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Category >> best american comics criticism

Daily OCD: 1/24/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Wilfred SantiagoSteven BrowerStephen DeStefanoRay FenwickMort MeskinMickey MouseJasonJacques TardiHo Che AndersonFour Color FearFloyd GottfredsonDestroy All MoviesDaily OCDBest of 2010best american comics criticismBen Schwartzaudio 24 Jan 2011 5:46 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

List/Coming Attractions: On Publishers Weekly's "Spring 2011 Adult Announcements" preview, the following upcoming titles rank on The Top 10: Comics & Graphic Novels:

21: The Story of Roberto Clemente

"Many recent comics biographies have been presented as educational material, but Wilfred Santiago's 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente uses a more expressionist style to tell the story of the baseball superstar who rose from poverty to the top of the game and died a hero's death. Long in the making, it arrives just in time for opening day."

Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1: Race to Death Valley [May 2011]

"The comic strip gets a much needed new edition of the first volume of Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse, Vol. 1: Race to Death Valley. While perhaps an unexpected gem, Floyd Gottfredson's tough, bold mouse is a seasoned adventurer and these are driving, hard-boiled tales. After reading this volume, you'll never look at Mickey, the tuxedo-clad corporate spokesmouse, the same again."

Destroy All Movies!!!: The Complete Guide to Punks on Film [Pre-Order]

List: On WFMU's Beware of the Blog, radio host Noah Zark includes Destroy All Movies!!! The Complete Guide to Punks on Film on his Top 13 of 2010: "Those who know me know I have a real love for punk rock music and film. Destroy All Movies adoringly brings both worlds together in this well designed unholy writ!"

List: Carve Your Name Comics' Greg Townley (a.k.a. "Johnny") names his top 20 favorite comics and graphic novels of 2010:

"14) Werewolves of Montpellier by Jason — Jason’s work is haunting and surreal. I love all his books, but this one earns high points for including a character based on Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. [...] Jason’s allusion to the complex film icon really elevates this book."

Wally Gropius

"17) Wally Gropius by Tim Hensley — This book is like Richie Rich on acid – one of the most original, visually exciting books I’ve read this year."

King of the Flies Vol. 1: Hallorave

"20) King of the Flies- 1. Hallorave by Mezzo and Pirus — King of the Flies, the first part of a proposed trilogy, is surreal and unsettling. It requires repeat readings to unearth the interwoven secrets at play."

Fire & Water: Bill Everett, the Sub-Mariner and the Birth of Marvel Comics [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

List: Meltcast co-host Chris Rosa's top 10 Best Comics of 2010 includes Werewolves of Montpellier by Jason at #7 and Fire & Water: Bill Everett, The Sub-Mariner and the Birth of Marvel Comics by Blake Bell at #10

Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

List: At his X-Ray Spex blog Will Pfeifer names Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 one of his Graphic Novels of the Year: "Gilbert's stuff is a lot of fun (and a lot of weird, too), but it's Jaime's shattering look back at Maggie's troubled past that elevates this book above even Love and Rockets' normally stellar standards. 'Browntown' is one of the best stories ever to appear in Love and Rockets, and if you know how brilliant the book is — easily one of the best comic series ever — you know that's high praise indeed."

List: Also at X-Ray Spex, Pfeifer lists his best Books About Comics of the Year, including:

From Shadow to Light: The Life & Art of Mort Meskin

From Shadow to Light: The Life and Art of Mort Meskin by Steven Brower: "...[W]hen I started collecting in the late 1970s[,] Meskin's art stood out, mostly because his figures and compositions always seemed to explode off the page. And now there's an elaborate book that (a) examines his whole life (b) reprints lots of vintage art and (c) includes plenty of originals? Tell me this isn't the best time — ever — to be a comic book fan."

The Best American Comics Criticism

The Best American Comics Criticism, ed. by Ben Schwartz: "Some great reading between these covers even if, strictly speaking, it's not all 'comics criticism.'"

Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950s [Pre-Order]

Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950s: "...[T]his is a great collection, with vintage work from Basil Wolverton, Joe Kubert, Howard Nostrand, Bob Powell and especially Jack Cole, who delivers a couple of twisted masterpieces here. Also, there are fascinating, detailed end notes and a lurid collection of covers in the middle."

(The above 3 items via Sandy Bilus at I Love Rob Liefeld)

It Was the War of the Trenches

Review: "Jacques Tardi’s It Was the War of the Trenches is pretty brutal. [...] It’s one thing to read about the brutality of trench warfare, another entirely to experience it in the way Tardi details it here. This wasn’t an easy read — I alternated between anger and horror the whole time — but it was a good one." – Brigid Alverson, Robot 6

Lucky in Love Book 1: A Poor Man's History

Review: "It's all very well told, with realistic details coming through even when the art takes such a cartoony style, but being the first half of a two-volume series, [Lucky in Love Book 1] is somewhat incomplete, setting up themes that will presumably be dealt with later. Still, it's quite good. However, there was one scene that I thought was excellent on its own and stood out in the memory the most. [...] War is hell, with effects reaching far outside and long beyond the actual conflict, and this scene manages to illustrate that rather effectively." – Matthew J. Brady, Warren Peace Sings the Blues

Mascots

Plug: "Ray Fenwick's Mascots is... narrated by Cthulu... I think. [...] What Fenwick paints is funny and punny, but also unexpectedly observant with just a little bit of metaphysical musing thrown in. I know that doesn't make too much sense as a combination, so just read these pages and maybe you'll understand." – Julia Pohl-Miranda, 211 Bernard (Librairie Drawn & Quarterly)

King - A Comics Biography: The Special Edition

Interview (Audio): Inkstuds host Robin McConnell chats with Ho Che Anderson

Daily OCD: 10/20-21/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under reviewsPeanutsMoto HagioMomemangaLove and RocketsJosh SimmonsJohnny RyanJaime HernandezGary GrothDrew WeingDrew FriedmanDaily OCDCharles M Schulzbest american comics criticismBen Schwartzaudio 21 Oct 2010 5:27 PM

Online Commentary & Diversions returns from a sick day:

Set to Sea

Review: "With elegant simplicity, this comic-book fable [Set to Sea] unfurls the tale of a life cast on an unexpected course and the melancholy wisdom accrued upon the waves. First-time graphic-novelist Weing has produced a beautiful gem here, with minimal dialogue, one jolting battle scene, and each small page owned by a single panel filled with art whose figures have a comfortable roundness dredged up from the cartoon landscapes of our childhood unconscious, even as the intensely crosshatched shadings suggest the darkness that sometimes traces the edges of our lives. [...] Weing’s debut is playful, atmospheric, dark, wistful, and wise." – Jesse Karp, Booklist (Starred Review)

Too Soon? Famous/Infamous Faces 1995-2010 [Pre-Order]

Review: "...[A]n absolutely stunning [book], collecting some of the best and most trenchantly funny illustrations by a contender for the title of America’s Greatest Living Caricaturist in a lavish, full-colour hardback. [...] Friedman is a master craftsman who can draw and paint with breathtaking power, and his work is intrinsically funny. [...] His caricatures are powerful, resonant and joyful, but without ever really descending to the level of graphic malice preferred by such luminaries as Ralph Steadman or Gerald Scarfe. Too Soon? is a book for art lovers, celebrity stalkers and anyone who enjoys a pretty, good laugh." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!

