Online Commentary & Diversions returns after a post-APE hiatus and subsequent sick day:
• Review: "Good Jaime Hernandez comics are always just about the most satisfying books that money can buy, and I was so impressed with how the pleasure of seeing contemporary Maggie again for the first time in far too long [in Love and Rockets: New Stories #3] gave way to the satisfaction of seeing another building block in her curious history, and then everything turned unpleasant in a way that was equally bleak and fascinating. Watching Jaime fit everything together the way he does is breathtaking. Recommended for adult readers." – Grant Goggans, The Hipster Dad's Bookshelf
• Review: It's still "Love and Rocktober" at Sean T. Collins's Attentiondeficitdisorderly: "If Ghost of Hoppers was Maggie's confrontation with adulthood, The Education of Hopey Glass serves up the equivalent for Hopey and Ray. It's fascinating to me to see where their lives have taken them versus where they were — and more importantly, what they represented to Maggie — when they were first juxtaposed. [...] What makes these two stories compelling and connects them to one another beyond the basic idea of the characters coming to terms with their age is how much the stories rely on the kinds of things only an artist of Jaime's caliber can pull off for their telling."
• Review: "Man’s oldest gynophobic horrors and most simplistic delight in sheer physical dominance are savagely delineated in this primitive, appalling, cathartic and blackly funny campaign of cartoon horror. Resplendent, triumphant juvenilia is adroitly shoved beyond all ethical limits into the darkest depths of absurdist comedy. Not for children, the faint-hearted or weak-stomached, [Prison Pit Book 2] is another non-stop rollercoaster of extreme violence, profanity and cartoon shock and awe at its most visceral and compelling. ...[T]his book is all-out over the top and flat out hilarious. Buy and see if you’re broad-minded, fundamentally honest and purely in need of ultra-adult silliness." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!
• Review: "Bitter, haunting stories [by Zak Sally] like 'The Man Who Killed Wally Wood' and 'The War Back Home' show a striking willingness to ask uncomfortable questions about himself and the world around him. His account of Dostoyevsky’s time in prison is a real highlight and I think marks a turning point in his storytelling ability. And the fearless, self-lacerating essay he provides at the end brings the book to a near-perfect close. Really, [Like a Dog] is a tight little collection." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
• Review: "There’s fourteen stories in all in this anthology, beautifully scanned, restored, and reproduced in all their four-color glory. [...] There’s a lot of fun to be had in these pages. [...] Boody properly showcases a sizeable enough collection of complete comics stories by the wildman inkslinger from Texas, finally elevating Rogers into the pantheon he’s always been part of — if only enough folks had been able to access his work. At last, they can!" – Steve Bissette, The Schulz Library Blog
• Review: "The publication of Rebel Visions was a vital riposte to [a] tide of apathy, a vast and authoritative work built for the clear purpose of documenting the entire history of the US underground revolution in a definitive fashion: a not inconsiderable task given the various tributaries that have spewed forth since the early 1960s. [...] Rosenkranz diligently weaves a number of divergent themes using the oral histories of most of the major participants." – Kevin McCaighy, Exquisite Things (via ¡Journalista!)
• Interview: Kat Engh of Geek Girl on the Street chatted with Megan Kelso at APE over the weekend: "I like writing and movies and music and art forms that are about more than one thing. I’m really fascinated by that, and I think that comics really lend themselves to that kind of layering and layers in conflict, because you’ve literally got two tracks of information with pictures and words, and because they’re so separate from each other, they lend themselves to doing different things at the same time. I’ve always thought that if a comic’s not doing more than one thing, it’s not taking advantage of what is, so yeah, I’d say I actively strive for that."
• Interview: At Comic Book Resources, Chris Mautner talks to Fire & Water author Blake Bell at length about Bill Everett — "I think Everett is as unique a stylist as Ditko is. When you see Everett's work, you automatically know who it is if you have any inkling about any of the Silver or Golden Age artists. Secondly, in his own way he's as influential as Ditko. Without question, Everett created the antihero in superhero comics back in 1939 when he introduced the Sub-Mariner. There was no other comic book character like him." — and upcoming volumes of The Steve Ditko Archives.
• Interview: It's the second part of Brian Heater's conversation with Drew Weing at The Daily Cross Hatch: "It’s such a weird time where so much stuff is available online, though I went out of my way to make the book a nice little object. And I feel like it does read better in book form, because it’s a format that you can more lovingly pore over the detail."
• Interview: At Gapers Block, Rose Lannin talks to Jeremy Tinder, who makes his Fantagraphics debut in Mome Vol. 20. This quote is relevant to the Mome story: "I grew up reading newspaper strips, like Garfield. I think it was around age 5 when I really started getting into Garfield and tracing it out of the paper every day. [...] Garfield was my focus in life for six years, I was so into it."
