• Review: The Star Clipper Blog on Boody. The Bizarre Comics of Boody Rogers: "To say Boody Rogers was ahead of his time is an understatement. Boody was underground before there was an underground. His comics were surreal and sexy before the Comics Code was even around to censor such outrageousness. Think of every bizarre and trippy moment from 40's Disney features, the overt sexuality of Fleischer Studios Betty Boop, and a Freak Show and Superman in a blender, and that's not even half as odd as Boody Rogers' comics. Will you have seen anything like it before? No, and you'll probably never see anything else like it again."
• Review: Blog @ Newsarama looks at Boody too: "[W]eirdness... permeates these stories and radiates outward from the pages. To say they're 'ahead of their time' would be an understatement; they seem like they were drawn just last week... [I]t's a beautiful book."
• Review: Obsessive-Repulsive finds a kindred spirit in the pages of the "rad" Ho! The Morally Questionable Cartoons of Ivan Brunetti: "I would go further than saying 'nothing is sacred' in his work and say that nothing is tolerated in Brunetti’s world. He skewers the hypocrisy, cruelty and weakness in people but it doesn’t appear that Brunetti loathes humanity nearly as much as he loathes himself. Check it out! Funny stuff!"
• Preview: Robot 6's "What Are You Reading?" column's guest contributor this week is Dash Shaw, and regular contributor Matthew Maxwell says of The Wolverton Bible, "Wow. Just wow... man, that’s a piece of work."
• Commentary: ReadingArt.ca imagines Snoopy's "It was a dark and stormy night" novel in a context of digital/mobile delivery (calling The Complete Peanuts "fantastically beautiful" while they're at it)
• Things to see/read: Conservative entertainment blog Big Hollywood has posted Steve Ditko's 2007 essay "Toyland" in its entirety (via Slog)
• Review: PLAYBACK:stl analyzes Comics Are for Idiots! by Johnny Ryan: "Ryan's loathing of the precious, the celebrity-obsessed, the hypocritical, and so on bleeds thru the best of these sorts of cartoons... Ryan's yen for out-offending every book he's done before is really just more righteous anger dressed up as sick comedy."
• Review: The Comics Reporter on Blazing Combat: "Like many of the best reprint projects... this republication of the four-issue Warren war magazine into spiffy hardcover form features work that you can't easily buy anywhere else, is historically significant and offers its buyers a lot of very good comics... Blazing Combat is simply a handsome, well-presented selection of very good comics that for having them around we're all a bit richer as comics readers. I'm glad it's here."
• Review: Rob Clough examines Mome Vol. 14, saying the issue "juxtapos[es] stories with ambiguous images and endings to create a dizzying and fascinating array of visual styles... The balance struck by editors Eric Reynolds and Gary Groth between unpublished, up-and-coming artists, alt-comics legends with short stories to publish and international stars with stellar work that needed translation has been a delicate one, but when everything comes together just so (especially in... this issue), then Mome becomes a crucial component in understanding alt-comics as they stand today."
• Review: NPR.org on Humbug: "Certainly, Fantagraphics, the exemplary Seattle-based archivists of comics and comic-strip history, couldn't have lavished more care in restoring Humbug's yellowing pages had they been original Shakespeare folios... it serves to fill in the missing piece on a seminal period of satiric shenanigans and to evoke an era when making nose-thumbing comedy was the work of smart alecks in creased slacks, pressed white shirts and skinny ties. It'd make a helluva TV series; you could even call it Mad Men."
• Review: Sean T. Collins on Supermen! The First Wave of Comic Book Heroes 1936-1941: "...[T]his... anthology of early superhero comics is, like Paul Karasik's Fletcher Hanks collection and DC's Jack Kirby omnibuses before it, a real 'here's how it's done' moment. Entertaining, left-field subject matter; eye-pleasing design; tactile paper stock; color technique and reproduction values that neither hide the material behind the haze of nostalgia nor try to mask its primitive origins with out-of-place high-gloss modernity; manageable length and heft; art presented at a powerful but not brobdingnagian size... truly [we are] living in the Golden Age of Reprints."
• Review: Art Blog by Bob on The Wolverton Bible by Basil Wolverton: "As much as the horrific and Bosch-esque in Wolverton’s art strikes you immediately, it’s also important to recognize the beauty of many of his visions... The Wolverton Bible still has the ability to revolt and repulse viewers, but that is just one aspect of its overall ability to make these well-known stories seem new and, more importantly, inescapably human."
• Review: Blog @ Newsarama says "A few words about every single story in Supermen!" (spoiler alert!), praising editor Greg Sadowski and concluding "I honestly can’t recommend [the book] enough to any fans of the superhero genre."
Despite being mentioned by other sources, Paul Hornschemeier's Mother, Come Home is not on the official list, but you never know! Contact your local shop to confirm availability of these titles, and hit those links to see previews and gather more info. Happy shopping!
