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Category >> The Comics Journal

Daily OCD: 3/12/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under The Comics JournalstaffreviewsPirus and MezzoMoto HagioMatt ThornLove and RocketsGilbert HernandezFantagraphics BookstoreeventsDaily OCD 12 Mar 2010 2:56 PM

Online Commentary & Diversions:

Love and Rockets Book 25: High Soft Lisp

Review: "[High Soft] Lisp has its share of tender moments and tragic ones, although it’s relatively buoyant with humor throughout. ... This is the stuff of soap operas, minus the melodrama. Lisp comes loaded with palpable emotions and heaps of honesty, even amid a cartoony backdrop." – Rod Lott, Bookgasm

King of the Flies Vol. 1: Hallorave

Review: "Part one of a proposed trilogy, King Of The Flies Vol. 1: Hallorave is an extremely promising title from French crime comics artists Pascal “Mezzo” Mesenburg and Michel Pirus. ... Its approach to violence and turmoil is surprisingly fresh, although the story bears obvious debts to David Lynch, and the art just as obvious ones to Charles Burns; it all combines in surprising, powerful ways. ...King Of The Flies is a fascinating new take on the nearly exhausted subject of youthful alienation… B+" – The A.V. Club

The Comics Journal #269

Interview: At The Comics Journal, the conclusion of Matt Thorn's Moto Hagio interview from TCJ #269

Sparkplug logo

Interviewer: Over at his Profanity Hill concern, our own Jason T. Miles picks the brain of Sparkplug Comic Books publisher Dylan Williams about the business and ethics of independent comics

High Soft Lisp - Gilbert Hernandez Exhibit & Book Signing at  Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, March 13, 2010

Event plug: "If there's a greater comics-related joy to be had on an early Spring Saturday sipping beers, hanging out in Seattle's cartooning headquarters, finding out you're standing next to Jim Woodring while occasionally taking a focused gander at Beto's originals, I haven't been informed as to what that might be." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter

Things to see: 3/11/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Tim LaneThings to seeThe Comics JournalSteven WeissmanMarco CoronaDash Shawart shows 11 Mar 2010 3:23 PM

Your daily Fantagraphics-related artblog links:

This Already Happened - Steven Weissman

• The penultimate installment of Steven Weissman's "This Already Happened" at What Things Do

Rick Veitch

Rick Veitch presents part 1 of a mid-1990s comic based on a dream he had while being interviewed for The Comics Journal #175 (via The Comics Reporter)

Bestiario Padano - Marco Corona

A censored cover by Marco Corona

Belligerent Piano - Tim Lane

This week’s episode of Belligerent Piano from Tim Lane

Daily OCD: 3/11/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under The Comics JournalMoto HagioMatt ThornmangaFantagraphics historyDame Darcyaudio 11 Mar 2010 3:17 PM

It's today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

A Drunken Dream and Other Stories - Moto Hagio

Commentary: At Manga Worth Reading, Johanna Draper Carlson comments on our recent manga publishing news, saying "I’m expecting great things."

The Comics Journal #269

Interview: At The Comics Journal, part 3 of Matt Thorn's Moto Hagio interview from TCJ #269

Dame Darcy

Interview: On KBOO Community Radio's "Words and Pictures" program, host S.W. Conser welcomes Dame Darcy for a half-hour chat

Pictopia #3 (Unpublished)

History: At Comics Comics, Jeet Heer gives a brief overview and critical commentary on Fantagraphics anthologies throughout the years: "Any complete history of Fantagraphics will have to tell the story of how they slowly learned to put together interesting anthologies."

