Saturday, November 22, 2003

 
Comic Relief Effort -- I received a very nice e-mail from Rory Root at Comic Relief. Rory is asking for folks to buy a graphic novel or two (or five, says I...) from his store if you can, to help the store through a rough financial patch. Rory's well-known as one of the best comics retailers in the country, and definitely deserves your support. He asked me to mention that if you want to place an order, e-mail Comic Relief at info@comicrelief.net.

Friday, November 21, 2003

 
Good Causes in Comics -- I only know Rory Root from some online message boards, but from what I know of him, he's an extremely intelligent and progressive retailer who is Good For Comics in a very real way. He needs some help, so see what he has to say and buy some comics from him.

Writer Steven Grant is also asking for some help, and will repay those who can help him out. If you've ever enjoyed one of his comics or his terrific column at Comic Book Resources, I know you'll help if you can.

 
Dave Sim City -- The new issue of Cerebus is worth picking up for a couple of reasons. It reprints Chester Brown's short strip about his mother and schizophrenia, which leads into a lengthy discussion between Brown and Dave Sim about mental illness, religion, prostitution and sexuality in general.

I don't have the issue in front of me, but I was really struck by Sim's obvious intelligence and his near-manic drive to debate the issues he sees as important. I disagree with him on a very fundamental level about relationship issues and especially about gays and lesbians (who he literally equates with puddles of vomit on the street), but I was fairly riveted by the passion with which he defends his ideas.

I even found myself sympathizing with him in some areas -- I think he's on to something about the need for honesty in relationships, but his personal experience has driven him to such bizarre defense mechanisms that any real dialogue with him would probably be futile.

And I learned Chester Brown frequents prostitutes, which despite having read many of his graphic novels, I did not know.

Little to no discussion of Louis Riel, but I imagine they'll get back to that in the concluding chapter of their discussion next month. Then I can go back to not reading Cerebus.

 
Around the Net -- I don't need to tell you what interesting comics-related topics are being discussed right now online, because Sean Collins has already done the work. Go see.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

 
Die, Floppies, Die! -- Mick Martin mostly agrees with Franklin Harris on the issue of floppies, and makes some good additional points about the psychology of sharing floppies vs. graphic novels, too.

 
New Graphic Novel Site -- Modern Tales has launched its Graphic Novel Review sub-site. It kicks off with a balls-to-the-wall, dead-on review that serves as a stunning refutation of Ted Rall's claim that Chris Ware's Quimby the Mouse has no ideas.


 
Have You Heard of Palomar? -- Just kidding. But there's another ringing endorsement for one of the year's best graphic novels at Ain't It Cool News. Update: Broken Frontier's review may make the most convincing case yet for why you should read Palomar. (Link courtesy the great and powerful iJournalista!).

 
Let's Kill Some Nazis! -- Chris Allen has some thoughts on the whole Leni/Alex thing in the new Breakdowns, and AK begs to differ.



 
Death to Floppies -- Franklin Harris is sick of floppies and not afraid to say so. A good point: "So, if you want to keep yourself occupied during a long trip, you must drag along a stack of them — a large stack. Then just try to keep them from falling all over the place." Click the link for more.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

 
More Palomar -- Got an e-mail from Jeffrey reminding me that Amazon has
Palomar for 30% off. And the last time I looked, you could buy it in a set with Jim Woodring's divine The Frank Book at a big savings, too.

Jeffrey says his copy of Palomar is "on the way, so I'll let you know what I think (I'm an L&R
novice, but generally like your recommendations)." Thanks, Jeffrey.

Noel Murray has his own Palomar review up at The Onion, and it's a well-written piece. Have a look.

Forager's J.W. Hastings has some Palomar thoughts, too.

 
Palomar -- For some reason, my recommendation of Gilbert Hernandez's Palomar hardcover seems to have gotten some attention. I noticed on this page that a CBR reader took my advice to buy it, and this Boing Boing link brought hundreds of new readers here yesterday, at least some of which I hope will be moved to buy the book.

