Wilfred Santiago's baseball biography comic is ready to read on the way to your next away game at comiXology. 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente follows Clemente's life from his early days growing up in rural Puerto Rico, the highlights of his career (including the 1960s World Series where he helped the Pirates win its first victory in 33 years, and his 3000th hit in 1972 during the last official at-bat of his life) as well as his private life and public mission off the field.
Named one of Library Journal's Best Books 2011: Graphic Novels, one of Booklist's Top 10 Graphic Novels: 2012 (for 2011 books), one of ALA/YALSA's Great Graphic Novels for Teens 2012, 21 is a great book for teens, adults and baseball fans all around. 179 pages of the struggle and success of a immigrant baseball player achieving the American dream can be yours. Batter up!
"...21: The Story of Roberto Clemente... is drawn with a jagged whimsy that gets at the sudden sharpness of a baseball game's action, the frenzy that comes from out of nowhere to temporarily replace the long, slow stretches of waiting, scratching, spitting and eyeballing opponents that are endemic to the sport…Comic books bring a different kind of narrative that's not possible in any other medium — not books, not movies.'" – Julia Keller, Chicago Tribune
"Santiago evokes the world Clemente lived in, from the dusty Puerto Rican streets where he played baseball with bottle caps and tree branches to his years as a perennial All-Star. The art is scratchy and abstract when it’s dealing with home and homesickness, and then hardens into the stuff of superhero comics whenever Clemente steps to the plate." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club
The best looping GIF of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review: Publishers Weekly gives a Starred Review to Messages in a Bottle by B. Krigstein. "Krigstein’s stories are sometimes epic and sprawling, sometimes compressed and confined…His mastery of chiaroscuro, and his dramatic composition and layout, applied across a very wide range of subject matter, are what make this gorgeous collection so essential."
• Review:The AV Club also shows extreme love for the comics of B. Krigstein in his new collection Messages in a Bottle. Noel Murray writes, "Krigstein treated each assignment as a chance to put theory into practice, and even among EC’s formidable roster of stylists, Krigstein stands out as one for whom the words around the pictures almost don’t matter, because the art’s so mesmerizing that it’s hard to pay attention to anything else…"
• Review: The Advocate warms up to the reading of Gilbert Hernandez's Julio's Day. Jacob Anderson-Minshall writes "Hernandez is able to illustrate that those events had a global reach and dramatically impacted the lives of everyone — including the people in Julio’s life…A remarkable accomplishment that is likely to find its way on numerous Best of 2013 lists and garner Hernandez more well deserved awards and accolades, Julio’s Day is, at its heart, a gay story."
• Plug:Philip Nel plugs our latest volume of The Comics Journal #302 and it's interview -- the last interview-- with children's book author and illustrator Maurice Sendak. "Above all, in reading Groth’s interview, it’s great to hear Maurice’s voice — his salty, funny, grumpy, insightful, irascible voice — just one last time."
• Review: Neal Wyatt of the Library Journal looks at the new books coming out this year from Fantagraphics. "Browsing the Fantagraphics spring catalog underscores the myriad of styles and literary approaches that graphic novelists and artists explore—be it Anders Nilsen’s near metaphorical images or Dash Shaw’s crowded and kaleidoscopic landscapes." He singles out Good Dog by Graham Chaffee, The Amazing, Enlightening and Absolutely True Adventures of Katherine Whaley by Kim Deitch, Lost Cat by Jason, New School by Dash Shaw ("Known for his frenetic and inventive artwork…") and The End by Anders Nilson.
• Plug: The Austin Public Library highlighted two of our books on their blog. On Jordan Crane's The Last Lonely Saturday, Betsey Blanche described as "The artwork is simple – drawn in mostly red and yellow – but full and effective." They also pulled out Lilli Carré's The Lagoon: "It’s another haunting but beautiful book about a family, mysteries, and the power of legends."
• Review:The Comicbook Pusherman looks at 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente by Wilfred Santiago. "…as a comic it absolutely crackles. The art is stunning. Santiago clearly captures baseball's (and Clemente's) unique energy and the Americas of the '50s and '60s and most distinctly the Puerto Rico of the 30s and 40s," says Jeffrey O. Gustafson.
The fullest mailbox of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Interview: Alex Dueben interviews Richard Sala about Delphine on CBR . "The main story, which is depicted with ruled borders, was always linear. But I allowed myself more room with the main character's inner life. All of that -- the memories, dreams, fantasies, wishful thinking -- all of that is depicted in panels with soft, cloud-like, non-ruled borders. And so I was able to add to the character's inner life -- his thoughts and fears and confusion -- as I went along." And,edit to the article, we also have The Hidden and The Grave Robber's Daughter available at comiXology.
