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."
This full-color comic collects two Prince Valiant stories from Hal Foster's 1950 peak: "Home Again," in which Val, Aleta, and newborn baby Prince Arn enjoy an eventful ocean journey back to Thule; and “The Challenge,” in which another knight's unwelcome advances on Aleta result in a classic duel with Valiant!
Hal Foster's masterpiece of adventure enters its second decade as Valiant and Aleta journey to "The New World," a 16-month epic that allows Foster to draw some of his spectacular native Canadian backgrounds, and during which Aleta gives birth to Arn and acquires her Indian nurse, Tillicum. Most of the rest of the book is taken up with the action-packed five-month sequence "The Mad King," during which Val, back at Camelot, confronts the evil, fat little King Tourien of Cornwall.
This volume is rounded off with an essay by Foster scholar Brian M. Kane (The Prince Valiant Companion) discussing Foster's depiction of "Indians" as it relates to other interpretations of the times, accompanied by various graphic goodies including our most spectacular bonus feature yet — a double-sized fold-out page reproducing a strip hand-colored by Foster — plus a previously unpublished camping cartoon by Foster from circa 1915, some of Foster's Mountie paintings, Foster's own map of Val's voyage to/from the New World, and more rare photos and art.
As always, this volume is shot directly from Foster's personal collection of syndicate proofs, their glorious colors restored to create an unprecedentedly sumptuous reading experience.
Let's face it, if you're reading our new hardcover collections of Hal Foster's Prince Valiant, you know that every volume is a must-have, but our latest, Vol. 6, is a particular can't-miss. In it, Val and his new bride Aleta travel the New World (beating Columbus, and even Leif Ericson, by centuries) from Newfoundland to Niagara Falls and are joined by a bouncing baby Prince — that's right, it's the birth of Arn! This volume also features some of our most spectacular bonus features ever, including a double-sized fold-out of a strip hand-colored by Foster. You can get it in January (and we'll have more extensive previews by then); pre-order is open now and you can read a 12-strip excerpt, all right here.
The first rain-free (HA!) day of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:The Comics Journal looks at Ron Rege Jr.'s The Cartoon Utopia. Katie Haegel writes, "Almost impossible to categorize, the work in Cartoon Utopia is both fully realized in a formal sense and wonderfully idiosyncratic. Like, it’s really out there. . . to me the work is much stronger when it depicts magic in action, which Regé accomplishes by telling us stories about historical figures and their relationship to the natural world."
• Review:Robot 6 reviews The Cartoon Utopia by Ron Rege Jr. Chris Mautner writes "with Rege drawing science, new age spiritualism, the occult, astrology and Jungian archetypes to come up with a personal grand unification theory. There are no plots or characters in the book to speak of, instead Rege merely muses and illustrates his theories, which mainly have to on the interconnectedness of all living matter."
• Plugs: Best covers of the week by Andy Khouri on Comics Alliance. Ron Regé Jr'sThe Cartoon Utopia: "This cover really makes me smile, and maybe gives me a sense of four-color spiritual well-being. But cartoon utopia looks more outdoorsy than I expected."
• Review:Page 45 enjoys the gentle pages of The Cartoon Utopia. Stephen L. Holland states, "Regé is back with a spiritual manifesto and ode to creativity: a singular, secular vision delivered with all the fervour of a religious sermon. It’s a call not to arms but to peace and perception unshackled from the conditioning of ages, exhorting all to see new possibilities, infinite possibilities, so enabling one’s full potential to be realised in both senses of the word."
• Review:Barack Hussein Obamaby Steven Weissman is reviewed on Bookslut. Martyn Pedler says, "His Obama begins as a kind of smug, stoner everyman: telling 'your momma' jokes, discussing old movies with visiting dignitaries . . . Weissman’s pages -- drawn in ballpoint into a moleskin notebook -- use a four-panel gag structure that makes the book immediately addictive."
• Review:Publishers Weekly takes on Barack Hussein Obama by Steven Weissman.". . . readers will likely have to be content with being one part giddy and three parts puzzled. . . Perhaps that’s Weissman’s point: that the farce of contemporary politics has the capacity to make one simultaneously giddy, confused, and disenchanted."
• Interview (audio): Speaking of Steven Weissman, Obama and the elections, he is interviewed on KPFK 90.7 FM's show Beneath the Surface.