I realize $40.00 is a lot of money, but you're not going to regret it -- Palomar is among the absolute best the comics artform has ever offered up, and it's entertaining as hell on every single one of its 500-plus pages.

Do me a favour, if you DO pick up the book, drop me a line and tell me what you think -- I'd love to post some of your reactions here.

 
Free Graphic Novels -- Sick of paying for graphic novels? Why not swap 'em? You know you have a few laying around that you don't want anymore. Join Sequential Swap and trade 'em in for something you do want to read. And tell 'em ADDBlog sent you.

 
AIT Should Be A Movie -- Marc Mason has a very nice piece up now about Larry Young's great graphic novel Astronauts in Trouble: Master Flight Plan.

 
Hail Caesar -- Today's American Elf strip is worth checking out. Well, it always is, but this one is particularly good.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

 
Making Previews Review Better -- There's a mailing list up now over at Previews Review, so sign up to get updates. Unfortunately, the site tends to be sporadic, but when it does update, it's always good information entertainingly delivered.

 
Making Comics Better -- A reader checks in with reaction to my statement yesterday that "there's no Geoff Johns comic you truly enjoy, and you goddamned bloody well know it," saying:

I have to agree. Johns has worked on some of the best superheroes ever, ones a newcomer may actually have heard of and wanted to sample, and done nothing of interest with them. Sure, he doesn't overtly harm them, but can anyone point to a really great, memorable Johns story? And as further evidence against his "innocuousness," think of how, due to his current fame, he was able to get three or four miniseries approved by Marvel last year--awful stuff like that Vision one where now three less-famous but more interesting writers don't get their pitches approved. He and Austen are toxins.

Yep. The immediate effect on comics of such lousy writers as Johns, Austen, and their ilk may not be as obvious as the more egregious sins of Frank Tieri, but the end result is much the same -- readers eventually tire of the garbage and find something else to spend their money on.

I'd like to see a healthy lineup of superhero comics coming out of DC and Marvel, if for no other reason than that that's how many readers discovered the artform throughout its history, soon maturing and moving on to more adult works by the likes of a Crumb, Clowes, Ware, and their ilk. But the foundation, appealing, quality adventure comics for kids, has to be there for that equation to work. The worn out crap being peddled by guys like Johns and Loeb is aimed at guys in their own age demographic, and encourages nothing but further declines in sales and interest in American superhero comics.

 
The F.B.I. Informant
Vol. IV, #6
November 17, 2003

Yes, it’s that time again! A complete update of all things going on in
Fanta-land, so let’s not waste time...

BOB LEVIN BRINGS THE PIRATES & THE MOUSE TO THE NORTHEAST!

Author BOB LEVIN will read from his acclaimed nonfiction book, THE
PIRATES & THE MOUSE: DISNEY’S WAR AGAINST THE COUNTERCULTURE, at the
following locations this week!:

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 8PM:

Amherst Books
8 Main Street
Amherst MA 01002
(413) 256-1547
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 19, :

Million Year Picnic
99 Mt. Auburn St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 492-6763
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 7PM:

Robin’s Bookstore
108 S. 13th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 735-9600


HOLIDAY CATALOG SPECIAL OFFERS NOW ON-LINE!
-------------------------------------------

We are just this week dropping our 2003 SPECIAL GIFT CATALOG off at the
Post Office and (if you’re on our mailing list) you should be receiving
it shortly. It includes some great discounts and special deals on some
of our most desirable books, including THE COMPLETE PEANUTS 1950-1952,
which industry analysts at ICV2.COM are calling “the reprint event of
the decade.”

If you want to beat the rush, head off to the COMICS JOURNAL MESSAGE
BOARD, where all the details are posted:

http://www.tcj.com/messboard/ubb/Forum4/HTML/001550.html

(It also includes one or two offers that aren’t even in the catalog, by
the way.) And... free shipping on orders over $100 for the next several
weeks!

