New for March 2010
The Art of Jaime Hernandez:
The Secrets of Life and Death
by Todd Hignite
introduction by Alison Bechdel
YES! It's here: a dream come true. Designed by Jordan Crane, and perfectly printed on high quality flat white stock, every page of this oversize hardcover book is a wonder. Where to start with a book like this? Well, first off, there are the page after flawless page of full color reproductions of Jaime's black and white (and color) original artwork – including many pieces of unpublished art, several of which are real eye-openers! Then there is the uncovered cache of rare ephemera like punk rock fliers, early L & R ads, and local and national magazine covers. Also unearthed are drawings from Jaime's childhood years, including those that cover Jaime's Oxnard High School Pee-Chee folder, amongst which is one of the first ever depictions of Maggie! Best of all, there is a veritable family scrap book worth of photos documenting the Hernandez clan's development from its earliest days (Jaime in diapers!) on up through the halcyon days of punk rock splendor and beyond that will have long time Love and Rockets fans dewy eyed more than once. AND, this book isn't just about the art, it's also about the man behind the art. It's full of choice quotes from Jaime and others in his circle, all of which go a long way towards shedding light on the particular nature of his genius. Our favorite so far is this gem of Jaime's, in response to the suggestion that he build on his popularity to step into the mainstream: "That's not the next step. Love and Rockets is the last step. I 'made it' when we did the first issue. Everything else – The New York Times, even making a movie – is lesser than Love and Rockets, as far as I'm concerned, and everyone else should treat their work that way. If it's your own work, it should be treated as the last thing, not the first thing." Amen to that. Written and curated by Comic Art Magazine founding editor, Todd Hignite, this massive hardcover volume builds on and extends Comic Art's tradition of high standards in writing, graphic design and production. Hignite's introduction, craftily employing Jaime's New York Times serial "La Maggie la Loca" as both its jumping off point and visual foil, is a model of concise clear prose in the service of promoting an ideal. The body of the book constructs a well rounded portrait of the artist that will stand the test of time. We'd say more, but we're all too busy poring over the pages and dabbing our eyes...
retail price - $40.00 copacetic price - $34.00
by Jaime Hernandez
Well, talk about an embarassment of riches! Not only have we been treated to the long awaited Art of Jaime, but now we also have the latest in the splendiferous series of trade paperback volumes that, since 2007, have been repackaging the classic work of both Jaime and Beto. Penny Century is the fourth Jaime volume and the first to present his work that appeared after the conclusion of the initial seminal run of Love and Rockets. The book opens with the one of kind classic of comics choreography that is Whoa Nellie!, Jaime's 68 page ode to women's wrestling. Then we are treated to the super fabuous experience of the Maggie and Hopey Color Fun one-shot in glorious black & white. The bulk of the book collects the titular seven-issue series in its entirety (yes?), followed by the "secret origin" of the lead character, "Bay of Threes," from the fifth issue of the second volume of Love and Rockets. 248 pages of Jaime Hernandez in fine form. Is there really anything else that needs to be said?
retail price - $18.99 copacetic price - $14.99
High Soft Lisp
by Gilbert Hernandez
And for any Love and Rockets fans who thought things were getting a little too Jaime-centric there, we now present the latest in the original series of trade paperback volumes collecting the work that originally appeared in comic book form. High Soft Lisp collects work that originally appeared in both the second volume of Love and Rockets, as well as from Gilbert's solo title, Luba's Comics and Stories. Collectors should take note of the fact that the indicia states that "a few pages have been added, and some have been altered" in the service of creating a more unified feel. And readers should also take note that Gilbert's hormones were, apparently, in overdrive during the period when this work was created, as there is quite an abundant amplitude of sexual activity on display here as Gilbert puts Fritz & Co. through the paces in his attempt to delineate the heartbreak that is immanent in every act of sexual congress that occurs in a world where all is surface, where what you see – and only what you see – is what you get; a world where everyone is living in their own personal movie and every life is merely a role.
retail price - $16.99 copacetic price - $13.99
The Art of Japanese Paper Theater
by Eric P. Nash
introduction by Frederik L. Schodt
Paralleling the rise of comic strips in the US, Kamishibai – paper theater – originated during the early 1930s in Japan, and experienced its heyday during the subsequent 20 years. At its height, during the post war years, it entertained over five million children and adults daily! This lushly printed and designed hardcover volume presents over 300 pages of full color illustrations covering the entire history of the medium from its inception through its glory days to its inevitable decline and current status as a classical form still employed in educational settings. Manga Kamishibai opens a window on a forgotten world.
