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Category >> reviews

Daily OCD: 4/18/12
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Tim KreiderreviewsMatthias WivelKrazy KatinterviewsHans RickheitGeorge HerrimanDaniel ClowesDaily OCD 18 Apr 2012 7:01 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Kolor Klimax: Nordic Comics Now

Review: "The names here are mysterious, but the book makes a good case for many of the artists to be better known, which seems to be its intent. Tommi Musturi’s 'Samuel' stories, for example, several of which are included, are colorful, wordless, and Zen-like in their focus on the here and now. Joanna Rubin Dranger’s 'Always Prepared to Die for My Child' is another highlight, with simple drawings that manage to convey a lot. And Jenni Rope’s minimalist stories, which nearly bookend the volume, are poetic and impressive.... The number of woman cartoonists is also worth noting, partially because there’s no attention called to it. Kolor Klimax is a good first offering and may well indicate a series worth revisiting." – Hillary Brown, Paste

Folly: The Consequences of Indescretion

Review: "Between the heavy cross hatching and almost wood-carved appearance of Rickheit’s art and his fixation on the degraded physical form, Folly often looks like a Jan Svankmajer film or Tool video adapted by Geof Darrow or Jim Woodring. Rickheit’s work is visually striking... Folly is a gorgeous but uncomfortable collection best enjoyed a few pages at a time." – Garrett Martin, Paste

Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron

Review: "Like a Velvet Glove [Cast in Iron] is an early work by a creator who will later become one of the artform's greatest creators. There are themes and moments in this book that will be revisited in Clowes's later works, and revisited in smarter and more focused ways in some of his newer and greater works. Daniel Clowes is clearly building his skillset in this book, as he works on his art style, story progression and thematic obsessions. But it's still an incredible work of art that shifted my perceptions of the world a bit as well." – Jason Sacks, Comics Bulletin

Twilight of the Assholes

Interview (Audio): Mike Dawson's final guest as host of The Comics Journal's "TCJ Talkies" podcast is Tim Kreider, about whom Dawson writes in his intro, "Tim has often insisted that he doesn’t consider himself a proper political cartoonist, but was only drafted into writing about current events by the lunacy of the times. It’s true that going back and re-reading Tim’s comics in the run-up to the Iraq war, is a vivid reminder of how hysterical things were at that time (not in a good way)."

Krazy & Ignatz 1937-1938: Shifting Sands Dusts Its Cheeks in Powdered Beauty

Analysis: Matt Seneca examines a 1937 Krazy Kat strip for his column at Robot 6: "This page expresses a single gem of an idea, duality of character. It’s an idea both simple and profound, perfectly suited to Herriman’s aesthetic, and the way it’s put forth is so straightforward that it’s easy to read the strip over time and again before realizing that what it achieves could only be done using the comics medium."

Daily OCD: 4/17/12
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Steven BrowerRobert CrumbreviewsMichel GagneMichael KuppermanJoost SwarteJoe SimonJack KirbyDrew FriedmanDaily OCD 17 Apr 2012 6:39 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Kupperman qua Twain

List: Time Out New York names the "50 Funniest New Yorkers," and coming in at #16: "Cartoonist Michael Kupperman transports his readers to another world altogether. In the recurring comic Tales Designed to Thrizzle and book-length parody Mark Twain's Autobiography 1910–2010, Kupperman perverts antiquated cultural signifiers into a jungle of foreplay robots, nut bras and absurd character concoctions such as the Mannister (a man whose superpower is turning into a bannister). Even in his live appearances — during which he occasionally appears as Twain — Kupperman has the same sort of folksy okey-doke quality as his pulpy '50s source material; but make no mistake, there's an uncanny comedy brain teeming underneath his cool exterior." – Matthew Love

Any Similarity to Persons Living or Dead Is Purely Coincidental: An Anthology of Comic Art, 1979-1985

Plug: Thanks to Howard Stern for plugging Drew & Josh Alan Friedman's Any Similarity to Persons Living or Dead Is Purely Coincidental on his show this morning

Is That All There Is?

Review: "...Swarte’s work does have that free-wheeling and even irreverent feel that you’ll find in the best work of Gilbert Sheldon and Robert Crumb. Chris Ware writes the introduction to this book, and he does a good job of setting up the collection. As he points out, Is That All There Is? contains most of Swarte’s work, which has me wondering what comics were left out, and why. Regardless, this is an incredible collection that spans Swarte’s career from the early 1970s to today." – Derek Parker Royal, Ph.D.

