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Category >> Steve Ditko

Daily OCD: 1/26/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Steve DitkoreviewsJacques TardiDaily OCDCathy MalkasianBlake BellBest of 2010 26 Jan 2011 3:30 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Temperance

List: The number ten original graphic novel on Greg Burgas's "Best Ten of 'Ten" at Comic Book Resources is Cathy Malkasian's Temperance: "Malkasian’s odd fable is a haunting book about hiding your true self, coming to grips with deceit, and the necessity of striking out from the safety of home to discover new and possibly dangerous things. [...] Temperance is an amazing comic, always a bit oblique but never impenetrable... It’s a weird book that feels like a dream, which allows Malkasian to use metaphor to reveal fundamental truths. Malkasian is a superb creator, and this is a good example of what she’s capable of."

Unexplored Worlds: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 2 [Pre-Order]

Review: "Most of the content [in Unexplored Worlds] is in the Sci-Fi genre that features unexplored worlds, alien attacks...standard stuff of the era but in Ditko’s talented hands nothing is ever standard. When Ditko steps away from the science fiction material he comes up with some truly unusual stories... Besides the stories there are over a dozen Ditko covers reprinted and a fascinating introduction by Blake Bell. Bell provides an outstanding overview of this period of Ditko’s career." – Tim Janson, Newsarama

It Was the War of the Trenches

Review: "This isn't a book of men achieving medals and glory, rather it is a book of men trying to live to see the next sunrise. With a book so realistically downbeat full marks must go to Fantagraphics for translating and publishing it in an American market that it so fixated on the generally upbeat fantasy of superheroes. For all its depressing tone It Was the War of the Trenches leaves you with a sense of accomplishment of getting to the end and of having read something worthwhile, and that perhaps is what sets it apart from so many other war stories." – Jeremy Briggs, downthetubes.net

Craig Maynard

Tribute/History: Tom Spurgeon's excellent obituary of Craig Maynard at The Comics Reporter is a must-read

Daily OCD: 1/17/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Steve DitkoRIP MDreviewsMoto HagiomangaLove and RocketsLos Bros HernandezLinda MedleyJacques TardiDavid BDaily OCDCarl BarksBlake BellBest of 2010 17 Jan 2011 5:22 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

List: At Seen, Sam Humphries names Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 The Best Comic of 2010: "While it’s astonishing to see Los Bros Hernandez deliver some of their greatest work at this stage in their careers, at the same time, it should be no surprise at all. They’ve been killing it for nearly 30 years. [...] Both brothers are digging deep into the psyche and hearts of the human condition. The results are powerfully moving."

It Was the War of the Trenches

List: "[It Was the War of the Trenches] burns with a sense of outrage at the meaningless slaughter and sheer injustice of the events of almost a century ago. A century ago, perhaps, but we should never, ever forget and works like Trenches serve both as a fascinating piece of comics work and also an accessible reminder of history that has now all but passed from living memory and relies on books, film and other media to remind us." – Joe Gordon, "Best of the Year," The Forbidden Planet International Blog Log

Plug: "It Was the War of the Trenches  by Jacques Tardi (Fantagraphics) – Tardi is, simply put, one of the most important and influential French comic artists of the last 30 years. This welcome translation of his harrowing and haunting first World War narrative is as good a place as any to start." – John Byrne, The Irish Times (via Robot 6)

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec Vol. 1: Pterror Over Paris and The Eiffel Tower Demon [Pre-Order]

Review: "Several artists have the ability to capture some physical element of a city or a time; Tardi summons all of that with a fealty to detail and a consistency that eventually yields a more rounded, complete experience. Go all in, and by [The Extraordinary Adventures of Adéle Blanc-Sec Vol. 1]'s final 20 pages one can feel the air hit people in the face when they stumble out of doors, sense the temperature, smell the panoply of city-borne scents. ...[B]oth stories reprinted here with Kim Thompson's droll translation positively whip at the notion of competence in higher places, the rationality of power, that anyone rich ever pays for anything, and the law-driven society generally, all until the skin shows, raw and bleeding. It's a gas... I could personally read 10,000 pages of this material, stopping to stare at the prettier parts, returning to such a book over an entire summer. [...] It's a rare work that makes you like it and wish others would, too, that's for sure." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter

Castle Waiting Vol. 2

Review: "...Castle Waiting has been one of the most joyous comics discoveries for me of the last couple years. ...[D]espite this volume clocking in at 375 pages I read the whole thing in one sitting…and enjoyed every freaking second of it. I laughed repeatedly and more often than not was caught just smiling like an idiot as I read about these beautifully crafted characters and their completely boring but somehow also completely fascinating lives.  It doesn’t hurt that Medley is truly an incredible illustrator." – Kelly Thompson, Comic Book Resources

A Drunken  Dream and Other Stories [Pre-Order]

Review: "I frequently gasped, out loud, at the beauty of this goddamn thing. [...] Most of [the stories in A Drunken Dream] remind me of Jaime Hernandez, of all people, in that the force of the narrative is toward the protagonists coming to terms — with the damage done by a cruel mother, with the inspiration that arose unexpectedly from a childhood tragedy, with the sudden loss of a friendship through a shared mistake in judgment, with the death of a hated rival, with a necessary but traumatic decision, with the death of a parent. Or not! [...] Each story’s big narrative and emotional moments seem to swell within and explode out of these textures and lines, like they’ve actualized the potential energy there all along. [...] Reads like a dream, looks like a dream." – Sean T. Collins, Attentiondeficitdisorderly

Unexplored Worlds: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 2 [Pre-Order]

Review: "The back cover of Unexplored Worlds loudly proclaims, 'This is where Steve Ditko became Steve Ditko.' Indeed, in this second chronological volume of the Steve Ditko Archives, collecting 39 stories from 1956-57, we see the influential American cartoonist come into his voice. ...[I]t's fascinating to witness Ditko grow as a storyteller, to see the first hints of the layouts and compositions that would make his 1960s work on Spider-Man and Doctor Strange set the standard for decades to come." – Claude LaLumiere, The Montreal Gazette

The Littlest Pirate King

Review: "I think what ultimately struck me the most about The Littlest Pirate King (which B. adapted from a story by Pierre Mac Orlan) was how it weaves back and forth between innocent and grim. ...[I]t’s a gorgeous book. Even at its most nightmarish, there’s always something to admire within The Littlest Pirate King." – Greg McElhatton, Read About Comics

RIP, M.D. [Pre-Order]

Review: "[Rip M.D.] ...will delight monster-fans of all ages and signals a welcome return to upbeat and clever kids’ fiction. ...[T]his spectacular, spooktacular romp is a fabulously punchy, action-packed, wickedly funny treat for kids of all ages that will leave every reader voraciously hungry for more." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!

Carl Barks

Coming Attractions: More Carl Barks reaction from Richard Cowdry at The Forbidden Planet International Blog Log (who also comments briefly on our latest Pogo update)

Daily OCD: 1/14/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Steve DitkoreviewsOlivier SchrauwenLove and RocketsLos Bros HernandezKim DeitchJim WoodringJasonDaily OCDComing AttractionsCathy MalkasianBest of 2010audioAlexander Theroux 14 Jan 2011 3:14 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

List (Audio): On the Inkstuds radio programme, listen to Chris Butcher, Bill Kartalopoulos, Tucker Stone and host Robin McConnell discuss the Best of 2010, including Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 by the Hernandez Brothers — we haven't had a chance yet to listen ourselves but Robot 6 reports that Stone in particular has good comments on L&R

Temperance

List: At TIME.com – Techland, Douglas Wolk lists "15 Excellent Things Happening in Comics Right Now." First on the list: Jim Woodring's Nibbus Maximus and the coming of his Congress of the Animals ("If you are wise, you will not miss it"). Third on the list: "Cathy Malkasian's Temperance came out in the middle of last year, and I still don't know quite what to make of it, which is probably a good sign. [...] It's lovely to behold, rather difficult, terribly sad, very frustrating in some ways, and absolutely worth looking at."

What I Did [Pre-Order]

Review: "Since the appearance of Hey Wait…, Jason's first book to be translated into English, the Norwegian-born cartoonist has remained one of the most distinctive voices in comics. What I Did is the latest omnibus collection of Jason's work… into a beautiful hardcover volume… Grade: A" – Mike Sebastian, Campus Circle 

The Search for Smilin' Ed!

