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Category >> reviews

Daily OCD: 3/12/12
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under reviewsPat ThomasMichael KuppermanJoost SwarteJacques TardiDavid BDaily OCD 12 Mar 2012 8:22 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Is That All There Is?

Review (Video): On G4's Fresh Ink Online video podcast, host Blair Butler and guest Sam Humphries look at Is That All There Is? by Joost Swarte; at the 7:50 mark Humphries makes it his #2 pick of the week, saying "I've literally been waiting for this book for 20 years... so my hopes were pretty high and this book does not disappoint at all.... You gotta pick up this book."

Listen, Whitey! The Sights and Sounds of Black Power 1965-1975

Review: "While [Listen, Whitey! The Sights and Sounds of Black Power 1965-1975] looks like a typical coffee table book, this book does not have the coffee table lightness when it comes to content. It is dense.... The imagery in this book is fantastic with a ton of photos of old album jackets, flyers and magazine advertisements and of course the record itself. I admit, I want to blow up a lot of the posters and frame them. You will too.... You should buy this book. Fantagraphics outdid themselves this time." – David Baker, 410 Media

The Littlest Pirate King

Review: "Undead pirates roam the seas. They want to die and find eternal peace. But when that doesn’t work, they pray for a living creature to torment. They find a baby boy amidst the wreckage of a ship and decide to raise him until he’s ten. Then they plan to kill him so they can have a cabin-boy.... David B.’s Epileptic made me a fan of his work. But the cover [of The Littlest Pirate King], featuring ghastly pirates behind a little boy, would have caught my attention anyway.... It’s a kid’s book with an edge." – Gene Ambaum, The Unshelved Book Club

The Arctic Marauder

Review: "Originally published in 1974, ...[The Arctic Marauder] finds social criticism wrapped up in sarcastic satire, but outfitted in some great designs of Victorian science.... Tardi’s story is one thing, but his beautiful renderings give it a depth that brings it far beyond satire. The attention given to the Victoriana -- in technology, fashion and graphic layout -- functions as a love letter to that bygone world, which keeps the book from ever seeming cartoonish, and that [is] its major strength." – John Seven, North Adams Transcript

Creeping Death from Neptune

Plug: The Pulp Reader spotlights our upcoming Basil Wolverton collections Creeping Death from Neptune and Spacehawk

Tales Designed to Thrizzle #7

Tunes: Michael Kupperman is among the cartoonists who put together a playlist of music that inspires their process for Huffington Post columnist Dave Scheidt — a taste: "'Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep,' Middle of the Road: This is just the oddest song. It's upbeat, and bubblegum, and catchy, and sad, and kind of incomprehensible. It was written by a French composer and recorded by a Scottish group, and was one of the highest-selling singles worldwide of all time." (That song's popular with funny cartoonists: Peter Bagge's band Can You Imagine? covers it)

Daily OCD: 3/9/12
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under reviewsJoost SwarteDiane NoominDaily OCD 9 Mar 2012 9:28 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Is That All There Is?

Review: "Perhaps confusion is the probable reaction upon finding the complete works of a great cartoonist taking up such a small package, but the likely thought after finishing Is That All There Is? is absentmindedly wondering why there haven’t been more like Swarte, cartoonists who said their bit in no more than a few pages at a time. And of course, there have been. But... Swarte stands alone as the one who pulled off an entire fantastic career in something the length of a film screenplay or a longer novella. This book is a document of a true original’s contribution to comics, one that well outweighs its fifteen ounces and outstrips its 144 pages. Yes, that’s all there is, and it’s all you could possibly need." – Matt Seneca, The Comics Journal

Glitz-2-Go

Plug: Librairie D&Q's 211 Bernard blog gives a nice spotlight to Diane Noomin's Glitz-2-Go

Daily OCD: 3/8/12
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under reviewsMichel GagneJoe SimonJim WoodringJack KirbyFantagraphics historyDaily OCDBill Griffith 8 Mar 2012 7:50 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

http://www.fantagraphics.com/images/flog/mike/201203/bestcomicsofthedecadevolifr.jpg

History: If you'd like to know more about the late Dale Yarger's tenure as Fantagraphics Art Director, this tribute by another erstwhile Fanta staffer Robert Boyd is a great place to start

