[The Umpteen Millionaire Club is our series which puts forth book club discussion questions for Fantagraphics titles. The Comics Journal interns Keith Baralato, Eli Powell, and Evans Winters put together this set of questions. - Ed.]
Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life is a graphic memoir by Ulli Lust, set in the 1980s, which recounts her journey from Vienna, Austria, down through Italy, finally arriving on the island of Sicily. Seventeen-year-old “Ulli” lives on the streets, traveling with nothing but her best friend Edi, a sleeping bag, and barely enough money to buy a coffee. This rebellious young woman lives a life free of possessions or concern for the future as she interacts with fellow vagabonds, junkies, prostitutes, and even the Sicilian mob.
What motivates Ulli to travel?
Early on, Ulli states that she wants to “accumulate as much experience as possible, to meet as many people as possible” (34). How successful is she in this goal?
How does Ulli’s life on the streets differ from the people she meets who are more permanently rooted in poverty, homelessness, drugs, and hustling?
What impact do the people she meets have on her? (List of Characters: Edi, Andreas, Dieter, Guido, Frankie, Gino, Paolo, Marc, etc.)
How does Ulli’s gender affect her position as a traveler?
What purpose do Ulli’s journal entries serve?
How does Ulli’s vision of herself and/or what she will become match up with how you viewed the character?
How does Lust use metaphorical imagery to tell her story? What effect do these techniques have on the reader as far as understanding Ulli’s inner life/experience?
Does Ulli live as if today is the last day of the rest of her life? How does her attitude toward this idea change throughout the story?
On the last page of the book, why does Ulli crawl out of her bed onto the floor to sleep? What does the bed symbolize for Ulli?
Boasting one of the most PACKED signing schedules of SPX and Fantagraphics' we have FOURTEEN people signing at our table (and a few more Fantagraphics' cartoonists are tabling all by their lonesome) You can find all these sweet 'n' sassy cartoonists and book debuts at tables W57-6, along the very rightmost wall.
As usual we have an action-packed signing schedule for you at San Diego Comic Con. Keep your schedules open so you can stop by our magnificent table and get your signatures hot and fresh in your books at - See more at: http://www.fantagraphics.com/?Itemid=113&option=com_myblog&show=San-Diego-Comic-Con-Debuts.html#sthash.199ZEXcU.dpuf
• Hip Hop Family Tree by Ed Piskor Yes yes y'all! This explosively entertaining, encyclopedic history will school you on the old school, taking you back to the early days of the music genre that changed global culture. Originally serialized on the hugely popular website Boing Boing, Hip Hop Family Tree is now collected in a single volume cleverly presented and packaged in a style mimicking the Marvel comics of the same era.
The only public visual record of the notorious, historic, carefully censored military trials at Guantanamo is Hamlin's courtroom sketches. This book collects her most potent and revealing sketches and chronicles her experience. - See more at: http://www.fantagraphics.com/index.php?keyword=sketching+guantanamo&search_type=titles&Search=Search&Itemid=62&option=com_virtuemart&page=shop.browse#sthash.xQzpBR6W.dpuf
Court Sketches of the Military Tribunals, 2006-2013 - See more at: http://www.fantagraphics.com/browse-shop/sketching-guantanamo-court-sketches-of-the-military-tribunals-2006-2013-oct.-2013.html?vmcchk=1#sthash.DF2ADBuc.dpuf
• Fran by Jim Woodring What is to become of the beloved trilobular chuckbuster Frank now that he has journeyed outside the Unifactor and met his soulmate, Fran? The answer is delivered here in devastatingly unpredictable fashion. Fans of Frank, connoisseurs of bizarre romance, and spelunkers in the radiant depths of graphic metaphysical psychodrama will want to add this singular cartoon adventure story to their lifetime reading list.
• Everybody is Stupid Except for Me (And Other Astute Observations) by Peter Bagge A decade of informed, provocative, cantankerous & hilarious cartoon opinion pieces from our favorite libertarian curmudgeon, on topics ranging from Stupid War to Stupid Sex and, of course, Stupid Politicians. BONUS: This new edition of the sold-out Everybody Is Stupid features an extra 32 pages of never-before-collected comics, including an epic biography of eccentric libertarian (and Ayn Rand contemporary) Isabel Mary Paterson.
• Treasury of Mini Comics Volume 1, edited by Michael Dowers Four decades of deliberate DIY cartoon rebellion! Collecting some of the best mini comics ever produced by some of the most creative artists in the world. In a do-it-yourself world, anything goes... boundaries are crossed, envelopes pushed, wounds opened. From the silliest fart or boob jokes to the most deeply felt "EMO" style poetry, mini comics creators have been uninhibited in their efforts to strive for something fresh, raw, and vital.
• Love and Rockets: The Covers by Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez (badass design by Jacob Covey) A beautiful, oversized art book featuring over 120 iconic comic covers (front & back) from the first 3 decades of Love and Rockets, collected for the first time in full color. The perfect gift for L&R fan, this book presents them without trade dress (logos, marketing hype, etc.) when possible, allowing the original cover illustrations to communicate on their own. With a fancy clear plastic book jacket, you need to grab a copy and return home a hero.
A beautiful, oversized art book featuring over 120 iconic comic covers (front & back) from the first 3 decades of Love and Rockets, collected for the first time in full color. The perfect gift for L&R fan, this book presents them without trade dress (logos, marketing hype, etc.) when possible, allowing the original cover illustrations to communicate on their own. With a fancy clear plastic book jacket, you need to grab a copy, get it signed and return home a hero. - See more at: http://www.fantagraphics.com/?Itemid=113&option=com_myblog&show=San-Diego-Comic-Con-Debuts.html#sthash.RzbNaI5J.dpuf
• Wandering Son Volume 5 by Shimura Takako In this volume of the acclaimed series about transgendered kids exploring their unfolding identities, we've reached a big event; the junior high school entrance ceremony. Envy and jealousy are prominent themes in Volume 5: Chiba-san is jealous of Takatsuki-san, for whom Nitori-kun still carries a torch. Maho envies Anna-chan's professionalism as a model. And Chii-chan's loyal sidekick, Shiri Momoko, is intensely jealous of anyone in whom Chii-chan shows the slightest interest. And so our protagonists set off on the journey to adolescence....
• Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Christmas on Bear Mountain by Carl Barks Uncle Scrooge's first appearance, in one of Barks's funniest holiday stories! "Christmas on Bear Mountain" is one of Barks's funniest holiday stories and a true landmark in comics history, and offers a fascinating look at a rough-edged, genuinely nasty character whom Barks would soon soften... Journey to Volcania, "down under" and the West Indies with Donald and the nephews. Plus seven 10-pagers and abundant critical and historical notes. Not available in stores until NOVEMBER!
• Walt Disney's Donald Duck Christmas Gift Box Set by Carl Barks A double dose of Disney's Donald Duck! A thoughtful, memorable, can't-miss special Christmas item handsomely presented in an inviting gift box set that will delight readers of any age. In these twin volumes, you'll find page after page after page of intrepid quests, daring adventures, and breathtaking escapes. Readers will be spellbound by these timeless classics - with their engaging plots, clever humor, and heartwarming themes.
The Brooklyn Book Festival is coming up for all you readers, writers and fans! A few of our cartoonists are coming up for panels AND we have one hell of a rager party planned at Bergen Street Comics! SIX, count 'em, SIX cartoonists will be at Bergen Street signing their newest graphic novels and minis. Saturday at 8pm at 470 Bergen Street---the place to be! Chuck Forsman, Leslie Stein, Ulli Lust, Ed Piskor, Dash Shaw and Tom Kaczynski will all be there. And so should you!
And then on Sunday, let the Brooklyn Book Festival commence! Below are the panels our cartoonists are on, please note that some are in different locations and please plan in travel time. For a full schedule, visit the Brooklyn Book Festival page.
12:00 P.M. The World (According to Cartoonists): Border Crossing Comics. Adrian Tomine (Optic Nerve #13), Rutu Modan (The Property), Dash Shaw (New School), and David Prudhomme (Rebetiko) all explore characters crossing borders -national and personal, real and imagined. Discover how these award-winning cartoonists translate the world through art and story. Moderated by Kent Worcester. Featuring screen projection. ST. FRANCIS AUDITORIUM
1:00 P.M. Mundane/Profane/Profound: What We Draw About When We Draw Comics. Gag cartoonists and graphic novelists talk about the weird, wonderful, and sometimes shocking choices they make in their craft. Ben Katchor (Hand-Drying in America) offers urban fables where daily details lead to socio/political revelations. Lisa Hanawalt's sexy/snarky one-pagers in My Dirty Dumb Eyes hinge on the vulnerability of showing it all. Miriam Katin's thoughtful, witty memoir Letting it Go explores profound loss and forgiveness in the context of teeth whitening and stomach troubles. Ulli Lust's punk travelogue Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life lays bare body and soul. Moderated by Anne Ishii, translator, The Passion of Gengoroh Tagame. Featuring screen projection. BROOKLYN HISTORICAL SOCIETY AUDITORIUM (128 Pierrepont Street)
2:00 P.M. The New American Dream: What is today's Great American Novel, anyway? Ayana Mathis (The Twelve Tribes of Hattie), Dash Shaw (New School), and Adam Mansbach (The Dead Run) give us glimpses into a new kind of American Dream: a fifteen-year-old mother of nine; a boy's island adventures in graphic novel form; and in one case, an American nightmare. Moderated by David Unger. BROOKLYN HISTORICAL SOCIETY AUDITORIUM (128 Pierrepont Street)
3:00 P.M. The Real: Comics Nonfiction. Three artists represent the diverse spectrum of topics taken on by nonfiction comics-Ed Piskor's Hip-Hop Family Tree offers an encyclopedic comics history of the formative years of hip hop; Lucy Knisley's Relish: My Life in the Kitchen is a loving memoir of growing up gourmet and Tom Kaczynski's Trans-Terra: Towards a Cartoon Philosophy is a mutant memoir that melds comics, politics, and philosophy. Moderated by Professor Jonathan W. Gray, John Jay College. Featuring screen projection. BROOKLYN HISTORICAL SOCIETY AUDITORIUM (128 Pierrepont Street)
4:00 P.M. Lost and Found: The Journey Begins at Home. Where do we discover our truest selves, and what journeys-and what experiences-are ultimately the most transformative? From Prix Médicis-winner Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès's doomed expeditions through the Brazilian backlands (Where Tigers Are at Home) and Austrian graphic novelist Ulli Lust's recollections of a youthful romp through Italy (Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life) to Shani Boianjiu's fierce but wise coming-of-age tale set within the Israeli army (The People of Forever Are Not Afraid), life's lessons can be found in the most unexpected-and familiar-places. Special thanks to Cultural Services of the French Embassy and the Goethe Institute. Moderated by David Kaufman, (Telling Stories: Philip Guston's Later Work) George Mason University. BOROUGH HALL COMMUNITY ROOM (209 Joralemon Street)
Today SPX, Small Press Expo, released the nominees for the Ignatz Awards given out the Saturday of the show, September 14th. We have quite a few cartoonists listed and are so excited for them. Their amazing work speaks for itself but a nice brick award (based the Krazay Kat and Ignatz) is always helpful makes you look tough as hell next to your drawing table. Attendees of SPX are given ballots so start walking NOW to Bethesda and you'll get there in time.
Congrats are in order to Simon Hanselmann for Outstanding Comic nomination for St. Owl's Bay. His book MEGAHEX is coming out from Fantagraphics in 2014 so get ready for more amazing comis.
Here's a quick link to all of our Ignatz-nominee books in case you need to load up for some good readin'. See all of you at the awards acting all dignified and then sorta sloppy at the chocolate fountain!
The latest, largest kaiju monsters of Online Commentaries and Criticism:
• Review:New Schoolin The A.V. Club. "Like Anders Nilsen, Dash Shaw has spent his career looking for a creatively profitable middle ground between high art and straightforward comics storytelling.…Shaw riffs on the popular culture of the ’90s and the politics of the ’00s, suggesting that the children of one decade grew up too cut off from reality to understand the part they played in fostering the global conflict of the next. The social commentary in New School provides a sharp accent to a formally daring, at times alarming coming-of-age tale," says Noel Murray.