• Interview:Wilfred Santiago is interviewed by Christopher Borelli about Bull on Parade for the Chicago Tribune and Michael Jordan's 50th birthday. "[Santiago] said a graphic novel seemed like a perfect medium for exploiting athleticism, then added: 'But also, Jordan, as a figure, never seemed that interested in satisfying people. Which is interesting to me.'"
• Plug: Tom Spurgeon on the Comics Reporter talks about TCJ 302, edited by Gary Groth, Kristy Valenti and Michael Dean. "There's an amazing Roy Crane section in there that's as good as you can imagine practical advice from a practical-minded comics craft master being. The Sendak is hilarious and sad." Spurgeon gives a review for TCJ 301 as well. "Publishing Groth's big interviews in print like this is an effective use of one of comics' most versatile thinkers and aiming a very good and only intermittent writer like Kreider at something as odd yet Journal-appropriate as the entirety of Cerebus seems to me fine editorial planning."
• Review:Page 45 reviews 7 Miles a Second by David Wajnarowicz, James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook. "Romberger painfully captures the frailty of forms and tenderness of touch, but equally the delirium of David’s mad fucking visions and dreams. Marguerite Van Cook’s colours are virtually toxic…This is not a beautiful book; it’s an ugly book, a brilliant book, a Last Will & Testament which I hope you will hear," writes Stephen L. Holland.
• Interview: James Romberger interviews Tom Kaczynski about Beta Testing the Apocalypseon the Hooded Utilitarian. Kaczynski made a list, we love those: "Overall I can cite 3 primary ways I use color in the book. 1. Color as a naturalistic element (as lighting, depth, etc.) 2. Color as pure design element. 3. Color as information."
• Review: Julien of the D&Q Bookstore is excited to read Moto Hagio's The Heart of Thomas. "Like the other Magnificent 49ers (the legendary first wave of female comic artists), Hagio's work is fearlessly avant-garde and visually stunning. Over her fruitful and now slightly less under-translated career, she has set the bar for all manga artists to follow, up to this day, and not just shonen-ai or shoujo mangaka."
• Review:Publishers Weekly loves Tales Designed to Thrizzle Vol. 2 by Michael Kupperman. "Kupperman deploys a stunning arsenal of art styles to bring home the laughs, from stilted woodcut art to a kind of Tintin lite…Kupperman is pretty much his own genre of humor now."
• Interview: Gary Panter was interviewed by Nick Gazin on VICE on Dal Tokyo, creativity and other fun. Gazin describes the book, "…trying to follow the story like it was a traditional comic is hard it feels like we're seeing the inside of Panter's brain. We go where he wants to take us and the landscape reflects his current mood and interests. Not everybody can do whatever they feel like and make it as interesting as this book."
• Plug: Jeff Kinney from Diary of a Wimpy Kid reminisces about his father and their shared love of Carl Bark's duck comics at Disney Dads. Kinney says, "I consider [Carl Bark's comics] to be the best form of storytelling I’ve ever read. My father always made sure to leave the comics page open in the newspaper in the morning so we kids could read them. I think that without my father, I wouldn’t have ended up on the career path that I’m on.
• Review: Johanna Draper Carlson reviews Young Romance edited by Michel Gagné on Comics Worth Reading. "It’s neat to read these long-ago tales of girls acting out of jealousy or determining how to make the right love decision in such an easy-to-hold hardcover with restored coloring. I love seeing more of this forgotten period of comic history, particularly since it was so widely popular and yet so ignored these days," writes Carlson.
• Plug: Jim Hanley's Universe blog creates The Definitive Love & Rockets Reading Guide and Full Bibliography by Jeffrey O. Gustafson to whet your appetite for our Love and Rockets Companion and Reader. "Featuring mature, character based stories, the quality in art and story of the work of [Hernandez brothers] represent the high-water mark of independent, creator-owned comics, indeed comics period."
• Plug:Peter Bagge 'hates' on Beavis and Butthead in this month's MAD magazine, reported by Paste.
• Plug:Noah Van Sciver continues the funny at Denver Westword with the 10 biggest buzzkills at a concert. Read this and laugh or maybe recognize the horrible person that you are.
15 seasons. 1,072 games. 41,011 minutes of basketball. Every kid, fan and often other players wished they could "Be Like Mike." The man who inspired a generation of children to lace up their high-tops will be depicted in a kinetic graphic novel fit for the greatest basketball player of all time. Wilfred Santiago, the creator of the acclaimed and best-selling 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente, depicts Jordan's public successes, private struggles and all the noise in between in his dynamic full-color graphic novel called Michael Jordan: Bull on Parade.