Bill Griffith: Lost and Found - Comics 1969-2003

Review: "Bill Griffith, the one prominent figure of underground comix to reach the daily comic page mainstream, has delivered again with a phone book-sized volume both odd and pleasing.... Griffith, with his Zippy the Pinhead cartoon, which has been carried in dozens of daily newspapers since 1984, has had numerous reprint books, but none so exhaustive as Lost and Found. Day by day, week by week, year by year, Zippy reveals the oddness of post-modernity and opens up a large view of civilization both berserk and humorous, when viewed from what has been called 'the Zen of stupidity.' Nor has any previous collection contained such a substantial memoir as the artist’s introduction to this volume, 'Inside the Box.' Not even Griffophiles (or is it Zippophiles?) like this reviewer knew most of the details offered here..." – Paul Buhle, The Jewish Daily Forward

Young Romance: The Best of Simon & Kirby's Romance Comics

Review: "...It is splendid news that a book compilation of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby's romance comics has appeared. Young Romance: The Best of Simon & Kirby's Romance Comics is both significant for its content and memorable for its quality of production." – Santiago García, Mandorla (translated from Spanish)

Jim Woodring

Profile: Jim Woodring's in Homer, Alaska again for another residency at the Bunnell Street Arts Center; Michael Armstrong at HomerNews.com finds out what Jim's up to up there: "Sit down before him, and he might draw you. Hang with him, and he'll talk about art and cartooning. Walk around town on a nice day, and you can join him on an sketch tour, looking for cool things to draw."

Daily OCD: 3/7/12
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under reviewsMichel GagneMatthias WivelJoost SwarteJoe SimonJasonJack KirbyDaily OCD 7 Mar 2012 8:10 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Young Romance: The Best of Simon & Kirby's Romance Comics

Review: "Michel Gagné... worked with Fantagraphics to produce this beautiful volume [Young Romance: The Best of Simon & Kirby's Romance Comics].... Clearly, Simon and Kirby tried to bring as much excitement to primarily psychological and interpersonal goings on as to punching and flying, but the action can’t help but be more grounded and, therefore, limited. It’s impressive that any of the stories manage to sweep one up, and a few do, pulling the reader in rather than leaving him/her assessing art and writing from an appreciative distance. The variety on display here is impressive as well." – Hillary Brown, Paste

Kolor Klimax

Review: "There are strange things going on in Nordic comics. And when I say 'strange,' what I really mean is bug-eyed gibbering crazy. And when I say 'bug-eyed gibbering crazy,' I mean shit verging either on lurid incomprehensibility or sweet unfathomable genius.... If you're tired of traditional comic book fare and are looking to expand your horizons in your comic reading, Kolor Klimax is a pretty good place to go. After all, I can't imagine that your local comic shop stocks too many Nordic comic books on its shelves, and this anthology may be your only available on-ramp to a whole different world of comic book possibilities." – Daniel Elkin, Comics Bulletin

Athos in America

Review: "The 'autobio' strip in [Athos in America] is my hands-down full-stop favorite thing Jason has ever done, earning this book the EXCELLENT rating for that reason alone. The rest of the book is totally satisfying, but I can’t pretend I didn’t read all of it with my brain obsessing over all the little beats in 'A Cat From Heaven.' There isn’t a dead moment in the thing. 'Hey, Fuckface'…so funny, this thing." – Tucker Stone, The Savage Critics

Is That All There Is?

Review: "Everything I feel comfortable saying about [Is That All There Is?] right now already came stumbling out on this Inkstuds podcast I did..., but it deserves some kind of Savage rating. How about EXCELLENT? There’s stuff in here that I wish was bigger in size, but…so what? I hope every single person who complains about the size of this book gets buried in shit after being murdered by their family, and I hope they get murdered with Lou Gehrig’s disease. If they’re a cartoonist, I hope it happens to them twice." – Tucker Stone, The Savage Critics

Daily OCD: 3/6/12
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under reviewsJasoninterviewsDiane NoominDavid GreenbergerDaily OCD 6 Mar 2012 7:50 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Athos in America

Review: "…Athos in America… is even chunkier and more rewarding than Low Moon, which was itself a career high.… Fans will find much here to laugh at, applaud and be surprised by. If you've yet to sample the delights of Jason, there isn't a better place to start than here.… All together a wonderful compendium of Jasonia. An essential purchase for comics fans." – Peter Wild, Bookmunch

I Killed Adolf Hitler

Plug: At It's Nice That, cartoonist Tom Gauld discusses some favorite books on his shelf, including Jason's I Killed Adolf Hitler: "Jason is a Norwegian cartoonist who makes really funny, dry, smart comic books. This story starts off like it’s going to be a trashy adventure with cartoon animals, time travelling and Nazis but then sort of loses interest in all that becomes a much sweeter, sadder tale about getting old. Visually it reminds me a bit of Herge’s Tintin books, and the clear drawings, beautiful colouring and simple layouts make it a joy to read. I was influenced by the accessibility of Jason’s work when I was making my book Goliath."