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

Review: "Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, the marquee team of the early days of comics, pioneered the romance genre in 1947 with this title, and, as you'd expect from the creators of Captain America, Young Romance wasn't bad. It had its fair share of melodramatic tear-jerkers, and occasional forays into misogyny (stupid women who need a man to teach them how to live), but Simon & Kirby also flirted with social issues like class distinctions and religious conflicts. And they didn't restrict themselves to small towns or big cities, like most romance stories, finding romance out West or in the Korean War. Young Romance offers 21 of the best of Simon & Kirby's romance stories, and that's probably just the right amount." – Andrew A. Smith, Scripps Howard News Service

Analysis: For Print magazine's Imprint blog, Steven Brower (our resident Mort Meskin expert) examines Jack Kirby's collage artwork in historical context

The Complete Crumb Comics Vol. 1

Analysis: At The Hooded Utilitarian, Robert Stanley Martin presents "one comics critic’s analysis and judgments of [Robert] Crumb’s career. I hope it’s of more interest than a pronouncement that his work is a single big project and one should just read all of it. Breaking his work down into distinct periods does, I think, help one to get a better handle on Crumb, no matter what one’s opinion of this or that individual effort. I certainly don’t think this essay is the last word. With Crumb, no essay ever is."

Daily OCD: 4/12-4/13/12
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Steve DitkoSignificant ObjectsShannon WheelerRob WalkerRichard SalareviewsPaul NelsonPaul HornschemeierPat ThomasLove and RocketsKevin AveryJosh SimmonsJoost SwarteJaime HernandezinterviewsGilbert HernandezGary PanterDaily OCDBlake Bell 14 Apr 2012 12:06 AM

Today's (and yesterday's when it was slow) Online Commentary & Diversions:

Is That All There Is?

Review: "The Dutch artist and designer Joost Swarte has a tremendous reputation among cartoon-art aficionados, given his tiny body of comics work. The answer to the title of his 40-year retrospective, Is That All There Is?, is: 'Pretty much, yeah.'... Plot is beside the point. Swarte is more concerned with formal purity, and with making the deep structures of cartooning visible. He pares his art to mechanical, hard-edged vectors and curves: caricature triple-distilled into symbolic visual shorthand, with every line canted just so. His geometrically precise, nearly architectural drawings are the bridge between the Tintin creator Hergé and contemporary artists like Chris Ware, who wrote this volume’s foreword." – Douglas Wolk, The New York Times

Mysterious Traveler

Review: "Now we're talkin'! The first two volumes in Fantagraphics' Steve Ditko Archives (edited by Blake Bell) were rewarding collections of the offbeat auteur's early work, and among the best archival books of horror comics published in the last several years. But in volume 3, a.k.a. Mysterious Traveler, we see Ditko's lunacy reach its full maturation... The bold dynamism and moody linework that would characterize Ditko's Spider-Man and Dr. Strange work just a few years later, as well as his horror tales for Creepy and Eerie, is in evident throughout.... Volume 3 is essential for classic horror comics fans, and further cements Ditko's reputation as an artist without peer." – Joseph McCabe, FearNet

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

Review: "Kevin Avery has compiled an incredibly thorough account of one of folk and rock music’s most important critics of the 20th Century: Paul Nelson. Avery reveals Paul Nelson as not just a music critic, but also a true writer who loved his subject matter possibly more than anything else. After reading, I felt that I knew more about Nelson than simply his life’s accomplishments—I knew him as the man he was: an observer who secluded himself with his books, film and music." – SLUG Magazine

Mad Night

Review: "Madcap university mystery. Girl detective Judy Drood, with the hapless Kasper Keene, investigates the disappearances of girls on campus. Beautiful young women (some dressed like pirates), monstrous old men (some of them professors), photography, a puppet, and a misguided quest for eternal youth all figure in.... The dark edge in Sala’s other work is fully expressed here [in Mad Night]. The book is incredibly violent (though the dark, woodcut-like art makes it feel absurd). Here’s a body count by how victims meet their end..." – Gene Ambaum, The Unshelved Book Club

The Furry Trap

Plug: "Published three years ago in an indie porn comic, Josh Simmons’ 'Cockbone' remains a high water mark for today’s horror comic.... The Furry Trap will collect that story, along with ten others being described by the publisher as 'hard-edged horror.' You already know if you can handle this stuff, so if you can, it’s time to start counting days. Eli is, most definitely, coming." – Tucker Stone, "Flavorpill's 10 Most Anticipated Comics Releases, April-July 2012"

Dal Tokyo

Plug: "While it’s a bit of an exaggeration to call Dal Tokyo Panter’s lost masterpiece, it certainly hasn’t been the easiest thing to come by. That’s to be the case for anything that’s serialized over the course of multiple years, multiple publications, and two different continents. Thankfully, the entire book has finally found a home at Fantagraphics, and those of us without access to early-’80s copies of the LA Reader can finally experience 'a future Mars that is terraformed by Texan and Japanese workers' as only Gary Panter — one of the most influential cartoonists alive — can provide. For some of us, this book has been a long time coming." – Tucker Stone, "Flavorpill's 10 Most Anticipated Comics Releases, April-July 2012"

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

Interview (Audio): "Listen and see how well I survived this one! The interviewer grilled my ass off," says Pat Thomas of his interview today on KUOW Presents to discuss Listen, Whitey! The Sights and Sounds of Black Power 1965-1975 and in particular former Black Panther leader Elaine Brown

Interview (Audio): Yesterday's Pat Thomas radio guest spot to discuss and spin Listen, Whitey! on The Hear and Now on Berkeley's listener-powered KPFA can be streamed from their website for another couple of weeks

Interview (Audio): Stream last week's chat and DJ set with Listen, Whitey! author Pat Thomas on KCRW with host Mathieu Schreyer, who says "This book is a great read and the topic is ever relevant."