retail price - $35.00 copacetic price - $29.75
Thor: Tales of Asgard
by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee
Well, as much as we hate to admit it, every once in a while Marvel Comics gets it right, and this is one of those times. This full color hardcover volume presents 260 pages of Kirby and Lee greatness from the pages of Journey Into Mystery and Thor, all taken from the magic era of their original runs in the early and mid-1960s. Add to that a fairly swell 40+ page bonus section and wild six-page foldout of all six covers of the recent mini-series that forms an impressively dramatic portrait of the major players in the Nordic mythos that is the basis for the stories contained herein, and you've got a pretty darn decent entertainment value. Yes, the stories have been recolored, and so are not 100% true to the spirit of the original, and while we'd be lying if we said this didn't bother us, we will give credit where credit is due and say that, Matt Milla, the colorist assigned the job, chose a suitably muted pallete of colors that helps to counterbalance the glaring brightness of the glossy, clay-coated paperstock that the powers that be at Marvel irritatingly continue to insist on for their archival productions, and so allows – for the most part – the strength and nobility of Kirby's compositions to come through. These are stories that old-timers will be certain to enjoy revisiting and newcomers should find quite worth their while. Anyone interested in advancing their comics skills will find plenty to glean from these (mostly) five-pages tales, especially where it concerns efficient storytelling – Kirby and Lee can cram a lot of both plot and action into five pages, and usually manage to impart a little lesson along the way. Action! Drama! Thrills! Chills! Romance! Adventure! They're all here in the mighty Marvel manner. (more than) 'Nuff said!
retail price - $29.99 copacetic price - $26.99
by Matthew Thurber
More zany madcap adventures from the wickedly warped pen of the one and only Matthew Thurber. Now self-published under his own Ambergris Books imprint. Fantastic fun for fans of the pamphlet form.
retail price - $4.00 copacetic price - $3.75
Weird Schmeird #2
by Ryan Cecil Smith
Closed Caption Comics alumnus, Ryan Cecil Smith continues his sojourn in Japan and in Weird Schmeird #2 (sorry, no #1 available) has applied himself to incorporating all that he has absorbed into a single power-packed comics package. This one comes packed in a screen-printed (in pink!) resealable glassine envelope and comes complete with a set of six screen-printed, laser-die-cut-cardboard-punchout, transportation-themed, snap-together toys! Collector's Please Take Note: this is a limited edition of a mere 130 handmade copies originating in Japan! In other words, you snooze, you lose on this one!
retail price - $8.00 copacetic price - $8.00
The cover story in this, the twelfth issue of our favorite regularly published comic book anthology, is a 16-pager scripted by Rachel Bormann (Cakewalk) with art chores handled by none other than Nate Powell (Swallow Me Whole)! It presents an extremely subjective account of attending a Santana concert, titled, "The Uncomfortable Gaze of Carlos Santana." Also in this issue we have, "Pet Cat," a very funny and wickedly wise history of the fictional comic strip "Oh No, Pet Cat" by the one and only Joey Alison Sayers, the funniest transgender cartoonist we know. We always have long looked forward to loading up on laughs with the latest collection of her webcomic, thingpart each year at SPX, and now, with this six-pager, Papercutter readers can share in the laughter. This issue closes out with a funny animal fable by Mark Campos and Dalton Webb.
retail price - $4.00 copacetic price - $3.50
Krazy & Ignatz in Tiger Tea
by George Herriman
edited by Craig Yoe, introduction by Paul Krassner
Here we have 91 Krazy Kat dailies from 1936 and 1937; two extended runs – eight straight weeks in '36 and four in '37 – interconnected by choice strips inbetween. While, as is usual with collections edited by Craig Yoe, it is hard to determine what guided his choice and arrangement of the material – other than the fact that the strips are, at least in theory, all related to the putative "Tiger Tea" storyline that is considered Herriman's only foray into an an extended connected narrative – but, hey! – it's all George Herriman, so, really, who cares? Introduced by Paul Krassner and editor Yoe, and packaged in an affordable hardcover volume, it's hard to pass up.
retail price - $12.95 copacetic price - $11.75
by Gene Luen Yang
Before he became a household name as a result of the runaway success of his graphic novel, American Born Chinese, Gene Luen Yang produced two graphic novellas for Slave Labor Graphics: Gordon Yamamoto and the King of the Geeks, and Loyola Chin and the San PeLigran Order. Both are herein collected, along with bonus materials. Both of these tales center on high school life and integrate modicums of science fiction and fantasy with themes of ethnic and group identity. Fans of American Born Chinese might well enjoy seeing Yang feeling his way towards his more mature work, and anyone who appreciates fun, well drawn comics with a sense of humor and solid storytelling might want to take a look.