Daily OCD: 3/10/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under The Comics JournalStephen DixonstaffreviewsMoto HagioMatt ThornmangaJohnny RyanJacques TardiDaily OCD 10 Mar 2010 3:53 PM

A healthy helping of Online Commentary & Diversions:

Escape from

List: At The Manga Curmudgeon, David Welsh writes "So you’re among the legion of people who are grateful to Fantagraphics for their recently announced manga initiative, to be curated by Matt Thorn. Who isn’t? I know I am. And you may want to express that gratitude by buying something that Fantagraphics has published. If your comics interests rest primarily in titles from Japan, you may not have sampled other works published by Fantagraphics, so here are some books for your consideration."

Prison Pit: Book 1

Review: "Amazingly, I was sucked in by the whole enterprise, laughing and groaning and shaking my head. ... It’s scarcely what I would call 'elegant in its simplicity' but with subject matter like this photo-realistic art and emotional weight aren’t called for. These are ugly characters in a gross situation, and Prison Pit treats them with all the indulgence and nastiness needed." – Mark Hale, The Bureau Chiefs

Newave! The Underground Mini Comix of the 1980s

Review: "Taken as a whole, Newave presents a portrait of an era that might otherwise be overlooked as a vital link between, say, Zap and Eightball. ... [T]he book is a veritable treasure trove of material that would otherwise have been lost to the ages. And, perhaps most importantly, it’s a hell of fun read." – Brian Heater, The Daily Cross Hatch

What Is All This? - Stephen Dixon

Pre-review: At Trouble with Comics, Alan David Doane takes a look at our preview sampler galley of the forthcoming Stephen Dixon story collection: "What Is All This, based on my reading of this short and enticing preview, looks to be one of the most exciting and intriguing fiction releases of the decade. That I’ve only had a chance to read less than a quarter of its 450 pages is maddening, and thrilling. I can’t wait to read the rest of what Dixon has in store."

It Was the War  of the Trenches [Pre-Order]

Profile: Jordan Hurder writes an appreciation of Jacques Tardi titled "Tardi is Really, Really, Really, Really Rad"

The Comics Journal #269

Interiew: The Comics Journal website presents part 2 of Matt Thorn's interview with Moto Hagio reprinted from TCJ #269

A Drunken Dream and Other Stories - Moto Hagio

Opinion: At The Comics Journal, Shaenon Garrity's reaction to our manga publishing news and appreciation of Moto Hagio is a must-read: "Is there an animated gif of a unicorn with the head of Jason Shiga devouring the universe and exploding? Because that might just about express the awesomeness of this development."

The Last Vispo - Dirk Krecker

Staff: Selections from the forthcoming anthology The Last Vispo, co-edited by our own Nico Vassilakis, will be on exhibit at the Common Ground Art Gallery in Windsor, Ontario, opening this Saturday, March 13 — more info from Crg Hill or on the Facebook event invitation (above example by Dirk Krecker)

Gary Groth's biography of Norman Pettingill
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under The Comics JournalRobert CrumbNorman PettingillJohnny RyanGary Groth 9 Mar 2010 3:25 PM

Back Woods Hospital - Norman Pettingill

On The Comics Journal website, Gary Groth writes:

"In June, Fantagraphics Books will publish a collection of Norman Pettingill’s work. Comic fans may remember that Robert Crumb published some of Pettingill’s cartoon drawings in Weirdo in the mid-’80s. The idea of publishing an entire book collecting Pettingill’s work was first broached to me by Johnny Ryan, a Pettingill fan (and the cartoonist behind Angry Youth Comics and Prison Pit), a few years ago. The John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, is the repository for most of Pettingill’s work, and agreed to help us put together a book. Johnny wrote a brief appreciation; R. Crumb loved Pettingill’s work and wrote a brief introduction. But, so little is known about Pettingill himself that I felt the book required a short biography of the man — so I wrote one."

Read the rest of Gary's intro, and the biography itself, starting here.

TCJ.com presents the Moto Hagio interview
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under The Comics JournalMoto HagioMatt Thornmanga 9 Mar 2010 2:44 PM

The Comics Journal No. 269 - Moto Hagio

In light of our publishing announcement yesterday, the editors of The Comics Journal website have wisely chosen today to present the first in a four-part online serialization of Matt Thorn's feature interview with manga-ka Moto Hagio from TCJ #269.

