Alex Toth · Heads Up! · Look Here

Heads Up: “Alex Toth’s Zorro: The Complete Dell Comics Adventures”

Coming in December from Hermes Press:

The publisher’s description:

Comics legend Alex Toth’s piece de resistance, the complete Dell adventures of Zorro, is finally available in a [240-page] full-color, archival hardcover reprint! Toth, who defined how action/adventure stories are told, set the standard for comic book storytelling with his Zorro tales. Cited by comic book artists, historians, and fans as some of Toth’s best work, these stories have been painstakingly digitally reconstructed to look better than the original Dell comic books in this deluxe reprint, which also includes tons of supplemental material.

You can read the first episode of the series, in English (in black and white and in colour) and in Spanish (recoloured), at Horacio Diez’s “CÓMIC, historietas, tebeos…” blog. Here’s the link: ALEX TOTH. LA IMPORTANCIA DE LA EDICIÓN.

You can also read the first episode at, starting here. And at Pappy’s Golden Age Comics Blogzine, right here.

Unfortunately, the one thing that all of those scans have in common is that they are very low resolution.

Heads Up! · Illustration Art · Look Here · Mirko Ilic

Heads Up: “Fist to Face” — The Art of Mirko Ilic



On Monday 03 September 2012, “Fist to Face,” a one-man show of Mirko Ilić’s comics, illustration, and design, will open at the National Museum of Montenegro in Njegosev Muzej Biljarda in Cetinje. Mr Ilić will attend the opening and lecture. All are invited.

Truth be told, I suspect that few if any of the people who read this blog will be able to make it to the show in Montenegro, but I really like Mr Ilić’s poster and wanted to share it with you all.

Also, I think that some of you might be interested to know that exhibition coincides with the publication of Dejan Krsic’s Fist to Face, a 320-page, career-retrospective book on Mr Ilić’s work that is scheduled to be published in October.

Here’s the publisher’s description:

Mirko Ilić has a reputation as a rebel, but his iconoclasm is matched with tremendous gifts as an illustrator, a designer, and an educator. Ilić is a visionary and a leading voice of visual culture across disciplines and continents.

This visual biography of one of the most prolific and distinguished designers of the last half century traces Ilić’s formative years as a precocious youth in Yugoslavia during the Communist-bloc era; his early illustrations for comic books and magazines; and his eventual move to the United States, where he quickly achieved notoriety as the art director of Time magazine’s international edition and The New York Times’ op-ed pages. As a designer, Ilić has constantly pushed his craft to new limits, experimenting and reinventing himself at every turn.

Throughout his illustrious career, Ilić has collaborated with design luminaries like Steven Heller and Milton Glaser. He has designed album covers for Rage Against the Machine, created film titles for You’ve Got Mail, and written or designed a number of books, including Genius Moves, The Design of Dissent, The Anatomy of Design, and Stop Think Go Do.

He has taught advanced design classes at Cooper Union with Milton Glaser and now teaches illustration at the School of Visual Arts. His studio, Mirko Ilić Corp., has received awards from the Society of Illustrators, the Society of Publication Designers, the Art Directors Club, I.D., Print, and HOW.

If you can scroll through Amazon’s extensive “LOOK INSIDE!” preview of Fist to Face and still resist pre-ordering the book, you’re a much stronger man than I am…

UPDATE (06 January 2012):

I didn’t have Fist to Face in hand when I posted the above notice, but I DO have it now, and I’m thrilled to report that the book is a must-have for anyone with a love of first-rate, politically engaged, razor-sharp illustration and graphic design. If you’re a fan of Mr Ilić’s comics, however, the news isn’t quite as good. Yes, the book reprints a number of short comics by Mr Ilić, with an emphasis on one- and two-page stories, but not all of the pieces are translated into English and some are excerpts only. And yet, if your only language is English, and you’re a fan of Mr Ilić’s comics, you will almost certainly discover work here that you’ve never seen before, and perhaps you will even be inspired to agitate for an English-language collection of “The Complete Comics of Mirko Ilić.” (I know I want one — I’m looking at you, Fantagraphics!)

