McSweeney's Archives | Robot 6 | The Comics Culture Blog

Matt Furie, Lisa Hanawalt join McSweeney’s new line of children’s books

You might be accustomed to seeing the comics of Matt Furie and Lisa Hanawalt in avant-garde anthologies like Kramers Ergot and Thickness, or in their solo humor series from Pigeon Press Boy’s Club and I Want You, or in the stylishly sleazy pages of Vice magazine. But now you can share your love of these modern masters of anthropomorphic mayhem with your little ones!

Sandy Bilus of I Love Rob Liefeld notes that McSweeney’s, the literary magazine-slash-publisher with a very comics-friendly track record historically, has officially launched a subscription plan for its new children’s imprint McMullens with books by Furie and Hanawalt. Furie’s The Night Riders chronicles the bike-based adventures of a frog and mouse on a nocturnal journey, while Hanwalt’s Benny’s Brigade follows “the world’s smallest, chattiest, and most gentlemanly walrus” as he attempts to find his way home with the help of two little girls and three brave slugs. Presumably these books will be as beautifully drawn as any of Furie and Hanawalt’s comics, but with far fewer dirty jokes.

The books retail for $17.95 each, but are the launch titles for a McMullens subscription package that will get you eight books for $80 total, including shipping. Not a bad deal at all.

Lisa Hanawalt, J.G. Ballard, McSweeney’s in multi-car pile-up

What is it with Lisa Hanawalt and the use of automobiles for untoward purposes? Last week she drew a review of Nicholas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling’s neon-noir crime flick Drive, and now she’s selling an original art piece entitled “Car Wreck Totem Pole.” Originally created for the (very comics-friendly) Panorama issue of McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, the watercolor illustration was inspired by Crash, author J.G. Ballard’s novel about accident victims who’ve become sexually fixated on car crashes. (You may also recall director David Cronenberg’s kinky film adaptation, starring James Spader at his James Spaderest.) It’s on sale for $220 at Hanawalt’s new online store. Where does she go from here — The Road Warrior, Death Race 2000, Vanishing Point, Duel, Cars, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Herbie the Love Bug? The possibilities are endless and/or unleaded.

And hey, while we’re on a Ballard kick, it’s never a bad time to check out The Diary of a Teenage Girl author Phoebe Gloeckner’s extravagantly NSFW illustrations for Ballard’s The Atrocity Exhibition — well, unless you’re at work, in which case it’s a very bad time to do so. There’s also this examination of Ballard’s book covers by Simon Sellers and Rick McGrath, featuring striking from artists such as Salvador Dali, Chip Kidd, Max Ernst, David Pelham, Bill Botten, and Chris Foss. Finally, this is a bit farther afield from comics, but the excellent BBC4 rockumentary Synth Britannia, which is now available in its entirety on YouTube, spends some time tracing Ballard’s influence on early synthesizer-heavy experimental and synthpop acts The Human League, The Normal, John Foxx, and Gary Numan. Buckle up!

Heat-sensitive color-changing ink = best kids’ book gimmick ever?

If you’ve seen Jordan Crane’s elegant webcomics hub What Things Do — or better still, if you’re one of the lucky few who have a copy of his hand-silkscreened, die-cut, three-books-in-one anthology NON #5 — you know that the cartoonist behind Uptight and The Clouds Above is one of comics’ best designers. But I think that with Keep Our Secrets, his new comics-style children’s book for McSweeney’s kids’ imprint McMullens, the man has truly outdone himself. This sucker is partially printed in heat-sensitive, color-changing black ink that disappears when touched to reveal a picture hidden underneath. Check it out in the video above, as two adorable tykes help demonstrate. If I were a little kid, I think being able to touch a book and suddenly see hidden stuff appear — like an accordion stuffed with cats, say, or a guy with banana hands under his gloves — would be something close to magic.

What Are You Reading?

Usagi Yojimbo: Return of the Black Soul

Usagi Yojimbo: Return of the Black Soul

Welcome once again to What Are You Reading? This week our special guest is Paul Maybury, creator of the webcomic Party Bear. His work can be found in Comic Book Tattoo, various volumes of Popgun and 24seven, and, of course, the full-length graphic novel Aqua Leung. Be sure to check out the sketches he shares.

To see what Paul and the rest of the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click on the link …

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What are you reading?

