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Category >> reviews

Daily OCD: 1/6/12
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Walt KellySteven BrowerShimura TakakoRichard SalareviewsPirus and MezzoOlivier SchrauwenmangaJohnny RyanDaily OCDBest of 2011 6 Jan 2012 5:26 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

King of the Flies Vol. 2: The Origin of the WorldThe Man Who Grew His Beard

List: Robot 6's Chris Mautner lists "The Six Most Criminally Ignored Books of 2011," including King of the Flies Vol. 2: The Origin of the World by Mezzo & Pirus...

"...[T]his dark, disjointed story about an assortment of misfit suburban characters plagued by bad luck and their own poor choices is a compelling, bitterly funny read... Despite its obvious influences King never feels like a pale imitation, especially in the second volume, where the ante is upped considerably, both on an aesthetic and narrative level."

...and The Man Who Grew His Beard by Olivier Schrauwen:

"Color Engineering author Yuichi Yokoyama got all the attention this year, but to my eyes Schrauwen is just as innovative and wholly original a cartoonist as Yokoyama. The main difference between the two is that where Yokoyama is focused on expressing motion, machinery and discovery, Schrauwen prefers to explore differences in perception, especially between reality and that of the imagination.... Incredibly inventive and at times darkly funny, Beard is the work of a master cartoonist worth more attention."

Pogo Vol. 1Prison Pit Book 3

List: Patrick Markfort & Dave Ferraro discuss their favorites of 2011 on the Comics-and-More video podcast, with Patrick picking Pogo: The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips Vol. 1 – Through the Wild Blue Wonder as his Favorite Archival Comic Collection and Prison Pit Book 3 by Johnny Ryan as his Favorite Graphic Novel — see muti-part video at the link

The Hidden

List: Carol Borden of The Cultural Gutter names The Hidden by Richard Sala as one of "10 Comics I Liked in 2011": "The world is ending in madness and blood, as a bearded man flees to the countryside. But what does he know about the end and why is it mostly nubile young women who are being killed? Another tale of mayhem, mystery and mad science from Richard Sala."

Wandering Son Vol. 2

Review: "This volume [of Wandering Son] is absolutely wonderful. It has an overall very gentle feel to it, but it’s punctuated by moments of cruelty and sadness.... It’s a rare thing to get such simple realism in a manga, and Takako handles it exquisitely.... This series can be really harsh at times, but there are some great heartwarming moments, as well. That’s what makes it great." – Kristin Bomba, ComicAttack.net

Out of the Shadows

Bookmark: Steven Brower (author of From Shadow to Light: The Life and Art of Mort Meskin and editor of the upcoming Meskin collection Out of the Shadows) has a new blog for his writings, appropriately titled Steven Brower Writings

Daily OCD: 1/4/12
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Tony MillionaireShimura TakakoRichard SalareviewsPaul NelsonPat ThomasMichel GagnemangaKevin AveryJoe SimonJack KirbyinterviewsDaily OCD 4 Jan 2012 8:05 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Wandering Son Vol. 2

Review: "Wandering Son Vol. 2 is a great sophomore collection from Takako; I feel like the slightly choppy nature from the early chapters in Vol. 1 is gone, and Takako’s starting to expand the cast and the plot in a way that provides more of a dramatic bite. Based on the class trip sequence in this volume, Takako’s just getting ready to make Wandering Son a lot more heavy and less idealized for the characters. If it goes anything like we see here, we’ve got a hell of a ride ahead of us. With beautifully designed hardcovers (and a pleasing weight and feel to the books too, with a good paper stock to boot), Wandering Son is the sort of series you’ll be proud to have on your bookshelf. I’m ready for the next volume now." – Greg McElhatton, Read About Comics

The Hidden

Review: "...I should warn you: this book is dark and bleak even for Sala, and that's dark indeed. There are still hints of his mordant humor, and his precise lines and color washes are as ghoulishly appropriate as always -- but The Hidden out-Salas any of the prior Sala books, which is an unlikely and impressive thing." – Andrew Wheeler, The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

Tony Millionaire 1

Interview: At USA Today Pop Candy , guest contributor Grace Bello chats with Tony Millionaire: "I'm still stuck with my love for fantasy. When I say 'fantasy,' I don't mean wizards and swords -- I mean anything that pops into my mind. I like stuff that doesn't have a contemporary feel to it. I mean, if I draw a telephone, it's got to be one of those old-fashioned phones that you hold with two hands. But that would be the problem with anything that's autobio; I'd have to draw modern cars and telephones, and I don't want to do that yet. If I draw an autobio comic, it's got to be about me in 1727."

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

Interview: At Comic Book Resources, Alex Dueben talks to Michel Gagné about restoring Simon & Kirby's romance comics for our upcoming collection Young Romance: "Like a snowball, the project kept getting bigger and bigger. It was one of those things you have on the back burner for years and you constantly have to give it some attention. Finding the material was difficult and costly, the restoration process was long and tedious, but the book kept looking better all the time so I stayed motivated throughout. I wanted that book on my shelf!"

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

Interview (Video): Mr. Media®'s Bob Andelman talks to Kevin Avery about Paul Nelson and Everything Is an Afterthought: "Paul Nelson had a fascinating life. If we worked together, it would not have been the same book; being a very private man, Paul would not have revealed everything that I found out."

Commentary: Patrick Pritchett recalls an evening spent with Paul Nelson as part of an essay on the "Poetics of Failure"

Listen, Whitey!

Plug: The Austin American-Statesman's Joe Gross looks ahead to some of his most-anticipated 2012 books, including Listen, Whitey!: The Sounds of Black Power 1965-1975: "Producer and writer Pat Thomas spent five years researching this tome, exploring the vinyl legacy of the Black Power movement from recordings of speeches by activists such as Huey Newton, Bobby Seale and Elaine Brown to Motown's activist imprint Black Forum to the role white figures such as Bob Dylan and John Lennon played in the movement. Probably the book on this list to which I am most looking forward."

Daily OCD: 1/3/12
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Willie and JoeWalt KellyTrina RobbinsreviewsPopeyePeter BaggeOlivier SchrauwenNoah Van SciverMickey MouseMichael KuppermanMichael J VassalloMartiLove and RocketsLos Bros HernandezKevin HuizengaJoyce FarmerJohnny RyanJim WoodringJasonJaime HernandezGilbert HernandezFloyd GottfredsonEC SegarDisneyDavid BDave McKeanDaily OCDCharles BurnsCarl BarksBlake BellBill MauldinBest of 2011 4 Jan 2012 2:43 AM

The first Online Commentary & Diversions post of the year might very well end up being the longest:

Love and Rockets

List: Humorist and television personality John Hodgman, asked to name his 5 favorite comics in an open Q&A session on his Tumblr blog, says "Love and Rockets: I don’t like to choose between brothers, but Jaime Hernandez is one of the greatest drawers of human faces and human want on the planet."

Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge: Only a Poor Old Man by Carl Barks

List: Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge: Only a Poor Old Man by Carl Barks is #39 on The A.V. Club 's list of "most anticipated entertainments of 2012": "Only a Poor Old Man will bring Scrooge McDuck, possibly Barks’ greatest creation, into the spotlight. The bespectacled miser will dive around in his money bin and burrow through it like a gopher, and his timeless adventures will get the treatment they deserve."

Love and Rockets: New Stories #4Ganges #4Prison Pit Book 3

List: Tucker Stone, whose Best of 2011 previously appeared at comiXology, presents a slightly modified list for Flavorwire's "10 of the Year's Most Buzzed-About Comic Releases":

"Last year’s Love and Rockets was a huge deal, but this year’s installment is arguably even better.... Comics has yet to provide Love and Rockets with anything approximating 'competition,' but it doesn’t appear that the Hernandez brothers have any reason to be concerned about that quite yet. They’re still way better at this than everybody else on the planet."

"The big thing this year was watching all the great young cartoonists of the early 2000s carving out their places in the pantheon. Huizenga’s a perfect example — he’s been regularly turning out excellent comics for years now, and yet Ganges #4 still reads like a revelation.... It’s a fascinating experience reading these comics, and they’re gorgeous to boot."

"The continuing adventures of Johnny Ryan’s most violent fantasies run amuck, [Prison Pit] is rapidly becoming the comic that I look forward to the way a fat kid looks forward to syrup-encrusted cake. There’s no getting around the hoary old cliche — 'these aren’t for everybody' — so God help you if you can’t figure out a way to enjoy these books."

Congress of the AnimalsThe Armed Garden and Other StoriesLove from the Shadows

List: The prolific Sean T. Collins, after having contributed to CBR's Top 100, runs down his personal 20 Best Comics of 2011 on his Attentiondeficitdisorderly blog AND at Robot 6, with Ganges #4 by Kevin Huizenga at #15...

"Huizenga wrings a second great book out of his everyman character’s insomnia. It’s quite simple how, really: He makes comics about things you’d never thought comics could be about, by doing things you never thought comics could do to show you them. Best of all, there’s still the sense that his best work is ahead of him, waiting like dawn in the distance."

...Congress of the Animals by Jim Woodring at #14...

"...[T]he payoff... feels like a weight has been lifted from Woodring’s strange world, while the route he takes to get there is illustrated so beautifully it’s almost superhuman. It’s the happy ending he’s spent most of his career earning."

...The Armed Garden and Other Stories by David B. at #11...

"Religious fundamentalism... has worn a thousand faces in a millennia-long carnevale procession of war and weirdness, and David B. paints portraits of three of its masks with bloody brilliance. Focusing on long-forgotten heresies and treating the most outlandish legends about them as fact, B.’s high-contrast linework sets them all alight with their own incandescent madness."

...Love from the Shadows by Gilbert Hernandez at #4...

"I picture Gilbert Hernandez approaching his drawing board these days like Lawrence of Arabia approaching a Turkish convoy: 'NO PRISONERS! NO PRISONERS!' In a year suffused with comics funneling pitch-black darkness through a combination of sex and horror, none were blacker, sexier, or more horrific than this gender-bending exploitation flick from Beto's 'Fritz-verse.'"

...and Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 by Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez at #1:

"...[L]et's add to the chorus praising Jaime's 'The Love Bunglers' as one of the greatest comics of all time, the point to which one of the greatest comics series of all time has been hurtling toward for thirty years.... You can count the number of cartoonists able to wed style to substance, form to function, this seamlessly on one hand with fingers to spare. A masterpiece."

Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1: Race to Death ValleyThe Cabbie Vol. 1The Man Who Grew His Beard

List: In the same Robot 6 piece, Chris Mautner lists his favorites top to bottom, leading off with Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 by the Hernandez brothers at #1...

"The hype and acclaim surrounding Xaime Hernandez’s conclusion to his 'Love Bunglers' saga has been overwhelming, and every ounce of it is deserved. This is simply a phenomenal achievement in comics. A moving, thoughtful story of missed opportunities, loss and eventual reconciliation that provides in many ways a fitting conclusion to all of Xaime’s 'Locas' stories. I’d be hard pressed to think of a better comic that came out this year."

...Congress of the Animals by Jim Woodring at #4...

"It takes a bit of daring to be willing to alter the status quo in a respected body of work and considerable talent to be able to do so in as assured manner as Woodring does here."

...Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1: Race to Death Valley by Floyd Gottfredson at #10...

"More than the new Carl Barks collection, more than the return of Pogo, the resurrected, re-appreciated comic strip I found myself falling in love the most with this year was Gottfredson’s plunky, adventure-loving mouse, a scrappier version of Disney’s iconic creation. More to the point, I was completely taken with the stunning packaging and background information Fantagraphics and the books editor put together for this series. It’s new benchmark for reprint projects."

...Ganges #4 by Kevin Huizenga at #14...

"The arrival of a new issue of Ganges is always a treat and this one, a continuation of lead character Glenn Ganges’ ever-failing attempts to get a decent night’s rest, is no exception."

...Prison Pit Book 3 by Johnny Ryan at #15...

"Three volumes into this grand guginol series and it continues to surprise and delight, this time introducing a new character and suggesting via an end sequence that Ryan has been reading a lot of Fort Thunder comics."

...Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes by Carl Barks at #16...

"Do I really have to explain at this point why Carl Barks matters or how nice it is to finally see an affordable book-length collection of his work? Can’t wait for volume 2."

...The Cabbie Vol. 1 by Marti at #17...

"In his interview with Tom Spurgeon, publisher Kim Thompson described this as 'Dick Tracy on crank' that’s about as good a description of this fever-pitched crime noir tale as I can come up with."

...and The Man Who Grew His Beard by Oliver Schrauwen at #18:

"Incredibly inventive, Schrauwen, like Yokoyama, seems intent on pushing the comics medium into new and interesting directions. But where Yokoyama is concerned mainly with motion and exploration, Schrauwen is concerned mainly with perception and the interior world of the mind. This is great, mind-blowing work."

List: More Robot 6 listmaking from Matt Seneca, who has Ganges #4 by Kevin Huizenga and Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 tied for 10th place

Pogo Vol. 1

List: Also on Robot 6's roundup of best-of lists from its writers, Tim O'Shea ranks Pogo Vol. 1 at #9: "Damn if this was not worth the wait... Volume 1 of the complete syndicated daily strips of Pogo would be enough to put this book on my list. But the fact that Fantagraphics has a foreword by Jimmy Breslin; an introduction by Steve Thompson; a piece on the Pogo Sunday Funnies by Mark Evanier; and Swamp Talk (R.H. Harvey annotations on the strips) is just icing on the cake."

Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the AndesWalt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 2: Trapped on Treasure Island

List: Praise for designer Jacob Covey as Robot 6's Kevin Melrose names the 50 Best Covers of 2011 including Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes and Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 2: Trapped on Treasure Island

List: Here's Frank Santoro at The Comics Journal with a year-end favorites list that includes Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 and Ganges #4 and Love from the Shadows

Celluloid

List: David McKean's Celluloid gets a "See Also" shout-out on Cyriaque Lamar's list of The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Comics of 2011 at io9: "A decidedly adult erotica graphic novel with no dialogue, this is the famed Sandman cover artist going at page after page of a sexy hallucination, whipped up by a magic porno movie projector. Dreamscapes with boners."

