Tag Archives: Books

Review: ‘MAD’s Greatest Artists: Don Martin: Three Decades of His Greatest Works’

Don Martin, MAD Magazine, June 1974

Don Martin, MAD Magazine, June 1974

By 1974, MAD magazine had hit an all-time high in popularity, selling more than 2 million copies per issue. It was also the height of the Watergate scandal, Vietnam War protests, and the counterculture. MAD helped bring about the age of subversive satire that we see today everywhere from “The Simpsons” to “The Daily Show.” It was the underground before there was an underground. And, among the wackiest of cartoonists, in fact, “MAD’s Maddest Artist,” was Don Martin. Martin was from some other planet. “MAD’s Greatest Artists: Don Martin: Three Decades of His Greatest Works,” published by Running Press, lets you see this extraterrestrial cartoonist at his best.

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Filed under Art, Art books, Book Reviews, Books, Cartoons, Comics, Don Martin, MAD magazine

Review: ‘The Best American Comics 2014,’ Editor, Scott McCloud; Series Editor, Bill Kartalopoulos

The-Best-American-Comics-2014

Anyone who digs deeper already knows that comics are fully capable of being as elastic, ambiguous, and fluid as any other art medium. Just like fiction, film, and painting, the comics medium can reveal as much as it hides. There’s an annual anthology, “The Best American Comics,” that showcases a wide range of North American comics and addresses the familiar and peculiar in what amounts to a particular branch of contemporary comics. Or, perhaps the best way to put it is to say this book showcases the best in comics as an art form. The 2014 edition is now available. Let’s take a look.

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Filed under Alternative Comics, Anthologies, Art, Art books, Best American Comics, Bill Kartalopoulos, Comics, Comix, Education, graphic novels, Scott McCloud, Underground Comics

Interview: Bill Kartalopoulos and THE BEST AMERICAN COMICS 2014

Bill-Kartalopoulos-Best-American-Comics

It is a pleasure to chat about comics, especially with someone as well-versed on the subject as Bill Kartalopoulos. For this interview, the occasion is the 2014 volume of “The Best American Comics,” which Bill takes over as the new series editor. I thought I’d take the opportunity to ask him about his thoughts on the term, “alternative comics,” since he led an interesting panel discussion on that topic at SPX back in 2012 entitled, “Life After Alternative Comics.” This was a way to frame the conversation.

Bill Kartalopoulos is a great observer of, and participant in, today’s comics scene. Part of his impressive resume includes being the program coordinator for the Small Press Expo as well as the program director for the MoCCA Arts Festival. Both of these events are essential barometers of prevailing trends. So, if Bill suggests that alternative comics are dead, I listen. Of course, he doesn’t really suggest that, at least not as you might think. But, let me continue…

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Filed under Alternative Comics, Art Spiegelman, Bill Kartalopoulos, Comics, Education, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Independent Comics, Indie, MoCCA Arts Festival, New York City, SPX, The Best American Comics

Review: THE WRENCHIES by Farel Dalrymple

The-Wrenchies-Farel-Dalrymple

Farel Dalrymple has distinguished alienated youth to a high level with his comics. There is that distinctive deadpan stare from a young person confronting some great threat. We never know for sure what that young person is thinking. Are they afraid? Most likely. But putting on a good poker face will help. In “The Wrenchies,” Dalrymple’s much anticipated new graphic novel, he offers up another side of the Apocalypse filled with kids who are fighting the good fight. And then he takes it a step further, and step further after that, to deliver a robust and mature work for all to enjoy. This is Dalrymple’s moment, his skills coming together to say it all in one big book worthy of, you name it, Dr. Seuss, Ray Bradbury, the Beatles, the Ramones, really, name a creative genius you love and this book ranks right up there.

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Filed under Comics, Farel Dalrymple, First Second, Small Press Expo, SPX

Review: ‘Make Comics Like the Pros: The Inside Scoop on How to Write, Draw, and Sell Your Comic Books and Graphic Novels’

Make-Comics-Greg-Pak-Fred-Van-Lente

“Make Comics Like the Pros,” really cuts to the chase with common sense advice on how to join the ranks of the professionals. Start with the golden rule: Treat others as you would want to be treated. It’s a pretty simple rule but an essential one. It’s time to get over yourself because the comics industry involves a multitude of skills, including people skills. You’ll need them not just to pitch your project (hold on, don’t get ahead of yourself) but to create your project in the first place as this business of creating comics is very much a collaborative activity.

