Walt Kelly created dozens of Our Gang stories by the end of its 59-issue run in 1949, the year he quit comic books to switch careers a final time — as syndicated artist/writer on the immortal newspaper strip, Pogo.
In Our Gang’s third volume, Kelly begins to hit his stride by relying more on original ideas than following trite MGM scripts which had lacked in charm since the departure of producer Hal Roach in 1938. Keeping alive the wit that had been absent from the film series, this volume contains eight adventures of the mainstay offbeat personas as well as other whimsical characters, from mad scientists to eccentric animals. Suitable for adults and children alike, the work has been lovingly restored from the original comic books, giving Kelly’s art a renewed four-color splendor. With an all-new cover by Jeff Smith (Bone).
This issue’s cover interview is with comics artist Tim Sale, the house artist for the television series Heroes. Sale’s artwork has also graced prestigious mainstream projects such as Batman: the Long Halloween, Spider-Man Blue and Superman Confidential. The Eisner winner chats about his stylized takes on characters such as Spider-Man, Batman, Daredevil, Catwoman and Superman, as well as his earlier work on comics such as Grendel, and elaborates on the dynamics of collaborating with writers such as Jeph Loeb and Darwyn Cooke. The Journal queries up-and-coming cartoonist Josh Simmons on his disturbing and often funny body of work — his minicomics, his series Happy; his debut graphic novel, House; and his decades-spanning series Jessica Farm. Gary Groth examines the collaborations between Ralph Steadman and Hunter S. Thompson. Also in this issue: tributes to Steve Gerber and Dan Stevens; a huge gallery of kinetic anarchy from Funny, Films, Giggle, and other Golden Age comic books by Flintstones co-creator Dan Gordon; and a sneak preview of Danica Novgorodoff's Slow Storm.
Now in a new softcover printing with a newly-designed cover!
This fifth volume collects the epic-length "Blood Wings," in which Usagi battles a fearsome clan of ninja bats, while "Lone Goat and Kid" offers a cunning and affectionate parody of the famous "Lone Wolf and Cub" manga while doubling as one of Usagi's most dramatic and heartfelt adventures. "Frost and Fire" and "The Way of the Samurai" provide the psychological drama of this volume, which is rounded out by one of the most unique Usagi tales ever, "A Kite Story," which doubles as a fascinating look at the daily life and work of a 17th century Japanese kite maker, dramatically showcasing the thoroughness of Sakai's research and his skills as a storyteller. Featuring a foreword by the legendary Stan Lee!
Bill Griffith turned in his spectacular cover to the upcoming WELCOME TO DINGBURG Zippy collection, which focuses heavily on Dingburg, the "city inhabited solely by pinheads." (Other than Washington D.C., of course.) The inside cover will feature a full-color fold-out map of Dingburg, and as a result the front cover is also a foldout and our man Bill knocked himself out on both. Enjoy your sneak peek at the original to the cover (we're keeping the map under wraps for now), and look for the book late this year.
Steve Ditko is best known as the co-creator, with Stan Lee, of Spider-Man, Dr. Strange, and other classic Marvel and DC characters. But, in the context of Steve Ditko's 50-year career in comics, his creative involvement with Spider-Man is merely the tip of the iceberg. Strange & Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko is a coffee table art book tracing Ditko's life and career, his unparalleled stylistic innovations, and his strict adherence to his philosophical principles, with lush displays of obscure and popular art from the thousands of pages of comics he’s drawn over the last 55 years.
The first volume of Hank Ketcham's Complete Dennis the Menace, collecting every single panel strip from 1951 and 1952, is now available in this handsome and affordable softcover edition.
Dennis the Menace began on March 14, 1951 (four months after Ketcham's friend and colleague Charles Schulz started his own historic comic strip). He went on to become the second most popular cartoon kid in the world — after Charlie Brown, of course. Dennis the Menace first appeared in 16 American newspapers; by the end of 1951, he was appearing in over a hundred. The reason for Dennis' success is easy to figure out: It was one of the most brilliantly observed and empathetic comic strips about childhood ever drawn. Ketcham captured the mischievousness, rambunctiousness, and anarchy of a kid's world better than any other cartoonist. The strip appeals to both parents and children — while parents shake their heads ruefully at how accurately Ketcham caught the essence of children's natural zest for mayhem, children identify with Dennis and the chaos that he leaves in his wake — just a hop, skip, and a jump away from their own fantasy of themselves! Ketcham was a cartoonist with a vivacious line that was exquisitely suited to depicting adults and children. His gags were funny, subtle and touching. Ketcham drew Dennis the Menace from 1951 to 1994, when he retired and let his assistant take over the strip.