• Coming Attractions:Bleeding Cool's Rich Johnston reports here that "...[I]t seems that Fantagraphics, as part of their current attemp to to translate every French comic book in existence, has seized upon [David B.'s] book, Le Jardin armé et autres histoires or The Armed Garden and are to publish it in August next year," and here about our translation of Tardi & Manchette's Like a Sniper Lining Up His Shot, "...planned for August next year. Which, in terms of European-to-American translation is light speed."
• Review: "This is too much of an event to ignore: Fantagraphics, Seattle’s eclectic and prolific comics publisher,... is publishing its first volume of manga — comics that may be Japan’s most popular and influential art form. [...] A Drunken Dream and Other Stories is a four-decade anthology of graphic short stories by Moto Hagio, the 'founding mother' and premiere creator of shojo manga... Does Hagio’s work justify the hype? Her visual storytelling and graphic invention, by turns fluid, crisp, and stately, certainly do. ...Moto’s other later [stories] do indeed raise manga to literature." – Eric Scigliano, Seattle Met
• Review: "...[F]ew comics fans should have difficulty getting into A Drunken Dream and Other Stories... The stories in A Drunken Dream range from weird, powerful allegories... to dreamy tales of love and loss... But the best pieces here focus on memories of childhood, of playmates treated cruelly or parents and children misunderstanding each other. [...] Few stories in the entire history of the medium have been more overwhelming than 'Hanshin: Half-God,' a tale of conjoined twins — one haggard, one gorgeous — and their spiteful, symbiotic relationship. It’s a potent metaphor rendered with the intensity of an EC comic. [Grade] A-" – The A.V. Club
• Review: "Blake Bell’s Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko set the recent standard for how to put together a coffee-table book about a legendary comics artist, and Bell takes on another innovator of the medium with Fire & Water: Bill Everett, the Sub-Mariner, and the Birth of Marvel Comics... Because Everett didn’t have as long or as consistent a career as Ditko, Bell doesn’t subject Everett’s work to the keen analysis he brought to Strange and Stranger. But he makes up for the diminished insight with page after page of Everett’s vivid, varied work, showing how it all emanated from a man who was a lot like his most famous creation: a destructive antihero, always a little angry at the puny humans around him. [Grade] B" – The A.V. Club
• Review: "...The Complete Peanuts, Vol. 14: 1977 - 1978... shows just how much Schulz was all over the map during that time. [...] This is still a worthwhile volume of Complete Peanuts, though; it has a charming introduction by Alec Baldwin, the usual top-quality production of the whole Fantagraphics reprint library, and some fun story arcs..." – The A.V. Club
• Review: "Only a brain incubated in the warm, nourishing goo of Looney Tunes and vintage Disney cartoons could have produced Sammy the Mouse. [...] As always, Sally’s use of silent panels and dynamic perspectives guide readers’ eyes toward nightmarish horizons and grotesque situations... A grimy, metaphysical malaise drips from every line of Sally’s lush yet unwholesome artwork, especially when he’s plundering the iconography of innocence and youth in the service of disorienting discomfort. [Grade] A-" – The A.V. Club
• Review: At What Things Do, Jordan Crane writes "In the new issue of Love and Rockets (New Stories, no.3), Jaime has a story called Browntown. It just might be the best thing he’s ever done. In fact, I’d go so far as to say, it just might be the best comic I’ve ever read. Its construction is durable yet intricate, a bunch of simple parts working together flawlessly. It’s put together like a watch."
• Review:Guttersnipe's Shawn Conner on the "Counterculture Comix" exhibit at Bumbershoot last weekend, with photos by Robyn Hanson: "Curated by Larry Reid of Fantagraphics Books, it was an eye-popping display, even if you were familiar, as I was, with most of the work..."
• Review: "For the most part, Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950s might be viewed as a graphic/comic aficionado’s plaything, but there are lots of material that a social historian should find relevant. [...] Editors John Benson and Greg Sadowski have done extensive research to collate the best of EC’s competitors... and have diligently digitally restored the art to reflect the standards of that era. [...] By the way, I found the images hilarious. Yup." – Robert Birnbaum, The Morning News
• Review: "A Drunken Dream and Other Stories, the Fantagraphics collection of short stories from across Moto Hagio’s career, is one of those books that spoils you. It’s so lovingly conceived and beautifully produced, and the material it contains is so strong that it’s hard not to envision who might be next to receive this generous treatment. Hagio, one of the founders of modern shôjo manga and great contemporary manga in general, certainly deserves as much of a gracious spotlight as publishers are able to provide. [...] It’s also vibrant reading." – David Welsh, The Manga Curmudgeon (He's also giving away a copy — click for details.)