More on manga, Matt Thorn speaks, link roundup
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under The Comics JournalShimura TakakoMoto HagioMatt ThornmangaComing Attractions 9 Mar 2010 12:36 PM

Response to the news about our new manga line has been overwhelming.

Series editor/curator/translator Matt Thorn speaks out on his blog, providing a bit of background and a few more details about the two inaugural releases, Moto Hagio's A Drunken Dream and Other Stories and Shimura Takako's Wandering Son Vol. 1. Be sure to bookmark Thorn's blog for ongoing updates on the project. Meanwhile, The Comics Journal's Dirk Deppey, who was instrumental in bringing the project to fruition, uses his ¡Journalista! pulpit to reveal much more information and background about the line. Both links are must-reads for anyone interested in this project.

The Comics Journal No. 269

We'd be remiss if we didn't point out that the Deppey-edited "Shōjo Issue" of The Comics Journal, #269, with Thorn's feature interview with Moto Hagio, is still available and is indispensible to fans and newcomers to the genre alike.

We also want to point out that the cover images that we've posted and sent out, as lovely as they are, are still works in progress by Fantagraphics art director Adam Grano and will likely be revised before the final releases.

Various other blogospheric reaction and commentary:

Anime News Network shares our press release and comments on Moto Hagio's appearance at Comic-Con International this summer

Anime Vice's Gia Manry, who had the original scoop, offers her commentary

AnimeNation has a brief item

The Beat's Heidi MacDonald posts news and links and comments "to see Fantagraphics get involved [in manga] is a very promising development."

Bleeding Cool's Rich Johnston comments with a typical firm left hand

• Kai-Ming Cha, manga editor for Publishers Weekly, has commentary and links at her personal Boiled Egg blog

Comic Book Bin posts the news

Comics212's Chris Butcher offers extensive commentary and concludes "Great day to be a manga fan."

CraveOnline's Joey Esposito reports

Sean Gaffney also comments and similarly concludes "All in all, a terrific day for manga fans yesterday."

Hypergeek re-posts our press release

I Reads You's Leroy Douresseaux posts the news

Icarus Publishing honcho Simon Jones has some great commentary, including: "Fantagraphics’ taste for artistic, compelling, quality comics, and the expertise of Thorn makes for an inspiring combination; Fantagraphics is a risk taker, with faith in art and willingness to see difficult projects through, while Thorn has the knowledge necessary to comb through and make sense of Shogakukan’s immense catalog."

ICv2 reports

Japanator's Brad Rice reports the news and comments "If you'll excuse me, I'm going to go die from happiness real quick now..."

Manga Bookshelf's Melinda Beasi reacts to the breaking news with the headline "Fantagraphics Makes Dreams Come True" and follows up with more details and reaction

The Manga Curmudgeon's David Welsh reacts and provides his own link roundup

MangaBlog has links and commentary

Robot 6 has a concise news item

Zona Fandom has the news en Español

UPDATE: Adding more links as they are found:

Forbidden Planet International blogs "We know Fanta as champions of quality comics work from around the world, so if they are putting their name to a new line then I’m interested..."

Newsarama takes note in a headline roundup

Otaku Champloo comments excitedly: "I’ve read some of Hagio-sensei’s works and Wandering Son in Japanese and I am infinitely happy how these mangas are finally having an English voice."

Shoujo Café has the news in Portuguese

• Dave Carter of Yet Another Comic Blog is "giddy" with the news

Daily OCD: 3/8/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Usagi YojimboThe Comics JournalStan SakaireviewsJacques TardiHo Che AndersonHal FosterDennis the MenaceDash ShawDan NadelDaily OCDBurne HogarthBill Mauldin 8 Mar 2010 6:12 PM

The latest Online Commentary & Diversions:

The Unclothed  Man in the 35th Century A.D.