• Review: Cartoonist Lilli Carré finds herself Boing-Boing-ed. Brian Heater describes Heads or Tails collection, "These strips, which originally in the pages of places like The Believer and Mome, find the artist dipping her toes into new pools, the sort of freedom afforded by the low commitments of the short story form, often to truly wonderful effect."
• Interview: Eddie Wright of MTV Geek interviews Johnny Ryan about Prison Pit 4 and why us humans love it so much. "Well, I think it connects to comic fans because it's the stripped down essence of what popular superhero comics are, which is men beating the living shit out of each other. People love it."
• Review:Reglar Wiglar spit takes while reading Johnny Ryan's Prison Pit 4. Chris Auman says, "This is Ryan’s depraved ID unleashed in its purest form: blood, guts, genitalia and fecal matter abound—actually they don’t abound so much as they’re sprayed all over absolutely everything in a fantastical sci-fi orgy of digustedness."
• Plugs: Best covers of the week by Andy Khouri on Comics Alliance. continues with Wallace Wood's Came the Dawn: "And while we're talking smart use of interior art, here's another superb example. This collection is all about the mastery of Wally Wood, so the cover presents a taste of his work in an uncluttered and respectful way, while also establishing a trade dress for Fantagraphics' new EC artists line." Chris Wright's Blacklung: "I see a lot of Joann Sfar in this densely demonic and stylishly constructed cover, and that's enough to convince me to investigate the work of newcomer Chris Wright." Spacehawk mini-comic by Basil Wolverton: "Basil Wolverton may be best known for his grotesque caricatures in MAD Magazine, but he worked in a lot of genres. Spacehawk was evidently one of his early works, and if this gorgeously lurid cover is anything to go by it was a delightfully daffy sci-fi pulp."
• Review:Booklist Online carves out a place in their hearts for Wallace Wood's Came the Dawn. Ray Olson writes, "This volume presenting all his horror and crime stories chronologically shows him refining what is at first a crude though powerful sense of mise-en-scène into one that is assured, highly detailed, and lightly caricatural."
• Review:AV Club reviewed all our new books Came the Dawn by Wallace Wood and Corpse on the Imjin by Harvey Kurtzman. Noel Murray writes, "in writer/artist-driven volumes, printed in black and white, with additional essays and archival material . . . [and] both immediately reveal the value in the artist-driven approach. . . Feldstein’s stories were like the comic-book equivalent to some of the seediest B-movies, and Wood’s art fit Feldstein’s text, with lots of deep shadows and wrinkles reflecting a complicated world." On Basil WolvertonSpacehawk, "As with Kurtzman’s war comics, it’s remarkable to see art so twisted applied to such vivid pulp tales—almost as though Wolverton was trying his hardest to be Alex Raymond, but couldn’t help turning out images to rival Salvador Dalí." Gary Panter's "Dal Tokyo would evolve, strip-by-strip, into a distinctly Panter-esque swirl of science fiction and pure abstraction, in keeping with the artist’s one-of-a-kind sense of design, and his pursuit of comics that resemble music and poetry."
•Plug:Web Cast Beacon reviews all free Halloween Comics Fest freebies. They enjoy Tales from the Crypt and Spacehawk. YES, mail in those ad coupons, people.
• Interview:Jim Woodring is interviewed by Peter Bebergal on hippies, hallucinations and all the good stuff that goes into his latest work, Problematic, a skechbook. "I frequently saw things at night — silently jabbering heads at the foot of my bed, distorted animals and objects hanging in the air over me. Often I saw a huge staring eye that made me vomit with fear."
• Plug: On Boing-Boing, Mark Frauenfelder tips his digi-hat to Floyd Gottfredson: "Gottfredson's Mickey is a plucky, goodhearted imp, bursting with energy and impulsively eager for adventure. . . [Carl] Barks will always have a special place in my heart, but I've added Gottfredson to my short list of great American cartoonists."
• Review: Page 45 looks at The Lost Art of Ah Pookand Stephen L. Holland ponders "Malcom Mc Neill has taken the time to put this eye-frazzling book of art – some of it sequential – into context, for the work itself is very much lost. . . There are vast scenes of ancient ritual, carnal lust and very modern warfare transcending time just as they were always intended."
• Review:Booklist Online likes Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge: Only a Poor Old Manby Carl Barks. Ian Chipman states, "from the bitter cold of the Klondike to the bottom of the Caribbean. . . Barks’ comics are an absolute treasure that have aged remarkably well, and are finally getting wide-scale publication to introduce them to a new generation of readers."