Significant Objects

Contest: Read the winning stories (and all the other entrants) in Studio 360's Significant Objects Story Contest

Oil and Water

List: Who are the Top Ten Oregon Cartoonists? Anne Richardson of the Oregon Movies, A to Z blog lists Oil and Water artist Shannon Wheeler among them

The Three Paradoxes

Analysis (Video): At his  blog, Paul Hornschemeier shares video of two "talks given during my recent graphic novelist's residency at Thurber House in Columbus, Ohio. Tammy Birk (Professor of English, Otterbein University) discusses themes in Mother, Come Home while Ryan Jordan (Department of Philosophy, The Ohio State University) examines the nature of paradoxes in general, using Zeno's paradoxes in The Three Paradoxes as a launching point."

Beyond Palomar

Analysis: At where else but The Hooded Utilitarian: "'Lightning Only Strikes Twice Once, Y'Know': Phallic Mothers, Fetishism, and Replacement in the Comics of Los Bros Hernandez," Part I (focusing on Gilbert's work) and Part II (focusing on Jaime), by Eric Berlatsky

Daily OCD: 4/11/12
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Steven WeissmanreviewsPaul NelsonKevin AveryJohnny RyaninterviewsDaily OCD 11 Apr 2012 7:31 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

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

Review/Plug: City Weekly's Scott Renshaw previews Kevin Avery's appearance at The King's English Bookshop in Salt Lake City on Friday to sign Everything Is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson, saying "Avery crafts a biography of a largely self-taught thinker who immersed himself in his passions, whether that meant classic film, the detective fiction of Ross Macdonald or folk music. The author allows his subject to develop primarily through oral history, as his friends and contemporaries recall a quirky iconoclast who disappeared into obscurity and a lonely death in 2006. But the book is most compelling simply by bringing Nelson’s own distinctive writing voice to a new generation, a voice that burned with intelligence, unabashed pimping of the work he loved and a commitment to understanding what artists were trying to accomplish."

Profile: Scott Iwasaki of The Park Record talks to Kevin Avery in advance of his signing at Dolly's Bookstore in Park City, UT on Saturday: "'Even though it started out as an anthology of Paul's work, as I started learning more about him and his life, I found there was a lot of Paul between the lines of the reviews and I knew the book I needed to do had to also be a biography,' Avery said. 'I thought it would be a great way to present his work and tell his story.'"

Prison Pit Book 1

Review: "...I like comics to be really crazy. Luckily there are people out there who share my deranged concept of what comics should be. One is Johnny Ryan, who understands comics at odds with artistic correctness and had already demonstrated his lack of respect towards his fellow artists in particular, and everything in general... The level of violence reaches insane levels of pure abstraction; the figures in Prison Pit cannibalize, maim, tear, break, eat and shit with such enthusiasm and rawness, it's like watching some amoebas evolving through the microscope.... A Stan Lee for the new millennium." – Alfonso Garcia, C (translated from Spanish)

Steven Weissman

Interview: There's a seemingly-slightly-out-of-date but still fun Q&A (with acrostic Qs!) with Steven Weissman at Wall Drawing: "Nice colors help a lot. Black and white is tough, you know, I have to think more. Even when I’m drawing for fun I like to use markers, screentones and so forth."

Daily OCD: 4/10/12
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under reviewsMichel GagneJoe SimonJack KirbyGahan WilsonFlannery OConnorErnie BushmillerDaily OCD 11 Apr 2012 1:47 AM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

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

Review: "Gagne’s selections are first-rate. These stories are fiery fare. Lovers clash like storm-tossed waves on rocky shores. They battle misconceptions and social injustices.... Even stories created under the constraints of the Comics Code pack a wallop.  In the skilled hands of Simon and Kirby, love is most definitely a battlefield. The book’s special features are also top-notch.... Young Romance: The Best of Simon & Kirby’s Romance Comics belongs in the personal library of all Simon and Kirby fans and all serious students of comics art and history. It’s a prime example of what I mean when I say this is the true golden age of comics." – Tony Isabella

Nuts

Review: "[Nuts] is certainly a very good strip... and it was this completely left-field life event, showing a style of comics I'd never seen before.... The book looks just great, even if I would quibble with the designer's very odd choice to call this a 'graphic novel' on the front cover, and while something about it honestly lacks the genuine, timeless brilliance of Wilson's decades of Playboy comics, this is still an important and very readable collection.... Recommended." – Grant Goggans, The Hipster Dad's Bookshelf

Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons

Interview: At Publishers Weekly, Casey Burchby talks to Kelly Gerald, editor of Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons: "I’d been researching and working on the cartoons for a while, but I can’t take any credit for getting this project off the ground. Gary Groth and Fantagraphics approached O’Connor’s agent about doing a book and worked out an agreement for an exclusive contract in late 2009, which was when I was contacted. Some years ago, I gave a presentation on the cartoons at an O’Connor conference in Milledgeville where some representatives of the O’Connor estate were present. They liked what they saw and remembered me when the Fantagraphics contract was developed. I’m very grateful to them."

