Sunday, May 23, 2010

More Strange Tales?

For those of you who enjoyed Strange Tales, which were a bunch of short stories by indie comics creators about Marvel superheroes, it looks like a new set of stories will be coming out at some point.

Farel Dalrymple broke the news on his LiveJournal page when he posted a couple of panels from his Spider-Man/Silver Surfer story.  As with all of his stuff, it looks fantastic.  No word on who else is contributing to the project, or when it will be released.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Live-Tweeting from the 2010 MoCCA "Best Comics of the 00s" Panel

Back on April 10th, I attended the MoCCA Fest panel called "Best Comics of the 00s."  The panelists were Eric Reynolds from Fantagraphics, Becky Cloonan (Demo), Alex Robinson (Box Office Poison), Nick Bertozzi (The Salon), and comic critic Douglas Wolk.  The panelists were asked to talk about their favorite books from the last decade.  Here is a recap of the panel from moderator Brian Heater of The Daily Cross Hatch.

And . . . I actually live-tweeted during the entire panel.  Because the panel was not recorded or otherwise preserved for posterity, I thought I would re-post my tweets here.  (By the way, you can follow me on Twitter here: @iloverobliefeld.)

Here are the tweets:

At the "Best Comics of the 00s" panel, watching everyone futz with their mikes. 4:07 PM

Eric Reynolds thinks Wally Gropius is a masterpiece. 4:08 PM

Nick Bertozzi (The Salon) is finishing up a graphic novel on Lewis and Clark. Neat. 4:09 PM

After Demo, Becky Cloonan will be doing an 8 issue series for Dark Horse written by Gerard Way. 4:10 PM

Alex Robinson just started a 500 page book called Career Killer. 4:11 PM

Douglas Wolk picked David B's Epileptic as one of the best of the 00s. 4:14 PM

Becky Cloonan picked Scott Pilgrim, says it's bringing new readers to comics. 4:15 PM

Nick Bertozzi picked Little Nemo, the supersized version as one of the best of the 00s. 4:16 PM

Alez Robinson picked Grickle. 4:18 PM

(Make that "Alex.") 4:19 PM

Eric Reynolds picked Jimbo. 4:20 PM

Says page composition is unbelievable. Unlike anything else you'll ever see. 4:22 PM

Douglas Wolk also picked Fun Home. "Incredibly funny writer dealing with painfu memories." 4:23 PM

Cloonan picked BPRD. Guy Davis is her favorite contemporary cartoonist. 4:24 PM

It gets her choked up. "Nothing is wasted in this comic." 4:26 PM

Dave Stewart, the colorist, is incredible. First color comic that blew her mind. 4:27 PM

Bertozzi picked Jack Kirby's Kamandi. "A complete rip-off of Planet of the Apes." 4:28 PM

"The man was ON FIRE, when he was doing Kamandi." 4:31 PM

Alex Robinson picked Guy Delisle"s travelogue Pyongyuang. (sp?) 4:33 PM

Pyongyang? 4:33 PM

Nick Bertozzi is winning this panel. 4:35 PM

Cloonan says the storytelling is cinematic and lush. Says he "picks his shots" well. 4:37 PM

Reynolds picked Jimmy Corrigan. One of the most influential graphic novels, he says. 4:38 PM

Pushing the formal envelope, runs the gamet of human emotions, perfectly drawn. 4:39 PM

"How particular is Chris about the format of the book?" Reynolds: "What do you think?" 4:43 PM

When Pantheon printing it in 2001, Ware flew on his own dime to Singapore to make sure they printed it right. 4:44 PM

Wolk picked Charles Burns's Black Hole. 4:44 PM

Reynolds thinks it is very readable, but it has a lot of subtext that gives it a deeper resonance as you go back to it. 4:45 PM

"The unquestioned master of the brush in comics." Reynolds on Burns. 4:47 PM

Becky Cloonan picked Blade of the Immortal. Now it has devolved into torture porn, but volumes in the middle are incredible. 4:49 PM

Bertozzi picked Town Boy, by Lat. Hilarious, quick smooth drawing style. 4:52 PM

Robinson picked Mike Dawson's Freddie and Me, which Robinson is actually in. 4:54 PM

Reynolds picked Deitch's collected works. Says he is the one of the original underground cartoonists who is at the top of his game. 4:56 PM

Reynolds called Deitch a "yarn-spinner." 4:59 PM

I asked what their favorite books of this year are. Reynolds said Footnotes in Gaza, Wolk said Weathercraft, and Cloonan said ... 5:02 PM

Fraction's Uncanny X-Men. Panel over, and I'm signing off. 5:03 PM

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Review: Two from Toon Books

Here are my thoughts about two new books from children's comic book publisher Toon Books:

1) Zig & Wikki: Something Ate My Homework, written by Nadja Spiegelman, art by Trade Loeffler, 2010, Toon Books, 40 pages, $12.95

In Zig & Wikki, an alien and his talking encyclopedia/robot friend land on Earth looking to abscond with some local wildlife to fulfill the alien's homework assignment.  They run across flies, dragonflies, frogs, and a raccoon, have a small adventure, and learn some science factoids courtesy of robot Wikki's encyclopedia screen.  It's a cute and simple story, appropriate for all ages.  There isn't too much to say with this one: like all of the Toon Books, I can pretty much guarantee that small children will like it.

READ MORE: Here is a six-page excerpt from the book.

BUY IT: From Toon Books here or from Amazon here: Zig and Wikki: Something Ate My Homework

2) Benny and Penny in The Toy Breaker, by Geoffrey Hayes, 2010, Toon Books, 32 pages, $12.95

The brother and sister mice Benny and Penny have already starred in two previous books (Benny and Penny in Just Pretend and Benny and Penny in the Big No-No), so my kids were already familiar with them and looking forward to the new story.  As with the earlier books, Benny and Penny face a problem while playing in their backyard.  Here, their cousin Bo comes to play, and the three of them just don't play well together.  Bo doesn't treat their toys well, and Benny and Penny don't want to include him in their playing.  As with the other books, unfortunately, the kids are pretty mean to each other (every book uses the phrases "cry-baby" or "go crying to your mommy," which seems a little unnecessary -- even if it is clear that it is not a nice thing to say, I don't really want to introduce this phrase to my  kids in the first place).  But the ultimate message of the book is good:  they learn that when they treat each other nicely, they all have more fun playing together.  And I like Hayes's drawings -- they give enough detail to make the world interesting, but don't become overwhelming or too confusing for little kids.

READ MORE: Here is a six-page excerpt.

BUY IT: From Toon Books here or from Amazon here:  Benny and Penny in the Toy Breaker

Lastly, everyone should check out the "Toon into Fun" section of the publisher's website, which has an excellent cartoon maker. My kids LOVE using the characters from the various Toon books to make their own cartoons, complete with word balloons, props, and backgrounds.  Here's one I just made using characters from Eleanor Davis's Stinky (my favorite Toon book):

RELATED: Here are my other reviews of children's comic books published by Toon Books:

Disclaimer: These reviews are based on complimentary copies provided by the publisher.