It's a honker today! Lots of good stuff out there:
• Review: Blogger Fionnchú considers the place of Alexander Theroux's Laura Warholic in the pantheon of "big, long, thick" maximalist novels (e.g. Wallace, Joyce, DeLillo, Pynchon)
• Review: The Tearoom of Despair pens a loving ode to The Comics Journal: "...[I]t remains the best magazine about comics I’ve ever had the pleasure to read, offering in-depth analysis that has changed my entire opinion of certain comics... And it has some of the best interviews with comic writers, artists and editors that have ever peen published in any medium... Overall, it is still an absolute pleasure to sit down with a new issue of The Comics Journal and read about the craft and love for the medium that is out there... It has recorded the history of comics with style and panache, has published the liveliest letter page in magazines and has been unfailing in its bid to raise comics as an art form."
• Review: Rob Clough has a typically thoughtful take on The Complete Peanuts 1971-1972: "The latest volume of The Complete Peanuts finds Charles Schulz still at his peak... a perfect blend of fantasy, whimsy, jokes, heartbreak, topical references and sturdy characterization."
• Blurb: The Seattle Times' roundup of notable new local books includes a mention of Humbug: "Includes satirical takes on highway congestion, time travel, consumer reports and perspiration."
• Preview: Fictional or not, The Rack's Lydia recommends Mother, Come Home by Paul Hornschemeier ("Paul Hornschemeier's comics always make me miserable, and in a good way. This is a new edition of my favorite work he's done so far.") and Ho! The Morally Questionable Cartoons of Ivan Brunetti ("I like him a lot, but I think that Johnny Ryan should be cutting Ivan Brunetti a check every month and this collection of gag cartoons will show you why") from this week's new comics
• Preview: The Comics Reporter, same tune, different lyrics: on Boody, "Some of the greatest, oddest comics of all time"; on Ho!, "relentlessly naughty... I like these quite a bit"; and on Supermen!, "I liked this book quite a bit... a bunch of frequently weird, hallucinatory adventure fantasies"
• Preview: Atomic Romance also anticipates Supermen!: "In your face golden age stories by some of the greats of comic book history... I love this because it’s a time of experimentation. The writers and artists are learning their craft and there aren’t any established rules yet. Sure to please fans of I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets."
• Preview: Yet more blurbage about this week's new comics, this time from Blog @ Newsarama: on Boody, "comics super-genius Boody Rogers’ work... is almost as beautiful as it is weird. Or almost as weird as it is beautiful. At any rate, it’s really weird and really beautiful"; on Supermen!: "[A] must-read... I can’t recommend this one highly enough"
• Interview: Publishers Weekly chats with C. Tyler about her new book You'll Never Know, Book 1; of the book they say "[Tyler] recreates the experience of thought, in which past and present, parents and children, relationships and variations of the self co-mingle, intersect, and layer over one another. Evocative words and images appear in the background or the margins of Tyler’s panels, drawing out subtleties of the story, or clueing us in to unspoken emotional tones."
• Review: Entertainment Weekly gives Supermen! an A-, saying "Supermen!, this anthology lovingly assembled by Greg Sadowski, makes the case that these earliest endeavors by the future creators of masterworks like The Spirit, Captain America, and Plastic Man were more than crude throat-clearings — they were unfiltered manifestations of psyche, lousy with erotic charge and questionable politics."
• Review: Graphic Novel Reporter on Abandoned Cars by Tim Lane: "Abandoned Cars doesn’t arrive at a clear-cut solution to the American Myth, but Lane’s effort to understand it for himself is beautifully presented... every last detail of the book seems perfectly devised by Lane to bring the stories together and make the reader join the inner dialogue on the subject of the Great American Mythological Drama. It is a brilliant debut."
• Things to see (and buy if you're filthy rich): The Daily Cartoonist reports that the original art for the April 1, 1973 Sunday Peanuts is up for auction. Go bid, or save yourself a few thou by collecting the strip in The Complete Peanuts 1972-1973, coming this Fall
We have a whole mess of exclusive short excerpts of new and upcoming books that have gone up on the ICv2.com site recently. They're intended for "industry pros" but there's no reason everyone can't check 'em out:
• Review of the Year: Brick Weekly holds forth on The Wolverton Bible: "If you think that God was the greatest contributor to the Bible then you are wrong. In fact, when compared to the creative feats of legendary cartoonist Basil Wolverton, God’s work seems trite and superficial at best. So, throw out all of your old Bibles because you don’t need them any more..." And it goes on from there...
