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Category >> Walt Kelly

Daily OCD: 1/16/12
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Zak SallyWalt KellyShimura TakakoRoy CraneRichard SalareviewsPrince ValiantPopeyemangaLove and RocketsJim WoodringJaime HernandezJacques TardiJack DavisinterviewsHal FosterGary GrothGahan WilsonEsther Pearl WatsonEC SegarDrew FriedmanDisneyDavid BDaily OCDCarl BarksCaptain EasyBest of 2011 17 Jan 2012 1:07 AM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Congress of the AnimalsThe HiddenThe Armed Garden and Other Stories

List: Gustavo Guimaraes of Brazilian culture & entertainment site Ambrosia names "The best comics published in the U.S. in 2011 - Alternative and classic," including Congress of the Animals by Jim Woodring (all quotes translated from Portuguese)...

"The world created by Woodring is unique, beautiful and scary. His stories can be incomprehensible at times, but always intriguing and charming."

...The Hidden by Richard Sala...

"Sala's characters look like something out of old horror and mystery movies, and his plots possess a rare levity for narratives of the genre. The colorful art makes the his twisted drawings even more attractive."

...The Armed Garden and Other Stories by David B....

"In The Armed Garden, David B. creates fantastical worlds inhabited by historical characters, mythical and magical. Beautiful art and storylines full of imagination."

...Pogo Vol. 1 by Walt Kelly...

"Walt Kelly was a complete artist, his drawings were graceful, his stories were simple and fun while at the same time provoking the reader with hints of metalanguage and political content. His writing was faceted with the sensibility of a great satirist."

Popeye Vol. 5: Wha's a Jeep?Prince Valiant Vol. 4: 1943-1944Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes

...Popeye Vol. 5 by E.C. Segar...

"Popeye is a revolutionary character and Segar was one of the geniuses who transformed the primitive graphic narratives into the modern comic strip with his insane humor."

...Prince Valiant Vol. 4 by Hal Foster...

"A masterpiece of old adventure comics continues today thanks largely to Foster's fantastic realistic art. Landscapes and epic battles are played to perfection by the author, turning the limited space of each panel into a window to a world where historical characters live with mythological beings. Careful printing in oversize hardcover as well as meticulous reproduction of the beautiful original colors make this collection from Fantagraphics a model for classic comics publishing."

...and Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes by Carl Barks:

"Even if you already have all of Carl Barks' comics of you will want to buy this book. It is the first time that these comics are being reissued with the original colors, digitally restored. This deluxe edition, with hard covers and high-quality paper, includes articles on all the comics collected in the volume."

Pogo Vol. 1

Review: "To say that it has been worth the wait is wild understatement. Pogo Through the Wild Blue Wonder is beautifully produced — no surprise to anyone familiar with the work of Fantagraphics Books in Seattle — and a joy to read. It comes as a genuine gift to anyone who loved Pogo and, it is to be hoped, as an introduction for younger readers to what many people believe was the best comic strip ever drawn in this country." – Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post

Nuts

Review: "Wilson's genuine bravery, as this strip makes clear, is not that he set himself up as a rival to Charles Schulz but rather the directness with which Nuts confronts genuinely painful and baffling topics like sickness, mental illness, and death. When dealing with master artists, any ranking becomes absurd because each creator is memorable by the individual mark he or she leaves. So let’s leave Peanuts comparisons aside and say that Nuts is one of the major American comic strips and we’re lucky to have the complete run in this handsome, compact volume." – Jeet Heer, The Comics Journal

Review: "Jacques Tardi’s interpretation of Jean-Patrick Manchette’s book [Like a Sniper Lining Up His Shot] is an intense and shocking thriller.... Dark, brutal and uterly compelling, classic thriller fans should lap this up. Put a few hours aside before picking it up though, because you won’t want to put it down and it’s a feast worth savouring." – Grovel

Captain Easy, Soldier of Fortune: The Complete Sunday Newspaper Strips Vol. 1 (1933-1935)

Review: "I gave Roy Crane’s Captain Easy, Solder Of Fortune: The Complete Sunday Newspaper Strips Volume 1 1933-1935 a good thumbing many, many times before picking it up. The artwork was too simple, the stories silly. One day in my local comic shop with nothing new to read I picked it up. What I failed to comprehend as I stood in the comic shop flipping pages in this book is that Crane chose the elements of his strip carefully, especially those I dismissed it for. Simple character design, bright colours, fictional locations and action with a sense of humour. After finishing the volume I applaud his choices." – Scott VanderPloeg, Comic Book Daily

Wandering Son Vol. 2

Review (Audio): On the Manga Out Loud podcast, hosts Johanna Draper Carlson and Ed Sizemore discuss Wandering Son Vol. 2 by Shimura Takako

Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture - A Career Retrospective

Interview (Audio): The Comics Journal presents a recording of the Jack Davis interview conducted by Gary Groth and Drew Friedman at last month's Brooklyn Comics & Graphics Festival (posted here after a slight delay due to technical audio issues)

Unlovable: The Complete Collection Box Set

Interview: Culture Brats has "Seven Questions in Heaven" with Esther Pearl Watson: "Even though now I have a huge collection of mini-comics, I try not to look at other comic artists as influences. They draw too nice, or have their thing down. Comic storytelling styles can be as individual as fingerprints. We spend years creating our own narrative language. Instead I look at naive drawing and self-taught artists to de-skill."

Love and Rockets: New Stories #4

Conflict of Interest: Our own Larry Reid names Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 one of his favorite comics of 2011 in a guest column at Graphic Eye: "The conclusion of Jaime’s poignant 'Love Bunglers' story alone made this book essential reading in 2011. Almost unfathomably, Love & Rockets keeps getting better with age."

Zak Sally author photo, 2009

Commentary: Robot 6 finds out what Zak Sally has been reading lately

Daily OCD: 1/10/12
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Walt KellyShimura TakakoRichard SalareviewsOlivier SchrauwenMickey MouseMartimangaLove and RocketsJaime HernandezGahan WilsonFloyd GottfredsonFantagraphics historyDisneyDaily OCDCarl BarksBest of 2011 10 Jan 2012 6:44 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Love and Rockets: New Stories #4The Man Who Grew His Beard

List: Publishers Weekly announces the results of their 2011 Comics World Critics Poll, with these titles garnering 2 votes each...

