EXCL. PREVIEW: "Avatar: Smoke & Shadow" TPB Threatens the Fire Nation
One of the biggest pieces of news coming out of this year’s Comic-Con was the announcement by Fantagraphics that they would start reprinting Floyd Gottfredson’s seminal Mickey Mouse comic strips.
But that book is at least a year away. What ever shall we read in the months between now and then? Thankfully, Gary Groth, Kim Thompson and company have the answer, via their lengthy fall/winter catalog, which I’ve taken the liberty of breaking down into bite-sized chunks for the hoi-polloi to peruse. No doubt some of these titles you’re probably well aware of and already expecting. But hopefully there’s one or two surprises in the list.
The Comics Journal #301, edited by Gary Groth and Kristy Valenti. The first entry in the Journal’s new semi-annual, book-length, literary journalish style features a big interview with R. Crumb about his Genesis adaptation, an critical roundtable on Joe Sacco’s Footnotes in Gaza featuring the author, and a look at the work of Dave Sim by Tim Kreider. $19.99.
The Complete Peanuts 1977-78 by Charles M. Schulz. Peppermint Patty is on the cover. The introduction is by Alec Baldwin. It’s a $28.99 hardcover. And if you missed the last volume, you can get the two books together as a ’75-’78 “gift box” for $49.99.
A Drunken Dream and Other Stories by Moto Hagio. Fantagraphics launches into the manga frontier with this impressive collection of tales from one of the medium’s most influential creators. Since this was a debut book at SDCC this past week I imagine it will be out in stores sooner than September. I managed to snag an advance copy and I must say it’s a beautiful thing, both in terms of package and content. $24.99 hardcover.
Bent by Dave Cooper. Introduction by Guillermo Del Toro. Sadly, not a new collection of comics from the Weasel artist, but another round of paintings in the same manner as the Overbite and Underbelly books. Still, while I’d kill for a Suckle sequel, any Dave Cooper is welcome at this point. $22.99 hardcover.
Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 by Gilbert an Jaime Hernandez. Again, this was on sale at San Diego, so Diamond will probably have copies available sooner than later. Jaime returns to the “Locas”universe and Gilbert continues tales of Guadalupe’s daughter. $14.99 paperback.
Fire & Water: Bill Everett, the Sub-Mariner and the Birth of Marvel Comics by Blake Bell. Bell follows up his acclaimed look at Steve Ditko with a biography showcasing the man who created the Sub-Mariner, along with other tales. No doubt many are hoping this brings about a resurgence in the artist and his work. $39.99 hardcover.
Unexplored Worlds: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 2, edited by Blake Bell. Continuing where last year’s Strange Suspense left, off this book collects a a number of Ditko drawn tales from the late 1950s, mostly done for Charlton Comics. $39.99 hardcover.
Special Exits by Joyce Farmer. Underground cartoonist Farmer (she was the co-founder of the Tits n Clits anthology) delves into memoir for this story of the decline of her parents’ health and how she had to cope with their increasing fragility as they aged. Could be really, really good. Expect a lot of comparisons to Fun Home, etc. $26.99 hardcover.
Pogo: The Complete Comic Strips Vol. 1: “Through the Wild Blue Wonder” by Walt Kelly. After years of promises, failed starts and high expectations, Fanta is finally releasing Kelly’s whimiscal, satirical comic strip masterpiece. Kelly love seems to have faded a bit over the decades — he hasn’t earned the sort of continued love and recognition that some of his contemporaries have. Let’s see if this rectifies that situation. $35 hardcover.
The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec Vol. 1: “Pterror Over Paris” / “The Eiffel Tower Demon” by Jacques Tardi. These tales have been published a few times before by other publishers, but Fanta is giving it another go as part of their ongoing Tardi reprint project. Just in time for the new movie from Luc Besson $24.99 hardcover.
Prison Pit Vol. 2 by Johnny Ryan. Vol. 1 was, hands down, one of my favorite books of last year and I’m excited and curious to find out how Ryan ups the bloody, feces-strewn ante. $12.99 paperback.
The Strange Case of Edward Gorey by Alexander Theroux. A reprint of Theroux’s 2000 essay on Gorey and the author’s friendship with him. $14.99 hardcover.
Forlorn Funnies Vol. 1 by Paul Hornschemeier. A new collection of stories from Hornschemeier, done in the vein of his earlier Funnies series. Expect a lot of fourth-wall breaking and formalist playfulness. $8.99 paperback.
The Hidden by Richard Sala. A new, never-before published tale from alt-comics horror master, about a group of people snowbound at an abandoned diner, while outside lies some sort of global catastrophe, as well as a killer on the loose. $19.99 hardcover.
