The fastest hot-to-trot release of online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:Good Dog has it this week. Graham Chaffee's return to comics gets a starred review from Publishers Weekly. "Chaffees’s art is both lyrical and dramatic when it needs to be, mixing Craig Thompson and Gilbert Hernandez. As with White Fang and Black Beauty, Chaffee goes inside the psychology of animals without over sentimentalizing and shows why the human/pet relationship is so precious for both sides."
• Review: Diamond Scoop is all over Wake Up, Percy Gloom by Cathy Malkasian. "Malkasian fills the story with multiple levels, never once making any of them obvious. Her experience as an animator shines through as her pencil and panel construction holds an incredible sense of movement inside a graphic novel format.…More than a fable, Percy Gloom is part of story telling myth that can be traced back to campfires around a cave. This is an inspiring work that speaks to all levels of our existence."
• Review: Bob Temuka of the Tearoom of Despair checks out Peter Bagge's Other Stuff. "This book is excellent… the looser Bagge's stuff gets, the better. Other Stuff is funnier than [Everybody Is Stupid Except For Me], even if there is that same sociological satire, because it has Bagge people wigging the fuck out, and nuthin' is funnier than that.."
• Review: Shawn Starr of The Chemical Box reviews 3 New Stories by Dash Shaw. "3 New Stories is a comic which explores the juxtaposition and superimposition of images within the structure of text/drawing based comics (a.k.a. traditional comics) as a means of underlining the thematic nature of it's stories.…Shaw codes the pages of '3 New Stories' with layers of visual subtext that work as an interesting color palette and also through their existence as “images”, create additional layers of meaning to each page and the narrative as a whole."
• Review: Bill Boichel from Copacetic Comics enjoys New School by Dash Shaw. "This purposeful leveling of the high/low, fine/popular distinction in the arts has a specific aim in reinforcing the "message" encoded within the narrative. The basics of the story we are given in New School are about as old school as you can get, centering on two brothers, each sent by their father on a quest to a faraway land. The brothers, Daniel and Luke, are each given names with strong biblical associations. The latter, however, additionally references the modern mythology of Star Wars. This dual reference serves as a key opening the door to New School's narrative strategy."
• Review: IndieWire has a suggestion for you in regards to Micky Mouse Color Sundays by Floyd Gottfredson (edited by Groth and David Gerstein). Jerry Beck writes, "Leave it to Gerstein, with co-editor Gary Groth and the team at Fantagraphics, to reprint these rare strips with the greatest of care. The reproduction of the line art is superb, the coloring is vivid and faithful to the original newspaper printings … stop what you are doing and order this book today. 280 pages of absolute joy."
• Review: KC Carlson of Comics Worth Reading read and weeps (from laughter) in the latest Carl Barks collection, Donald Duck: The Old Castle's Secret. "I read it as a child. Yet I remember clearly every detail about it. Such is the power of Carl Barks’ work. His storytelling is designed to appeal to youngsters as well as folk who are as old as Scrooge.…I laughed so hard that I had to put the book down for a couple of minutes. Sharp-eyed readers should also pay attention to other jokes hidden in what Donald is reading in other stories throughout the book."
• Interview (audio): Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds and co-editor, Philip Nel, talk Crockett Johnson, Barnaby and Ruth Kruss on Inkstuds with Robin McConnell.
• Review:Comics Grinder makes some new meat with Beta Testing the Apocalypse by Tom Kacynski. "Kaczynski’s humor is, at times, acerbic, with an attitude…Read as a whole, the author’s vision comes through as heart-felt, witty, and maybe even, perhaps, genuinely concerned…Architecture is seen as a possible solution to the many ills of one struggling nation," writes Henry Chamberlain.
• Review:The Austin Chronicle weighs The Adventure of Jodelle by Guy Peellaert. Shannon McCormick writes, "Christ, this thing is gorgeous…Like his American Pop Art idols and comrades, Peellaert’s work smashed distinctions between "high" and ‘low’ modes of art, drawing from the visual language of advertising, cinema, fashion, and youth culture, as well as classical and neo-classical sculpture and architecture."
• Review: Stuff I Read This Week and the Darling Dork revisit Maggie the Mechanicby Jaime Hernandez. "A large part of the fun of Love and Rockets is seeing how the Herndandezes grew and developed as creators, with experimentation giving way to clarity of vision…You can look at these characters and still recognize them perfectly well, only sans several decades of growth…there’s still plenty of greatness to be found here."
• Interview (audio): Gilbert Hernandez talks about kids' comics, Love and Rockets, plus D&Q's Marble Season on The Dinner Party.
• Plug (video): Staffer Jen Vaughn speaks very briefly on working for Fantagraphics and comics at TCAF on Comics Bulletin (I apologize for speaking in 3rd person)
The coldest Dip'n'Dots of Online Commentaries & Marketing:
• Interview: Comic Book Resources and Alex Dueben interview Peter Bagge about Other Stuff and his favorite collaborations in the book, "The earliest one in the book, "Life in These United States," didn't come out looking at all like I had envisioned it…what Clowes did with it was truly remarkable. Also, Gilbert [Hernandez] radically changed the faces, ages and even genders of almost everyone in the "Me" strip. That threw me for a loop! Though it didn't negatively impact the story in the slightest."
• Review:The A.V. Club looks at Peter Bagge's Other Stuff. "Other Stuff also brings together strips Bagge has written about rock icons, along with a few cartoon essays, and strips featuring his characters Lovey and The Leeways, who respectively represent hipster adventurism and dogged domesticity. It’s a full picture of who Bagge has been as an artist and humorist over the past 20 years, and as such is as valuable for newcomers as fans…" writes Noel Murray.
• Interview:Peter Bagge is interviewed on Societe Perrierby Christian J Petersen on comics, Seattle and growing up clever. "Did your parents encourage your creativity? No, though they didn't discourage it. They were drunk."
• Review:The Quietus looks at The Adventures of Jodelle by Guy Peellaert and Pierre Bartier. Aug Stone writes, "Jodelle is fantastic in every sense of the word, filled with in-jokes and time-defying references, nudity and sex (not always coinciding), exaggerated violence, but most importantly a sense of pushing the edges of possibility…The original Pop Art comic and one of the first ‘adult comics’ (released a year after Barbarella by same publisher Eric Losfeld), Jodelle is an artistic tour de force."
• Review: Bookgasm looks at The Adventures of Jodelle by Guy Peellaert. "…let the fleshy neon visuals explode into your eyeballs.…It won’t have the same impact today, as many of its visual ideas have been appropriated and subverted into the mainstream culture, but as both a time capsule of its era and as a visually stunning romp, it remains a unique experience that should certainly be at least sampled by any adventurous modern reader of comics. Playfully provocative, funny and smart, THE ADVENTURES OF JODELLE pops with a soft-lined splash of lurid color," writes JT Lindroos.
• Review: It's Nice That and look at The Adventures of Jodelle. "Peellaert was every bit the master of his craft and with enviable vision and flair managed to transform a previously safe medium into something exciting and dangerous…It’s intoxicating stuff!" exclaims James Cartwright.
• Interview:HeroesOnline and Seth Peagler interview Ed Piskor about comics, music and Hip Hop Family Tree. Piskor states, "There were some interesting things to look at while writing the book. It’s necessary to know the political/economic climate at the time. The fine art scene plays an integral role in the development of early Hip Hop as well, which many people might not know. If it wasn’t for the downtown scene gravitating toward graffiti culture it could have all died out in the early 80s."
• Review:I Reads You reads Love and Rockets: New Stories #5 by Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez. Leroy Douresseaux writes, "This publishing format is designed to appeal to the people who decide what will make the shelves of bookstores.…this is another volume of New Stories which proves that Love and Rockets is as strong as ever and is ready for 30 more great years."
• Review:Kotaku's roundtable discuss what they did and didn't like about Julio's Day by Gilbert Hernandez. Evan Narcisse posits "I did like how the family lived on the fringes of the 20th Century. It reminded me A LOT of Gabriel Garcia Marquez' 100 Years of Solitude. The weird almost-incest, characters with the same names and weird proclivities, home-as-a-black-hole-you-can't-escape, the outside world as an exotic dangerous place, nature as this karmic equalizer …"
• Interview: Nicole Rudick of The Comics Journal interviews James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook about 7 Miles A Second and their creative life together. James mentions, "…it is about empathy, the only thing we have that allows us to touch each other. So if there’s anything positive to be taken out of the book, it’s that we should be working toward a more empathetic experience while we’re on the planet."
• Review:Comic Book Resources looks at 50 Girls 50 by Al Williamson. "It’s interesting seeing how different some of the artwork is – Williamson liked science fiction, apparently, and was occasionally bored with the other stories William Gaines or Al Feldstein gave him, but there’s no story here that doesn’t at least offer something sublime…Fantagraphics has done a really nice job bringing a lot of the 1940s/1950s stuff back into print, and if they keep picking such cool stuff like this, I’ll just have to keep buying it!" exclaims Greg Burgas.
• Review:Spectrum Culture looks at'Tain't the Meat by Jack Davis. "Davis was a phenomenal draftsman whose dynamic line work could imbue even static scenes with restless energy, and whose clean but detailed layouts could bring to life queasiness-inducing tableaux of rotting corpses and piled intestines…Al Feldstein and Carl Wessler wrote the lion’s share of these tales and had a knack for mixing cruel irony and creeping dread.…EC has been gone for decades now, but volumes like this help ensure that its influence won’t be forgotten." writes David Maine.
• Review:The Portland Mercury on Dash Shaw's New School. "The experience of reading New School is like temporarily inhabiting the body and brain of an artist: This is what growing up might feel like for someone who lives and breathes colors and shapes," writes Allison Hallett. "It's heady, hallucinatory, and bizarre, but it's grounded in the simple experience of growing up in the shadow of a beloved older sibling."
• Interview: Societe Perrier by Christian J Petersen interview Johnny Ryan. "You seem to be exploring a darkside in your work but you soften the blow with humor. What would your real darkside look like?Prison Pit. "
• Plug: Duckburg Weekly looks at Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1: Race to Death ValleyandMickey Mouse Volume 2: Trapped on Treasure Island by Floyd Gottfredson. "With Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Classic Collection Fantagraphics Books published a must-have for everyone who's interested in early works of the Walt Disney Company!…[Vol. 1]offers amazing articles about the 'birth' of Mickey Mouse, bonus panels which were never published and different artists in the spotlight (such as Al Taliaferro and Jack King)…Again [in Vol. 2] there is a chapter with incredible bonus material which informs about the villains, Floyd's colleagues and additional comic strips."
• Interview:It's Nice That and James Cartwright interviewed Anders Nilsen about The End, coming out in print this fall. "…some of it is pretty raw, and that’s how I felt at the time. Some of it is funny, too, I think, which is also part of the experience. It can feel very absurd at times. If it feels like a crazy emotional roller coaster to read, then it’s doing the job."
• Review:The Comics Journal reviewed the Kolor Klimaxanothology, edited by Matthias Wivel. Robert Kirby writes, "I found myself drawn back to each several times…That, for me, is the common vibe generated by this and other Euro-comics anthologies: the sense of possibility and novelty that comes from having available a whole new frontier of previously hard-to-come-by alt-comics by accomplished artists to explore. Comics speak a universal, intuitive language, but this 'Nordic Hypnotica' opens Americans up to previously unfamiliar dialects that are a pleasure to read, enjoy, and occasionally decode."
• Review:Kitty Sneezes looks at Drew and Josh Alan Friedman'sAny Similarity to Persons Living or Dead is Purely Coincidental. "Shemp acts both as a beacon of Drew Friedman's amazing artistic skill, but also as a signpost of what you'll find.…strips starring the semi-forgotten figures of old media. Figures like Abbott & Costello, Chet Huntley, Joe Franklin or Tor Johnson come up frequently. I especially love the Tor strips. And usually, though there's a surrealist bent like you'd find in the work of Michael Kupperman, there's usually a sense of love for the work of these people" writes Rev. Syung Myung Me.
Our Eisner-winning series goes chromatic! The first of two volumes collecting the great Floyd Gottfredson's 1932-1938 run on the Sunday Mickey Mouse comic strip, Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Color Sundays Vol. 1: Call of the Wild is truly a spectacular package. The linework is so crisp, the authentically-recreated color so dazzling (and surprising... yellow Donald Duck??), you'd be forgiven for thinking these strips are from 80 days ago, not 80 years! And of course you also get all the informative supplemental features these volumes are known for. Get more details, read a 21-page excerpt, and pre-order this volume right here.
And have we got a sweet offer for collectors who want the eventual 2-volume box set but are eager to start reading the first volume: pre-order the box set now and we'll send you this volume as soon as it's released, with the second volume and slipcase when they're available in the Fall — all for the regular box set price, which is cheaper than buying the volumes separately! Keen-o!
Customers in the U.S. and Canada can now pre-order Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Color Sundays Volume 1, coming this Summer, and Volume 2 and the Vols. 1-2 Gift Box Set, which will be out in the Fall. (Sorry, our contract with Disney prevents us from selling to customers outside the U.S. and Canada.) We have a special offer for fans who want the slipcased set but don't want to wait to start reading Volume 1!
This month's Diamond Previews catalog is out now and in it you'll find our usual 2-page spread (download the PDF) with our releases scheduled to arrive in your local comic shop in April 2013 (give or take — release dates are likely to have changed since the issue went to press). We're pleased to offer additional and updated information about these upcoming releases here on our website, to help shops and customers alike make more informed ordering decisions.
(Retailers! These updates are also available in a new monthly email newsletter especially for you. If you're not already getting it and would like to sign up, contact us and we'll add you to the mailing list! And don't forget, we have a ton of digital resources which are at your disposal for your website and social networks, which you can learn more about here.)
Floyd Gottfredson’s Mickey Mouse series makes the jump from black and white to vibrant color. Many of these classic Sunday strips from 1932-1935 have never before been reprinted and have been restored from Disney’s archives and enhanced with a meticulous recreation of the strips’ original color. Call of the Wild also brings you more than 30 pages of supplementary features such as rare behind-the-scenes art, vintage publicity material, and fascinating commentary by a prismatic pack of Disney scholars. This is a collection that fans have been seeking for a lifetime!
Continuing our ongoing commitment to keep the canonic Complete Crumb Comics series available, we reprint two of most often- demanded volumes. Vol. 5: “Happy Hippy Comix” spotlights the period from late-1967 through 1969, including the second issue of ZAP Comix, the introduction of Angelfood McSpade, Mr. Natural, a long Fritz story, an alternate version of the Cheap Thrills album cover, and more! Vol. 8: “Starring Fritz the Cat” covers the years 1971-1972 and features one of Crumb’s most notorious comics, “The Death of Fritz the Cat,” as well as “Whiteman Meets Bigfoot,” the complete Big Ass #2 and Mr. Natural #2, wild jams and loads of photos!
Fantagraphics proudly presents 20 years of Love And Rockets covers collated in full-color, virtually all of them without logos or cover text for maximum visual impact so the viewer can better appreciate these iconic images created by Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez. With over 150 classic covers, this will be a gorgeous, oversized art book and the perfect gift for fans of the series that virtually defines alternative comics.
From the author of Bottomless Belly Button comes a stunning new graphic novel set in a fantastical amusement park. New School follows a teenage boy’s search for his brother, which leads at first to wonderment and delight but ultimately to alienation and disillusionment. Unlike anything in the history of the comics medium, New School is at once funny and deadly serious, easily readable while wildly artistic, personal and political, familiar and completely new.
This one-shot comic book will feature three all-new, full-color short stories that explore var- ied dystopian societies. From a Sherlock Holmes-style investiga- tor who must complete his high school degree to filmed ‘volun- tary’ nudity to prison camps full of jaded children, Shaw pens each story with his signature style and unique spin, all in 32 pages.
Stephen Dixon’s first novel in five years is an intimate exploration of the interior life of a husband who has lost his wife. His Wife Leaves Him is Dixon’s most important and ambitious novel, featuring his tenderest and funniest writing to date, and represents the stylistic and thematic summation of his writing life.
Over 200 pages of never- before-reprinted work from Golden-Age-Of-Comics legend Bill Everett. Spanning the years 1938- 1940 and culled from such magazines as Amazing Mystery Funnies and Amazing-Man Comics, Heroic Tales features vintage characters such as Amazing-Man, Hydroman, Skyrocket Steele, The Chameleon plus many more. This is a stunning companion to Fantagraphics’ critically acclaimed 2010 Everett retrospective, Fire and Water, and features beautifully restored, full-color stories plus an introduction about the man, his art, the history of the era, and his relationship with Marvel Comics.
Assembled from work done in Anders Nilsen’s sketchbooks over the course of the year following the death of his fiancée, The End is a collection of short strips about loss, paralysis, waiting and transformation. Originally released in magazine form, The End has been updated and expanded to more than twice its origi-nal length, including a 16-page full-color section.
An anachronistic parable for the convulsive elite — now in paperback. Meticulous, strange, and hauntingly beautiful, this evocative and enigmatic book will ensure the inquisitive reader a spleenful of cerebral serenity that will take exposure to vast quantities of mediocrity to dispel.
The most returned sweater of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Interview: Tom Spurgeon of the Comics Reporter interviews cartoonist Carol Tyler about her You'll Never Know series about her father, WWII and family bonds. He starts of the interview right, "You've lived with these books for a very long time. How did it feel to get some closure on this work?". Click here for the answers and more.
• Review:Comics Bulletin looks at You'll Never Know Book 3: Soldier's Heart by Carol Tyler. Jason Sacks states "You'll Never Know is a breathtaking graphic novel because Carol Tyler is honest enough to know that stories are seldom as tidy nor as dysfunctional as they seem on TV…It's a tremendously real story straight from the heart, told by a master cartoonist."
• Plug:Comic Book Resources and Brian Cronin investigate the legend around the FBI examining Pogo comic strips searching for hidden messages.
• Plug: Geekosystem has suggestions for our 20% sale like Pogo by Walt Kelly. "Are you a Calvin and Hobbes fan, dear reader?…If you are a fan, we’d point you towards one of the strip’s inspirations, Walt Kelly’s classic Pogo cartoons. By turns razor-edged political satire and old-fashioned slapstick comedy gold, these strips are being given their due."
• Review:Reality Studio looks and relooks at Observed While Falling and The Lost Art of Ah Pook Is Here by Malcolm McNeill on his collaboration with William S. Burroughs. Jan Herman writes "Observed While Falling brings a fresh analytical eye to the familiar Burroughsian fixations — synchronicity and doppelgangers, control systems, the word as virus, the number 23 — that dominate this memoir, while still offering a straightforward chronicle of the author’s relationship with le maître. Luckily for us, McNeill is an artist who can write. Really write.…the hard work, the exhilaration and, ultimately, the frustration of a project that failed to achieve its original goal — is largely treated with brilliant introspection and loving grace."
• Review:Forbidden Planet International continues their Best of 2012 lists. Douglas Noble places Chris Wright's Blacklung on the list. "Unforgettable, and Wright's beautiful, scratchy art is a treat, like EC Segar working with Yuichi Yokoyama designs."
• Review:Comics Alliance announced their Stephanie Brown Memorial awards. On Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse: House of Seven Haunts by Floyd Gottfredson, Chris Sims writes, "They're one of the few things that I get excited about to the point of giddiness, and House of the Seven Haunts! was the best volume yet…It's one wild adventure after another, and they're all done with an incredible skill that still holds up almost 80 years later."
• Review:Comics Alliance announced their Stephanie Brown Memorial awards. The Furry Trap by Josh Simmons makes the list "The faux-Batman comic, which details the Bat's horrifically misanthropic ways, might be a reason to check out the contents of this hardcover collection of Simmons stories, but the entire volume is full of troubling tales worth your attention…The unexpected happens, consistently, and that's about the only thing you can be sure of," states Tim Callahan.
• Plug:NO releases its Best Comics of 2012 list and Sean Collins breathtakingly writes about The Furry Trap, "Josh Simmons shits in your heart, again and again in ways that grow exponentially more refined and chilling as the book progresses. A perfect statement of rancid intent."
• Review:Comics Alliance announced their Stephanie Brown Memorial awards. Designer Dylan Todd writes on Barack Hussein Obama by Steven Weissman. "There's something vaguely Peanuts-esque at work here, with a cast of recognizable characters… all with their own quirks and personalities, all delivering punchlines while the specter of death and soul-crushing doubt hangs over their heads. It's funny, but like any good comedy, it's tied up in uncomfortable and relatable truths…It's surreal, nonsensical, and a little depressing -- so, huh, maybe it's an accurate portrayal of political life in the 21st century after all."
• Review: Timothy Callahan of Comic Book Resources looks back on 2012 and Steven Weissman's Barack Hussein Obama is #20 on his Best Of list. "It's just such a fragmented work of narrative, but Weissman plays with repetition and transformation in a near-musical way, and that ends up mattering most…This comic is difficult to discuss without sounding ridiculous, but I can't stop thinking about its unsettling strangeness."
• Review:Paste Magazine's guest writers Nathan Bulmer and Kevin Huizenga pick out some of our books as the Best of 2012 including Steven Weissman's Barack Hussein Obama, Jason's Athos in America, and Chris Wright's Blacklung. Bulmer looks at Weissman, "I have so many feelings about this book. This, to me, is the most gorgeous book of the year and is one that I will be returning to often."
• Plug: Geekosystem has suggestions for our 20% sale like Athos in America by Jason. "Fact: New Jason books are weird, funny, and always bring something new and unexpected to the table. Conjecture: This book probably deserves a place on your shelf…"
• Review: KC Carlson of Comics Worth Reading dives not into a vault of money but Carl Barks' books. While reading Uncle Scrooge: "Only a Poor Old Man"she can't help but write,"One way or another, all of these stories are classics (if not masterpieces) of early comic book storytelling. And not just for kids." When flipping to Donald Duck: "A Christmas for Shacktown" Carlson notes,"It’s probably one of the least sentimental Christmas stories around (and thus a favorite of many fans). It features an early example of Scrooge’s lack of charity, counterbalanced by his steadfast work ethic…I can’t say enough about how much I love these new Fantagraphics collections of this 'should always be in print' Carl Barks material."
• Review: Andrew Wheeler over at Anticks Musings enjoys Peanuts Vol. 17: 1983-1984 by THE Charles M. Schulz. Wheeler states, "they're reliably funny and occasionally moving. The deep sadness that used to manifest in Charlie Brown now comes up, less rawly, . . . For work done by the same one man, day after day, more than thirty years after he started that project, that's not just impressive, it's amazing."
• Review (video): Jon Longhi in episode 2 of Having a Book Moment features Spacehawk by Basil Wolverton "who was an amazing underground cartoonist with exp, surrealist view of reality that created some of the I think, most unique comics ever invented. . ."
• Review:Robot 6 enjoys SpacehawkbyBasil Wolverton. Chris Mautner writes "Wolverton’s Spacehawk has a vitality — at times it practically throbs with life — that the more static Stardust simply does not have. Spacehawk not only the best reprint project of the year, it’s the best reprint project of the past several years. It’s a revelation."
• Review:Comics Alliance announced their Best Comics of 2012. Basil Wolverton's Spacehawk "remind[s] you of some kind of Buck Rogers Technicolor serial as designed by Robert Crumb…Spacehawk is the freakishly charming sideshow to the more popular main event, but everyone who's seen its wonders would find themselves bored with what the guy in the big hat in the center ring is babbling on about," writes Tim Callahan
• Review:Comics Bulletin and Jason Sacks give Spacehawk by Basil Wolverton a rating of 4.5 outta 5 stars. "This book is really fucking exhilarating and awesome and eye-popping, and you have to add it to your bookshelf if you loved I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets…Spacehawk is lunatic, manic genius."
• Review:Delphine by Richard Sala gets BoingBoinged. Mark Frauenfelder writes, "I've long admired the gothy work of cartoonist Richard Sala. He delicately balances the line between horror and humor as few can. His latest graphic novel, Delphine, is his darkest effort to date."
• Review: Comic Book Resources counts down the Top 100 Comics of 2012 and includes The Hypo by Noah Van Sciver at #54. Brian Cronin states "Van Sciver spotlights a fascinating time in Lincoln's life where he barely resembles the man who would one day become one of the most famous presidents in U.S. history…The artwork is strong, as is the research." Cronin's own Top 10 Comics of 2012 listed Van Sciver at #2.
• Review:Panel Patter lists the Favorite Graphic Novels of 2012 and Noah Van Sciver is #2 for The Hypo. Rob McMonigal writes "Given that Van Sciver specializes in characters who are at their wit's end and have horrible things going on in their lives, he's picture perfect in his presentation."
• Interview: Tom Spurgeon interviews editor and fan Marc Sobel on living life breathing Love and Rockets at the Comics Reporter. Sobel started writing, critiquing the Hernandez Brothers work, interviewing them that led to writing and co-editing The Love and Rockets Reader and The Love and Rockets Companion, coming out next year.Sobel pondered, "I decided to read Love & Rockets in its original format and blog about each issue as a way to teach myself about one of the medium's classics while still keeping active as a writer."
• Review:Comic Book Resources counts down the Top 100 Comics of 2012 and #35 is Love and Rockets: New Stories #5. "…the Bros turned in another installment of comics that are simultaneously agonizing to witness and darkly funny while they’re serving up stone-cold dramatic situations," writes Brian Warmoth
• Plug:Gilbert Hernandez receives some attention from Sean T. Collins at Carnival of Souls in regards to upcoming Julio's Day and D&Q's Marble Season. "A now-completed collection of work he serialized during Love & Rockets‘ second volume and a pseudoautobiography, these could send him in the direction of critical and audience reappraisal that the outré sex and violence of his recent comics have denied him."
• Interview (video): As part of the 30th Anniversary celebration, Vegas Seven posted a short interview with Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez conducted at Alternative Reality Comics in Las Vegas.
• Plug: Glyn Dillon writes the Best of the Year 2012 for Forbidden Planet International and shares the love for Jaime Hernandez's God and Science. "I'm not really a fan of the super hero genre, but he delivers it in such a fun way, it's hard to resist it's charm. It almost feels as though it's from an alternative universe, a universe where super hero comics are good."
• Review:The Chicago Tribune gets all fancy to read our EC Library Comics: Corpse on the Imjin by Harvey Kurtzman and Came the Dawn by Wallace Wood. "Kurtzman often evinces a grim humor in these war comics, they don't elicit laughs. His beautiful line-work — thick black strokes and quick black curves — captures the grit of battle and its aftermath: Corpses reach up from rubble, cones of fire erupt from gun barrels." Michael Robbins continues, "Wood's alternately claustrophobic and desolate brushwork lurches into life: spreading puddles and slanting rain, Rock Hudson jawlines and Jane Wyman curves, vertiginous angles, hallucinatory things with too many eyes."
•Plug:NO releases its Best Comics of 2012 list and Sean T Collins recommends Prison Pit 4 by Johnny Ryan. "Choose your monsters-transforming-and-pursuing-ultimate-murder poison: if you favour grossness, reality-breaking sci-fi and heavy manga inflections, go with Ryan."
• Plug:Michael Kupperman'sTales Designed to Thrizzle #8 is ranked 81 out of the Top 100 Comics of 2012 according to Comic Book Resources. "The latest 'Tales Designed to Thrizzle' very well might be the funniest edition of the annual comic yet! Kupperman's outrageously unpredictable sense of humor is on full force in this issue" states Brian Cronin. Cronin's own Top 10 Comics of 2012 listed Kupperman at #4.
• Review:Comic Attack bangs out the Best 15 All-Ages Titles of 2012. Hal Foster's Prince Valiant is on the list as Drew says "the detail and quality of the art alone along with the more literary form of narration provided the base and inspiration for dozens of artists and imitators after that, all these years still being just as entertaining as when first published, here from Fantagraphics never looking as good as collected before."
• Review: Nick Hanover of Comics Bulletin sits awhile with Tom Kaczynski's new book. Beta Testing the Apocalypse "is weird as all fuck and funny as all shit, a Singles Going Steady for the art comix crowd that merges Burroughs' cut-up commentary with Ballard's keen tech consumer insight and siliconic wit…is where we should be looking if we want to know what comes next, if we want to discern which hip priest had their ear closer to the ground."
• Interview:The Comics Journal's Tim Holder interviews Tom Kaczynski (cartoonist of Beta Testing the Apocalypse)on his comics and publishing endeavors.
• Plug: Jade at the D&Q Bookstore holds onto some serious love for Lilli Carré's Heads or Tails. "Her stories always incorporate some sense of magic realism, where bizarre occurrences are treated as if they were just another aspect of daily life. Equally impressive is Carré’s artistic versatility, always finding the appropriate style, palette and medium to tell her dreamy tales."
• Review:Cosmic Comix reviews The Crackle of the Frost by Mattotti and Zentner. "The story itself is amazing. It’s a story about loneliness, loss, and, most of all, fear…It’s a rare feat in which the words, although separate from the picture, are in perfect synch with it… If you are looking for a book that truly pushes the comics medium, then this is the book for you," writes David Lee.
•Review: Music magazine Ugly Things Issue 34 reviews Kevin Avery's book. Alan Bisbort writes "Everything is an Afterthought would, in another age, be considered 'essential reading' for anyone even remotely hip…these bokos remind us of how deeply some people cared for the music and its larger pop culture that many of us now take for granted."
• Plug: Geekosystem has suggestions for our 20% sale like Joe Sacco's book. "Safe Area Gorazde is a great introduction to his work and to the concept of comics journalism as a whole. This new special edition with notes from the author, updates on the characters, and a behind the scenes look at the creative process is must-own material.
• Plug: Geekosystem has suggestions for our 20% sale like I Shall Destroy All Civilized Planets by Fletcher Hanks. "Weirdness on the highest scale prevails in these collections…these delightfully strange relics deserve a place in the library of any comics art history completist or student of the medium."
• Plug: Filth and Fabulations looks at books for 2013 and The Astonishing Exploits of Lucien Brindavoine by Jacques Tardi is on there. "This book is perhaps a slightly less mature piece than some of Tardi's later self-authored work, but it is filled with a vibrancy and a dark humor that makes it a thing not to be missed, especially so for those who enjoy his amusing riffs on traditional genre pastiches, with a nice dose of violence and sarcasm thrown in". In addition to Goddamn this War! by Tardi and Jean-Pierre Verney. "It looks very promising, and seems to be more of a single narrative spanning the entirety of the war, rather than the looser vignette-style format of the earlier book."
The most symmetrical cake slice of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:Publishers Weekly occasionally lets smart and famous people recommend books. Jeopardy Master Ken Jennings "skipped the obvious Marjane Satrapi and Alison Bechdel entries in favor of this lesser-known three-volume masterpiece, about Tyler’s complicated relationship with her distant dad, a World War II vet. With her playful, fluid brush line and busy patchwork of watercolor woodgrain, Tyler’s art looks like the past feels." Carol Tyler's complete series You'll Never Know is available.
• Review:Booklist Online cooks up a review from some Pogo (The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips Vol. 2: "Bona Fide Balderdash"). Ian Chipman writes, "[Walt Kelly's] hallmarks of deft wordplay, daft swamp critters, and poisonously sharp sociopolitical satire are in full blossom here. The highlight is the 1952 election season that saw Pogo’s first and entirely reluctant presidential run and the birth of the “I Go Pogo” slogan. Mimicking “I Like Ike. . . A must for all collections of comic-strip history."
• Plug:Forces of Geek throws out some good gift recommendations for kidslike Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge "Only a Poor Old Man"by Carl Barks. "Comic books have always been an excellent gateway into reading, and when it comes to smart, imaginative and engaging, you don't have to go much further than Carl Barks. . . What better way to introduce your own Huey, Dewey or Louie to comics?"
• Review:Paste Magazines's 10 Best Collections of 2012 include two Fantagraphics titles. Hillary Brown loved Young Romance, by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby edited by Michel Gagné who "painstakingly restored them (without making them look exactly new, thus giving the book the feel of a vintage compilation that just happens to be in amazing shape). . . Simon and Kirby tried to bring as much excitement to primarily psychological and interpersonal goings-on as to punching and flying." And this might be the last year anything by Carl Barks is on the list, "We’ll just grant it permanent honorary status as the best of the best, like when John Larroquette removed himself from Emmy consideration after winning four straight for Night Court. . . [Walt Disney's Donald Duck "A Christmas for Shacktown] once again proves Barks to be one of the finest draftsmen and storytellers we’ve ever had." Well put, Garrett Martin.
• Plug:The Scotsman lists some of the Best of 2012 as told by the best scotsman. Withered Hand's singer/songwriter Dan Willson has eyes only for Ron Rege, Jr. and states, "[The] Cartoon Utopia , his magnum opus, is quite a head-trip. Thousands of very dense little drawings and words resemble a psychedelic illuminated manuscript peppered with themes of spiritual redemption and good versus evil. It’s a very unusual and beautiful work."
• Plug: From Boing Boing's list of the Best Damn Comics of 2012, compiled by Brian Heater. On Ron Rege Jr.'s The Cartoon Utopia , "The first esoteric text of the new century. The harbinger of the New Aeon. This book will be a staple of Esoteric Lore for millennia to come."
• Plug:Boing Boing makes my job easy by providing the Best Damn Comics of 2012. Compiled by Brian Heater, a lot of creative people offered up their favorite books of the year. Nick Abadzis thinks Kolor Klimax (edited by Matthias Wivel), "feels startling and vital to me and features a wide variety of styles, each as absorbing as all the others contained within these pages. I don't think I've enjoyed an anthology as much as this one in years."
• Plug: From Boing Boing's list of the Best Damn Comics of 2012, compiled by Brian Heater. Box Brown on Barack Hussein Obama, "Steven Weissman does stuff with actual analog comic materials that most dudes can't even do with photoshop." Jeffrey Brown chimes in on BHO, "Strange, funny and beautiful. Weissman reinvents his comics with the kind of book I wish I would make." Will Dinksi agrees, "Barack Hussein Obama is pretty much my favorite book of the year. . . I get a better appreciation for Weissman's craft in the printed collection where it can feel like you're actually looking at the finished artwork." Mari Naomi says,"I just love what this book is. If I didn't know better, I wouldn't even recognize this as Weissman. And I like that."
• Review:Paris Review checks out The Last Vispo, edited by Nico Vassilakis and Crag Hill. Nicole Rudick states,"it makes sense that in visual form poetry would elicit a kind of motion, an unfolding over the space of a page, and that even its sound would be voiced as a series of discoveries. Movement disrupts the continuity of a sentence, a phrase, a word. And language, unsettled, is unbound."
• Plug: From Boing Boing's list of the Best Damn Comics of 2012, compiled by Brian Heater. Box Brown continues to wax poetic on Josh Simmons' The Furry Trap, "Funny, even as it makes your hair stand on end and your skin start to crawl... Horror comics that gash their way below the surface."
• Plug: From Boing Boing's list of the Best Damn Comics of 2012, compiled by Brian Heater. Shaenon K. Garrity says that The Heart of Thomas by Moto Hagio "is a book I've been awaiting for over ten years, and it exceeds my expectations."
• Plug: From Boing Boing's list of the Best Damn Comics of 2012, compiled by Brian Heater. Nate Powell on Interiorae by Gabriella Giandelli, is "just what I look for in a narrative: patient, dreamy, full of seemingly endless layers of shadow, slowly revealing the sweetness inside the rotten, all within the confines of a single high-rise apartment building, surrounded by snow and static."
• Review:Slate finds themselves choosing Heads or Tails, going for broke. Dan Kois says, "Lilli Carré’s short stories are dreamy, unlikely, and unsettling. What transforms the stories from nightmares to fables is Carré’s artwork, which varies with each story. . ."
• Review:Page 45 looks at Heads or Tails by Lilli Carré. "The art reminds me a little of Lynda Barry and the flow of the pages reminded me a little of Walt Holcombe. . .I recently recommended this book to a customer who named their favourite film as Amelie (good choice!) precisely because it has that feeling of whimsy about it."
• Plug: From Boing Boing's list of the Best Damn Comics of 2012, compiled by Brian Heater. Jeremy Tinder on Heads or Tails by Lilli Carré, "A nice encapsulation of many of the ways Lilli has been pushing herself both narratively and stylistically over the last few years. If only there was a way to squeeze her animation in there too." Will Dinksi comments on Heads or Tails by Lilli Carré, "Beautiful artwork. Thoughtfully paced. "Of The Essence" is one of the best comic book short stories I've ever read."
• Plug: From Boing Boing's list of the Best Damn Comics of 2012, compiled by Brian Heater. Robert Kirby on No Straight Lines edited by Justin Hall, "Long overdue, this beautifully-produced, sharply edited retrospective may usher in a new era of respect and recognition for a long-neglected realm of the alt-comics world."
• Review:Nate's Broadcast enjoyed The Hypo by Noah Van Sciver in addition to the recent film, Lincoln, and book America Aflame. "Van Sciver’s contribution to the Lincoln mythology is perfect for those who like their heroes a little troubled and messy, but good at their core- not a bad way to interpret the American ideal."
• Plug: From Boing Boing's list of the Best Damn Comics of 2012, compiled by Brian Heater. Will Dinski continues with The Hypo. "[Noah] Van Sciver is pretty prolific, but this is his best work to date. The line art just drips with anguish." Brian Heater thinks it "puts the cartoonist's brimming angst to a different use entirely, in a book that does precisely what a good piece of historical non-fiction should: finding a fascinating way to tell a story we were convinced we already knew."
• Review: Blacklung by Chris Wright is whittled on by Tucker Stone at TCJ. It's called "the big, trippy brother to Drew Weing’s Segar influenced Set To Sea. . . . [and] Gore saturates this comic. . . Brutality for its own sake is the point of some entertaining movies, no reason it can’t be the point of some entertaining comics as well."
• Review: On Filth and Fabulations, Jeppe Mulich states that Chris Wright's "[Blacklung is] not a work of splatter punk or mindless gore, but rather an engaging, breathless, and humorous tale of the dregs of the sea, including a colorful assortment of pirates and madmen, quite clearly drawing inspiration from both Melville, Stevenson and Peckinpah."
• Review: Paste Magazine reviews Charlie Brown's Christmas Stocking by Charles M. Schulz. "Seeing this work isolated and expanded only reinforces the sheer timelessness and brilliance inherent; Schulz was a master of mood and line in equal measure. . . it’s some of the finest nostalgia porn you can put under the tree," quips Sean Edgar.
•Review:Pheonix New Times unwraps their present early and Jason P. Woodbury interviews Nat Gertler on Charlie Brown's Christmas Stocking by Charles M Schulz. "[Schulz] had done a Christmas book, Christmas is Together-Time, using red and green," Gertler says, explaining the minimal color palette. "We wanted to keep that simplicity and Christmas-sense in there." The stable of Schulz characters transcend fads and time because as Gertler points out "It's not the way kids talk, but they way they feel is the way that kids feel."
• Plug:Drawn blog tops off another the Best of 2012 list with some Ernie Bushmiller. John Martz points out, "Nancy seems to be a love-it-or-leave-it strip, and I am firmly in the Love It camp. . . Often surreal, and always impeccably drawn, there is nothing quite like it. . . these books are a virtual masterclass in cartooning."