• Review:New School in Paste Magazine. "Dash Shaw is a relentless experimenter, never content to rely on the processes and approaches that garnered him acclaim the last go-round…Shaw’s ability to confidently follow his muse without justifying any artistic approach is part of what makes him such an exciting voice, and one that continues to refine itself with this excellent book," wrote Hillary Brown.
• Review:Mental Floss on New School. "Dash Shaw is one of the new generation of exciting comic creators who exist in a nexus between comics and the New York contemporary art scene... A glance at the pages here shows a bold, unusual use of color that seems part Power Mastrs, part Asterios Polyp," writes Rich Barrett.
• Review:Comics Alliance reviews Dash Shaw's New School. John Parker writes, "New School is surreal, emotional, and delirious with color…Moving, innovative, and beautiful, it's hard to imagine you'd confuse the woozy, dreamsick, and explosively colored pages of New School for any other artist's, no matter what distance you're viewing them from."
• Interview (audio): Dash Shaw is interviewed on Robin McConnell's Inkstuds again!
• Plug:New School in The Austin American Statesmen. "on first read, it is melancholic, funny and smartly impressionistic, three things that comics do well…Dash Shaw likes to move through styles, and it’s exciting. As soon as you think you have a fix on his forms, he tweaks it just a bit," writes Joe Gross.
• Review:NPR lists Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life as one of the five touching comics of summer. "Lust's desire to experience real life and to learn things beyond books is by turns uplifting and painful, funny and frightening…The result is a modern coming-of-age story that addresses the thrills and consequences of being young, idealistic, and more than a little lucky," Myla Goldberg sums up.
• Review:The National Post on Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life by Ulli Lust. "Last Day is, essentially, a memoir of powerlessness, of how fruitless our attempts to shape our own lives can be - a fact often reflected in her lines, simple and crisp but frequently lost in the chaos of big scenes.…It's an honesty, intimate and universal, that comics capture better than any medium, and Lust's entry is an almost perfect instance," states David Berry.
• Review:Slant Magazine looks at Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life by Ulli Lust. Tim Peters says, "…it's spontaneous, sexual, and both cynically and internationally adventurous. It's also further proof that the graphic novel is going to dethrone the novel as the 21st century's preferred form for telling a story…A good way to think about Today Is the Last Day is as a kind of anti-Eat, Pray, Love."
• Plug:Cleaver Magazine on Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life by Ulli Lust. "…the beauty of this graphic memoir is in the way, image by image and line by line, it captures that yearning and its momentary fulfillments in the shapes of breathtaking, carefully drawn landscapes, or drawings that depict Ulli's surreal fantasies, like her body floating happily over the Spanish stairs," writes Tahneer Oksman
• Review:Cult Montreal enjoys Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life by Ulli Lust. "Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life is a gripping read that feels like a story a close friend might tell you after returning from a long voyage. Lust's lively illustration style and enthralling narrative voice make this graphic novel a feminist On the Road for the twenty-first century," writes Jeff Miller.
• Plug:Largehearted Boy lists Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life by Ulli Lust as one of the picks of the week "It's a frank, funny, occasionally brutal coming-of-age story…There's plenty of sex, drugs, and violence, though it's Lust's insight and sensitivity that really make it shine," writes The Librarie Drawn & Quarterly Bookstore.
Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life is a gripping read that feels like a story a close friend might tell you after returning from a long voyage. Lust’s lively illustration style and enthralling narrative voice make this graphic novel a feminist On the Road for the twenty-first century. - See more at: http://cultmontreal.com/2013/07/comics-review-ulli-lust-tom-gauld-joe-ollmann/#sthash.5LDUqr84.dpuf
Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life is a gripping read that feels like a story a close friend might tell you after returning from a long voyage. Lust’s lively illustration style and enthralling narrative voice make this graphic novel a feminist On the Road for the twenty-first century. - See more at: http://cultmontreal.com/2013/07/comics-review-ulli-lust-tom-gauld-joe-ollmann/#sthash.5LDUqr84.dpu
• Interview: Matt Seneca interviews Charles Forsman of The End of the Fucking World and being compared to Charles Schulz on Comics Alliance. "It is very much about being fucked-up when you are a teen and that should be a timeless idea. We all go through that. I guess the 80s thing is something that I use as an atmospheric reference for myself," says Forsman. "Forsman managed to do what even the most talented cartoonists often have difficulty with, fusing the honesty of presentation and uninflected realism native to classic alternative comics with the white-knuckle pace and jaw-clenching cliffhangers of the best action storytelling," writes Seneca.
• Interview: Chuck Forsman talks about mini-comics, schoolin' and The End of the Fucking World with Spurgeon on The Comics Reporter<. "I really enjoyed building something with smaller bricks. I guess that's how I've always thought of comics, breaking it down into scenes. Even when I'm just doing one book. I also like to mix the bricks up a bit." .
• Review: The New York Journal of Books enjoys Wake Up, Percy Gloom by Cathy Malkasian. "In a graphic novel filled with exceptional art, lush dreamscapes and characters of rich beauty, Ms. Malkasian brings simple moments to life that show us the depth of someone's heart," writes Mark Squirek. "Wake Up, Percy Gloom reminds us that every single moment is important because at any second apples may bloom and fall from the sky."
• Review:iFanboy on Wake Up, Percy Gloomby Cathy Malkasian. "Malkasian decorates the tale with surreal and absurd dressing (reminiscent of the land of Oz, more than anything else), and plots with twists and turns that are almost impossible to anticipate....If L Frank Baum, Jim Henson and, Jeff Smith wrote a comic together, it would feel (and look) a bit like Percy Gloom," writes Josh Christie.
• Review:The Comic Pusher looks at Wake Up, Percy Gloomby Cathy Malkasian. "Part cutting satire, part fairy tale, part nightmare…Wake Up, Percy Gloom! is another astonishing work from Malkasian, a beautiful and uplifting graphic novel filled with magic and loss and joy. Malkasian, a veteran animator and now highly accomplished cartoonist, once more delivers a work of startling power cementing herself as one of the most distinct and important voices in comics," pens Jeffrey O. Gustafson.
• Commentary: Jessica Lee report on The Beat about Cathy Malkasian's talk at the California College of Arts. "The amount of precision and undeniable heart Cathy puts into every ounce of her characters, panel construction, and worldbuilding is commendable, filling WAKE UP PERCY GLOOM with the kind of rare wonder that make it a gem in the pool of graphic novels…" writes Lee.