Nancy Is Happy: Complete Dailies 1943-1945

Profile: At The Comics Journal, R.C. Harvey on the life and work of Ernie Bushmiller: "Various among us have long been baffled and sometimes afflicted by the persistent presence, lurking at the fringes of cartoon afficionadom — or, sometimes, burrowed deep, prairie-dog-like, into its heart — of a sect or cultish non-organization of penumbra dimension, cult-ivated (so to speak) by a person or persons unknown.... In an effort to explain this mysterious and irrational dedication, we now paw through the alleged facts of Bushmiller’s life and work."

Daily OCD: 4/6-4/9/12
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Zak SallyRobert CrumbreviewsPaul NelsonOlivier SchrauwenMonte SchulzLove and RocketsKim DeitchKevin AveryinterviewsGuy PeellaertFantagraphics historyDaily OCDBill Griffith 9 Apr 2012 6:10 PM

A few days of Online Commentary & Diversions:

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

Review: "Everything Is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson by Salt Lake City native Kevin Avery is a fitting testimonial to a man who pioneered rock 'n' roll criticism. Those familiar and unfamiliar with the culture of the '60s will appreciate this finely written tribute.... Overall, Everything Is an Afterthought will break your heart and inspire you to be a better person. It is a wonderful story of a man who deserves his chance in the spotlight." – Shelby Scoffield, Deseret News

Excerpts: On his blog, writer Rob Trucks has a couple of bite-sized excerpts from Kevin Avery's Everything Is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson, here and here

Love and Rockets #1 [Sold Out] (Unpublished)

Review: If you've ever wondered what Tucker Stone might say about Love and Rockets #1, TCJ ahoy

The Man Who Grew His Beard

Review: "A little impenetrable in that wordless story kind of way, even when there are words. I like the stories – actually read them – but I’m more interested in studying the way each page sports a new texture or approach. The art is simply fantastic. Some stories retain a color scheme for their entirety and some switch up the limited palette within the story itself. Totally my kind of thing. I like the coloring, the line drawing, the combination of both. The graphic, printmaking quality of it and the 'classical' drawing are also attractive to me. I found myself just flipping through this collection for a long time.... High class stuff. Also, this book gets an award for best endpapers. Check it out." – Frank Santoro, The Comics Journal

Bill Griffith: Lost and Found - Comics 1969-2003

Review: "Lost and Found is the sort of retrospective project that begs summary statements. The introduction reads like a compressed memoir. The book, while extremely dense and a bit overwhelming to read, testifies to Griffith’s heroic output of underground comics, and his commitment to a lifetime of making work that is challenging, inventive, and beautifully drawn. His signature narrative discombobulation and linguistic elasticity unite all these disparate pieces into a cohesive statement of surprise and protest. It is ridiculously quotable. Also, it is very funny. Lost and Found delivers wholesale entertainment value with a socially redeeming dose of satire." – Matthew Thurber & Rebecca Bird, The Comics Journal

Interview (Audio): Inkstuds host Robin McConnell says of his latest episode, "One of the most prolific cartoonists of the underground generation, Bill Griffith, joined me to chat about his new collection, Lost and Found. It is an interesting conversation that touches on a number of different topics, ranging from his Zippy the Pinhead work, to discussing his contemporaries like Rory Hayes."

The Complete Crumb Comics Vol. 10: Crumb Advocates Violent Overthrow! [Hardcover Ed.]

Interview: Paul Gravett chatted with Robert Crumb for Art Review  magazine; he presents an unexpurgated version at his blog: "In the last few years, I’ve got so deeply involved investigating scandalous shit that goes on in modern business and culture. It’s very difficult to interpret in comics, I’m trying to figure it out. There’s not a lot of action or humour, it’s serious, grim shit. You could get your ass in trouble doing that, too. I remember when I did this thing in the Seventies, ‘Frosty the Snowman’, where I had him being this revolutionary who throws bombs at the Rockefeller mansion and shortly after that was published, the Internal Revenue Service came after me."