Certainly, Fist to Face is a book you will want to read from cover to cover — the story of Mr Ilić’s journey from Yugoslavia (now Bosnia) to the big time in New York City makes compelling reading — but it is also a book that one can easily dip into from time to time for inspiration. The two main features that make the book so accessible to casual browsing are 1) an extremely generous selection of illustrations and designs from every phase of Mr Ilić’s illustrious career and 2) the inclusion of numerous comments and observations from Mr Ilić’s co-conspirators and contemporaries as well as provocative quotations, in boldface type, from the man himself, distributed throughout the book, posted in blocks alongside the images.

All of which is to say, whether you have hours or minutes to spare for looking and reading, Fist to Face delivers the goods. In every respect, the book is a knockout.

Heads Up! · Steven Weissman

Heads Up: “Barack Hussein Obama” by Steven Weissman

Coming in September 2012 (subject to change):

Here’s the official description from the Fantagraphics catalogue:

What does it mean to live in America today? If you know there’s no right answer to that question, you’ll want to read Barack Hussein Obama — a book about you; about your country, your family, your president.

Barack Hussein Obama is not a graphic novel. It’s neither a biography nor an experiment, but a whole, fully-realized parallel America, a dada-esque, surrealistic satirical vision that is no more cockeyed than the real thing, its weirdness no more weird, its vision of the world no more terrifying, where the zombie-esque simulacra of Joe Biden and Hillary and Newt and Obama wander, if not exactly through the corridors of power, through an America they made and have to live in, like it or not.

American cartoonist Steven Weissman takes from the lives of the leader of the free world, his friends, his family, his sworn enemies, and gives them a new life that is both withering and oblique, devastating and contemplative, chaotic and pellucid.

Before you lose your will to vote, read Barack Hussein Obama.

You can read Weissman’s “Barack Hussein Obama” strips online via the “what things do” site: click here.

At turns poetic, surreal, absurd, enigmatic, horrifying, and laugh-out-loud funny, Steven Weissman’s “Barack Hussein Obama” is American politics viewed through gamma-ray specs. Here there be monsters. On both sides of the lenses.

Heads Up!

Heads Up: BLACKLUNG by Chris Wright

Coming in Fall 2012 from Fantagraphics:


Here’s the publisher’s description:

Chris Wright’s Blacklung is unquestionably one of the most impressive graphic novel debuts in recent years, a sweeping, magisterially conceived, visually startling tale of violence, amorality, fortitude, and redemption, one part Melville, one part Peckinpah. Blacklung is a story that lives up to the term graphic novel, that could only exist in sequential pictures — densely textured, highly stylized, delicately and boldly rendered drawings that is, taken together, wholly original. In a night of piratical treachery when an arrogant school teacher is accidentally shanghaied aboard the frigate Hand, his fate becomes inextricably fettered to that of a sardonic gangster. Dependent on one another for survival in their strange and dangerous new home, the two form an unlikely alliance as they alternately elude or confront the thieves and cutthroats that bad luck has made their companions and captors. After an act of terrible violence, the teacher is brought before the ship’s captain and instructed to use his literary skills to aid him in writing his memoirs. He is to serve as scribe for a man who, in his remaining years, has made it his mission to commit as many acts of evil as possible in order to ensure that he meet his dead wife in hell. As the captain’s protected confidant, finding his only comfort in the few books afforded him, the teacher bears witness to monstrous brutality, relentless cruelty, strange wisdom, and a journey of redemption through loss of faith.

I know nothing about Chris Wright’s work in comics, but the cover of Blacklung definitely has my attention. Throw in the publisher’s intriguing description of the book and the glowing notice that a preview PDF of Blacklung (supplied by the author) has already received from Chris Schweizer over at Robot 6, and I may have no choice but to pre-order it!

UPDATE (11 September 2012):

Earlier today over at the Flog Blog, Fantagraphics employee Mike Baehr posted to alert buyers to an unfortunate flaw in the printing of Blacklung:

A small warning: now that we have the printed books in hand, we noticed that due to a strange and unique confluence of events, page 36 is accidentally repeated on page 27. Fortunately, there are no missing pages, and somehow it doesn’t even mess up any other page spreads — like we said, strange. So when you come to that page and it seems out of sequence, just skip on to the next page and everything will be fine.