List: Comics Journal contributor and Fantagraphics pal Gavin Lees names his Top Comics of 2011 on his own Graphic Eye site, including Love and Rockets: New Stories #4...

"After 'Browntown' in last year’s installment of New Stories, there was a worry that Jaime might have peaked — how on earth was he going to top that story? The achingly beautiful conclusion to 'The Love Bunglers' in this volume was the answer. Pulling together strands from Maggie’s entire 30-year history in two pages was nothing short of stunning, with his art as cooly confident as ever, making it a real emotional sucker punch. Gilbert’s work developing Fritz’s movie back-catalogue is a real mind-bender, too, weaving inter- and meta-textual strands together that lets his characters say so much, while saying so little. It is terrifying how talented these guys are."

... and Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1: Race to Death Valley by Floyd Gottfredson:

"Forget Pogo and Carl Barks — we already knew they were classics — the real reprint revelation of 2011 was good ole' Mickey Mouse.... To read these strips is to rediscover a love for Mickey and marvel at Gottfredson's amazing grasp of storytelling and humour, as well as his flawless artwork. Naturally, with Fantagraphics overseeing the reprints, the design, packaging and presentation is gorgeous — a real worthy successor to their Peanuts series."

Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes

List: Noah Van Sciver lists his top five favorite comics of 2011 in a comic for the Atomic Books blog, with Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes his second choice: "Being a big Robert Crumb fan, I took great pleasure in reading the stories that the young Crumb was so influenced by."

Review: At The Hooded Utilitarian Domingos Isabelinho casts a detailed critical eye on Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes by Carl Barks

Plug: "I’m a little mortified to admit that Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes is my first exposure to Carl Barks (after decades of being interested in finally seeing why he’s so revered as a comic creator), but it definitely won’t be my last. Fantagraphics’ first volume of Barks material is a great place to start; a mixture of epic quests, short stories, and gag strips that are all impressively funny and awesome." – Greg McElhatton, Robot 6

Special Exits

List: On his Domino Books blog, Austin English explains why Joyce Farmer's Special Exits is his favorite comic of 2011: "Farmer's cartooning allows for her characters to act out their illness and struggles in front of the reader. Farmer's drawing of her aging father is something to behold — it's not Farmer saying 'here is what my sick father went through.' Instead we see a drawing age and wither in front of us, and speak to us with both intelligence and dementia. I’ve never seen anything in comics done with such skill — let alone see a graphic novel (often the territory of poorly conceived topical heart wrenchers) speak about tragedy with so much depth and clarity."

List: Comics writer Vito Delsante declares Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 the Best Single Issue of 2011 on his Best of 2011 blog post: "The Hernandez Brothers, since New Stories 3, have really created the most important mythology in comics since Stan and Jack (and Steve).... Jaime Hernandez should win every single award in comics in 2012."

List: iFanboy's Ron Richards names Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 the Best Original Gaphic Novel of 2011: "See my Book of the Month review for my reasons."

Popeye Vol. 5:

List: On his blog The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent., Andrew Wheeler chooses Popeye Vol. 5: "Wha's a Jeep?" by E.C. Segar as one of his top 12 Favorite Books of 2011

List: We rank 4 entries on Renee Lott's Top 10 Comics of 2011 at her Blogwithfeet

Jason Conquers America

Review: "I've been digging the new Fantagraphics release Jason Conquers America which commemorates ten years of the venerable publisher's relationship with the Norewegian artist.... My favorite story in the collection revolves around a crow who naps in a bed in a field and wakes up obliviously in an entirely new life. (Telling any more would spoil the revelation.) In 23 short wordless panels, Jason creates a powerful and compelling commentary that proves how powerfully expressive comics can be." – Stray Riffs

Tales Designed to Thrizzle #7

Review: "A new comic from the top humorist in comics is always welcome. This issue [of Tales Designed to Thrizzle] is the usual combination of dada and surprisingly tightly-wrapped narrative gags surrounding the sort of cultural detritus mined by Drew Friedman & Mark Newgarden.... 'Quincy, M.E.'... is one of Kupperman's best strips because he keeps adding new layers of plot to an already-ridiculous story.... I still miss the sheer density of detail in Kupperman's older work that made reading it almost exhausting, but the avalanche of ideas remains intact, as does his ability to elicit laughs." – Rob Clough, High-Low

Prison Pit

Review: "...Prison Pit... [is] a marriage of pro wrestling, manga, bromance and filth.... Johnny Ryan has an almost Kirbyesque level of character design, but with obviously more genitalia, and it can at times be a joy just to see what is going to come on the next page.... Johnny Ryan is a cartoonist at the top of his game right now and he may just be the closest thing the comic world has to marmite." – Taylor Pithers, The Weekly Crisis

Willie & Joe: Back Home

Interview: The Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon talks with Todd DePastino, biographer of Bill Mauldin and editor of our Willie & Joe books. Spurgeon says Willie & Joe: Back Home is "one of my three favorite comics-related books from 2011, and, I think, one of the year's best." From DePastino: "When I look at these cartoons, I think of literary critic Dominic LaCapra's claim that some books are good to think about and a very few are good to think with. Mauldin's postwar cartoons are good to think with. They not only provide a window to the times, like, say, good photographs or reporting might, but they also raise fundamental questions and issues that are with us still."

Review: "These comics are beautiful. Each single-panel comic is blown up to a full page, so that Mauldin’s artistry can truly (and easily) be admired without squinting. The sentiments expressed are astonishing and bravely progressive for the time.... I’d never thought or heard about the poor reception combat vets received after WWII. (I mistakenly thought that only happened to our soldiers after the Vietnam War.) I wish I knew what they experienced. I’ll settle for giving [Willie & Joe: Back Home] to the next WWII vet I meet and hope that it sparks a conversation." – Gene Ambaum, The Unshelved Book Club

Palomar: The Heartbreak Soup Stories [Sold Out]

Discussion (Audio): Hosts of the Deconstructing Comics podcast Tim and Kumar and special guest Tom Spurgeon examine the work of Gilbert Hernandez

Elysian Nibiru label - Charles Burns

Plug: Alex Carr of Amazon.com's Omnivoracious blog takes note of our "12 Beers of the Apocalypse" collaboration with Elysian Brewing, featuring the artwork of Charles Burns

The Secret History of Marvel Comics - preliminary cover art

Behind the Scenes: Co-author Blake Bell gives you another behind-the-scenes look at The Secret History of Marvel Comics

Trina Robbins at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, October 8, 2011

Coming Attractions?: The wonderful Trina Robbins reveals not one but THREE possible projects she's talking with us about at The Beat as part of their year-end creators' survey

Peter Bagge

Curmudgeonliness: Peter Bagge also participates in The Beat's year-end creators' survey: "Does 'paying my bills' count as a guilty pleasure?" Classic Pete.