"Love and Rockets: New Stories Vol. 4, Gilbert Hernandez and Jaime Hernandez: Jaime Hernandez tops his 30 years of peerless storytelling with the conclusion to 'The Love Bunglers' in which two characters we’ve watched stumble through life make a final lurch — that may bring happiness or doom. Heartbreaking yet without a trace of manipulation." – Heidi MacDonald

"The Man Who Grew His Beard, Olivier Schrauwen: This graphic novel is exceptionally inventive, with each story being so very different from the one before." – Glen Downey

...and the following books receiving an Honorable Mention with one vote each:

Nuts, Gahan Wilson
The Cabbie Vol. 1, Martí
Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse: Race to Death Valley, Floyd Gottfredson

Wandering Son Vol. 2

Review: "As [Wandering Son] volume 2 closes, the idyllic childhood Shuichi and Nitori have shared thus far, surrounded by exceptionally supportive family and friends, is showing signs of being breached by thoughtless outsiders.... In the insightful, not-to-be-skipped final essay, 'Transgendered in Japan,' translator (and manga scholar) Matt Thorn writes, 'Shuichi and Yoshino are coming of age, not in an idealized fantasy world, but in a contemporary Japan that poses unique challenges to children such as these.' Indeed, to quote a popular film, 'reality bites,' but in creator Shimura Takako's sensitive world, Shuichi and Nitori have better than a fighting chance at becoming strong, confident adults." – Terry Hong, BookDragon (Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program)

The Hidden

Review: "In spite of its depressive mood (you know, with it being about the end of the world and such), The Hidden exemplifies the effectiveness of Sala's application of a 'less is more' visual style to broad, complex stories.... I can't recommend Sala's books enough, and The Hidden is one of his best works to date. Be sure to pick up a copy if you're looking for something more than global plagues and cannibalistic zombies in your world-ending entertainment." – Tim Mitchell, Titans Terrors & Toys

Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the AndesPogo Vol. 1Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1-2 box set

List/Plugs: Andy Mansell of Heroes Aren't Hard to Find names a handful of "creme de la creme," "must-have" classic comic strip collections from 2011: "Do yourself a favor – next time you are in the store take a few moments and pick up a copy of Lost in the Andes or Pogo, either Mickey Mouse collection, ...[and] flip through it. Read a few strips.... These are rich, beautiful books and they deserve to be read by everyone."

Plug: The A.V. Club's Oliver Sava provides a guide to "What makes a good all-ages comic," saying "Animation-inspired art remains the most popular choice for an all-ages series... Carl Barks’ work with Disney’s duck characters is the pinnacle of this school: Barks’ experience as a Disney animator honed his talent for creating sprawling environments and distinct characters that are instantly charming and incredibly rich. Fantagraphics just published its first hardcover collection of Barks’ classic stories, Donald Duck: Lost In The Andes, a beautiful package collecting some of Barks’ most memorable duck tales."

Love and Rockets

Links: Love & Maggie compiles another round of Love and Rockets-related links from around the web

Fantagraphics Books logo - shield emblem by Daniel Clowes

History: Read Sean T. Collins’s profile of Fantagraphics, originally published in Wizard a few years ago

Daily OCD: 1/6/12
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Walt KellySteven BrowerShimura TakakoRichard SalareviewsPirus and MezzoOlivier SchrauwenmangaJohnny RyanDaily OCDBest of 2011 6 Jan 2012 5:26 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

King of the Flies Vol. 2: The Origin of the WorldThe Man Who Grew His Beard

List: Robot 6's Chris Mautner lists "The Six Most Criminally Ignored Books of 2011," including King of the Flies Vol. 2: The Origin of the World by Mezzo & Pirus...

"...[T]his dark, disjointed story about an assortment of misfit suburban characters plagued by bad luck and their own poor choices is a compelling, bitterly funny read... Despite its obvious influences King never feels like a pale imitation, especially in the second volume, where the ante is upped considerably, both on an aesthetic and narrative level."

...and The Man Who Grew His Beard by Olivier Schrauwen:

"Color Engineering author Yuichi Yokoyama got all the attention this year, but to my eyes Schrauwen is just as innovative and wholly original a cartoonist as Yokoyama. The main difference between the two is that where Yokoyama is focused on expressing motion, machinery and discovery, Schrauwen prefers to explore differences in perception, especially between reality and that of the imagination.... Incredibly inventive and at times darkly funny, Beard is the work of a master cartoonist worth more attention."

Pogo Vol. 1Prison Pit Book 3

List: Patrick Markfort & Dave Ferraro discuss their favorites of 2011 on the Comics-and-More video podcast, with Patrick picking Pogo: The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips Vol. 1 – Through the Wild Blue Wonder as his Favorite Archival Comic Collection and Prison Pit Book 3 by Johnny Ryan as his Favorite Graphic Novel — see muti-part video at the link

The Hidden

List: Carol Borden of The Cultural Gutter names The Hidden by Richard Sala as one of "10 Comics I Liked in 2011": "The world is ending in madness and blood, as a bearded man flees to the countryside. But what does he know about the end and why is it mostly nubile young women who are being killed? Another tale of mayhem, mystery and mad science from Richard Sala."

Wandering Son Vol. 2

Review: "This volume [of Wandering Son] is absolutely wonderful. It has an overall very gentle feel to it, but it’s punctuated by moments of cruelty and sadness.... It’s a rare thing to get such simple realism in a manga, and Takako handles it exquisitely.... This series can be really harsh at times, but there are some great heartwarming moments, as well. That’s what makes it great." – Kristin Bomba, ComicAttack.net

Out of the Shadows

Bookmark: Steven Brower (author of From Shadow to Light: The Life and Art of Mort Meskin and editor of the upcoming Meskin collection Out of the Shadows) has a new blog for his writings, appropriately titled Steven Brower Writings

Daily OCD: 1/3/12
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Willie and JoeWalt KellyTrina RobbinsreviewsPopeyePeter BaggeOlivier SchrauwenNoah Van SciverMickey MouseMichael KuppermanMichael J VassalloMartiLove and RocketsLos Bros HernandezKevin HuizengaJoyce FarmerJohnny RyanJim WoodringJasonJaime HernandezGilbert HernandezFloyd GottfredsonEC SegarDisneyDavid BDave McKeanDaily OCDCharles BurnsCarl BarksBlake BellBill MauldinBest of 2011 4 Jan 2012 2:43 AM

The first Online Commentary & Diversions post of the year might very well end up being the longest:

Love and Rockets

List: Humorist and television personality John Hodgman, asked to name his 5 favorite comics in an open Q&A session on his Tumblr blog, says "Love and Rockets: I don’t like to choose between brothers, but Jaime Hernandez is one of the greatest drawers of human faces and human want on the planet."

Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge: Only a Poor Old Man by Carl Barks

List: Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge: Only a Poor Old Man by Carl Barks is #39 on The A.V. Club 's list of "most anticipated entertainments of 2012": "Only a Poor Old Man will bring Scrooge McDuck, possibly Barks’ greatest creation, into the spotlight. The bespectacled miser will dive around in his money bin and burrow through it like a gopher, and his timeless adventures will get the treatment they deserve."

Love and Rockets: New Stories #4Ganges #4Prison Pit Book 3

List: Tucker Stone, whose Best of 2011 previously appeared at comiXology, presents a slightly modified list for Flavorwire's "10 of the Year's Most Buzzed-About Comic Releases":

"Last year’s Love and Rockets was a huge deal, but this year’s installment is arguably even better.... Comics has yet to provide Love and Rockets with anything approximating 'competition,' but it doesn’t appear that the Hernandez brothers have any reason to be concerned about that quite yet. They’re still way better at this than everybody else on the planet."

"The big thing this year was watching all the great young cartoonists of the early 2000s carving out their places in the pantheon. Huizenga’s a perfect example — he’s been regularly turning out excellent comics for years now, and yet Ganges #4 still reads like a revelation.... It’s a fascinating experience reading these comics, and they’re gorgeous to boot."

"The continuing adventures of Johnny Ryan’s most violent fantasies run amuck, [Prison Pit] is rapidly becoming the comic that I look forward to the way a fat kid looks forward to syrup-encrusted cake. There’s no getting around the hoary old cliche — 'these aren’t for everybody' — so God help you if you can’t figure out a way to enjoy these books."

Congress of the AnimalsThe Armed Garden and Other StoriesLove from the Shadows

List: The prolific Sean T. Collins, after having contributed to CBR's Top 100, runs down his personal 20 Best Comics of 2011 on his Attentiondeficitdisorderly blog AND at Robot 6, with Ganges #4 by Kevin Huizenga at #15...

"Huizenga wrings a second great book out of his everyman character’s insomnia. It’s quite simple how, really: He makes comics about things you’d never thought comics could be about, by doing things you never thought comics could do to show you them. Best of all, there’s still the sense that his best work is ahead of him, waiting like dawn in the distance."

...Congress of the Animals by Jim Woodring at #14...

"...[T]he payoff... feels like a weight has been lifted from Woodring’s strange world, while the route he takes to get there is illustrated so beautifully it’s almost superhuman. It’s the happy ending he’s spent most of his career earning."

...The Armed Garden and Other Stories by David B. at #11...

"Religious fundamentalism... has worn a thousand faces in a millennia-long carnevale procession of war and weirdness, and David B. paints portraits of three of its masks with bloody brilliance. Focusing on long-forgotten heresies and treating the most outlandish legends about them as fact, B.’s high-contrast linework sets them all alight with their own incandescent madness."

...Love from the Shadows by Gilbert Hernandez at #4...

"I picture Gilbert Hernandez approaching his drawing board these days like Lawrence of Arabia approaching a Turkish convoy: 'NO PRISONERS! NO PRISONERS!' In a year suffused with comics funneling pitch-black darkness through a combination of sex and horror, none were blacker, sexier, or more horrific than this gender-bending exploitation flick from Beto's 'Fritz-verse.'"

...and Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 by Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez at #1:

"...[L]et's add to the chorus praising Jaime's 'The Love Bunglers' as one of the greatest comics of all time, the point to which one of the greatest comics series of all time has been hurtling toward for thirty years.... You can count the number of cartoonists able to wed style to substance, form to function, this seamlessly on one hand with fingers to spare. A masterpiece."

Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1: Race to Death ValleyThe Cabbie Vol. 1The Man Who Grew His Beard

List: In the same Robot 6 piece, Chris Mautner lists his favorites top to bottom, leading off with Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 by the Hernandez brothers at #1...

"The hype and acclaim surrounding Xaime Hernandez’s conclusion to his 'Love Bunglers' saga has been overwhelming, and every ounce of it is deserved. This is simply a phenomenal achievement in comics. A moving, thoughtful story of missed opportunities, loss and eventual reconciliation that provides in many ways a fitting conclusion to all of Xaime’s 'Locas' stories. I’d be hard pressed to think of a better comic that came out this year."

...Congress of the Animals by Jim Woodring at #4...

"It takes a bit of daring to be willing to alter the status quo in a respected body of work and considerable talent to be able to do so in as assured manner as Woodring does here."

...Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1: Race to Death Valley by Floyd Gottfredson at #10...

"More than the new Carl Barks collection, more than the return of Pogo, the resurrected, re-appreciated comic strip I found myself falling in love the most with this year was Gottfredson’s plunky, adventure-loving mouse, a scrappier version of Disney’s iconic creation. More to the point, I was completely taken with the stunning packaging and background information Fantagraphics and the books editor put together for this series. It’s new benchmark for reprint projects."

...Ganges #4 by Kevin Huizenga at #14...

"The arrival of a new issue of Ganges is always a treat and this one, a continuation of lead character Glenn Ganges’ ever-failing attempts to get a decent night’s rest, is no exception."

...Prison Pit Book 3 by Johnny Ryan at #15...

"Three volumes into this grand guginol series and it continues to surprise and delight, this time introducing a new character and suggesting via an end sequence that Ryan has been reading a lot of Fort Thunder comics."

...Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes by Carl Barks at #16...

"Do I really have to explain at this point why Carl Barks matters or how nice it is to finally see an affordable book-length collection of his work? Can’t wait for volume 2."

...The Cabbie Vol. 1 by Marti at #17...

"In his interview with Tom Spurgeon, publisher Kim Thompson described this as 'Dick Tracy on crank' that’s about as good a description of this fever-pitched crime noir tale as I can come up with."

...and The Man Who Grew His Beard by Oliver Schrauwen at #18:

"Incredibly inventive, Schrauwen, like Yokoyama, seems intent on pushing the comics medium into new and interesting directions. But where Yokoyama is concerned mainly with motion and exploration, Schrauwen is concerned mainly with perception and the interior world of the mind. This is great, mind-blowing work."

List: More Robot 6 listmaking from Matt Seneca, who has Ganges #4 by Kevin Huizenga and Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 tied for 10th place

Pogo Vol. 1

List: Also on Robot 6's roundup of best-of lists from its writers, Tim O'Shea ranks Pogo Vol. 1 at #9: "Damn if this was not worth the wait... Volume 1 of the complete syndicated daily strips of Pogo would be enough to put this book on my list. But the fact that Fantagraphics has a foreword by Jimmy Breslin; an introduction by Steve Thompson; a piece on the Pogo Sunday Funnies by Mark Evanier; and Swamp Talk (R.H. Harvey annotations on the strips) is just icing on the cake."

Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the AndesWalt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 2: Trapped on Treasure Island

List: Praise for designer Jacob Covey as Robot 6's Kevin Melrose names the 50 Best Covers of 2011 including Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes and Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 2: Trapped on Treasure Island

List: Here's Frank Santoro at The Comics Journal with a year-end favorites list that includes Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 and Ganges #4 and Love from the Shadows

Celluloid

List: David McKean's Celluloid gets a "See Also" shout-out on Cyriaque Lamar's list of The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Comics of 2011 at io9: "A decidedly adult erotica graphic novel with no dialogue, this is the famed Sandman cover artist going at page after page of a sexy hallucination, whipped up by a magic porno movie projector. Dreamscapes with boners."

List: Comics Journal contributor and Fantagraphics pal Gavin Lees names his Top Comics of 2011 on his own Graphic Eye site, including Love and Rockets: New Stories #4...

"After 'Browntown' in last year’s installment of New Stories, there was a worry that Jaime might have peaked — how on earth was he going to top that story? The achingly beautiful conclusion to 'The Love Bunglers' in this volume was the answer. Pulling together strands from Maggie’s entire 30-year history in two pages was nothing short of stunning, with his art as cooly confident as ever, making it a real emotional sucker punch. Gilbert’s work developing Fritz’s movie back-catalogue is a real mind-bender, too, weaving inter- and meta-textual strands together that lets his characters say so much, while saying so little. It is terrifying how talented these guys are."

... and Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1: Race to Death Valley by Floyd Gottfredson:

"Forget Pogo and Carl Barks — we already knew they were classics — the real reprint revelation of 2011 was good ole' Mickey Mouse.... To read these strips is to rediscover a love for Mickey and marvel at Gottfredson's amazing grasp of storytelling and humour, as well as his flawless artwork. Naturally, with Fantagraphics overseeing the reprints, the design, packaging and presentation is gorgeous — a real worthy successor to their Peanuts series."

Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes

List: Noah Van Sciver lists his top five favorite comics of 2011 in a comic for the Atomic Books blog, with Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes his second choice: "Being a big Robert Crumb fan, I took great pleasure in reading the stories that the young Crumb was so influenced by."

Review: At The Hooded Utilitarian Domingos Isabelinho casts a detailed critical eye on Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes by Carl Barks

Plug: "I’m a little mortified to admit that Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes is my first exposure to Carl Barks (after decades of being interested in finally seeing why he’s so revered as a comic creator), but it definitely won’t be my last. Fantagraphics’ first volume of Barks material is a great place to start; a mixture of epic quests, short stories, and gag strips that are all impressively funny and awesome." – Greg McElhatton, Robot 6

Special Exits

List: On his Domino Books blog, Austin English explains why Joyce Farmer's Special Exits is his favorite comic of 2011: "Farmer's cartooning allows for her characters to act out their illness and struggles in front of the reader. Farmer's drawing of her aging father is something to behold — it's not Farmer saying 'here is what my sick father went through.' Instead we see a drawing age and wither in front of us, and speak to us with both intelligence and dementia. I’ve never seen anything in comics done with such skill — let alone see a graphic novel (often the territory of poorly conceived topical heart wrenchers) speak about tragedy with so much depth and clarity."

List: Comics writer Vito Delsante declares Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 the Best Single Issue of 2011 on his Best of 2011 blog post: "The Hernandez Brothers, since New Stories 3, have really created the most important mythology in comics since Stan and Jack (and Steve).... Jaime Hernandez should win every single award in comics in 2012."

List: iFanboy's Ron Richards names Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 the Best Original Gaphic Novel of 2011: "See my Book of the Month review for my reasons."

Popeye Vol. 5:

List: On his blog The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent., Andrew Wheeler chooses Popeye Vol. 5: "Wha's a Jeep?" by E.C. Segar as one of his top 12 Favorite Books of 2011

List: We rank 4 entries on Renee Lott's Top 10 Comics of 2011 at her Blogwithfeet

Jason Conquers America

Review: "I've been digging the new Fantagraphics release Jason Conquers America which commemorates ten years of the venerable publisher's relationship with the Norewegian artist.... My favorite story in the collection revolves around a crow who naps in a bed in a field and wakes up obliviously in an entirely new life. (Telling any more would spoil the revelation.) In 23 short wordless panels, Jason creates a powerful and compelling commentary that proves how powerfully expressive comics can be." – Stray Riffs

Tales Designed to Thrizzle #7

Review: "A new comic from the top humorist in comics is always welcome. This issue [of Tales Designed to Thrizzle] is the usual combination of dada and surprisingly tightly-wrapped narrative gags surrounding the sort of cultural detritus mined by Drew Friedman & Mark Newgarden.... 'Quincy, M.E.'... is one of Kupperman's best strips because he keeps adding new layers of plot to an already-ridiculous story.... I still miss the sheer density of detail in Kupperman's older work that made reading it almost exhausting, but the avalanche of ideas remains intact, as does his ability to elicit laughs." – Rob Clough, High-Low

Prison Pit

Review: "...Prison Pit... [is] a marriage of pro wrestling, manga, bromance and filth.... Johnny Ryan has an almost Kirbyesque level of character design, but with obviously more genitalia, and it can at times be a joy just to see what is going to come on the next page.... Johnny Ryan is a cartoonist at the top of his game right now and he may just be the closest thing the comic world has to marmite." – Taylor Pithers, The Weekly Crisis

Willie & Joe: Back Home

Interview: The Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon talks with Todd DePastino, biographer of Bill Mauldin and editor of our Willie & Joe books. Spurgeon says Willie & Joe: Back Home is "one of my three favorite comics-related books from 2011, and, I think, one of the year's best." From DePastino: "When I look at these cartoons, I think of literary critic Dominic LaCapra's claim that some books are good to think about and a very few are good to think with. Mauldin's postwar cartoons are good to think with. They not only provide a window to the times, like, say, good photographs or reporting might, but they also raise fundamental questions and issues that are with us still."

Review: "These comics are beautiful. Each single-panel comic is blown up to a full page, so that Mauldin’s artistry can truly (and easily) be admired without squinting. The sentiments expressed are astonishing and bravely progressive for the time.... I’d never thought or heard about the poor reception combat vets received after WWII. (I mistakenly thought that only happened to our soldiers after the Vietnam War.) I wish I knew what they experienced. I’ll settle for giving [Willie & Joe: Back Home] to the next WWII vet I meet and hope that it sparks a conversation." – Gene Ambaum, The Unshelved Book Club

Palomar: The Heartbreak Soup Stories [Sold Out]

Discussion (Audio): Hosts of the Deconstructing Comics podcast Tim and Kumar and special guest Tom Spurgeon examine the work of Gilbert Hernandez

Elysian Nibiru label - Charles Burns

Plug: Alex Carr of Amazon.com's Omnivoracious blog takes note of our "12 Beers of the Apocalypse" collaboration with Elysian Brewing, featuring the artwork of Charles Burns

The Secret History of Marvel Comics - preliminary cover art

Behind the Scenes: Co-author Blake Bell gives you another behind-the-scenes look at The Secret History of Marvel Comics

Trina Robbins at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, October 8, 2011

Coming Attractions?: The wonderful Trina Robbins reveals not one but THREE possible projects she's talking with us about at The Beat as part of their year-end creators' survey

Peter Bagge

Curmudgeonliness: Peter Bagge also participates in The Beat's year-end creators' survey: "Does 'paying my bills' count as a guilty pleasure?" Classic Pete.

Daily OCD: 12/29/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Willie and JoeWalt KellyTony MillionaireShimura TakakoRichard SalareviewsMickey MouseMichael KuppermanMark KalesnikomangaLove and RocketsKevin HuizengaJoyce FarmerJaime HernandezJacques TardiJack DavisGilbert HernandezFloyd GottfredsonDisneyDaily OCDCarl BarksBill MauldinBest of 2011 29 Dec 2011 8:17 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Love and Rockets: New Stories #4

List: Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 is ComicsAlliance's Best Comic of 2011, with Jason Michelitch saying "The final 15 pages of 'The Love Bunglers' isn't just the end of a great new issue of a Bros. Hernanadez comic book. It isn't just the sixth part of a fantastic serialized graphic novel that's run since last year. It is the culmination of nearly thirty years worth of nuance, gesture, shading, pacing and dialogue — of angst, mania, fear, friendship, anger, and love. It is the finale to an epic of human scale feeling and drama. It is heart-stopping."

List: Matthew Price of The Oklahoman names Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 the Best Graphic Novel of 2011: "The Brothers Hernandez are some of the best cartoonists in comics' history, and Jamie Hernandez has one of the high points of his career in Vol. 4 of 'New Stories.'... Gilbert's visceral tale satirizes a societal obsession with vampires by showing their messy, unforgiving side."

FreewaySpecial Exits

List: The A.V. Club's Noel Murray names The Best Comics of 2011: Graphic Novels & Art Comics in several subcategories. In Original Graphic Novels Mark Kalesniko's Freeway comes in at #4...

"Kalesniko’s animation-influenced style makes Freeway a fluid read, as he emphasizes motion, in striking compositions that guide the eye across the page smoothly. The plot moves just as freely, as Kalesniko renders both the exterior and interior spaces of his protagonist with a mix of loving care and impassioned disgust."

...and Joyce Farmer's Special Exits is at #5...

"Farmer jumps between matter-of-fact details and amusing anecdotes about the grind of end-of-life care, while turning the book into a celebration of two people: her father, a cheerful man so determined not to complain that he let serious health problems slide for months; and her stepmother, a steadfast woman whose pragmatism warred with her vanity. The book depicts old age as a wild, lurching ride: from medical crises to euphoric nostalgia to an eerie calm as the end draws near."

Love and Rockets: New Stories #4Ganges #4

...the Top Three New Issues includes Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 at #1...

"Anyone who’s alive in the world should be moved by this story’s depiction of life as a series of accidents, miscommunications, and embarrassments, which sometimes work out okay regardless. 'The Love Bunglers' is rich with hidden meanings, complicated ideas and superior artistry."

...and Kevin Huizenga's Ganges #4 in the #2 spot...

"The fourth issue of Kevin Huizenga’s Ganges continues the artist’s increasingly masterful hybrid of direct storytelling and experimental abstraction... The story suits Huizenga’s style, because he can both document the familiar minutiae of daily life and the sense of unreality that takes hold whenever someone is up half the night. Huizenga works in visual motifs of endlessly branching possibilities and spiraling shapes, showing how becoming 'lost in thought' can be terrifying."

Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the AndesPogo Vol. 1Willie & Joe: Back Home

...and the Top Five Archival Collections are topped by Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes by Carl Barks...

"...Lost in the Andes encourages both fannish and intellectual approaches to the material. There are scholarly analyses and bibliographies, but also more than 200 pages of some of the best-written comics ever published, full of square eggs, rubber bricks, golden Christmas trees, and races around the world."

...with Pogo: The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips Vol. 1 - Through the Wild Blue Wonder by Walt Kelly in the 2nd spot...

"The early Pogos aren’t as topical as what would come later, when Kelly would become a hero to the counterculture for taking on McCarthyism and promoting ecology. Mostly, these strips establish the world of the Okefenokee Swamp and the animals who dwell there, with Pogo the possum standing as the calm center of a cast that includes the dim Albert Alligator, the not-as-bright-as-he-thinks Howland Owl and the misanthropic, hilariously humorless Porkypine."

...and Bill Mauldin's Willie & Joe: Back Home at #3:

"The cartoons in Willie & Joe: Back Home capture Mauldin at a low ebb personally, but ferociously inspired professionally. Over the objections of his editors, Mauldin drew cartoons about estranged wives, limited employment opportunities, heartless fatcats, and an America more petty, materialistic, and xenophobic than the one they’d left behind... Today they’re a blistering reminder that life after WWII wasn’t all suburban bliss and baby boom."

Pogo Vol. 1Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1-2 box set

List: On the Westfield Comics Blog Roger Ash names his Best of 2011, with his Top 5 Books/Collections including Pogo: The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips Vol. 1 - Through the Wild Blue Wonder by Walt Kelly ranked at #3...

"This is not a book to be read quickly, but slowly and savored. Pogo is widely regarded as one of the greatest comic strips ever and this first volume amply shows why."

...and Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse by Floyd Gottfredson at #2:

"The highlight of the volumes are the strips themselves which are a lot of fun and show an adventurous side to Mickey that may come as a surprise to those who only know the modern Mickey. It’s also fun watching Gottfredson develop as an artist and storyteller as the strips progress. In addition to the comics there are essays examining the stories, the creators involved (the comics were often inked and scripted by others), and the characters themselves. This series is a long overdue look at one of comics legendary creators and their work."

Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture - A Career RetrospectiveTales Designed to Thrizzle #7

Reviews: VICE's Nick Gazin looks at Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture...

"...[T]his book is so great and contains all the things you would want from a career retrospective from Jack Davis. Jack Davis is one of America's great illustrators whose career started in the late 1930s and continues to this day. That's fucking insane to think about.... Like I said, this book delivers the goods in a big way. It's 13 inches tall so you can really sink your eyeballs' teeth into the images."

...and Tales Designed to Thrizzle #7 by Michael Kupperman:

"This issue of Tales Designed to Thrizzle starts out with stories based around the idea that bathtubs are evil or haunted, possibly based on childhood fears of getting sucked down the drain or something. Doesn't matter, it's hilarious even if it's based in absurdity. After that there are comics with funny dialogue about Quincy and St. Peter and Reservior Dogs II that all keep referencing back to the previous comics and have a dreamy feel, but if your dreams were hilarious.... A bunch of stuff is thrown your way in this issue and when it's over you think, 'I liked that. I feel satisfied. Mmm-MM!'"

Wandering Son Vol. 1

Review: "[Wandering Son] has a very well-thought, carefully paced narrative that allows us to explore what goes on inside each character’s head and to watch them develop as people. It’s much more a quiet slice of life affair than it is an over-the-top comedy and/or drama, which might be something you’d expect from a manga featuring cross-dressing... [T]his hardcover book... represents a sophisticated side of literary manga. Translated with rare skill and sensitivity by veteran translator and comics scholar Matt Thorn, much of the story’s original flavour remains intact. Shimura Takako’s gender-bending story has a very quiet, introspective touch to it, and her artwork – with its clean lines, minimal backgrounds and sparse dialogue – beautifully reflects this." – Sean A. Noordin, The Star (Malaysia)

Pogo Vol. 1

Review (Video): Dave Ferraro & Patrick Markfort of the Comics-and-More Podcast look at Pogo: The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips Vol. 1 - Through the Wild Blue Wonder by Walt Kelly (two-part video at the link)

 The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec Vol. 1

Review: "Fantagraphics here in the states once again has begun to unearth [Tardi's] body of work into the North American light, the first volume of The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec being another fine edition produced in the best quality possible.... Does it sound a little crazy, imaginative, and probably addicting to read? Yes, yes it is. Which is why you need to read this series." – Drew McCabe, Comic Attack

Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture - A Career Retrospective500 Portraits

Plugs: Librairie Drawn & Quarterly's 211 Bernard blog spotlights Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture and Tony Millionaire's 500 Portraits

The Hidden

Plug: "You can’t start the new year without the end of times. Sala’s new book [The Hidden] features his recognizable palette and quirky, gothic font in an adult tale... The post-apocalyptic tale starts with a man waking up to find that everything has gone wrong; sorta a Rip Van Screwed. Great for those who enjoy zombie movies and dystopian books like 1984 or The Hunger Games." – Jen Vaughn, CCS Schulz Library Blog

Portraits

Plug: Publishers Weekly spotlights our upcoming Tony Millionaire book signing and art show opening in their Comics Events listings

Swamp Talk
Written by Larry Reid | Filed under Walt KellyOriginal ArtFantagraphics Bookstoreart shows 29 Dec 2011 2:52 PM

This is the last week to view the sensational exhibition "Playing Possum: The Pogo Art of Walt Kelly" at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery. The critical and popular response to this show has been nothing short of phenomenal. The exhibition will be on view through next Wednesday, January 4. We'll be open every day 11:30 to 8:00 PM except Sunday, January 1, when we'll be closed for New Years Day. 

Kelly's historic strips are being offered for sale at remarkably affordable prices. Several of these wonderful works remain available. If you can't make it to the space, feel free to call Fantagraphics curator Larry Reid at the bookstore at 206.658.0110 for more information. (Download the price list in PDF format.)

Pogo Price List page 1

Pogo Price List page 2

Pogo Price List page 3

Pogo Price List page 4

Daily OCD: 12/28/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Wilfred SantiagoWalt KellyTony MillionaireRichard SalareviewsRaymond MacherotMickey MouseMichael KuppermanMaurice TillieuxLove and RocketsLos Bros HernandezKevin HuizengaJoost SwarteJim WoodringJacques TardiFloyd GottfredsonFantagraphics BookstoreDrew FriedmanDisneyDaily OCDBlake BellBill EverettBest of 201121 28 Dec 2011 7:59 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Mark Twain's Autobiography 1910-2010

List: The National Post's David Berry names The Best Graphic Novels of 2011, saying of his #3 choice "This does feel somewhat like cheating, since there’s only a few sequences of proper graphic work here, but why quibble about format: Mark Twain’s Autobiography 1910-2010 is, quite simply, one of the funniest things you’ll read in any genre. Kupperman has a child’s free-ranging imagination and an aging intellectual’s dry wit... This supposed telling of Mark Twain’s 20th-century life... would be an awe-inspiring work of imagination if it wasn’t so absurdly hilarious. Somewhere between John Hodgman and Graham Roumieu, Kupperman has found stark comic brilliance."

Ganges #4

List: Comic Book Resources continues their Top 100 comics of 2011 countdown, with Ganges #4 by Kevin Huizenga coming in at #48 and Brian Cronin calling it "mind-boggling" and "remarkable. Absolute top notch sequential work."

Love and Rockets

List: Comic Book Resources columnist Sonia Harris lists "My Top 10 Comics (for ANY Year)" with Love and Rockets taking the #2 spot: "Read Love & Rockets, all of them, both brothers, everything you can find. Your life will be richer."

The Arctic MarauderSibyl-Anne Vs. RatticusGil Jordan, Private Detective: Murder by High Tide

List: Bookgasm's J.T. Lindroos, running down the Best Euro Comics as part of the Best Books of 2011, writes "Fantagraphics continued its Jacques Tardi lineup, and I was particularly delighted by the proto-steampunk The Arctic Marauder, although I think one should own every single book in the series. I was also happy to see some less well-known artists get their chance, and both Sibyl-Anne Vs. Ratticus by R. Macherot and Murder by High Tide by Maurice Tilleux were wonderful surprises in the classic Franco-Belgian 'bigfoot' style. Fantagraphics is quickly becoming the Criterion Collection of comics publishing."

