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Retailing | Image Comics took seven of the Top 20 spots on Nielsen BookScan’s list of graphic novels sold in bookstores in May, with multiple volumes of Saga and The Walking Dead once again appearing, joined by the first collection of Sex Criminals. Kodansha Comics took six spots, with the most recent volume of Attack on Titan at the top of the chart, followed by the first volume. Four more volumes were scattered around the list. Legendary’s Godzilla movie tie-in, Godzilla: Awakening, placed at No. 3. [ICv2]
Legal | The Japanese legislature has moved forward with a bill that would criminalize possession of child pornography, which is expected to pass the Diet before it recesses on June 22. The new law would ban photos and videos made using real children but excludes manga and anime. [The Japan Times]
Welcome to Best of 7, where we talk about, as it says above, “The best in comics from the last seven days” — which could be anything from an exciting piece of news to a cool publisher’s announcement to an awesome comic that came out. So without further ado, let’s get to it …
Creators | The Columbus Museum of Art and Thurber House have awarded their third annual artist-in-resident position to Lilli Carre creators of Heads or Tails and The Lagoon, among other graphic novels. She will spend three weeks working in the Columbus, Ohio, house where cartoonist James Thurber grew up, and the museum will also exhibit her work and host a talk. [The Columbus Dispatch]
Editorial cartoons | Palestinian cartoonist Majedah Shaheen has apologized for a cartoon depicting Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh telling the Al-Quds Battalions, who are depicted as a dog, to “calm down.” After receiving a barrage of threats and complaints on Facebook, Shaheen apologized but added, “My intention was to relay a message in a clear and firm manner. But there are many who prefer to deal with the issue in an artificial manner instead of making an attempt to understand the idea behind it.” [Jerusalem Post]
When I got my hands on Lilli Carré‘s newest collection of short stories Heads or Tails, what immediately caught my eye was the variety of styles the writer/artist attempted in her tales. During our recent interview about the collection, I focused some of my questions on the choices she made in terms of the colors, lettering and other story elements. I also learned about Carré’s thought process when approaching a comic tale versus one of her animation projects. The roots to these stories run deep in Carré’s life, and as she notes, the book has an overall theme of “ambivalence, chance, and flip-sides.”
Once you’ve read this conversation, be sure to learn more about Carré’s animation projects via Alex Dueben’s recent CBR interview. Fantagraphics also offers a 23-page excerpt from the 200-page collection, which was released last fall.
Tim O’Shea: How did you go about picking which stories to include in this collection?
Lilli Carré: I wanted to include the majority of the short stories I’ve produced over the past five years, and so I went through all my stuff and arranged them not chronologically, but by how they each fed into each other. The book contains stories collected from anthologies, some new work, and a few pieces that I reformatted from small run mini-comics, artists books, and drawings that I’ve made over the years. My style changes quite a bit from project to project, so the book has a kind of patchwork quilt feel to it, but I wanted to make sure there was a solid thread between how one story feeds into the next. I also wanted to create some new stories for the book, so Rainbow Moment and Wishy Washy were created specifically for Heads or Tails.
Legal | A Belgian court of appeals has ruled that Tintin in the Congo is not racist and stated that the book has “gentle and candid humour.” The ruling came in a case brought in 2007 by Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo, an immigrant from the Congo, and the Belgian Council of Black Associations. Although Herge himself expressed regret in later life for the book, which includes numerous depictions of black characters as stupid and inferior, the court did not support the plaintiffs’ claim that “The negative stereotypes portrayed in this book are still read by a significant number of children. They have an impact on their behaviour.” [Sky News]
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.
If I had $15, I’d line up to get the this year’s CBLDF Liberty Annual #5 (Image, $4.99). I’m an anthology junkie, and this hits that perfectly while also benefiting a good cause. The creator list is amazing – even without knowing who’s working with whom. After that, I’d get Happy #2 (Image, $2.99). This book’s first issue hit me harder than I expected; I was buying it for Grant Morrison to wow me with his writing, but it was Darick Robertson’s artwork that hit me square between the eyes. I’ve read all the issues of Transmetropolitan and most of The Boys, but his art here has graduated up a level and I’m almost salivating at thinking of this second issue. Third this week would be Wolverine and the X-Men #19 (Marvel, $3.99), quietly usurping Uncanny X-Force as my favorite Marvel book on the stands. Last issue’s Doop-centric theme was great for me, but I’m excited to see star pupil Nick Bradshaw back on pencils for this issue.
If I had $30, I’d double back and get Higher Earth, Vol. 1 (Boom!, $14.99) Canceled or not, this series looks interesting despite my bailing after Issue 1. It’s a complicated concept (from what I gleaned from the first issue), but I’m looking to let Humphries school me on this.
