In this issue: Brazilian twins Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon on The Umbrella Academy and breaking into U.S. comics; Perry Bible Fellowship's Nicholas Gurewitch talks about love; brutally honest Thriller artist Trevor Von Eeden on his professional and romantic struggles; Percy Crosby's Skippy rediscovered; Jiro Taniguchi's A Distant Neighborhood previewed; a cartoon interview of Peter Bagge by Noah Van Sciver; and much more!
Let's catch up on our Online Commentary & Diversions:
• Review: "...Monologues [for Calculating the Density of Black Holes is] spare and scratchy where [Anders Nilsen's] other work was detailed; loose and spontaneous where his other work was considered; and funny where his other work was melancholy. It's interesting to see the many influences that inform Monologues; there's a bit of absurdists like Ionesco, elements of Tom Stoppard's wit and philosophical musings, stream of consciousness dada in the style of Tristan Tzara, and oblique New Yorker type gags with the scratchy looseness of James Thurber and Saul Steinberg." - Rob Clough
• Review: "...[O]nce again, I’m engaged in Blazing Combat. What a thrill! And the art!... Highly recommended. Don’t argue! Just buy it!" - David McDonnell, Starlog
• Review: "This collection of the 1965-66 Blazing Combat war comic magazine is a stellar publication... It's a master class on how to tell a short story, and I highly recommend checking it out." - Sandy Bilus, I Love Rob Liefeld
• Review: "Blazing Combat, a new hardcover collection from Fantagraphics, showcases some truly fantastic work from a multitude of comics greats... The collection itself is sharp as a tack... Fantagraphics really packages it nicely..." - Litany of Schist
• Review: "This omnibus of all 11 issues of Humbug is equal parts giddy genius and period piece. The satire is razor-sharp... [T]here are such subtleties here and such rapier wit that the line is clearly visible from the Algonquin Round Table to Kurtzman to Crumb to Ralph Bakshi to Mr. Show to The Colbert Report." - Byron Kerman, PLAYBACK:stl
• Review: "In his way, [Michael] Kupperman's just as concerned with making comics' formal aspects work for him as Chris Ware. In his way he's every bit as effective. Goddammit this book [Tales Designed to Thrizzle #5] is funny." - Sean T. Collins
• Review: "[Beasts! Book 1] is captivating, wistful, funny and truly extraordinary - a Bestiary of the traditionally fantastic for the dreary 21st century where imagination and wonder have been formularised as crypto-zoology... a vivid package of sheer fantasy and artistic excellence..." - Win Wiacek, Now Read This!
• Review: "Now, with Low Moon, [Jason] has clenched his fist around me and won’t let me go - this is easily my favorite of his works to date... Top to bottom, I enjoyed Low Moon very much... A worthy addition to one’s bookshelf." - Marc Mason, Comics Waiting Room
• Review: "[In Abandoned Cars] Tim Lane presents a personal study of what he calls 'The Great American Mythological Drama,' a fog of events / thoughts / dreams / disappointments in music / literature / North American life... Lane leads to something more introspective and extremely sad." - Churrasco la Naje (from Google translation)
• Review: "...[A]lmost nothing is casual in Bottomless Belly Button and almost nothing is superficial in its narrative structure, nor its authorial intentions... [Dash] Shaw's work delves into the interior of the personal relationships of its protagonists, but also in the basic foundations of linear narrative... Shaw transcends the sphere of intellectual narrative to enter the much more epidermal level of physical sensations... Dash Shaw has composed a monumental work, sometimes puzzling, sometimes bordering on melodrama, but always strong and brave, a work full of qualities and findings that will, we believe, be a reference for future comics. His experimentation, his daring and his solutions can't help but remind us of an equally ambitious and dense work, Jimmy Corrigan... Do not miss this." - Little Nemo's Kat (from Google translation)
• Plug: Jonathan Ross gives us ("the company that flies the flag for independent, ground-breaking comics"), and The Comics Journal ("the only widely read and serious publication of comic-book criticism"), a nice shout-out in The Times
• Interview: The Daily Cross Hatch continues their conversation with Michael Kupperman. Sample quote: "I think the artist I feel closest with is Tony Millionaire, because he really lives in those comics. He could never be anything else."
• Review: "Something for everyone in this educational, humorous and borderline offensive tome. Communicated in Bagge’s trademarked bugged out style, [Everybody Is Stupid Except for Me] is a must-have for fans of incisive political commentary." - Kevin Mathews, The Power of Pop
• Review: "...Supermen! provides a concise glimpse into what the early comic books were like back when the medium was really fresh... Today’s readers will be surprised at how some of the material from a supposed more naive times really comes across rather grim and gritty... The 20 stories on view here provide an intriguing insight of where many of our modern day comic book heroes may have originated from, even if indirectly." - Kevin Mathews, The Power of Pop
Now available for preview and pre-order: The Comics Journal #298, featuring interviews with Umbrella Academy artists Gabriel Bá & Fábio Moon; Perry Bible Fellowship's Nicholas Gurewitch; and Thriller artist Trevor Von Eeden, plus a gallery of Percy Crosby's Skippy strips and a whole lot more -- click here to check out the full Table of Contents. This issue is scheduled to be in stock and ready to ship in mid-June and in stores approximately 4 weeks after that (subject to change).