Review: "Dash Shaw seems set to become a name to be reckoned with in comics... [The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century A.D.] is a wonderful introduction to Shaw’s work, and should certainly find its way into the hands of those craving more." – Grovel

Usagi Yojimbo Book 1: The  Ronin

Review: "I'm so glad I started reading this series and can't wait to catch up. Usagi Yojimbo is that rare breed of animal comic that works for me, blending Sakai's cartoon style with a story that would not be out of place in Lone Wolf and Cub. Fans of comics set in historical Japan should definitely check this out. You'll be glad you did. I think it would also be a good fit for manga fans looking to try a non-Japanese comic. I enjoyed this book a lot, and look forward to reading more." – Panel Patter

Hank Ketcham's Complete Dennis the Menace 1961-1962 (Vol. 6)

Review: "Yet another reason to love Fantagraphics is their meticulous sequential collections of classic newspaper strips such as... Hank Ketcham’s Dennis the Menace. This volume collects the strips from 1961 - 1962 in a huge 654-page volume. What has always stood out about the Dennis the Menace strips is that they were single panel cartoons. It takes an incredible level of talent write a single panel cartoon and Ketcham was one of the best. ... Truly a delight that has lost none of its humor in fifty years.  Grade A" – Tim Janson, The Gouverneur Times

West Coast Blues - Jacques Tardi

Review: "West Coast Blues might be an off-kilter story of insufficiently motivated violence and random ennui, but it's a gorgeous-looking one." – Andrew Wheeler, The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

Sand  & Fury: A Scream Queen Adventure [Pre-Order]

Review: "...Ho Che Anderson's Sand & Fury... [is] a slightly twisty tale of sex, serial killers, and the supernatural, told very stylishly in black, white, and red. Blood and shadows therefore get a lot of play across Anderson's desolate southwestern landscapes; and although his lines can be thick and blocky, his figures evoke a good bit of emotion. There's a lot of nudity, a whole lot of violence, and so the plot can be boiled down to a very simple level: revenge, good vs. evil, etc. However, Anderson's anonymous main character, and the people she befriends, are more than just nominally sympathetic. I feel like I'm not doing the book justice, because it is a very raw tale, full of death and sex, and I liked it a lot." – Tom Bondurant, Robot 6

Plug: Sequential spotlights Ho Che Anderson's Sand & Fury, saying it's "nice to see something new after he told Howard Chaykin he was giving up comics in the Comics Journal 300 interview."

Plug: "King creator Ho Che Anderson has a brand new Scream Queen book, Sand & Fury. Ho's work always looks good, and I'm personally pretty happy to see this one..." – Chris Butcher, The Beguiling

King - A  Comics Biography: The Special Edition

Interview: At Robot 6, Tim O'Shea talks to Ho Che Anderson about the new Special Edition of King ("That’s one thing I wish I could have done more of, slashing dialog, rewriting more of it, but at a certain point you gotta let it go. (Yes, George Lucas, I am talking about you.)") and his new graphic novel Sand & Fury ("To me, sex and horror or sex and violence seem to go naturally together. They seem to stem from the same twisted areas of our psyches. What scares us can often arouse us, sometimes despite ourselves, and vice versa.")

Bill Mauldin US postage stamp

Profile: CNN's Bob Greene pays tribute to Bill Mauldin on the occasion of the release of Mauldin's commemorative US postage stamp this month: "Mauldin, and his work, meant so much to the millions of Americans who fought in World War II, and to those who had waited for them to come home. He was a kid cartoonist for Stars and Stripes, the military newspaper; Mauldin's drawings of his muddy, exhausted, whisker-stubbled infantrymen Willie and Joe were the voice of truth about what it was like on the front lines." (hat tip to Walt Simonson)

The Comics Journal #166

Commentary: At Comics Comics, Dan Nadel pulls a quote about Hal Foster from the interview with Burne Hogarth in The Comics Journal #166

Things to see: 2/25/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Things to seeThe Comics JournalStan SakaiKevin HuizengaDerek Van GiesonDebbie Drechsler 25 Feb 2010 2:38 PM

An all black-and-white installment.