Review: "Stacked with surprising twists and intricate plotting, [The Search for] Smilin’ Ed revels in Deitch’s increasingly complex personal universe, threading new characters into the established histories of his previous protagonists. Densely detailed and creatively laid out, the art can absorb a reader’s eye for days, with tons of nods, winks and subtle touches embedded in nearly every scene." – Michael C. Lorah, Newsarama

http://www.fantagraphics.com/images/flog/mike/201101/the-ditko-collection-vol.-2-150x192.jpg

Review: "Steve Ditko has produced a disproportionate amount of my favourite, formative fiction over the decades. His is a unique voice wedded to an honest heart blessed with the captivating genius of a graphic master. The tales [in The Ditko Collection Vol. 2] have seldom been seen elsewhere; never often enough and always with little fanfare. If you can find this volume and its predecessor you’ll see a lot of his best work, undiluted by colour, and on lovely large white pages. Even if you can’t find these, find something – because Steve Ditko is pure comics." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!

http://www.fantagraphics.com/images/flog/mike/201011/so-25-4-2048-72-p0.jpg

Coming Attractions: At Robot 6, Chris Mautner looks at "Six potentially great 2011 comics you haven't heard of," leading off with The Man Who Grew His Beard by Olivier Schrauwen (coming in late Summer): "If you’ve had the lucky opportunity to read Schrauwen’s My Boy, or perused his work in the anthology Mome, then you’ll know this Belgian artist is the real deal — a true, utterly unique and frequently inspired cartoonist who draws upon century-old cartooning styles (McCay, Outcault) to create something contemporary and frequently bizarre."

http://www.fantagraphics.com/images/flog/mike/201101/oilwater-solic_coversm5.jpg

Coming Attractions:  At Examiner.com, Richard Lipski looks ahead to our Fall 2011 publication of Oil & Water, a chronicle of the Gulf Coast post-Deepwater Horizon oil spill, written by Steve Duin and drawn by Shannon Wheeler

The Strange Case of Edward Gorey [Expanded Hardcover Edition]

Reviewer: Alexander Theroux (whose The Strange Case of Edward Gorey is coming soon) reviews the novel Destiny and Desire by Carlos Fuentes for The Wall Street Journal

Daily OCD: 1/10/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Steve DitkoreviewsRC HarveyPrince ValiantPopeyeLove and RocketsJoyce FarmerJohnny RyanJim WoodringJaime HernandezJacques TardiHal FosterFour Color FearEC SegarDrew WeingDrew FriedmanDaniel ClowesDaily OCDCarl BarksBlake BellBill EverettBest of 2010 10 Jan 2011 3:04 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Special Exits [Pre-Order]

List/Review: At Seen, Sam Humphries ranks Special Exits by Joyce Farmer #6 on the Best of 2010: "Sure, Special Exits is sad. But it’s also funny, touching, thought-provoking, and life-affirming. It’s never trite, cheap, or hokey, like, say, Patch Adams. This is the raw, unvarnished truth about the end of life, elegantly put to page by Farmer’s lyrical drawings, a welcome, thoughtful evolution of the raucous underground style of the 60s and 70s. Most of all, Special Exits is powerful. It’s vital; almost essential. [...] It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s one that everyone can benefit from reading. Your future self will thank you."

List: Fangoria's Michael Koopmans puts two of our classic reprints on their list of the 10 Best Horror Comic Releases of 2010:

Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950s [Pre-Order]

"If you asked me to make a list of my all-time favorite comic artists, I’d just hand you [Four Color Fear], because all the greats are present in this terror tome... This is a truly amazing, thick collection of rare treats, as well as a nice reminder that EC wasn’t the only ones churning out the goods back in the 1950’s."

Unexplored Worlds: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 2 [Pre-Order]

"A companion piece to last year's Strange Suspense (Vol. 1), this volume [Unexplored Worlds] continues to showcase the goods from one of my all-time favorite artists. And by 'goods' I mean the most unique and disturbing horror and sci-fi comics you will ever come across! As is the case with all Fantagraphics releases, the original works are untainted and scanned perfectly."