Meanwhile, speaking of PEANUTS and the COMICS JOURNAL, we’ve put our
most popular MP3 interview of them all back online to celebrate the
upcoming release of THE COMPLETE PEANUTS. That’s right, you can listen to
our acclaimed CHARLES M. SCHULZ interview from TCJ #200 again, for a
limited time, right here:

http://www.tcj.com/listen/schulz1.mp3
http://www.tcj.com/listen/schulz2.mp3


BITCHY BITCH RENEWED
--------------------

OXYGEN.COM has begun airing new episodes of ROBERTA GREGORY’s BITCHY
BITS, based on her long-running NAUGGHTY BITS comic book series and
BITCHY BITCH character. Check the OXYGEN website for details about premiere
dates, and check the “Coming Up” for rerun info:

http://oxygen.com/bitch/


CARTOONISTS SPEAKETH
--------------------

We’ve recently been tipped to four new online interviews with four of
our favorite cartoonists:

JAIME HERNANDEZ:
http://suicidegirls.com/words/Jaime+Hernandez/

DAVE COOPER:
http://lostpages.net/lostpagesdavecooper

RICHARD SALA:
http://www.bullymag.com/10.12.03/sala-101203.asp

JOHNNY RYAN:
http://www.easymidget.com/new/stories/1103_johnnyRyan.shtml


NEW CARTOONIST WEBSITES
-----------------------

Meanwhile, two more of our favorites recently launched new websites,
and as such we would be remiss to not provide links:

ARIEL BORDEAUX:
http://www.arielbordeaux.com/

JIM BLANCHARD:
http://www.jimblanchard.com/


BIG NAKED LADY PAINTINGS
------------------------

ELLEN (MONKEY FOOD) FORNEY is the subject of a two-woman show (along
with KINOKO, a.k.a. KRISTINE EVANS) this month at Seattle’s SAW GALLERY
(113 - 12th Ave., in the CD, just north of Yesler).


VISIT SUNNY PALOMAR
-------------------

Have you checked out GILBERT HERNANDEZ’s PALOMAR: THE HEARTBREAK SOUP
STORIES yet? Not only is it the FATTEST book we’ve ever published (at
520 pages), it’s also undeniably one of the best, collecting some of the
very best work that Fantagraphics has built its reputation on as a
publisher of quality comic art. PALOMAR collects the entirety of
Hernandez’s acclaimed “Heartbreak Soup” stories from the original, 50-issue run
of LOVE & ROCKETS (1982-1997) in one place for the first time, and the
experience is almost overwhelming. As critic Matt Fraction put it,
“these works are Marquez and Carver, Allende and Russo, Kahlo and Schulz all
in one.”

Just released this month, the book is already a critical smash, almost
instantly landing on PUBLISHERS WEEKLY’s seven best “GRAPHIC NOVELS of
2003” list, along with SPAIN’s NIGHTMARE ALLEY, JOE SACCO’s FIXER,
PERSEPOLIS, BLANKETS, THE SANDMAN ENDLESS NIGHTS, and SAME DIFFERENCE AND
OTHER STORIES. The book was given a coveted starred review in last
week’s issue of PW, calling the book a “superb introduction to the work of
an extraordinary, eccentric and very literary cartoonist.”

HERNANDEZ was also featured in a PW interview [10/20/03] by HEIDI
MacDONALD, who later ran a much longer version on her PULSE website (and
named PALOMAR her #1 gift-book suggestion for the holidays, in her HEY
KIDS! COMICS! Column in COMICS BUYERS GUIDE):

http://www.comicon.com/cgi-bin/pulse.cgi?http%3A//www.comicon.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi%3Fubb%3Dget_topic%26f%3D36%26t%3D001523

Meanwhile, BOOKLIST called the book “... beyond impressive,” [10/01/03]
with reviewer GORDON FLAGG going on to say that “the cumulative power
of the Palomar saga is arguably that of the most substantive single work
the comics medium has yet produced.”

Other critics to weigh in include weblogger Alan David Doane and Peter
Scholtes of the Minneapolis CITY PAGES:

http://www.addblog.com/archives/2003_11_09_archive.html#106889069381236877

http://www.citypages.com/databank/24/1195/article11619.asp

So, if you’ve never read any LOVE & ROCKETS or GILBERT HHERNANDEZ and
want to finally know what all the hoopla is about, this is for you. We
know we published it, but we can’t recommend this book highly enough.