Daily OCD: 12/30/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Wilfred SantiagoThe Comics JournalShimura TakakoRichard SalareviewsPeter BaggeMichael KuppermanmangaLove and RocketsJessica AbelJaime HernandezGilbert HernandezDaily OCDBest of 201121 31 Dec 2011 12:01 AM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Love and Rockets: New Stories #4

List: Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 lands at #4 on Comic Book Resources' Top 100 Comics of 2011, with Chris Mautner saying "The hype and acclaim surrounding Jaime Hernandez's conclusion to his 'Love Bunglers' saga has been overwhelming, and every ounce of it is deserved. This is simply a phenomenal achievement in comics. I'd be hard pressed to think of a better comic that came out this year," and Sean T. Collins saying "...[L]et's add to the chorus praising Jaime's 'The Love Bunglers' as one of the greatest comics of all time, the point to which one of the greatest comics series of all time has been hurtling toward for thirty years.... You can count the number of cartoonists able to wed style to substance, form to function, this seamlessly on one hand with fingers to spare. A masterpiece."

List: At Popdose, Johnny Bacardi lists his favorite comics of 2011, including Love and Rockets: New Stories #4: "Jaime didn’t need the last couple of issues of L&R:NS to make his already stellar rep, but I’d think these stories will be revered and referred to for decades to come. Don’t mean to downplay Gilbert’s contributions — they’re as solid as ever — but the last couple of issues have been Jaime’s masterpieces and are absolutely essential if you’ve ever cared for Ray, Maggie, Hopey or any of these characters for the last three decades, and a hell of a good read even if you are unfamiliar with them except by reputation." (Richard Sala's The Hidden and Wilfred Santiago's 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente merit Honorable Mentions.)

Wandering Son Vol. 1

List: Ed Sizemore names his Top 10 Manga of 2011 at Manga Worth Reading, with Wandering Son by Shimura Takako at #2: "Words fail me when trying to describe the beauty and artistry of this manga. The genius of this series is that Takako doesn’t focus on how 'strange and unusual' transgender people are, but rather how ordinary."

Yeah!

Review: "Being in the band is an aspiration held by many a young girl, and for a lucky few, a reality. Peter Bagge envisioned this world in zealous delight with his graphic novel Yeah!... As a long time fan of Hernandez’s Palomar and Love & Rockets, it was a real treat to see his familiar drawing style across the pages of Yeah! Hernandez has a knack for conjuring up Dan DeCarlo (of Archie fame), with his own unique zany twist.... Readers are in for a wild ride as they follow the band’s intergalactic adventures. Old school comic fans, pop music lovers, and alien aficionados will enjoy Yeah! – it’s even Comics Code approved." – Marie Penny, The Hub (ALA/YALSA)

Tales Designed to Thrizzle #7

Review: "In the seventh issue of his own, glamorously titled Tales Designed to Thrizzle, Kupperman’s got more mockery in store.... Kupperman’s highs are surrealism and satire melting together, and those highs in this issue is a riff on Tales from the Crypt that specifically targets the terrorizing world of baths, and a McGruff the Crime Dog equally as grim. The main adventure is Jack Klugman in his Quincy shoes tumbling down the rabbit hole of allusions new and old. Humor-wise, that focused quest is more spontaneity than surrealism and satire. But that’s the only complaint." – Zack Kotzer, Newsarama

Mirror, Window

Commentary: At Robot 6, Chris Mautner presents a reader's guide to the work of Jessica Abel as part of his "Comics College" series

TCJ

Commentary: Tom Spurgeon's interview with The Comics Journal and Robot 6 contributor Chris Mautner at The Comics Reporter is a highly recommended read, and not just because of all the love and shout-outs Mautner throws our way

Everything Is an Afterthought in The New York Times
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under reviewsPaul NelsonKevin AveryDaily OCD 30 Dec 2011 2:23 PM

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

David Hajdu (author of The Ten-Cent Plague) reviewed Kevin Avery's Everything Is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson: for The New York Times Sunday Book Review:

"Paul Nelson, a propagandist committed to some dubious values, had a gift for imbuing disreputable, even dangerous ideas with discomforting grace. You might almost say he was the Leni Riefenstahl of rock criticism....

"Still, he matters — and not only as an exemplary case of a good mind applied to wrongheaded purposes. He was on to something legitimate when, in his 20s during the early ’60s, he took the ambitions of the rapidly maturing music of the rock generation as a challenge to produce ambitious criticism. The fiery, literate pop-music writing he developed soon crystallized — and probably helped elevate — the standards of the work he wrote about, while raising the expectations of its audience. The existence of criticism of an art is one of the things that establish it as an art, and the rock world came to think of its music as an art when serious critics started treating it like one....

"His significance as a maker of ardent and crafty (if parochial) rock writing is clear from the testimonies by critics and musicians in the biographical sections of Everything Is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson, a quirky pastiche of biography and anthology put together by a zealous Nelson admirer, Kevin Avery."

And in this Sunday's upcoming issue of the Book Review, the NYT names the book an Editors' Choice.

The book has previously been named one of Library Journal's Best Books 2011, one of Rolling Stone's Best Rock Books of 2011, and one of Ken Tucker's "Top 10: The Year in Music" on NPR's Fresh Air, among other accolades.

Daily OCD: 12/29/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Willie and JoeWalt KellyTony MillionaireShimura TakakoRichard SalareviewsMickey MouseMichael KuppermanMark KalesnikomangaLove and RocketsKevin HuizengaJoyce FarmerJaime HernandezJacques TardiJack DavisGilbert HernandezFloyd GottfredsonDisneyDaily OCDCarl BarksBill MauldinBest of 2011 29 Dec 2011 8:17 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Love and Rockets: New Stories #4

List: Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 is ComicsAlliance's Best Comic of 2011, with Jason Michelitch saying "The final 15 pages of 'The Love Bunglers' isn't just the end of a great new issue of a Bros. Hernanadez comic book. It isn't just the sixth part of a fantastic serialized graphic novel that's run since last year. It is the culmination of nearly thirty years worth of nuance, gesture, shading, pacing and dialogue — of angst, mania, fear, friendship, anger, and love. It is the finale to an epic of human scale feeling and drama. It is heart-stopping."

List: Matthew Price of The Oklahoman names Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 the Best Graphic Novel of 2011: "The Brothers Hernandez are some of the best cartoonists in comics' history, and Jamie Hernandez has one of the high points of his career in Vol. 4 of 'New Stories.'... Gilbert's visceral tale satirizes a societal obsession with vampires by showing their messy, unforgiving side."

FreewaySpecial Exits

List: The A.V. Club's Noel Murray names The Best Comics of 2011: Graphic Novels & Art Comics in several subcategories. In Original Graphic Novels Mark Kalesniko's Freeway comes in at #4...

"Kalesniko’s animation-influenced style makes Freeway a fluid read, as he emphasizes motion, in striking compositions that guide the eye across the page smoothly. The plot moves just as freely, as Kalesniko renders both the exterior and interior spaces of his protagonist with a mix of loving care and impassioned disgust."

...and Joyce Farmer's Special Exits is at #5...