Leon Beyond - Kevin Huizenga

• A new Amazing Facts and Beyond with Leon Beyond from Kevin Huizenga

TMNT - Stan Sakai

• How about a nice bunch of recent con sketches by Stan Sakai? (They're mostly Usagi, but this one's for you, Jacob. Via The Comics Reporter)

Miner's lettuce - Debbie Drechsler

Miner's lettuce is a great name for a plant — sketch by Debbie Drechsler

Arak & Captain Carrot - Kevin Nowlan

This piece by Kevin Nowlan appeared in this 1982 issue of The Comics Journal

Janet Planet by Derek Van Gieson

• This looks like one heck of a loopy story by Derek Van Gieson

Daily OCD: 2/15/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under The Comics JournalreviewsJohn PhamGilbert HernandezFantagraphics BookstoreeventsDrew FriedmanDaily OCDCraig Yoecomics industryBob Fingerman 15 Feb 2010 4:39 PM

Presidents Day does not stop the Online Commentary & Diversions:

Review: "In Hernandez’s hands, [The Troublemakers] unspools on the page like a Russ Meyer production, from the in-your-face nudity, right down to the cartoony violence played for laughs. ...[I]t sure is fun." — Rod Lott, Bookgasm

Review: "Even if I finally accepted that [Sublife Vol. 2] did not answer any of my questions from the first volume... I still admired the growth in Pham’s work on display between the two volumes. Volume 2 shows a terrific range, beginning a Clowes-like opening series of strips about a murderous blogger with an under-read blog that shows a biting wit not on display in the first volume. The tour de force of the volume is the second piece, which picks up (for those paying incredibly scrupulous attention) on a deep space adventure from the inside covers of Volume 1. Here Pham lets his instincts for architectural design sense take off in a trippy sequence that is pure pleasure to look at. ... In some ways — in many ways actually — the first two volumes of Sublife evoke memories of the early volumes of Acme Novelty Warehouse [sic]. And that could be a very good thing." – Jared Gardner, The Comics Journal

Review: "...I am delighted to report that The Great Anti-War Cartoons offers an impressive showcase of political cartooning. Many of its contributors have never had their work reprinted with as much care. Even the most well-informed reader will stumble across pieces they have never seen or names they have never heard of." – Kent Worcester, The Comics Journal

Review: "[There are] ...a number of strong stories to be found here [in Mome Vol. 17], and a number of rewards to be gained by those who were following serials like Paul Hornschemeier’s 'Life With Mr. Dangerous' or the second chapters of the stories done by Renee French and Ted Stearn." – Rob Clough, The Comics Journal

Plug: Robot 6's Chris Mautner describes his experience so far reading The Comics Journal Library Vol. 5: Classic Comics Illustrators

Interview: Newave! The Underground Mini Comix of the 1980s editor Michael Dowers talks to Robot 6's Tim O'Shea: "I want people to see that if you believe in something hard enough and never give up that you can get somewhere in life. Here is a group of creative types who couldn’t take no for an answer and made their own world of comics."

Interview: David-Wasting-Paper subjects Drew Friedman to a rigorous Q&A about process, influences and more

Feature: The Seattle Times talks to Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery curator and unofficial Georgetown spokesmodel Larry Reid about the emerging neighborhood

Industry: Our own Eric Reynolds weighs in on the annual book-trade-vs.-direct-market sales-analysis kerfuffle in an essay for The Comics Reporter

Events: The lineup for the Covered art show opening March 6 at Secret Headquarters was just announced and looks pretty great

Events: Bring some of your old Bob Fingerman comics down to Rocketship this Friday so he has something to sign besides his new TPB

Satire: Oh Spurge, you crack us up