We have some amazing Halloween treats in store at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery: Vintage copies of mid-60s Creepy and Eerie. These issues are from the estate of the late Gary Arlington, famed EC comics collector and proprietor of the San Francisco Comic Book Company, widely regarded as the country's first comic book shop. (As seen in the photo below by Patrick Rosenkranz.) The magazines feature mid-century masters like Jack Davis, Wally Wood, Frank Frazetta, Alex Toth, Reed Crandall, Steve Ditko, John Severin, and more. Own a monstrous piece of comix history for only $8.95.
Speaking of history, don't miss the Georgetown Haunted History Tour this weekend. This annual event provides a playful look at the eerie history of Seattle's oldest neighborhood. Wildly entertaining.
The next volume of our critically acclaimed EC Comics Library series takes us into outer space via the fine, meticulous brushwork of legendary cartoonist Wallace Wood. Spawn of Mars and Other Stories will collect over two dozen stories written by Al Feldstein, including such science fiction titles as "The Dark Side of the Moon," "A Trip to a Star," "The Secret of Saturn's Ring," and, of course, "Spawn of Mars."
And for you eager fans asking about our next EC box set, fear not! We'll have more updates for you soon here on the Flog. Plans are solidly underway to begin putting together our next luscious EC Comics Library Box Set!
"A mix of evocative, geometric watercolors and fluid pen-and-ink cartoons, How to Be Happy tells stories of sad people, lonely people, strong people, confident people, all trying to find a tiny bit of happiness in life…Davis’ clever and sometimes jaw-droppingly beautiful artwork makes those stories feel real." – Dan Kois, Slate Book Review
"The use of Adam and Eve’s human bodies to communicate to one another, to seek the bliss that’s coming, to lift that weight, is the image Davis wants us to leave with. No moral, no punchline, no muted epiphany — discarded along with all the other distractions, they leave only Edenic bliss behind." – Sean T. Collins, The Comics Journal
"A valuable gem to add to any collection focusing on independent comics and alternative storytelling with its avant-garde narrative voice, classical art style, and brilliantly paced sense of adventure" – Alger C. Newberry III, Library Journal
"Wood (1927-1981) conceived of witzend as a haven where he and his peers could publish personal work and burst the chains of mainstream comics. Though 'personal,' it must be said, often meant drawing generously endowed women flaunting bared breasts." – Dana Jennings, The New York Times
"It felt like a fan publication, but was produced by professionals. It appeared at the dawn of underground comix, but featured standard genre material, including a (great) Wood jungle hero named "Animan." And, most significantly, it had a philosophy that proved problematic, though intriguing." – Jake Austen, Chicago Tribune
This is your official warning to bring your heavy duty bags and library book carts because here are our San Diego Comic Con graphic novel and comic debuts. Need a workout? Well, you're gonna get it by grasping our beautiful tomes to your chest as you happily leave, arms full from a fun time at Fantagraphics, booth #1718!
How to Be Happy is Eleanor Davis's first collection of graphic/literary short stories collectingthe best stories she's drawn for Mome, Nobrow, and Lucky Peach, as well in her own self-published comics. Davis achieves a rare, subtle poignancy in her narratives that are at once compelling and elusive, pregnant with mystery and a deeply satisfying emotional resonance. Happy shows the full range of Davis's skills — sketchy drawing, polished pen-and-ink line work, and meticulously designed full-color painted panels — which are always in the service of a narrative that builds to a quietly devastating climax. In stores August, $24.99
An Age of License is Lucy Knisley's (French Milk, Relish) comics travel memoir recounting her charming (and romantic!) tour of Europe and Scandinavia. Featuring her hallmark mouth-watering drawings and descriptions of food, Knisley's experiences are colored by anxieties, introspective self-inquiries — about traveling alone in unfamiliar countries, and about her life — that many young adults will relate to. It's is an Eat, Pray, Love for the alternative comics fan. In Stores August, $19.99
Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck: The Son of the Sun (The Don Rosa Library Vol. 1)by Don Rosa -The Richest Duck in the World is back — and so are noisy nephew Donald, wunderkinder Huey, Dewey, and Louie, and rascally richnik Flintheart Glomgold! We’re proud to present our first complete, chronological book of Duck adventures by contemporary fan favorite Don Rosa, who drew a whopping two decades’ worth of ripping Scrooge and Donald yarns! It's at a price even Scrooge would consider a bargain! In stores September, $29.99.
