• Review: "What to say about Catalog 439? It's a crazy-arse thing, full of richly illustrated intricate drawings of smartly dressed men torturing each other with ridiculous devices. [...] What you get with this book then is not just a fascinating glimpse into a little known corner of American social history, but the template for many of the ad pages from the silver and bronze age comics that so many of us comic collectors love. I really enjoyed it and, although it isn't about comics, I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in the history of comic book advertising." – Dom Sutton, London Loves Comics
• Review: "At this point, I don’t know what else there is to say about Jamie Hernandez or Love and Rockets. I suspect that one day he’s going to make a truly terrible comic, if only because he must feel at least a little bit bad about showing nearly every other creator up so often. ...Penny Century is yet another masterpiece from a guy who turns them out seemingly like clockwork. If you haven’t read it, you need to. ...Jamie Hernandez’s exploration of life continues as an unimpeachable standard for comic book mastery." – Michael C. Lorah, Newsarama
• Review: "[Artichoke Tales] is far and away the best comic I've ever read from Megan Kelso, succeeding on almost every level. Her clear-line style gives an airy ease to her often detail-heavy drawings of nature and the people who inhabit it; similarly, her complex exercise in fantasy worldbuilding — and I don't mean detailed maps with funny names, I mean real worldbuilding, constructing cultural and religious and economic structures rooted in environment and history and exerting macro and micro influence across the lives of all the characters involved — is subsumed into an absorbing, briskly moving house-divided family soap opera. [...] I dug this book to a degree that surprised me and look forward to returning to it. It's a rich vein of alt-fantasy being tapped here." – Sean T. Collins, Attentiondeficitdisorderly
• Review: "Kelso's simple line and rounded forms belie the seriousness of the story. [...] Ultimately, Artichoke Tales is not so much a story about conflict as a story about the people reacting to the conflict, doing their best to live lives of integrity in a land of constant unrest. Although good intentions are often thwarted, it ends on a note of hope." – Brigid Alverson, Graphic Novel Reporter
• Plug: "I picked [A Drunken Dream and Other Stories] up at San Diego and it's one of those 'seminal' manga works that actually lives up to its hype. If you like Tatsumi, this is a good bet." Lydia Park, Ask Yavin IV (Funny, we don't remember seeing her at San Diego... That's a joke because she's a cartoon character.)
• Plug: "This is amazing news — one of my favourite cartoonists finally receives his due. I was starting to think that he had slipped through the cracks of cartoon history. ...[Rand Holmes] was a fantastic draftsman, surprisingly old-school, and his meticulous inking something that I could only ever hope to dream to aspire to." – Rod Filbrandt
• Plug: "...[T]he second volume of [Johnny Ryan's] battle epic Prison Pit... is amazing, nasty, and Lovecraftian." – Ryan Sands, Same Hat!
• Interview: "Newsarama: Billy Hazlenuts is like a children’s fable gone wrong, reminiscent in way of the old, dark Grimm Brothers tales with a modern, high-octane approach. Is that what you’re going for? Tony Millionaire: Take a closer look at those Grimm's Fairy tales, or even better, Hans Christian Anderson, and you'll tell me my stories are chocolate milk sopped on toast compared to that stuff."
• Review: "Underground feminist comic artist Farmer’s account of how she looked after her aging parents [Special Exits] is a quiet wonder. ... Farmer renders everything in busy, densely packed black-and-white frames whose cluttered look mimics the dusty house, its surfaces thick with cat hair and memories. The story is stunning for its antisentimental realism, as well as for the glimpses of fantasy... that flicker by like ghosts." – Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
• Review: "Billy Hazelnuts and the Crazy Bird is kind of horrifying, but hilarious nonetheless, and so lovingly detailed that one can’t help but enjoy reading it. ... It’s as crazy and weird as one would expect from a Millionaire story — and laugh-out-loud funny to boot. ... But it’s the humanity of his characters and their emotions that serve as our way into the story. ... The dense linework gives everything volume and weight, along with a leap-off-the-page energy. ... Millionaire’s narrative world is built on zany chaos, and a true storytelling wonder to behold. Yet, while it would be a scary and nightmarish place in which to live, it’s sure fun to spend some time there." – Matthew J. Brady, Indie Pulp
• Review: "Delving into the hidden world of secret societies of the Victorian Age in America, Charles Schneider blows the lid on the craziness... These revelations are culled from listings in DeMoulin Brothers Catalog No. 439... The actual catalog is a wishbook of possible DIY projects for the clever or crazy... As retail histories go, this is a vibrant one — if nothing else, it lets you know what foolishness your grandfather was up to when he looks back to the good old days and bemoans 'these kids today.' At least these kids today aren’t making a habit of using a Lifting And Spanking Machine on their friends." – John E. Mitchell, The North Adams Transcript
• Review: "Jack Cole was a brilliant artist and one of the most significant figures in American comics. ... In essence, these are single panel cartoons, beautifully composed and drawn as you would expect, accompanied by a gag or punchline. They are pleasing to look at and vaguely amusing, to be sure, but there is none of the surreal, chaotic, rollercoaster quality to be found in Cole’s comic book art. There is nothing too objectionable [in Classic Pin-up Art of Jack Cole] either, unless you regard cheesecake as commodification – which you’re perfectly entitled to do, of course." – P.P.O. Kane, The Compulsive Reader
• Interview:Comic Book Resources' Shaun Manning talks to Jason about his new graphic novel Werewolves of Montpellier: "Originally, I had thought the two werewolves would kill Igor, to make it more personal for Sven to go after them. But it just seemed so typical, it's what would have happened in any Hollywood film. It just didn't interest me. A conversation about looking at girls asses or the politeness of Frenchmen is more interesting."