• Review:Eye of the Majestic Creature Vol. 2 by Leslie Stein is reviewed on VICE. "What Leslie does with her work is special. She seems largely influenced by newspaper comics, but her stories are subtle.…The core of this series seems to be about how uncomfortable it is to interact with other people and how lonely it can be in New York," says Nick Gazin.
• Review: Eye of the Majestic Creature Vol. 2 by Leslie Stein on Comics Bulletin. "Leslie Stein is a voice for a certain aspect of her generation, the ones you see feigning ironic detachment while inside they are either all honest excitement or vast empathy. While it's just so much easier and cooler not to get emotionally involved, for people like Stein, that's just really not possible," writes Daniel Elkin.
• Review:Good Dog by Graham Chaffee on Forbidden Planet International. "It's a brilliant little book, one I could quite cheerfully have read much more of, one that definitely left me wanting more…throughout the book, Chaffee paints the picture so vividly that you understand that dogs, just like us, are complicated beasts, and each has to find their own life," writes Richard Bruton.
• Review: The Hooded Utilitarian reviews Good Dog by Graham Chaffee. "Chaffee largely eschews panels which are filled with multifarious meaning and intricate correlations, adopting congenial, unsensational storytelling, evoking time, place and character; the gentle rhythms of a nostalgia associated with the early to mid twentieth century…The central questions being tackled here appear to be those of belief, ideology, and faith. A tangential discussion of deist philosophy may not be out of the question as well," writes Ng Suat Tong.
• Plug:Drawn Words on Good Dog by Graham Chaffee. "Good Dog is absolutely one of the most interesting comics of the year…Ivan's struggle as a stray is parallel to everyday human interaction and quest for personal fulfillment, exploring animal psychology in the simplest way Chaffee can possibly explain, while simultaneously maintaining a strong grip of emotion," muses Kevin Cortez.
• Review:The End by Anders Nilsen on The A.V. Club. "This is a book from comics' more avant-garde wing, and a premier example of how to make experimental work that still connects broadly, rather than coming across as self-indulgent vamping," writes Noel Murray.
• Plug:New York 1 on The End\ by Anders Nilsen. "…this beautiful creation explores grief and life, unanswered questions and unquestioned thought," states Andrew Losowsky.
• Interview: Alex Dueben of CBR interviews Kim Deitch on The Amazing, Enlightening and Absolutely True Adventures of Katherine Whaley, process and the inclusion of beavers. "Well, when you read around in old fiction there is a whole genre of stuff that you might categorize as "hollow earth" stories. You know, hidden teeming civilizations deep within the earth.…The almost human workaholic activities of beavers seemed like a potentially good fit to a story of that kind," answered Deitch.
• Review:The National Post reviews Lost Cat. "Jason is one of the few artists (or writers) who can make existential aches seem droll, but it makes the smiles being provoked feel as honest as the ones we get when standing across from someone who makes the world feel a little less lonely," muses David Barry.
• Review:Comics Alliance gives Jason's Lost Cat the whatfor! "If you're familiar with Jason's previous work, you know his mastery of minimalist storytelling is what drives his art. His anthropomorphic, near emotionless characters, along with his consistent four panel page layouts, are his signature," writes Joseph Hughes.
• Review:Comics Bulletin looks at Jason's Lost Cat. "In a way it asks us to consider what is more meaningful, actually connecting or the longing to connect in the first place…Jason is an artist of a high caliber and reading Lost Cat confirms this. He creates in isolation, ruminates about our inability to connect, and, by doing so, brings us together," writes Daniel Elkin.
• Plug:Lost Cat is on Publishers Weekly Picks of the Week. "A humorous PI story populated by animals takes a turn toward the absurd in the newest-and longest yet-graphic novel by Jason."
Review: iFanboy on Bread & Wine by Samuel Delany and Mia Wolff. "The book is short...but packs some serious punch. Lots of the credit can go to Mia Wolff, whose black-and-white pen work adds some serious grittiness to the story. The only thing I love more than a good love story is a good atypical love story, and Bread & Wine fits the bill nicely," writes Josh Christie.
• Review:Bread & Wine by Samuel Delany and Mia Wolff on Sequential Tart<. "The story itself is intimate and at times awkward to read, which makes it feel very real and personal. Delany doesn't shy away from some of the less-appealing moments in the relationship...Bread & Wine is an unusual offering, and certainly won't be to everyone's taste, but it's certainly worth a read now that it's widely available and reasonably priced," writes Katie Frank.
• Review:Bread &Wine by Samuel Delany and Mia Wolff was reviewed on Comics Grinder. "This graphic novel, originally published in 1999, springs from a memoir and stands alone as engaging and insightful...For a book that promises an erotic tale, there are even more scenes that speak to the great divide between the two men which they will either struggle with or overcome," wrote Henry Chamberlain, Comics Grinder
• Plug:Bread & Wine by Samuel Delany and Mia Wolff on Largehearted Boy. "With Alan Moore contributing an introduction and Neil Gaiman and Junot Diaz (and Frank Miller in case that still means something to anyone) singing its praises, you know Bread & Wine has something special going on," says Benn from Atomic Books.
• Plug:Publishers Weekly on Hip Hop Family Tree by Ed Piskor. Maurice Boyer details the creative process: "each strip [is] a full week affair in which he spends a day of research and writing immersed in books, videos or interviews in search of inspiration for the week's strip. From there, he spends the rest of the week drawing his pages by hand and coloring them on the computer."
• Interview:Julia Gfrӧrer is interviewed on The Beat by Zainab Ahktar. "I like writing for a contemporary setting, but a contemporary mermaid story would be kind of a hard sell, it feels unpleasantly whimsical to me, so for that reason Black is the Color had to be set in the past." nbsp;
• Review:HIV+ on 7 Miles a Second by David Wojnarowicz, James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook. "It can be difficult to remember in 2013, just how despised gays were and just how oblivious the rest of society seemed to the AIDS epidemic in those dark days.… But 7 Miles a Second captures the rage and impotence felt by thousands of young gay men who were suddenly faced with the brutal finality of death," writes Jacob Anderson-Minshall.