retail price - $14.95 copacetic price - $13.50
The Book of Grickle
by Graham Annable
200 pages of oddball cartoons by noted animator Annable. While Graham pays the bills doing animation work for the likes of Chuck Jones, LucasArts, TellTale Games and Laika Animation, he has spent much of his free time over the last decade and a half creating his unique, gag-filled, cartoony comics. Now's your chance to see what he's been up to. Read a brand new (30 March 2010) four-part interview with Graham Annable on The Daily Cross Hatch, here (we've linked you to Part Four because it's the easiest way to access the first three parts, all of which are linked to near the top of the page after a brief introductory paragraph).
retail price - $17.99 copacetic price - $16.25
Alex Toth in Hollywood, Volume Two
By Alex Toth
More classic Toth from his work on the legendary late-'50s and early-'60s Dells. On hand we have four western tales from Roy Rogers, Sugarfoot, and Wagon Train, "Gale Storm," an excellent full-length, women-centered, hi-jinx adventure from Oh! Susanna (FC 1105), an underwater adventure from Sea Hunt, and a comedy sketch from The Danny Thomas Show one-shot (FC 1180). The highlight of this collection is, however, a set of five tales taken from Toth's early-'60s run on 77 Sunset Strip. Here we have the treat of an extended run of Toth art in a contemporary urban setting, replete with cars, girls, teen hoodlums and tough guys in suits. What more can you ask for!
retail price - $25.00 copacetic special price - $19.99
Items from our March 2010 listings may now be purchased online at our new site, HERE.
New For February 2010
King: The Special Edition
by Ho Che Anderson
Here it is at last, the complete work, how it was meant to be read. This 312 page oversize hardcover volume contains the entirety of Anderson's comics biography of King. A 10-year-long project, Anderson's goal was to deliver a portrait of MLK that is one of a complex, multi-layered, flesh and blood human being, a task for which comics are ideally suited. Employing a host of styles, techniques, devices and processes, Anderson has striven to match the method to the mood and the moment, and thereby enhance the reader's engagement with the material and so heighten its emotional impact, which is, unsurprisingly given who this book is about, quite intense at times. There is much more on offer in this biography than simply technical expertise, however. It is a truism that every biographer finds himself (or herself) in his subject, and this is clearly the case here. What's more, Anderson's own personal reflections on his creation of this work which start off the bonus section (see below) impart a sense that working on King provided a redemption of sorts to Anderson's own life, and that the process of working on it helped him regain both his footing and his focus, and so demonstrates yet again the power of Dr. King's shining example. King is a very personal take on MLK, one that focuses on those earthier characteristics that are often given short shrift in the plentiful King hagiographies that stock the shelves. It is exceptionally strong in its focus on King's personal life – his marriage and his friendships – and it does not shy away from confronting his extramarital affairs. The might, the majesty and the miracle that is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. are, of course, all here, but so is the man. So, while King is a graphic tour de force, it is also a demonstration of how we internalize larger than life figures and they become a lens through which we see ourselves. Most of all, King provides readers with an excellent opportunity to revisit and reflect upon the life of one of the most important figures in American history. This edition includes 64 pages of bonus materials including breakdowns, layouts, cover sketches, typescripts, and a personal essay that revisits and reflects the years of the work's creation, as well as the entirety of his comic book prelude to King, Black Dogs. Taken together, this material provides an exceptionally well-rounded look at the creative process and the personal growth that it both partakes in and contributes to – clearly making this the definitive edition of this heartfelt work.
retail price - $34.95 copacetic super special price - $22.95
by Jason Shiga
Mathematically-minded, computer-program-writing, troubleshooting-oriented comics fans please take note: Here is a comic book for you. This is a comic that is very hard to accurately describe. It is a true one-of-a-kind work (so much so that it may be destined to remain so for all eternity) that is a take on the "choose your own adventure" genre that is much, much more. To give you a better idea, here's the entirety of the author's introductory note: "Meanwhile began as a series of seven increasingly complex flowcharts. Because of asymmetries in the branching, a special notation had to be invented for the final three charts. Once the outline of the story was structured, a computer algorithm was written to determine the most efficient method to transfer it to book form. However, the problem proved to be NP-complete. With the use of a V-opt heuristic algorithm running for 12 hours on an SGI machine, the solution was finally cracked in the spring of 2000. It was another six months before layouts were finished, again with the aide of homebrew computer algorithms. After a year of prep work, production began on the book, which was completed one year later." And that brings us to the fact that this work was originally released in a hand made edition with a tiny press run roughly seven years ago, and only now has it finally managed to make it out into the wider world courtesy of Amulet Books, an imprint of Abrams. You owe it to yourself to check this one out!