List: Andrew Salmond of London's Gosh! Comics names his top 3 Best of the Year at The Forbidden Planet International Blog Log:

Set to Sea

"Set to Sea, by Drew Weing, is actually the unqualified top of my list. My absolute favourite of the year, just for the sheer pleasure of it. It’s the deceptively simple life story of a struggling young poet who finds a life for himself at sea, and it’s a proper misty-eyed treat."

Weathercraft

"Weathercraft, by Jim Woodring, is my tip to the old hands that brought out work this year. As much as I love the others..., Woodring is for me in a class of his own. Reading an extended work by the man, you find yourself falling into a different state of mind, a world of sickly, queasy imaginings. [...] Few are as adept at drawing you so deeply into worlds which are so utterly alien, yet so incredibly personal."

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec Vol. 1: Pterror Over Paris and The Eiffel Tower Demon [Pre-Order]

Review: "If this is your first encounter with The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec, I feel I should warn you about the faint regret you'll feel for not having a chance to read these earlier in your life. These comics feel lost in time; they are reminiscent of Victorian adventure novels but maintain a strong contemporary cultural relevance. [...] Whatever your age, this is escapist reading of the finest sort — readers will get lost in Tardi's breathtaking ornamental artwork and marvel at how captivating an old-fashioned yarn can really be." – Jeff Alford, About.com: Contemporary Literature

Prison Pit: Book 2  [Pre-Order]

Review: "Action action action. Balls to the wall and guts to the ground action. And sick sick drawings. That's what you will find in this book. [...] Is this an evolution of Johnny Ryan we are witnessing with this series? Is he taking his unique manner of storytelling to another level with Prison Pit? Whatever, but there's obviously more to come with this series and I will be eagerly awaiting the next installment." – P.D. Houston, Renderwrx Productions

Prince Valiant Vol. 2: 1939-1940

Review: "Seattle-based publisher Fantagraphics' second volume of the collected Prince Valiant by series creator Hal Foster is a sumptuous package bringing together the Sunday strips that were published during 1939-40. ...[T]his restoration of one of the most influential comic strips of all time... [is] an essential purchase for anyone interested in the history of the American comic strip." – James Peaty, Den of Geek

Popeye Vol. 2:

Review: "Throughout it all, Segar's art is energetic and expressive, the printed-page equivalent of the black-and-white cartoons of the '20s, and his characters are broad and exciting but always identifiable. Popeye in particular has depths that later stories rarely dealt with... Segar's Thimble Theatre stories are great American originals, and they suffered the fate of every other great American original: to be watered down and redone a thousand times by a thousand hacks in search of a quick buck and a sure thing. But the original endures to be rediscovered, as often as necessary, and that's no small thing." – Andrew Wheeler, The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

Meanwhile... A Biography of Milton Caniff

Review: "Coming in at nearly 1,000 pages, [Meanwhile...] was done with the late Caniff’s full cooperation and benefits from the fact that he and Harvey were friends. [...] Any storyteller as influential as Caniff was and is deserves a biography of this caliber." – Tim O'Shea, Robot 6

Fire & Water: Bill Everett, the Sub-Mariner and the Birth of Marvel Comics [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

Review: "As biographer and historian, Bell excels. He is able to really understand the cartoonist he is documenting and boil it down to the essentials. [...] The production on [Fire & Water] is amazing. Bell is able to reproduce a good amount of original artwork that allows you to see just how skilled a draftsman Everett was." – Robin McConnell (Inkstuds), Robot 6

The Book of Jim [Sold Out]

Review: At The Panelists, a "One-Panel Review" from Jim Woodring's The Book of Jim by Charles Hatfield: "Something I miss in Jim Woodring‘s current work is a sense of fear being enacted directly through his drawing, through his handiwork—in other words, a sense that the drawings themselves are shivering and smearing and decomposing out of sheer, gut terror."

Daniel Clowes - self portrait (color)

Interview: The Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon talks to Daniel Clowes: "I can't say that I would never do another comic and call it Eightball. I say there's actually a very high probability that I would do that some day. Kind of for old time's sake, or something. Or just to kind of rethink what a comic book means at some point. But right now it sure doesn't feel like the thing to do."