Mysterius the Unfathomable

Mysterius the Unfathomable

Welcome once again to What Are You Reading?, where we talk about exactly what the title implies every Sunday. Today’s special guest contributor is BOOM! Studios editor Ian Brill, who works on their Farscape line, the Eisner-nominated Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, and the upcoming CBGB comic, among others. He’s also the writer of a new Darkwing Duck miniseries coming from BOOM! later this year.

To see what Ian and the Robot 6 gang have been reading this week, click the link below.

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Los Angeles Times creates Graphic Novel category for its 2009 Book Prizes

3071829184f05008b883ij2I’m old enough to still find it absolutely delightful when a mainstream publication recognizes excellence in comics, particularly when the comics it deems excellent really are excellent. And that’s certainly the case with the finalists for the LA Times’ inaugural Graphic Novel Book Prize:

Luba by Gilbert Hernandez
GoGo Monster by Taiyo Matsumoto
Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli
Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe by Bryan Lee O’Malley
Footnotes in Gaza by Joe Sacco

That’s a pretty outstanding group. In other comics-related Book Prize news, McSweeney’s publisher Dave Eggers will be presented with the Times’ first-ever Innovators Award, while cartoonist Shaun Tan’s Tales from Outer Suburbia is a finalist for the Young Adult Literature Book Prize.

According to the announcement of the finalists in all categories — which, again to my delight, treats the addition of the Graphic Novel category like a major selling point — the winners will be announced April 23. My sincere congratulations go out to all the finalists.

(via Bryan Lee O’Malley)

McSweeney’s San Francisco Panorama comics section available for purchase

panorama_comicsBack in December McSweeney’s released a “21st-century newspaper prototype” called San Francisco Panorama. Featuring 320 pages of original content, the broadsheet-format project contained investigative journalism, sports reporting, a book section and prose, with contributions from the likes of Stephen King, Michael Chabon, James Franco and Chip Kidd, among many others.

And, of course, it featured a comics section, with contributions from Erik Larsen, Art Spiegelman, Chris Ware, Dan Clowes, Seth, Jessica Abel, Adrian Tomine, Kim Deitch, Ivan Brunetti, Gene Yang, Alison Bechdel, Jon Adams, Keith Knight and many more. The full issue can still be bought online for $16, but now McSweeney’s is also selling the comics section for $7. In addition to all the comics, it comes with a Chris Ware poster titled “Rocket Sam,” which features a build-it-yourself paper spacecraft, and accompanying scenery and characters.

(Hat tip: Jon Adams)

McSweeney’s San Francisco Panorama takes comics stars to the streets

James Stokoe's poster for the San Francisco Panorama

James Stokoe's poster for the San Francisco Panorama

Wow, newspaper nostalgia is quite the hot ticket for comics these days, huh?

First there was Kramers Ergot 7, Sammy Harkham and Alvin Buenaventura’s avant-garde anthology, printed at a massive size meant to emulate Winsor McKay’s full-page Little Nemo in Slumberland newspaper strips. Then there was Wednesday Comics, DC’s 12-issue anthology title, published on fold-out newsprint. And now there’s the San Francisco Panorama, a one-time-only “21st-century newspaper prototype” that doubles as the 33rd issue of author/publisher Dave Eggers’ McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern.

Boasting 320 pages of original content, the broadsheet-format Panorama contains full-color comics from Art Spiegelman, Chris Ware, Dan Clowes, Seth, Jessica Abel, Adrian Tomine, Kim Deitch, Ivan Brunetti, Gene Yang, Alison Bechdel, Erik Larsen (still can’t get over that) and more. It also features prose contributions of varying stripes from such comics-relevant authors as Michael Chabon, Chip Kidd, Stephen King, Junot Díaz and Michelle Tea, and a poster of the 49ers’ Patrick Willis drawn by Wonton Soup‘s James Stokoe. And there’s all the other stuff you’d expect from a newspaper — journalism, sports, features, a magazine, a book section and more. Only, y’know, all fancy-pants.

The New York Times reports that the paper has already sold through the limited run made available for sale on the San Francisco streets yesterday at the low price of $5, but it’s still available (or will be soon, that is) at the full $16 pricetag at bookstores and at the McSweeney’s site. Click here for an extensive preview.

(Times link via Pop Candy.)

