Drawn & Quarterly Archives - Page 4 of 9 - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources
It happens every year. Amidst all the hullaballoo of the big-name releases and show-stopping events and sleeper hits there are those titles that, for whatever reason, fail to generate any reviews, discussion or sales (or in some cases all three) whatsoever. 2010 was no exception. In fact, the wealth of stellar material that was released this year made it seem like there were an extraordinary number of great comics that garnered not even a peep from the blogosphere and press.
After the jump are six books that I think got nowhere near the amount of attention they deserved. There are lots more that I could include if I had the time. And I’m sure there are books that you read that you don’t think got enough praise as well. Be sure to let me know what they are in the comments section.
Brecht Evens took a lot of people by surprise this past autumn. Seemingly emerging from nowhere, the Flemish cartoonist’s English-language graphic-novel debut, The Wrong Place, was released by Drawn & Quarterly and quickly made a major splash among critics and cartoonists in a year already crowded by high-quality releases. For that you can thank Evens’ eye-popping painted colors, which do far more than just tell you what color hair or clothes his characters have.
His story of a small group of twenty-somethings — revolving around an odd couple of mismatched friends and their divergent night lives during a party, a one-night stand, and a night out at a club — uses color almost as a code. It differentiates the characters, conveys their personalities, and helps us understand their environments and relationships. You’ll see parts of yourself you like and dislike in all three of its main characters: gray-colored wallflower Gary, his legend-in-his-own-time bright-blue best friend Robbie, and Olivia, who decides to live it up one night in fiery red.
So color us excited (sorry, couldn’t resist!) to be able to interview Evens as part of Robot 6’s second anniversary spectacular…
Sean T. Collins: The thing that most surprised me about The Wrong Place was that it didn’t “teach me a lesson.” I expected to be hit with a moral about how Robbie’s vida loca was actually empty and meaningless, or how wrong it is for Gary not to loosen up and live a little, but neither thing happened. Olivia shows a tinge of regret about her wild night with Robbie, but it’s just a tinge, not an indication that she Did The Wrong Thing or something like that. All of this despite the fact that the title itself implies that one or all of these characters is not where they really belong. I was hoping you could talk a bit about why you took this approach to your main characters and their decisions, which I found refreshingly non-judgmental.
Brecht Evens: I was 20 when I came up with the first draft, the setup for the book, and it was very noir, very contrived and judgmental, and full of nifty “ideas.” Most of this got thrown out along the way, where the ideas come to seem stale and instead the need becomes greater to be able to believe in and identify with the characters, and to testify about things observed in real life. Or, because I automatically began to identify with the characters, and love them, I was more compelled to nuance.
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. Check out Diamond’s release list for this week if you’d like to play along in our comments section.
It’s a weird week for new releases, with everyone but Marvel taking it easy and pulling back on massive hauls in order to give our wallets a nice holiday break (unless you’re a Marvel completest, in which case, yowza. Look out). That said, if I had $15, I’d put it towards the special 200th issue of What If? ($4.99), the first issue of event tie-in Chaos War: X-Men ($3.99) because I’m curious how Chris Claremont and Louise Simonson handle Marvel’s version of Blackest Night, and the second issue of Scott Snyder and Jock’s Detective Comics run (#872, $3.99), because I was really happily surprised by how much I enjoyed the first.
If I had $30, I’d put Chaos War and What If? back on the shelf, and get Emitown ($24.99) instead. I’ve heard really great things about this print collection of Emi Lenox’s autobio webcomic, and I like the idea of seeing 2011 in by discovering a new cartoonist to love.
Splurging, I’d go back to Marvel, with the brand new Ka-Zar collection by Mark Waid and Andy Kubert ($19.99). I missed out on this series back in the 1990s, but as a fan of both fish-out-of-water stories and Mark Waid stories, something tells me that this might be right up my street.
With the end of the year approaching, book publishers are sending out their preview catalogs to book buyers and the media. One of those publishers, Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, just happens to represent the Canadian comics company Drawn & Quarterly, which means we can get a sneak peek of sorts at their plans for the spring and summer months. Most of these titles won’t be too surprising to those who follow the company’s output, but there are a few books of note that readers may not be expecting. Click on the link to find out what they are.
I’ve been anticipating this since Daniel Clowes teased it at the Alternative Press Expo in October … Tom Spurgeon broke the news this morning that Drawn & Quarterly will release a hardcover version of Clowes’ The Death-Ray next fall.
Much like Pantheon did when they repackaged Clowes’ Ice Haven as a stand-alone hardcover, the book will repackage and re-release an issue of Clowes’ Eightball — issue #23, which came out in 2004 and starred the outcast-turned superhero. The Death-Ray has also been optioned for film by Jack Black’s Electric Dynamite Productions, with Chris Milk attached to direct
“The Death-Ray is one of the most perfect and fully realized comics of the past decade and it is nothing short of the highest honour to publish,” said Chris Oliveros, editor-in-chief and publisher of Drawn & Quarterly in the press release. “The story of the alienated Andy is drawn and written to perfection with Dan’s signature subtle humour, stylistic eloquence, and understated social commentary–showcasing all of the hallmarks of why Dan is one of the preeminent cartoonists of the comics medium.”
You can find the entire press release after the jump.
Comics College is a monthly feature where we provide an introductory guide to some of the comics medium’s most important auteurs and offer our best educated suggestions on how to become familiar with their body of work.
This month we’re looking at the career of a relative newcomer to the comics industry, Mr. Kevin Huizenga.
Acme Novelty Library Vol. 20
by Chris Ware
Drawn & Quarterly, 72 pages $23.95
(Note: I shall endeavor to be as spoiler-free as possible, but obviously if you’re the sort who would rather dive into a book like this knowing as little as possible then you may not want to click on that “continue reading” link.)