http://www.fantagraphics.com/images/flog/covers/2009/thumbs/bookcover_likdog.jpg

Interview: Chris Mautner's Q&A with Zak Sally at Robot 6 is a must read: "I’m no Pollyanna, nor am I a hippie; the world is NOT cut and dried with stuff like this, nor do I view it that way — if, for instance, Fantagraphics (who I love dearly) decided to print all their stuff over here, they’d probably have to kill important books by artists who don’t sell as well to ameliorate that extra cost. Or, hell, i don’t know — maybe they’d go under. Do i want either of those things? Heck no. I want Noah van Sciver and Chris Wright’s new books to get out in the world, and to reach their audience. I want Fantagraphics to be around for … forever. BUT: let’s also not fool ourselves that this 'lowest cost' imperative isn’t fucking up our world significantly, all day every day, as an economic paradigm. It’s a real thing, and that can’t be ignored either."

http://www.fantagraphics.com/images/flog/covers/2012/thumbs/9781606995303_jodelle.jpg

Profile: At HiLobrow, Norman Hathaway puts the spotlight on Guy Peellaert: "Years later I realized that Peellaert had also been responsible for one of my favorite pieces of power-pop comic art; Jodelle (and later Pravda), which plastered hip, mid-’60s fashion drawing into a dystopian landscape of the future, done in a completely different linear graphic design-based style."

The Big Town

Profile: Dan Taylor of The Press Democrat chats with Monte Schulz: "'My dad is actually mentioned in a very subtle way in The Big Town,' Schulz said. 'The main character, Harry, is in a barber shop. It says, "Back in St. Paul, he'd gotten his hair cut in the Family Barbershop on North Snelling Avenue by a cigar-smoking German fellow, whose young son drew funny little pictures."'"

Kim Deitch - self portrait

Profile (Video): Enjoy a brief video spotlight on the great Kim Deitch presented by Seth Kushner at Trip City

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

Tribute/History: From last week, at The Stranger, rememberances of our former art director, the late Dale Yarger

Daily OCD: 4/5/12
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Willie and JoeSignificant ObjectsRobert CrumbRob WalkerreviewsPeanutsJasonJaime HernandezinterviewsDave McKeanDaniel ClowesDaily OCDCharles M SchulzBill Mauldin 5 Apr 2012 6:59 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

The Complete Crumb Comics Vol. 1

Review: "The Complete Crumb Comics Volume One: The Early Years of Bitter Struggle, a 1987 book now republished in an expanded edition, gathers together the earliest surviving examples of the great cartoonist’s juvenilia taking him from age 14 or 15 to 18 years old. The high school scribbler that we meet in these pages is a very callow Crumb indeed: Crumb before he had sex, Crumb before he dropped acid, Crumb before he was adopted as a hero of the counterculture, Crumb before he honed his satirical stance on modern life, Crumb before he became the most radical, polarizing and influential cartoonist of the late 20th century. Yet in the lanky and awkward body of the teenage Crumb we can see the outlines of the substantial artist he would become.... There are very few cartoonists whose entire body of work demands to be read and Crumb belongs near the very top of that short list." – Jeet Heer, The Comics Journal

Athos in America

Review: "Has Jason become more embittered and misanthropic as he’s aged, or do those tendencies just become more evident as one reads more of his work? Athos in America is up to his usual standards, full of stories that build slowly, with plenty of subtle detail in its stone-faced panels.... Mostly, we wait for things to end badly, which they almost always do, although never with much overt expression of drama.... The execution, as it always is with both Jason and Fantagraphics, is stellar." – Hillary Brown, Paste

http://www.fantagraphics.com/images/flog/covers/2011/thumbs/bookcover_maul1s.jpg

Review: "Fantagraphics Books is doing a good job of preserving and publishing important cartoons. A good example is Willie and Joe: The WWII Years.... These cartoons about World War II provide the reader with a glimpse of what army life was like. Willie and Joe: The WWII Years is more than a book of cartoons by a two-time Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist, it is a significant history book." – Glenn Perrett, Simcoe.com

The Complete Peanuts 1983-1984

Review: "Fantagraphics Books continues to make available Charles M. Schulz's wonderful Peanuts cartoons in attractive books that make nice keepsakes. The latest volume covers the years 1983 and 1984. Lots of fun things are happening with the Peanuts gang including Snoopy's brother Spike requiring help from attacks by coyotes in the desert (they're attacking him with rubber bands), Lucy is still pursuing Schroeder, Charlie Brown is still in a "love triangle" with Peppermint Patty and Charlie Brown joins Peppermint Patty's baseball team...as a mascot. This volume includes a Foreword by Leonard Maltin. As with other Peanuts books, The Complete Peanuts 1983-1984 would make a nice gift for those who enjoy Peanuts and the work of Charles M. Schulz." – Glenn Perrett, Simcoe.com

Significant Objects

Profile: "For seven years, Rob Walker, a contributing writer to the magazine, wrote a column called Consumed, in which he explored the cultural, social, economic and or merely bizarre significance of consumable objects. You might think that Rob would be tired of thinking about things, having written about hundreds of objects as diverse as Victoria’s Secret’s 'Pink' brand, Rick Warren’s 'The Purpose-Driven Life' and carrots packaged like junk food. But he is not. He is just exploring them in new ways. His latest project, a book called Significant Objects, comes out in June." – Vera Titunik, The New York Times Magazine

Mr. Clowes, we present you with the Katzenjammer Medallion for comic excellence!

