Lots of good stuff coming up this month! Some a”May”zing new releases (sorry), exciting events and more. But first, the news!
- Barry Windsor-Smith gave a rare video interview for the Comix Experience Graphic Novel Club, talking about his highly-anticipated new book, Monsters
- BWS’ Monsters also had previews run on both IGN and Daily Dead, and a great review in Forbes this week
- A great The New York Times Book Review feature on Gary Panter
- Lee Lai’s Stone Fruit got a starred review from Library Journal
- Library Journal also gave Manuele Fior’s Celestia a great advance review
- The AV Club reviewed Mannie Murphy’s I Never Promised You A Rose Garden
- Red Rock Baby Candy by Shira Spector got great reviews from CNMN Magazine, Fresh Fruit, and Quill & Quire
- MoCCA Fest went virtual this year, featuring the Hernandez Brothers, John Cuneo drawing live, and more! Check it out here.
May New Releases:
Poison Flowers and Pandemonium by Richard Sala
Just a couple of months before his tragic passing in May 2020, cartooning master of the macabre Richard Sala completed his final book — or, actually, his final four books. Poison Flowers and Pandemonium collects all four of these original graphic novellas in one beautiful hardcover worthy of Sala’s legacy. This volume is a perfect showcase of Sala’s gorgeous watercolor artwork and his love of B-movie horror, silent film-era archetypes, and femmes fatale.
Stone Fruit by Lee Lai
Bron and Ray are a queer couple who enjoy their role as the fun weirdo aunties to Ray’s niece, six-year-old Nessie. Their playdates are little oases of wildness, joy, and ease in all three of their lives, which ping-pong between familial tensions and deep-seated personal stumbling blocks. As their emotional intimacy erodes, Ray and Bron isolate from each other and attempt to repair their broken family ties. At turns joyful and heartbreaking, Stone Fruit reveals through intimately naturalistic dialog and blue-hued watercolor how painful it can be to truly become vulnerable to your loved ones — and how fulfilling it is to be finally understood for who you are.
Red Room #1 by Ed Piskor
From the creator of Hip Hop Family Tree and X-Men: Grand Design comes this all-new monthly comic book series, with a specially priced, self contained, double-sized debut issue! Red Room is a cyberpunk, outlaw, splatterpunk masterpiece. Aided by the anonymous dark web and nearly untraceable crypto-currency, there has emerged a subculture of criminals who live-stream and patronize webcam murders for entertainment. Who are the murderers? Who are the victims? How do we stop it? Red Room #1 is 64 pages of dynamic storytelling and gorgeous art. Every issue of this 12-part series is a complete, self-contained, satisfying story. As seen on Piskor’s YouTube channel sensation, Cartoonist Kayfabe!
The Comics Journal #307
This issue of the award-winning magazine of comics interviews, news, and criticism focuses on the relationship between animation and comics. Gary Groth interviews this issue’s cover artist Cathy Malkasian, the PBS/Nickelodeon animation director turned graphic novelist, about her first middle-grade graphic novel, NoBody Likes You, Greta Grump. In addition to this issue’s featured interview with Cathy Malkasian, MLK graphic biographer Ho Che Anderson shares his animation storyboards, and Anya Davidson talks to Sally Cruikshank! Other features include: an unpublished Ben Sears comic, and Jem and the Holograms cartoon creator Christy Marx talks about the behind-the-scenes advantages and disadvantages of both art forms. Plus! Sketchbook art by Vanesa Del Re, an interview with Amazon warehouse worker-turned-cartoonist Ness Garza, Paul Karasik’s essay on an unseen gem, and much more.
Chartwell Manor by Glenn Head
Veteran alternative cartoonist Glenn Head’s harrowing graphic memoir is about years of sexual and emotional abuse suffered at a boarding school during his adolescence, and the resultant trauma that took him almost 50 years to process before being able to tell his story publicly. No one asks for the childhood they get, and no child ever deserved to go to Chartwell Manor. For Glenn Head, his two years spent at the now-defunct Mendham, NJ, boarding school — run by a serial sexual and emotional abuser of young boys in the early 1970s — left emotional scars in ways that he continues to process. This graphic memoir — a book almost 50 years in the making — tells the story of that experience, and then delves with even greater detail into the reverberations of that experience in adulthood, including addiction and other self-destructive behavior. Head tells his story with unsparing honesty, depicting himself as a deeply flawed human struggling to make sense of the childhood he was given.
Zig Zag by Will Sweeney
This one-shot glossy blast of wordless, sci-fi psychedelia could only come from the mind of British artist Will Sweeney (Kramers Ergot). Zig Zag depicts the evolution of The Mindseye Trooper, a mechanical secret agent constructed in a remote lab and piloted by an imp spawned from an extraterrestrial fungus. From embryonic zombie to powerful hero, The Trooper must infiltrate an alternate dimension in which a brutal tyrant has terrorized the inhabitants and dispensed psychoactive justice. Along the way, he meets a Witchdoctor who gifts him a mysterious weapon, and a priestess who unites the disparate aspects of his personality. The serrated path of the Trooper has many twists and turns but eventually comes full circle. Part Kirby, part Fantastic Planet, but all Sweeney.
- Thursday, May 6th, 5pm PDT: Lee Lai (Stone Fruit) with Eli Bechelany-Lynch — Librairie Drawn and Quarterly
- May 8-15th: TCAF 2021 Online — Featuring Jaime Hernandez, Daniel Clowes, Lee Lai, Ho Che Anderson, Shira Spector, and many more!
- Thursday, May 13th, 5-7pm PDT: Fantagraphics Virtual TCAF Booth open to the public, with Special Guest Cartoonists TBA
- Friday, May 14th, 6am-2pm PDT: TCAF Libraries & Education Day
- May 17th-23rd: VanCAF Online — Featuring Shira Spector and Lee Lai
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