• Review: "Gender-bending is nothing new in manga, but it's rare to see the transgender sexual identity issues depicted in a realistic way, rather just as a plot gimmick. With her spare, elegant art and slice-of-life storytelling, Shimura resists the urge to use sensationalism, to tell her sweet and sensitive, albeit unusual, coming-of-age tale.... Just as Shimura treats her two tween characters with respect, so does Fantagraphics' hardcover edition of this story. By presenting Shimura's simple, yet elegant artwork in a larger page format and reproducing her lovely color pages on thick, creamy paper, Fantagraphics has showcased this story in a very special way. The translation is also worth noting, for finding a happy medium between conversational English and maintaining the Japanese setting of this story. Wandering Son is a refreshing example of a graphic novel that gives readers a glimpse of a life rarely seen and a story rarely told. Worth a read, and worth sharing." – Deb Aoki, About.com — Manga
• Review: "In Like a Sniper Lining Up His ShotJean-Patrick Manchette and Jacques Tardi present an unrelenting and unforgiving French noir graphic novel by two masters of the genre. As straight as a shotgun’s barrel and as tight as a bullet, the story bulldozes over people and ethics to an ending that is as merciless as the protagonists themselves. Highly recommended." – Bart Croonenborghs, Broken Frontier
• Review: "If you’re not familiar with Trondheim’s cartooning (and hoo-boy, you should be), he blends funny-animal body-types with breezily convincing cityscapes to create an imminently readable and visually gorgeous narrative. Trondheim is one of the easiest cartoonists to read, and one of the most satisfying to experience. Approximate Continuum Comics wanders far and wide among topics and settings, but the whole book also tells one long tale about a period in its creator’s life, and by the time you’re done with it you feel you’ve spent some very worthwhile time with a great storyteller. Because you have." – Alan David Doane, Trouble with Comics
• Review: "In their graphic novel Stigmata, Lorenzo Mattotti and Claudio Piersanti have created an exceptional example of a successful collaboration of art and text. Stigmata, which tells the story of a man suddenly afflicted with the eponymous phenomenon, is rendered entirely in astonishingly frenetic, swirling line work. Mattotti has hidden a world of grotesqueries under a smokescreen of pen and ink, and through his perfectly restrained, gritty parable, Piersanti shapes that world into a contemplative and captivating read." – Jeff Alford, About.com
• Review: "For a reader who knows little or nothing about religious tradition outside the caricatures created through self-promoters of the strident and extreme, by those who abuse their faith and others under the cloak of religion, or by the media this story [Stigmata] may very well intrigue, horrify, and maybe even move. It is not a doctrinaire work; it is a human one." – Grant Barber, Three Percent (University of Rochester)
• Interview: At The Comics Journal, Nicole Rudick talks to Jim Woodring: "I had the story before I knew I was going to do it as a hundred-page comic, and those Frank stories kind of write themselves. I set out to gather material for them and when I have enough of it, and it’s the right kind of stuff that fits together in such a way, it makes a whole that works. So I didn’t really set out to write Congress of the Animals as a personal story, but once I had the story in hand and I realized that it was that personal — I had that in mind all the time I was drawing it and that influenced some of the visuals, the factory, for example, and the faceless men."
• Commentary: This week's guest contributor to Robot 6's "What Are You Reading?" feature is Oil & Water artist Shannon Wheeler
It's the debut of The Andrés Du Bouchet Center for the Performing Arts, a monthly comedy series hosted by comedian and Conan writer Andrés Du Bouchet, and curated by Adam Spiegelman and Fantagraphics friend Scott Jacobson. Starting this week, you can join them on the last Wednesday of every month for an evening of "artistic expression in a safe, supportive environment where people are drunk." Sounds perfect for Tony!
Not only will Tony Millionaire be on hand to screen some exclusive cartoons and clips from "The Drinky Crow Show," but you'll also get some comedy from Marc Maron, Tig Notaro, Dan Mintz, and Charlyne Yi, and a musical performance from The Lampshades.
Tickets are only $8, and are available online here. The Bootleg Theater is located at 2220 Beverly Blvd in L.A. Sorry, young Maakies fans, the show is 21+.
It's time for another one of our periodic warehouse-buster sales, with a great big selection of good old fashioned floppy-style comics, our Ignatz Series comics, a bunch of our great anthologies (including Mome), some magazines and other stuff, all marked down at least 30% now through Thursday, June 30, 2011 — that's only 4 days to get in on the savings! Browse the full selection here.
Our weekly strips from Kupperman & Weissman, plus links to other strips from around the web. Hans Rickheit has apparently decided that your mind is not sufficiently blown because he has launched a second ongoing webcomic, starring his recurring characters Cochlea and Eustachia!
One of the most "unusual" references to Roberto Clemente can be found on the cover of Cyndi Lauper's She's So Unusual LP. The Pittsburgh Pirates legend's name appears prominently above the doorway behind the twisting pop diva in the photograph by Annie Liebovitz. Go figure. This 1983 recording sold over 9 million copies, yet won only a single Grammy award for album packaging. Apropos of little, other than a reminder to read Wilfred Santiago's wonderful graphic novel biography 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente.
If you've always wanted to get a behind-the-scenes look inside our glamorous offices and see what things are like around here on a day-to-day basis, this segment that The A.V. Club came by to film for their "Pop Pilgrims" series should give you a pretty good idea. Host Dan Telfer and his crew got the grand tour from Gary Groth, and we had Peter Bagge stop by to give his perspective and insights. My favorite parts are the bits that show my co-workers just going about their day and getting shit done. (I missed all the hubbub that day because I was on my way to... oh, some darn convention or other.) They wrote up a nice profile of us too — be sure to check it out.