Eric Reynolds, Associate Publisher and known ball-hog, had this to say on the upcoming release in March of 2014: "Wilfred's dynamism makes Jordan as visually electric as a Kirby superhero comic, but Santiago also brings a good biographer or documentarian's passion for getting at the essence of his protagonist. I can't believe there aren't more American comics like this, but few cartoonists have the skill and feel for the subject of sports to pull it off as artfully and maturely as Wilfred."
While reading Michael Jordan: Bull on Parade you will smell the sweat, hear every squeak on the parquet floor and feel the "swish" on every nothing-but-net shot. Jordan went from being a teenage and college superstar to leading the Chicago Bulls to six NBA Championships. To quote Santiago, "Michael Jordan is a once in a lifetime phenomenon. Add the exhilarating game of basketball and you get one hell of a graphic novel." We couldn't agree more. Coming to your home court in spring of 2014.
• Review:Publishers Weekly gives a starred review to 7 Miles a Second by David Wojnarowicz, James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook. "The author’s prose is poetic, arriving with a light touch while delivering a heavy, dark, and understandably angry message. Part of what makes the book unusual is that it does not go out of its way to be uplifting… Romberger and Van Cook’s art is hyperactive, with splattery color that suggests the out-of-body acid-trip world of contradictory values and constantly shifting danger that Wojnarowicz lived in."
• Preview:Publishers Weekly also posted a preview of the comic 7 Miles a Secondby David Wojnarowicz, James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook, compiled by Ada Price for your prereading pleasure.
• Review: Beta Testing the Apocalypse by Tom Kaczynski gets reviewed on Publishers Weekly. "Kaczynski’s range is wide, and in these chronologically arranged stories, we can trace an artistic development that begins as self-satisfied…and becomes more searching and curious…although his worldview won’t connect with everyone, there is plenty of smart humor and honest perspective."
• Interview:The Writing Disorder interviews Steven Weissman on his Barack Hussein Obama graphic novel, process and original art he owns. Weissman says, "I never had a scientist’s desire for the truth. I’ve always been comfortable not knowing things."
• Interview:Shelf Life of EW.com interviews Jaime Hernandez on the 30th Anniversary ofLove and Rockets. Solvej Schou asks, "So how do you and your brothers get along, being involved in the same project?" Jaime admits, "Our secret is why we can still do it is we don't collaborate."Read more!
• Plug:Noah Van Sciver's The Hypo receives an excellent rating on the Lone Star Book Review. "… an interesting look at young Abe Lincoln and his melancholic. This is a side of Lincoln that is often overlooked…"
• Review:Four Color Fear edited by Greg Sadowski continues to generate reviews after two sold out printings. Kitty Sneezes' Rev. Syung Myung Me writes "Greg Sadowski put together a wonderful collection complete with in-depth notes in the back of some of the best from comics that tend to be thought of dismissively as also-rans…if you’re a type who has the complete EC horror libraries along with a subscription to Creepy, this will slot in real well in your collection. And, well, even if you’re not that type, it’s still a great collection of some unjustly overlooked comics from the 1950s."
The fantastically newest Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review: Over at Read About Comics, Greg McElhatton cracks open a copy of Lewis Trondheim's newest English translation. "Ralph Azham Vol. Oneis a nice little surprise; what initially looks cute and fun is dark and enjoyable, and Trondheim’s gradual reveals of the story’s contents are strong enough that it makes reading the next volume a must. . . I’m definitely back for Book Two; this was a great deal of fun."
• Interview (audio): Robin McConnell of the Inkstuds podcast interviews Noah Van Sciver on The Hypo and his newest work online, Saint Cole on The Expositor.
• Interview:AV Club caught up with Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez during this year, the 30th Anniversary of Love and Rockets! Jaime could not see a future without Love and Rockets: "The only thing I can see in the future is I picture Love And Rockets number whatever way down the road and they have to explain: 'This special issue, Jaime died halfway through doing it. So there’s going to be some pages with just pencils on it and some blank pages. But we thought we owed it to him to finish it, to print it.' A half-issue and then, well, that’s it."
• Review: Steven Heller writes about Dal Tokyo by Gary Panter on The Atlantic: "Dal Tokyo might best be seen as a combination of nightmare, daydream, ramble, and sketch, with a decided stream-of-consciousness tone, which is not unlike Panter's own Texas lilting manner when talking. In fact, for all its eccentricity, Dal Tokyo is akin to a Texas tall tale."
• Plug (video): The short film Objects of Our Desire focuses on the project Significant Objects as part of the The Future of Story Telling series. The book is edited by Joshua Glenn and Rob Walker. “Stories are the foundation of what we do everyday,” Richelle Parham, the vice president and chief marketing officer of eBay.
• Review:Read About Comics and Greg McElhatton looked at Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge: Only a Poor Old Man by Carl Barks. "The more I see of Barks’ comics, the more I kick myself for having taken this long to read them. . . If you haven’t experienced Barks’ Duck comics yourself, I think this is a great a place as any to begin. Definitely check it out for yourself. Highly recommended."