Heroes of the Comics: Portraits of the Legends of Comic Books by Drew Friedman - Featuring approximately 75 full-color portraits and essays lovingly rendered and chosen by Drew Friedman. Heroes includes the full spectrum of American comics pioneers and legends of the ‘30s to the ‘50s: publishers, editors, and artists like Stan Lee, Harvey Kurtzman, Will Eisner, Al Jaffee, Jack Davis, Will Elder, Bill Gaines, and more. It’s a Hall of Fame of comic book history from the man Boing Boing calls "America’s greatest living portrait artist!" In stores August, $34.99
Hip Hop Family Tree Vol. 2 by Ed Piskor - Book 2 covers the early years of 1981-1983, when Hip Hop makes its big transition from the parks and rec rooms to downtown clubs and vinyl records. While many performers use flamboyant personas to stand out from the audience, a young group called RUN-DMC comes on the scene to take things back to the streets. This volume introduces superstars like NWA, The Beastie Boys, Doug E Fresh, KRS One, ICE T, and early Public Enemy, with cameos by Dolemite, LL Cool J, Notorious BIG, and New Kids on the Block(?!)!
In stores August, $27.99.
Hip Hop Family Tree Box Setby Ed Piskor - To celebrate the critical success of the first two volumes of Piskor's unprecedented history of Hip Hop, we are offering the two books in a mind-blowingly colorful slipcase, drawn and designed by the artist, featuring exclusive all-new cover art on each volume. Also included is the box set exclusive 24-page comic Hip Hop Family Tree #300, Piskor’s elegant reflection on the ‘90s confluence of hip hop and comics, told in a perfect parody/pastiche/homage to that era’s Image comics. In stores November, $59.99.
Jimby Jim Woodring - Jim is a mind-bending collection of all of Woodring's best non-Frank creative work — comics stories, prose stories, drawings, and paintings all centered around Woodring's cartoon alter ego. This fictional doppelganger has for 30 years inhabited Woodring's alternate universe where shifting, phantasmagoric landscapes, abrupt, hallucinatory visual revelations, and unexpected eruptions of uninhibited verbal self-flagellation are commonplace. Collected here for the first time, Jim is a bounty of Woodring's inspired artistry. In stores late July, $29.99.
Love and Rockets Library (Palomar & Luba Book 4): Luba and Her Family by Gilbert Hernandez - Beto's characters bid "Farewell, My Palomar" as they exit the Eden of the Central American town in Volume 10 of the Love and Rockets Library. When an earthquake levels Palomar, ever-resourceful Luba and her clan are on the move once again. In the U.S., the lives of Maria's daughters — mayor and matriarch Luba, body-builder Petra, and therapist/film star Fritz — and their families become more and more intertwined. In stores now, $18.99.
Cosplayers 2by Dash Shaw - The "Cosplayers" chronicle continues as Annie and Verti attend the 3-day anime convention "Tezukon." entering the competition as Princess Mononoke and the Devil May Cry Lady. During the convention they face off against a Street Fighter 2 Cammy, encounter two otaku boys who are obsessed with their youtube videos, and meet a manga scholar named Ben Baxter, who sleeps in a dumpster outside of the hotel and receives visions of the ending of Tezuka's unfinished "Phoenix" saga. "Cosplayers 2" is a sweet, funny, melancholic ode to the anime convention experience!
In stores now, $5.00.
Barnaby Vol. 2by Crockett Johnson; edited by Eric Reynolds and Philip Nel - The long-lost comic strip masterpiece by Crockett Johnson, legendary children’s book author (Harold and the Purple Crayon), designed by graphic novelist and Barnaby superfan Daniel Clowes. Vol. 2 collects the years 1944-1945 of the series, as five-year-old Barnaby Baxter and his cigar-chomping, bumbling con-artist Fairy Godfather J.J. O’Malley encounter leprechauns, gnomes, ghosts, ermine hunters, soap salesmen, and more! In stores now, $39.99.
Bomb Run and Other Stories (The EC Comics Library) by John Severin - Combining the taut emotional and psychological insights of Stephen Crane with the gritty verisimilitude of eyewitness reportage, Harvey Kurtzman and John Severin, with inker and friend Will Elder, produced 34 war stories in just under three years. Emotionally draining and dramatically eloquent, this book collects epic settings: the Roman empire; the Revolutionary War; the American-Indian Wars; the Alamo; the Civil War; World War I (in trenches and in air); World War II ; and the Korean War. In stores now, $29.99.
