For Immediate Release
For Immediate Release
The Fox Network has ordered a pilot for an animated prime time TV series based on Peter Bagge’s The Bradleys. Bagge, who has had a developmental deal with the network for sometime, is writing the script for the pilot episode. Eric Reynolds, who broke the news on the Fantagraphics Website, reports that the Fox series will be set during the pre-Hate era “when Buddy Bradley was a teen and still lived at home.”
Jimbo in Purgatory
by Gary Panter
BW, 40 pgs
$29.95 US / Higher in Canada
Using Dante’s myriad of “shout-outs” to antiquity as inspiration, Gary Panter has created a beautiful and complex interpretation of the middle poem of The Divine Comedy: Purgatory.
Replacing Dante and Virgil is Jimbo. A punk/skater Everyman wearing nothing but a loincloth, Jimbo explores the stations of Purgatory, guided by Valise, his “parole robot.” As conveyed in Panter’s black and white “ratty line” style, Purgatory is a mammoth “infotainment testing center,” where participants seek, not cleansing, but a degree in Literature. To move up to Paradise, one must recite a passage that relates to the theme of a canto from Dante’s trilogy, along with a nod to Boccacio’s Decameron (which was written as a bawdy response to The Divine Comedy). These characters are detached and robotic, more interested in showing off knowledge than sharing any concrete wisdom. As Panter observes (quoting Ben Jonson): wisdom without honesty is meere craftâ€¦ and therefore the reputation of honesty must first be gotten; which cannot be, but by living well. A good life is a maine argument.” In short, don’t talk the talk unless ya walk the walk.
Each page, which corresponds to the thirty-three cantos of Dante’s Purgatory, is divided into nine panels, which in turn represent the seven terraces and two ledges of purgatory. The panels begin with a line from the respective Dante canto and are followed by an assortment of related quotes taken from numerous cultural sources (from Chaucer to Zappa). (more…)
by Linda Medley
BW, 457 pgs
$29.95 US / Higher in Canada
Most clever children wonder what happens after a fairy tale has come to an end. What happens to the kingdom after Sleeping Beauty goes off with Prince Charming? What does “happily ever after” look like? And where does it take place?
In Linda Medley’s Castle Waiting, which collects 17 issues of the comic published between 1996 and 2001 published, most of the action takes place in the titular castle. This is the place where major and minor fairy tale characters end up after their stories are told, where funny, domestic, happily-ever-afters happen.
Castle Waiting, with its heavy paper and creamy, old-fashioned-children’s-book hard cover, is as lovely a volume as Fantagraphics Books has ever put out-and that’s saying something; this is a publisher whose bindings and design are always perfectly suited to the comics within. And Medley’s drawing style is deceptively simple-the artwork looks like one of those Juvenile Classics, those old “Great Literature for Children” comic books in which stories like Gulliver’s Travels or Oliver Twist were simplified and illustrated for the kiddies. The style sets you up and knocks you down by making your brain think Hey, this is familiar, I know this story, even when we’re off on a tangent of Medley’s own invention.
Medley’s source material is eclectic: classic Perrault and Grimm stories, older folktales and myths, even the lives of mythical Catholic saints are incorporated into this cattle call of familiar characters whose stories aren’t quite over. (more…)
The Frank Book
by Jim Woodring
BW w/ colour, 344 pgs
$39.95 US / Higher in Canada
“I promise to spare you all my worst visions” – Jim Woodring
For someone who’s hip to the alternative comics scene, the name Woodring should ring many bells. After a critically acclaimed debut in the eighties with the self-published Jim — later to be picked up by Fantagraphics– Woodring paved his own path to notoriety. For a cartoonist who sought therapy and was refused consultation by a number of shrinks who read his feverish comics, it only seems fitting his work is a wondrous journey of self-realization looked through the beauty of stained glass.