SPOTLIGHT ON: QUIMBY THE MOUSE & THE FRANK BOOK
-----------------------------------------------

We already gave you the hard-sell on PALOMAR, so maybe we’re pressing
our luck, but since it is the holiday season, we want to point out two
other books that would make delicious gift items this season, and we’ve
got the critical acclaim to back up such bravado.

Namely, we’re talking about CHRIS WARE’s QUIMBY THE MOUSE and JIM
WOODRING’s THE FRANK BOOK. Ware’s follow-up to JIMMY CORRIGAN has already
sold out of its hardcover printing even as the softcover continues to
earn accolades around the globe. The Nov./Dec. BLOOMSBURY REVIEW calls
QUIMBY “sad, grim, bleak and hilarious... Ware is unique in the field of
comics, taking forms of standard cartoon mayhem and revealing through it
a truly human depth of emotion.”

The latest issue of RESONANCE magazine calls QUIMBY “sprawling and
complex... poignant,” while the Sept. 2003 issue of THE RAKE claims that it
“... is packed full of amazingly complicated graphics... that should
take you the rest of the year the year to get through. And you’ll enjoy
every single minute of it.” The book has also earned raves from
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, TIME magazine, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, BOOKLIST, UK’s THE
LIST, READY-MADE magazine, the CHICAGO TRIBUNE, and more.

Meanwhile, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (9/15/03) featured a STARRED review of JIM
WOODRING’s THE FRANK BOOK. “Woodring, a modern master of hallucinatory
cartoon fables, specializes in comics that look normal but aren’t.”
They go on to call the book “... a definitive collection that lives up to
his genius.” RAIN TAXI’s ERIC LORBERER calls THE FRANK BOOK “[a]
sumptuous hardcover compendium” and “a feast for the eyes and the intellect.”
CATHERINE BROMLEY of THE LIST describes the book as either “a weird
nightmare or a blissful beatific dream... that demands to be read and
reread.”

So, please, consider giving the gift of comics this season! But now, we
present awesomeness:


AWESOMENESS:
------------

* This past October DAME DARCY’S MEAT CAKE COLLECTION was praised in
the VALLEY SCENE. The VALLEY SCENE’S ace reporter had this to write in
regards to the DAME’S comical funny books: "I never understood goth. I
never understood why this penchant for dark details ever become (sic) a
popular subculture movement? Anyway, after flipping through MEAT CAKE, I
must admit that I now have had my share of Victorian fantasies. Now
don’t get me wrong, "MEAT CAKE" is a fantasy world far more sophisticated
and intelligent than the horror drivel found in more traditional goth
boy staples like "Johnny the Homocidal (sic) Maniac." AWESOME!!! DARCY
also garnered a mention in USA TODAY, when WHITNEY MATHESON mentioned
the Dame in her pop culture column after receiving a copy of the MEAT
CAKE COLLECTION from us. “How come I’m only now discovering DAME DARCY?,”
asks Matheson. “I love this woman.” TOTALLY AWESOME!

* TOKION and FRANK MILLER? I think I’m in love. In October’s issue a
curious reader can find THE COMICS JOURNAL LIBRARY: FRANK MILLER
surrounded by ANDY WARHOL’S stuffed banana and a t-shirt depicting musical
sensation YANNI. Clearly, FRANK MILLER is pop culture mutha fucka. TOKION
gets specific: "If you’re a guy between the ages of 20 and 35, there’s a
very good chance that at some point in your life, you thought Frank
Miller was God." Frank Miller is God. "The groundbreaking comic book
writer may have been responsible for the whole unfortunate trend toward
‘dark’ comic heroes (and thus cruddy films like Daredevil and Batman
Forever) [cruddy!?! Ed.], but he also made it okay for grown men to like
reading about musclemen in tights. Maybe that wasn’t so good either. Well,
read this collection of interviews and see why he’s been not just good,
but amazing." That is, amazingly AWESOME!!! Thanks, TOKION! Hi, YANNI!