DKW: Ditko Kirby Woodby Sergio Ponchione - An exquisite tribute to three of the most acclaimed comic book artists of all time: Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby and Wallace Wood! Acclaimed Italian cartoonist Sergio Ponchione pays tribute to this "holy trinity" in this wildly imaginative one-shot comic, split into three chapters, with each chapter drawn in a pitch-perfect homage to one of his idols.
In stores now, $4.99.
Wandering Son 7by Shimura Takako - Takako's groundbreaking, critically acclaimed, and beloved Wandering Son continues to explore gender identity among its cast of middle school students in our 7th volume. Nitori-kun gets his first signs of acne. This may well be the end of the world - unless Anna-chan can help. Meanwhile, Nitori-kun and Chiba-san are scouted by the theater club, leading to friction with Takatsuki-san.
In stores August, $24.99.
Judgment Day and Other Stories (The EC Comics Library)illustrated by Joe Orlando - Judgment Day collects 23 of Joe Orlando’s best sci-fi comics, including Al Feldstein adaptations with classic O. Henry-style endings. With its blunt anti-racism message, the title story is one of EC’s most famous: after publisher Bill Gaines and Feldstein having fought the Comics Code to keep the story’s last panel (and thus its whole point) intact, “Judgment Day” became the last story in the last comic book EC published. Also included are outstanding Ray Bradbury adaptations and EC’s “Adam Link,” which was later adapted for The Outer Limits TV show featuring Leonard Nimoy. In stores now, $23.99.
Pirates in the Heartland: The Mythology of S. Clay Wilson Vol. 1 by S. Clay Wilson; edited by Patrick Rosenkranz - The first of a three-volume biography and retrospective, Pirates is the definitive account of the boldest and most audacious of the legendary underground cartoonists. Combining first person accounts from his peers with S. Clay Wilson’s own words, this book stands as a revealing portrait of a rebel who hid his shyness behind brash behavior and bluster.Pirates in the Heartland shows us an artist who truly lived his dreams and his nightmares. In stores now, $34.99.
Twelve Gemsby Lane Milburn - The mysterious Dr. Z has enlisted three space heroes to search the galaxy for the fabled Twelve Gems of Power: the hulking alien-brawn Furz; the beautiful and deadly sabre-wielding Venus; and the soft-spoken canine technician, Dogstar. They meet many strange and storied characters on their journey, but none so strange or sinister as their dear benefactor himself. With a heavy dose of humor and wall-to-wall action, this sci-fi epic is one of the most action-packed and funny books of the year.
In stores now, $19.99
Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 5: Outwits the Phantom Blot by Floyd Gottfredson - Our latest book finds Mickey battling "Mighty Whalehunter" Pegleg Pete on the high seas, meeting a powerful genie, and taking on Disney’s greatest villain — the vile Phantom Blot! Lovingly restored from Disney's original proof sheets, this volume also includes more than 30 pages of extras: including rare behind-the-scenes art, vintage publicity material, and fascinating commentary by a most-wanted list of Disney scholars. In stores July, $34.99
witzendby Wallace Wood and various artists - When the formulaic constraints, censorious nature, and onerous lack of creators' rights in mainstream comics got to be too much for the brilliant cartoonist Wallace Wood in 1966, he struck out on his own with the self-publishedwitzend. It became a haven for Wood and his fellow professional cartoonist friends where they could produce the kind of personal work that they wanted to do, without regard to commercial demands — and with friends like Frank Frazetta, Al Williamson, Reed Crandall, Ralph Reese, Archie Goodwin, Angelo Torres, Steve Ditko, Harvey Kurtzman, Will Elder, Art Spiegelman, Don Martin, Vaughn Bodé, Jim Steranko, Jeff Jones, Howard Chaykin, Trina Robbins, Bernie Wrightson, and literally dozens more, it was bound to be a great ride! Now, Fantagraphics presents the complete run of witzendin this beautiful slipcased two-volume set with a special introduction by Bill Pearson and a history by Patrick Rosenkranz. In stores now, $125.00
This week's comic shop shipment is slated to include the following new titles. Read on to see what comics-blog commentators and web-savvy comic shops are saying about them (more to be added as they appear), check out our previews at the links, and contact your local shop to confirm availability.