• Plugs: "There’s a nice pile of interesting things from Fantagraphics this week. Firstly there’s A Drunken Dream & Other Stories by the legendary Moto Hagio, whose acclaimed shōjo (girls’ comics) are seeing print in English for the very first time. There are ten stories in this collection which spans an entire career of work (Hagio’s been at it for over 40 years) along with an interview and a foreword by underground comix iconTrina Robbins. [...] Grotesque #4 is the final chapter of Sergio Ponchione’s bizarre masterpiece, Interiorae #4 is the final glimpse you’ll get into the lives of everyone in the apartment building, but Niger #3 is not the end and nor isSammy the Mouse #3. Handsome books. And they always smell nice." – The Gosh! Comics Blog
Our Summer 2010 Ignatz Series titles, which we just got in stock yesterday, are also scheduled to land in comic shops this week! Let's see what the comics bloggers are saying about their imminent arrival, collectively and individually:
"This summer's four new Ignatz releases from Coconino/Fantagraphics, and examples of one of the great comics formats of the last 15 years. I liked the Sammy the Mouse book the best, but they're all beautiful." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
"I've been digging Fantagraphics' Ignatz imprint for a while now, so I'm quite happy that Wednesday sees the release of four new books in that line." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
32-page duotone 8.5" x 11" saddle-stitched softcover with jacket • $7.95 (part of the Ignatz Series) ISBN: 978-1-60699-419-1
"...[A] suite of small character studies, mostly reprised from earlier issues, mostly concerning dissatisfaction over life’s elusive meanings – dynamic visuals both segregate Ponchione’s characters from one another (spatially, design-wise) and suggest a unity of anxiety across varied human experiences. Fun cartooning, at the very least." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics
"...[P]ossibly the most unjustly ignored book in the Ignatz line, just as surreal as Sammy [the Mouse], but more cartoony and cerebral, though no less haunting or effective a work. Constantly adventurous in its layout and narrative, it's one of those books that can be read multiple times and still make new discoveries." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
32-page duotone 8.5" x 11" saddle-stitched softcover with jacket • $7.95 (part of the Ignatz Series) ISBN: 978-1-60699-420-7
"...Gabriella Giandelli‘s story of an apartment building and the mystic cartoon forces that serve as its roving eyes and the roiling collective unconsciousness of its stressed, depressed, idle tenants." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics
32-page duotone 8.5" x 11" saddle-stitched softcover with jacket • $7.95 (part of the Ignatz Series ) ISBN: 978-1-60699-421-4
"[A] lushly scratched sociological allegory by Leila Marzocchi, not entirely unlike Anders Nilsen’s Big Questions in its gathering of woodland creatures to discuss odd happenings, but more whimsical and 'cartooned,' despite a real lingering atmosphere of threat." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics
32-page duotone 8.5" x 11" saddle-stitched softcover with jacket • $7.95 (part of the Ignatz Series) ISBN: 978-1-60699-426-9
"My first choice would be the new issue from Zak Sally, again following slightly mutated cartoon archetypes through a series of journeys and conversations apparently at the beck and call of persuasive, godly forces." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics
"The long-awaited new issue of Zak Sally's bleak, meticulous series, which I think is the only Ignatz title about an actual cartoon mouse." – Douglas Wolk, Comics Alliance
"...[A] grubby, disturbingly surreal, anthropomorphic tale involving a surly mouse, drunken duck and reclusive dog, not to mention a number of seemingly nefarious and supernatural elements that turn up from time to time. ...Sally is producing a real sharp, evocative and haunting work that manages to send a delicious chill up my spine upon reading it." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
- - -
Wolk also plugs Drew Weing's Set to Sea, even though it's not on the official shipping list — "I think the entirety of Drew Weing's wonderfully drawn comic about a frustrated would-be poet who basically becomes Popeye against his will is still online [Not quite – Ed.], but this little hardcover edition (one panel per page) is awfully handsome" — so it may be arriving at your shop if it hasn't already. Why not contact them to find out?
(P.S. There are also new comics — not from us — by Émile Bravo and Trina Robbins in shops this week! Ask your friendly neighborhood comic purveyor.)
We have four new issues of Ignatz Series series just arrived in our warehouse and ready to ship now, available individually or get all 4 for the price of 3 in our Ignatz Summer 2010 Super-Pack! One of them comes with a special exclusive bonus, and to help you catch up on the stories, all back issues of these 4 series are 20% off for a limited time! Read on for details.
In the concluding chapter of Sergio Ponchione’s dreamworld masterpiece, the mysteriously omnipotent O’Blique and the inquisitive Professor Hackensack wrap up all the loose ends, as we see what happened to the three protagonists of the first issue, and what Cryptic City is now like after the cataclysmic events of #2-3. Oh, and we also learn the meaning of life — all in Ponchione’s wildly inventive, super-detailed graphics.