Congress of the Animals

List: Richmond VA comic shop Velocity Comics counts down their top ten Best Graphic Novels 2011, with Jim Woodring's Congress of the Animals at #9: "There are few artists’ work I can endlessly stare at with as much feverish perplexitude as Jim Woodring’s. Yes, I just made that word up."

Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1-2 box set

List: Vancouver BC culture site The Snipe surveys local comics industry folks for their favorite comics of the year. The Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse series by Floyd Gottfredson is named Best Collected Edition or Reprint by cartoonist Steve LeCouiliard...

"Floyd Gottfredson is one of the overlooked masters of the comic strip. Like Carl Barks, his work was always signed 'Walt Disney' but his craft and storytelling brilliance shone through. Comic strips really don’t provide much more pure joy than Gottfredson’s Mickey Mouse."

...and by VanCAF organizer Shannon Campbell...

"The two-volume collection of Floyd Gottfredson’s run of Mickey Mouse, hands down! These books chronicle the glory days of the old-school Mickey Mouse comics when Gottfredson did both art and story (from 1930-1934)."

...while the staff of Lucky's Comics can't pick just one:

"This has been a boon year reprint editions, but take your pick from Fantagraphics Books’ amazing editions of Pogo by Walt Kelly, Donald Duck by Carl Barks, Mickey Mouse by Floyd Gottfredson, and Prince Valiant by Hal Foster. Fantagraphics has done such an incredible job on book designs, colors, paper… all of the details that make these editions glow."

Love and Rockets: New Stories #421: The Story of Roberto ClementeThe Hidden

List: On his Four Colours & the Truth blog Tim Reinert picks his top 20 Best Original Graphic Novels of 2011, with Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 at #17...

"Love & Rockets. Three little words, but for those of us who love independent comic books, they mean so much.... As usual with L&R, the stories are sweet, sad, sexy, humorous, and above all, fun."

...21: The Story Of Roberto Clemente by Wilfred Santiago at #13...

"It’s not just the subject matter that’s a winner here. Santiago has a knack for simplicity in his storytelling approach, and in a medium that’s often beset by needless complexity, that’s a rare gift."

...and The Hidden by Richard Sala at #6:

"...[P]robably the best pure horror comic I read this year... and one that quite frankly shocked the hell out of me. Sala’s expressionist art style might not be the most obvious choice for telling blood-curdling horror stories, but its innocent cartoony quality somehow makes a perfect (and terrible) fit with the horrible, almost nihilistic story that Sala is telling."

Is That All There Is?

Review: "Swarte’s visuals are always gorgeous and distinctive, with a strong influence from Hergé but an even more rigidly mapped out structure. The more you look at them, especially the large ones, the more you see, as in a one-panel, one-pager that lays out a parodic vision of comics production as if it resulted from a Roger Corman-esque movie studio. His eye is careful and his line even more so. ...[Is That All There Is?] is a real pleasure to read and to look at, and it makes a case for Swarte as a real comics guy, not just an illustrator." – Hillary Brown, Paste

Pogo Vol. 1

Profile: At City Journal, an essay by Stefan Kanfer with a history of Walt Kelly and Pogo: "He frequently quoted a line that he had written for Porky Pine: 'Don’t take life so serious, it ain’t nohow permanent.' No, it ain’t. But art — even comic art — can be, in the hands of a master. Every book, every comic, every panel verifies the claims of Kelly’s fervent cheering squad: after 63 ever-lovin’ blue-eyed years, Pogo is still incomparabobble." (Via The Comics Reporter)

Portraits

Plug: Seattlest's Heather Logue spotlights Tony Millionaire's upcoming appearance and art show at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery: "Aside from the fact that he has an amazing superhero name, Tony Millionaire also has the extraordinary talent to back it up. The cartoonist will be at Fantagraphics with his latest book 500 Portraits -- a collection of portraits (duh) of everything from the very famous face, to the very small bug. All meticulously crafted in his beautiful, yet grotesque way -- you're not going to want to miss Tony's take on portraiture."

Fantagraphics Books logo - shield emblem by Daniel Clowes

Plugs: At The Beat Heidi MacDonald recommends a few faves from our current 40%-off Inventory Reduction Sale

Plugs: Ladies Making Comics has a handy guide to books by women creators in our current 40%-off Inventory Reduction Sale

Old Jewish Comedians - The Complete Collection

Scene: At his blog, Drew Friedman recounts his experience as keynote speaker at the International Society of Caricature Artists' annual convention last month, with lots of photos, a couple video clips and a transcription of a Q&A session

Amazing Mysteries: The Bill Everett Archives Vol. 1

Commentary: On his blog, proud book-papa Blake Bell runs down the reasons he's so excited about the imminent release of Amazing Mysteries: The Bill Everett Archives Vol. 1, which he edited

Deck Us All with Boston Charlie!
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Walt KellyvideoFantagraphics Bookstore 23 Dec 2011 2:10 PM

We were honored and delighted to have members of Seattle choral group Choir of the Sound (including Kim Thompson's lovely wife Lynn Emmert, second from right) perform Walt Kelly's Okefenokee holiday classic "Deck Us All With Boston Charlie" at the "Playing Possum: The Pogo Art of Walt Kelly" exhibit opening and book launch party for Pogo - The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips Vol. 1: Through the Wild Blue Wonder (and annual Fantagraphics Bookstore anniversary/holiday party) at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery a couple of weekends ago. Turn up your speakers, grab a cup o' nog, hit "play" on the video above (or here on YouTube) and enjoy!