Interview: Geoff Boucher of The Los Angeles Times has a Q&A with Daniel Clowes about looking back on his career: "One thing that really shocked me was to go through some of the fan mail I used to get in the pre-Internet days. Lots of people — like a truly surprising number of complete strangers — would write me 10- or 15-page letters, telling me all about the most mundane details of their twitterless existence. Pretty much inconceivable nowadays."

Jaime Hernandez - The Love Bunglers

Opinion: Newsarama's Graeme McMillan counts down "The 10 Most Glaring Eisner Nomination Omissions," placing Dave McKean at #9 ("With 2011 seeing the release of Celluloid, the erotic graphic novel that not only marked the return of the much-loved multimedia creator... to comics but also his first full-length graphic novel ever, you would've been forgiven for thinking he would've been given some kind of nomination nod...") and Jaime Herandez at #1 ("A heartbreaking story that not only showed Jaime on top form after a 20+ year career in comics -- and definitely in a class of his own as modern-day storyteller -- 'Love Bunglers' topped many year-end lists for 2011 and was the rare comic that, it seemed, was loved and appreciated by everyone that read it.")

Daily OCD: 4/4/12
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under reviewsPeanutsPat ThomasLove and RocketsKrazy KatJoe SaccoJim WoodringJasonJaime HernandezinterviewsGeorge HerrimanErnie BushmillerDaily OCDCharles M Schulz 5 Apr 2012 2:18 AM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions — now up to date!

Esperanza

Review: "The Locas grow up. Collecting material from Love and Rockets‘ second volume (previously found in Ghost of Hoppers and The Education of Hopey Glass), the latest in Fantagraphics’ perfectly executed series of L&R digests [Esperanza] finds Maggie, Hopey, Izzy, and Ray D. coming to terms with no longer being the life of the party and the heart of their scene — at least not without exhausting effort.... But if there’s one thing Jaime’s Locas stories in general, and this volume in particular, tell us, it’s that sometimes you have to be a grown-up for a long time before you grow up. It’s worth the work, and the wait." – Sean T. Collins, The Comics Journal

Palestine

Review: "In the pages of Palestine, Sacco relates his experiences in the first person, with breathtaking honesty and haunting detail. With a narrative style that’s a little bit stream of consciousness, and a lot of oral tradition, he depicts not only his own experiences, but those of the many Palestinians he meets in his travels.... A comic book, no matter how poignant and groundbreaking, is not going to resolve a decades old stalemate. What Palestine does do is shed some light on a near forgotten people, lost behind the name of a broken nation." – Mike Re, Asbury Park Press

Nancy Is Happy: Complete Dailies 1943-1945

Review: "Where have you gone Ernie Bushmiller, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you. All kidding aside, you sure as shootin' can bet Nancy is happy, and so am I that the crucial years of this strip (or at least the dailies) are FINALLY being reprinted, and in chronological order to boot, by the fine folk at Fantagraphics. ...Nancy continues to deliver on the fun puns 'n great art for us real-life comic strip fans while all of that extraneous junk that's been hitting the comic pages o'er the past few decades does little but mirror the rest of the contents of yer modern day newspaper industry that deserves to die a quick and inglorious death! ...[A] project like this is but one that really brings out that never-suppressed slobbo suburban kid feeling in me, and with more books to look forward to all I can say is...what the hell do we need Gary Trudeau for anyway?" – Chris Stigliano, Blog to Comm (via The Comics Journal)

Reviews: Would you like to know what Jason thinks of Nancy Is Happy and the Krazy & Ignatz books? You may find out on his Cats Without Dogs blog

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

Plug: "Panther power has a way of roaring back to life when you least expect it: Years ago, Mushroom drummer and music archivist Pat Thomas told me he was working on an epic multimedia compilation on the Black Panthers. Now, hot on the heels of The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975, comes Thomas' equally inspired lyrical documents of the Oakland-bred group: a hefty Fantagraphics tome, Listen, Whitey!... and a CD of spoken word, music and comedy." – Kimberly Chun, San Francisco Chronicle

Feature: The April issue of Clash magazine includes a feature on Listen, Whitey! The Sights and Sounds of Black Power 1965-1975 in which they call the book a "fascinating, insightful and sometimes shocking tome"; you can read en excerpt (which includes a portion of an excerpt from the book) on their website

Jim Woodring

Interview (Audio): Jim Woodring and our own Larry Reid were guests on Weekday with host Steve Scher on KUOW (Seattle's NPR news station) last Friday, March 30, to preview the Northwest comix panel at Emerald City Comicon; you can stream or download the show here