• Review:Hyperallergic on 7 Miles a Second by David Wojnarowicz, James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook.. "Wojnarowicz…didn’t win the great game of life; they lost bitterly. To hear about those losses firsthand, to watch them unfold in words that essentially position us as front-row spectators, is devastating.…If there’s another theme in 7 Miles a Second, one that counteracts the weight of the body, it must be motion. Evident in both the form and content of the text, motion offers the promise of escape," writes Jillian Steinhauer.
• Commentary:MSN ran a story about the Sub Pop Silver Jubilee and the In Case We Die reading & signing by Danny Bland. "Bland read a passage about the first time the book's main character and his teenaged girlfriend shoot up - a degenerate scene redolent of hindsight romanticizing. Packed inside the bookstore, the audience roared approval. Only in Seattle."
• Interview:The Weekings' Joe Daly (a different one!) interviews Danny Bland on In Case We Die and getting clean, "Well, the catalyst for me getting clean was the classic tale of running out of resources. I did drugs until I ran out of money, and friends to steal from, and eventually the criminal element that I became involved with became too hot." Read more about these adventures in In Case We Die!
• Review:Forbidden Planet International on Jacques Tardi's Goddamn This War! "This is going straight into my own collection, and in my opinion every decent graphic novel collection needs some Tardi in it, he is one of the great masters of the medium," sums up Joe Gordon.
• Review: The French Embassy outlines Goddamn This War!"Goddamn This War! shares with [It Was the War of the] Trenches its sustained sense of outrage, pitch-black gallows humor, and impeccably scrupulous historical exactitude."
• Review:Washington Post on Barnaby by Crockett Johnson. "A whole new generation now will have the opportunity to become acquainted with Johnson's influential creation...Liberals may love Barnaby, but there is no reason why conservatives and libertarians can't admire the beauty, simplicity, wittiness and intelligence of this groundbreaking strip, too," posits Michael Taube.
• Review: Barnaby by Crockett Johnson reviewed by The A.V. Club<. "With Barnaby, Johnson combined low-impact serialized adventure with some gentle comedy based around the ways that adults and kids diverge in their perspectives. The result is a compulsively readable strip with a winningly off-kilter point-of-view-and a cultural treasure that's been long-overdue for this kind of prestige archival project..." posits Noel Murray.
• Plug:Mental Floss on Barnaby by Crockett Johnson. "It mixed fantasy, satire and political commentary and its humor was often very subtle. So subtle that its popularity was limited compared to most strips of the day. Editors Eric Reynolds and Philip Nel have taken great pains to annotate many of the topical references that were made to help new readers appreciate what Barnaby's small but devoted readership enjoyed at the time," pens Rich Barrett.
• Review: Comics Worth Reading flips through Mickey Mouse Color Sundays by Floyd Gottfredson. "The lighter approach makes this book a better choice to share with your young ones. They should love the timeless highjinks of the mouse and his friends. And anyone can appreciate the skilled cartooning and astounding art, so well-done it almost seems to move on paper," writes Johanna Draper Carlson.
• Review:Robot 6 on Mickey Mouse Color Sundays by Floyd Gottfredson. "What I really took away from this book, however, was Gottfredson's considerable (and very nuanced) compositional and storytelling skills...an entertaining read and still a thrill to see what Gottfredson work out and then master this longer styled-format. Disney fans - or just fans of solid, entertaining comics in general - won't be disappointed."
• Review: The Complete Syndicated Pogo Vol.2 "Bona Fide Balderdash" by Walt Kelly receives a 5 outta 5 stars from Comics Bulletin. "The world of those delightful characters feels tremendously lavish and vivid. Kelly's strip came from an era of deep graphical inventiveness…This book is pure magic, suitable for both a fourth grade teacher and a fourth grader," muses Jason Sacks.
• Review:Page 45 on Love and Rockets: The Companion edited by Marc Sobel and Kristy Valenti. "Best of all, however, are the interviews, so utterly addictive that I almost missed my review deadline…Editor Marc Sobel's interview with Los Bros Hernandez delivers some astonishing insights into the cycle of each story's conception, execution, then complete burned-out numbness in Jaime... and workaholic Gilbert's crippling self-doubt halfway through each chapter early on," states Stephen L. Holland.
• Review:Spectrum Culture enjoys Hal Foster's Prince Valiant 6: 1947-1948. "Readers unfamiliar with the Prince Valiant strip owe it to themselves to take a look. The stories encapsulate the values of a simpler, less cynical time, and the illustrations are first-rate," writes David Maine.
• Plug: An odd but fun article on Love and Rockets and baseball on The Good Phight. "It's odd, Jaime's stories in L&R, collected in the massive Locas collections, are kind of geek treasure troves. Clearly Jaime is influenced by punk and 80's alt California, but he's also really into superheroes, luchadores, and monster movies, so you get this weird melange of nostalgia for all of this old nerd culture."
• Commentary: Deb Aoki reports on Best/Worst Manga Panel at SDCC 2013. Moto Hagio's The Heart of Thomas is listed as Best New Manga for Kids/Teens. Wandering Son by Shimura Takako is listed on Best Continuing Series for Kids/Teens. And finally Inio Asano's Nijigahara Holograph lands on the Most Anticipated New Manga list.
• Review: Wandering Son Vol. 4 is reviewed on Experiments in Manga. "As nostalgic as Wandering Son can be, the middle school years haven't been idealized in the series.…Wandering Son is more about characters than a linear plot, but the fourth volume is an important setup for what comes next in the series," says Ash Brown.
• Review:School Library Journal looks at Willard Mullin's Golden Age of Baseball and how it is applicable in the classroom! "student sports fans (in this case, baseball fans specifically) can leverage their outside-of-school literacies to comprehend and appreciate the sophisticated cartoons and high-level text in Willard Mullin’s Golden Age of Baseball," says Peter Gutierrez.
• Review:Full Stop is pleased with the Fantagraphics' EC Comics Library. "It's fitting that Fantagraphics - long-time champion of the rights and importance of comics creators, and re-issuer important historical comics - would arrange a publishing line this way. Even though it may not be surprising, it's still a commendable decision. It's also an important development in further establishing comics as art and literature worthy of serious consideration and study.… It presents work by EC’s most important artists, drawing the work from across all EC titles," states Sam Costello.