* DON’T DESPAIR! ANIMATION MAGAZINE (Nov issue) reports: "Fantagraphics
seems determined to see us delight in the future of civilization." Did
you read that? Now say it out loud. Say it! -- Pretty awesome, right?
Will Ryan came to this conclusion after reading both THE PIRATES AND THE
MOUSE by BOB LEVIN and THE CAT ON A HOT THING GROOVE by GENE DEITCH:
"(PIRATES AND THE MOUSE) chronicles the saga of DAN O’NEILL et al
defending themselves from copyright and trademark infringement charges by WALT
DISNEY Productions. This generously illustrated book does a magnificent
job of capturing the sad, funny story of the cultural wars of the
‘70’s... One great thing about [CAT ON A HOT THIN GROOVE] is the running
commentary by DEITCH himself, explaining the influences, techniques,
references and context of the works reprinted. We get a nice bit of the
author’s personal adventures in the bargain as well. Evocative of an
exciting period in graphic design....” Yes, with books like these you
will delight in the future of civilization! (It should be noted that
the reviewer of these books, Will Ryan, provided the vocal
characterizations for the soon-to-be released feature LOONEY TUNES: BACK IN ACTION.
That’s AWESOME!!!)


THIS AND THAT:
--------------

* YAHOOOO! This past month, our man, JOE SACCO, was featured and
interviewed by Duncan Campbell from THE GUARDIAN. "I have no problem with the
term ‘comics,’ but now we’re saddled with the term ‘graphic novel’ and
what I do I don’t see as a novel," says SACCO. The article offers a
well-formed portrait of SACCO while allowing him to display his opinions
on his comics and comics in general. "He and a friend ran their own
alternative magazine, the Portland Permanent Press, before SACCO decided to
commit himself to fulltime cartooning with his own comics magazine,
YAHOO. ‘I probably should have patented the name, only because YAHOO, to
me, is from the Jonathan Swift book and had all kinds of satirical
connotations. It’s a real shame that it’s now Yahoo, the computer giant or
internet engine – they obviously mean it in terms of – YAHOOOO!’” Pretty
great article, really. To read the whole shebang you can find it at THE
GUARDIAN’S site.

* Meanwhile, another great Sacco piece appeared this weekend in THE
BOSTON GLOBE’s “IDEAS”. In the “Small World” dept., the piece was written
by sometime TCJ scribe JEET HEER, and ran alongside a feature on JFK
that was written by ex-TCJ editor and former Joe Sacco roommate, THOM
POWERS:

http://www.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/articles/2003/11/16/embedded_cartoonist/

* MOVIEPOOPSHOOT.com’s CHRIS ALLEN says ARIEL BORDEAUX and RICK
ALTERGOTT “may have the next LOVE AND ROCKETS on their hands.” He makes this
claim because RAISIN PIE #2 has a “... range of subject matter and tone,
humor, quirkiness and strong characterization.” ALLEN also calls
JOHNNY RYAN’s ANGRY YOUTH COMIX #5”... flat out hilarious... ”

* JASON’s drawing style in THE IRON WAGON is praised by BOOKLIST’s RAY
OLSON in a September issue: “[Jason’s] rendering of the characters as
elongated, nearly expressionless, animal-headed figures and use of only
burnt sienna, black, and white increase the somberness of proceedings
that become as psychologically oppressive as a heavy Ingmar Bergman
film...”

* GORDON FLAGG, also in a September BOOKLIST issue, celebrates JAIME
HERNANDEZ’s DICKS and DEEDEES for the growth and consistency it shows.
“If the narrative gets more compelling and the characterizations grow
richer with every passing year, Hernandez’s elegantly simple drawing
style remains his great strength.”