In the climactic final issue, a tormented Angela finally finds her way into “The Forest” and final peace. We could tell you what happens to the other denizens of the apartment building whose lives we’ve been following throughout this 4 issue series, including a struggling couple, the kids, the Creature That Lives in the Basement and Feeds on Dreams, and his envoy the White Rabbit, but wouldn’t you rather find out for yourself?
Peculiar happenings in the Burnt Spruce Forest take the spotlight away from the rapidly-growing Dolly. Answering last issue’s question, “What are those crackling and rumbling sounds emanating from Wingman’s nest?,” a rock suddenly sprouts wings! A meeting is convened among the birds and the theory is advanced that it’s a fossilized egg suddenly sprung to life. Back at Cesare’s nest where Dolly lives, a monstrous intruder once again threatens to cut short her brief life...!
Our hero Sammy finally gets a chance to sit by himself — but for only three pages! There's more disembodied voices telling Sammy what to do which is followed by the anger, frustration, cursing and free-floating dread you've come to love from this gorgeous, surreal, FUNNY-animal series. Where the heck is Puppy Boy? What's that shovel for? Why all the terrified glassy-eyed staring off into nothingness? You may or may not find out in Sammy the Mouse #3!
While supplies last, get a FREE limited-edition print with this issue! These two-color prints were hand-pressed by Zak Sally and are signed and/or embossed with the La Mano Press seal.
• Review: "...[F]or the first time I realized that Prison Pit [Book 2] isn't a fusion-comics exploration of awesomeness in all its forms, but a horror-comics exploration of awfulness — of violence that maims and kills not just body but soul. Ryan is willing, even this early in a series I imagine will be able to last as long as he wants it to, to completely invert his instantly-iconic warrior, to make the audience root against him desperately, to feel dick-shriveling revulsion at his violence and pity for his victim. 'That fucking sucked,' CF says when it's all over. Understatement of the year. This book is a masterpiece of awfulness." – Sean T. Collins, Attentiondeficitdisorderly
• Review: "It isn't every day such a formidable body of work gets handed to us on such a shining silver platter — there are too few artists like Rand Holmes for that to be possible. But when it does happen, the comics world ought to stand up and take notice. Holmes may have been forgotten once, but Rosenkranz has put forth all mortal effort to make sure he won't be again, and in the process created what might be the best reprint book of the year. A must for fans of great comics art, the undergrounds, or the medium's history, The Artist Himself is in the end most essential as a truly great read. Don't let it pass you by." – Matt Seneca, Newsarama
• Review: "For anyone who has not entered Deitch’s universe, fear not: it is remarkably easy to access, one does not need a map to enter or understand. [The Search for Smilin' Ed] will most likely make you want to explore his other works, much of which have also been collected in graphic novels in recent years causing many to at last wake up and praise the Deitch!" – Robert Dayton, Roctober (hat tip: Bill Kartolopoulos)
• Review: "Werewolves of Montpellier stands out as another winner from Jason; in fact, perhaps it is one of his finest books yet. Somber and funny, and packed full of werewolves and romance, jewel heists and parties, Werewolves of Montpellier stands as another reason to make sure you’re reading Jason’s comics. If you’re not, you’re missing out." – Michael C. Lorah, Newsarama
• Review: "...Sammy the Mouse... for me has been a revelation, taking Zak Sally's natural cartooning chops away from some of the more densely-told and even sometimes predictable material from projects past and opening it up to a mix of classic cartooning tropes and the outright weird. ... It's enough for me to watch Sally explore the comics page, and at this point I think I'd watch him adapt the minutes from a school board meeting." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
• Interview:Anime Pulse presents an audio recording of their interview with Moto Hagio at Comic-Con International, with translation by Matt Thorn, as well as a transcript of the answers in Japanese
• Panel:The Comics Journal presents an audio recording from the “Graphic Novels: The Personal Touch” Panel, featuring Gabrielle Bell, Howard Cruse, Vanessa Davis, Larry Marder, Jillian Tamaki and Carol Tyler in a conversation moderated by Shaenon Garrity, recorded on Friday, July 23 at Comic-Con International
• Interview: The Minneapolis City Pages talks to Zak Sally about the "2nd Annual Report," a big old hootenanny celebrating and benefitting his small press imprint La Mano which took place at Eclipse Records in Minneapolis last week (which we found out about too late to Flog, dang it): "La Mano is what it is, the stuff I love. A celebration of stuff that people make and create by hand. Last year was great, and if every year there could be a sort of one spot where all that stuff is able to happen in, I'm happy as a pig in shit!"
Here's a two-part stroll around booth #1718 right around opening time. There were significantly fewer books by the end of the day. Below, another con debut which somehow failed to upload for inclusion in last night's post: Zak Sally's Sammy the Mouse #3.