Glitz-2-Go

Interview (Audio): At The Jewish Daily Forward, "Pioneer of women’s comics Diane Noomin talks to Michael Kaminer about Wimmen’s Comix, Twisted Sister and her new book, Glitz-2-Go. The many and varied adventures of Didi Glitz — the book’s central character and Noomin’s comic alter ego of several decades — both delight and instruct."

No More Shaves

Profile: Thomas Dimopoulos of The Post-Star catches up with David Greenberger (via The Comics Reporter)

Daily OCD: 3/2/12
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Tim KreiderreviewsPopeyeJim WoodringJasonJack DavisEC SegarDaily OCD 3 Mar 2012 12:22 AM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Athos in America

Review (Video): It's a pretty safe bet you've never seen a review quite like Héctor G. Olarte's take on the Spanish edition of Jason's Athos in America for el Mundo's el Cultural — from the text intro (in translation): "If you have not read any of Jason, I can not think of a better way to start than with Athos. Most likely not be the last work of this author that passes through your hands."

Popeye Vol. 6: Me Li'l Swee'Pea

Plug: "Fantagraphics has released the cover for Popeye Vol. 6, the final volume of their handsome reprint series of E.C. Segar’s immortal Thimble Theater strips. We’re eager to get this if only to finish selling out POPEYE on the back of the books. Great design, great strip — one of those 'must haves' for every well-stocked comics library for sure." – Heidi MacDonald, The Beat

Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture

Commentary: At The Comics Reporter, Tom Spurgeon has some things to say about the situation with our Jack Davis art book; Robot 6's J.K. Parkin also shares the news

Commentary: The Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon again, endorsing Jim Woodring's fundraising efforts for his in-progress book Fran: "Jim Woodring is one of the great cartoonists of his generation, and probably one or two generations on each side of his own. He's one of those cartoonists that raises one's estimation of the entire art form for him being [in] it." Joe at Forbidden Planet International adds "I doubt I am alone in thinking Jim creates some of the most amazing art in the medium and he’s an artist well worthy of support." Amen to both.

Tim Kreider

Scene: On the Sequential Artists Workshop blog Tom Hart writes "Tim Kreider came to SAW to discuss with Cartoonist Majed Badra and myself the issues of expressing charged themes in single images, in addressing concerns of sensitivity, the powerful vs the powerlessness, coming to historical understandings in political situations, plus also just cramming concepts and images together to get strong visceral cartoons."

Daily OCD: 2/29/12
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Walt KellyreviewsPat ThomasJasoninterviewsGreg SadowskiDaily OCD 29 Feb 2012 6:34 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Athos in America

Review: "Besides a particularly gleeful dark humour, this collection of short stories by Norweigan artist Jason [Athos in America] is tied together by a certain obsession with Hollywood genres: science-fiction and crime are the main targets, and Jason infuses them with both a slightly tweaked pathos and a taste for melancholy macabre. His drawing style is sparse and uncluttered, but that works something like keeping an even tone during a dry remark: his punchlines and gut-punches are that much sharper for having played it cool. All of these stories have an underlying sadness — something that seems to stem from the bleak futility of all our existence — but the best has to be 'Tom Waits on the Moon,' four seemingly unconnected vignettes that ruminate on various relationship troubles before tying up in [a] surprising and funny end. That’s not to discount any of these, though: this is just fantastic stuff for sad bastards and the people who love them." – David Berry, National Post

Pogo Vol. 1

Review: "I’m going to go out on a limb and assume anyone reading a review of comics is aware enough of Walt Kelly’s landmark Pogo series that they don’t need much in the way of description, but suffice to say that any strip artist worth their salt has taken serious cues from Kelly’s rich dialogue, playful illustration and at-times fierce politics. This first edition, which features for the first time full-colour Sunday strips, definitely leans towards the sweeter side, but there’s simply no denying Kelly’s mastery: he evokes full characters with nothing but a few choice words, and the sprightliness of his visual style is all fun here, laying the groundwork for what would become profoundly subversive later. The included essays, as is usually the case for Fantagraphics reissues, absolutely nail the context and import of the strip, too. I just don’t think you can say you love comics and not have this around." – David Berry, National Post

Action! Mystery! Thrills!

Review: "[Action! Mystery! Thrills! Comic Book Covers of the Golden Age] is a fucking mind blower for me since it's just full-size reproductions of cover art of the most important comic book issues you never saw, printed on glossy paper with information about what makes them so special on the back.... The brain of the casual art looker or person who thinks comics are a genre and not a medium will look at this stuff and try to make it ironic or perverse. To appreciate the work in this book you have to turn off those parts of your cynicism and open whatever part of yourself receives beauty. America's golden-age comic books are some of the greatest art our country has produced." – Nick Gazin, VICE

Listen, Whitey!