retail price - $15.95 copacetic price - $15.00
by Taiyo Matsumoto
Here's a lushly produced 455 page hardcover graphic novel of the inner life of an introverted elementary school child whose life as depicted in these pages is filled with the compulsive fantasies (or are they just fantasies? perhaps they're something more... [see below]) that have, in many cases (perhaps Matsumoto's own), led in their turn to the compulsion to draw and bring them to life that has launched many a cartoonist's career. Looked at from another angle, it can be seen as a childhood take on the Philip K. Dick paradigm that pits an atypical personal/subjective reality against consensus/objective reality, in which the protagonist and those around him question his sanity but the readers are led to wonder on which side the reality lies, with the answer ususally being... both! Should you be interested in learning more about this intriguing work, you're in luck as there is this fine review by Sean Collins, and interested readers may find that wading through this long Brian Chippendale post about his recent tour to Japan (among other places) to read his thoughts on this and other Matsumoto works. Either way, you'll see that this work has inspired some highly engaged responses.
retail price - $27.99 copacetic price - $25.00
Here is a perfect embodiment of the well worn phrase, "All things come to he (or she, of course) who waits." This tres chic hardcover omnibus collects four – count 'em! – previously issued and out of print Jason softcovers, and sells for just a hair over half the combined price of the softcovers! So, those who didn't manage to get these the first time around, are hereby rewarded for their procrastination (or, in the case of those who are arriving late to the party, it's a variation on "the last will be first.") The four volumes collected are: Tell Me Something, You Can't Get There From Here, The Living and the Dead, and – the Copacetic Favorite – Meow, Baby! All are in glorious black & white, with the exception of You Can't Get There, which has an added color (an olive-tinged goldenrod). We are especially happy that Almost Silent enables us to be able to once again offer Meow, Baby! (and so save our customers from the predations of price-gouging Amazon resellers). This is the work in which Jason really struts his stuff by plugging his patented comics language into a veritable panopticon of forms, from the classic three-panel gag-strip, through an assortment of one-pagers, two-pagers and four-pagers, all the way through to a TinTin-esque novella. Meow, Baby! offers the perfect opportunity to really study Jason's working method, and have a great time doing it, as this is some of his best (and funniest!) work. Tell Me Something is a "silent-film" treatment of Jason's favorite theme, sex and death, this time around seasoned with crime and marriage. You Can't Get There From Here is Jason's morbidly funny twist on the Frankenstein/Bride of Frankenstein relationship. And, finally, The Living and the Dead is, yes, you guessed it, Jason's zombie book. And there you have it. Wotta Deal!
retail price - $24.99 copacetic price - $22.22
Barefoot Gen 9: Breaking Down Borders
Barefoot Gen 10: Never Give Up
By Keiji Nakazawa
At last! Over twenty years after Nakazawa completed his epic masterpiece it was first published in Japan, the definitive English translation has been completed and the last two volumes have been published here in the USA, courtesy of the fine folks at Last Gasp. These volumes take us to eight years after the atomic blast that destroyed Gen's home city of Hiroshima, and the destructive forces unleashed by this devastating blast continue to reverberate through the lives of its inhabitants. The series ends with a violent climax before concluding on an upbeat and hopeful note. Anyone who has been waiting for the completion of the series before starting now has a green light to tear through this 2,500 page masterwork. We say, go for it!
retail price - $14.95@ copacetic price - $13.50@
edited and published by Alan Moore & Co.
Who would've thunk it? Here we are coming up on the twenty-fifth anniversary of The Watchmen, and instead of hanging with the entertainment glitterati, it's primary creator, Alan Moore, is celebrating by starting an idiosyncratic fanzine with the distinctly regional flavor of Northampton, UK. This premiere issue comes complete with a full-length 19-track CD celebrating "50 years of Northampton Music," which makes it quite the bargain. Also on offer here are a six-page essay by Mr. Moore concerning all things underground; the first installment of a "rotating column for women," this one by Melinda Gebbie; comic strips by Kevin O'Neill, Savage Pencil and Alan Moore(!); and plenty more.
retail price - $5.00 copacetic price - $4.50
Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean
by Sarah Stewart Taylor & Ben Towle
The fourth volume in the acclaimed series of comics biographies for younger readers produced under the auspices of The Center for Cartoon Studies, provides its first female subject, and we have to applaud their choice. Who better embodies the rugged individualism, the bold daring, and the fantasy of flight that we associate with comics books than Amelia Earhart? This Broad Ocean focuses on Earhart's successful 1928 crossing of The Atlantic Ocean, and young readers have a surrogate in the character of Grace, a sort of self-appointed cub reporter for the small, coastal Newfoundland village of Trepassey, from whence Earhart departed on her history-making (herstory-making?) trans-Atlantic solo-flight, and that is the setting for much of the story. Anyone looking to provide some inspiration and encouragement to a young reader should consider this volume, along with all the rest in the series.
retail price - $17.99 copacetic price - $15.95
Wizzywig, Volume 3: Fugitive
by Ed Piskor
Once again we head down the hallowed halls of hacker-dom in the form of the firm, pen & ink delineations of Pittsburgh's own Ed Piskor. Following the continuing adventures of the mythical Kevin "Boingthump" Phenicle, this time as he heads underground as a fugitive from "justice." Piskor provides readers with a wide-angle, -eye-view of creating and using a celebrity hacker to frame the debate over wild frontier of computing, as well as an inside, close-up view of what life is like for one so framed. Mr. Piskor continues to be supremely confident in the desirability of his product and so offers readers the opportunity to not only download a PDF containing the entirety of the first two volumes, but also the first half of this third volume as well!
retail price - $15.00 copacetic price - $12.75
McSweeney's 33: San Francisco Panorama
I'm sure that we were not alone in thinking that the last few issues of McSweeney's had not been living up to the high design and content standards that they had set for themselves over the years. We were beginning to wonder if, perhaps, the enterprise had run out of gas, and that Eggers & Co. had set their priorities elsewhere. And while the latter may very well have been the case, we are happy to announce that, with, at least, it's thirty-third issue, all those concerned have put McSweeney's back front and center. This is a knock-your-socks-off issue that asks – and boldly answers – the question, "What's so good about a newspaper, anyway?" McSweeney's 33 is, more or less, a what-if? fantasy of what the San Francisco Sunday paper could be like in an alternative universe where profit-driven capitalism did not govern all enterprise-related decisions. Originally published and distributed in San Franciso on December 9, 2009, it is now available to the rest of us. More or less patterned after the Sunday New York Times (only bigger – a whoppin' 15" x 22"!), this hefty newspaper edition of McSweeney's is filled with engaging, well written articles on all sorts of topics and at all lengths from (rough guess, here) 100 to 10,000 words. The graphics department has taken full advantage of the oversize "canvas" offered by these large broadsheets, and the printing and paper are excellent for full visual impact. There is a 96-page book review insert printed on extra high quality paper stock that is not only filled with reviews but also: interviews with the likes of Junot Diaz, Miranda July and James Franco; new, original short works of fiction by George Saunders, Deb Olin Unferth, Roddy Doyle and others; a gigantic feature on the work of J.G. Ballard by Geoff Nicholson; pages of letters; and more! There is an oversize 112-page magazine insert that is printed on an even higher grade of paper stock that is overflowing with in-depth essays on all and sundry as well as columns by Michael Chabon, Chip Kidd and others. And, of course, we have saved the best for last: there is an honest-to-God, good-old-fashioned, 16-page, full color comics section, filled with all new work by Dan Clowes, Chris Ware, Kim Deitch, Seth, Alison Bechdel, Adrian Tomine, and plenty more. And, as if this weren't already enough, there's a bonus Acme Novelty Library, Rocket Sam cut-out by Chris Ware to while away a lazy Sunday afternoon. Don't miss this vibrant, full-blooded testimonial to the power and glory of newspapers.
retail price - $16.00 copacetic price - $14.44
And, since we're singing the praises of the new McSweeney's, it seems appropriate to take a moment to point out that the latest number of their sister publication, Wholphin, the "quarterly" DVD of good short and medium length films you aren't likely to see otherwise, has arrived simultaneously. There's not much to say other than it's another treat-filled extravaganza that we don't think you'll want to pass up once you've check out this preview.
retail price - $19.95 copacetic price - $17.77
by Patti Smith
Here's a book that is, if you're "in the demo", simply impossible to pass up. The story of Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe, in New York City, in 1969, written by none other than Patti herself – what more could you ask for? Opening the book at random (no foolin'!) we came upon this paragraph: "A cold front passed over New York City in October. I developed a bad cough. The heating was erratic in our loft spaces. They were not meant to live in and were cold at night. Robert often stayed at David's, and I would pile up all our blankets and stay awake till quite late reading Little Lulu comics and listening to Bob Dylan." Yes, we'll be quite at home here... A cursory look through this book reveals that it, unsurprisingly, echoes Dylan's memoir of his own early days in NYC, Chronicles, Volume 1; we can hardly wait to see how it stacks up. Should you feel like reading more about this one before taking the plunge, you're in luck, as it has been the recipient of plenty of media attention and has received ample online-accessible-reviews.
retail price - $27.00 copacetic price - $24.00
Items from our February 2010 listings may now be purchased online at our new site, HERE.
New for January 2010
by Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca
Well, here's a work that sets the table for a multi-course feast that will appeal to folks of different stripes for different reasons. First and foremost, it is the most ample display to date of the pop culture prowess of the Pittsburgh-based artist/writer team of Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca, who here have given a virtuoso performance. Afrodisiac is an homage to the last gasp of traditional comic book values; specifically, those that were embodied by the comic books of, roughly, 1972 - 1985. These were the final years of the newsstand comic book market – its decade of irrevocable decline. Beginning in 1986 it was permanently eclipsed by the direct market, a turn of events which not only forever altered the perception and reception of comic books, but simultaneously led to a substantial and equally permanent change in their values and production. The work contained in this compact, full color, hardcover volume demonstrates a deep intuitive understanding of the the tropes and formulas of traditional newsstand comic books, as well as, and perhaps most significantly, the role played by the wide variety of production and reproduction processes and techniques through which the raw language of comics passes en route to becoming the actual physical end product comic book that transmits its content through the readers' sensory apparatus, and thereby promulgates its meaning to the end consumer: human consciousness. Conscious manipulation of the denotative capacities of production processes has a history that goes back at least thirty years, to Art Spiegelman's work in Breakdowns, and it continues to be employed successfully in works such as Paul Hornschemeier's The Three Paradoxes. Afrodisiac is, however, unique in that, here, this conscious manipulation is the driving force behind the entire project, and is encoded in the texts as well as the images, with the character of The Afrodisiac acting as a cypher – one that is simultaneously a celebration and an elegy – for the uncritical creation of unabashed power fantasies that was no longer possible in the wake of The Dark Knight Returns and The Watchmen. Jim Rugg is a one-man production house and he has put the pedal to the metal in his reclamation of a panoply of production processes in this pandemonium procuring panegyric to the blaxploitation genre (that was itself an embodiment of the last gasp of the classical Hollywood values that vanished in the wake of the blockbuster onslaught of Spielberg, Lucas & Co.). It is here, in this nostalgic conflation of blaxploitation's own uncritical creation of unabashed power fantasies with those of comic book superheroes, by, let it be said, a couple of middle-class white guys, that another layer of signification transpires. Certainly, an exploration of the text's Playing in the Dark is warranted, and an old Lou Reed song may come to the mind of readers of a certain age; in addition, the fact that the power fantasy on display in these pages is of a distinctly sexual nature and is employed in the domination and exploitation of women cannot be ignored. Yet, all is rendered with a clear sense of humor, and where level, intellectually engaged heads prevail, there are sure to be some interesting and potentially valuable correlations made (cultural anthropologists, please take note). In other words, Afrodisiac is one of the densest texts one is likely to come across; and while many will doubtless find it a source of uncritical enjoyment, those who do so will be doing themselves a disservice and missing the work's essential character. To get a head start processing this sucka', download this PDF preview.
retail price - $14.95 copacetic price - $12.75
Footnotes in Gaza
by Joe Sacco
With this new work – over six years in the making – Joe Sacco returns to the people and the land that launched him to the forefront of comics journalism – a position which he has held ever since. Few indeed are the number of people who can lay claim to being the top in their field for as long as Sacco has his, and with Footnotes in Gaza, he extends his lead even further, to the point where his position as being the single most important founder of the field/genre/school of comics journalism is now well nigh unassailable. Footnotes in Gaza is the major work of a mature master, fully confident of his abilities and coolly in control of his talents. Taking a page from the Art Spiegelman playbook and extending it to address his own concerns, Sacco deftly weaves a detailed account of his own personal quest – in the here and now (or at least what was the here and now at the time, 2003, when he carried out his research) – to unearth the details of two specific historical events that took place in Gaza in November of 1956, by interviewing every possible living participant, with his own depiction of the interviewees' recollections. These events are, as the title baldly states, considered mere footnotes to the wide world outside of Gaza, but to the people who lived through them, they are traumas undimmed by the passage of half a century. If ever the devil was in the details, it is here, and the details that are dredged up by Sacco's research into this historical "footnote" are certain to engender strong opinions on both sides of the horrific divide that is addressed by the central events of this tale. To readers not directly involved in these events, however, there is the chance to delve into both how the past is ever present and, crucially, how the present can be and is projected into the past. In addition, readers are offered the opportunity to contemplate how "seeing" an event recapitulated in visual images differs in both kind and degree from merely reading a description of the same event. These, and other, interactions of the past and present, brought to light through reportorial diligence and mediated here by both art and memory, form the core of this fascinating and powerful work.
retail price - $29.95 copacetic price - $26.95
Bringing Up Father
by George McManus
McManus is a Copacetic Favorite and one of the all time greats, the founder of the (co-opted by the Europeans) Ligne Claré (clear line, to us Yanks) school of art now most closely associated with Hergé. All hail the Library of American Comics series currently being published by IDW for not only bringing this classic strip to a new generation of readers, but for producing in the process what might very well be the best single collection of the work of George McManus ever released! This collection presents several distinct continuities – including what may be the single most famous, the cross country tour (that includes a stop in, you guessed it, Pittsburgh, PA) – all from the glory days of the strip: the late 1930s - early 1940s. Humor abounds in the domestic comedy plot lines that both prefigured and influenced the sit-com format that has been a staple of television programming from the days of I Love Lucy through to The Simpsons: all these shows have roots in Bringing Up Father. But the true joy of this strip is in the quality of the line. The comics heir to the high value placed on line by the fin de siclé Art Nouveau movement – as well as the Art Deco movement that came in its wake – McManus, along with – during the latter part of his career – his able assistant Zeke Zekley, crafted a drawing technique that provided all necessary visual in formation in the outline -- no messy cross-hatching, shading or chiaroscuro for these guys – no! – just a clear, precise line, thank you. McManus was a true comics original and hugely influential. The work of artists as diverse as Carl Barks and Joost Swarte, and many others in between, show the strong stamp of McManus's artistic influence. You owe it to yourself to at least take a look at the work of this master, and, with the fine choice of work, excellent reproduction, and copious historical material, this volume is the clear and obvious place to start.
retail price - $49.95 copacetic price - $44.44
by Kazu Kibuishi
Kazu Kibuishi is the creator of the much acclaimed Amulet series as well as the editor for the equally acclaimed Flight comics anthology series. His work has a loyal following here among readers of all ages. The Flight anthology has a strong appeal to teen to young adult readers and Amulet has long been the natural go-to choice for fans of Jeff Smith's Bone looking for a follow-up reading experience, and is of late building a new base of readers all on its own. Now we have a new collection of his web comic, Copper, about a boy and his dog. This square format (9" x 9") full color collection of lively short tales leap off the page. There's definitely a (subdued, more reflective and less manic) Calvin and Hobbes flavor to the strip, and, like Calvin and Hobbes, Copper is a work that really can appeal to all ages. There's no need to take our word for it, however, as you can read it all online. The book contains a nifty bonus: a 10-page behind the scenes, step-by-step look at the creation, execution and production of the strip that will be of great interest to many an aspiring comics creator. Anyone interested in thoughtful, well crafted, kid-friendly comics should definitely be look into Copper.
retail price - $12.95 copacetic price - $11.75
The Believer 67
We haven't written about The Believer in a while, but there was no way we could let this go without throwing it your way. This is by far the most comics-centric issue yet, and it's a must! First off, there is the amazing Charles Burns cover that celebrates Chris Ware's interview of Jerry Moriarty, the latter of whom, in turn, contributes a gigantic, removable, fold-out poster of a Jack Survives page. Then there are the additional interviews with Aline Kominsky-Crumb, and the one-and-only Peter Blegvad! On top of this add a historical overview of the life and career of Morrie Turner, the creator of Wee Pals, the first nationally syndicated "comic strip of color." And, if that weren't already enough, this issue features the debut of the all-new Comics page, edited by Alvin Buenaventura and featuring full color comics by the likes of Anders Nilsen, Ron Regé, Jr., Tom Gauld, Leif Goldberg, Lisa Hanawalt, Charles Burns, Lilli Carré and Al Columbia. A keeper, we'd say.
retail price - $10.00 copacetic price - $9.00
Newave! The Underground Mini Comix of the 1980s
by everyone and your uncle
888 pages!!! No holds are barred here in this anything goes blast of the first wave of self-published mini-comics. Scatology and sexuality, perversion and punk rock, fantasy and fabulation, and general kicking out the jams were the order of the day back when the cathartic capacities of small scale self publishing were first embraced by a generation of comics creators. While the majority of the work on display here is by artists and writers that are not widely known today, there are some gems scattered throughout the book, including the rookie outings of Mary Fleener and Pittsburgh's Wayno, to name but two.
retail price - $24.95 copacetic price - $22.22
by Gilbert Hernandez
Beto's new stand-alone graphic novel is finally here! This time around he heads deep into Jim Thompson territory with this tale of of a terrible trio of backstabbers that is perhaps his most caustic comment yet on the horrors of self-centeredness. A straight-up, hardboiled work in the pulp tradition. While this may appear to be a twenty dollar hardcover graphic novel, that's only superficial. At its heart it is a cheap, grimy twenty-five cent paperback found on the floor at the back of the garage. With page after page plauged with doubt and soaked with ennui and despair, you'll finish up with life lessons learned and characters to avoid.
retail price - $19.99 copacetic price - $15.95
edited by Glenn Head
If ever the third time is the charm, this is it. Hotwire, the king-size comic book anthology of all new work marches forward in its unique, self-established tradition of wacky hi-jinx pieces designed to frazzle and freak. Highlights include a career high for Rick Altergott, an amazing new piece by Tim Lane, a rare full color Mack White work, a classic Mary Fleener tale, and the first new "masterpiece comic" by R. Sikoryak since his 2009 anthology of the same name – this one engaging Dennis the Menace to fill the shoes of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark – new pieces by Michael Kupperman, Max Andersson, Johnny Ryan, and editor Glenn Head, as well as a brand spankin' new David Sandlin story, "Infernal Combustion," that continues in the vein of his fabulous Swamp Preacher one-shot comic book of a couple years back.
retail price - $22.99 copacetic price - $19.99
Thirteen Going On Eighteen
by John Stanley & Co.
Fans of John Stanley – who is best known for his work on Little Lulu and Tubby – as well as any fan of traditional, straight-up comic books, for that matter – are sure to be pleasantly surprised by their encounter with this, possibly the least appreciated of Stanley's works. And Drawn and Quarterly is so confident that not only will you agree with this assertion, but that you will be so enamored of this Stanley & Co. creation that you will be grateful for their decision to provide you with a double dose right out of the gate. That's right, this initial volume of Thirteen Going On Eighteen collects the first nine complete issues of the series and weighs in at a wollapin' 336 pages. And, as purchasers of the first two volumes of D & Q's ongoing John Stanley Library series – Melvin the Monster, and Nancy – already know, this is another beautiful Seth-designed volume.
retail price - $39.95 copacetic price - $33.95
The Box Man
by Imiri Sakabashira
Imiri Sakabashira (evidently a pen name for Mochizuki Katsuhiro) is, to us gaijin, a figure shrouded in mystery. Born in 1964, he is an important contributor to Garo, one of the major alternative manga anthologies (that, intriguingly, was also born in 1964). While the long awaited publication of The Box Man will go a long way to exposing Sakabashira to western readers, it will do little to remedy the mystery enshrouding the artist, as it does not contain one shred of editorial or biographical information – neither the original publication date nor it's original Japanese title are included on the copyright page. It is almost as if there is a conspiracy of silence in place to deliberately obscure this creator of this work. Were this actually to be the case, it would make a perverse kind of sense as The Box Man is nothing if not a deliberately obscure work. Clearly working in the surrealist tradition of channeling the unconscious and getting it all onto the paper without worrying too much about what it all means, The Box Man strikes us as possibly informing contemporary creators as diverse as Geoff Darrow and Chris "C.F." Forgues. However, not knowing when this work was originally published hinders any speculations of this nature. It does appear that he himself has been influenced somewhat by Suehiro Maruo. So, anyone reading this who is hep to the details of this enigmatic figure, please clue us in! Meanwhile, peer into a corner of The Boxman by downloading a PDF preview, here. And, for further delectation, check out his online gallery and spend some time with his sumptuously weird illustration work, here.
retail price - $24.95 copacetic price - $19.99
The Fixer - softcover edition
by Joe Sacco
For those of you who either missed this the first time around, were waiting for the lower priced softcover, or who just got turned onto Sacco by reading his just released masterwork, Footnotes in Gaza, here's your chance to get yer mitts on this close focus look at the disintegration of former Yugoslavia during the 1990s, from the point of view of post-war Bosnia. To learn more about this work, we recommend that you read this excellent in-depth review by Michel Faber for The UK Guardian. Also collected in this softcover edition are the classic one shot comic book / graphic novella, Soba, as well as the story, "Christmas With Karadzic," both originally produced during the late 1990s.
retail price - $19.95 copacetic promotional special price - $14.95
Items from our January 2010 listings may now be purchased online at our new site, HERE.
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current as of 31 March 2010