Krazy & Ignatz: The Sketchbook Strips 1910-1913 by George Herriman. Now this looks interesting. Apparently when Herriman began Krazy under the bottom of his strip The Family Upstairs he would do full-sized “sketchbook” versions of the strip at normal size. This book collects all of them — or at least all that’s known to currently exist. Obviously a must for any Herriman fan, despite the high price. $75 hardcover.
The Sanctuary by Nate Neal. Neal has been one of the more interesting contributors to Mome lately. This book doesn’t collect those tales, but is instead a full-length graphic novel about a tribe of cavemen and the discovery that alters their world. Introduction by Dave Sim, of all things. $22.99 paperback.
What I Did by Jason. As with Almost Silent, this book collects three of the anthropomorphic author’s previously released tales: Hey, Wait …, Shhhh! and the out-of-print The Iron Wagon. $24.99 hardcover.
Usagi Yojimbo: The Special Edition by Stan Sakai. It got delayed a little bit, but this massive collection of the first seven Usagai books, plus ancillary material, should be out this time for sure, just in time for the character’s 25th anniversary. $100 two-volume slipcased hardcover.
You’ll Never Know Book 2: “Collateral Damage” by Carol Tyler. The sequel to Tyler’s acclaimed memoir about her Dad, his experiences in WWII, and her awkward relationship with him as he progresses into old age. The book includes a reprint of Tyler’s classic “Hannah Story.” $24.99 hardcover.
Zippy: Ding Dong Daddy by Bill Griffith. As long as Griffith keeps producing his quixotic strip, Fantagraphics will keep collecting them. $19.99 paperback.
King of the Flies Vol. 2: The Origin of the World by Mezzo and Pirus. The second volume in Mezzo and Pirus’ suburban noir story that’s equal parts Charles Burns and Jim Thompson. $18.99 hardcover.
Captain Easy: The Complete Sunday Newspaper Strips Vol. 2 by Roy Crane. Are you reading this? You should be reading this? Why aren’t you reading this? These strips are so great. Paul Pope agrees. He’s writing the introduction for this second volume. $39.99 hardcover.
Mome Vol. 21. The anthology train rolls on.Look for Vol. 22 to come out in March. $14.99 paperback each.
Safe Area Gorazde Special Edition by Joe Sacco. Well, if any graphic novel deserves the “special edition treatment, I think it’s fair to say this one does. In addition to the story is preparatory sketches, photographs and transcripts from Sacco’s notes. $29.99 hardcover.
Unlovable: The Complete Collection by Esther Pearl Watson. Watson’s two volume tale of $39.99 two hardcover volumes in one custom slipcase. $39.99.
Twilight of the Assholes by Tim Kreider. Following the close of the Bush years, editorial cartoonist Kreider put down his pen and has since made a living as a pundit for the New York Times. This book collects his final batch of cartoons and a few essays, which, as the title suggests, do not suffer the former Commander in Chief gladly. $28.99 paperback.
Drawing Power: A Compendium of Cartoon Advertising, edited by Rick Marschall and Warren Bernard. The first horse out of the gate from Fanta’s new Marschall Books imprint offers at how cartoons and comics have been used to sell crapola over the years. This could be really, really in-depth and fascinating or really, really cursory. I’ve got my fingers crossed for the former. $28.99 paperback.
Toys in the Basement by Stephane Blanquet. One of the best cartoonists at making readers feel really, really uncomfortable, French artist Blanquet foils everyone’s expectations and goes the kiddie-book route with this all ages story about a group of damaged and neglected toys out for revenge. I’ll bet it will still be plenty creepy. $14.99 hardcover.
The Littlest Pirate King by David B. and Pierre Mac Orlan. I haven’t seen anything of note from David B. in awhile, so this book is welcome news. It’s also a children’s tale, based on Orlan’s short story, about a baby that’s adopted by pirates and what happens when he grows up. Is it just me or do there seem to be a lot of pirate comics these days? $16.99 hardcover.
Little Maakies on the Prairie by Tony Millionaire. More wonderfully rendered, off-color jokes about alcoholism and suicide from Mr. Millionaire. And lots of drawings of ships. $19.95 hardcover.
Love from the Shadows by Gilbert Hernandez. Another stand-alone graphic novel in the vein of Troublemakers and Chance in Hell, “starring” Beto’s B-movie actress Fritz. This one’s about a family (all “played” by Fritz) who $19.99 hardcover.
Mascots by Ray Fenwick. The Hall of Best Knowledge author follows up that book with this collection of vignettes, ostensibly featuring mascots. But perhaps not. $22.99 hardcover.