"Farmer jumps between matter-of-fact details and amusing anecdotes about the grind of end-of-life care, while turning the book into a celebration of two people: her father, a cheerful man so determined not to complain that he let serious health problems slide for months; and her stepmother, a steadfast woman whose pragmatism warred with her vanity. The book depicts old age as a wild, lurching ride: from medical crises to euphoric nostalgia to an eerie calm as the end draws near."

Love and Rockets: New Stories #4Ganges #4

...the Top Three New Issues includes Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 at #1...

"Anyone who’s alive in the world should be moved by this story’s depiction of life as a series of accidents, miscommunications, and embarrassments, which sometimes work out okay regardless. 'The Love Bunglers' is rich with hidden meanings, complicated ideas and superior artistry."

...and Kevin Huizenga's Ganges #4 in the #2 spot...

"The fourth issue of Kevin Huizenga’s Ganges continues the artist’s increasingly masterful hybrid of direct storytelling and experimental abstraction... The story suits Huizenga’s style, because he can both document the familiar minutiae of daily life and the sense of unreality that takes hold whenever someone is up half the night. Huizenga works in visual motifs of endlessly branching possibilities and spiraling shapes, showing how becoming 'lost in thought' can be terrifying."

Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the AndesPogo Vol. 1Willie & Joe: Back Home

...and the Top Five Archival Collections are topped by Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes by Carl Barks...

"...Lost in the Andes encourages both fannish and intellectual approaches to the material. There are scholarly analyses and bibliographies, but also more than 200 pages of some of the best-written comics ever published, full of square eggs, rubber bricks, golden Christmas trees, and races around the world."

...with Pogo: The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips Vol. 1 - Through the Wild Blue Wonder by Walt Kelly in the 2nd spot...

"The early Pogos aren’t as topical as what would come later, when Kelly would become a hero to the counterculture for taking on McCarthyism and promoting ecology. Mostly, these strips establish the world of the Okefenokee Swamp and the animals who dwell there, with Pogo the possum standing as the calm center of a cast that includes the dim Albert Alligator, the not-as-bright-as-he-thinks Howland Owl and the misanthropic, hilariously humorless Porkypine."

...and Bill Mauldin's Willie & Joe: Back Home at #3:

"The cartoons in Willie & Joe: Back Home capture Mauldin at a low ebb personally, but ferociously inspired professionally. Over the objections of his editors, Mauldin drew cartoons about estranged wives, limited employment opportunities, heartless fatcats, and an America more petty, materialistic, and xenophobic than the one they’d left behind... Today they’re a blistering reminder that life after WWII wasn’t all suburban bliss and baby boom."

Pogo Vol. 1Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1-2 box set

List: On the Westfield Comics Blog Roger Ash names his Best of 2011, with his Top 5 Books/Collections including Pogo: The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips Vol. 1 - Through the Wild Blue Wonder by Walt Kelly ranked at #3...

"This is not a book to be read quickly, but slowly and savored. Pogo is widely regarded as one of the greatest comic strips ever and this first volume amply shows why."

...and Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse by Floyd Gottfredson at #2:

"The highlight of the volumes are the strips themselves which are a lot of fun and show an adventurous side to Mickey that may come as a surprise to those who only know the modern Mickey. It’s also fun watching Gottfredson develop as an artist and storyteller as the strips progress. In addition to the comics there are essays examining the stories, the creators involved (the comics were often inked and scripted by others), and the characters themselves. This series is a long overdue look at one of comics legendary creators and their work."

Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture - A Career RetrospectiveTales Designed to Thrizzle #7

Reviews: VICE's Nick Gazin looks at Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture...

"...[T]his book is so great and contains all the things you would want from a career retrospective from Jack Davis. Jack Davis is one of America's great illustrators whose career started in the late 1930s and continues to this day. That's fucking insane to think about.... Like I said, this book delivers the goods in a big way. It's 13 inches tall so you can really sink your eyeballs' teeth into the images."

...and Tales Designed to Thrizzle #7 by Michael Kupperman:

"This issue of Tales Designed to Thrizzle starts out with stories based around the idea that bathtubs are evil or haunted, possibly based on childhood fears of getting sucked down the drain or something. Doesn't matter, it's hilarious even if it's based in absurdity. After that there are comics with funny dialogue about Quincy and St. Peter and Reservior Dogs II that all keep referencing back to the previous comics and have a dreamy feel, but if your dreams were hilarious.... A bunch of stuff is thrown your way in this issue and when it's over you think, 'I liked that. I feel satisfied. Mmm-MM!'"

Wandering Son Vol. 1

Review: "[Wandering Son] has a very well-thought, carefully paced narrative that allows us to explore what goes on inside each character’s head and to watch them develop as people. It’s much more a quiet slice of life affair than it is an over-the-top comedy and/or drama, which might be something you’d expect from a manga featuring cross-dressing... [T]his hardcover book... represents a sophisticated side of literary manga. Translated with rare skill and sensitivity by veteran translator and comics scholar Matt Thorn, much of the story’s original flavour remains intact. Shimura Takako’s gender-bending story has a very quiet, introspective touch to it, and her artwork – with its clean lines, minimal backgrounds and sparse dialogue – beautifully reflects this." – Sean A. Noordin, The Star (Malaysia)

Pogo Vol. 1

Review (Video): Dave Ferraro & Patrick Markfort of the Comics-and-More Podcast look at Pogo: The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips Vol. 1 - Through the Wild Blue Wonder by Walt Kelly (two-part video at the link)

 The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec Vol. 1

Review: "Fantagraphics here in the states once again has begun to unearth [Tardi's] body of work into the North American light, the first volume of The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec being another fine edition produced in the best quality possible.... Does it sound a little crazy, imaginative, and probably addicting to read? Yes, yes it is. Which is why you need to read this series." – Drew McCabe, Comic Attack

Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture - A Career Retrospective500 Portraits

Plugs: Librairie Drawn & Quarterly's 211 Bernard blog spotlights Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture and Tony Millionaire's 500 Portraits

The Hidden

Plug: "You can’t start the new year without the end of times. Sala’s new book [The Hidden] features his recognizable palette and quirky, gothic font in an adult tale... The post-apocalyptic tale starts with a man waking up to find that everything has gone wrong; sorta a Rip Van Screwed. Great for those who enjoy zombie movies and dystopian books like 1984 or The Hunger Games." – Jen Vaughn, CCS Schulz Library Blog

Portraits

Plug: Publishers Weekly spotlights our upcoming Tony Millionaire book signing and art show opening in their Comics Events listings

Daily OCD: 12/28/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Wilfred SantiagoWalt KellyTony MillionaireRichard SalareviewsRaymond MacherotMickey MouseMichael KuppermanMaurice TillieuxLove and RocketsLos Bros HernandezKevin HuizengaJoost SwarteJim WoodringJacques TardiFloyd GottfredsonFantagraphics BookstoreDrew FriedmanDisneyDaily OCDBlake BellBill EverettBest of 201121 28 Dec 2011 7:59 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Mark Twain's Autobiography 1910-2010

List: The National Post's David Berry names The Best Graphic Novels of 2011, saying of his #3 choice "This does feel somewhat like cheating, since there’s only a few sequences of proper graphic work here, but why quibble about format: Mark Twain’s Autobiography 1910-2010 is, quite simply, one of the funniest things you’ll read in any genre. Kupperman has a child’s free-ranging imagination and an aging intellectual’s dry wit... This supposed telling of Mark Twain’s 20th-century life... would be an awe-inspiring work of imagination if it wasn’t so absurdly hilarious. Somewhere between John Hodgman and Graham Roumieu, Kupperman has found stark comic brilliance."