• Review:Comics Bulletin] >on 50 Girls 50 by Al Williamson. It "is an affordable means of acquiring a pleasingly complete collection of this seminal work by a seminal artist."
• Plug: Boing Boing delights in The Littlest Pirate King by David B. "So, it's a little grim. But it's also gorgeous…If you liked the premise of Neil Gaiman's award-winning Graveyard Book, you're sure to love this, but be aware that it's much a darker and sadder story than Gaiman's. I think this is probably suited to kids eight or nine and up…" suggests Cory Doctorow.
• Review: Jason Sacks on the Comics Bulletin gives Donald Duck: The Old Castle's Secret by Carl Barks the run down. "This book is an absolutely delightful assortment of stories, a thoroughly charming, delightful collection of vivid stories full of clever wordplay and slapstick action…Barks tells the story in ways that have to delight any reader.The more I read of Barks's comics, the more I come to love them."
* Other People's Publications ** Yeah, You Know Me.
I'm a big fan of anthologies -- I think they're a fantastic way of discovering new artists whose work you might be unfamiliar with, nestled beside the work of some of your favorites. So, I was excited to see on our shelves The Big Feminist But: Comics About Women, Men, and the IFs, ANDs, & BUTs of Feminism, edited by Shannon O'Leary and Joan Reilly.
There a quite a few Fantagraphics artists included:Ron Regé, Jr. submits the transcendent piece "Adam & Lilith," while Ulli Lust teams up with Kai Pfeiffer for "Her Fat Feminist Ass." There's also Gabrielle Bell's piece on Valerie Solanas, and Justin Hall, our delightful editor of No Straight Lines, turns in a fantastic piece on gay marriage. Mome-veteran Andrice Arp contibutes a collaboration with Jesse Reklaw, and Jeffrey Brown makes an appearance with "Doesn't This Baby Realize We're Trying to Redefine Gender Roles?".
That's just a sampling of the artists in this thoughtful self-published anthology, and I did indeed discover some new artists who I'm now curious about!
Perhaps you will too, when you pick up this collection at theFantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, located at 1201 S. Vale Street in Seattle's Georgetown district. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone: (206) 658-0110.
The last thing you'll read before the San Diego PR Storm 2013:
• Review: The AV Club looks at Ulli Lust's Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life. Noel Murray writes, "Today Is The Last Day Of The Rest Of Your Life takes the form of a post-apocalyptic horror story, wherein the heroine ekes out a meager existence by day and then fights off monsters by night.…Lust takes readers inside her experiences, letting them feel how high hopes can devolve into raw survival."
• Review: Ulli Lust's Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life is reviewed in the New York Times by Douglas Wolk. "the book ripples with exuberance:…Lust’s pen-and-ink work (augmented by the pale green tint of European paperbacks) depicts the stretched and crimped features of the people from whom she bummed change, the architecture of St. Peter’s Basilica and the chaos of a Clash concert with equally manic panache, and her line is as seemingly unkempt but as deliberately molded as her younger self’s punk-rock shock of hair."
• Review:Booklist Online spends the day with Donald Duck: The Old Castle's Secret by Carl Barks. "The applause-worthy effort… Oodles of shorter pieces provide more evidence yet that this series is an essential addition to any serious (or just plain fun) comics collection" writes Ian Chipman.
• Review: The New York Journal of Books reads Donald Duck: The Old Castle's Secret by Carl Barks. "There is no tantrum like a Donald Duck tantrum…Every single page of this new collection of classic Donald Duck stories is filled with silliness and slapstick and adventure…Try not smiling at Carl Barks’ work. It’s impossible," says Mark Squirek.
• Interview: Zak Sally on The Comics Journal interviews on Peter Bagge and The Beat follows up. Bagge states, "I like the way [a pamphlet or floppy comic] feel. To me it's an ideal format, the traditional comic book format. It's the perfect amount of material to read in one sitting."
• Commentary:The Beatand Hannah Means-Shannon discuss the humor panel from HeroesCon 2013 featuringPeter Bagge(there promoting his new book, Other Stuff). When asked advice from a younger cartoonist Bagge replied, “If you’re goal is to be a starving artist, it’s an easy road ahead."
• Review:Dead Canary Comics look at Prison Pit series by Johnny Ryan. "It's so extremely excessive in its hilarity it draws stifled belly laughs from your gut on packed trains as parents and politicians glance witheringly at images of monsters shitting themselves, ghouls eviscerating ghouls... in an age when we've got more X Men titles than people on the planet it's refreshing to just have a comic book that's all about entertainment!"
• Plug: Speaking of Johnny Ryan, show off how you don't fucking mess around with a PRISON PIT patch! Only $5 (plus shipping).
• Review: Brian Heater of BoingBoing looks at Leslie Stein's Eye of the Majestic Creature Vol. 2."It’s a sort of childlike forgiveness of life’s darker corners, which carries on into grown up stories…Stein's is a welcomingly unique take on the well-trod world of autobiographical comics, and once you've excepted her rhythms as your own, it can be a hard world to step away from."
• Review (audio): NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour enjoy Dash Shaw's New School. Glen Weldon states, "Instead of a tidy narrative, [New School] is about art, about the art that's in the book itself…There's stuff going on at other levels, the intuitive, the leve of the unconscious, the subconscious I guess you could say.…This book is just fascinating."
• Review:Booklist Online reviews Goddamn This War by Jacques Tardi and Jean-Pierre Verney. "…six years of hopelessly indistinguishable trenches, explosions, corpses, mud, and maggots, all of it depicted via three panoramic panels per page rendered in smoky grays and foggy blues—with blood accents… The pages are strewn with images of dead bodies and midexplosion terrors, but the unforgettable centerpiece is two wordless pages of disfigured postwar faces"
• Review:About.com looks at Anders Nilsen's The End. Jeff Alford writes "these pages come from such a raw emotional place that they'll reverberate like an echo from a well....It's a message we've heard before, but its majestic delivery and the difficult path that led to this revelation make The End all the more exceptional."
• Review:Comic Pusher looks at Anders Nilsen's The End. "This isn't a non-fictional description of grief written after the fact, this is grief, unfiltered and complete…The best sequences are where Nilsen breaks away from the heartbreaking emotional literalism and opens out into almost abstract expressions of the nature of grief."
