• Review: "A marvel... [Supermen!] is a non-stop visual delight as much for the art as for the colors as for the audacious (sometimes by default) layouts: A way of doing comics that would soon disappear and would return only in the 1960s and 1970s with the ascent of American underground comics, for the early days of comic books were like the underground: Everything was possible, especially the impossible. You absolutely must buy this book..." – Jean-Pierre Dionnet (co-founder, Les Humanoïdes Associés; translated from French)
• Review: "King of the Flies is a very surreal and unsettling tale. Prius does a wonderful job creating a horror-driven universe that could really happen in real life, making readers second-guess the characters they invest 64 pages in. Who are these people? What are their goals? How are they all even related to each other in the larger picture? We don’t get those answers until toward the end, but the ride there is always interesting. An ominous tone is maintained throughout, even during the funnier moments. ... [I]t’s definitely worth picking up if you enjoy dark tales of the human psyche." – Freddie Young, Fangoria
• Review: "You may want to reread certain passages — not just to fully comprehend the plotline, but to gaze upon the stark, raw artwork. Each panel is made up of striking black-and-white images that notably recall Richard Sala’s vibrant illustrations and Frank Miller’s artwork in the Sin City series. Only during acts of unflinching violence does the page becomes flushed with red. Ho Che Anderson has written and drawn a puzzling, dark tale about a mysterious woman with alluring secrets. Sand & Fury: A Scream Queen Adventure is a complex tale that uniquely blends eroticism and horror." – Jorge Solis, Fangoria
Whether you choose to call them “comics lit,” “graphic novels,” or just “thick comic books,” book-length narratives told in words and pictures confidently elbowed their way into the cultural spotlight in the first decade of this new millennium — beginning with the simultaneous 2001 release of Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth and Daniel Clowes’ David Boring, and continuing on through ground-breaking and best-selling works such as Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, Robert Crumb’s Genesis, Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, and Joe Sacco’s Palestine.
This renaissance in turn brought forth a chorus of critical commentary that not only addressed these recent works, but also initiated a much-needed look back at the previous century’s neglected and forgotten masterpieces.
This chorus, as presented in The Best American Comics Criticism, comprises both criticism (Douglas Wolk on Frank Miller and Will Eisner, Robert C. Harvey on Fun Home, Donald Phelps on Steve Ditko and Phoebe Gloeckner) and history (David Hajdu on the 1950s comic-book burnings, Jeet Heer on Gasoline Alley, Ben Schwartz on Little Orphan Annie, Gerard Jones on the birth of the comic-book business), as well as revelatory peer-on-peer essays by novelists (Jonathan Franzen on Peanuts, John Updike on James Thurber) and cartoonists (Chris Ware on Rodolphe Töpffer, Clowes on Mad’s Will Elder, and Seth on John Stanley).
Add in still more voices (The Daily Show’s John Hodgman on Jack Kirby, Sarah Boxer on Krazy Kat, Ken Parille with a meticulous deconstruction of Clowes’s David Boring), and a selection of revelatory interviews with comics masters (Kim Deitch, Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Marjane Satrapi, Will Elder, Chester Brown) and cartoonist tête-à-têtes (Eisner/Miller, Jonatham Lethem/Clowes, Dan Nadel/Sammy Harkham), and The Best American Comics Criticism offers a riveting and comprehensive look at a medium finally come into its own—not just creatively, but in terms of the respect and prominence within American culture it has so long deserved.
The Best American Comics Criticism is edited by Ben Schwartz, a contributor to The New York Times, The Washington Post, Salon, The Atlantic On-Line, and Bookforum.
See the full Table of Contents and read Ben Schwartz's Introduction in this EXCLUSIVE 15-page PDF download (193 KB).
The wildly entertaining Georgetown Second Saturday Art Attack gets rowdy on April 10 with the inclusion of Honk Fest West. In addition to countless art exhibitions, open art studios, performances, workshops and demonstrations, the Art Attack welcomes more than 20 eccentric marching bands from all over the country. The cacophonous Honk Fest West features free performances at several locations throughout the historic industrial arts quarter.
The diverse Art Attack programming on April 10 includes: Arun Sharma’s "(de)composition" autobiographical sculpture and film installations at Georgetown Arts and Cultural Center; open salons at Equinox Studios including a blacksmithing demonstration by Lisa Geertsen and studio sale at Firelight Forge; Dano Quinn at Full Throttle Bottles creating custom switch plate covers out of tall boy beer cans on site; “Home,” a themed exhibition of children’s photography at proletariArt; "Fly by Night," new mixed media works by Joe Wackerman at FRIDA/Georgetown Tile Works; “High Soft Lisp” comics exhibition by Gilbert Hernandez with experimental music by Zinjanthropus and Ardent Vein at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery and Georgetown Records; a student show at the new Miller School of Art; “Circus Art” from members of the Twilight Artist Collective at the Stables; Angielena Chamberlain’s large oil paintings at All City Coffee with a miniature scale version of the exhibition on buttons at the adjacent Button Makers storefront; Honk Fest West performances at the Mix, Georgetown Music Store and other locations.
We forgot to mention, the new second printing of The Wolverton Bible is currently in stock and features an updated color scheme for the cover — what was shades of green on the sold-out first printing is now various rust colors as seen above. Purty! We're still offering a free set of Wolvertoons Postcards with all direct orders, so get yours today!
• Review: "Newave! The Underground Mini Comix Of The 1980s is a small but substantial celebration of the movement, an era during which creators let their ids run riot on the page without worrying about sales, censors, editors, or an audience. Many newave mini-comics had print runs as low as a dozen or so, while others became relative bestsellers; in Newave!, one of the form’s pioneers, Michael Dowers, has edited a gorgeous, utterly essential document of these artifacts, a thick-as-a-fist tome full of stark, crude, obscene, nihilistic, and at times genius comics. Everything from grotesque pornography and freeform surrealism to pop-culture parody and post-hippie rage dwell within, and each turn of the page is a delightful new assault on the visual cortex—not to mention propriety. ... Interspersed with brief interviews with the artists, the compact Newave! is not only an ideal package for such an anthology, it’s done an immeasurable service to the comics medium as a whole. Beyond that, it also just might realign your synapses… [Grade] A" – The A.V. Club
• Profile: The latest "Comics College" feature at Robot 6 focuses on Chris Ware: "Simply put, he's the most influential contemporary cartoonist to come out of the indie scene of the '80s and '90s, perhaps even the most influential cartoonist alive today. Love him or hate him, there's no denying Ware changed the way people think about comics, both on the shallow 'wait, you mean these funnybooks are real literature' level and on the 'wow, he's completely made me rethink what comics are capable of' level."
• Interview:Ho Che Anderson talks about past and future projects in the second part of Alex Dueben's Q&A with him at The Comics Journal: "Right now I’m doing an omnibus book that will collect a bunch of my stuff from hither and yon over the years, and I’m taking the opportunity to complete Miles From Home, a sequel to I Want To Be Your Dog that I started literally 20 years ago, published some of in Pop Life in the ’90s, but never got a chance to finish. But once that page is done and the rest of the book is assembled, I’m focusing on this other thing to the exclusion of all else."
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