Ganges #4

List: Comic Book Resources continues their Top 100 comics of 2011 countdown, with Ganges #4 by Kevin Huizenga coming in at #48 and Brian Cronin calling it "mind-boggling" and "remarkable. Absolute top notch sequential work."

Love and Rockets

List: Comic Book Resources columnist Sonia Harris lists "My Top 10 Comics (for ANY Year)" with Love and Rockets taking the #2 spot: "Read Love & Rockets, all of them, both brothers, everything you can find. Your life will be richer."

The Arctic MarauderSibyl-Anne Vs. RatticusGil Jordan, Private Detective: Murder by High Tide

List: Bookgasm's J.T. Lindroos, running down the Best Euro Comics as part of the Best Books of 2011, writes "Fantagraphics continued its Jacques Tardi lineup, and I was particularly delighted by the proto-steampunk The Arctic Marauder, although I think one should own every single book in the series. I was also happy to see some less well-known artists get their chance, and both Sibyl-Anne Vs. Ratticus by R. Macherot and Murder by High Tide by Maurice Tilleux were wonderful surprises in the classic Franco-Belgian 'bigfoot' style. Fantagraphics is quickly becoming the Criterion Collection of comics publishing."

Congress of the Animals

List: Richmond VA comic shop Velocity Comics counts down their top ten Best Graphic Novels 2011, with Jim Woodring's Congress of the Animals at #9: "There are few artists’ work I can endlessly stare at with as much feverish perplexitude as Jim Woodring’s. Yes, I just made that word up."

Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1-2 box set

List: Vancouver BC culture site The Snipe surveys local comics industry folks for their favorite comics of the year. The Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse series by Floyd Gottfredson is named Best Collected Edition or Reprint by cartoonist Steve LeCouiliard...

"Floyd Gottfredson is one of the overlooked masters of the comic strip. Like Carl Barks, his work was always signed 'Walt Disney' but his craft and storytelling brilliance shone through. Comic strips really don’t provide much more pure joy than Gottfredson’s Mickey Mouse."

...and by VanCAF organizer Shannon Campbell...

"The two-volume collection of Floyd Gottfredson’s run of Mickey Mouse, hands down! These books chronicle the glory days of the old-school Mickey Mouse comics when Gottfredson did both art and story (from 1930-1934)."

...while the staff of Lucky's Comics can't pick just one:

"This has been a boon year reprint editions, but take your pick from Fantagraphics Books’ amazing editions of Pogo by Walt Kelly, Donald Duck by Carl Barks, Mickey Mouse by Floyd Gottfredson, and Prince Valiant by Hal Foster. Fantagraphics has done such an incredible job on book designs, colors, paper… all of the details that make these editions glow."

Love and Rockets: New Stories #421: The Story of Roberto ClementeThe Hidden

List: On his Four Colours & the Truth blog Tim Reinert picks his top 20 Best Original Graphic Novels of 2011, with Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 at #17...

"Love & Rockets. Three little words, but for those of us who love independent comic books, they mean so much.... As usual with L&R, the stories are sweet, sad, sexy, humorous, and above all, fun."

...21: The Story Of Roberto Clemente by Wilfred Santiago at #13...

"It’s not just the subject matter that’s a winner here. Santiago has a knack for simplicity in his storytelling approach, and in a medium that’s often beset by needless complexity, that’s a rare gift."

...and The Hidden by Richard Sala at #6:

"...[P]robably the best pure horror comic I read this year... and one that quite frankly shocked the hell out of me. Sala’s expressionist art style might not be the most obvious choice for telling blood-curdling horror stories, but its innocent cartoony quality somehow makes a perfect (and terrible) fit with the horrible, almost nihilistic story that Sala is telling."

Is That All There Is?

Review: "Swarte’s visuals are always gorgeous and distinctive, with a strong influence from Hergé but an even more rigidly mapped out structure. The more you look at them, especially the large ones, the more you see, as in a one-panel, one-pager that lays out a parodic vision of comics production as if it resulted from a Roger Corman-esque movie studio. His eye is careful and his line even more so. ...[Is That All There Is?] is a real pleasure to read and to look at, and it makes a case for Swarte as a real comics guy, not just an illustrator." – Hillary Brown, Paste

Pogo Vol. 1

Profile: At City Journal, an essay by Stefan Kanfer with a history of Walt Kelly and Pogo: "He frequently quoted a line that he had written for Porky Pine: 'Don’t take life so serious, it ain’t nohow permanent.' No, it ain’t. But art — even comic art — can be, in the hands of a master. Every book, every comic, every panel verifies the claims of Kelly’s fervent cheering squad: after 63 ever-lovin’ blue-eyed years, Pogo is still incomparabobble." (Via The Comics Reporter)

Portraits

Plug: Seattlest's Heather Logue spotlights Tony Millionaire's upcoming appearance and art show at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery: "Aside from the fact that he has an amazing superhero name, Tony Millionaire also has the extraordinary talent to back it up. The cartoonist will be at Fantagraphics with his latest book 500 Portraits -- a collection of portraits (duh) of everything from the very famous face, to the very small bug. All meticulously crafted in his beautiful, yet grotesque way -- you're not going to want to miss Tony's take on portraiture."

Fantagraphics Books logo - shield emblem by Daniel Clowes

Plugs: At The Beat Heidi MacDonald recommends a few faves from our current 40%-off Inventory Reduction Sale

Plugs: Ladies Making Comics has a handy guide to books by women creators in our current 40%-off Inventory Reduction Sale

Old Jewish Comedians - The Complete Collection

Scene: At his blog, Drew Friedman recounts his experience as keynote speaker at the International Society of Caricature Artists' annual convention last month, with lots of photos, a couple video clips and a transcription of a Q&A session

Amazing Mysteries: The Bill Everett Archives Vol. 1

Commentary: On his blog, proud book-papa Blake Bell runs down the reasons he's so excited about the imminent release of Amazing Mysteries: The Bill Everett Archives Vol. 1, which he edited

Daily OCD: 12/27/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Wilfred SantiagoSteve DuinShimura TakakoRichard SalareviewsOil and WaterMichael KuppermanmangaLove and RocketsLos Bros HernandezLorenzo MattottiLeslie SteinKevin HuizengaJohnny RyanJim WoodringJasoninterviewsGilbert HernandezEdward GoreyDisneyDave McKeanDaily OCDCarl BarksBest of 2011Alexander Theroux21 28 Dec 2011 12:07 AM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Congress of the AnimalsMark Twain's Autobiography 1910-2010Prison Pit Book 3

List: The first part of Comic Book Resources' Top 100 Comics of 2011 countdown includes Jim Woodring's Congress of the Animals at #88...