I’m sure there are folks out there who won’t mind buying Chris Wright’s book despite the repeated page, but I’m not one of them. I’ve cancelled my preorder.

UPDATE (14 September 2012):

“Apology” by Chris Wright:

Chris’s mea culpa is almost enough to make me reconsider my pre-order cancellation…

Heads Up! · Posy Simmonds

Heads Up: MRS. WEBER’S OMNIBUS by Posy Simmonds

Coming in November 2012:

Here’s the publisher’s description along with a few other details:

In May 1977 Posy Simmonds, an unknown young illustrator, started drawing a weekly comic strip for the Guardian, initially titled The Silent Three of St Botolph’s as a tribute to the 1950s strip The Silent Three by Evelyn Flinders. It began as a silly parody of girls’ adventure stories making satirical comments about contemporary life. The strip soon focused on three 1950s school friends in their later middle-class and nearly middle-aged lives: Wendy Weber, a former nurse married to polytechnic sociology lecturer George with a larger brood of children; Jo Heep, married to whisky salesman Edmund with two rebellious teenagers; and Trish Wright, married to philandering advertising executive Stanhope and with a young baby. The strip, which was latterly untitled and usually known just as ‘Posy’, ran until the late 1980s.

Collected here for the first time are the complete strips which originally appeared in the collections Mrs Weber’s Diary, Pick of Posy, Very Posy, Pure Posy, True Love and Musn’t Grumble. Although celebrated for pinpointing the concerns of Guardian readers in the 1980s and their constant struggle to remain true to the ideals of the 1960s, these strips are in fact remarkably undated. They show one of Britain’s favourite cartoonists maturing into genius.

Hardcover: 480 pages
Publisher: Jonathan Cape (Nov 27 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0224096834
ISBN-13: 978-0224096836

Don’t know who Posy Simmonds is? Paul Gravett’s new online article, Posy Simmonds: Essentially English, gives a nice overview of the artist’s career.

Heads Up! · Look Here · Richard Thompson

Heads Up: “Team Cul de Sac” art auctions now open for business!

The bidding at Heritage Auctions actually opened on 27 May 2012, so I’m a bit late with this, obviously — although RCN did feature information about the auction back on 17 November 2011 — but anyway, not to worry: you still have until 10 June 2012 to make a play for a beautiful work of original art like this one, entitled “Queen Alice in Wonderland,” by cartoonist David Clark:


You can browse through the various Team Cul de Sac auction listings via this link.

From the official auction announcement:

Team Cul de Sac was created to honor Richard Thompson, creator of the award-winning comic strip, Cul de Sac, after his recent Parkinson’s disease diagnosis. Cartoonists, artists, illustrators, and animators have donated original artwork for this auction, with 100% of the proceeds benefitting the Michael J. Fox Foundation to support Parkinson¹s research. The auction ends June 10 at 10:00 p.m. The artwork is also collected in a book, Team Cul de Sac: Cartoonists Draw the Line at Parkinson’s (Andrews McMeel Publishing), to be published June 5, 2012. A portion of the proceeds from the book will also be directed to the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

Heads Up! · Tove Jansson


Coming this fall from Drawn and Quarterly:

Moomin’s Winter Follies description:

Due to the resounding success of the hardcover Moomin comics by Tove Jansson and Lars Jansson, D+Q is re-releasing these classic comics in an all-new format. Available in an affordable kid-proof but kid-friendly flexicover, and in full-color for the first time, these books are slimmer versions of the hardcovers, with one story in each volume while previous editions collected four. Moomin wakes up one morning to find the pond frozen over, and rather than hibernate, the family decides to brave the winter weather. At first, their wintry adventure seems to be going swimmingly, until Mr. Brisk of the Great Outdoors Club takes over and forces everyone to embrace the winter sports, whether they want to or not.

Moominvalley Turns Jungle description:

Due to the resounding success of the hardcover Moomin comics by Tove Jansson and Lars Jansson, D+Q is re-releasing these classic comics in an all-new format. Available in an affordable kid-proof but kid-friendly flexicover, and in full-color for the first time, these books are slimmer versions of the hardcovers, with one story in each volume while previous editions collected four. A crate filled with tropical seeds washes ashore, and when Moominmamma plants the seeds, a lush rainforest erupts in Moominvalley. When Stinky liberates some exotic animals from the zoo, chaos ensues, and the Moomins are forced to prove once and for all whether or not they’re related to hippopotamuses.