• Review: Gene Ambaum of Unshelved happily views covers from Action! Mystery! Thrills!, edited by Greg Sadowski. "Beautiful full-color reproductions of unblemished comic book covers show the amazing art and the breadth of genres on the newsstands before Fredric Wertham screwed everything up in the 1950s. . . The colors are bright, and the art is just plain fun."
• Review: Is That All There Is? by Joost Swarte gets reviewed on Bookgasm. JT Lindroos states, ". . . it’s impossible not to enjoy this ultimately all-too-brief volume for every single panel it presents. Swarte is consistently projecting an incisive and curious mind at work, perfectly tuned to his showstopping skills as an artist nonpareil."
• Review: Rod Lott of Bookgasm spends a long, loooong time checking out Sexytime. "[Editor Jacque Boyreau] has a knack for picking images; much like Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart and hardcore porn, Boyreau knows it when he sees it. And luckily, he shares it, this time from the visual-presentation experts of Fantagraphics Books — a match made in poster-art heaven."
• Plug: Matt Bielby writes about The Complete Crumb Volume 1 by R. Crumb in Comic Heroes Magazine: "It's incredible stuff, much of it obviously for completists only, but even the most obscure volumes track a fascinating, and developing, world view."
• Interview: Charles Burns is interviewed on Cult Montreal by Emily Raine about The Hive, his creepy artwork and the Black Hole movie. "It’s not my intention to be creepy per se, or that’s not the reason I’m writing stories. I think they end up being whatever they are. Maybe I’m just a creepy guy, I don’t know."
• Interview (audio): One of our favorite creators, Ellen Forney, speaks to KUOW/NPR on bi-polar disorder, comics and her new work, Marbles.
• Plug:Jaime Hernandez will be at the Copenhagen Comics Fest in Copenhagen, Denmark in June of 2013. Mark them calendars!
The cleanest picnic blanket of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:Heroes Online covers the twenty years of Peanuts covered so far in our Fantagraphics reprints. Andy Mansell states, "I strongly recommend the following volumes:1963-1964, 1965-1966. [and 1981-1982]. The highest point of the highest level of any cartoonist output in the last 60 odd years. Every strip is brimming with creativity, laughter, pathos and painful emotional truth."
• Review: On the High-Low, Rob Clough writes a tribute to Jaime Hernandez's collected editions; Maggie the Mechanic, The Girl from H.O.P.P.E.R.S., Perla La Loca. "Ultimately, there's an idealistic streak in Jaime's comics that burns through the hipster cynicism that permeates characters like Hopey and many of her friends. . . The best news about this volume is that it's only the beginning of Jaime's mature style, and he's only continued to get better."
• Review:Grovel gives the what's what on God and Science by Jaime Hernandez."While keeping the women attractive, Hernandez manages to keep them grounded too – these aren’t male fantasies but real, appropriately-proportioned women. . .and Hernandez’s superhero world is dripping with background and authenticity."
• Review:The Comic Attack sank its teeth into Prince Valiant Vol. 5 1945-1946 by Hal Foster. Drew said, "For the strip itself, Foster develops Prince Valiant into more of a mature man who we grow along with as he learns about love, women, and more than just going on adventures. . .Foster’s artwork is every definition of fantastic, still unmatched in its splendor."
• Plug:Spacehawk by Basil Wolverton mentioned on Comics Should Be Good by Comic Book Resources. Greg Burgas says, "Fantagraphics continues to do a nice job reprinting olde-tyme comix. . .very cool!" You can pre-order a copy today!
• Review: The Comic Forge covers a sold-out book Alphabetical Ballad of Carnality by David Sandlin that receives 10 shivers and shakes out of 10. Sharayah Read says, "I have never encountered a book this original, thought provoking and eye-opening. It presents a beautifully tormented tale in an entertaining and gritty fashion that will have any fan of obscure culture and works hanging onto every last syllable."
• Interview (audio):Mome veteran Gabrielle Bell talks to Wrestling Team podcast about life, comics and making it all work together.
Prince Valiant expert Brian M. Kane shares this graphic he created to commemorate the debut of Val and Aleta's son Arn in the strip 65 years ago today. The blessed event just happens to take place in Prince Valiant Vol. 6: 1947-1948, which just happens to be the next volume in the series and just happens to be in the works for a scheduled December release and just happens to now be available for pre-order here on our website. Imagine that!
