makes the publisher the go-to stop for comics preservation." – Rod Lott, Bookgasm

R. Crumb (AP Photo)

Interview: At the official R. Crumb website, Alex Wood quizzes Crumb on various historical and pop-cultural figures, from Obama to Tommy James and the Shondells to his underground comix contemporaries to Mozart: "I love the movie Amedeus about him, but the actual music, nnnaaaah."

Nuts [July 2011]

Interview: The Daily Cross Hatch continues serializing Brian Heater's MoCCA panel conversation with Gahan Wilson: "...[T]he world for a kid is often very scary. It’s a huge challenge, and it is often scary. I mean, people die, and what the hell is that all about? I explore that sort of thing in Nuts. The stuff that happens to grownups happens to kids, too — these amazing, awful things. And these often terrific things. And they have to somehow wrap themselves around it."

Celluloid [Pre-Order]

Feature: The guest contributor to this week's "What Are You Reading?" column at Robot 6 is Dave McKean (who, with his erotic graphic novel Celluloid coming out, weighs in with his thoughts on the erotic work of his sometime-collaborator Alan Moore, Lost Girls)