264-page black & white 7.25" x 10.25" hardcover • $29.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-749-9
"With crisp inks on heavy stock paper, Fantagraphics' BOMB RUN is a pleasure to hold and leaf through." –Spectrum Culturenbsp;
"All of these books are essential purchases for comics fans... These are the books that best show off how EC took genre stories seriously, striving to create comics that didn't treat readers as naive or ignorant." - Los Angeles Times
"Fantagraphics' current series of handsome hardcovers makes familiar material fresh by focusing on individual artists... it's never been easier to appreciate the contributions of these iconic inkslingers." - Chicago Tribune
240-page full-color 6.75" x 9.75" softcover • $28.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-739-0
"...[T]he tales in this tome are sheer pre-Comics Code Authority horror, complete with stabbings, decapitations, mutilations and disintegrations. ...Ditko's talent jumps off the page and one of the benefits of reading the stories in chronological order is seeing his art evolve and improve." –Pedro Cabezuelo, Rue Morgue
"Strange Suspense offers page after lurid four-color page of Ditko's weird monsters, rubber-faced crooks, and abstracted landscapes... The book is a white-knuckle trip through Ditko's fevered imagination. [Grade] A-" –The A.V. Club
With Halloween looming, allow me to suggest thirteen frightening favorites from Fantagraphics Books. Spooky fun for everyone, in no particular order.
Daniel Clowes' modern masterpiece Ghost World eerily conveys the otherworldly cool of 1990s counterculture. Peculia, by Clowes colleague Richard Sala, collects the misadventures of the precocious protagonist of his EvilEye comic book serial. Northwest native Charles Burns' essential Big Baby anthology of contemporary horror comix includes classics like "Blood Club," "Teen Plague," and "Curse of the Molemen."
Mysterious Traveler collects proto-psychedelic horror from Steve Ditko's Charlton era. Similarly, Weird Horrors displays the late, great JoeKubert's pre-Code classics edited by Kubert scholar BillSchelly. WallyWood weighs in with Came the Dawn, featuring timeless tales from the "Vault of Horror," as well as mid-century socio-political nightmares like "The Guilty."
The 2013 Harvey Award Nominations list more than a few Fantagraphics' titles! Here's a peak at their covers and click on any to find out more information if for some reason they aren't already on your bookshelves!
Final ballots are due to the Harvey Awards by Monday, August 19, 2013. Full submission instructions can be found on the final ballot. Voting is open to anyone professionally involved in a creative capacity within the comics field. Final ballots are available at www.harveyawards.org. Those who prefer paper ballots may e-mail
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.
The tallest seedlings of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:ForeWord looks at Dash Shaw's New School. "Like its predecessors, New School is unlike everything else out there.…It’s a startling, yet aptly mundane vision of one man’s future, made all the more believable by Shaw’s expressive, cartoony drawings and generally solid scripting…ultimately, it’s an entertaining and thoughtful graphic novel," writes Bill Baker.
• Review:Paraphilia Magazine covers the two Malcolm McNeill books about his collaborations with William S. Burroughs. "Observed While Falling is an invaluable addition to the library of any Burroughs fan…Having shed light on a previously dark corner of the Burroughs legacy, will hopefully provide vital research material for critical analysis of this gravely neglected work produced during a largely overlooked period in his career," writes Edward S. Robinson. The Lost Art of Ah Pook enchants, "Mc Neill’s images – they’re more than mere illustrations – are rich, complex, and often very strange indeed. Disturbed and disturbing…Mc Neill’s large-form images are remarkable works of art…throughout the quality of Mc Neill’s draftsmanship is of a rare standard."
• Review:Comics Worth Reading recommends Pogo Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 by Walt Kelly. "These upscale volumes collecting the classic Pogo comic strip are archival quality, beautifully reproduced and a pleasure to look upon…Pogo is well-loved for a reason. The strips are beautifully drawn and keenly observent of human nature."
• Interview (audio):Janet Hamlin is interviewed by Anna Maria Tremonti on CBC Radio show, The Current, about working on Sketching Guantanamo and being at the courtroom trials. "What I'm working on that day is determined by whatever activity is in court…"
• Review (audio): Brian Heater is a guest on Bullseye with Jesse Thorn and brings up Peter Bagge's Other Stuff. Heater gabs, "…the iconic underground cartoonist of the 90s, anything depicted a slacker or the grunge era was probably by Bagge. Other Stuff has an overly cartoony look that is nicely juxtaposed by true-to-life stories…"
• Interview (video):Ed Piskor is interviewed by Jared Gardner during his Columbus Museum of Art Residency and speaks on his life through comics and Hip Hop Family Tree. "I grew up in just a hip hop environment, my house was the nucleus between three parks in town you could go to any given one and see some hip hop going on, rudimentary stuff …a few slabs of linoleum and a boombox," answered Piskor.
