Online Commentary & Diversions:
• List: For The Barnes & Noble Review, Douglas Wolk picks his 5 "Best Graphic Novels of 2009," including You'll Never Know, Book 1: A Good and Decent Man by C. Tyler ("…indelible, majestically composed images. Compassionate but unsparing…") and Luba by Gilbert Hernandez ("Fiery, wildly raunchy, deliriously complicated, and bubbling over with life")
• Gift Guide: At Comic Book Resources, Steven Grant's holiday recommendations are Fantagraphics-heavy, heaping praise on West Coast Blues, Strange Suspense: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol., Blazing Combat, Locas II, and The Definitive Prince Valiant Companion: "Don't mean to be a shill for Fantagraphics, but they really do produce splendid looking books, gift-worthy in appearance as well as content."
• Review: "[Gilbert] Hernandez's latest solo work The Troublemakers is the second in a series of self-contained graphic novel 'B-movies,' featuring one of his recurring characters, the cannonball-breasted Rosalba 'Fritz' Martinez. Here, Fritz plays Nala, one of a trio of hustlers trying to hook up with 200,000 smackers. Whether the money actually exists and who has it are anyone's guess in this drama-filled thriller — good for folks who like their graphic novels grim, gritty, and sleazy." – Brad Buckner, Portland Mercury
• Review: "Strange Suspense [The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 1]… is an absolute treat! …[T]his book looks amazing. …[It's] filled with images that will remain seared into your psyche long after you’ve put it down. … Strange Suspense is an absolute must have for any student of sequential art history… It’s an excellent collection of long lost work from a man whose importance cannot be overstated. There’s really no other grade to give it than an A." – Chad Derdowski, Mania.com
• Review: "Wolverton is helped [in The Wolverton Bible]… by his bold compositional sense, which aids in pushing some of his images beyond the doldrums of camp and into a certain monumentality, a grandeur that retains a shabby earthiness, without being lofty, hollow or pretentious. Without being, in a word, 'churchy.'" – Chris Lanier, The Comics Journal (beta)
• Review: "Johnny Ryan’s Prison Pit is probably as close as comics are likely to come to exploitation cinema. Like the best exploitation dreck from Texas Chainsaw to Death Race 2000, Prison Pit is pure, bottom-dwelling schlock… And yet, again as with exploitation fare, the single-minded commitment to vileness is so perversely pure that it goes right past lowest-common-denominator entertainment and on into snooty, fancy-pants art. … Ryan’s world is essentially Waiting for Godot, from the bleak landscape to the slapstick violence." – Noah Berlatsky, The Comics Journal (beta)
• Plug: Heather Buckley of Dread Central says of Portable Grindhouse, "This 200-page soft cover tome documents our ghoulish favorites from video stores past in full splatterific detail… I can’t even begin to tell you my excitement," and says of our Bookstore's 3rd Anniversary/Portable Grindhouse book launch and panel discussion, "So, my Pacific Northwest Monsters Kids, this could be fun. Heck, I wish I were out there to go myself."