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Archive >> December 2009
We published You Shall Die by Your Own Evil Creation! with the sincere belief that it, combined with the previous volume I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets!, comprised the complete comics work of Fletcher Hanks. Lo and behold, on Christmas day Seattle-based comics writer Frank M. Young posted scans of two heretofore undiscovered stories on his blog Trick Coin which have been positively identified by Hanks expert Paul Karasik:
"The second story is taken directly from the final Big Red McLane tale with the captions rewritten and the faces re-rendered (possibly by another hand).
"But the first story really had me stumped, so many of the compositions are un-Hanksian but ultimately tiny details such as hair-rendering, crowd-rendering, and big details like, yes, anatomy have made me change my mind.
"I knew that sooner or later it would happen: the undiscovered Fletcher Hanks has been discovered."
A third story is said to exist but has not been scanned; Young comments "In the meantime, the mere existence of these two odd stories is certainly a wonderful effed-up Yuletide gift to the universe!" Head here to see the scans and to read Young and Karasik's commentary in its entirety. Plans to collect and reprint these stories remain undetermined at this time. Pipe that beef trust, slick!
Gird yourself for an epic installment of Online Commentary & Diversions:
• List: Critic Robert Boyd names his top 15 Best Comics of 2009, with You Are There by Tardi & Forest at #2, Popeye Vol. 4 at #7 ("top-notch, Segar at his greatest"), Everybody Is Stupid Except for Me by Peter Bagge at #12 ("very, very funny") and You'll Never Know, Book 1 by C. Tyler at #13 ("a glorious mess, but a moving and beautiful one")
• List: Joe Gross of the Austin American-Statesman names notable comics of 2009, including Pim & Francie by Al Columbia ("It's a bit like peeking at J.D. Salinger's notebooks, if his notebooks were pure nightmare fuel") and You'll Never Know, Book 1 by C. Tyler ("A terrific addition to the canon of literature about baby boomers, their parents and their children")
• List: Greek site Comicdom names Ivan Brunetti's Schizo #4 to the #4 spot on their Top 100 of the 00s countdown. From the Google translation: "With words or silence, with an excellent sequence between the panels and embroidered with punchlines, reading this comic becomes a personal matter, even though the association, the painfully honest confession, is more or less familiar to everyone."
• List: Fústar awards The Clanging Gong of Doom for "Weirdest & Most Brain-Searingly Wonderful Book of the Year" to You Shall Die by Your Own Evil Creation! by Fletcher Hanks, which "might be testament to rage-filled, borderline psychosis – but it's thrillingly vital and magnificently (uniquely) strange for all that."
• List: Christopher Allen of Comic Book Galaxy informally lists some Best of 2009 choices, including the year's Love and Rockets releases, Strange Suspense: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 1, and Prince Valiant Vol. 1: 1937-1938
• Review: "...[T]he great pleasures of each story [in The Red Monkey Double Happiness Book] are the odd, idiosyncratic details Daly includes, and the way in which he reveals them. ... I’ve never read anything like it—and now I want nothing more than to read more of it." – J. Caleb Mozzocco, Newsarama
• Review: "Sublife Vol. 2... is John Pham’s gorgeously designed one-man anthology book, including about a half-dozen stories of various genres, formats, sensibilities and even art styles, each impeccably laid out on longer-than-it-is-high, 8.5-by-7-inch rectangular pages. ... They’re all pretty great on their own, and taken all together, they make up a downright remarkable book." – J. Caleb Mozzocco, Newsarama (same link as above)
• Review: "...[C. Tyler's] autobiographical comics display a shocking, unruly wholesomeness: they are visually and morally beautiful, suffused with a scrap-doodle amateurism and palpable maternal love... You’ll Never Know, Tyler’s newest book, is modeled on a scrapbook and is a tribute to craftsmanship, much like the home repair and plumbing we see her father, the 'good and decent man' of the title, often undertaking. ... Tyler mitigates this directness of heart with a dynamically pesky drawing style, splattering each panel with the democratic debris of life." – Ken Chen, Rain Taxi
• Review: "While we’re torturing geeks, I have to put in a good word for Andrei Molotiu’s Abstract Comics: The Anthology... The collection has a wealth of rewarding material, some of it awkward, some groundbreaking — on the whole, it is a significant historical document that may jump-start an actual new genre." – Doug Harvey, LA Weekly
• Review: "Some of the writing [in Humbug] may seem a bit quaint in our ‘irony coming out our asses’ present day, but the artwork is uniformly mind-blowing. ... This collects the whole ill-fated run in a luxurious hardbound package including top-notch background material. Worth it for the mammoth Arnold Roth & Al Jaffee interview alone." – M. Ace, Irregular Orbit
• Plugs: In an interview with Newsarama, Chris Ureta Casos of Seattle comic shop Comics Dungeon gives a nice shout-out to our recent reprint efforts and names Paul Hornschemeier's Mother, Come Home as a personal all-time favorite
• Plugs: "Fantagraphics (again) certainly delivered big-time on the second (and probably final) collection of primitive comic savant Fletcher Hanks’ You Shall Die By Your Own Evil Creation!, as well as with the almost-as-weird Supermen!: The First Wave of Comic Book Heroes 1936-1941." – Doug Harvey, LA Weekly
• Interview: The Wall Street Journal's Jamin Brophy-Warren has a brief Q&A with Gahan Wilson: "The other thing that dawned on me was we were destroying the planet or at least we were destroying it as a feasible environment. There’s a little grandiosity in saying we’re destroying the earth — we’re just screwing it up so we can’t live. For one, that was hilarious that we’d be determined to continue and it keeps getting worse and worse."