Acme Novelty Library #20 is about an asshole. The book’s main character, one Jordan W. Lint, is a bully, a coward, an adulterer, a drunkard, is frequently callous and cruel to friends and family, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In some regards he is an outright monster.
And yet, Ware manages to make us not only care, rather deeply, about this unlikeable figure but also sympathize and, to a surprising degree, understand his plight. Without condoning or excusing his behavior, Ware manages to offer a portrait that is nuanced enough to make us reflect upon our own foibles and fears. If that’s not the mark of a great artist, I’m not sure what is.
As is my wont, I made the one-day (the one day being Saturday) trek to Bethesda, Md., along with Joe “Jog” McCulloch for the annual Small Press Expo. Perhaps the Earth’s rotation is spinning ever faster, but this year’s show seemed a bit of a blur to me, even by previous years’ standards. Before I had a chance to say “Sorry, I’m tapped out and can’t buy your mini-comic,” it was after 6 p.m. and time to go home. Fortunately I took some pictures to help my fading memory keep the show alive in my tumescent brain. Or at least, I tried to take some pictures.
Alternative comics’ Day of Deals continues: Drawn & Quarterly has launched its annual Warehouse Sale, the biggest sale of the year for the publisher. Nearly everything D&Q has in stock is available for 30-40% off the regular price: Chris Ware, Seth, Lynda Barry, Chester Brown, Kevin Huizenga, Rutu Modan, Ron Regé Jr., Gabrielle Bell, Jillian Tamaki, you name it. Between this and Top Shelf, you could basically build yourself a respectable bookshelf for practically peanuts.
Welcome to another round of What are you reading. JK is off enjoying the Labor Day weekend somewhere far away from any Internet connection, so I’m filling in for him this week.
And what a perfect week it is for me to fill in as we’ve got not one but two special guests this week! First up is Kristy Valenti, associate editor of The Comics Journal and Comixology columnist. If that weren’t enough we’ve also got Chris Arrant, who has been kind enough to guest-blog with us all this week.
Click on the link to see what they and everyone else has been perusing lately. And be sure to tell us in the comments what comics you’ve been reading as well.
Having looked at Fantagraphics’ catalog a few weeks ago, the time seemed ripe to pull back the curtain on Drawn and Quarterly’s publishing plans for the coming months as well, especially since their distributor Farrar Straus and Giroux was kind enough to email me a link to their .pdf catalog.
What’s in the offing? New books by Adrian Tomine, John Stanley, Frank King, just to name a few. Click on the link to see what else to expect.
Maybe it was the sharpened instincts I gained from reading Brian Ralph’s first-person POV post-apocalyptic thriller Daybreak, which uses that unique videogame-style eye-view perspective to put you in the middle of the action like no other comic from the zombie craze. Or maybe I’m just a good guesser. But when Ralph (an alumnus of the ultra-influential Providence art/comics/music collective Fort Thunder) started posting never-before-seen Daybreak cover sketches to the New Bodega blog last week, I had a hunch this meant that the acclaimed three-part series had a collected edition in its future. Now Drawn & Quarterly’s Tom Devlin confirms the upcoming creation of a Daybreak hardcover, kinda, with a series of rhetorical questions: “Next Fall?…Additional epilogue? Deluxe hard cover treatment? Comic-Con debut? Are these things in the offing from D+Q?” I’ll bet my right arm that the answer to all these questions is “yes”…
If it’s Tuesday, it’s time for Food or Comics? Every week we talk about what comics we’d buy if we only had $15 to spend, if we only had $30 to spend and if we had extra money to spend on what we’re calling a “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.
If I had $15…
I’d start with the first issue of Baltimore: The Plague Ships ($3.50), because it’s written by Mike Mignola and it has Europe flooded with vampires. Looks like fun. And then, because I can’t get enough Mignola, I’ll take issue 2 of Hellboy: The Storm ($2.99).
Dark Horse is launching its updated Magnus: Robot Fighter series, written by Jim Shooter, this week. Issue #1 looks pretty sweet, and it’s 56 pages for $3.50 (including the original Magnus story from 1963), so I’ll give that a try.
Welcome to another round of What Are You Reading. With JK Parkin in the midst of San Diego Comic-Con madness, I’m taking over the WAYR duties for this week. Our guest this week is blogger, noteworthy critic and Newsarama contributor Matt Seneca.
Find out what Matt’s been reading (he’s got a long list), and be sure to include your own current reading list, after the jump …
Saturday at Comic-Con International in San Diego, once upon a time, was “big movie day” at the con … back before every day became big movie day at the con. Still, today somewhat lived up to its reputation for being eventful, as the Avengers assembled on stage, Green Lantern movie footage was shown and one poor fan was stabbed in the eye while attending programming in Hall H, where several of the big movie panels took place. The victim was taken to UCSD Medical Center, while his attacker was taken away by police after attendees detained him.
In happier news, here’s what was announced on the comics front:
• Marvel Editor-in-Chief and Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada confirmed that Marvel is “gonna be doing some CrossGen stuff.” CrossGen, which published numerous titles like Sojourn, Way of the Rat, Abadazad and Meridian starting 1998, went bankrupt in 2004. Disney bought their assets that same year.
Their titles covered many different genres, from fantasy to horror to detective stories. “I think with the CrossGen stuff you’re going to see us attempt a little more genre publishing, which I think is much-needed in our imprint,” Quesada said. No word yet on what properties they plan to bring back.
• Kurt Busiek announced that American Gothic, the urban fantasy comic announced at last year’s WildStorm panel, will now be called Witchlands. The series will be drawn by Connor Willumson. Busiek is also working on an Arrowsmith novel titled Arrowsmith: Far from the Fields We Know, which will include illustrations by Carlos Pacheco.