• Review: From Boing Boing's list of the Best Damn Comics of 2012, compiled by Brian Heater. Tom Kaczynski on Ernie Bushmiller's Nancy is Happy, "The minimalism of the art, the quirky humor, the amazing consistency, it all started with these strips."
• Review: Getting ready for the hardback release of Delphine by Richard Sala, Carrie Cuinn of SF Portal reviews the tale complete with "dark duotone inking style, little dialogue, and gothic, shadowy, art. . . Overall I think that Sala’s retelling of that well-known love story is affectingly tragic. . . It is, in a word, creepy."
• Review: If MTV Geek knows about The End of the Fucking World then the secret is out: Charles Forsman is amazing! "[It] pulls you in like no other comic this year. Stunning in its simplicity and brave in its subject matter. Charles Forsman is a future force. . . [it] is like stumbling onto the ultimate secret in comic books, but based on how great TEOTFW is, it won't be much a secret longer."
• Review: Ashley over at Bibliophibien looks at Wandering Son series by Shimura Takako, "While the story is focused on transgender topics, I think that this is a wonderfully moving coming-of-age story and captures the complexities of sexual identity, friendships, and family that teens face."
• Review: Rick Klaw at SF Site enjoys the glossy glory of Action! Mystery! Thrills!, edited by Greg Sadowski. "As in his previous volumes. . . Sadowski supplies copious end notes and annotations. Though this time, the information additionally reads as an entertaining history of early comics. . . Sadowski once again delivers an essential book for anyone with an interest in comics history."
• Plug: John McMurtrie of SF Gate (San Francisco Gate) lists Listen, Whitey! by Pat Thomas as one of the Music Books to Buy of 2012.
The first snowflake of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:Publishers Weekly enjoys Naked Cartoonists, edited by Gary Groth. "The litmus test for any collective work based on the idea of one page per artist is whether the whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts. . . [Naked Cartoonists] no trouble achieving that goal. . . Dan Piraro (Bizarro) deserves kudos for his strategically-located likeness of Garfield . . ."
• Review:Print Magazine (issue 66.3 June 2012) gingerly flips through the pages of Naked Cartoonists. "Does your Sunday morning routine consis of reading The Wizard of Id and thinking, Gosh, I wish it had more nudity? Then Fantagraphics Books has just the thing for you." While out-and-about obscenity is rare, "there are moments of genuine creepiness, as when Jeff Keane, heir to The Family Circus, drops trou along side his fictional self, Jeffy."
• Review: Speaking of nudish things, Slate takes the time to slog through Prison Pit 4 by Johnny Ryan. Noah Bertlasky states, "For those who find filthy, blotchy tactile ink clots, überviolence, or body horror even remotely appealing, you need to buy this and its predecessors immediately."
• Review (audio): The boys on the block (Comics Books are Burning in Hell) review violent comics so naturally Blacklung by Chris Wright is included. The book affected the reviewers since it's "basically Chris Wright drawing terrifying shit" and Wright's drawing style falls in between "Old newspaper comics, like E.C. Segar's Popeye and Roy Crane's Wash Tubbs and Usagi Yojimbo [by Stan Sakai]."
• Review:New York Journal of Books looks at Walt Disney's Donald Duck: A Christmas for Shacktown by Carl Barks. Mark Squirek writes, "What he was really doing was showing us the absurdity of human behavior. . . This is a book that can be enjoyed by everyone from six to eighty. . . This is classic art and storytelling from a master of the form. Carl Barks ranks right up there with Jack Kirby and Will Eisner. If you love the frustrated, quacking, crazed Donald from the cartoons of the forties, you have to read A Christmas for Shacktown."
• Review:The Christian Science Monitor unwraps Charlie Brown's Christmas Stocking by Charles M. Schulz. Rich Clablaugh takes another sip of cider and says, "The design of the book is marvelous, thick off-white stock printed in two colors – red and green of course. . .Charlie Brown's Christmas Stocking is sure to bring a warm smile to readers young and old. A yearly reading of this little gem can in itself become a new tradition for the Christmas season."
• Review:Westfield Blog looks at archival prints from Fantagraphics. Roger Ash recounts, "Popeye, Pogo, Charlie Brown, Mickey Mouse, and many other classic comic strip characters live on at Fantagraphics in outstanding collections. If you aren't reading any of these, you should be."
• Review:Forbidden Planet International writes about Rich Tommaso's graphic novel, The Cavalier Mr. Thompson. "What the Cavalier does very well is encompass the zeitgeist of an era and people vividly. . . or the most part you’re happy to be led through the rooms and ravines, over train tracks and down corridors as a gentle narration of tales from times gone by ensconces you comfortingly," says Zainab.
• Review: Glen Weldon writes a large article in the New York Times Book Review on our newest anthology on queer comics. "With No Straight Lines [editor Justin Hall] has produced a useful, combative and frequently moving chronicle of a culture in perpetual transition; to read it is to watch as an insular demimonde transforms itself, in painful fits and joyful starts, and steps out into a wider monde."
• Review:Graphixia looks at Jacques Tardi's It Was the War of the Trenches. Scott Marsden states, "Seeing Tardi’s portrayal of the horrors of trench warfare and his vision of the random senselessness and brutality that accompanies it reminds us to reflect on our (mis)conceptions of history, drawing attention to the fractal realities that are embedded in events that have been experienced internationally. . . it feels far closer to reality than the propagandized historical materials offered by the typical academic publishing industry. . ."
• Review: Rob Clough reposts his review of our Hotwire anthology, this time on High Low. "A book for those who read Ghost World or American Splendor and [want] to know where to go next."
• Review:Chris Ware is profiled on the NY Review of Books on Jimmy Corrigan through Building Stories.
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