Creators | Joshua Fialkov will have an ultra-limited edition ashcan of the first chapter of his new graphic novel, Tumor, that’s going to be the first original graphic novel premiering on the Amazon Kindle, releasing during the show. He’ll be at the Archaia Comics booth (#2635) for most of the weekend. There’s only 50 copies of the book for sale, first come, first serve. He’ll also have a few copies of both issues of Punks for anyone interested.
Publishers | First Second has posted their schedule for the con.
After hours | Mark Verheiden reports that the San Diego House Of Blues will host Bear McCreary: The music of Battlestar Galactica on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with appearances by members of the cast. More details here.
Creators | More creator stuff: Jason Aaron’s schedule, Paul Hornschemeier’s books, Ted Mathot’s booth, Chuck BB’s schedule and print, David Hahn’s Fantastic Four print, Gene Yang’s schedule, Stuart Moore’s panels, Johnny and Tony’s trip video, Shane White’s preview and Scott Williams’ art book.
by Bill Amend
Andrews McMeel Publishing, $16.99
Here’s my basic problem with FoxTrot: I can’t stand the family. Not a one of them. They all come across as a bunch of unlikeable clods to me, each one too invested in their own personal tics and desperate obsessions to show any interest in each other. Really, they seem more interested in making each other miserable, especially the bratty youngest child, Jason, who would have been thrown to the lions years ago by any real-life family. Of course, without him we’d miss all those obvious and occasionally desperate attempt to reference contemporary pop culture. “Hey, they’re making a Star Trek movie! Let’s make a strip about it!” “Here’s a joke about World of Warcraft! You know, lots of people play that!” People complain about the saccharine sweetness of The Family Circus, but their are times I prefer that to the insufferable smart-alec attitudes of the Fox family.
This new Treasury collects the last of the daily strips as well as some Sundays. It’s certainly readable. It didn’t make me want to claw my eyes out the way, say Snuffy Smith does, but still, that’s a real annoying family.
More reviews after the link …
Like the subject line suggests, my review pile has become alarmingly tall and precarious over the past few weeks, so I’m going to try a few lightning-round reviews of books that were at the bottom so the whole thing doesn’t come crashing down on me over the weekend. I’ll probably end up doing another of these next week. Anyway:
A Mess of Everything
by Miss Lasko-Gross
Fantagraphics Books, $19.99.
A Mess of Everything, the second in Lasko-Gross’ planned autobio trilogy, is a much better and more confident book than her first entry, Escape from ‘Special’. Part of that is because she displays a bit more subtlety and balance in her portrayal of her teen-age years than she did in showcasing her insecure childhood. In particular, she shows how her alienation and hormonal angst blinded her to other people’s pain or sincere attempts at sympathy or help. A sequence involving a concerned teacher, for example, is spot on in showing how her self-pity keeps her from seeing how genuine the teacher’s concern is.
The book also works because halfway through it narrows its focus on the author’s relationship with her best friend, if anything a more troubled girl who is very likely suffering from an eating disorder. Everything suffers at times from a “me, me, me, me” perspective that can occasionally prove claustrophobic, but in its portrayal of the importance and tenuous nature of teenage friendships, it glows with sharp recognition.
- Department of Art by Dunja Jankovic
- Reich #6 by Elijah Brubaker
- Bird Hurdler by Andrice Arp, Theo Ellsworth, Faryl Dalrymple, Zack Soto, Lisa Rosalie Eisenberg and Julia Gfrörer. This is a free book co-published by Sparkplug, Teenage Dinosaur and Tugboat Press.
They also sent over information about a pre-show event on Friday:
On Friday (April 17th) at 4:30-5:30pm @ the Portland Central Library (in the U.S. Bank Room) Sparkplug artists Hellen Jo and Ignatz Award-nominated Dunja Jankovic discuss and read from their work. Make sure you come!
Now, if you’d like to party and see all the new books in person they’ll be available on Friday night at the Guapo Comics & Coffee extravaganza. For more info on that you can check out: www.guapocomicsandbooks.com and take a look at the flier for the event, which is a giant reading and Kukoc awards ceremony. Reading at the event will be: Vanessa Davis, Jon Chadurjian, Coleen Frakes, Julia Gfrörer, Jason Martin, Hellen Jo, Calvin Wong and Corinne Mucha There will be all kinds of stuff going on there.
Besides being a cartoonist in his own right, Dylan Williams is also the brains behind Sparkplug Comic Books, which has published such noteworthy titles as Bookhunter by Jason Shiga, Reich by Elijah Brubaker and Asthma by John Hanckiewicz.
Wondering how a small press operation like Sparkplug would be affected by the turn in the economy, not to mention Diamond’s new policy changes, I sent a list of questions to Williams over email and he was kind enough to offer some thoughtful replies. Here’s what he had to say:
In general terms, how has Sparkplug Books been doing financially over the past year?
In general terms, Sparkplug keeps on growing. Last year was best one yet. It used to be that we’d get one order a week and now I can basically spend most of my time filling orders. It is kind of great and I keep on crossing my fingers. Money-wise, it is still a break-even affair but it is nice to not having to be “on the grind” as much as I was four or seven years ago.
I thought I’d wind down our look at the year ahead in comic books and graphic novels with a look at indie/small press publishers Secret Acres and Sparkplug Books, and the manga publisher Seven Seas who is now under the Tor Books umbrella.
Don’t worry, this feature isn’t going away permanently. As the months pass and new preview catalogs come in the mail I’ll get back to typing these run-downs.
I really like Chris Wright‘s art style. I like his not quite-abstract, not-quite cubist characters, and the way they’re knocked down to basic geometric shapes that intersect at odd and slightly uncomfortable angles. I like the way his line squiggles, harking back to classic strip artists like E.C. Segar while at the same time suggesting a nervious, barely containable energy. I like that his dialogue frequently sounds as though it walked out of the second act of an Ibsen play to knock back a few at the pub across the street. I like that he frequently goes crazy with the cross-hatching.