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New Layer of The Onion's AV Club

It seems like the comics reviewers of AV Club of the Onion retooled their comics reviews, and to editorialize, it is much, much, much better. Thank you AV Club! They got rid of the letter grades and the reviews are much more in depth and by one reviewer only, with a byline.

The titles selected appear to be reviewed together for a reason, which as a publicist, I very very very very much appreciate, though perhaps it is a coincidence that the titles last week all deal with marriage in some shape or form. Am I reading too much into the fact that reviewer Noel Murray starts with Adrian's SCENES FROM AN IMPENDING MARRIAGE (The book is an unexpected return to the mini-comics form—not unlike a serious rock band stepping back from concept albums to knock out a fun 45 again.), moves to Joe Ollmann's MID-LIFE (Ollmann is a whiz with facial expressions and body language, depicting emotions as varied as uncontrolled rage, guilt, self-pity, and affection with just the right placement of an arm or an eyebrow.) and ends with Joyce Farmer's SPECIAL EXITS from Fanta?

Noel then does a few smaller shout-outs and spotlights Denys Wortman's NY (The impressions of city life over a half-century ago are invaluable, but even better, Denys Wortman’s New York features one panel per large-sized page, which does due justice to the artist’s detailed, dynamic drawings...)

New Vanessa Davis Strip on Tablet!

Yippee! a fantastic and funny new Vanessa Davis strip in TABLET on what every woman knows...you can never spend too much time, money and energy in search of the perfect bra.

Jacky's Diary!!

It's been awhile since I wrote about those Dell comics I love so much (see Freddy, Angel, Miss Peach, more Angel, and Timmy). One of my favorites is Jacky's Diary by Jack Mendelsohn. Like many of you perhaps, I discovered this comic book in Dan Nadel's essential Art Out of Time anthology and was smitten. I've talked a bit about Jack in those old Dell posts and I've meant for a while to get around to posting the remaining stories that weren't printed in Art Out of Time Since then, Ger Apeldoorn at The Fabulous Fifties has posted some strips I had hoped to blog first but fortunately there are a few left. And, so, I present them to you now...

Melvin! Three! and Moomin! Six!

Yesterday was a BIG day around the office, for me anyway. Two books I spent all fall fussing over just arrived after a long boat ride which I'm sure involved pirates, gigantic squid, and threatening swells. Good thing Melvin and Moomin are fighters.

Melvin Volume 3 is the last in the series, making the collection the first within the John Stanley Library to reach completion. I know I've blogged about how great Melvin 3 is before, but (yow!) it looks good, thanks to Seth's impeccable design, Rebecca's meticulous editing (and her efforts training me to take over), and, most importantly, John Stanley's raw talent for telling timeless stories with flawless pacing.

You'll find a few surprises in this last volume, which I won't be revealing here (blame Tom...), so make sure in a month when Melvin makes his final debut you pick yourself up a copy. What's that? You haven't purchased the first two yet? Go ahead and treat yourself right--pick up all three to add a little pizazz to any bookshelf. Take a look:

Pretty nice, right? RIGHT?

Maybe when the bound copies of Moomin arrive in a month or so (we just received one unbound copy) I'll give you a sweet spine shot of all six in that series. Moomin Book Six is the first volume to include all Lars Jansson content. But don't worry, folks, Lars picks up right where Tove left off; the whimsical tales in volume six made me fall off my chair laughing the same number of times as the stories in the last five volumes did. On that note, I'll leave you with a full cover shot. Apologies for the low image quality...

Hump Day Tease: Excerpt from R. Crumb's Intro for PAYING FOR IT!

When you've been called an alien by R. Crumb, you've been called an alien by the best.

Look out, Indianapolis!

Lynda Barry is headed your way! This Thursday, February 24th at 7:30 pm, the award-winning (and more importantly, the amazing) Lynda Barry will be giving a talk at the Herron School of Art and Design. Lynda's talk will be held at the IUPUI Eskenazi Hall on 735 W. New York St.

What could be better than this? Oh wait, did I mention that it's free? People of Indianapolis, this is your chance!

Happy Birthday (old news but Peg thought this was a cute picture.)