Jaime Hernandez - self portrait

Interview: And another great interview from Tom at The Comics Reporter, this time with Jaime Hernandez: "Gilbert and me always ask each other, 'So, what do you got in the new issue? What's coming up?' And I go, 'Well, I got this one story about Maggie, blah blah blah...' and I called it 'Maggie in Palomar.' I kind of aimed it that way, where I'm like, 'Oh, boy. A place where nothing happened.' It gives them room to do everything, because there's nothing there."

Old Jewish Comedians: A Visual Encyclopedia

Interview: The Los Angeles Times asks Drew Friedman for his thoughts on the Academy Awards: "The Social Network gets my vote for best film. Aside from it being the only film I've seen this year, I always support films with Jewish leading men playing Jews, even if the Jew is Mark Zuckerberg via Jesse Eisenberg. Good for the Jews!"

Carl Barks

Coming Attractions: More reporting and commenting on our Carl Barks news from Matthias Wivel at The Metabunker

Booklist reviews for January: David B., Steve Ditko, Joyce Farmer & Jason
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Steve DitkoreviewsJoyce FarmerJasonDavid BBlake Bell 3 Jan 2011 10:08 AM

This month's issue of Booklist includes reviews of four of our recent publications, excerpted below:

The Littlest Pirate King

The Littlest Pirate King: "David B.’s swirly touches and jolting figures have the unnerving quality of a not-quite nightmare, and the sometimes frank bloodiness and scary passages are probably right in line with the reality of kids’ unwhitewashed imaginations. What’s most refreshing is how well this maintains a sense of subversiveness while ending on an oddly touching, though definitely vexing, note." – Ian Chipman

Special Exits [Pre-Order]

Special Exits: "Emotional and physical crises are depicted naturalistically, never hyped up to tug the heartstrings or extort pity, and the parents’ personalities are convincingly and lovingly evoked. The end-of-life literature is vast and mostly practical and advisory. Though not without value as counsel, Farmer’s contribution is primarily a work of art, moving and beautiful." — Ray Olson (Starred Review)

Unexplored Worlds: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 2 [Pre-Order]

Unexplored Worlds: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 2: "Even though he’d only been working in comics for a couple of years when he drew these 1956 tales, they already display Ditko’s distinctively cockeyed style and his characteristically powerful compositions. [...] As Bell remarks in his insightful introduction, what makes Ditko's early work notable is 'the dichotomy between what he was given and what he was able to accomplish.'" – Gordon Flagg

What I Did [Pre-Order]

What I Did: "While all the pieces postdate the time when Jason decided to give the long, lean characters in his stories dog, bird, and cat heads, these tales are less fantastic, less parodic, and more poignant than his later stories... The Iron Wagon, an adaptation of a classic Norwegian crime novel, is the grimmest, starkest thing Jason has ever done, as powerful as a dark Ingmar Bergman film, despite those animal heads." – Ray Olson

Now in stock: Unexplored Worlds: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 2
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Steve Ditkonew releasesBlake Bell 27 Dec 2010 4:12 PM

Now in our warehouse and ready to ship:

Unexplored Worlds: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 2

Unexplored Worlds: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 2
by Steve Ditko; edited by Blake Bell

240-page full-color 7.25" x 10" hardcover • $39.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-380-4

Previews & Ordering Info

This is where Steve Ditko became Steve Ditko.

1954 and 1955 were tough years for the fledgling cartoonist: A life-threatening bout with tuberculosis sidelined him for almost a year, and his main client, Charlton Comics, suffered a devastating flood that forced it to shut its doors temporarily. Yet Ditko's enforced time off and subsequent need to seek out new clients (most particularly Marvel Comics, for whom he would go on to create Spider-Man), as well as his stubborn devotion to his craft, brought about an astonishing series of quantum leaps in his work — as displayed in this volume (following the best-selling Strange Suspense: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 1) of more than 200 pages' worth of never-before-collected horror and science-fiction stories from the early career of a comics great. Introduction by series editor Blake Bell.

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

Exclusive Savings: Order both volumes of The Steve Ditko Archives (Strange Suspense & Unexplored Worlds) together and save 20%!