I stumbled across Frank some years ago and was entranced with its grotesqueness and otherworldly renaissance. The stories void of word capture a strange and bizarre place filled with alien architecture and littered with equally wondrous residents. Frank, the anthropomorphic critter neither cat nor rodent, plays the prominent role, journeying through the surreal adventures Woodring lays out for him. Unlike Frank’s nemesis, Manhog, Frank usually walks away unscathed and rewarded. Poor Manhog’s life is plagued with misery. (more…)
BW, 68 pgs
$12.95 US / Higher in Canada
For me, age 10 was one of the hardest years of my life, and the remainder of childhood didn’t get much easier. It was fun, but not easy. We forget that kids can be dark, nasty, manipulative creatures. Refuge from that and the world of shitty parents, crazy puberty trips and general confusion comes from one’s best friend. Heather and I strung together our own world then stayed there until grade nine. Then something happened, high school probably, and we lost our connection. Hey, Wait…, by Norwegian cartoonist Jason, is one of the most moving novels, graphic or otherwise, I’ve read in recent memory. It deals with the bond between kids, and what happens when we lose that bond. And although childhood probably isn’t as great as we remember it, its loss is mourned, and it’s this sense of mourning that Jason brilliantly captures.
Part one of Hey, Wait… traces the friendship of Bjorn and Jon, two dogs in a world of storks, bears and fellow dogs, best friends who do everything together. We’re treated to short glimpses of their time together, stitched together in a non-linear sequence. They read comics, shoot pebbles at stilts (you’ll know what I mean when you read the book), and stare at nudie calendars. Occasionally surreal details pop up, creating a contained, scatty world only they share. It’s summer. The days can be shuffled like cards and it doesn’t make much of a difference. Bjorn wants to be a journalist. Jon wants to travel, wants to do anything but work in a factory. They still have a sense of possibility and control over what their lives might become. Then “it” happens, and they’re both fundamentally changed.
In a bold narrative leap, we’re introduced to part two, Jon’s adult life. Gone are the great bits of absurdity. We’re in “real” space now, with its isolation, mechanical repetition, and factory hum. There is barely any dialog in part two. We’re exposed to the silent spaces of Jon’s life, in all their harshness.
One of the more nasty scenes is a six-panel exchange between Jon and his girlfriend at dinner. It contains only one line, but that one line will make you question every relationship you’ve ever been in. Part two is some heavy stuff, but made palatable by Jason’s exquisite pacing. Like his drawing style, there are no frills to be found. His panels are flat, shadeless, with big blocks of black and white, reminiscent of graphic design. Which makes sense since Jason has his roots in that field. Although me and Heather’s parting wasn’t nearly as tragic as that in Hey, I could relate to the loss explored in the book. We all go through it. That’s one of the great things about Jason’s work. The book’s ending is one of the most beautiful, heart-breaking things I’ve read in ages. Hey, Wait… is a gorgeous work, and will probably become a classic. (Carrie-May Siggins)
FC 216 pgs $24.99
The latest offering from the brilliant Norwegian cartoonist Jason is this hardcover book containing his Low Moon story that was serialized in the New York Times Sunday Magazine “Funny Pages” section. It also has four other short stories, each as entertaining as the last.
The book starts off with Emily Says Hello–a dark and twisted story of murder, meted out with a mysterious catch phrase. The next is Low Moon, a western cowboy showdown with chess instead of guns.
It’s tough to choose favorites with Jason but even though I really enjoyed Emily Says Hello, the next story, entitled &, is just a masterpiece. It’s a simple story of unrequited love and the depths that some people go to to get it. Black comedy at it’s finest.
You know what, I’m mistaken–the next, Proto Film Noir, which mixes cavemen and noir stylistic elements, is my favorite. It’s the old “bump-off-the-husband” routine with a plot device that reminds me of the Roger Corman produced, Jacques Tourneur directed, Richard Matheson written movie The Comedy of Terrors. Both feature similar problems for the protagonists. Let’s just say death gets a little more complicated than usual.
The final story, You Are Here, features a father and son whose wife and mother has been abducted by an alien. Dad is determined to get her back. It’s a sweet and melancholy story.
For those who haven’t tried Jason’s work, you just don’t know what you’re missing. His stuff is brilliant and this latest offering is awesome.
I just wish that all of Jason’s work came in as nice of a hardcover collection as this. (Shane Hnetka)