Interview: At Examiner.com, part 2 of Gillian Gaar's Q&A with Listen, Whitey! The Sights and Sounds of Black Power 1965-1975 author Pat Thomas focuses on the accompanying soundtrack album

Daily OCD: 2/28/12
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Shimura TakakoreviewsPeter BaggePat ThomasNick ThorburnMartimangaLove and RocketsLinda MedleyKrazy KatJoost SwarteJaime HernandezinterviewsGeorge HerrimanDaily OCDawards 28 Feb 2012 7:27 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Speedy Ortiz dør

Awards: Jaime Hernandez's Speedy Ortiz dør (the Danish edition of The Death of Speedy from Aben Maler) was named winner of the Ping Prisen for "Best International Comic in Danish"

Wandering Son Vol. 1

List: YALSA's blog The Hub spotlights their previously-announced Great Graphic Novels for Teens Top Ten 2012: "Shimura Takako’s Wandering Son Volume 1 rounds out the Top Ten list for 2012 with a sensitive look at two fifth grade students struggling with gender identity: Shuichi Natori is a boy who wants to be a girl, and Yoshino Takatsuki is a girl who wants to be a boy. This is a complex and sensitive subject, but Takako handles it very gently, allowing the story to unfold in a way that is not only natural but sympathetic. Takako’s artwork is spare and evocative, supporting the story but never getting in the way of its telling. This one is for teens who like contemporary stories about real world problems."

Castle Waiting Vol. 1

List: At LitReactor, Kelly Thompson runs down 10 Graphic Novels for the Literary Minded, with Castle Waiting Vol. 1 by Linda Medley recommended "for fans of fantasy": "Castle Waiting, a brutally funny book with a giant heart, has a new spin on fairy tales with a feminist bent that will draw you in and keep you reading from page one.... Medley’s world is expertly crafted and completely believable, while her black and white artwork is clean and highly detailed with an emphasis on character design and acting."

Listen, Whitey!

Interview: At SF Weekly, J Poet talks to Pat Thomas about Listen, Whitey! The Sights and Sounds of Black Power 1965-1975: "As you can see from the scope of the book, there were hundreds of recordings connected to the Black Power movement. At Fred Hampton's funeral, they blasted The Supremes' 'Someday We'll Be Together' from loudspeakers. Huey Newton loved Bob Dylan's line, 'Something's happening and you don't know what it is, do you Mr. Jones?' The movement was inspired by music and the movement inspired many people, especially jazz musicians, to refocus their sound and energy."

Plug: Check out Ernest Hardy's review of the Listen, Whitey! companion album on Pop & Hiss: The L.A. Times Music Blog, which includes a mention of the book

Plug: Denise Sullivan also digs into the Listen, Whitey! album at Blurt

The Cabbie Vol. 1Is That All There Is?

Roundtable (Audio): On the Inkstuds radio programme guests Joe McCulloch, Matt Seneca and Tucker Stone and host Robin McConnell discuss recent comics including Is That All There Is? by Joost Swarte and The Cabbie Vol. 1 by Martí as well as George Herriman's Krazy Kat

Buddy Does Seattle

Review: "Buddy Does Seattle collects the first 15 issues of Hate, in which the protagonist has relocated to the Pacific Northwest and become the consummate slacker.... First published when Seattle was exploding in popularity due to the rise of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and various grunge bands, Hate offered a decidedly un-romanticized take on a particular time and place. ...Bagge's artwork took the public's perception of '90s youth as angry and volatile and pushed it to hysterical levels. Heavily influenced by late-'60s counterculture cartoonists like Crumb, Bagge's drawings are fluid and grimy-looking, with frequent use of exaggerated facial expressions helping to cultivate an atmosphere of chaos. As a work of cultural commentary it's brash and invigorating, and remains so years later." – Phil Guie, Critical Mob

Mome Vol. 21: Winter 2011 - detail (Nick Thorburn)

Interview: Nick Thorburn's tour with his band Islands brings him to Seattle next week and the Seattle Weekly's Dave Lake asks him about his connections to the city: "...I had a comic strip in the last couple issues of Mome, which is a Fantagraphics anthology, which is a Seattle-based comics publisher. I love Fantagraphics. I got a check from them recently for being in those comics and it would have made the 13-year-old me die with joy, seeing a check with my name on it from Fantagraphics. That's beyond my wildest teenage fantasy."