* PATRICK ROSENKRANZ’s REBEL VISIONS is lauded by comic book artist
TIMOTHY TRUMAN of RAMBLES cultural arts magazine (Rambles.net) as “... a
great book, and so splendidly written that I would have no qualms
whatsoever about recommending this beefy volume to just about anyone... Don’t
hesitate. Search it out. Buy it. Enjoy it. It is a treasure, and one
that you’ll plunder again and again.”

* SPAIN RODRIGUEZ’s work on NIGHTMARE ALLEY was praised recently in
September issue of PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (before making the mag’s “Best of
2003” list mentioned earlier in this column). “His extreme angles and
high-contrast imagery help him remain faithful to the story’s cynicism,
while his deft handling of carny jargon give readers a [sic] inside look
at everything from how cons are played to the origins of the word
‘geek’.”

* THE LIST’s PAUL DALE (Sept 4-8 2003) praised both HO CHE ANDERSON’s
KING VOLUME 3 and FREDERIK STRÖMBERG’S BLACK IMAGES IN COMICS. He calls
KING “... a major work in the politico comic genre”; and, he asserts
that BLACK IMAGES is “[a] delightful reference guide and quite an eye
opener, this will look like a treat on your coffee table.”

* STRÖMBERG’S and ANDERSON’s works are also mentioned prominently in an
article about comics for BLACK ISSUES BOOK REVIEW’s September-October
2003 issue, which cover-featured AARON MacGRUDER of BOONDOCKS fame.

* Fanta’s recent financial woes and Publishers GARY GROTH & KIM
THOMPSON’s direct plea to comic fans for help were featured in an article by
THE GANZFELD’s DAN NADEL for the September/October issue of PRINT
Magazine.

* JAIME HERNANDEZ’s DICKS AND DEEDEES is “... regarded by many as a
cornerstone of underground comics...” says MARK ROBERTSON of THE LIST
(9/18/03). PAUL DALE in the same issue claims JOHNNY RYAN’S anthology
PORTAJOHNNY “... is nothing less than a filthy guilty pleasure,” while DAVE
COOPER’S RIPPLE: A PREDILECTION FOR TINA “... burns with blazing
passion, honesty and a sense of ultimate futility,” says CATHERINE BROMLEY.

* Speaking of RIPPLE, BOOKLIST’s RAY OLSON (9/15/03) celebrates the
book as “... truly and honorably a graphic novel for adults only.”

* RAZORCAKE’S GARY HORNBERGER asserts that FREDRIK STRÖMBERG’S BLACVK
IMAGES IN COMICS is “... fun shocking and insightful”, while RAY OLSON
of BOOKLIST (10/1/03) calls it “... a worthwhile, illuminating if
embarrassing addition for popular culture and black-studies collections.”

* The Nov./Dec/ issue of THE BLOOMSBURY REVIEW says that not only is
GENE DEITCH’s THE CAT ON A HOT THIN GROOVE “an enjoyable look at early
jazz collecting, it reopens a wonderful period of American music to a new
generation.”

* THOMAS OTT’s TALES OF TERROR “... fix themselves permanently yet
corrosively in one’s memory,” claims Ray OLSON of BOOKLIST (10/1/03).

* THE WISCONSIN BOOKWATCH calls BOB LEVIN’S PIRATES & THE MOUSE “... a
must read...” and MAXWELL YIM of THE VALLEY SCENE claims LEVIN
“dramatizes the culture class with wit and humor, and his unconventional,
off-beat writing style resonates well with the featured quirky, romantic
idealists.”

* KEITH BOWER’s article for the EAST BAY EXPRESS on Graphic Novels last
month features DAVE COOPER’s RIPPLE: A PREDILECTION FOR TINA and
JASON’s IRON WAGON. Bower calls RIPPLE “[d]isturbing... and most certainly
graphic.” He goes on to claim that JASON is “... able to convey the fear
and isolation that grip the murder suspects.”

* ERIC FERGUSON of BOOKSLUT says the IRON WAGON is best read not as a
mystery but “an exploration of the behavior of the guilty, the logistics
of the perfect crime, and the sick pleasure some (like my parents) get
from watching the guilty stew before they are officially accused.”

