August 22, 2014 by Stefan Blitz
If there’s any doubt to the continuing influence and power of Shakespeare’s work, the Alaskan crime story would do little to sway that argument. In Eric Hobbs and Noel Tuazon’s Family Ties, King Lear is reimagined against the backdrop of a crime family dealing with the patriarch’s onset dementia.
Here’s what the critics are saying:
“A superb graphic novel that should appeal to students of Elizabethan drama and of grandiosely brutal gangster stories.”
“The real star of this production is Tuazon, whose fragile linework competes bold swaths of inky grays to create just the right atmosphere for this murky tale of hubris and denial.”
“A very solid read, and worth checking out.”
“And in great tragic fashion, there is no neat and satisfying conclusion to this story. The narrative threads are roughly cut, similar to Tuazon’s renderings, and we’re left with a drama without any “real” ending. The ambiguity, though, is all part of the narrative’s unsettling tone and feeds into its dark realism. What we have in Family Ties is a story that leaves you feeling raw and uncomfortable, wondering if perhaps your own relationships are similarly problematic or unresolved.”
“Highly recommended especially for connoisseurs of Shakespearean drama and gritty crime stories alike.”
“The best part about Family Ties, and the reason I’d recommend it, is the art, by Noel Tuazon, all black and white. And gray. Lots of gray. His figures and objects are mostly minimalist sketches, and the “coloring” is various shades of gray watercolor, which I, in my non-art history background, associate with traditional Chinese and Japanese nature paintings. Meaning that the story is just automatically moody and exotic-looking.“
“A great concept — a version of King Lear set among a crime family in Alaska, with the aging boss father facing dementia and two ambitious daughters.”
August 20, 2014 by Stefan Blitz
Cartoonist Jim Benton (best known for It’s Happy Bunny) released his first collection of web cartoons, Dog Butts and Love. And Stuff Like That. And Cats. through NBM. And based on the reactions from some of the critics out there, you’re missing out if you don’t check it out.
“Each page of his Dog Butts … features a different comic, some simple one-panel cartoons, some multi-panel gag strips. The art styles employed are so incredibly different that many of them look like they’re the works of different cartoonists, with Benton affecting different design styles, different lines, different color schemes, different lettering and even different types of jokes throughout.
There are a few that aren’t even jokes, but look like greeting cards, and read as heartwarming, if saccharine, affirmative statements. Some are dark and twisted the way some of the most memorable Perry Bible Fellowship cartoons were. Sometimes he works blue. Sometimes he presents work tame enough that it could appear on a newspaper comics page. Other times he presents perfect, wordless one-panel gags that look like better-drawn installments of Gary Larson’s Far Side.
Everything about the book is all over the map except, perhaps, for its level of quality.”
– Robot 6
“The pieces in question range from single-panel gags to short sequential pieces, but the thing they share in common is the level of intelligence and cleverness on display. He is consistently darkly funny, often touching a chord with a tough truth at the heart of the cartoon…The whole book is worth your time.”
“From the sketchy to the hyper detailed to the super cartoony, Benton is a master at his craft…It’s silly and ridiculous and entirely enjoyable!“
“I found myself mentally comparing it to the great gag cartoonist books of my youth…As a jokester, Benton is as capable of coming up with a silly boob joke as he is a darkly comic riff on existential angst.”
August 18, 2014 by Stefan Blitz
Nominated as a 2014 Great Graphic Novel for Teens from The Young Adult Library Services Association of the ALA
“I really enjoy Rick Geary’s non-fiction comics about true crimes. His 2013 effort is the story of how architect Stanford White was shot in the face. Geary illustrates his books with maps, house cutaways, evidence shots, and explores every lead…even if such leads prove to be false, Geary explains their reason for not being possible/credible. Geary’s books are a great gateway for non-comic readers who think comics are all capes & cowl *BAM* *POW* to see that there truly are other genres of stories waiting out them in the pages of comics.”
– David Petersen (Mouseguard) naming Madison Square Tragedy to his Best of the Year list.
“Geary’s tale is a ripe one, and his evocation of an era where Victorian mores clashed with more modern ideas is wittily crafted..As is par for this series, Geary’s black-and-white art relishes period detail as it maintains a largely detached view on the people involved… As in other volumes in this magnificent graphic series, Geary’s interest is as much in the reactions to the horrendous crimes depicted as in the criminal acts themselves. In so doing, he tells us much about the Good Olde Days that it’d be best not to forget.”
“Usual brilliant Geary art par excellance, needs no further description. I’d read a phone book illustrated by the man! My only complaint? The long wait till Geary’s next book!”