The hottest, sweatiest Online Commentaries & Diversions:
•Review: Ray Olson continues the reading journey of Joe Daly's Dungeon Quest Vol. 3 and reviews it on Booklist Online: "For at times, the yarn becomes seriously exciting, especially during the travel and fight scenes when everybody clams up. . . Because of Daly’s cartooning chops, nonpareil entertainment."
•Plug:Comics Reporter only needs 140 characters sometimes, especially when talking about Joe Daly's work. Tom Spurgeon says on Twitter, "Dungeon Quest Vol. 3 is so good at one point 1000 copies danced around my bed like in an old Warner Brothers cartoon."
•Review: Writer on the go Maria Popova reviews Significant Objects at Brain Pickings. "Part Sentimental Value, part MacGuffinism, Significant Objects reminds us of the storiness of our lived materiality — of the artifacts we imbue with meaning, with loves and losses, with hopes and desperations."
•Interview:Comic Book Resources interviews Gary Groth on The Comics Journal digital archives move to Alexander Street Press. Chris Mautner quotes Groth,"The magazine is a journalistic repository that comprises the history of comics from the year I co-founded it, 1976, to present, though the first 25 pre-Internet years are probably the most valuable; so, depending upon how valuable you think those 274 issues of The Comics Journal are, this will allow academics and students access to every one of those issues. There are literally tens of thousands of pages comprising interviews with hundreds of creators (many of whom have sadly died), reviews and criticism, investigative journalism, and debate about issues"
•Review:Booklist Online looks at Angelman. Ray Olson compares the creator Nicolas Mahler to another creator: "Mahler is, however, minimalist musical lampooner and prankster Erik Satie."
•Review:Fredrik Strömberg's Jewish Images in The Comics is reviewed on The Jewish Daily Forward. "The current comics renaissance has produced a plethora of engaging and positive Jewish images to fill the collection. . . Like most surveys, “Jewish Images” sacrifices depth for breadth, and Strömberg plays a lot of catch-up for readers who may not be familiar with Jewish laws, traditions or history. Still, this is a work of tremendous ambition, spanning countries, languages, and artistic styles," says Mordechai Shinefield.
•Plug: The first of many Love and Rockets appropriations via Covered. François Vigneault remakes Jaime Hernandez's L&R cover #31 after the jump.
•Review: Tucker Stone glibbly describes what makes Love and Rockets: New Stories #5 so damn good on The Comics Journal. "[Jaime] opts to take a step back from the heavy drums of emotional extremes, focusing on some lesser used characters as they wander through some summer business. Gilbert takes a more direct approach to the spectacle, pouring a heavy mix of the snarling violence that’s laced so much of his recent work all over the streets of Palomar, the fictional village that so many of his critics clamor for him to return to. It’s a meaty read. . . It’s the new Love and Rockets. What the fuck else did you have planned?"
•Review: Shimura Takako's Wandering Son Volumes 1 - 3 are reviewed on Pol Culture . Robert Stanley Martin says, "Shimura handles a sensitive early-adolescent subject with considerable grace. She captures the doubts--and the joys--of the two characters as they explore and come to terms with their cross-gender tendencies."
•Review:Booklist Online enjoys the latest and last Popeye Volume 6 "Me Li'l Swee'Pea" by E.C. Segar. Gordon Flagg states,"It’s a testament to the brilliance of Segar’s creation and the solid foundation he laid down in his decade drawing Popeye that the one-eyed sailor endures as a pop-culture icon to this day."
•Review: New Noise Magazine and Marco Lalubin take a peek at Mysterious Traveler: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 3 A rough French translation says,"Steve Ditko reaches one of the most memorable creative peaks of his career here, first by turning in more carefully worked-over stories and second by frequently displaying a twisted and cruel sense of humor modeled on what EC Comics had been doing in the first half of the 1950s. Especially dazzling are his attempts at graphic boldness, his compositions reaching the same level (at least for the period collected here) as Jack Kirby (albeit less chaotic) -- particularly amazing in that they paradoxically give the impression of respecting the physical constraints of the classic comic book page"
•Review:A Prince Named Valiant reviews the latest Prison Pit - wait no, not at all. They reviewed Prince Valiant Vol 5 1945-1946 as their name might suggest. Michael J. Bayly says, "With stunning art reproduced directly from pristine printer's proofs, Fantagraphics has introduced a new generation to Foster's masterpiece, while providing long-time fans with the ultimate, definitive version of the strip."