Daily OCD: 12/20/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Usagi YojimboSteve DitkoStephen DeStefanoStephane BlanquetStan SakaireviewsPrince ValiantPopeyeLove and RocketsLos Bros HernandezJohnny RyanJaime HernandezJacques TardiHans RickheitGilbert HernandezDestroy All MoviesDavid BDaily OCDCathy MalkasianCarol TylerBlake BellBest of 2010 20 Dec 2010 5:57 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions from Vice, the Austin American-Statesman, Wired, Fangoria and elsewhere:

List: The Austin American-Statesman's Joe Gross lists his top 10 Best Comics and Graphic Novels of 2010:

You'll Never Know Book 2: Collateral Damage [Pre-Order]

#4 - You'll Never Know, Book 2: Collateral Damage by C. Tyler: "The first volume of Tyler's planned trilogy appeared on this list last year, and she hasn't missed a step, fleshing out her father's time in World War II with fresh details about its long-term aftershocks on the home front."

It Was the War of the Trenches

#3 - It Was the War of the Trenches by Jacques Tardi: "...French cartoonist Tardi's pitch-black World War I masterpiece, available in English for the first time. This is war as hourly apocalypse, Expressionist and agonizing."

Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

#1 - Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 by the Hernandez Brothers: "The first two [issues] were typically excellent, but the third was jaw-dropping, largely because of 'Browntown,' a story by Jaime Hernandez. Like his brother Gilbert, Jaime has been so good for so long that it's become very easy to take his obvious genius for granted. 'Browntown' brought that skill into brutal relief, a devastating story of a secret left to fester. Expertly paced, with not a line wasted, it was one of the year's best stories in any medium, a stunner from a guy who keeps finding new peaks."

List: Popdose's Johnny Bacardi (né David Allen Jones) names Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 one of his Best of 2010: "Featuring Jaime Hernandez's remarkable 'Browntown,' perhaps the best thing he's ever done. Which makes this absolutely essential."

List: At Attentiondeficitdisorderly, Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 is one of Sean T. Collins's Comics of the Year of the Day: "...career-best work from cartoonists with two of the best careers in the medium."

Love and Rockets Book 25: High Soft Lisp [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

List: Also at Attentiondeficitdisorderly, Gilbert Hernandez's High Soft Lisp is another of Sean T. Collins's Comics of the Year of the Day: "Gilbert Hernandez vs. Gilbert Hernandez, to the death."

Ectopiary - Hans Rickheit

List: MTV Splash Page names Hans Rickheit's ongoing Ectopiary the Best Webcomic of 2010

The Littlest Pirate King

Review: "...The Littlest Pirate King is gorgeously illustrated and quite intriguing. David B. has an unusual style which tempers the creepiness of undead pirates with an almost goofy look; but then those cartoony characters grin as they run swords through people. It’s a very odd juxtaposition that matches the story well..." – Jonathan Liu, Wired – GeekDad

Usagi Yojimbo: The Special Edition [Pre-Order]

Review: "...[Usagi Yojimbo] is probably one of the best comic stories ever made. The epic scope expected from historical fiction is there as are some of the most finely drawn characters in the medium. [...] While even the stories that are not particularly noteworthy are highly readable, the good stories in this collection are amazing. [...] I give this book the highest possible praises for quality." – J.A. Crestmere, Renderwrx Productions

Destroy All Movies!!!: The Complete Guide to Punks on Film [Pre-Order]

Review: "Destroy All Movies!!!, edited by Zack Carlson and Bryan Connolly, not only gives an great anthology-like overview... but provides a strong focus on the talent and punk-brains behind the art. [...] It’s the perfect summation of a 1980s American society that didn’t know how to handle the punk uprising, and a film industry that capitalized on it." – Dave McKendry, Fangoria

Unexplored Worlds: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 2 [Pre-Order]

Review: "Fantagraphics has finally presented the work of one of comics' greatest mystery men in dignity with beautiful color reproduction and informative introductions. [... Unexplored Worlds] shows off Ditko's work after the Comics Code Authority came onto the scene and turned every lurid story of horror and 'the macabre' into some lame morality tale in which everyone has a nice time. Still there's some strong content in this book..." – Nick Gazin, Vice