We're trying something new! Every couple of weeks we'll be spotlighting a loosely thematic selection of a few of our recent and older titles just to, you know, remind you that they exist, and to entice you to buy them we're offering them at a whopping 40% off for four days only, Friday through Monday! Selections and themes have been suggested by our warehouse manager, who is chock full of good ideas. This outing: "A Hairy Bestiary"!
Beasts! Book 1 [Softcover Edition]: A classic mythological menagerie, comprised of creatures that were thought at one time to actually exist, depicted by about a hundred acclaimed artists and cartoonists. Now in softcover after 2 sold-out hardcover editions. Regularly $24.99, now $14.99 — Order Now
Billy Hazelnuts and the Crazy Bird by Tony Millionaire: The long-awaited sequel to the Eisner-winning graphic novel! The cantankerous little golem's second adventure is a crazy potion of all-ages fun, humor, thrills and chills in the inimitable Millionaire style. Regularly $19.99, now $11.99 — Order Now
Rocky Vol. 1: The Big Payback by Martin Kellerman: This mostly autobiographical daily strip details the rudely hilarious travails of a young cartoonist and his layabout pals and neurotic girlfriends. A smash hit in its native Sweden, now in English for the first time. Regularly $12.95, now $7.77 — Order Now
Werewolves of Montpellier by Jason: A faux werewolf-cum-burglar runs afoul of a real society of werewolves who don't take kindly to the pretender. Lycanthropic thrills, romantic dilemmas, situation comedy, existential drama — in other words, pure Jason. Regular price $12.99, now $7.79 — Order Now
Remember, these savings are only good through Monday, June 27!
• List:Castle Waiting Vols. 1 & 2 take two spots on Nancy Pearl's "10 Terrific Summer Reads" list at NPR.org: "The black-and-white drawings are precisely crafted, with small, endearing touches that render each character entirely unique. The dialogue is clever and filled with subtle grace notes of drollness and humor. The set will be especially appealing to readers of all ages who enjoy seeing and reading traditional fairy tale tropes teased and played with, all with a sense of good-humored fun."
• Review: "...Congress of the Animals finds twisted fabulist Woodring at the top of his darkly delightful game: Open the book at random and the odds are very good that your gaze will alight upon something that stings, bites, drips, oozes or squelches. Tentacled plant-beasts threaten the unwary, factories powered by crushed blackbirds produce who-knows-what, slimy amphibians enact bizarre rituals and a tribe of naked, faceless men whom the jacket copy refers to as "blind gut-worshippers" — easily the most potent nightmare fuel Woodring has ever produced — drug passersby for mysterious purposes of their own. You certainly won't want to live inside the covers of Congress of the Animals, but it's a fascinating and thrilling feat of imagination, and one hell of a place to visit." – Glen Weldon, NPR.org
• Review: "This book does something I love. It takes me inside a world I’ve never known.... Shimura’s writing does a good job of exposing the readers to the realities of being transgender. Wandering Son ignited my imagination and got me trying to relate to and understand these characters as deeply as possible.... Shimura has crafted an excellent opening volume.... The quiet pace and subject matter make this series a perfect read for the alternative comics crowd. Fans of shoujo and josei manga will enjoy it too. I’d love for everyone to at least give the first volume of Wandering Son a try. It’s a rare gem of emotional honesty and complexity that rewards those willing to take the risk and move outside their typical reading habits." – Ed Sizemore, Comics Worth Reading
• Review: "Monologues for Calculating the Density of Black Holes by Anders Nilsen... touched a special spot that I strive towards in my reading; it created atmosphere. There’s a weight to the unhinged timeline and nonsensical dialogue. It feels calculated, even as it touches on topics such as 'Godzilla vs. Richard Simmons.' The drawings are simple, yet they effortlessly convey time and feel appropriate for the content. It was a quick read, but one that I’ll be revisiting. Check it out." – Au Yeah!
• Interview:Newsarama's Michael Lorah talks to Wilfred Santiago about the creation of 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente: "A baseball sequence is all about interpretation; there are cold, unchangeable facts. If the batter hits a home run to left field in the second inning, etc., then those are unchangeable facts about that scene. So it’s about the reading of the particulars. I mean, if you are saying sad things while laughing maniacally, it’s different than if you are saying them while sobbing and in tears. Therefore, it’s all about what role that particular game sequence plays in the story as a whole. It’s not a book about baseball, even though there’s baseball in it."
• Interview (Audio):Inkstuds host Robin McConnell rang up Dave McKean (on Skype presumably) for a conversation about his latest book: "Celluloid, fresh out from Fantagraphics, is a remarkable work exploring pornography through a very particular lens. Needless to say, it is fantastic."
You can hear for yourself: their debut EP, Four Corners Bounce, is out now on the Arbitrary Signs label, and to celebrate, they're having a Record Release Party this Friday, June 24th at Desert Island in Brooklyn!
You wouldn't think it to be possible, but it gets even better as Gary will have TWO new books in tow: The Wrong Box and The Land Unknown, both of which were recently published in France, and have been tricky to get in the states... until now!
The psychedelic sonic bliss blasts off at 8:00 PM at Desert Island [540 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY]. Do not miss it.
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