• Review:ConSequential reviewed The Hypo by Noah Van Sciver recently. "Van Sciver’s depiction is sufficiently sympathetic as to make the reader really root for him as he struggles against rival suitors, Mary’s family and his own anxious temperament. …the fact that it’s endearing, engaging and an all-round good read should make it your kind of thing as well," writes Lucy Boyes.
• Plug:Our Man in Boston profiles David Wojnarowicz and 7 Miles a Second. "Artists James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook vividly depict David Wojnarowicz’s life and struggles in a much improved edition…" says Robert Birnbaum.
• Review:Grovel reads Beta Testing the Apocalypse by Tom Kaczynski. "Anyone that likes the exploration of ideas, particularly the relationship between humanity, geography, architecture and technology, might get a kick out of reading something different, especially presented in such an unusual form," writes Andy Shaw.
•Review:MetroPulse checks out the EC Library Comics from Wallace Wood and Harvey Kurtzman. "EC had no fear of getting political, long before comics 'grew up.'…Fantagraphics’ EC Comics Library is a must-own for anyone who considers themselves a serious comics fan."Corpse on the Imjin! is "Thoroughly researched and meticulously detailed, Kurtzman’s stories are grim stuff in an era when most Americans believed their country could do no wrong… Grade-school boys reading these dark tales at the time must have had their minds completely blown." Meanwhile, Wally Wood's Came the Dawn! "The tales here are mostly crowd-pleasers with the sort of twist endings that would later become a Twilight Zone trademark."
• Review:Everything is an Afterthought by Kevin Avery is examined in Caught by the River. Andy Childs says, "it becomes apparent that when the history of rock’n'roll is ever written as it should be then he, Nelson, will take his place as a pivotal and hugely influential figure…Kevin Avery does a masterly job in re-constructing Paul Nelson’s reputation and after the enthusiastic critique in the first half of the book the examples of his work in the second half do not disappoint at all."
The most intricate house sigil of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:The LA Times enjoys their reading of7 Miles a Secondby David Wojnarowicz, James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook. "Part of the power of Wojnarowicz’s work is that he dealt with such concepts accessibly; he didn’t have time to waste. It was the source of his restless imagination, his willingness to experiment with unexpected forms," writes David L. Ulin.
• Plug:NY1 (New York 1) and Don Kois talk about 7 Miles a SecondDavid Wojnarowicz, James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook. "…this graphic novel is an amazing document of the gaudy, dangerous world of clients and johns and artists and thugs downtown in the 1980s."
• Interview: Nick Hanover of Comics Bulletin interviews Tom Kaczynski on Beta Testing the Apocalypse. Kacyznski writes, "All these stories started to feel like they were linked and eventually things like the noise stories and the themes of sound started to kind of inject themselves into the rest of the material…I'm interested in utopias, and utopian societies. And a lot of what Communism is is essentially an attempted utopia that failed. "
• Review:Art Rocker and Wee Claire look at Delphine by Richard Sala. "Delphine is arguably Richard Sala's darkest tale to date and a brilliant gateway for those new to his whimsical storytelling style…There are comparisons to Snow White dotted throughout the story but Sala's indie-goth execution tinged with a 70s horror atmosphere make for a much more interesting tale."
• Review:The Toronto Star reads and reviews our books like Heads or Tails by Lilli Carré. "Carré’s work, fittingly titled Heads or Tails, probes choice, ambivalence and fate; in her stories, there’s a flip side to everything, rendered in full and brilliant colour,"says Laura Kane.
• Review: Noah Bertlatsky on the Hooded Utilitarian looks at the art of Lilli Carré comics from Heads or Tails through the gendered lens of Bart Beaty. "If art is both hyperbolic masculine swagger and small-scale feminized detail, though, for Carré the form that mediates between the two is something that looks a lot like comics."
• Interview (partial): Dan Nadel of The Comics Journal posts part of the interview of Jacqes Tardi by Kim Thompson from TCJ 302.