• Interview: The Daily Cross Hatch's Brian Heater continues his conversation with Carol Tyler: "I…can’t…the secret of life? I’m not giving away the secret! I’ll just tell you this — it’s funny around here, because I have to go and pick up dog poop or something. And I’ve heard something like, 'Robert and Aline [Crumb] are in the New Yorker, this week. Oh, they’ve got ten pages.' And I’m just picking up dog poop, but I’m happy, for some reason. I’m happy!"
Shortly before Christmas, we had a Fantagraphics holiday party hosted by yours truly and Mrs. Truly. I forgot to take any pictures, which is a shame, because a splendid time was had by all. Most of the Fanta staff was in attendance, with the noticeable exception of Ms. Kristy Valenti, although her presence was most certainly felt, thanks to a gift delivered via partner-in-crime Gavin Lees (apologies in advance for the crappy photo evidence):
Kristy created a Fantagraphics-themed custom version of the ol' CLUE board game, featuring representations of most of the Fanta office staff and set in the palatial mansion of FBI HQ. As the story begins, Kristy herself has been the victim of foul play, and one of these characters done it:
The remaining questions are of course WHERE and HOW did he/she do it? The board was redesigned to feature all of the main rooms in the office. These two are my favorites:
Gary's Boudoir of course needs no explanation; Kim's office is called the kennel because he shares his office with Ludwig, the Fanta dachshund. The game is rounded out with various potential weapons from the office and custom location cards featuring locations in the mansion.
What else can I say? Kristy rules.
Just arrived in our warehouse and ready to ship:
One part MOME collection, one part authorized IFC Channel spinoff, the first quarter of this jacketed hardcover collects the work — storyboards, scripts, character designs, etc. — that Shaw has created for a series of original shorts for IFC.com. The latter 3/4ths collect his acclaimed short stories from MOME, as well as several little-seen stories from elsewhere, and a new 20 page story.
The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century A.D. is Shaw’s first book since his breakthrough graphic novel of 2008, Bottomless Belly Button, which was named Publishers Weekly’s best graphic novel of 2008, one of Entertainment Weekly’s top ten books of 2008, and one of Amazon.com’s top ten graphic novels of the year, amongst numerous other accolades. The book also collects Shaw’s acclaimed, genre-bending short stories from MOME, including “Look Forward, First Son of Terra Two,” a remarkable story of two lovers traveling in opposite directions... in time. Also featured: “Galactic Funnels,” the 2008 Ignatz Award nominee for “Outstanding Story,” about the parasitic relationship between an artist and his lover/mentor; “Satellite CMYK,” a sci-fi mindwarp that ingeniously drives the narrative through Shaw’s masterful control of color, and “Making the Abyss,” a fictionalized story of a surreal film set filled with nuclear tanks, hot tubs, and blind ambition.
Befitting the restless experimentation and innovation of Shaw's work, this slim hardcover features a first for Fantagraphics: a clear acetate overlay dust jacket, meant to evoke an animation cel.
Download an EXCLUSIVE 10-page PDF excerpt (8.8 MB), which includes the first five pages of two stories.
Just arrived in our warehouse and ready to ship:
The acclaimed anthology continues with the concluding chapter of Paul Hornschemeier's third graphic novel "Life with Mr. Dangerous" (following his acclaimed books The Three Paradoxes and Mother Come Home), which has been running in MOME since the first issue. Meanwhile, Bottomless Belly Button creator Dash Shaw and MOME regular Tom Kaczynski collaborate on a mind-bending science-fiction story, "Resolution," where "reality" exists as a virtual world and people live through their avatars. Olivier Schrauwen delivers a surrealistic gem titled "Chromo Congo"; Derek Van Gieson delivers a horrific WWII story, "Devil Doll"; Renee French's "Almost Sound" returns, as does Ted Stearn's "The Moolah Tree" starring Fuzz & Pluck; plus new work from Kurt Wolfgang, Laura Park, Rick Froberg, Sara Edward-Corbett, and T. Edward Bak. Covers by Paul Hornschemeier.
Download an EXCLUSIVE 11-page PDF excerpt (3 MB) with a page from every artist in the issue.
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The Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale St., Seattle WA 98108. Tel: 206-658-0110.