Buenaventura does The Believer

BLVRvol7no9He’s the man who helped bring us the sublime Kramers Ergot 7 and the ridiculous Boys Club. Now publisher Alvin Buenaventura is lending his Midas touch to stalwart literary magazine The Believer for its annual Art Issue.

At his Blog Flume group blog, Buenaventura reveals that In addition to an Acme Novelty Library/Jack Surives “crossover cover” by regular cover artist Charles Burns, the issue features an interview between Acme‘s Chris Ware and Jack‘s Jerry Moriarty, other interviews with Aline Kominsky-Crumb and Peter Blegvad, and a poster by Moriarty.

Finally, the issue sees the launch of a new monthly feature: a comics spread featuring new strips from Burns, Al Columbia, Matt Furie, Tom Gauld, Lisa Hanawalt, Tim Hensley and more, edited by Buenaventura himself.

Click over to Buenaventura’s blog for sample art, click the individual links for the respective features, and get ready to gorge on some great comics content.

Wow — between this and issue #33 of The Believer‘s sister publication McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, dubbed The San Francisco Panorama and featuring comics by Art Spiegelman, Chris Ware, Dan Clowes, Erik Larsen (!) and more, it’s a good time to be a fan of comics in high-end literary periodicals.

Thin wallets, fat bookshelves: A publishing news round-up

Polly and Her Pals

Polly and Her Pals

• IDW announced over the weekend that it will be collecting the Sunday strips from the Cliff Sterrett classic Polly and Her Pals. The first volume, encapsulating 1925-27, will be in stores this coming August.

The strip began in 1912, but it was in the 20s that Sterrett’s art really took off. Influenced by the modernist art movements, he started incorporating abstract and surrealists motifs into his Sunday pages, and many historians and critics have compared this period favorably to strips like Krazy Kat.

Kitchen Sink attempted to publish these strips back in the 90s before going under but they were only able to get two volumes out the door. Having managed to find those books in a back issue bin years ago and devoured them several times since then, let me say this is fabulous news and I’m really looking forward to seeing this release.

• IDW also posted about their intention to publish a four-issue mini-series about the Weekly World News’ Bat Boy, which I imagine will be quite different from Polly and Her Pals.

• Writer Clifford Meth reports on his blog that Marvel will be publishing The Invincible Gene Colan in February 2010. The 128 page book will feature art work by the master as well as appreciations by folks like Stan Lee, Marv Wolfman and John Romita Sr.

• Apparently Erik Larsen (and his Savage Dragon) is featured in the latest edition of McSweeney’s newspaper. That’s kinda cool.

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Thin wallets, fat bookshelves | A publishing news roundup

The Original Johnson

The Original Johnson

• IDW has announced the street dates for a couple of publishing ventures recently, including the their two Archie collections. The Best of Dan DeCarlo Vol. 1 will hit stores in May, while The Classic Newspaper Comics Vol. 1 will arrive in June.

More notably, the company also announced they would be collecting and releasing Trevor Von Eeden’s The Original Johnson, about the life of boxer Jack Johnson, in December. In his recent interview with The Comics Journal, Von Eeden had discussed contract disputes he had been having with co-publisher ComicMix about the work so it’s nice to book being completed and in print form.

• According to a press release that seems to be going around town, Fantagraphics and Supermen! editor (and former Fanta employee) Greg Sadowski will be working together on a series of seven collections of Golden Age comics. They are: Setting The Standard: Alex Toth at Standard Comics 1952-54, The Road To Plastic Man: The Golden Age Comics of Jack Cole 1937-41, Away From Home: EC Artists at Other Companies, Creeping Death From Neptune: Basil Wolverton’s Sci-Fi and Horror Comics 1938-55 and The Comic Book Frankenstein: The Monster According to Dick Briefer. That’s a pretty amazing line-up. I’m especially excited for that Briefer book.

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Video preview: Be A Nose

Courtesy of Jeff Lester comes this nifty video animated clip for Art Spiegelman’s upcoming collection (three books covering three time periods) of sketchbook material, Be A Nose, to be published by McSweeney’s. Here’s the official pr:

Art Spiegelman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Maus, creator of Wacky Packs and the Garbage Pail Kids, and father of the modern graphic novel (though hes still demanding a blood test), presents this warts-and-all reproduction of his private sketchbooks — and the results are as candid, sharp, and funny as the relentlessly innovative man behind them. BE A NOSE! is a rare glimpse into the secret scribblings of an American original.

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