"It takes a bit of daring to be willing to alter the status quo in a respected body of work and considerable talent to be able to do so in as assured manner as Woodring does here." – Chris Mautner

...Mark Twain's Autobiography 1910-2010 by Michael Kupperman at #87...

"Through war, animal make-out sessions and film writing, Kupperman takes Twain through the ringer in a hilariously catastrophic epic that the real-life 'Adventures of Huckleberry Finn' author would surely have appreciated. Although reading it won't score you any points on a history-class term paper, the book will certainly open your eyes to one of the funniest writers working in comics right now." – Brian Warmoth

...and Johnny Ryan's Prison Pit Book 3 at #86...

"The excessive violence is still here, more refined, more imaginative, more disturbing. Ryan pushes himself artistically in the second half of the book, delivering a stunning sequence that still haunts me." – Chad Nevett

Love from the Shadows  Eye of the Majestic Creature

...and in the second part of CBR's countdown, Love from the Shadows by Gilbert Hernandez at #70...

"I picture Gilbert Hernandez approaching his drawing board these days like Lawrence of Arabia approaching a Turkish convoy: 'NO PRISONERS! NO PRISONERS!' In a year suffused with comics funneling pitch-black darkness through a combination of sex and horror, none were blacker, sexier, or more horrific than this gender-bending exploitation flick from Beto's 'Fritz-verse.'" – Sean T. Collins

...and Leslie Stein's Eye of the Majestic Creature at #61:

"Leslie Stein burst onto the comics scene this year when Fantagraphics published the collection of four of her self-published comics... The comic is both surreal and mundane, the story of a young woman who moves to a New York complete with humanoid animals and talking musical instruments. ...Stein [is] one of the best independent creators to emerge in recent years." – Alex Dueben

StigmataGanges #4Celluloid

List: Robot 6's Graeme McMillan picks his 5 favorite books of 2011, including Stigmata by Lorenzo Mattotti & Claudio Piersanti...

"Way back at the end of last year, I called this the best graphic novel of 2011, and if I’m now a little more reticent to make that claim, it has more to do with the high quality of a lot of other releases this year than anything else because this is still a masterpiece that, were I some kind of unlikely comics czar, I’d make compulsory reading for everyone interested in the medium. Just a breathtaking book."

...Ganges #4 by Kevin Huizenga...

"Another book that I raved about earlier this year, and another one that I’m still raving about as strongly months later. A tour-de-force of cartooning from a creator who just continually improves, and pushes at the medium in almost everything he does."

...and Celluloid by Dave McKean:

"It’s a disturbing book in many ways – questions about exploitation and power are very present in the text – but also a beautiful, seductive one. It’s a book that sticks with you for a long time afterwards, and for that alone, it’s one I’ve returned to many times since first reading it."

Wandering Son Vol. 1

List: Panel Patter's Rob McMonigal names his Best of 2011: Manga Edition, with Wandering Son Vol. 1 by Shimura Takako in the #5 spot: "This is one of the most serious manga series I've ever read, and I finished it unable to come to grips with the best way to review it. Dealing with two children who come to realize they are trapped in the wrong gender, it's a story of secrets, revelations, understandings, and occasional cruelty. The book handles the topic with care and respect, however, which is part of why it is so good."

Isle of 100,000 GravesThe HiddenMark Twain's Autobiography 1910-2010

List: Another top-10 from Panel Patter's Rob McMonigal, whose Best of 2011: Indie Comics, is topped by 3 of our titles: Jason & Fabien Vehlmann's Isle of 100,000 Graves...

"Isle of 100,000 Graves has Jason's trademark deadpan humor, resolute protagonist, and ending that leaves the reader thinking."

...The Hidden by Richard Sala...

"At first, The Hidden feels like a typical apocalyptic story, albeit one painted amazingly well by Sala. But as things progress, the tale morphs and twists into one of the best horror comics I've read, with a twist towards the end that I never saw coming. That's what makes a comic stand out, and puts it near the top of my best of list."

...and Mark Twain's Autobiography 1910-2010 by Michael Kupperman at #1:

"I laughed out loud so many times over this mixture of text and illustration. It's a pitch-perfect book with almost no mis-steps, and I hereby call it my Best Indie Comic of 2011."

Love and Rockets: New Stories #4

List: At the Forbidden Planet International blog, comics creator John Riordan names Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 as one of his 3 favorite comics of the year, commenting only "My… aching… heart…"

21: The Story of Roberto Clemente

Review: "I found myself turning back and re-examining the pages often, digging through the many details that the words and images delivered. The story unfolds in earth tone – sepia illustrations, not gaudy, in keeping with the artist’s respect for the story and the subject. Clemente’s early life is here and one gets a real feel for his family and friends, and not without humor.... [21: The Story of Roberto Clemente] should appeal to graphic novel fans, baseball fans,  anyone who likes a great 'bigger then fiction' story, and many others." – Mark Hodgens, Skyscraper Magazine

Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes

Review: "Fantagraphics is now giving Barks’ Duck comics a whirl, and based off this first volume alone if there’s any justice in the comics world, fame should finally (belatedly) be coming for the late, great Barks.... The reproduction on these strips are beautiful; Fantagraphics hired cartoonist Rich Tommaso to re-color the works, and Tommaso wisely uses gentle flat tones to keep with the overall feel of Barks’ crisp, classic art. I also appreciated the essays about the different stories in the back of the book.... Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes is a handsome looking book, and trust me when I say it’s just the first of many I plan on reading by Barks." – Greg McElhatton, Read About Comics

Tales Designed to Thrizzle #7

Review: "So cue the squeals, and scan the racks at your friendly neighborhood comics retailer for writer/artist Michael Kupperman’s Tales Designed to Thrizzle #7. Beyond a cover whose hilarity strangely if successfully depends on its all-day-sucker coloring — tangerine, lemon, lime — this dadaistic offering opens with a six-page excerpt from Scary Bathtub Stories, a faux-Golden Age comic, and thereafter spirals further and further into neo-psychedelic weirdness." – Bryan Hollerbach, PLAYBACK:stl

Review: "I like to imagine [Michael Kupperman] sitting in some tiny hellhole of a studio apartment packed deep into the bowels of New York -- these noble creatures lose their mystique when they own homes -- doing mutant Thrizzle pages until they stop paying him or until he gets a gig in the back pages of Vice. Some feminine if not female voice of reason hovers next to his desk, thumbing through the newest set as he leans back in his chair, wondering if Fantagraphics paid him enough to afford blowing the budget on a beer, wiping entirely imaginary sweat from his brow." – Patrick Tobin, Multiversity Comics

Oil and Water

Interview: The Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon talks to Oil and Water writer Steve Duin: "I'm too new to all of this to fully grasp how the perfect union of writer and artist is formed... and there were times when Shannon [Wheeler] and I struggled to find common ground. But a great deal of my understanding of what we were dealing with in the Gulf owes to Shannon's perceptions and his sketchbook. He was refreshingly aggressive in dealing with the BP clean-up teams disinclined to give us access. His original poster for the group -- a naked woman starring incredulously at the oil derrick in her bed, and saying 'What do you mean, it broke?' -- is brilliant."