It's a honker today! Lots of good stuff out there:
• Review: Blogger Fionnchú considers the place of Alexander Theroux's Laura Warholic in the pantheon of "big, long, thick" maximalist novels (e.g. Wallace, Joyce, DeLillo, Pynchon)
• Review: The Tearoom of Despair pens a loving ode to The Comics Journal: "...[I]t remains the best magazine about comics I’ve ever had the pleasure to read, offering in-depth analysis that has changed my entire opinion of certain comics... And it has some of the best interviews with comic writers, artists and editors that have ever peen published in any medium... Overall, it is still an absolute pleasure to sit down with a new issue of The Comics Journal and read about the craft and love for the medium that is out there... It has recorded the history of comics with style and panache, has published the liveliest letter page in magazines and has been unfailing in its bid to raise comics as an art form."
• Review: Rob Clough has a typically thoughtful take on The Complete Peanuts 1971-1972: "The latest volume of The Complete Peanuts finds Charles Schulz still at his peak... a perfect blend of fantasy, whimsy, jokes, heartbreak, topical references and sturdy characterization."
• Blurb: The Seattle Times' roundup of notable new local books includes a mention of Humbug: "Includes satirical takes on highway congestion, time travel, consumer reports and perspiration."
• Preview: Fictional or not, The Rack's Lydia recommends Mother, Come Home by Paul Hornschemeier ("Paul Hornschemeier's comics always make me miserable, and in a good way. This is a new edition of my favorite work he's done so far.") and Ho! The Morally Questionable Cartoons of Ivan Brunetti ("I like him a lot, but I think that Johnny Ryan should be cutting Ivan Brunetti a check every month and this collection of gag cartoons will show you why") from this week's new comics
• Preview: The Comics Reporter, same tune, different lyrics: on Boody, "Some of the greatest, oddest comics of all time"; on Ho!, "relentlessly naughty... I like these quite a bit"; and on Supermen!, "I liked this book quite a bit... a bunch of frequently weird, hallucinatory adventure fantasies"
• Preview: Atomic Romance also anticipates Supermen!: "In your face golden age stories by some of the greats of comic book history... I love this because it’s a time of experimentation. The writers and artists are learning their craft and there aren’t any established rules yet. Sure to please fans of I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets."
• Preview: Yet more blurbage about this week's new comics, this time from Blog @ Newsarama: on Boody, "comics super-genius Boody Rogers’ work... is almost as beautiful as it is weird. Or almost as weird as it is beautiful. At any rate, it’s really weird and really beautiful"; on Supermen!: "[A] must-read... I can’t recommend this one highly enough"
• Interview: Publishers Weekly chats with C. Tyler about her new book You'll Never Know, Book 1; of the book they say "[Tyler] recreates the experience of thought, in which past and present, parents and children, relationships and variations of the self co-mingle, intersect, and layer over one another. Evocative words and images appear in the background or the margins of Tyler’s panels, drawing out subtleties of the story, or clueing us in to unspoken emotional tones."
• Review: Entertainment Weekly gives Supermen! an A-, saying "Supermen!, this anthology lovingly assembled by Greg Sadowski, makes the case that these earliest endeavors by the future creators of masterworks like The Spirit, Captain America, and Plastic Man were more than crude throat-clearings — they were unfiltered manifestations of psyche, lousy with erotic charge and questionable politics."
• Review: Graphic Novel Reporter on Abandoned Cars by Tim Lane: "Abandoned Cars doesn’t arrive at a clear-cut solution to the American Myth, but Lane’s effort to understand it for himself is beautifully presented... every last detail of the book seems perfectly devised by Lane to bring the stories together and make the reader join the inner dialogue on the subject of the Great American Mythological Drama. It is a brilliant debut."
• Things to see (and buy if you're filthy rich): The Daily Cartoonist reports that the original art for the April 1, 1973 Sunday Peanuts is up for auction. Go bid, or save yourself a few thou by collecting the strip in The Complete Peanuts 1972-1973, coming this Fall
• 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
The enduring cultural phenomenon of comic book heroes was invented in the late 1930s by a talented and hungry group of artists and writers barely out of their teens, flying by the seat of their pants to create something new, exciting, and above all profitable. The iconography and mythology they created flourishes to this day in comic books, video, movies, fine art, advertising, and practically all other media. Supermen! collects the best and the brightest of this first generation, including Jack Cole, Will Eisner, Bill Everett, Lou Fine, Fletcher Hanks, Jack Kirby, Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, and Basil Wolverton. If the reader is expecting to find an All-American group of altruistic do-gooders, he in for quite a jolt. As Jonathan Lethem writes in his Foreword, “A collection like Supermen! works like a reverse-neutron bomb to assumptions about the birth of the superhero image: it tears down the orderly structures of theory and history and leaves the figures standing in full view, staring back at us in all their defiant disorienting particularity, their blazing strangeness.” Beautifully designed and produced in full color, Supermen! contains twenty full-length stories, ten full-sized covers, a generous selection of vintage promotional ads, and comprehensive end notations by editor Greg Sadowski, making it indispensable to anyone interested in the origins of superheroes and the history of the comic book form.
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