Daily OCD: 12/22/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Zippy the PinheadWalt KellyShimura TakakoPaul NelsonMichael KuppermanmangaKevin AveryinterviewsFantagraphics BookstoreDaily OCDBill GriffithBest of 2011 22 Dec 2011 7:28 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Pogo Vol. 1 Mark Twain's Autobiography 1910-2010 Wandering Son Vol. 1

List: NPR's Glen Weldon names The Best Comics of 2011, including Pogo Vol. 1 ("Walt Kelly's hugely influential strip gets the deluxe treatment it deserves"), Mark Twain's Autobiography 1910-2010 by Michael Kupperman ("The silliest, funniest, most bracing, and really-I-wasn't-kidding-when-I-said-silliest, book of the year"), and Wandering Son Vol. 1 by Shimura Takako ("An insightful, empathetic and deeply moving manga about a boy who wants to be a girl and a girl who wants to be a boy")

 Everything Is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson

List: Megamedia conglomerate music-video website VEVO names Everything Is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson by Kevin Avery one of 2011's Top Music Books: "Another key critic of rock’s early years, Paul Nelson had a deep skill for explaining artists’ intentions. He was also unafraid of point out their foibles. That makes for a good balance, and some of the portraits he crafted through the years... still resonate as luminous pieces of writing.... But as this combination of bio and anthology reminds us of superb work, it also sketches out his troubled life."

Fantagraphics Books logo - shield emblem by Daniel Clowes

Award: Thanks to the Well Watchers comics podcast for bestowing us their 2011 Golden Uatu award for Best Publisher

Playing Possum: The Pogo Art of Walt Kelly at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, Seattle

Review: Gary Faigin looks at the "Playing Possum: The Pogo Art of Walt Kelly" exhibit at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery on KUOW Presents on our local Seattle NPR station (audio stream & download at the link)

Bill Griffith: Lost and Found - Comics 1969-2003

Profile: At The Atlantic, Steven Heller talks to Bill Griffith about Zippy the Pinhead and his new "landmark book": "Who would have imagined in 1970 that Zippy the Pinhead would become a national icon, up there with Pogo, Charlie Brown, and Mr. Natural? 'Never in my wildest underground imaginings did I foresee Zippy as a continuing character, much less a nationally syndicated daily strip,' says Zippy’s creator, Bill Griffith (Griffy to his intimates). By 1970 he had a hit comic titled 'Young Lust,' an X-rated parody of girl's romance comics. He figured Zippy would take his place alongside other one-shot characters: 'I had no intention of giving him any further thought.' Yet 42 years later, this month marks the publication of an anthology of Zippy and other Griffith characters in Lost and Found - Comics 1969-2003."

Daily OCD: 12/19/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Walt KellyreviewsOlivier SchrauwenmerchLove and RocketsLeslie SteinJohnny RyanJim WoodringJaime HernandezFantagraphics BookstoreDisneyDaily OCDCharles BurnsCarl BarksBest of 2011 19 Dec 2011 7:19 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

The Frank Book  Eye of the Majestic Creature

List: USA Today's pop culture maven Whitney Matheson starts counting down her People of the Year at Pop Candy, with Jim Woodring kicking things off at #100 ("This year the artist constructed a seven-foot-long fountain pen that even Lloyd Dobler would be proud to own") and Leslie Stein coming in at #78 ("She had me at the talking guitar: The Brooklyn-based cartoonist's Eye of the Majestic Creature provided a joyous reading experience")

Congress of the AnimalsPrison Pit Book 3

List (Audio): Jim Woodring's Congress of the Animals and Johnny Ryan's Prison Pit Book 3 are among the books discussed by Inkstuds host Robin McConnell and his guests Tim Hodler, Joe McCulloch and Matt Seneca for his "Best of 2011 with the Critics" episode

Love and Rockets: New Stories #4

List: Librairie Drawn & Quarterly's Jade names her Top 5 Books of 2011 on the 211 Bernard blog: "Thirty years after the first Love and Rockets issue, the Hernandez Brothers continue to impress with some of their best work to date in Love and Rockets: New Stories #4. Both brothers produce storylines that are absolutely amazing... I can’t even begin to imagine what these guys will come up with next."

Pogo Vol. 1

Review: The Seattle Times' Mary Ann Gwinn looks at Pogo Vol. 1 and the "Playing Possum" exhibit at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery: "Kelly had an uneasy relationship with the newspapers that ran the strip. Though Pogo was hilarious, it could also be extremely pointed. Fantagraphics curator Larry Reid says the Hoover strips, featuring a bulldog with an uncanny resemblance to the FBI director, aggravated Hoover no end. 'He was driven to distraction' by the notion that the strips had hidden messages embedded in them, says Reid. 'He had cryptographers trying to decipher swamp talk.'"

Review: At Artdish, Gary Faigin also looks at "Playing Possum": "Kelly was both famous and honored in his lifetime (over 50 collections of Pogo were published, and the strip appeared in most major newspapers), but just enough time has passed since his demise in 1973 that many people, younger ones especially, are not familiar with his work.  While that’s a good reason to celebrate the Pogo show and book launch at the Fantagraphics Gallery this month, an even better reason is the opportunity to be reminded how fresh, lively, and relevant his work is, decades after it first appeared."

The Man Who Grew His Beard

Review: "These are deeply strange short stories [in The Man Who Grew His Beard], centered on ideas and effects I’m not sure I’d have come up with even with the proverbial infinite number of monkeys at my disposal; even in this short-story-saturated alternative comics climate, there’s nothing else like his gestalt of finely calibrated nonsense. It’s good to see that comics can do things you’d never think to ask of them in the first place." – Sean T. Collins, Attentiondeficitdisorderly

Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes

Review: "Although Barks didn’t create Donald Duck, it is his interpretation that probably resides in most people’s memories.... Donald in the animated shorts was a hot-headed buffoon. Barks’ Donald was an actor called upon to play whatever role Barks needed: from exasperated parent to worldly adventurer. It was Barks’ duck comics that spurred my early interest in sequential storytelling, and probably my love of reading in general." Norman Cook, Axolotlburg News

Love and Rockets Library (Locas Book 4): Penny Century [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

Review: "Love & Rockets is the only series that I don't mind purchasing and repurchasing in multiple editions... I like the way that Jaime Hernandez's stories read in different configurations. Approaching his little slices of life through flashback or in different sequences lets little details, the sort of which most readers probably miss the first time around, take new shapes and new levels of importance. I really love these paperback editions... As ever, there's just a tiny hint of extra-normal fantasy at work in the stories [in Penny Century], just enough for readers to accept that there's something very strange over the horizon or in Izzy's psyche, but never enough to overwhelm the wonderful, human reality of these beloved characters. Highly recommended for older readers." – Grant Goggans, The Hipster Dad's Bookshelf (via The Comics Reporter)

Elysian Nibiru label - Charles Burns

Plug: Comics Alliance's Caleb Goellner reports on our upcoming Charles Burns-art-festooned "12 Beers of the Apocalypse" with Elysian Brewing, predicting them to be "Apocalypticious!"