Gawd, Tracy's birthday was weeks ago now and it might have been the big two-five but at this point I don't even know what that number means (because I am so old, you see.) Anyways, a belated happy birthday to our Production Manager Tracy Hurren. And maybe share some of that gigantic cupcake and sweet champagne.

Big Questions reworked

This blog post might be a delaying tactic--Anders slyly letting us know that he's working on the book while keeping us wondering where the final book is. Who knows? What I do know is that you, demanding reader, get to see a bunch of new pages from this long awaited forthcoming masterpiece. BIG QUESTIONS!!!!!!

A few words about A SINGLE MATCH

I'm pretty proud of the gekiga that we've brought to North America over the past couple of years. Besides the brilliant and celebrated work of Yoshihiro Tatsumi (5 volumes so far and more to come) we've published some Japanese gekiga masters like Seiichi Hayashi (Red Colored Elegy), Imiri Sakabashira (The Box Man), Susumu Katsumata (Red Snow), and coming this Spring, Shigeru Mizuki (Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths).

One of the things that I'm most proud of is that each of these great artists is distinctly different from the others. They share many sensibilities but each has a distinct voice. Our latest gekiga release, Oji Suzuki's A Single Match, shares in this tradition. Suzuki's stories are largely grounded in a post-WWII small town world with distinct flashes of surrealist imagery representing the emotional states of the characters. The lines of reality and fantasy are so blurred that initial readings of each story leave the reader less sure of what happened plot-wise but certain what happened emotionally (I actually think this emotionality is one of the defining features of these great Japanese comics. Rarely have I been so thoroughly moved by what I've read than when I read gekiga.). Rereadings of Suzuki's works start to bring out details of plot and relationship and place in a way that I don't notice my first read through. These comics are specifically meant to be reread and reread again. I also like the kind of brushy bluntness of Suzuki's artwork. He is the master of resting the eye on an away-from-the-action symbol or fraught-with-feeling silhouette. As a book designer, I have never worked on a book that had so many great visual possibilities (This is definitely design-nerd speak but any designer knows what I'm talking about--sometimes you just can't find an image or panel to use for a cover or endpapers.). I will happily admit that I am still wrestling with the meanings of many of these stories. And now, a parade of non-sequential pages to give you an idea of the visual power of this book.

Chris Ware talks at the Indianapolis Museum of Art

Chris Ware will be discussing graphic communication and "drawing-as-thinking" at the Indianapolis Museum of Art tonight! Plus! Chip Kidd (art director at Knopf, book designer, and author) will be interviewing Chris about his influences and the development of his aesthetic, and then Chris will be signing books. Not to be missed! That's tonight Thursday, February 17th at 7 pm.

Daniel Clowes, CBG Winner, 1999.

Do wish you owned all six books autographed by the Comics Buyer's Guide Award for Favorite Writer in 1999? Kyle Baker? No, no, no. Rich Koslowski? No, no,no, it's Dan Clowes! Well, you can bid on an autographed set of six of Dan's books in a fundraiser for his alma mater, the Laboratory School in Chicago. Nothing like one's old high school to keep any ego in check!

Soapbox: Give to Words Without Borders

Do you know Words without Borders? If not, you should. They are a wonderful organization that promotes international literature by translating, publishing, and promoting the finest contemporary literature from around the world. Every February they feature graphic literature and this month they spotlight WAR RABBIT by Rutu modan and Igal Sarna. They are trying to raise $7000 via kickstarter for the May Afghanistan issue. You can make a pledge here. Or, you can "like" the page Stylematters on facebook, and if 1000 people "like" them, they'll give $500 to Words Without Borders. Easy peasy.

Young Cartoonists In Love

Congratulations to Keith Jones and Lizz Hickey on their NYC nuptials!!!!


Not only was Adrian interviewed on NPR's All Things Considered, but so was his wife Sarah Brennan. Love it! Adrian also visited the Comics Claptrap, spoke to Iowa Public Radio and the Economist.

Hump Day Tease: PAYING FOR IT!

"I've loved Chester Brown's work since the early days of Yummy Fur. He started out as a remarkable cartoonist telling strange stories that slowly became, over time, increasingly personal.