* BIZARRE MAGAZINE calls DAVE COOPER’s RIPPLE a book “you must get...
you must.”

* On Oct. 16 BOOKTV featured a special episode of RICHLER, INK.
featuring several alternative comic book creators in North America. “Beyond
the Funny Business” offered interviews with KIM DEITCH, SETH, ART
SPIEGELMAN, ADRIAN TOMINE and others.


NEW RELEASES:
-------------
The following books have become available since our last newsletter:

PALOMAR by Gilbert Hernandez * This is the big one. 520 pages,
hardcover, $39.95.

CRYSTAL BALLROOM by Frank Thorne * Thorne’s bittersweet memoir about
growing up in 1940s America. 120 pages, hardcover, $19.95.

LOVE & ROCKETS #9 by Gilbert, Jaime & Mario Hernandez * It’s all here:
“Maggie,” “Julio’s Day,” “Me for the Unknown,” and final chapter of
“The High Soft Lisp.” 32 pages, $3.95.

THE COMICS JOURNAL #255 Cover by Bob Sikoryak * Also featuring:
“Whatever Happened to Arn Saba?”, the Aaron McGruder interview, and “Harvey
Pekar, Movie Star.”

THE COMICS JOURNAL #256 Cover by Brian Chippendale * Featuring: “Fort
Thunder Forever” by Tom Spurgeon, and interviews with BAREFOOT GEN’s
Keiji Nakazawa and Fort Thunder’s Brian Chippendale, Brian Ralph, and Mat
Brinkman.

RECENT RELEASES:
----------------
The following recent releases are still available!

QUIMBY THE MOUSE softcover by Chris Ware
THE GLAMOUR GIRLS OF BILL WARD by Alex Chun
ANGRY YOUTH COMICS #5 by Johnny Ryan
FUZZ & PLUCK IN SPLITTSVILLE #3 by Ted Stearn
THE MEAT CAKE COLLECTION by Dame Darcy
THE FRANK BOOK By Jim Woodring
KRAZY & IGNATZ 1929-1930 By George Herriman
DICKS & DEEDEES By Jaime Hernandez
RIPPLE By Dave Cooper
THE PIRATES & THE MOUSE By Bob Levin
FRANK MILLER: THE COMICS JOURNAL LIBRARY Vol. 2
THE IRON WAGON By Jason
BLACK IMAGES IN THE COMICS By Fredrik Stromberg
T. OTT’s TALES OF ERROR By Thomas Ott
LUBA #7 By Gilbert Hernandez
RAISIN PIE #2 By Rick Altergott and Ariel Bordeaux NAUGHTY BITS #38 By
Roberta Gregory
PRINCE VALIANT Vol. 48 by Hal Foster & John Cullen Murphy


COMING SOON:
------------
The following books should be out by the end of the year!

BELLYBUTTON COMIX #1 by Sophie
WILL ELDER: THE MAD PLAYBOY OF ART by Will Elder
A.B. FROST’s STUFF & NONSENSE by A.B. Frost
YOUNG GODS & FRIENDS by Barry Windsor-Smith
HATE ANNUAL #4 by Peter Bagge
ZIPPY ANNUAL 2003 by Bill Griffith
BLAB! Vol. 14 by various artists
BLACK HOLE #11 by Charles Burns
APE by Ted Jouflas
MABEL NORMAND & FRIENDS by various artists
R. CRUMB: THE COMICS JOURNAL LIBRARY VOL. 3


FOR PICTURES AND MORE NEW RELEASES INFORMATION, AS WELL AS TO ORDER,
VISIT http://www.fantagraphics.com/cart

"If at first you don't succeed, keep on sucking 'til you do." - Curly
Howard

FANTAGRAPHICS BOOKS: SUCKING HARD TOWARDS SUCCESSS SINCE 1976

http://www.fantagraphics.com
http://www.tcj.com


Sunday, November 16, 2003

 
Doane to Previews: Drop Dead -- So John Jakala has noticed how sick some folks are of dealing with/writing about Previews, the bloated, monthly catalog through which some comics buyers pre-order books shipping a couple months from the time Previews hits stores.