Moomin’s Winter Follies and Moominvalley Turns Jungle will each be 48 pages in length.

The online pre-order price is currently CDN$8.95 a piece.

Sample pages are online here.

Book/Magazine Covers (All) · Heads Up! · Illustration Art · Joe Kubert


Coming in September from IDW:


From the press release:

Celebrate the 100th anniversary of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic creation

San Diego, CA (May 18, 2012) – Joe Kubert is one of the most lauded artists in the history of comics, a true living legend. He has been a vital creative force since the 1940s and remains so to this day. He has had defining runs on Hawkman, Enemy Ace, Tor, Sgt. Rock, and many others. Among his career highlights is Tarzan of the Apes, and Kubert’s rendition could arguably be called the definitive comic adaptation of the Ape-man.

“To have the Tarzan stories I drew commemorate the 100th anniversary of a strip I fell in love with as a kid is the thrill of a lifetime,” said Joe Kubert, writer and artist of all the stories in this Artist’s Edition.

This Artist’s Edition collects six complete Kubert Tarzan adventures, including the classic four-part origin story. Each page is vividly reproduced from the original art and presented as no comics readers have seen before. For fans of Kubert and Tarzan, this new entry in the Eisner-winning Artist’s Edition line must be seen to be believed!

2012 is the centennial year for Tarzan. Created by master storyteller Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan is instantly recognizable to countless fans around the globe. Other notable creations of Burroughs include John Carter of Mars, Korak, Carson of Venus, and At the Earth’s Core.

“I first read these comics when I was 10 years old, and they remain some of my favorite stories ever,” said Editor Scott Dunbier, “this is Joe Kubert at his absolute best.”

What is an Artist’s Edition? Artist’s Editions are printed the same size as the original art. While appearing to be in black & white, each page has been scanned in COLOR to mimic as closely as possible the experience of viewing the actual original art—for example, you are able to clearly see paste-overs, blue pencils in the art, editorial notes, and art corrections. Each page is printed the same size as drawn, and the paper selected is as close as possible to the original art board.

JOE KUBERT’S TARZAN OF THE APES: ARTIST’S EDITION ($100, hardcover, black and white, 156 pages, 12” x 17”) will be available in stores September 2012.

Of all the Artist’s Editions IDW has released so far, Joe Kubert’s Tarzan of the Apes is the one that I MOST want to own. When the book is available for pre-order, I’ll be there, credit card in hand.

Frank Frazetta · Harvey Kurtzman · Heads Up! · Joe Kubert · John Severin


Coming in early 2013 from Fantagraphics:

The publisher describes the book (paperback, 192 pages, 12 x 12 inches) as follows:

Archival interviews with Harvey Kurtzman, Will Elder, Frank Frazetta, Bill Gaines, and many more, as well as contemporary interviews with MAD artists, are reprinted in the first of a beautifully packaged two-volume set.

The Comics Journal Library series is the most comprehensive series of lavishly illustrated interviews conducted with cartoonists ever published. To celebrate our republication of the legendary EC line, we proudly present the first of a two-volume set of interviews with the artists and writers (and publisher!) who made EC great. Included in the first volume: career-spanning conversations with EC legends Will Elder, John Severin, Harvey Kurtzman, and Al Feldstein, as well as short interviews with EC short-timers Frank Frazetta and Joe Kubert. Also: EC Publisher William Gaines on his infamous Senate subcommittee testimony, and probing conversations between Silver Age cartoonist Gil Kane and Harvey Kurtzman, as well as contemporary alternative cartoonist Sam Henderson and MAD great Al Jaffee. Part of what made EC the best publisher in the history of mainstream comics was some of the most beautiful drawing ever published in comic books, and every interview is profusely illustrated by pertinent examples of the work under discussion. The EC artists were renowned for their attention to detail, and the reproduction here takes full advantage of the oversized art book format.

If you’ve been buying every issue of The Comics Journal since the dawn of time like I have, you’ll have a lot of the material in this volume in your collection already. But digging through old magazines is such a chore…