View a photo & video slideshow preview embedded here. Click here if it is not visible, and/or to view it larger in a new window (recommended).
This issue’s highlight is a career-spanning interview with Beetle Bailey/Hi & Lois creator Mort Walker, in which the veteran cartoonist gives you a front-row seat to post-WWII comic-strip history, with additional commentary from sons/collaborators Brian and Greg Walker, as well as fellow Sam’s Strip co-creator Jerry Dumas!
Also: A conversation with Alan’s War author Emmanuel Guilbert (complete with a preview of his new graphic novel, The Photographer); a generous comics section featuring the work of pioneering British cartoonist Thomas Rowlandson, introduced with an essay on the artist’s life by Art Young; R.C. Harvey on the comics of Happy Hooligan creator Frederick Burr Opper; John A. Lent explores the world of Kenyan comics; reviews of Osamu Tezuka's Black Jack, Jonathan Lethem's Omega the Unknown and Noel Sickles's Scorchy Smith; and much more!
Naturally, we’ve got free previews at TCJ.com — here are excerpts from R.C. Harvey’s interview with Mort Walker, Matthias Wivel’s conversation with Emmanuel Guilbert, and Kent Worcester’s review of two anthologies, the Lynda Barry-edited The Best American Comics 2008 and the Ivan Brunetti-edited An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, and True Stories Vol. 2.
• Review: "The publication of I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planetsby Fantagraphics is a perfect example of publishers saving comics from obscurity. Hanks’ figures are blocky, the anatomy can be clumsy, and the writing is simplistic, yet on each page there is at least one panel that takes your breath away with its energy and power... There are terrifying images amidst his clunky compositions and strange leering grimaces in the faces of the heroes and villains alike. On top of all these aesthetic challenges and rewards, they are great stories, ...lively with a passionate definition of right and wrong, which gives them an infectious dynamism and excitement." - Christian Zabriskie, The Graphic Novel Reporter
Spotted by Kim Thompson, here's an item currently being offered on Amazon for $2,608.78 in worn, "acceptable" condition. What kind of rarity could demand such a price? A rare Golden Age comic? Squint below, or just click for a full-size version. Vendor names have been obscured to protect the guilty.
While I'm at it, here's something else amusing I spotted last week:
Cops confiscate contraband Crumb comics! Are they just now auctioning off the assets of a head shop they busted 40 years ago? (Note: I was too wary of scams & spam to actually click the link; go to that URL at your own risk. If you do investigate, though, please leave a comment letting us know if you find out what the story is.)
• Review: Poopsheet praises Petey & Pussy by John Kerschbaum, noting the "deeply weird cast" of characters, the "unpredictable plots in which everybody winds up humiliated and covered in one horrible substance or other, which is just what they all deserve. All this is, of course, very, very funny. John is a ninja of comedy timing," and a story moment that "makes you happy to read comics."
• Reviews: Andrew Wheeler rounds up a lot of books, including Willie & Joe: The WWII Years by Bill Mauldin ("Not just one of the best books of comics to come out last year, not even one of the best books to come out in 2008, but an excellent, essential, carefully-designed work of real historical importance and vital art... a great monument to one of the best cartoonists of the 20th century"; Petey & Pussy by John Kerschbaum ("Another one of those books that makes me laugh out loud and then feel guilty about it; this is probably offensive to many people, disgusting to more, but uncomfortably funny for nearly all of us... The stories are drawn in a tight, clean style, and are full of things I don't want to describe on the open Internet. I laughed a lot; I'll admit that"); Fuzz & Pluck: Splitsville by Ted Stearn ("...like Mark Beyer's Amy + Jordan, only much better drawn and with a coherent story"); The Maakies with the Wrinkled Knees by Tony Millionaire ("grotesquely gorgeous art"); and The Last Musketeer by Jason ("a wry and very entertaining story")
• Review: Stripper's Guide on Jerry Dumas & Mort Walker's Sam's Strip: "...one of the most delightful and intellectually daring strips that ever appeared in newspapers... And Fantagraphics has done it up in a perfect package. The reproduction quality is top-notch, and they've given us a superb bonus -- a section of annotations by Jerry Dumas and Brian Walker... if you are a comic strip fan and you don't have this book on your shelf then there is something really wrong with you. Seriously. Go buy the book."
• List: Ben Towle names some favorites from 2008 including Most Outrageous by Bob Levin ("...fascinating... a fantastic book..."); Petey & Pussy by John Kerschbaum ("What more can I say? This book’s #%&*in’ hilarious. Oh, I guess this: it’s also beautifully drawn."); and Fuzz & Pluck: Splitsville by Ted Stearn ("beautiful")
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!