• Reviews: The San Antonio Current says "The Wolverton Biblecollects everything [Basil Wolverton] did for the [Worldwide Church of God], presenting illustrations in chronological Biblical order — from Adam springing up from earth á la Spider-Man’s nemesis the Sandman all the way through the Old Testament and then hopping to the fantasy-friendly Book of Revelation, where eyeless corpses run rampant and jet planes tumble helplessly from the sky"; furthermore, "Humbugcould be a comics blockbuster... it fills gaps in some cartoonists’ CVs and entertains like hell while doing it."
• Reviews: Andrew Wheeler rounds up some recent books: of The Lagoon by Lilli Carré he says "Carré has an expressive style reminiscent of Richard Sala -- and her stories are in the same literary territory as Sala's as well, so the gloomy blacks and busy cross-hatching add to the ominous, overwhelming feeling... there's real spookiness in these pages -- and she's telling a story in ways (particularly trying to evoke sounds and scents through a comics page) that I've rarely seen"; and of Jessica Farm Vol. 1 by Josh Simmons, Wheeler says "Josh Simmons might just be the Gutzon Borglum of comics. Simmons's... plan... is crazy, and I admire it for that."
• Review: For Robot 6, Chris Mautner waxes rhapsodic about Humbug: "It's very easy with a book of this nature to engage in wild hyperbole... And yet, how else to talk about a project of this nature, a large collection of work featuring some of the most stellar cartoonists of their day, originally edited by one of the most important and influential humorists (and I really don't think this is hyperbole here - I'd put him up there with Richard Pryor in terms of significance) of the 20th century?... Something should be said about the packaging and restoration work, which is nothing short of astounding... I think it’s pretty safe to say that this collection will be on my top ten/best books of 2009 list at the end of the year. Really, how could it not? Apparently I like it more than breathing."
• List: From GQ, another one of those ubiquitous "what to read after Watchmen" lists, this one with The Girl from HOPPERS by Jaime Hernandez ("Hoppers... makes Gotham and Metropolis seem as bland as Scranton"), Safe Area Gorazde by Joe Sacco ("Graphic in every sense of the term... it’s the best argument around for comics as a journalistic medium"), and Bottomless Belly Button by Dash Shaw ("honest, meditative"), as well as work by Jessica Abel and Charles Burns
Mother, Come Home is Paul Hornschemeier’s piercing graphic-novel debut, long out of print and now available for the first time in hardcover. It secured the cartoonist’s place as one of his generation’s most skillful and ambitious practitioners, and proved a harbinger of the subject matter that the artist would go on to explore most consistently in later work: the nuclear family.
Mother, Come Home quietly studies the inner lives of recently widowed David and his 7-year-old son, Thomas; both are unable to deal with their grief directly. Thomas, protected by a lion’s mask that his mother gave him, constructs an identity for himself as “the groundskeeper”: ritual and routine, already important to children that age, become paramount to him. He struggles desperately to keep up appearances while his father, a professor of symbolic logic, becomes lost in abstractions. Father and son begin to retreat into their fantasies, but only one emerges.
Mother, Come Home is masterfully drawn: Eisner-, Harvey-, and Ignatz-Award-nominated Hornschemeier’s controlled brushwork is clean, and his nine-panel page layouts pace David’s inexorable descent into utter despair. Hornschemeier is equally precise when it comes to Mother, Come Home’s color palette: subdued but warm, which suits the story’s melancholy and contemplative mode. Mother, Come Home is a powerful work with universal themes of anguish and loss.
"Arriving in stores in the fall of this year, All and Sundry is a collection of various illustrations, posters, comics, and drawings that have been scattered in publications and galleries all over the world, but never collected in a single volume. This will include the strip currently running in the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, as well as the sixteen page comic recently drawn for the album Yonlu. The book will be rounded out by over one hundred scans from sketchbooks, documenting weirdness that has never seen the light of day, and projects still in a primitive state."
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