• Review:Blog Critics's Sixy Minute Manga reviews and summarizes Shimura Takako's Wandering Son Vol. 2. Lesley Aeschliman states ". . . the more minimal and simplistic art works for the story being told in this series. . . I would recommend this manga series to readers who have an appreciation for literature that concerns LGBT issues."
• Review (audio):Deconstructing Comics podcast spend the full hour discussing A Drunken Dream and Other Stories. Tim Young and Kumar Sivasubramanian argue and agree on Moto Hagio's work in the book with stories that "dwelt on not fitting in, losing what you love, and other themes that could be depressing, but were usually expressed in innovative and compelling ways."
•Review: Gene Ambaum of Unshelved enjoys his read of Wilfred Santiago's 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente. Ambaum says, "I was intrigued how the author would fit his life story into a brief, illustrated book. It emphasized the major events that shaped his life, and the powerful, stark images made me feel like I experienced the tragic and poignant moments."
• Commentary:ComicBooked talks about the 90s and Fantagraphics' place within the context of pushing out music and the amazing album art of Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes and Peter Bagge.
Thanks to our special SPX friend Warren Bernard for sending photos of some of our book titles given to the Enoch Pratt Library of Baltimore, MD. Above, CEO of the library, Dr. Carla Hayden, holds 21: Roberto Clemente by Wilfred Santiago and a staff favorite. The total gift was "$5000 of books, 240 books, 40 titles, part of the SPX Graphic Novel Gift Program" targeted and dispersed to public and academic library systems in the DC area. Each book will have a beautiful bookplate as seen on the SPX site. Below the library staff oogles the books including Maggie the Mechanic by Jaime Hernandez. Check out the shelves at Enoch Pratt Library for some of your favorite Fantagraphics reads.
The freshest fried-this-morning Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review: Tucker Stone on The Comics Journal gives a thumbs-up to Dungeon Quest Vol. 3 by Joe Daly. "Dungeon Quest–the mumbling stoner counterpart to its methed up metal freak cousin, Prison Pit–has a whole new stack of penis-obsessed pages to play with. It’s tempting to single out one part of this volume to label as best, but that temptation dissipates upon the realization that it’s going to be impossible to pick a winner."
• Review:BookGasm raves about Jacques Tardi's New York Mon Amour. JT Lindroos says, "It shuffles in elements from Tardi’s other books, but distills those familiar ingredients into a wholly unique concoction. . . It’s a love letter to an imaginary city bursting with life, depression and death, a city you love to observe from a distance."
• Plug:Noah Van Sciver finished out the TCJ Comic Diary week with a visit by Gary Groth. Heidi MacDonald of The Beat said nice things about The Hypo: "an extremely well researched look at Abraham Lincoln’s early days as a depressed young lawyer, will be one of the buzz books of the fall."
• Plug:Bleeding Cool and Rich Johnston show off some pages from Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life by Ulli Lust, coming out this fall.
• Plug:Robot 6 and Bridget Alverson are excited for both the upcoming Wilfred Santiago books on Michael Jordan and John Brown. "If the images are any indication, Santiago is busting out from the limited palette he used for the Clemente book to full, brilliant color, applied in a bold, painterly style."
• Plug: The Covered blog continues to highlight new versions of Love and Rockets covers. This time it's L&R #50 drawn by Robert Goodin. Check out Goodin's eerie treatment of a classic.
• Plug: The Love and Rockets Northeast Tour is mentioned on BoingBoing. Thanks, Marc!
• Interview:Casey Burbach interviews editor John Benson on fanzine Squa Tront's issue #13 (forty years after issue #1 came out) and the EC collections that have been published: "I thought that the color in the latest “EC Archives” series was pretty bad, at least in the book that I saw – not appropriate for comics of that era. . . The Fantagraphics series will be produced with quality and taste, I’m sure. Hopefully, with a different distribution set-up, going into bookstores, they may also reach a new audience."
• Review (audio): The Comic Books are Burning in Hell podcast recently chatted up Johnny Gruelle's Mr. Twee-Deedle edited by Rick Marschall. Around the 38 minute mark is where they predict ". . . it'll wind up a real contender for 2012's 'thru the cracks' award for most sadly obscure release. . ." Let's avoid ANY books falling through the cracks, check out this broadsheet-sized wonder today!
• Review:The Australian checks out Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons, edited by Kelly Gerald. Owen Heitmann says, "Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons is primarily of historical interest, documenting the early development of the first postwar female writer to merit inclusion in the Library of America series. Editor Kelly Gerald has taken this archival approach to heart, reproducing apparently every extant example of O'Connor's cartooning, even doodles from later handwritten letters."