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!
The nominees for the 2009 Eisner Awards have been announced and we are pleased to report that our publications have received 7 nominations in various categories. To celebrate, for a limited time we're offering 15% off nominated titles -- click here to browse and buy! And the nominees are:
Best Short Story • "Glenn Ganges in 'Pulverize,'" by Kevin Huizenga, in Ganges #2
• Review: Comics Waiting Room on Ho! The Morally Questionable Cartoons of Ivan Brunetti: "...[I]f the material printed Ho! had been created in, say, Soviet Russia, Ivan would be the biggest star in the gulag. As it is, he’s one of the most twisted and funny motherfuckers putting pen to paper right in the U.S. of A. And I’m damned proud he’s one of us... Brunetti’s latest work is as strong as ever, and maybe even sicker. He’s an amazing cartoonist, and I respect his work immensely, even when some of it makes me queasy… especially if it makes me laugh then feel queasy."
• Reviews: The "What Are You Reading?" column at Robot 6 includes Tom Bondurant on Gilbert Hernandez's Heartbreak Soup ("At first I was afraid that Beto was introducing so many characters I wouldn’t be able to keep up with them, but the deeper I go into the book the better he manages everyone. The writing reminds me of Will Eisner’s slice-of-life stuff from his later career..."), Tim O'Shea on The Complete Peanuts 1969-1970 ("The intro by Mo Willems is great insight into what appealed to many about the series..."), Chris Mautner on A Mess of Everything by Miss Lasko-Gross ("[It] shows a good deal of progression [from Escape from "Special"], both in terms of storytelling and artistry"), and Jeff Lester on The Comics Journal Library Vol. 6: The Writers ("for which a more accurate title might have been 'Gary Groth Browbeats Bewildered Comics Writers'")
• Preview: Urban Aesthete looks at the forthcoming Abstract Comics anthology
• Profile: The Seattle Weekly, previewing Jaime's visit to Seattle, nicely describes Love and Rockets: "It’s a mutable universe that skips between characters at older and younger stages of life, where buxom pro wrestling queens, spaceship mechanics, and touring hardcore bands buoyantly intersect. No one stays lost for long; no grievance goes unforgotten; and deep-fried jungle slugs forever remain a delicacy."
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."
Now available for preview and pre-order: the 297th issue of The Comics Journal, featuring extensive interivews with Beetle Bailey and Hi and Lois creator (and Sam's Strip writer) Mort Walker and French artist Emmanuel Guibert (Alan's War). Plus a gallery of art by pioneering caricaturist Thomas Rowlandson, reviews and many more features. Check out the full table of contents here and in the preview slideshow photo & video slideshow preview embedded below. Click here if it is not visible, and/or to view it larger in a new window (recommended).