• Reviews: At Comics Alliance, Jason Michelitch examines Our Gang Vol. 4 by Walt Kelly and Blazing Combat in the context of the "golden age of reprints," saying "Both are excellent books that reward both casual readers out for cheap thrills and stodgier folks who want some textual and contextual analysis to roll around in like a pig in a pen." He describes Blazing Combat as "an anti-war comic made up not of didactic preaching but of rough, unsentimentalized views of war with graphic violence and moral ambiguity front and center, produced at a time when America was ratcheting up its involvement in Vietnam and the public had yet to widely turn against it." He also says "Our Gang... [is] a lot of fun. There are lady rasslers and fake matter transporters and escaped lions and a character named Boo Boo the Illustrious Clown," and praises Kelly's "elegant... cartooning + dialogue driven style".
Thanks to all the artists, attendees, and MoCCA staff & volunteers for helping make the 2010 MoCCA Art Festival our most successful ever! We sold out of numerous titles, some within hours (and to the chagrin of our artists who ran out of books to sign — sorry!), and had mobs of fans turn out for our signings.
The one bummer about being at MoCCA this past weekend was that I missed what were surely amazing performances by Ardent Vein (our own Ajax Wood) and Zinjanthropus (current and former FBIers Tom Price, Martin Bland & friends) at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery / Georgetown Records on Saturday evening. Fortunately our good pal John Ohannesian was there to document the occasion:
Daily clips & strips — hit the links for improved/additional viewing at the sources:
• This limited-edition print by Sergio Ponchione is available at festivals (I think — the autotranslation is a little sketchy) from Coconino Press. Sergio also reveals that Grotesque #4 is in the can (and coming this summer from Fantagraphics); the complete Italian run of Grotesque will be available in a slipcased set with additional materials, and the slipcase will be available separately (hopefully U.S. fans will be able to order it from overseas); and the full-color Grotesque stories from Linus magazine will appear in future volumes of Mome (hey, that was my suggestion)!
• Review: "[Sand & Fury] is a dark, violent horror story that provides a contemporary update on a folklore standard. ... It's a good comic..." – Tucker Stone, The Factual Opinion
• Review: "There’s an immediate laugh to be had with the extended title of Ho! The Morally Questionable Cartoons of Ivan Brunetti. This is a slyly hilarious understatement, a clever counterpoint to contents as there’s nothing “questionable” about these jokes. That’s their strength, although I say that within the clinically quarantined confines of a cartoon laboratory. They are as unconscionable, uninhibited and unimpeded as can be imagined and the fact that you couldn’t have imagined them unaided only adds to their stature (and yours)." – Rich Kreiner, "Yearlong Best of the Year," The Comics Journal
• Review: "[High Soft] Lisp has its share of tender moments and tragic ones, although it’s relatively buoyant with humor throughout. ... This is the stuff of soap operas, minus the melodrama. Lisp comes loaded with palpable emotions and heaps of honesty, even amid a cartoony backdrop." – Rod Lott, Bookgasm
• Review: "Part one of a proposed trilogy, King Of The Flies Vol. 1: Halloraveis an extremely promising title from French crime comics artists Pascal “Mezzo” Mesenburg and Michel Pirus. ... Its approach to violence and turmoil is surprisingly fresh, although the story bears obvious debts to David Lynch, and the art just as obvious ones to Charles Burns; it all combines in surprising, powerful ways. ...King Of The Flies is a fascinating new take on the nearly exhausted subject of youthful alienation… B+" – The A.V. Club
A healthy helping of Online Commentary & Diversions:
• List: At The Manga Curmudgeon, David Welsh writes "So you’re among the legion of people who are grateful to Fantagraphics for their recently announced manga initiative, to be curated by Matt Thorn. Who isn’t? I know I am. And you may want to express that gratitude by buying something that Fantagraphics has published. If your comics interests rest primarily in titles from Japan, you may not have sampled other works published by Fantagraphics, so here are some books for your consideration."
• Review: "Amazingly, I was sucked in by the whole enterprise, laughing and groaning and shaking my head. ... It’s scarcely what I would call 'elegant in its simplicity' but with subject matter like this photo-realistic art and emotional weight aren’t called for. These are ugly characters in a gross situation, and Prison Pit treats them with all the indulgence and nastiness needed." – Mark Hale, The Bureau Chiefs
• Review: "Taken as a whole, Newave presents a portrait of an era that might otherwise be overlooked as a vital link between, say, Zap and Eightball. ... [T]he book is a veritable treasure trove of material that would otherwise have been lost to the ages. And, perhaps most importantly, it’s a hell of fun read." – Brian Heater, The Daily Cross Hatch
• Pre-review: At Trouble with Comics, Alan David Doane takes a look at our preview sampler galley of the forthcoming Stephen Dixon story collection: "What Is All This, based on my reading of this short and enticing preview, looks to be one of the most exciting and intriguing fiction releases of the decade. That I’ve only had a chance to read less than a quarter of its 450 pages is maddening, and thrilling. I can’t wait to read the rest of what Dixon has in store."
• Opinion: At The Comics Journal, Shaenon Garrity's reaction to our manga publishing news and appreciation of Moto Hagio is a must-read: "Is there an animated gif of a unicorn with the head of Jason Shiga devouring the universe and exploding? Because that might just about express the awesomeness of this development."
• Staff: Selections from the forthcoming anthology The Last Vispo, co-edited by our own Nico Vassilakis, will be on exhibit at the Common Ground Art Gallery in Windsor, Ontario, opening this Saturday, March 13 — more info from Crg Hill or on the Facebook event invitation (above example by Dirk Krecker)