A Drunken  Dream and Other Stories [Pre-Order]

Review: "...A Drunken Dream showcases the full range of Hagio’s short stories, while also granting readers insight into the themes of lost innocence, family dysfunction and perseverance in the face of abuse that underscore much of her work. [...] With distinct character designs, detailed backgrounds and emotive character acting, Hagio’s artwork conveys the full emotional range of her stories, with dollops of humor mixed into sagas of sadness, survival and hard-won contentment. [...] A Drunken Dream and Other Stories finds another important voice in Japanese comics history washing up on American shores. One hopes that Hagio, whose work manages to be both stark and beautiful, finds a welcoming and receptive audience." – Michael C. Lorah, Newsarama

Review: At The Hooded Utilitarian, Noah Berlatsky continues his story-by-story examination of A Drunken Dream and Other Stories with "Angel Mimic"

Love and Rockets Vol. II #20

Review: Sean T. Collins looks at "La Maggie La Loca" and "Gold Diggers of 1969" from Love and Rockets Vol. II #20 as part of his "Love and Rocktober" series at Attentiondeficitdisorderly: "Maggie may just be an apartment manager anymore, she may now get in way over her head (literally) when she attempts to have a fun island adventure like she used to, but the way Rena sneaks into her room at night just to watch her sleep reveals that the aging heroine could use a dose of the community and camaraderie that's part and parcel of Maggie's dayjob."

Mome Vol. 19 - Summer 2010

Review (audio): Jeff Lester and Graeme McMillan discuss the latest issue of Mome in the new episode of the Wait, What? podcast at The Savage Critics

House [with FREE Signed Bookplate]

List: Sam Costello of iFanboy names House by Josh Simmons as one of "13 Great Horror Comics for Halloween": "Josh Simmons is some kind of horror savant. There are few really, truly, deeply disturbing comics out there. If you’re willing to take the risk of reading a comic that you’ll literally want to cover your eyes while you read, Simmons’ work is for you. House, his nearly wordless tale of a trio of friends exploring a dilapidated, cavernous mansion, is less explicit, but worth a look. Its suffocating, despairing loneliness is affecting." (Via Robot 6)

Peanuts 60th Anniversary logo

Commentary: "It was like the sky: pleasant, visually appealing, reliable. Peanuts had a Picture of Dorian Gray quality; you kept getting older and more decrepit and more cynical, but it didn't. By the time you started reading it, you were already older than the characters in the strip, so it immediately made you nostalgic for childhood. Not necessarily for your childhood, but for the childhood Lucy and Charlie and Linus were having." – Joe Queenan, The Guardian

Prison Pit: Book 2  [Pre-Order]

Interview: At Comic Book Resources, Chris Mautner talks to Johnny Ryan about Prison Pit: "I think in a strange way the book(s) are very revealing about myself. I felt as if I was really exposing myself here. I was very anxious about that."

The Best American Comics Criticism

Roundtable (audio): The Best American Comics Criticism editor Ben Schwartz is joined by Gary Groth, Jeet Heer and Inkstuds host Robin McConnell for a lively discussion about the book

Daily OCD: 10/14/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under RIP MDreviewsMegan KelsoLove and RocketsJasonDave CooperDaily OCDComing AttractionsCarol Tylerbest american comics criticismBen Schwartzaudio 15 Oct 2010 2:18 PM

Oh nuts, I'm about to start today's Online Commentary & Diversions and noticed I never published yesterday's in my APE prep frenzy. Here it is:

RIP, M.D. [Pre-Order]

Review: "Rip M.D. is near perfect. ...[T]he art is fantastic; with original and distinct designs that border realistic and cartoony, with the best qualities of both carrying a jovial wit, which never balking on making the subject matter truly scary. And the story by Mitch Schauer is told in a clear and concise manner, taking on a sort of fairy tale tone in the beginning that sort of fades by the end. The book on the whole is kid-like in tone, but told with sophistication that one used to see in old Loony Tunes." – Mark L. Miller, Ain't It Cool News