•Commentary: Ron Richards of iFanboy writes a con review and 1/2 of his swap was Fantagraphics fun, "I did a little dance when I saw [Love and Rockets: New Stories #5] was available . . . After the amazing #4 of this series, I can’t wait to see what Los Bros Hernandez come up with this time out"
•Commentary: Heidi MacDonald and Cal Reid finalize their digital SDCC thoughts on Publishers Weekly: "Comixology announced [many] new e-book distribution deals . . . . and perhaps most significantly, Fantagraphics, which had been a staunch hold out on the digital front. The Fantagraphics partnership will kick-off with the jewel in the crown: the much-loved work of the Hernandez Brothers starting with Love and Rockets New Stories #1-4 ."
•Commentary (photos): Cal Reid and Jody Culkin on Publishers Weekly photo-document a lot of the fun going on at Comic-Con including the Hernandez Brothers panel and signing.
•Commentary: Sonia Harris enjoyed her Comic-Con experience according to the report on Comic Book Resources. "[No Straight Lines editor] Justin Hall had a big year, speaking on panels about gay comic book characters and hosting a party on Friday night at the increasingly interesting Tr!ckster event for the launch of No Straight Lines."
•Interview:Chicago Pride finds the time to talk to editor Justin Hall on No Straight Lines, "My worry was that the literary queer comics were going to vanish, that there was no one looking out for that work. Especially with the gay publishers and the gay bookstores dying out."
•Review: Tom Spurgeon on the Comics Reporter covers the Tales Designed to Thrizzle digital comics release, "Kupperman's work looks super-attractive in print, which while that sounds counter-intuitive to its digital chances, is actually a vote for the print version having its own sales momentum that digital won't all the wayoverlap."
•Review:NPR hits home with Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons. Glen Waldon: "What emerges is a portrait of a much-beloved artist as a young woman, when the sardonic and even brutal humor behind O'Connor's most memorable creations is still gestating."
•Plug (award): Cannibal Fuckface from Johnny Ryan's Prison Pit is a nominee in the Designer Toy Awards for "Best Toy from a Comic." Cast your vote today or we might bludgeon you.
•Plug (pictures): Can't make it Los Angeles? Check out artwork Keenan Marshall Keller posted from FREAK SCENE art show featuring Johnny Ryan (with Prison Pit pages), Jason T. Miles, Jim Rugg and many more.
•Commentary:A.V. Club enjoyed the Fantagraphics/D&Q panel at San Diego and Noel Murray believes, "real legacy of Comic-Con [is] the elevation of the medium’s literary merit and public profile combined with the preservation of its past . . . The outcome of all that? Handsome hardcover editions of Floyd Gottfredson Mickey Mouse strips . . ."
•Commentary: Cameron Hatheway of Bleeding Cool was a bit livid that Mickey Mouse Vol. 1 and 2 beat out our other title up for the Archival Reprint Collection/Project Eisner. "A part of me thought Prince Valiantwould be a sure thing because of its 75th anniversary this year, and people would be getting all nostalgic. Way to go, majority of voters; Prince Valiant will continue to roam the seven seas and seeking adventure without an Eisner to his name. I hope you’re all proud of yourselves! How do you even sleep at night? A pox upon your castles!"
•Commentary: Directly from the Comic-Con floor, Tom Spurgeon from The Comics Reporter is rich with the compliments, "speaking of Fantagraphics, I was surprised to see the Dal Tokyo book. It looks great. I also really liked the design on the second Buz Sawyer volume, a really atypical image being used."
•Commentary: Tom Spurgeon dishes up the best comics to buy at Comic-Con International and online on The Comics Reporter. On Gary Panter's Dal Toyko, ". . . I'm trying to get over the notion of only recommending comics that catch some sort of big-time marketing hook or novelty current as opposed to just being awesome comics. This is the kind of book that has peers, not betters." In reference to the Kickstarted, Fantagraphics-distributed The Cavelier Mr. Thompson by Rich Tommaso, Spurgeon mentions "It's one of the works that the generation-two alt-cartoonist serialized on-line. I heard three different people on the [Comic-Con] floor waxing rhapsodic about Tommaso's natural-born cartooning sensibilities."
•Commentary: Director of PR, Jacq Cohen, was interviewed on the Graphic Novel Reporter about her Comic-Con memories and First Second editor, Calista Brill, loves our books: "I got myself the latest in Fantagraphics' beautiful collected Uncle Scrooge series."