PAYING FOR IT is as personal as you can get. It's a clear-eyed, not-even-slightly-erotic, compulsively readable, sometimes painfully honest account of his time, reasons and experiences paying for sex. I learned things about Chester from reading this, and I learned things about sex-workers, and about the world, and, oddly, I think I learned things about myself.

The argument about when or whether comics had grown up ended when people started making comics for grown-ups. This is one of them. PAYING FOR IT is the kind of book that will engage your mind and force you to think about things in ways you may never have done before. Chester would probably like that. And if you find yourself arguing with the page, or with the author's notes, I think Chester would probably like that too."

-Neil Gaiman

Here's the new jacket cover for PAYING FOR IT. We sent the book to notables for cover blurbs, and basically had almost a 100% response rate. Every hump day I'll post a new image from the book and a blurb until the book is in stores!

Oh yes, did I mention an introduction by R. Crumb? You'll have to wait until next week!

Missed It: Jillian's Op-Ed Illo.

Jillian contributed this illustration for the February 3rd NY Times Op Ed page on the Muslim Brotherhood. On her blog the next day Jillian goes into how the immediate deadline of the Op-Ed page can feel like a test of one's skills. I bet! She also points out that the newly redesigned Opinion webpage nicely showcases that day's illustration.

Tatsumi Movie!!

Tom Spurgeon scooped us on this but who cares? Go look at some stills for the animated Tatsumi movie at Twitch Film.

Holy Smokes! SCENES FROM AN IMPENDING MARRIAGE on the NYT GN Bestseller list!!!

It's a good thing we went back to press BEFORE the book shipped, because Scenes from an Impending Marriage landed at #2 on the New York Times Graphic Novel Bestseller list after its very first week of being in stores. Congrats Adrian!

Have I Mentioned Joe Ollmann, Lately?

Joe Ollmann was interviewed by CBR's Chris Mautner for Robot 6. An early, long and thorough review came in from Newsarama by J. Caleb Mozzocco who states:

"There’s obviously a lot of angst in the pages of this book, a graphic novel in the truest sense of the word—it’s really and truly a novel, in form and structure, that happens to be told in comics instead of prose—but it’s always genuinely amusing angst...The form, and the humor, can draw one in while lulling them to the literary qualities. Mid-Life isn’t only a graphic novel deserving of that often meaningless and misapplied term, it’s also a great one."

I agree, of course.

Gabrielle Bell in Bitch Magazine

Gabrielle Bell was interviewed recently by Bitch Magazine about feminism, women's work, the evolution of Lucky, and what it means to have a webcomic versus a printed comic.
Select snippet:
RMJ: What is the role of feminism in your work?

GB: I guess every female artist has to think about feminism for pretty much her whole life as she is making her art... so I think it's hard to talk about. As a feminist, I try to realize myself as a person and an artist as strongly as I can in opposition to the images and ideas of the traditional women presented in the media, in hopes that others will recognize this and feel free to do the same.

Check it out! Lots of good thoughts in there...

Matt Forsythe's Jinchalo

Need a Friday afternoon distraction? I can't think of a better way to slack off at work than to check out a preview of Matt Forsythe's new book, Jinchalo. Matt also talks about his process. And here's another page I wrangled up:

Not enough of a preview for you? Me neither. But it's all we got, folks. I had to scour the internet for these as it is. Check out more of Matt's work ici. And if you're a Montrealer and you see Matt around town, go ahead and hassle him to hurry up already and finish this thing!

Marc Bell artwork! Mexico City! February 23!

Marc Bell will be exhibiting at a Mexico City art show curated by Devendra Banhart.
The group show opens February 23rd and runs to the 25th of March. It will be taking place at the Vice Mexico Gallery, Merida 109, esq. Alvaro Obregon Col. Roma, Mexico City.

There is a whole long list of artists who will be exhibiting:
Zach Hill, Marc Bell, Eric Wareheim, Jerry Hsu, Beck, Melissa Shimkovitz, Kevin Long, Adam Green, David Tibet, Marilyn Manson, Fabrizio Moretti, Alia Shawkat, Nat Russell, Thomas Campbell, Travis Keller, Keegan McHargue, Adam Tullie

P.S. Thanks for letting me steal your photoshop dog, Marc!

Thanks NYC!

Here's Adrian and Leanne at the Strand on Wednesday night of the launch of Adrian's book SCENES FROM AN IMPENDING MARRIAGE. Thanks to everyone who attended, we sold close to 100 copies of the new book!

Paris! {Final Angouleme Post}

I realize the delay in posting this last entry takes away from the fun, but the reentry into North America has been hard, people!

Ok, I dragged tom away from the convention a day early on Saturday so that we could have some "non-comics time." As you'll see, this is clearly not possible, ANYWHERE, and especially in France. Late-ish Saturday night we arrive in Paris, and Tom & I head out to a local joint in Belleville for pizza. It was a small side-street-y place and only one other couple was present. The owner seemed like a bit of a character and remarked as he saw us taking this picture that Thomas Ott was a friend (his words, "mon copaine") and that he lived right around the corner. Yes, those are real paintings by Thomas on the wall behind Tom.

Obligatory photo for my 5 year old, Gigi, who is learning about France in maternelle.

Oh, you know, strolling down Blvd. St-Germain on the Left Bank, look up only to find WILSON staring back at me!!!!

Inside the store, they had all of the nominees from the festival prominently displayed. Wilson, the gatekeeper, looks like he may turn around and say "Hey Brother..." to the man reading.

And then 30 minutes later, we stumble upon the BD store, Aaapoum Bapoum, et voila, another WILSON display this time with Charles Burns' X'ed out. What's with all of the cut outs?

Right when you walk in you see a full display of all Cornelius titles.

What can I say? The french love WILSON.

We were slowly making our way through the 6th Arrondisement to the legendary...

Un Regard Moderne.

I admit, this place gave me a panic attack. Tom told me a story that the reason Thomas from Actes Sud published Mark Alan Stamaty's Who Needs Doughnuts in french was because he found the english edition at a bottom of a stack here. Thomas is a patient man.

Though I love that they had Gary's Satiroplastic poster framed.

And that Vanessa's MAKE ME A WOMAN is front and center, well, for the next day or so, at least.

We were told that if you want a specific book at the store, you have to give the owner a week or two to find it.

When I say EVERYONE in France knew of Art being the president in 2012. I mean EVERYONE.


Before we left for home, we visited the offices of Cornelius to have lunch. I have to say that meeting the Cornelius staff was *almost* the best thing about the trip. Left to right: Jean-Louis Gauthey, Julien Magnani (designer), Guillaume Traisnel (money man and craftsman of all of the Clowes and Burns cut outs!), and Émilie Le Hin (translator, publicist, foreign rights and more). It was almost spooky, but yet totally inspiring and wonderful, to meet a company so similar to D+Q in France! Emilie and I bonded and agreed over everything! Emilie, move to Montreal!

And it's easy to see why, like our beloved Chief, Chris, Cornelius was founded by Jean-Louis who runs the company with a finely honed aesthetic that is at once instantly recognizeable as a Cornelius book, but also uniquely about the artist. Talking to Jean-Louis is like talking to Chris, they don't talk about themselves, it is solely always about the artist. And talking to an artist about Jean-Louis, is listening to a D+Q artist talk about Chris. The artist totally adores him.

Charles Berberian joined us for lunch and told us a story about doing a press check for his new Cornelius book Sacha and that Jean-Louis' standards were so exacting that Charles couldn't even see what Jean-Louis wanted corrected.

Here are some differences between the two companies. Cornelius casually had a bottle of wine out.

They have a fully loaded kitchen.

AND, the ENTIRE office was built by Jean-Louis out of pallet wood and pipes. Seriously, he made the desks, the shelves, the kitchen, everything!

Their entry way.

Ok, Charles Berberian on his way out of the office. You know with his hat on, cashmere coat, sharp flight bag, and guitar strapped to his back.

A photo of the building's courtyard on the way out.

Again comics. But how could we miss Charles Burns'show at Galerie Martel?! A few shots from the show.

Originally, I thought this would be the "one" comics thing we did in Paris.

And our way back from the Galerie on Tuesday night, making our way up Rue de Belleville who do we randomly run into but "friends-we-just-made-at-the-festival" the crew from Book About George that Tom blogged about earlier.

As my coworker Jessica says "Comics you've done it again!"


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