Due to the somewhat obsessive nature of my link gathering, I had the idea to start calling these posts "Daily OCD: Online Commentary & Diversions." What do you think, readers? Too cutesy-poo? Offensive to sufferers of real OCD?
• List: The Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon names "The Ten All-Time Best Long-Running Comics Series," with Love and Rockets Vol. I at #2 ("The best long-running and organic artistic achievement in serial comic book form... The Hernandez Brothers inspired and outworked a greatest generation of comics auteurs. Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez are each among that handful of artists who must be given serious consideration when talking about the best cartoonists working. In Love & Rockets each created fictional worlds for the ages and used them as a vehicle for enormous artistic development, lapping the majority of their peer group. One so inclined could argue with seriousness a top 25 of American graphic novels where 1/3 of the titles listed came from this series") and Acme Novelty Library at #8 ("...a mind-bending achievement... ACME punched right in the scrotum the notion that every issue of a single comic book series had to look like the others... Its primary value is that it presented [Chris] Ware's giant talent to enough of an audience to bring him thousands of hardcore fans... Ware can dream up a single-page that if it were the only thing he ever published people might still know his name")
• List: The A.V. Club's Noel Murray offers commentary on Spurge's list ("There’s no one definitive L&R storyline; it’s just story after amazing story, accumulating over the past three decades like personal correspondence. [...] Ware... turn[ed] comic books into a kind of readable sculpture...") and lobbies for the inclusion of Johnny Ryan's Angry Youth Comix
• Review: "Miss Lasko-Gross' self-caricature in her autobio stories [in A Mess of Everything] is an interesting mash-up of a typical teen with low self-esteem and that of an indignant outsider determined to make her increasingly confident voice heard -- and loudly. [...] Lasko-Gross' greatest strengths as an artist are her character design, gesture and use of body language. It's the way she stages her characters that makes looking at each page interesting... I love the touch of the exaggerated and the grotesque that she injects into her drawings, distorting faces and bodies to reflect emotional tumult." - Rob Clough
• Review: "Formerly-suppressed, entirely classic, these stories [in Blazing Combat] are all solid examples of comic storytelling and craftsmanship... [T]he teams here make things look too easy. Not surprising since we’re talking about master artists like Toth, Frazetta, Severin, Crandall and others. The stories have all aged surprisingly well... Highly recommended..." - Matt Maxwell, Robot 6
• Events: Portland, your Free Comic Book Day cup runneth over, as Andrice Arp and the other contributors to the excellent free anthology comic Bird Hurdler will be appearing at various locations throughout town -- Andrice has the full itinerary and details on her blog
• Review: "The publication of I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planetsby Fantagraphics is a perfect example of publishers saving comics from obscurity. Hanks’ figures are blocky, the anatomy can be clumsy, and the writing is simplistic, yet on each page there is at least one panel that takes your breath away with its energy and power... There are terrifying images amidst his clunky compositions and strange leering grimaces in the faces of the heroes and villains alike. On top of all these aesthetic challenges and rewards, they are great stories, ...lively with a passionate definition of right and wrong, which gives them an infectious dynamism and excitement." - Christian Zabriskie, The Graphic Novel Reporter
Public confusion surrounding the overwhelming critical regard that the WATCHMEN graphic novel continues to be held in amongst those who haven't read the book but paid good money to see the feature film is rampant. "Wait, are comics for kids, or aren't they?" many have asked. Now that these people have seen WATCHMEN the movie, how do they erase it from memory and avoid wantonly dismissing the entire medium from which it sprung? We're here to help. Point them in the right direction with Fantagraphics Books' new "AFTER WATCHMEN, CLEANSE YOUR PALATE" program.. Please visit our homepage for more information on these fine "essentials" from Fantagraphics Books, perfect for anyone who sees WATCHMEN on film and can't believe that comics are worth taking seriously.
• Review: Comics Waiting Room on Ho! The Morally Questionable Cartoons of Ivan Brunetti: "...[I]f the material printed Ho! had been created in, say, Soviet Russia, Ivan would be the biggest star in the gulag. As it is, he’s one of the most twisted and funny motherfuckers putting pen to paper right in the U.S. of A. And I’m damned proud he’s one of us... Brunetti’s latest work is as strong as ever, and maybe even sicker. He’s an amazing cartoonist, and I respect his work immensely, even when some of it makes me queasy… especially if it makes me laugh then feel queasy."
• Reviews: The "What Are You Reading?" column at Robot 6 includes Tom Bondurant on Gilbert Hernandez's Heartbreak Soup ("At first I was afraid that Beto was introducing so many characters I wouldn’t be able to keep up with them, but the deeper I go into the book the better he manages everyone. The writing reminds me of Will Eisner’s slice-of-life stuff from his later career..."), Tim O'Shea on The Complete Peanuts 1969-1970 ("The intro by Mo Willems is great insight into what appealed to many about the series..."), Chris Mautner on A Mess of Everything by Miss Lasko-Gross ("[It] shows a good deal of progression [from Escape from "Special"], both in terms of storytelling and artistry"), and Jeff Lester on The Comics Journal Library Vol. 6: The Writers ("for which a more accurate title might have been 'Gary Groth Browbeats Bewildered Comics Writers'")
• Preview: Urban Aesthete looks at the forthcoming Abstract Comics anthology
• Profile: The Seattle Weekly, previewing Jaime's visit to Seattle, nicely describes Love and Rockets: "It’s a mutable universe that skips between characters at older and younger stages of life, where buxom pro wrestling queens, spaceship mechanics, and touring hardcore bands buoyantly intersect. No one stays lost for long; no grievance goes unforgotten; and deep-fried jungle slugs forever remain a delicacy."
• Review: Sean T. Collins on Supermen! The First Wave of Comic Book Heroes 1936-1941: "...[T]his... anthology of early superhero comics is, like Paul Karasik's Fletcher Hanks collection and DC's Jack Kirby omnibuses before it, a real 'here's how it's done' moment. Entertaining, left-field subject matter; eye-pleasing design; tactile paper stock; color technique and reproduction values that neither hide the material behind the haze of nostalgia nor try to mask its primitive origins with out-of-place high-gloss modernity; manageable length and heft; art presented at a powerful but not brobdingnagian size... truly [we are] living in the Golden Age of Reprints."
If you thought you'd never see a new Love and Rockets comic book again: surprise! Our 2009 Free Comic Book Day offering is a preview of this summer's second annual issue of Love and Rockets: New Stories! Official description: "This preview edition includes a sizeable chapter of the second half of Jaime's amazing super-hero romp 'Ti-Girls Adventures,' as well as Gilbert Hernandez's typically unique 'Chest Fever,' both from the upcoming Love and Rockets: New Stories #2, plus selections from #1 and a new cover by Gilbert and Jaime!" Head to the FCBD website for an exclusive sneak preview download, and visit your participating local comics shop (call to confirm participation and availability) on Saturday, May 2 to pick up your copy! (Yes, we will have them at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery; no, they will not be available online.)
• Review: Art Blog by Bob on The Wolverton Bible by Basil Wolverton: "As much as the horrific and Bosch-esque in Wolverton’s art strikes you immediately, it’s also important to recognize the beauty of many of his visions... The Wolverton Bible still has the ability to revolt and repulse viewers, but that is just one aspect of its overall ability to make these well-known stories seem new and, more importantly, inescapably human."
• Review: Blog @ Newsarama says "A few words about every single story in Supermen!" (spoiler alert!), praising editor Greg Sadowski and concluding "I honestly can’t recommend [the book] enough to any fans of the superhero genre."
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