Daily OCD: 2/27/12
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Wilfred SantiagoreviewsPaul NelsonNo Straight LinesMatthias WivelKevin AveryJustin HallinterviewsGilbert HernandezEros ComixDaily OCDBlake BellBill Everett 28 Feb 2012 1:46 AM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

21: The Story of Roberto Clemente

Interview: Our own Eric Buckler talks to Wilfred Santiago at our own The Comics Journal: "Unlike working with someone else’s script, there’s no linear method when I work on my own. That is to say I write while I ‘toon, and I ‘toon while I write. So the most important step is editing–what’s left on the page before going to the printer and into the sweaty hands of readers. I do believe writing has improved my cartooning. I don’t think it’s an accident that some of the best cartoonists are writers. I’m not putting myself in that group but I strive for it."

Amazing Mysteries: The Bill Everett Archives Vol. 1

Review: "This is a wonderful collection of golden age material from Bill Everett, all never before reprinted.... For fans of golden age material or Bill Everett Amazing Mysteries: The Bill Everett Archives, Vol. 1 is a must have look at early comics from lesser known publishers... At $40 it’s an investment into rarely seen material." – Scott VanderPloeg, Comic Book Daily

Kolor Klimax

Review: At Danish comics website Nummer9, Nikolaj Mangurten Rubin looks at Kolor Klimax: Nordic Comics Now, calling it "A many-headed troll monster of a book" and giving it a 4 out of 5 rating

 Everything Is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson

Review: "Not many music writers warrant a biography. Lester Bangs was one. Maybe Tosches or Kent. But Everything Is an Afterthought, by Kevin Avery, is a singular piece of work, a hybrid bio and anthology. Nelson was the Orson Welles of rock letterdom, a man whose profiles of Springsteen and Zevon were masterpieces of the form. A slow stone-cutter of a writer, a cinephile and a noir buff (and an inveterate deadline-misser), he shot himself in the foot many times, but Avery’s book makes the reader misty-eyed for a time when music journalism was populated by hard-nosed evangelists, not suck-ups or career snarks." – Peter Murphy, "Blog of Revelations," Hot Press

Birdland [Expanded Edition - Sold Out]

Review: As part of ComicsAlliance's series focusing on sex in comics, Douglas Wolk looks at Gilbert Hernandez's Birdland: "Birdland has been out of print for a while, which is a pity. It's witty, eccentric, bursting with joy, and utterly, cheerfully smutty.... And the whole thing is drawn in a style that's the erotic equivalent of Jack Kirby's fight scenes: grounded in the way actual bodies interact, but pumped up to an imaginative intensity way beyond anything the naked eye has ever seen. On top of that, Birdland is funny -- not corny-funny or nudge/wink-funny, but absurd and sly, with a terrific sense for what can make the overfamiliar language of pornography fresh again."

No Straight Lines

Plug: "I’ve been waiting for No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics since I first heard about it last summer.... I can’t wait!" – Daniela Capistrano, Daniela's Lair

Daily OCD Extra: Pat Thomas & Listen, Whitey! media domination
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under televisionreviewsPat ThomasinterviewsDaily OCDaudio 27 Feb 2012 8:16 PM

Pat Thomas has been all over the television and radio dial talking about Listen, Whitey! The Sights and Sounds of Black Power 1965-1975. He was host Nancy Guppy's guest on Friday's episode of Art Zone on the Seattle Channel — the segment begins at the 8:00 mark in the video embedded above or available here [Edit: link updated to jump directly to the segment].

Florangela Davila of NPR station KPLU talked to Pat this morning; streaming audio and a recap of the segment are available here.

Pat's appearance last Wednesday on WNYC's Soundcheck is embedded below and archived here.

Pat's guest spot on The Roadhouse with Greg Vandy on KEXP last Wednesday is available in the KEXP Streaming Archive through Wednesday of next week.

And if you prefer your interviews in good old text format Gillian Gaar has a Q&A with Pat at Examiner.com.

Meanwhile, the print press has been rolling in — here's a tremendous review by Mark Anthony Neal in the current issue of SPIN (click image to enlarge):

Listen Whitey! review - SPIN Magazine

Ian Abarahams gives the book a 4-star review in Record Collector magazine:

Listen Whitey! review in Record Collector

Jon "Mojo" Mills reviews the book and album for Shindig!:

http://www.fantagraphics.com/images/flog/mike/201202/shindigalbumreviewmarch2012.jpg

Another 4-star review, from Lois Wilson in Mojo magazine:

Listen Whitey! review - Mojo


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