• Plug: "It's astonishing to me that The Comics Journal will have outlasted Wizard, Hero Illustrated and CBG, but I'm happy for that fact," says former TCJ editor, Tom Spurgeon. TCJ 302 was co-edited by Kristy Valenti and Mike Dean.
• Review:Mort Meskin gets the full hello-how-are-ya when his collections are reviewed, edited by Steven Brower. "Out of the Shadows was such an enjoyable find that when it ended we were hungry for more of Meskin’s work." So Scoop turns to From Shadow to Light, "Meskin is so skilled in portraying body language that he doesn’t need a face to tell us know exactly what someone is thinking…a thorough and very detailed look at a man’s life, his family and the work he valued."
• Plug:Kotaku and Evan Narcisse get teary-eyed over Peanuts Every Sunday by Charles M. Schulz. "The daily black-and-white comics were great but the full-color Sunday strips gave Schulz a big, beautiful canvas to let his expert pacing and amazing linework breathe in a rainbow of color…it's really the entire mix of characters …and their mix of adult prickliness and childlike naiveté that made Charles Schulz's iconic comics strips so timeless."
• Interview:MTV Geek interviews Charles Forsman about The End of the Fucking Worldand life. Forsman answersEddie Wright's question, "I do love sparse cartooning. Like Schulz which I think comes through in mine a bit. I've heard people descibe this stuff as "Peanuts" all grown-up and violent."
• Review:Nerds of a Feather look at Ed Piskor's Hip Hop Family Tree, to be printed later this year. Philippe Duhart gives it a rare 10 out of 10, "…those familiar with the genre can attest, it's difficult to separate the music from other elements of the "culture" -- b-boying, graffiti, lingo, style. Piskor demonstrates an affectionate respect for the interrelations between these phenomenon, telling a story of a culture, rather than a musical genre."
• Review: Anime News Network reviews and givest The Heart of Thomas by Moto Hagio an 'A-'. Rebecca Silverman writes, "The Heart of Thomas may be the grandmother of the boys' love genre, but it would be shortsighted to simply classify it as such…Heartfelt and dreamlike, it is a window into the lives of those affected by the sudden death of one of their own."
• Review:The Toronto Star reads and reviews our books like The Cartoon Utopia by Ron Regé, Jr. The Cartoon Utopia "is visionary, but also unmistakably influenced by ’70s psychedelia… the thrilling, one-of-a-kind art will stretch your imagination and, at the very least, make you believe in the power of comics to explore the impossible," writes Laura Kane.
• Review:The Toronto Star reads and reviews our books like Came the Dawn by Wallace Wood and Corpse on the Imjin! by Harvey Kurtzman. Laura Kane writes, "In dark shadows, bold lines and intense close-ups, [Wallace Wood] perfectly illustrates the stories — which ran the gamut from B-horror to confronting social issues such as racism, anti-Semitism and sexism." As for Corpse on the Imjin!, "In these violent, blood-spattered pages, [Kurtzman] lays bare the devastation of war."
• Review/Commentary: Eddie Campbell on The Comics Journal compares and contrasts recent reviews of the EC Comics being reprinted at Fantagraphics and how critics struggle and feel the need to analyze comics at literature. Distilling the article to a mere quote is abhorrent so we tried but please read it. "If comics are any kind of art at all, it’s the art of ordinary people. With regard to Kurtzman’s war comics, don’t forget that the artists on those books were nearer to the real thing than you and I will ever be."
• Review: Elliot Bay Books reviews No Straight Lines, edited by Justin Hall. Dave Wheeler writes, "Impossible to be even close to a complete collection of the genre, No Straight Lines instead seeks to trace the parallel trajectories toward visibility for both comics and LGBTQ identities…these are the stories of real people, or they are people transfigured by folklore."
• Plug: Greg Akers of the Memphis Flyer enjoyed reading Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 by Jaime Hernandez and Gilbert Hernandez. "Jaime breaks me every time. The conclusion to "The Love Bunglers" is an all-time great. Tears in my eyes, destroyed emotionally."
• Plug: Joost Swarte sings the blues at Angouleme, thanks to Paul Karasik.
• Review:SequArt looks at Black Hole by Charles Burns. Faith Brody Patane point out "…it’s a story that’s meant to be devoured with intent to possibly make you have freaky nightmares. Black Hole is one of those stories that lingers long after you read it…This group of teens is far from Riverdale and far more desperate."