• Review: Johanna Draper Carlson of Comics Worth Readingunpacks Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Color Sundaysby Floyd Gottfredson. "The lighter approach makes this book a better choice to share with your young ones. They should love the timeless highjinks of the mouse and his friends. And anyone can appreciate the skilled cartooning and astounding art, so well-done it almost seems to move on paper."
• Commentary: Heidi MacDonald of The Beat talks about Lorenzo Mattotti at BEA. "In Italy Mattotti is pretty much an all around art and design god, and he's known here for his New Yorker covers, and Fantagraphics has been putting out his recent work in Englias."
• Review:Wandering Son Vol. 4 by Shimura Takako gets reviewed by Read Comic Books. "…what continues to make Wandering Son a fantastic read is the frankness it presents developmental sexual identity…Few comics will challenge you like Wandering Son. It covers a topic not widely written about or discussed, and does so in a tactful, warm, embracing manner," concludes Nick Rowe.
• Review: The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center gives Wandering Son Vol. 4 a whirl. Terry Hong comments," ‘Fresh' is exactly the right word to describe this gentle gender-bender series…Creator Shimura Takako is a compassionate, empathetic storyteller without judgment or guile. Her young characters face their inescapable maturity as best as they can in a brave new world of ‘gender-fluid'."
• Review (audio):It Has Come to My Attention recorded a short 7-minute review of Barnaby Vol. 1 by Crockett Johnson. "Fantagraphics deserves a Nobel Prize in Literature for their efforts to reprint complete runs of classic American comic strips… There is rarely an attempt at more than 2-dimensions but that flatness provides a late art deco elegance to [Barnaby].…This strip is fun, funny, I'm so glad its back and Fantagraphics is giving it their usual top-notch presentation,"
• Review: Letterer Todd Klein looks at Pogo Vol. 2Through the Wild Blue Yonder by Walt Kelly. "…this strip is perhaps the opposite of 'Peanuts,' which went with a minimalist approach. 'Pogo' is maximalist! Both are great fun and often quite funny.…There’s really not a single thing to fault in this fine book"
• Review: Jack Davis' new collection 'Tain't the Meat reviewed on Sound on Sight. "It's entertaining in the juvenile delight it takes in grossing out readers. You also get to witness Davis' style as it improves with every story: his lines get sharper, there's more detail and contrast in the panels… It might also provide a good trip down memory lane for some, reminding them of late nights spent with smuggled comics contraband and a flashlight under the sheets. It's a good introduction as well to a genre that may today seem corny and hackneyed, but I'll be damned if it still ain't pretty creepy, bad puns an all," writes Chris Auman.
• Review: Broad Street Review gazes upon 50 Girls 50 by Al Williamson with love. Bob Levin pens, "Williamson's art could infuse aliens and monsters, no matter how hideous, with sympathetic personalities that reinforced Feldstein's feelings about brotherhood and tolerance.…His delicate line, intricately constructed panels and gossamer-like space-station cities and landscapes are fully on display in this book."
• Review:Comics Bulletin on Came the Dawn by Wallace Wood. "…the true delight and fascination of Came the Dawn will be seeing again Wood's sublime understanding, indeed his enrichment of, the comics language, from panel and page composition to the pacing, direction, of capturing and conveying of mood…Let's face it: No one draws an emaciated corpse - especially in zombie form - better than Wood," pens Eric Hoffman.
Back in 1984, a punked-out Ulli Lust set out for a wild hitchhiking trip across Italy, from Naples through Verona and Rome and ending up in Sicily. Twenty-five years later, this talented Austrian cartoonist has looked back at that tumultuous summer and delivered a long, dense, sensitive, and minutely observed autobiographical masterpiece.
"the book ripples with exuberance:…Lust’s pen-and-ink work (augmented by the pale green tint of European paperbacks) depicts the stretched and crimped features of the people from whom she bummed change, the architecture of St. Peter’s Basilica and the chaos of a Clash concert with equally manic panache, and her line is as seemingly unkempt but as deliberately molded as her younger self’s punk-rock shock of hair." –Douglas Wolk, The NY Times
The coldest Dip'n'Dots of Online Commentaries & Marketing:
• Interview: Comic Book Resources and Alex Dueben interview Peter Bagge about Other Stuff and his favorite collaborations in the book, "The earliest one in the book, "Life in These United States," didn't come out looking at all like I had envisioned it…what Clowes did with it was truly remarkable. Also, Gilbert [Hernandez] radically changed the faces, ages and even genders of almost everyone in the "Me" strip. That threw me for a loop! Though it didn't negatively impact the story in the slightest."
• Review:The A.V. Club looks at Peter Bagge's Other Stuff. "Other Stuff also brings together strips Bagge has written about rock icons, along with a few cartoon essays, and strips featuring his characters Lovey and The Leeways, who respectively represent hipster adventurism and dogged domesticity. It’s a full picture of who Bagge has been as an artist and humorist over the past 20 years, and as such is as valuable for newcomers as fans…" writes Noel Murray.
• Interview:Peter Bagge is interviewed on Societe Perrierby Christian J Petersen on comics, Seattle and growing up clever. "Did your parents encourage your creativity? No, though they didn't discourage it. They were drunk."
• Review:The Quietus looks at The Adventures of Jodelle by Guy Peellaert and Pierre Bartier. Aug Stone writes, "Jodelle is fantastic in every sense of the word, filled with in-jokes and time-defying references, nudity and sex (not always coinciding), exaggerated violence, but most importantly a sense of pushing the edges of possibility…The original Pop Art comic and one of the first ‘adult comics’ (released a year after Barbarella by same publisher Eric Losfeld), Jodelle is an artistic tour de force."
• Review: Bookgasm looks at The Adventures of Jodelle by Guy Peellaert. "…let the fleshy neon visuals explode into your eyeballs.…It won’t have the same impact today, as many of its visual ideas have been appropriated and subverted into the mainstream culture, but as both a time capsule of its era and as a visually stunning romp, it remains a unique experience that should certainly be at least sampled by any adventurous modern reader of comics. Playfully provocative, funny and smart, THE ADVENTURES OF JODELLE pops with a soft-lined splash of lurid color," writes JT Lindroos.