Review: "Rip M.D. is very sweet all-ages graphic novel... For those... looking for something to share with the family, Rip is an excellent choice. The writer, Mitch Schauer, is clearly a fan of classic monsters and has really had some fun with these characters. The real gem in Rip M.D. is the artwork. Beautiful, beautiful panels that you may want to tear out of the book and put up on your walls. [...] And the colors in this book are just stunning. This is a book that warrants some extra time to just enjoy each page. [...] Ultimately, this is a book that anyone can read and enjoy that would also make an excellent gift to a young reader as a Halloween treat. Score: ★★★★★" – Stephanie Shamblin G, Comic Monsters

The Best American Comics Criticism

Review: "Most of [The Best American Comics Criticism] is enjoyable and smart, with pieces suitable for the relative comics neophyte, graphic novel enthusiast or fan of old strips from the heyday of newspapers." – Christopher Allen, Trouble With Comics

You'll Never Know Book 2: Collateral Damage [Pre-Order]

Interview: Squee! talks to Carol Tyler about You'll Never Know in an interview which will run in edited form in the new issue of Ghettoblaster Magazine: "Hardest thing I've ever taken on. So much to juggle: the storyline, the art. The mechanics of making a comic page/book. Oy! I've been at this for four years and I'm still not done! I love it, though. I've had to wrap my life around getting pages done. [...] It's an epic struggle, although worth it a thousand times over."

Bent [Pre-Order]

Interview (audio): Inkstuds host Robin McConnell chatted with fellow Canadian Dave Cooper while Dave was in Vancouver on his West Coast book tour

Artichoke Tales [Pre-Order]

Interview (audio): Guest host Lark Pien talks to Megan Kelso on the new episode of The Comix Claptrap podcast; also, Josh Frankel talks about Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 (hope he's nice; we haven't had time to listen yet)

from L'île aux 100 000 Morts - Jason

Coming Attractions: MTV Geek's David Paggi previews Jason's Isle of 100,000 Graves, coming next Spring

Drew Friedman at L.A.'s FAMILY on June 13
Written by Eric Reynolds | Filed under eventsDrew Friedmanbest american comics criticismBen Schwartz 24 May 2010 8:15 AM

Come and meet the 'Insanely Great' Drew Friedman!

Drew Friedman will be making a (medium) rare appearance/book signing in Hollywood to discuss, along with journalist/pop culture historian Ben Schwartz, (who's new book, The Best American Comics Criticism, from Fantagraphics sports an adorable cover by Friedman), his new hardcover anthology, "TOO SOON?", a collection of political and Showbiz illustrations covering the last delightful 15 years, and featuring a foreword by Jimmy Kimmel. As Howard Stern says "Everything he does is insanely great!"

Also to be discussed will of course be Old Jewish Comedians, (Family is located conveniently across the Steet from Old Jewish Comedian Jack Carter's favorite deli, Cantor's!) and the third and final in the trilogy, "Even MORE Old Jewish Comedians", due out in early 2011. Other topics surely to arise will include Milton Berle's appendage, Danny Thomas's love of Coffee tables, Bingo the Chimp, Joe Franklin, Abe Vigoda, Side Show Freaks, meeting Groucho and of course Shemp.

The PERFECT father's day gift for Dad!!

WHERE: Family Books
436 N. Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036 USA
323.782.9221

WHEN: SUNDAY, JUNE 13, 7PM


Comics Critics Unite at Skylight Books!
Written by Eric Reynolds | Filed under Sammy Harkhamrobert fioreeventsbest american comics criticismBen Schwartz 19 May 2010 8:39 AM

  

BEN SCHWARTZ, SAMMY HARKHAM, and ROBERT FIORE discuss BEST AMERICAN COMICS CRITICISM at SKYLIGHT BOOKS!

WHEN: Thursday, 05/27/2010 | 7:30pm - 9:30pm

Ben Schwartz, editor of the new anthology Best American Comics Criticism, will discuss comics and comics criticism with Kramers Ergot editor Sammy Harkham and comics critic Robert Fiore at L.A.'s SKYLIGHT BOOKS!

Skylight Books
1818 N. Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90027

UPDATE! Just added: JOE MATT and BRIAN DOHERTY