The Complete Peanuts 1969-1970

Commentary: McSweeney's has a terrific essay about Snoopy by guest columnist Robb Fritz that's a must-read for all Peanuts fans

Daily OCD: 4/3/12
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under reviewsPaul KarasikPat ThomasMonte SchulzJasoninterviewsGabriella GiandelliFantagraphics BookstoreDaily OCD 4 Apr 2012 12:42 AM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

Interiorae

Review: "Every one of Giandelli’s surfaces -- walls, windows, bedspreads, books -- seems alive. Her colors almost wriggle. The darkness she draws is so black it’s wet. She approaches long corridors like David Lynch does in his films: not something you walk down, but something you’re swallowed by. Interiorae is engulfing.... In restored and essential color, this collected edition gives the mood the necessary space to simmer and boil -- just like poetry has the white of the page around it to slow you down and give it weight. Even before you notice the chapter titles are counting down to zero, you can feel that something about to happen. The men and women who live there can’t see it, but everything’s about to change.... In the end, Interiorae isn’t about either mundane, everyday reality or the vivid, symbolic realm of dreams. Its power’s in the precarious space between the two." – Martyn Pedler, Bookslut

Athos in America

Review: "While Athos in America is as widely varied as the author's most recent collection, 2009's Low Moon, its stories employ less deadpan humor. In addition, this new volume presents some of Jason's most experimental comics yet.... One thing that hasn't changed is the ways in which Jason conjures up a kind of understated humor from his somber protagonists that serves to lighten up the serious situations they find themselves in. Athos in America may be darker and relatively more straight-faced than Jason's other work, but it shows that one of the more unique cartoonists today is continuing to evolve." – Phil Guie, CriticalMob

The Big Town

Review: "The Big Town evokes a lost era through language and flamboyant characters reminiscent of Fitzgerald, Dos Passos, Ring Lardner, etc. Yet it’s also eerily relevant to our own time with its study of the role of business, crime, morality, and love in our lives." – Jack Eidt, Wilder Utopia

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

Interview: The San Francisco Chronicle's Julian Guthrie talks to Pat Thomas about Listen Whitey! The Sights and Sounds of Black Power 1965-1975: "The image of the Panther became something even Hollywood playfully played with. You had Tom Wolfe's book Radical Chic, and you had folks like Leonard Bernstein hanging out with the Panthers. Everyone wanted to get close to the heat."

Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery

Feature: Junglecity, a website for Japanese visitors and residents of Seattle, spotlights Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery

Graphic Novel Realism

Scene: Paul Karasik has a report from his recent jaunt to DeKalb, IL — "The Museum at the University asked me to curate an exhibition that I had originally titled, 'Hey, Stoopid! Comix R Cool!', but which is now called, 'Graphic Novel Realism: Backstage at the Comics' (whatever that means!)." — with a video tour of the exhibit

Daily OCD: 3/28-4/2/12
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Significant ObjectsRob WalkerreviewsPaul NelsonPat ThomasMonte SchulzLove and RocketsKevin AveryJohn BensonJim WoodringJasonJaime HernandezinterviewsHans RickheitErnie BushmillerDrew FriedmanDave McKeanDaniel ClowesDaily OCDawards 2 Apr 2012 9:07 PM

Just beginning to catch up on Online Commentary & Diversions:

Mr. Clowes, we present you with the Katzenjammer Medallion for comic excellence!

Profile: With his big new art book out and his museum retrospective on the way, Daniel Clowes gets the New York Times profile treatment from Carol Kino: "Mr. Clowes can create a striking face with a few deftly placed lines or brush strokes, often seizing on some specific characteristic that summons up an indelible personality. Think of Enid Coleslaw, the snarky teenage anti-heroine of Ghost World, and her big, black nerdy-hip glasses; they cover most of her face, but they can’t conceal the tiny shifts in expression that loudly telegraph her mood."

Athos in America

List: Daniel Clowes may be headed for a museum retrospective, but he is neither dead nor retired — but that doesn't stop Flavorwire's Elona Jones from naming 10 candidates to carry the torch of "his storytelling skills, interest in surrealism, and eye for biting observations," including Jason, who "receives international acclaim for his brilliant storytelling." 

The Sincerest Form of Parody: The Best 1950s MAD-Inspired Satirical Comics

Preview/Review: Boing Boing previews 2 stories from The Sincerest Form of Parody: The Best 1950s MAD-Inspired Satirical Comics, with Cory Doctorow saying "Today marks the publication of Fantagraphics' magnificent archaeological comicsology… Many of these are racier, grosser, and meaner than even MAD dared. There’s also an engrossing appendix of annotations from editor John Benson…"