The Last Rose of Summer by Monte Schulz. Three women are forced to re-evaluate their lives after a child’s murder sends shock waves through their community in the days leading up to the Great Depression. A prose novel from the author of This Side of Jordan (and the son of the famed cartoonistst). $29.99 hardcover.
Popeye Vol. 5: “Wha’s a Jeep?” by E.C. Segar. More wonderful, wonderful Popeye goodness. Yes, please, may I have another. $29.99 hardcover.
Castle Waiting Vol. 2 by Linda Medley. As much as I liked Vol. 1, I wasn’t too crazy about Vol. II as it was being serialized pamphlet-style (a venture Medley seems to have abandoned). That opinion will likely change once I have the chance to sit down and read the whole story in one setting, where its leisurely, relaxed pace will feel more suitable and enjoyable. $29.99 hardcover.
Wandering Son: Book One by Shiimura Takako. The second part of the company’s one-two manga punch. This story concerns two youths — a boy and a girl — each suffering from confusion regarding their own sexual identity. It’s rare you see a manga, let alone an American graphic novel, deal with a subject matter this sensitive. I’m extremely curious to see how Takako handles it. $19.99 hardcover.
Setting the Standard: Alex Toth, edited by Greg Sadowski. Wow, more than 300 pages of classic Toth material, most of it done for Standard Comics in the 1950s. Sign me up. $29.99 paperback.
Stigmata by Lorenzo Mattotti and Claudio Piersanti. You know, I was just thinking the other day how we haven’t had a lot of Mattotti on these shores lately (no, seriously, I really was). So good thing there’s this new book, about a shambles of a man whose hands start to bleed, forcing him to find work in a traveling carnival. Sounds like a Jodorowsky movie. $19.99 hardcover.
Blecky Yuckerella Book 4: “FUC– –U -SS –LE” by Johnny Ryan. This, apparently, is the last of the Blecky books, though I’m not sure why. Has Ryan decided to move on to fouler, more shit-inflected pastures? $11.99 paperback.
Prince Valiant Vol. 3: 1941-42 by Hal Foster. More gorgeous comics about good, clean violence in the middle ages. $29.99 hardcover.
Approximate Continuum Comics by Lewis Trondheim. Now this is something. Trondheim’s first autobiographical comic, done back in the mid to late 90s, caused quite a bit of attention when it was first published in Europe. We only got drabs of it initially via Trondheim’s American series, The Nimrod. Now that his other autobio series, Little Nothings, is doing well for NBM, Fantagraphics is returning to the well once again, this time releaing the whole thing in one fell swoop. $18.99 paperback.
Mr. Twee Deedle: Raggedy Ann’s Sprightly Cousin — The Forgotten Fantasy Masterpieces of Johnny Gruelle, edited by Rick Marschall. Before he came up with Raggedy Ann and Andy, Gruelle had Mr. Twee Deedle, a spritely, whimsical comic strip concoction that succeeded Little Nemo in the New York Herald. Thisbook collects the strip’s first year as well as other material. A sure “must-buy” for the Sunday Press crowd. Introduction by Tony Millionaire. $75 hardcover.
Yeah! by Peter Bagge and Gilbert Hernandez. Ten years ago or so, DC attempted to hit the all-ages market once again with this “Josie and the Pussycats” style series about an all-girl rock band that’s famous everywhere in the galaxy except Earth. Did I mention that it was written by Peter Bagge and drawn by Gilbert Hernandez? Despite this considerable talent, it lasted about as long as these type of DC projects usually last. Now all nine issues are finally being collected in a trade paperback. Now let’s see someone collect Bagge’s Sweatshop! $19.99 paperback.
R.I.P.: Best of 1985-2004 by Thomas Ott. Like the title suggests, it’s a greatest hits compendium of Ott’s work, taken from books like Tales of Error. If you’ve been curious but hesitant about checking out Ott’s work, here’s what I would imagine would be a good place to begin. $28.99 hardcover.
Eye of the Majestic Creature by Leslie Stein. I’m not at all familiar with Ms. Stein’s work (at least I don’t think I am) but this is her big debut graphic novel, about a young girl named Larrybear and her talking guitar and the adventures they get into as they travel across the country. No, seriously. I’m just paraphrasing what it says here in the ad copy. $18.99 paperback.
The Pin-Up Art of Humorama, edited by Alex Chun. Did you know that the guy who draws Marmaduke used to do smutty gag cartoons? So apparently did the guy who draws The Lockhorns, and the Basil Wolverton and David Berg. These and other artists will be featured in this collection. Expect lots of bad double entendres and jokes about sexy secretaries. I’ll be getting this just because … Marmaduke, y’know? I can’t even begin to imagine what that looks like. $19.99 paperback.