• Interview:Caustic Cover Critic's Peter Lutjen talks to Bob Fingerman about book design: "My book Connective Tissue was my art, but the designer, Jacob Covey, completed it with his design and I was delighted. I really admire Jacob's work."
• Interview: At The Daily Cross Hatch, Brian Heater talks to Robert Pollard about his collage art: "It’s inspired by a recurring dream I used to have when I was in high school and college. In my dream was an unattended record store with racks and rows full of record sleeves by imaginary or dreamt rock bands. Needless to say, I was very disappointed when I awoke [and discovered] that it wasn’t real. Now it sort of is. At least slightly more real than the dream."
• Events:The Beat reports that Lilli Carré's short film "Head Garden" which you can watch here) is among the films selected for the first annual SPX Animation Showcase
We had a flurry of exciting celebrity shoppers toward the end of the day:
Above, Fire & Water author Blake Bell meets the television & movie actress of the oddly similar name Lake Bell and the world does not implode, possibly due to Lake's boyfriend, comedian Nick Kroll, executing the perfect photobomb.
Here, Nick strikes a perfect mirror-image pose with one of two Drew Friedman books he picked up while Tom Spurgeon botches his photobomb.
• Review: "What elevates Werewolves of Montpellier into the top rank of Jason’s work is the way he manages to dovetail the story’s genre elements with the emotional narrative. ... Overall, this is a pitch-perfect, expertly-crafted story by an artist who is clearly working in his comfort zone. It’s remarkable to see a creator go to the same well so many times and yet continue to produce nuanced and powerful variations on the same themes." – Rob Clough, The Comics Journal
• Review: "What speaks to this reader ten years later is how emotionally satisfying on a primal, child-like level these highly complicated and ornately drawn stories [in Death & Candy #1] can be, how much easier they are to read now as opposed to then when it seemed Andersson was making some of the strangest comics on earth. He wasn't; he was making normal comics very strangely." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
• Review: "Instead of bringing to mind old black & white stories and advertisements, the color [Tales Designed to] Thrizzle now mines the endless well of cheap, awful color comics. The color scheme is so heavily into the CMYK scheme of old four-color comics, and employed so luridly, that the reader is once again forced to dig into each panel slowly. ... Kupperman can jab you with a quick joke like a fake ad or a cover for an old comic called 'Cowboy Oscar Wilde,' or he can wrestle you into submission with a shaggy dog joke. ... With... subtle changes, Kupperman has managed to keep the top humor periodical fresh." – Rob Clough, The Comics Journal
• Review: "This most recent compilation is the finest presentation of the Mr. Natural strips I’ve ever seen and is a must-buy for any Crumb fan whether they’ve been there since he first made his appearance in Zap or are coming on board with The Book of Genesis. Either way, this is not to be missed." – Joe Keatinge, Neon Monster
• Review: "Reading [Charles M. Schulz's] wonderful comics is enjoyable and comfortable, sort of like wearing a worn, favourite sweater. Fantagraphics Books has done a good job putting Schulz's cartoons together in a nice book. Whether you're watching Peppermint Patty skating and being coached by Snoopy, Snoopy dealing with a broken leg, or Lucy still pulling the football away from Charlie Brown at the last second The Complete Peanuts: 1975 to 1976 is a humourous, welcome reprieve from a stressful, often screwed up, world. Thanks Mr. Schulz!" – Glenn Perrett, Simcoe.com
• Review: "Like some Uncle Wiggly story gone mad — or perhaps Krazy Kat in disguise — Tony Millionaire’s mad cake batter boy goes on a frantic rampage to return a baby owl to its mother and embarks on an adventure that is in no way as linear as my sentence implies. Millionaire really does channel the cartoonists of the early 20th century, while still giving the work [Billy Hazelnuts and the Crazy Bird] a quality that’s somewhat reminiscent of ’70s underground comics — and it’s kid-friendly to boot! Good fun with good energy." – John Seven, Worcester Magazine
• Review: "I picked up Carol Tyler's You'll Never Know, Book One: A Good and Decent Man from the library on the strength of recommendations I have seen for it all over the web, and it didn't disappoint me... Tyler has a nice diary style that seems intimate and friendly but is also quite sophisticated. ... There aren't too many comics about middle-aged women, and it was nice to read about something other than youthful rebellion and angst for a change." – Brigid Alverson, Robot 6