The Strange Case of Edward Gorey [Expanded Hardcover Edition]

Interview: Bookforum's John Madeira, who says "...Alexander Theroux’s writing... is grandiloquently lyrical, dizzyingly erudite, and often acerbic," talks with Theroux about The Strange Case of Edward Gorey ("a smart, engaging, and insightful monograph asking as many questions about the quirky artist as attempts at answers") and other topics: "Edward Gorey was very ornate — Corinthian! — in his love of language, and when he was in a chatty mood his conversation, crackling with allusions, was rich and often rare, exaggerated, campy to a degree, invariably tinctured with lots of movie-love, sarcasm, irony. Mind you, it was not that the man was trying to be something, contriving, say, to appear a cavalcade of wit, merely that, rather like Dr. Samuel Johnson, he happened to have sharp, remarkable 'views' on all sorts of subjects, almost all worthy of note."

Fantagraphics Books logo - shield emblem by Daniel Clowes

Plugs: One more from Panel Patter's Rob McMonigal, who recommends some things to pick up in our current 40%-off Inventory Reduction Sale

Daily OCD: 12/23/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under reviewsLove and RocketsKevin HuizengaJohnny RyanJim WoodringJaime HernandezJacques TardiDisneyDavid BDaily OCDCarl BarksBlake BellBest of 2011 23 Dec 2011 9:25 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Congress of the AnimalsPrison Pit Book 3

List: Tucker Stone counts down The Best of 2011 at comiXology. and we sure like the looks of his top 5:

At #5, Jim Woodring's Congress of the Animals: "Deftly exploring the individual's relationship with labor, consequence and love, Congress of the Animals might be Woodring's least nightmarish work yet. (Although there's still a decent portion of it involving face-robbed humanoids that you shouldn't leave lying open if you have junkies visiting.)"

At #4, Prison Pit Book 3 by Johnny Ryan: "Back in 2009, when Ryan began Prison Pit, it was a revelation; a bone-crushing giant, born fully clothed.... Make no mistake: if Jack Kirby was born today, these are the kinds of comics he'd be drawing."

Ganges #4

At #2, Ganges #4 by Kevin Huizenga: "While it has been two years since the release of Ganges #3, the only thing that could possibly have dulled would be the audience's memory of how extraordinary the series can be.... As with Yokoyama's Color Engineering, the audience becomes participatory witness, buried head to toe alongside Glenn, living and dying by his attempts to conquer. The shaggy dog ending -- weirder than the last one -- only seems cruel for the length of time it takes you to remember: being broken out of a trance is supposed to hurt."

Love and Rockets: New Stories #4

And in the #1 spot, Love and Rockets: New Stories #4: "...Love and Rockets 4 saw Jaime Hernandez making good on the promise of decades. Resolving with as much finality as one could ask the question of 'how's this gonna end,' the final passage of this issue's Maggie story was without comparison. There was absolutely nothing else like reading those pages for the first time -- the gasp held tight in your throat, the 8 panel grids giving way only once, for a two page silent recap of the last 30 years of a life only we seem to know was well-lived."

Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes

List: At Trouble with Comics, Alan David Doane names his 10 Best Comics of 2011, including Walt Disney’s Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes by Carl Barks — "Quite simply, some of the best comics of all time, in the most beautiful design and format of any book I saw all year."

The Armed Garden and Other Stories

Review: "...[The Armed Garden] is absolutely marvelous, a gorgeous and searing series of comics from an artist who earns the description 'freakishly talented' as completely as anyone this side of his trans-Atlantic fellow in crafting dreamy/nightmarish parables of violent spirituality, Jim Woodring. These comics are just as lovely and just as frightening, and just as singularly the work of their creator and no other." – Sean T. Collins, Attentiondeficitdisorderly

Like a Sniper Lining Up His Shot / West Coast Blues

Profile: At HiLobrow, Luc Sante gives a brief introduction to Jean-Patrick Manchette, from whose novels Jacques Tardi adapted West Coast Blues and Like a Sniper Lining Up His Shot

The Comics Journal #271

Anecdote: When Blake Bell titles a blog post "Being Punked by Jerry Robinson and Other Memories" you know that's going to be good (Pictured: The Comics Journal #271 with Gary Groth's interview of Robinson)

Daily OCD: 12/21/11
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Steve DuinShannon WheelerreviewsPeanutsOil and WaterMickey MouseLove and RocketsLos Bros HernandezGahan WilsonFloyd GottfredsonDisneyDaily OCDCharles M SchulzCharles BurnsBest of 2011 21 Dec 2011 5:53 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Oil and Water

List: Oil and Water by Steve Duin & Shannon Wheeler is #5 on Comics Bulletin's Top Ten Best Graphic Novels of 2011, with Jason Sacks saying "This book is very much about misconceptions and preconceptions, about how we all can feel inadequate when facing enormous problems and how little we often feel we can do in when facing even the small incidents in our lives -- let alone the large ones."

Nuts

Review: Booklist's starred review of Nuts by Gahan Wilson (previously reported here) is now featured online: "The scenarios include summer camp, going to horror movies, being sick and obsessing about it, making models, eating too much, not knowing the answer (or even the subject) in school, selecting comics in the local cigar store, and other normal-enough stuff that holds the potential for humiliation, failure, and maybe worse. In Nuts, that potential is always realized and, as memory colors it, so uproariously that you just about choke with laughter. For sheer hilarity, this is Wilson’s masterpiece." – Ray Olson

Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1-2 box setLove and RocketsComplete Peanuts Boxed Set 1979-1982

Plugs: Comics Alliance's Andy Khouri runs down their Holiday Gift Guide to Deluxe Edition Comics and Art Books, including:

"You've read our effusive praise for the incredible cartooning and hilariously grim Mickey Mouse stories of Floyd Gottfredson, and this excellent two-volume set leaves you with few excuses for not reading these classic comics for yourself.... It's hard to go wrong with this as a gift for your comics fan friends (or yourself), as it's a superlative example of the form from one of its greatest masters."

"I can tell you from personal experience that even one of these books makes a fantastic present, but to give the gift of the complete Love and Rockets is to provide your friend or loved one with a reading experience richer than virtually any other."

"Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang are often associated with the holiday season (also with Halloween, and that counts), so there's no better time to give to yourself or your loved ones one or all of Fantagraphics' hardcover collections of Charles Schultz's beloved cartoon strip. Reprinted in chronological order with the highest production values, any one of these books would make an auspicious addition to any bookshelf."

The Complete Peanuts 1979-1980 (Vol. 15)

Plug: "Reading cartoons is a good way to relax and the latest volume of The Complete Peanuts covers the years 1979 and 1980.... The strips with Woodstock and Snoopy are particularly funny. This latest collection of Charles M. Schulz's Peanuts cartoons would make a nice gift." – Glenn Perrett, Simcoe.com

Elysian Nibiru label - Charles Burns

Plug: Robot 6's Chris Arrant takes note of our beery collaboration with Elysian Brewing, featuring the artwork of Charles Burns


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