Review: "The John Benson-edited anthology The Sincerest Form of Parody: The Best 1950s MAD-Inspired Satirical Comics assembles largely forgotten work by the likes of Jack Davis, Will Elder, Ross Andru, and Jack Kirby, parodying everything from Mickey Spillane novels to Rex Morgan, M.D. Some of these pieces can stand up to the best of Mad (or at least match the magazine’s average), but even the stories that are clunky and unfunny are fascinating for the way they rip off Mad shamelessly, including all the asides and mini-gags that Will Elder once labeled Mad’s 'chicken fat.' It’s a testament to how quickly the innovative and subversive can become mainstream." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club

Nancy Is Happy: Complete Dailies 1943-1945

Review: "Next to Pogo, the newspaper comics collection that fans have been most anticipating would be Ernie Bushmiller’s Nancy, which over the past few decades has garnered a reputation as the purest distillation of the gag cartoon, a triumph of minimalism... Nancy Is Happy: Dailies 1943-1945 joins Bushmiller’s magnum opus in full swing ... Bushmiller’s genius [was] to make everything in his strip so basic that anyone, anywhere, at any time, could get the joke." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club

Review (Video): Video blogger Robert Crayola looks at Nancy Is Happy: "If you like comics or comic strips especially and you haven't read Nancy or if you have and you just want more, I think you'll enjoy this.... Hopefully we can get many more volumes of this. I hope you support it. It's a great book."

Any Similarity to Persons Living or Dead Is Purely Coincidental: An Anthology of Comic Art, 1979-1985

Review: "One of the signature achievements of ’80s alt-comics, Drew and Josh Alan Freidman’s Any Similarity to Persons Living or Dead Is Purely Coincidental: An Anthology of Comic Art, 1979-1985 is now back in print in a spiffy new edition that doesn’t really add anything to the original, but is still a necessary addition to any library that doesn’t already have a copy.... Drew Friedman’s stipple-heavy photo-realism and his brother Josh’s gleefully cruel humor combine to craft an alternate history of American entertainment that’s preposterous and yet feels true. Even now, decades after other cartoonists and comedians have tapped this well, the Friedmans’ pioneering work in the field of 'brattily dicking around with icons' remains unparalleled." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club

Plug: Boing Boing's Mark Frauenfelder gives Drew Friedman a platform to hype his upcoming NYC art show at Scott Eder Gallery in Brooklyn and re-release of Any Similarity to Persons Living or Dead Is Purely Coincidental

Folly: The Consequences of Indescretion

Review: "Folly... serve[s] as a good introduction to Rickheit’s beautifully ugly visions, of a world where cute girls and humanoid stuffed animals commit atrocities against oozing flesh. With a drawing style that resembles Jason Lutes and Charles Burns, and a storytelling style similar to Jim Woodring and Al Columbia, Rickheit excels in making nightmares lucid. Some characters recur from story to story in Folly, but really this book is just page after page of beautiful images juxtaposed with wounds and excreta. The single-mindedness of Rickheit’s approach — and the level of detail he applies to it — is impressively horrifying." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club

Isle of 100,000 Graves

Review: "...[A] heck of a ride... Jason might not be to everyone’s taste, but those who have acquired it will find Isle of 100,000 Graves to be a small but satisfying banquet." – No Flying No Tights

http://www.fantagraphics.com/images/flog/covers/2011/thumbs/bookcover_nutsgw.jpg

Reviews: Chris Spector's Midwest Record rounds up reviews of new & recent Fantagraphics releases by Carl Barks, Jack Davis, Gahan Wilson, Pat Thomas, Johnny Gruelle, Ernie Bushmiller and E.C. Segar

Celluloid & Congress of the Animals - Los Angeles Times Book Prizes Finalists

Plugs: The Los Angeles Times Hero Complex's Emily Rome and Geoff Boucher spotlight the L.A. Times Book Prizes graphic novel nominees, including Celluloid by Dave McKean and Congress of the Animals by Jim Woodring

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

Profile: The Salt Lake Tribune's Ben Fulton introduces Kevin Avery and his books on Paul Nelson, including Everything Is an Afterthought, which Avery will be signing at two events in Utah next week

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

Interview (Audio): Pat Thomas appears on the Wax Poetics "Bad Data" podcast to discuss Listen Whitey! The Sights and Sounds of Black Power 1965-1975

The Big Town

Interview (Video): Monte Schulz sits down to discuss his new novel The Big Town with host Fred Klein on the Literary Gumbo video podcast

Commentary: Monte Schulz is writing a new blog at The Huffington Post, and for his first entry he tells you "What the 1920s Was Really Like" based on his research of the decade for his novel The Big Town

Jaime Hernandez - self portrait

Analysis: More from The Hooded Utilitarian critical roundtable on Jaime Hernandez's "Locas" stories — Corey Creekmur on the role of memory and Jason Michelitch on the gaps in the stories

Significant Objects

Contest: At Design Observer Rob Walker writes more about the Studio 360 Significant Objects writing contest

Emerald City Comicon

Scene: Ashley Cook of Giant Fire Breathing Robot reports from our "Northwest Noir: Seattle's Legacy of Counterculture Comix" panel at Emerald City Comicon