•Commentary: Overheard at Comic-Con. Matt Groening was talking to Eric Reynolds about Twee-Deedle in reference to "perfect" comics reproduction and he said, "Speaking of perfect..." and leaned over and grabbed a Donald book and said, "These are PERFECT."
•Plug: Mark Frauenfelder on BoingBoing mentions Significant Objects (because he's in it!): "Culture jammers extraordinaire Rob Walker and Joshua Glenn bought a bunch of less-than-worthless objects at thrift stores and garage sales and then assigned people to write a short story about one of the objects."
•Review:Reason.com reviews Daniel Clowes work making comics into art. Greg Beato says, "Clowes. . . brought a different sensibility to his comics: An obsessive compulsive commitment to craftsmanship. . . Clowes strove to make the comic book as artful as possible, a complex but organic object that was perfect in all its parts. "
•Interview:The Guardian prints a small Q&A with Daniel Clowes who IMMEDIATELY posts his full answers to some the questions since someone had fun in the editing room. "It doesn't take much to alter the tone or meaning of someone's words in an interview with some editing."
•Interview: Gary Groth interviews Gilbert Shelton at SDCC on the Beat and The Comic Books, Heidi MacDonald, "Among the topics were origins of Wonder Worthog and Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, talked about working with Harvey Kurtzman and how he knew Janis Joplin. . ."
•Plug:The Comics Bulletin covers the Comic-Con International and the Fantagraphics panel on new releases. Danny Djeljosevic says, "Fantagraphics is Fantagraphics. They put out killer material and in beautiful packages to boot."
•Review (audio): Dann Lennard of Kirby Your Enthusiasm podcast covers THREE of our books in his Australian-based comics podcast. Is That All There Is? by Joost Swarte "If you like Herge and Tintin, it might not be for you. It's pretty full-on. . . if you're into sex and violence, you might like this." On Sincerest Form of Parody, edited by John Benson: "This full color book . . .collects work from another EC publication called Panic, not quite as good as MAD and didn't last as long, but features quite good artists and humor. It's the pick of the other titles." In regards to The Hidden by Richard Sala, Lennard says its "actually quite a powerful, horrific book of violence, it's really quite sickening in places."
Recently Fantagraphics stopped by Ohio State University's Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum in Columbus. This structural testament to housing and preserving original cartoon strips makes it a one-of-a-kind-place. Curator Jenny Robb said hello but my after-hours and behind the scene tour guide was librarian Caitlin McGurk!
Students of OSU and traveling scholars (like me!) can request to see original art and read books in the main reference room. The room itself is lined with popular comics reference material, less Marvel's Anatomy and more History of Chinese Comics that was written by a scholar rather than a draw-er.
Caitlin pulled everything I asked for from the collection and more! Fantagraphics utilizes the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library when creating our classic reprint lines. They even have an amazingly sophisticated camera for large scans---we're talking longer and wider than a human.
The stacks were automated, slowly sliding over on tracks after a crank is turned AND button pressed. To avoid trouble, the stacks are lined on the bottom with emergency-stop bars. It's pretty damn cool. The Library houses the larges manga collection in the United States, possibly the world.
The flat files have dim lighting, plastic sleeves around the strips and dust covers to fit over the artwork to prevent sliding or damage. GLOVES are a must.
Prince Valiant by Hal Foster lay inside one of the drawers, well many strips lay in there just begging to be looked at.
Dan DeCarlo's Betty & Veronica cover was not only environmentally topical but sassy like most of his artwork.
Ernie Bushmiller's Nancy. People seem to love her or hate her but Ernie Bushmiller's mathematically complex and erudite leading lady is a joy to see. Caitlin pulled one of the wackiest strips she could find for me dating back to November 16th, 1947.
How many can YOU blow?
Last but not least, was an original Nell Brinkley in a gold frame. Having won over the hearts of many a Gibson girl Brinkley's sparkling ladies went from pining lovers to adventurous maidens.
The collection also boasted some amazing newspaper inserts called The Book of Magic, originally printed with broadsheet newspaper The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The Book of Magic was full of comics, stories and ads geared towards children.
A big, warm hug to Caitlin McGurk for the after hours tour and the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum for existing! You should make a stop there on your next visit to Ohio or on a road trip. Look out because in 2013 they are moving to a primo new building complete with comics festivities!
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