FUC_ __U, _SS __LE: Blecky Yuckerella Vol. 4

Review: "Johnny's new book [FUC_ __U, _SS __LE] is full of the yucky yuks, barfy larfs, and gags-that-make-you-gag that have made this shock comicker the Artie Lange of drawn funnies! [...] Do you like comics where dangling nutsacks are mistaken for pinatas and rich people shove DVDs into midgets' butt cleavage which causes them to act out the movies? A comic where summoning a Garfield Satan is possible by using the Lasagnanomicon? A comic where a little girl shoots the homelees in the brain, grinds them up, and feeds them to skunks for Thanksgiving? You don't? Neither does anybody else. Eat my balls, JR." – Nick Gazin, Vice

Review: "As with Ryan’s more recent work... the jokes [in FUC_ __U, _SS __LE] become have become more outrageous, absurd, disturbing and just plain odd. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing depends upon your appreciation for Prison Pit, not to mention your appreciation for Johnny Ryan’s comics in general. Me, I thought it was swell." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6

Temperance

Review: "Here’s another best of 2010 comics entry for you. Cathy Malkasian’s Temperance is like Franz Kafka’s The Castle meets Little House on the Prairie and goes drinking. No, it’s like rewriting Pinocchio as several Flannery O’Connor short stories, including (but not limited to) 'A Good Man Is Hard To Find' and 'Good Country People.' No, that’s not it either. [...] Anyway, it’s weird as hell. This stuff." – John Holbo, Crooked Timber

Toys in the Basement

Review: "Dosed with dry, mordant wit and just the right tone of macabre Ghost Train suspense Toys in the Basement is a simply terrific goose-bumpy thriller rendered magical by the wildly eccentric, brilliantly imaginative and creepily fluid artwork of Blanquet. This dark delight also has the perfect moral message for loot-hungry, attention-deprived youngsters – and their kids and grandchildren too." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!  

Lucky in Love Book 1: A Poor Man's History [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

Interview: The Daily War Drum talks to Stephen DeStefano about his Disney comics work and other topics: "I'm currently working on storyboards for Disney TV Animation, on a show called Kick Buttowski. I'm also drawing Spongebob Squarepants comic books, as well as drawing the second volume of my graphic novel (Volume One was published this past September) called Lucky in Love."

Prince Valiant Vol. 2: 1939-1940

Plugs: The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin's David Allen runs down a plethora of recent classic newspaper-strip reprints, including many of ours, natch, and counting Prince Valiant and Popeye among his favorites

Plugs: Hey Parisians! Librairie Apo (K) Lyps blogs that they just got a big shipment of Fantagraphics stuff last week — allez-y!

New Comics Day 12/15/10: Unexplored Worlds
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Steve DitkoNew Comics DayBlake Bell 14 Dec 2010 11:26 PM

This week's comic shop shipment is slated to include the following new title. Read on to see what comics-blog commentators are saying about our release this week, check out our previews at the link, and contact your local shop to confirm availability.

Unexplored Worlds: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 2

Unexplored Worlds: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 2
by Steve Ditko; edited by Blake Bell

240-page full-color 7.25" x 10" hardcover • $39.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-380-4

"The second volume of Fantagraphics' Blake Bell-edited reprints of Ditko's early material collects the pieces he banged out for Charlton Comics in 1957, and I do mean banged out: that year alone, he drew around 450 pages for them (as well as a few pieces elsewhere, some of which appear here too). Ayn Rand's acolytes always seem to have a curious relationship with the idea of a work ethic." – Douglas Wolk, Comics Alliance

"I already have a copy, but if you’re a Steve Ditko fan then your splurge item for the week should be Unexplored Worlds, the second volume in Fantagraphics and editor Blake Bell’s ongoing attempt to collect his pre-Code and pre-Spider-Man material." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6

"Unexplored Worlds: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 2 (Fantagraphics) examines a ton of the legendary creator's pre-Marvel work from the 1950s..." – Cyriaque Lamar, io9

"Deluxe reprint! More from editor Blake Bell and Fantagraphics, compiling early stuff in hardcover, 1954-55, 240 pages." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics

Daily OCD: 12/10/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Tim HensleySteve DitkoreviewsMoto HagiomangaLove and RocketsJohnny RyanJasonJacques TardiDavid BDaily OCDBlake BellBest of 2010 10 Dec 2010 6:04 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Prison Pit: Book 2  [Pre-Order]

List: Erich Redson of LA TACO ("Celebrating the Taco Lifestyle in Los Angeles, California") names their Comic of the Year: "Johnny Ryan is a long-time TACO favorite, but he has really outdone himself this year with the release of Prison Pit Book 2. Pure, unmitigated ultra-violent filth has never been drawn so cleanly. This comic makes an excellent Christmas gift for that special sadist in your life."

