Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:
• Review: "Artists of vision toiling within the gears of a vision-suppressing machine, Carl Barks and Floyd Gottfredson drew and wrote great swathes of the best popular art of the twentieth century, mostly in the least auspicious venues available: comic books and comic strips credited to Walt Disney…. Fantagraphics is currently collecting the work of both artists: Barks's transcendent Donald and Scrooge McDuck comics, and Gottfredson's sprightly Mickey Mouse serials. To the publisher's credit, the books are gorgeous but designed for readability rather than coffee-table displaying. This is great art you can feel guilt-free perusing in the bathtub….
"The initial volume in the Barks series is… all pleasure, a treasury of deceptively simple gag and adventure stories that fashioned with wit, irony, and impeccable craftmanship…. The longer stories here… are suspenseful, surprising, funny, and fresh… These kids' comics are far from kids' stuff — this is for everyone….
"Like the goofy, violent, darker-than-expected cliffhangers of the second Indiana Jones flick, Gottfredson's Mickey Mouse — especially in in its second volume, covering 1932 and '33 — is an exhausting achievement in can-you-top-this adventure storytelling…. This kids' stuff isn't for kids, either. But it's revealing and thrilling, both a guide to what's long been wrong with this country — and guide to what's great in its imagination." – Alan Scherstuhl, SF Weekly
• Review: "…I’d been looking forward to the Fantagraphics [Carl Barks Library] series, and I’m happy to say it’s being done right…. I like to think that Carl Barks, an unpretentious storyteller who created for an audience of children whose intelligence, ingenuity and decency he never doubted, would approve and be gladdened by how his work, this time around, is being put back out into the world." – Tom De Haven, The Comics Journal
• Review: "…[I]n this insightful and riveting biography, Avery has brought the flat-capped, sunglassed, mustachioed, Nat Sherman-smoking, hamburger eating, and Coca-Cola guzzling wordsmith back to life; a writer as fascinating — and frustrating — as many of his interview subjects…. Thankfully, more than half of the books pages are given over to reprints of Nelson's own work… And while Everything Is an Afterthought will bring renewed attention to the work of Paul Nelson, it's the work of Kevin Avery that resonates most as he tries — and succeeds as much as possible — to unravel the enigma of Paul Nelson's mind." – Bob Ruggiero, Houston Press
• Review: "Michael Kupperman’s Tales Designed to Thrizzle #7 has many more laughs than it does pages. It’s jokes that build on jokes that lead to more jokes through left turns, fakes, surprises, and nerdy pop culture references…. One premise leads to the next, like one of the better episodes of Monty Python or Mr Show… – this book is funny enough to make you crack up on a crowded bus." – Tom Mohrman, CultureMob
• Interview: David Fernández of Zona Negativa has a career-spanning Q&A (in English and Spanish) with Jason: "You don’t do comics for the money. You do it for love of the medium, for the need to tell stories in images. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. You feel a connection to other struggling cartoonists. It’s something you have in common. There some humility in it. So there are very few cartoonist assholes. I haven’t met any."