If I could splurge, I’d snatch up EC: Wally Wood – Came the Dawn and Other Stories (Fantagraphics, $28.99). I’ve been aware of Wally Wood for a almost two decades now, but I tend to go through periods of simply floating around before I consume and learn more about him in short but voracious periods. Last time it was in the bloom of Fear Agent, and seeing this in Previews a few months back got me jonesing to do it again.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, where each week we talk about what comics and other stuff have been on our reading piles. To see what the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly column where we successfully answer the question in the title. Our special guest this week is Janice Headley, events coordinator, publicist and “ambassador of awesome” for Fantagraphics.
To see what Janice and the Robot 6 crew have been reading this week, click the link below.
It’s an annual tradition to look forward to: The alternative comics publisher Top Shelf has unveiled its “Massive $3 Sale,” in which they’re pricing down their catalog to near-ridiculous levels — in many cases $3, and in many more cases just one lousy American dollar. For very little money, you can rack up a big chunk of one of the best comics publishers’ best comics.
What would I get? At the $3 level, Kolbeinn Karlsson’s The Troll King — a surreal collection of intertwined short stories that for once lives up to the overused, rarely true label “fairy tales for grown-ups” — is basically a must-buy. I’d also be sure to pick up Andy Hartzell’s Fox Bunny Funny, an unpredictable and impeccably cartooned funny-animal allegory about conformity and self-discovery. Lilli Carré’s remarkably assured debut collection of satirical short stories, Tales of Woodsman Pete, is another no-brainer. If you’re interested in rounding out your Alan Moore collection with some of his more off-the-beaten-path efforts, you can get all eight issues of his underground-culture zine Dodgem Logic, his prose novel Voice of the Fire, and his poetry/photography collaboration with José Villarubia The Mirror of Love for three bucks a pop. And you can pick up all three issues of Jeffrey Brown’s one-man action anthology series Sulk — Bighead & Friends, a return to his genuinely funny superhero parody characters; Deadly Awesome, an 84-page mixed martial arts fight comic; and The Kind of Strength That Comes from Madness, a grab bag of sci-fi/fantasy/action/adventure spoofs — for a buck apiece, which is a steal.
Beyond the deepest discounts, you’ll rarely find the publisher’s heavy (literally–these books are big) hitters priced as low as they are now: Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell’s From Hell, Campbell’s Alec: The Year’s Have Pants omnibus, and Jeff Lemire’s complete Essex County are all $20, while Craig Thompson’s Blankets is just $22.50.
And hey, if you’re totally new to all of these books, so much the better. Maybe DC’s New 52 initiative has you in an “I’ll try anything for $3 a book” mood? If so, put a few bucks aside and get some full-fledged graphic novels for that price or lower. You’ll be glad you did.
Over the last few years, Penguin Books has gotten various cartoonists to draw covers for classic books, like Tony Millionaire, who drew the cover to Moby Dick, or Richard Salas, who drew the cover to Great Expectations, and so on.
Now via Flog comes word that some of those covers have made their way onto skateboards. Yes, classic literature covers, drawn by some of alt.comix’s best, featured on skateboards.
As you’ll see above, Penguin created some limited edition skateboards using the covers by Jason for Jack Kerouac’s Dharma Bums, Lilli Carré for Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Thomas Ott for Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle. These were given away in a photo contest on Facebook, which unfortunately is over, but they’ll be showing them off on various college campuses this month and next. Hopefully they’ll be available to purchase at some point … not that I’m coordinated enough to skate.
Looking for something purty to hang on your wall? Here’s a lovely new print from Lilli Carre that she did for Tiny Showcase. If you need further incentive, Carre says a portion of the proceeds will go toward Doctors Without Borders.
Lagoon and Tales of Woodsman Pete author Lilli Carre has a blog up now, where she’s posting, among other things, her cover for the new Penguin edition of Huckleberry Finn, and a page from an upcoming story she’s doing for Mome.
Lilli Carré‘s The Lagoon made my list for the best books of 2008. I’m a sucker for any book that has a haunting creature nonchalantly taking a drag on a cigarette. Quirky clicks with me, what can I say. So I was pleased when she agreed to a brief email interview. Be sure to visit the Fantagraphics site for a link to a series of Flickr photos and a video showing some of the book’s pages. The opening line to Fantagraphics overview of the book says it all: “A family is seduced by a mysterious creature’s siren song that can be heard emanating from the lagoon after dark in talented young cartoonist Lilli Carré’s first long-form work, and how each member reacts to the song in The Lagoon is the crux of the story.” Thanks to Fantagraphics’ Eric Reynolds for arranging this interview and to Carré for her time.
Tim O’Shea: I’m always curious what goes into a name–a few years back when Chris Arrant interviewed you, the project was called Songs from a Lagoon. But the book was ultimately called The Lagoon. Did the original name hit you as too close to Creature from the Black Lagoon (one of the book’s inspirations) or what caused the name change?
Lilli Carré: Songs From a Lagoon was just sort of a working title, but I liked the simplicity of simply calling it “The Lagoon”, so that’s what I went with– Songs From a Lagoon just seemed like a weird mouthful.