Wally Gropius

List: Tim Hensley's Wally Gropius is one of Blog Flume's Ken Parille's top 3 "Books I Really Liked and Wrote About Twice in 2010"

The Littlest Pirate King

Review: "With The Littlest Pirate King, David B. applies the same skills and angle of attack that served him so well in a naturalistic, personal mode to a highly fantastical tale, one in fact penned by another writer. [...] The story... is weird, gory, mythic, transgressive, surreal, satirical, anti-bourgeoise and nihilistic. It is also cute, sentimental, cheery and heartening. [...] What makes the book an enjoyable success are David B.'s pinwheeling, vibrant, colorful drawings. Echoing elements from the allied work of Richard Sala and Tony Millionaire, he creates both intimate moments and big dramas with eye-catching color, character design and composition. [...] The true king of these manic, antic pirates is David B." – Paul DiFilippo, The Barnes & Noble Review

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec Vol. 1: Pterror Over Paris and The Eiffel Tower Demon [Pre-Order]

Review: "...The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec... is quite fun... A large dose of whimsy is injected into the proceedings, making the dashing also daft. Tardi has the feel of old-school French funnies down pat; if you didn’t know any better... you might think they originated several generations ago, rather than one (they were first published in France in 1976). As is, with its cerebral gags and secret tunnels, the work carries a slight burst steampunk in a knowing, winking vein of Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. [...] The book makes me look forward to seeing Luc Besson’s forthcoming film adaptation, but even more forward to Volume 2." – Rod Lott, Bookgasm

A Drunken  Dream and Other Stories [Pre-Order]

Review: "Fantagraphics and editor Matt Thorn have ably stepped up to the plate here, compiling a career-spanning collection of Hagio's short stories [A Drunken Dream], one which demonstrates her acumen with stunning visuals and deft characterization, and especially a nice grasp of human relationships. It's like a quick class in what we've been missing out on for all these years. [...] While much of her work remains to be revealed to Western audiences, this book makes for a wonderful primer on what she has accomplished throughout her career. Hopefully it will be far from the extent of what we will get to experience." – Matthew J. Brady, Warren Peace Sings the Blues

Low Moon

Review: "Front and center [in Low Moon] is [Jason's] quirky subversiveness, the beguiling, eccentric perspective on whatever his subject might be. Delivery is an irresistible syncopation of narrative stresses and visual beats further enlivened by the double take: 'Wait. Did I really see what I just saw?' Whatever a story’s content, era, tone or genre, the narrative is always built up from observed human nature, pared and mounted for easy identification. [...] The book Low Moon contains three more tales, not a clunker in the bunch. They all are ripe with Jason’s sublime nonsense, deadpan hilarity, laconic (if not completely silent) expressiveness and brazen commandeering of genre devices." – Rich Kreiner, The Comics Journal

Strange Suspense: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 1

Review: "Whether in romantic stories or stories of the West, and especially in the horror, Ditko continuously breaks new ground... Despite all the limitations that Ditko first evidences in these stories, despite the distance in time and the nearly six decades that could be moth-eaten stories, reading Strange Suspense is, at least for the writer, a morbid and pleasurable enjoyment..." – Álvaro Pons, La Cárcel de Papel (translated from Spanish)

Love and Rockets

Commentary: At Attentiondeficitdisorderly, Sean T. Collins posts an index and acknowledgments for his now-completed "Love and Rocktober" review series and adds his suggestions for where to start reading the series (not too different from ours)

Unexplored Worlds: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 2: preview at Techland, slideshow/giveaway at Wired
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Steve DitkopreviewscontestsBlake Bell 6 Dec 2010 6:39 PM

Unexplored Worlds: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 2

Two big features on Unexplored Worlds: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 2 today: Techland has a preview sampling of 12 "gorgeous, freaky pages," while Wired offers a slideshow of images with commentary from the book by editor Blake Bell and giveaway for a free copy of the book!