• Review: PLAYBACK:stl analyzes Comics Are for Idiots! by Johnny Ryan: "Ryan's loathing of the precious, the celebrity-obsessed, the hypocritical, and so on bleeds thru the best of these sorts of cartoons... Ryan's yen for out-offending every book he's done before is really just more righteous anger dressed up as sick comedy."
• Review: The Comics Reporter on Blazing Combat: "Like many of the best reprint projects... this republication of the four-issue Warren war magazine into spiffy hardcover form features work that you can't easily buy anywhere else, is historically significant and offers its buyers a lot of very good comics... Blazing Combat is simply a handsome, well-presented selection of very good comics that for having them around we're all a bit richer as comics readers. I'm glad it's here."
• Review: Rob Clough examines Mome Vol. 14, saying the issue "juxtapos[es] stories with ambiguous images and endings to create a dizzying and fascinating array of visual styles... The balance struck by editors Eric Reynolds and Gary Groth between unpublished, up-and-coming artists, alt-comics legends with short stories to publish and international stars with stellar work that needed translation has been a delicate one, but when everything comes together just so (especially in... this issue), then Mome becomes a crucial component in understanding alt-comics as they stand today."
• Review: NPR.org on Humbug: "Certainly, Fantagraphics, the exemplary Seattle-based archivists of comics and comic-strip history, couldn't have lavished more care in restoring Humbug's yellowing pages had they been original Shakespeare folios... it serves to fill in the missing piece on a seminal period of satiric shenanigans and to evoke an era when making nose-thumbing comedy was the work of smart alecks in creased slacks, pressed white shirts and skinny ties. It'd make a helluva TV series; you could even call it Mad Men."
It's horror time in this week's installment of Steven Weissman's in-progress pages from "Blue Jay," an epic 50-page story from Chocolate Cheeks, the next collection of the Yikes! gang's adventures....
And Rocky gets into some issues of varying degrees of seriousness (from Islam to "gwifstrexes") in our current 5-day chunk of Martin Kellerman's hilarious Swedish smash-hit Rocky, updated Monday-Friday!
If you missed the Mr. Media interview with Monte Wolverton about The Wolverton Bible when it was originally broadcast, now you can listen right here thanks to the magic of this embedded player below (or click here if it's not visible):
Every year during the baseball season, when the All-Star teams are announced, some beat writer will put together a team of non All-Stars that could potentially rival the quality of the actual All-Stars. To that end, here's my non-Eisner Nominee Fanta Heavy Hitter starting line-up for 2009, with their non-nominated 2008 books in paretheses:
Written by Archie Goodwin and drawn by such luminaries as Frank Frazetta, Wally Wood, John Severin, Alex Toth, Al Williamson, Russ Heath, Reed Crandall, and Gene Colan, Blazing Combat was originally published by independent comics publisher James Warren in 1965 and ’66. Following in the tradition of Harvey Kurtzman’s Two-Fisted Tales and Frontline Combat, Goodwin’s stories reflected the human realities and personal costs of war rather than exploiting the clichés of the traditional men’s adventure genre. They were among the best comics stories about war ever published.
Blazing Combat ended after its fourth issue when military post exchanges refused to sell the title due to their perception that it was an anti-war comic. Their hostility was fueled by the depiction of the then-current Vietnam War, especially a story entitled “Landscape,” which follows the thoughts of a simple Vietnamese peasant rice-farmer who pays the ultimate price simply for living where he does — and which was considered anti-war agitprop by the more hawkish members of the business community.
Writer Archie Goodwin and the original publisher James Warren discuss the death of Blazing Combat and market censorship as well as the creative gestation of the series in exclusive interviews.
Thrizzle #5 is the Old People's issue, dedicated to the Greatiest Generations! Aliens give an innocent man sexy woman's legs, and Twain and Einstein have many, many adventures, including a journey through multiple dreamscapes, a superhero/private eye caper, and a meeting with an enraged badger. Plus noir arts & crafts, hobo fashions, the birth of the Monkees and other old-timey favorites.
• Plug: In an interview with Newsarama, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Diaz says "I adore that Richard Sala miniseries Delphine that he's putting out through Fantagraphics" (new issue out this summer!)
• List/reviews: The Metabunker names and reviews their selections for the best comics of 2008, including Explainers by Jules Feiffer ("After half a century, Jules Feiffer’s classic Village Voice strips read at once as a succinct period portrait and an eloquent portrayal of everyday human affairs at any time... His nervous line captures well both the specific anxieties of the time, and the more general ones of simply being alive, with empathy and humour, while his unadorned, precise language captures with precision the way we continue to verbalise these problems to each other and ourselves, most of the time without making much sense. Revelatory and funny human white noise.") and Bottomless Belly Button by Dash Shaw ("...such a rare example of a young artist pulling out all the stops — as a young artist should — creating a vibrant cacophony of formal experiments and engrossing storytelling.")
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