Now available for preview and pre-order: Strange Suspense: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 1. Before Spider-Man, before Dr. Strange, before Mr. A, the legendary Steve Ditko was conjuring all manners of horrors at his drawing table. For the first time, all of Ditko's pre-Comics Code horror and suspense stories from the first two years of his career are collected in one beautifully designed hardcover, restored to their full, lurid, four-color glory. Edited and with an introduction by Blake Bell, author of the acclaimed biography Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko. We've put together an exclusive 15-page PDF excerpt containing two complete stories, which you can download right here. This book is scheduled to be in stock and ready to ship as early as next week and in stores approximately 4 weeks after that (subject to change).
View a photo & video slideshow preview of the book embedded here. Click here if it is not visible, and/or to view it larger in a new window (recommended).
I think we're all caught up on our Online Commentary & Diversions now:
• Review: "It's impossible not to love Jason's hapless cartoon characters; they're dog-faced descendants of Charlie Chaplin in that way, usually placed into situations far beyond their control or understanding... The five stories that make up Low Moon, Jason's newest collection of comics, hark back to the classic golden age of film... Each story reverberates with the little eccentricities that Jason has built a career on (instead of gunfights, the cowboys in the title story battle over long games of chess). Remarkably, none of them seem over-the-top or manipulative." - Paul Constant, The Stranger
• Review: "From Jordan Crane and Fantagraphics, Uptight #3. One of the best covers of the year and the last time, I suspect, that the guys in the crowd will read 'Back soon' and not feel that chill at the back of the neck." - Steve Duin, The Oregonian
• Review: "Sublife weaves a tighter, more focused narrative with intelligently ornate Chris Ware inspired design..." - Raina Lee, Lunch
• Review: "The current issue of theComics Journal (#297) has a wonderful in-depth interview with cartoonist Mort Walker, creator of Beetle Bailey, as well as a stable of other strips including Hi and Lois, Sam and Silo, and Boner's Ark that's a fun read." - Randy Reynaldo, WCG Comics
• Commentary: Looking at our recent spate of Special Edition releases at examiner.com, Spencer Ellsworth says "the notes, interviews and annotations give a look into some of the most innovative of the new generation of movers and shakers in the current comics renaissance."
• List: Industry news & analysis site ICv2 ranks sales of The Complete Peanuts at #3 on the list of "Top 10 Humor Properties Q1 2009"
• List: The Comics Reporter reports that at BEA a panel of librarians chose a list of "Hot Fall Graphic Novels," including our forthcoming titles Strange Suspense: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 1 and West Coast Blues by Manchette & Tardi
Starting today and for the next two weeks we'll be bringing you a sneak peek at our Fall 2009 - Winter 2010 schedule of releases! We'll be slipping you a few pages at a time from our latest book distributor's catalog, which our fine friends at W.W. Norton uses to sell our books to the bookstore market. This first batch includes 4 upcoming issues of The Comics Journal, Paul Hornschemeier's All and Sundry: Uncollected Work 2004-2009, The Complete Peanuts 1972-1973, and Strange Suspense: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 1. (Note that all the info in this catalog is subject to change along the way to the books' release, including release dates, prices, cover art, book specs, etc.) Click here to download the first PDF!
• 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
We've been posting these as we've found them, but here's a (slightly OCD) alphabetical list of Fantagraphics titles and whose year-end lists that they've appeared on, for your handy reference. (Links will continue to be added as we find them.) Rankings appear in parentheses; no number means the list was unranked: