The Comics Journal has been, for almost 35 years, the standard bearer of critical inquiry, discrimination, debate, and serious discussion of comics as art, and the object of love and devotion among the comics cognescenti — and hate and scorn among the philistines, natch. We published our 300th issue in late 2009 and spent the ensuing year-plus re- conceptualizing the institution as an annual book-length “magazine” — over 600 pages long, chock full of the kinds of criticism, interviews, commentary, and history that has made it the most award-winning and critically lauded magazine in the history of comics.
This volume features a focus on R. Crumb’s most commercially successful project of his career, his comics adaptation of Genesis, including the most extensive interview he’s given on the subject as well as a long critical roundtable among six comics critics reviewing the book and debating each other over its merits; plus:
• An interview with Joe Sacco about his recent journalistic masterpiece, Footnotes in Gaza;
• A peek into the private sketchbooks of (and accompanying interviews with) Jim Woodring, Tim Hensley, and the novelist Stephen Dixon;
• A conversation between Mad Fold-Out creator Al Jaffee and Thrizzle auteur Michael Kupperman;
• A complete full-color reprinting of the 1950s "Gerald McBoing Boing" comic;
• The first significant biographical essay charting the turn-of-the-century cartoonist and illustrator John T. McCutcheon;
• A critical re-assessment of Dave Sim's Cerebus by Tim Kreider
and essays and reviews by R. Fiore, R.C. Harvey, Chris Lanier, Rob Clough, and others.
Over 600 pages long, this is a year's worth of The Comics Journal rolled into one extraordinary objet d'art. As a special treat, this volume is guest designed by internationally respected Criterion art director Eric Skillman. The Comics Journal #301 is no mere magazine but a gigantic compendium covering comics past and present that will shock and delight every truly curious comics reader.
Before her comics were serialized in the New York Times Sunday Magazine (“Watergate Sue,” 2007) or released by Fantagraphics Books (Artichoke Tales, 2010), Megan Kelso was a classic DIY cartoonist/publisher, who crafted and self-published her popular minicomic Girlhero from 1991 to 1996.
Queen of the Black Black, which collects these early Girlhero strips (as well as a few from other sources) and was originally published in a limited edition 12 years ago (now long out of print), provides an engrossing chronicle of an ambitious young cartoonist carefully developing her own unique style and approach.
In this volume, Kelso scrutinizes bicycle messengers, venereal diseases, infidelity, unwanted pregnancies, temporary work assignments, family reunions, and classroom daydreams in subtle and unexpected manners, setting herself technical challenges such as depicting music in comics (the virtuoso “The Daddy Mask,” with its sensuous gray swirls of sound on the page), integrating lettering into artwork in creative ways, and generally working her way toward what would become her mature style.
The title story, “Queen of the Black Black,” rendered in lush gray tones, explores the fraught relationship between the ageing, demanding queen of a fairy-tale realm and a hornblower whom she takes under her wing.
There is even a vintage “Artichoke Tale,” predating Kelso recently released graphic novel by a decade and a half. (“I am planning to do a whole book of artichoke tales in the future,” she wrote presciently in her original story notes.)
Queen of the Black Black shows the first flowering (or sprouting) of a major cartooning talent, and its return to print (fully redesigned) is welcome news for the many readers delighted by Kelso’s subsequent graphic novels.
Download a 13-page PDF excerpt (<1 MB) with two complete stories.
This second of four volumes reprints in full color the rare Captain Easy Sunday pages from the 1930s. Roy Crane’s Soldier of Fortune, Captain Easy, fights for gold in the frozen north, is mistaken for a bandit, protects a formula for artificial diamonds, is stranded on a desert island, visits the tiny Balkan country of Kleptomania, and faces a firing squad. Captain Easy hobnobs with millionaires and bums and beautiful girls (of course), and winds up in the middle of a full scale war. In short, it’s another rousing series of adventure and humor encapsulating the gallantry, derring-do, and rough-and-tumble innocence of a bygone era and a bygone genre, written and drawn with panache, and practically painted in a vibrant spectrum of colors that you have to see to believe.
Special features of this volume include a foreword by series editor Rick Norwood, an illustrated introduction by fellow cartoonist and Crane aficionado Paul Pope, an essay by the late Bill Blackbeard, and a gallery of rare Captain Easy comic book covers.
Long before the first superhero, Roy Crane’s courageous, indomitable, and cliff-ganging rough guy served as the template for characters that later defined comic books, and set the aesthetic standards for the newspaper strip. Crane’s mastery is why Peanuts creator Charles Schulz said of him (circa 1989): "A treasure. There is still no one around who draws any better."
Five years ago, little Gwenny’s father found, inside a bottle, a map with instructions on how to reach the mysterious Isle of 100,000 Graves and its legendary treasures — and then he vanished. Now Gwenny, having stumbled across another bottle-shipped map, enlists the dubious help of a shipful of pirates, sets out to find the island, and her long-lost dad.
Little does she realize that the Isle comes by its ominous name honestly, as the location of a secret school for executioners and torturers, where apple-cheeked youngsters are taught the finer points of extracting information from prisoners… and then putting an end to their lives in a wide variety of gruesome ways. And they’ve reached the point in their studies where theory should ideally give way to practice, so an influx of uninvited visitors comes as a blessing to the faculty.
And yes, this story is a comedy. Albeit a dark one.
For the first time in his career, Jason has enlisted a writer: Fabien Vehlmann. (Vehlmann has written a number of graphic novels for the French and American markets, including an installment of the legendary Spirou series and the three-volume Green Manor continuity, of which two volumes have been released in English.) Vehlmann has managed to interiorize Jason’s deadpan style and wit perfectly, creating a uniquely smooth and successful collaboration.
Exclusive Savings: To celebrate the new book from Jason and give some recognition his undersung regular colorist Hubert, we are pleased to offer 25% off all of Jason's other full-color books for the rest of the month! Browse all Jason books here.
A woman arrives at an apartment, but her partner can’t get away from work. She is disappointed and settles in for a night alone, but finds a film projector with a reel of film loaded. The film is scratched and blurry, but she can make out a couple making love. When the film burns out, a door is revealed which leads to a misty town square... and a series of fantastical sexual encounters.
But the plot doesn’t really matter. Celluloid is a rare instance (especially among Anglo-Saxons) of a top-flight cartoonist working within erotic — even pornographic, to embrace the word — parameters, with the intent of creating a genuine work of art.
As the artist says: “There are so many comics about violence. I’m not entertained or amused by violence, and I’d rather not have it in my life. Sex, on the other hand, is something the vast majority of us enjoy, yet it rarely seems to be the subject of comics. Pornography is usually bland, repetitive and ugly, and, at most, ‘does the job.’ I always wanted to make a book that is pornographic, but is also, I hope, beautiful, and mysterious, and engages the mind.”
Bringing to bear the astonishing range of illustrative and storytelling skills that have served him so well on his collaborations with Neil Gaiman and such solo projects as the (recently re-released) epic graphic novel Cages, Dave McKean forges into new territory with this unique work of erotica.
At Comics Alliance, David Brothers throws the spotlight on our ongoing series of Jacques Tardi translations, presenting 7 pages from The Arctic Marauder and writing "Jacques Tardi is a living legend in France, but is somewhat obscure over here. Thanks to Fantagraphics and their aggressive reprint schedule, Jacques Tardi is finally getting a proper American catalog.... The Arctic Marauder isn't what you think it is. I came into it with only the barest idea of what it would feature (high-sea antics, mystery, old-school diving suits), and while it fulfilled all those expectations, it went on to twist what I was expecting into new, and sometimes ugly, shapes. It's a pleasant surprise, really, and the twists and turns are not only believable, but genuinely interesting."
Today's America knows Mickey Mouse as a gentle do-gooder. But in his 1930s heyday, Mickey rose to fame as an epic hero — a bold, adventurous scrapper battling mobsters, kidnappers, and spies! And Mickey’s greatest feats of derring-do took place in his daily comic strip, crafted by one of history's greatest cartoonists — Floyd Gottfredson.
For 25 years, Gottfredson’s Mickey Mouse was a trendsetting adventure serial that led where other adventure comics would follow. But famed as Gottfredson's life's work is, it has never been comprehensively collected in English... until now!
Dive into this book and see Mickey’s race to a gold mine with Pegleg Pete; Mickey’s life on the lam after being framed for bank robbery; even Mickey’s fight with a huge heavyweight champ. You wouldn't expect to find a mouse in the middle of such chilling thrills and spills. But he's always there!
Enjoy Mickey Mouse in unmatched quality — remastered straight from Disney proof sheets and prized private collections. You'll also explore more than 50 pages of fascinating supplementary features — from rare behind-the-scenes art to tributes by Warren Spector (Disney Epic Mickey) and Disney Legends award recipient Floyd Norman.
Mickey Mouse is among the world's most recognizable icons. But do you know the wild, unforgettable personality behind the icon? Start reading... you might be wearing mouse ears before you're through.
Download an EXCLUSIVE 19-page PDF excerpt (4.1 MB) which includes the full Table of Contents, David Gerstein's first chapter introduction, and 15 pages of strips!
Readers of the “Frank” stories know that the Unifactor is in control of everything that happens to the characters that abide there, and that however extreme the experiences they undergo may be, in the end nothing really changes. That goes treble for Frank himself, who is kept in a state of total ineducability by the unseen forces of that haunted realm. And so the question arises: what would happen if Frank were to leave the Unifactor?
That question is answered in Congress of the Animals, Jim Woodring's much-anticipated second full-length graphic novel following 2010's universally acclaimed Weathercraft, and first starring his signature character Frank. In this gripping saga an act of casual rudeness sets into motion a chain of events which propels Frank into a world where he is on his own at last; and like so many who leave home, Frank finds himself contending with realities of which he had no previous inkling.
In Congress of the Animals we are treated to the pitiful spectacle of Frank losing his house, taking a factory job, falling in with bad company, fleeing the results of sabotage, escaping the Unifactor in an amusement park ride, surviving a catastrophe at sea, traveling across hostile terrain toward a massive temple seemingly built in his image, being treated roughly by gut-faced men and intervening in an age-old battle in a meadow slathered in black and yellow blood. And when he finally knocks on opportunity's door he finds... he finds...
Suffice to say he finds what most of us would like to find. Can he bring it back with him? Will the Unifactor accept him as he has become? Are his sins forgiven? Is love real? Is this the end of Frank as we know him?