• Review: It's Nice That and look at The Adventures of Jodelle. "Peellaert was every bit the master of his craft and with enviable vision and flair managed to transform a previously safe medium into something exciting and dangerous…It’s intoxicating stuff!" exclaims James Cartwright.
• Interview:HeroesOnline and Seth Peagler interview Ed Piskor about comics, music and Hip Hop Family Tree. Piskor states, "There were some interesting things to look at while writing the book. It’s necessary to know the political/economic climate at the time. The fine art scene plays an integral role in the development of early Hip Hop as well, which many people might not know. If it wasn’t for the downtown scene gravitating toward graffiti culture it could have all died out in the early 80s."
• Review:I Reads You reads Love and Rockets: New Stories #5 by Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez. Leroy Douresseaux writes, "This publishing format is designed to appeal to the people who decide what will make the shelves of bookstores.…this is another volume of New Stories which proves that Love and Rockets is as strong as ever and is ready for 30 more great years."
• Review:Kotaku's roundtable discuss what they did and didn't like about Julio's Day by Gilbert Hernandez. Evan Narcisse posits "I did like how the family lived on the fringes of the 20th Century. It reminded me A LOT of Gabriel Garcia Marquez' 100 Years of Solitude. The weird almost-incest, characters with the same names and weird proclivities, home-as-a-black-hole-you-can't-escape, the outside world as an exotic dangerous place, nature as this karmic equalizer …"
• Interview: Nicole Rudick of The Comics Journal interviews James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook about 7 Miles A Second and their creative life together. James mentions, "…it is about empathy, the only thing we have that allows us to touch each other. So if there’s anything positive to be taken out of the book, it’s that we should be working toward a more empathetic experience while we’re on the planet."
• Review:Comic Book Resources looks at 50 Girls 50 by Al Williamson. "It’s interesting seeing how different some of the artwork is – Williamson liked science fiction, apparently, and was occasionally bored with the other stories William Gaines or Al Feldstein gave him, but there’s no story here that doesn’t at least offer something sublime…Fantagraphics has done a really nice job bringing a lot of the 1940s/1950s stuff back into print, and if they keep picking such cool stuff like this, I’ll just have to keep buying it!" exclaims Greg Burgas.
• Review:Spectrum Culture looks at'Tain't the Meat by Jack Davis. "Davis was a phenomenal draftsman whose dynamic line work could imbue even static scenes with restless energy, and whose clean but detailed layouts could bring to life queasiness-inducing tableaux of rotting corpses and piled intestines…Al Feldstein and Carl Wessler wrote the lion’s share of these tales and had a knack for mixing cruel irony and creeping dread.…EC has been gone for decades now, but volumes like this help ensure that its influence won’t be forgotten." writes David Maine.
• Review:The Portland Mercury on Dash Shaw's New School. "The experience of reading New School is like temporarily inhabiting the body and brain of an artist: This is what growing up might feel like for someone who lives and breathes colors and shapes," writes Allison Hallett. "It's heady, hallucinatory, and bizarre, but it's grounded in the simple experience of growing up in the shadow of a beloved older sibling."
• Interview: Societe Perrier by Christian J Petersen interview Johnny Ryan. "You seem to be exploring a darkside in your work but you soften the blow with humor. What would your real darkside look like?Prison Pit. "
• Plug: Duckburg Weekly looks at Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1: Race to Death ValleyandMickey Mouse Volume 2: Trapped on Treasure Island by Floyd Gottfredson. "With Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Classic Collection Fantagraphics Books published a must-have for everyone who's interested in early works of the Walt Disney Company!…[Vol. 1]offers amazing articles about the 'birth' of Mickey Mouse, bonus panels which were never published and different artists in the spotlight (such as Al Taliaferro and Jack King)…Again [in Vol. 2] there is a chapter with incredible bonus material which informs about the villains, Floyd's colleagues and additional comic strips."
• Interview:It's Nice That and James Cartwright interviewed Anders Nilsen about The End, coming out in print this fall. "…some of it is pretty raw, and that’s how I felt at the time. Some of it is funny, too, I think, which is also part of the experience. It can feel very absurd at times. If it feels like a crazy emotional roller coaster to read, then it’s doing the job."
• Review:The Comics Journal reviewed the Kolor Klimaxanothology, edited by Matthias Wivel. Robert Kirby writes, "I found myself drawn back to each several times…That, for me, is the common vibe generated by this and other Euro-comics anthologies: the sense of possibility and novelty that comes from having available a whole new frontier of previously hard-to-come-by alt-comics by accomplished artists to explore. Comics speak a universal, intuitive language, but this 'Nordic Hypnotica' opens Americans up to previously unfamiliar dialects that are a pleasure to read, enjoy, and occasionally decode."
• Review:Kitty Sneezes looks at Drew and Josh Alan Friedman'sAny Similarity to Persons Living or Dead is Purely Coincidental. "Shemp acts both as a beacon of Drew Friedman's amazing artistic skill, but also as a signpost of what you'll find.…strips starring the semi-forgotten figures of old media. Figures like Abbott & Costello, Chet Huntley, Joe Franklin or Tor Johnson come up frequently. I especially love the Tor strips. And usually, though there's a surrealist bent like you'd find in the work of Michael Kupperman, there's usually a sense of love for the work of these people" writes Rev. Syung Myung Me.
Back in 1984, a rebellious, 17-year-old, punked-out Ulli Lust set out for a wild hitchhiking trip across Italy, from Naples through Verona and Rome and ending up in Sicily. Twenty-five years later, this talented Austrian cartoonist has looked back at that tumultuous summer and delivered a long, dense, sensitive, and minutely observed autobiographical masterpiece.
Miraculously combining a perfect memory for both emotional and physical detail with the sometimes painful lucidity two and half decades’ distance have brought to her understanding of the events, Lust meticulously shows the who, where, when, and how (specifically, how an often penniless young girl can survive for months on the road) of a sometimes dangerous and sometimes exhilarating journey. Particularly haunting is her portrait of her fellow traveler, the gangly, promiscuous devil-may-care Edi who veers from being her spunky, funny best friend in the world to an out-of-control lunatic with no consideration for anything but her own whims and desires.
Universally considered one of the very finest examples of the new breed of graphic novels coming from Europe, Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life won the 2011 Angoulême “Revelation” prize, and Fantagraphics is proud to bring it to English speaking readers.