I have to thank Marvel for setting me free of Previews. I used to strongly advocate pre-ordering in a monthly column called "Pre-Order or Die" at Comic Book Galaxy. Every month I would spend a good couple of days poring through the gigantic catalog (the Luba's tits of comics-related publications, really) and work up a list of stuff I wanted to pre-order. Then I'd give it to my retailer. Then two months later it would come in, and toward the end of my time buying into the Previews foolishness, I would notice that probably 25 percent of the stuff that came in was stuff I had decided in the intervening weeks I really, uh, didn't want.

When Marvel started doing a separate "Marvel Previews" and Diamond paradoxically raised the price of Previews to mysteriously "make up" for a free supplement (those greedy fucks think we're really stupid, I guess), I first expressed my disgust for the entire sordid affair by leaving the Marvel supplement on the counter when I bought Previews. The next month, I left Previews behind altogether, and I don't regret it a bit.

It would be nice if there were a monthly catalog, something elegant and spare (say, 50 pages), that focused on worthwhile comics produced by and for adults. The closest thing to what I am envisioning is probably the Fantagraphics catalog, but not the current one, the old one that included stuff from other good publishers like Drawn and Quarterly, too. Now that Fantagraphics is including only their own stuff, there's no good single catalog that covers comics for grown-ups. If you know of one that I'm not aware of, please do let me know.

At any rate, the point is that Previews is a big, fat, gaudy, expensive slab of excess every month that absolutely no comics reader needs. With some major changes it could be valuable to retailers, at least, but in its current configuration it's good for nobody and ought to be fucking free, to boot. Hello, it's a goddamned catalog.

So in addition to crossing off all the shit books from your monthly buys (there's no Geoff Johns comic you truly enjoy, and you goddamned bloody well know it), tell your retailer you don't intend to pay for a freaking catalog anymore. You're smart, you know where the good comics information is. By the time you get the hard copy of Previews in your hands, all that information is already available free on the internet, and if you're really sharp you already have a comics journalist or three who you trust to wade through its ugly, ugly pages and let you know what you should be keeping an eye out for.

I do think it's important for readers to be aware of the good stuff that's coming, and probably even to pre-order it from a quality retailer (of which I think we can agree there are probably less than 200 in the entire country).

I believe we need a Previews column (dealing with the Beast as it stands today) that would do the following:

1. Employ multiple writers using their real names and reputations, standing behind their reputations over time. This avoids knowledge gaps, and over time ensures that readers come to understand the tastes of the writers, allowing them to better judge how they are or are not in tune with their own interests. "Siskel and Ebert" for pre-ordering, with Pauline Kael and other quality critics also weighing in, essentially.

2. Completely ignore books that genuinely don't need or deserve support -- no Marvel or DC recommendations. Those books will be available, and Randy Lander's monthly Previews column is a great example of why they should be totally ignored, their existence not even acknowledged. Telling someone to pre-order Batman: Hush Vol. 2 is like recommending someone pre-order TV Guide. For fuck's sake, you know if you want it or not, and you know where you can find it. We've got limited space and limited attention spans and we need to concentrate on things that fucking MATTER.

3. Emphasize that readers should pull their support (i.e., DOLLARS) from any comics shop that doesn't serve them properly. If they regularly pre-order independent titles that "must have never been published" or "didn't ship this week," FUCK THEM and find someone else who can serve you (and the artform) properly.

We keep this up, we'll be all grown up in no time.

 
Larsen's Return of E-Man -- Erik Larsen has run down how he'd handle bringing the delightful E-Man back to the market, in the fifth post down on this page.

Reading E-Man in the 1970s was one of my formative comics experiences, and I would absolutely love to see those original ten issues back in print. I agree with everything Larsen says, except his characterization of the original series as "light." It was mostly lighthearted stuff, yes, but its darkest moments -- thinking here of the punishment meted out to the two twins that attacked Alec Tronn and pals -- were mighty dark, indeed. And all the more effective for it.

Bring back E-Man!

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