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Filed under Comics, Education, Fred Van Lente, Greg Pak, writers, writing

Review: FOUNDATIONS IN COMIC BOOK ART: Fundamental Tools and Techniques for Sequential Artists

SCAD-Creative-Essentials-John-Paul-Lowe

Wow, what a book for anyone who is passionate about becoming a cartoonist! “Foundations in Comic Book Art: Fundamental Tools and Techniques for Sequential Artists” is a compressed version of what you can learn at the Savannah College of Art and Desgin (SCAD). John Paul Lowe, an art professor at SCAD, guides you through the main principles of comic book art: seeing and interpreting (observational techniques); and creating (constructive techniques). In a very concise and lively manner, you get a solid grounding in what’s involved in becoming a comics professional.

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Filed under Comics, Education, Savannah College of Art and Design, SCAD, Sequential Art

Comic-Con 2014: PRINT Magazine’s Imprint Recap with Michael Dooley

Print-Magazine-Comic-Con-2014

Michael Dooley, over at PRINT Magazine’s Imprint, provides a fun and informative recap of this year’s Comic-Con International in San Diego. And, of course, here in Seattle we appreciate a shout out to our favorite son, David Lasky, part of the “Fictionalized Non-Fiction” panel moderated by Heidi MacDonald and also featuring Gilbert Hernandez and Mimi Pond.

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Filed under Comics, Design, Michael Dooley, Print Magazine

Review: ‘Phantoms of the Louvre’ (Louvre Collection)

Bilal's Marpada (Wonder Woman?) from "Phantoms of the Louvre"

Bilal’s Marpada (Wonder Woman?) from “Phantoms of the Louvre”

Bilal is a legendary sci-fi and fantasy artist. He has an uncanny ability to evoke a vast world of suspense and mystery. His villains are utterly macabre. His women are utlra-cool sexy. For his contribution to the NBM ComicsLit Louvre collection, Bilal provides us with twenty-two ghost stories in his graphic novel, “Phantoms of the Louvre.” He focuses on a particular work in the Louvre, photographs it, and then works his magic with acrylic, pastel, and prose. For example, we have the story of Marpada who, it would not be a stretch to say brings to mind Wonder Woman. If you ever wondered what a Bilal Wonder Woman would be like, this has got to be it. Note to DC Comics: Entice Bilal to do a Wonder Woman story!

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Filed under Bande Dessinée, Bilal, Comics, ComicsLit, France, French Comics, Graphic Novel Reviews, graphic novels, NBM, Paris, The Louvre, Wonder Woman

Review: ‘An Enchantment’ (Louvre Collection)

Enchantment-Christian-Durieux

Christian Durieux states that he sought to create comic book poetry with his graphic novel, “An Enchantment.” He definitely succeeds in doing just that. The collaboration between the Louvre and NBM ComicsLit to co-edit books inspired by the Louvre results in such wonderful works of comics. This one is pure magic. It’s like watching a dance sequence with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The comic flows so well that it glides. It could easily have been wordless but the dialogue is so charming.

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Filed under Bande Dessinée, Comics, ComicsLit, France, French Comics, Graphic Novel Reviews, graphic novels, NBM

Review: ‘The Sky Over the Louvre’ (Louvre Collection)

Yslaire-Carriere-Louvre-ComicsLit

The Reign of Terror is brought into focus in an unsettling and quite captivating way in “The Sky Over the Louvre,” our third book this week to consider in the NBM ComicsLit collection of Louvre-inpired books. Bernar Yslaire and Jean-Claude Carriere have created a most ambitious book here. The fight for liberty and justice championed by the Jacobins against the aristocracy was threatened by instability. Leave it to one mad zealot, Maximilien Robespierre, to pave the way to slaughter. This graphic novel provides great insight by balancing a story following the broad sweep of events along with intimate portraits.

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Filed under Comics, ComicsLit, Graphic Novel Reviews, graphic novels, NBM