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Food or Comics? | This week’s comics on a budget

Bone: Tall Tales

Bone: Tall Tales

Welcome once again to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy based on certain spending limits — $15, $30 to spend and if we had extra money to spend on what we call the “Splurge” item.

So join Brigid Alverson, Chris Mautner and me as we run down what we’d buy this week, and check out Diamond’s release list to play along in our comments section.

Chris Mautner

If I had $15:

This one’s easy, as Wednesday sees the arrival of Jeff Smith’s latest Bone-related project, Tall Tales ($10.99 paperback, $22.99 hardcover — I’m obviously going for the paperback here). My daughter has become obsessed with Bone — to the point where she’s started making her own Bone-related comics (complete with theme music) — and is eager to pick up the latest volume, even if it does mostly collect material she and I have read before (namely the Stupid, Stupid Rat Tails series). I’ll probably pick it up on the sly this week and give it to her for for her birthday next month.

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ALA: Crappy pictures of awesome comics

Here's the swag shot from ALA 2010

Here's the swag shot from ALA 2010

OK, I’m not going to be winning any photography awards anytime soon, but I picked up a lot of interesting comics at the American Library Association midsummer meeting, and I wanted to write about them while they were still fresh.

Hit the jump for details.

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Talking Comics with Tim: Colleen Coover

Colleen Coover's Hercules the Olympian Babysitter

Coover's Hercules the Olympian Babysitter

In 2004 I was fortunate enough to interview Colleen Coover–during her Small Favors days/on the eve of the creation of her and husband Paul Tobin’s all-ages Banana Sunday. I enjoyed her art then, but never hoped for how effectively Marvel would tap her fantastic style for many of its books and characters.  Much to my delight, it seems like Coover’s reputation and fanbase is growing larger every day. Last week saw the release of Girl Comics No. 2, which featured a two-page opening piece by Coover as well as a Shamrock eight-page adventure drawn by her (and written by Kathryn Immonen). We briefly discussed it, as well as her other current Marvel work (such as the Hercules back-up tale in Thor and the Warriors Four)  for this brief email interview. I look forward to down the road when Coover flexes her “writer muscles” (as she calls them).

Tim O’Shea: Marvel’s keeping you busy at present. How did the Hercules the Olympian Babysitter story land on your table?

Colleen Coover: The book’s editor Jordan White asked me to come up with a Power Pack backup story for a four-issue mini series. I was flipping through Bullfinch’s Mythology one evening, and I came up with the Hercules story when I woke up the next morning. At the time I didn’t know that the Alex Zalben’s main story was a team-up with Thor, titled Thor & The Warriors Four, so it was a happy coincidence that I used one of Marvel’s other mythological characters!

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Robot reviews: The Great Anti-War Cartoons

The Great Anti-War Cartoons

The Great Anti-War Cartoons

The Great Anti-War Cartoons
Edited by Craig Yoe
Fantagraphics, 192 pages, $24.99

The title says it all really. It’s a collection of editorial cartoons and the occasional gag cartoon with a specific focus on the futility of war. The book is subdivided into sections like “The Brass” and “Famine” to perhaps give the book a bit of structure. While there is the occasional modern contribution or art from before 1850, most of the work in the book seems to focus on the late 19th to mid-20th century, with a decided emphasis on the World War I era, which makes sense given the stunning horror of that war and the prominence of newspapers and other print media at the time.

By and large, the cartoons collected here offer little in the way of visual surprise — skeletons, fat cats with diamond pins and the Roman god Mars abound. Only occasionally do you really come across a really shocking image, like Louis Raemaekers’ “Barbed Wire” or John Sloane’s “The History of Ignorance Obeying Orders.” Most of the cartoons offer the same simplistic truisms about how bad and evil war is without really doing more than scratching the surface. Only humorists like George Booth and Gerald Scarfe seem to offer anything beyond the basic “war is hell” trope.

What the book does offer, however, is a feast of great early 20th century illustration. There are a few recognizable names here, like Winsor McCay and Art Young, but a number of great discoveries as well, like Daniel Fitzpatrick and Luther Bradley. While their ideas may involve resurrecting the same tired metaphors again and again, their craftsmanship, linework and sense of design and composition is often striking, and the best reason I can think of for buying this book.



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