August 16, 2014 by Margreet de Heer
This happened today.
August 14, 2014 by Jim Benton
August 8, 2014 by NBM
Something unusual for October, a book you can fold-out all the way with a street scene, one side evolving by day, one by night. A visual treat!
A visually incomparable treat and a brilliant homage to Hitchcock’s Rear Window, this unusual accordion book opens in two directions. One, a series of ten tableaux on a street scene as it evolves during the day. The next on 10 evening tableaux of the same view. A window may serve as a source of light and fresh air, but it also presents a view onto the life of a street and its many other windows, each a separate scene of its own, with its multitude of on-going stories developing before your eyes. Within those windows, you can witness the lives of single people, couples, families, stories of love, separation and possibly even… murder.
8×11, 48pp, full color accordion book, hc, $27.99 9781561639083
Also this month:
NOIR THRILLER SET
The Broadcast and Family Ties
Two thrillers in one engrossing set!
In the Broadcast, on the day of the historic broadcast of The War of the Worlds by Orson Welles which triggered panic in many places it sounded so real, a family in the countryside fears for its life and also has to deal with strangers and neighbors coming in for help. The tension brings to the surface long suppressed emotions and conflicts and a violent reckoning in a dark stormy night.
Hoping to secure a future for his children, an aging Alaskan crime boss in Family Ties looks to retire and divide his empire amongst his three heirs. But when his idealistic son refuses the inheritance, the old man disowns him. This turns out to be a fatal mistake when he sees his cold-blooded daughters use their new-found power and influence against him. Inspired by the classic play King Lear, The Godfather meets Shakespearean tragedy in this epic tale of betrayal and loss.
6×9, 388pp., B&W set of 2 books, $28.99
Meanwhile, back at EUROTICA, fresh out of SIZZLE magazine:
The hot men and women detectives of Precinct 69 have some unusual methods of getting crimes solved! Their weapons aren’t just big guns but their own amazing assets… A tongue-in-cheek cross between action-packed police procedural and steamy sex.
8 ½ x 11, 48pp. full color paperback, $12.99
ALL SOLICITED FOR IN COMICS STORES NOW!
August 2, 2014 by Margreet de Heer
The second part of our Oxford Experience, the deliciously enjoyable Summer school in Christ Church, Oxford’s biggest college, was devoted to the course The Foundation of Political Thought, by Dr. James Panton, who looks like a Scottish motorbike-riding construction worker and talks like Socrates.
It was an intense, fast-paced course in which we consecutively looked at the philosophers Tocqueville, John Stuart Mill, Hegel, Karl Marx, Durkheim and Weber. Instead of taking notes, I made cartoons, and this is the result:
A little of our previous course on The Beatles still lingered…:
Here’s one Yiri made:
Marx introduced the Capitalist figure of Mr. Moneybags in his writings – the same name that was given to the little Monopoly-guy not long after:
The course was very inspirational and has given me a lot to think about working on my next book, World Domination – a Discovery in Comics.
Feel free to share these cartoons on the Net and in educational presentations – just don’t remove my name from them. Thanks!
July 26, 2014 by Margreet de Heer
Last week, Yiri and I attended The Oxford Experience again – a Summer course in Christ Church, Oxford. For five days, we were immersed in an analysis of The Beatles, their music, lyrics and cultural significance. This course was taught by dr. Rikky Rooksby, a true Renaissance Man, who is both schooled as a lecturer on English Literature and an accomplished musician and composer.
Of course I could not help myself doodling – and here are some of the results of my experiments with a blue biro pen:
And here are a few sketches I did of our teacher, Rikky Rooksby:
(It was very hot all week)
(…so hot in fact, that our teacher took off his shoes, which inspired this Abbey Road reference:)
It was an awesome experience! A Splendid Time was guearanteed for all.
If you’d like to go on a bit of a special holiday next year, why not consider The Oxford Experience? It’s not cheap, but well worth the money, since you’ll come away with unique memories of staying at a centuries old college, enjoying three meals a day in the beautiful Hall, and being taught by knowledgeable and enthusiastic teachers. As well as meeting many fellow students from all over the world. You might even meet me there, since I’ll definitely be back!
July 25, 2014 by Stefan Blitz
Jim signs a copy of Dog Butts and Love. And Stuff Like That. And Cats. at Booth 1714 for a fan.
July 24, 2014 by Stefan Blitz
Rick shows off a copy of Lovers’ Lane: The Hall-Mills Mystery at Booth 1714.