Here's an exclusive excerpt of Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, a new graphic novel adapted by Troy Little and published by Top Shelf Productions. Available in October. Meet Troy Little, at both Top Shelf booth #1721 and IDW booth #2743, throughout Comic-Con.
A dark noir rendering of the classic Italian children's novel, this tripped-out reimagining of Pinocchio comes from the fevered mind and hand of Winshluss. Pen name for Vincent Parannaud, Winshluss is the award-winning French artist and filmmaker perhaps best known for the animated feature, Persepolis, which won the Jury Prize at Cannes and was nominated for an Academy Award, Golden Globe, and Cannes' Palm d'Or, among others.
It's hard to express just how beautiful Pinocchio is. And how dark. Using pen and ink, watercolor and paint, and brilliantly style-checking Georges Méliès, Windsor McCay, Walt Kelly, Walt Disney, Zap! and decades of underground comic artists, Winshluss uses the basic tropes of Pinocchio (artificial boy, characters inside a whale, and Jiminy, here a cockroach) to frame and interweave several dark, often disturbing, tales. As the moods and motives of the narrative shift, so do the styles and colors of the art. Throughout, everything feels overcast, bone-damp, sooty, and rusted shut. This is a world overwhelmed with desperation and decay, death and naked human immorality.
In this telling of the tale, Pinocchio is not a puppet who becomes a boy, but a toy soldier built by Geppetto for servitude. And war. He and the book (with some exception) are speechless, and like a hapless Mr. Bill or Chauncey Gardner in Being There, Pinocchio becomes a sort of dumb foil for the dramas and characters interwoven throughout the book, at once comical and tragic. And unlike the original novel by Carlo Collodi, the main characters basically never interact, although Jiminy Cockroach lives inside of Pinocchio's hollow head and their interweaving stories impact each other (e.g. when Pinocchio gets “fired” from an assembly-line job for not producing enough toys and thrown into a furnace, Jiminy feels the heat). Perverse takes on Snow White, the Seven Dwarves, Bambi, and other Disney staples also make appearances.
I have reviewed several very post-modern comics on Wink, like Big Questions and Beautiful Darkness, that employ similar thematic and artist strategies (dark noir, referencing/coopting different artists, stories, and styles, exploring social issues through surreal, often wordless storytelling). But Winshluss' Pinocchio feels the most cinematic and affecting of them all. And have I mentioned how ridiculously beautiful this book is? One reviewer likened the “performance” of it to high opera. I can't think of a better allusion. Or bigger artistic compliment.
A very dark, sumptuous, tripped-out take on the classic tale of Pinocchio
2011, 192 pages, 10 x 12 x 1.2 inches
$31 Buy a copy on Amazon
Tara Shultz, 20, of Yucaipa, CA along with her parents and friends are protesting the inclusion of four award-winning graphic novels that are taught in an English class at Crafton Hills College because they feel they are too violent and pornographic to be read by college students. On Thursday they assembled outside the campus administration building to express their outrage. The four graphic novels are Fun Home by Alison Bechdel; Y: The Last Man, Vol. 1 by Brian Vaughan; The Sandman, Vol. 2: The Doll’s House by Neil Gaiman; and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi.
I expected Batman and Robin, not pornography,” Shultz told the Redland Daily Facts Newspaper. But Shultz was provided with complete information about which books would be covered in the class. Because Shultz did not pay attention to the syllabus, she and her parents and their friends now want to prohibit everyone from reading the books at the college.
From the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund:
Shultz, who is working towards an Associate of Arts in English at the public community college, signed up for English 250: Fiction because it fulfills one part of her degree requirements. She was apparently aware that the specific focus of the class was graphic novels, but she told the newspaper that “I expected Batman and Robin, not pornography.” Shultz says that Associate Professor Ryan Bartlett, who has taught the course for three terms without any other complaints, failed to adequately warn students about the books’ content. Her father Greg Shultz said that “if they (had) put a disclaimer on this, we wouldn’t have taken the course.” Tara Shultz agreed, saying that Bartlett “should have stood up the first day of class and warned us.”
Of course, Shultz and her parents did have complete information about which books would be covered in the class – the school requires instructors (p. 20) to distribute a detailed syllabus on the first day of the term – and ample time to withdraw with no effect on her grade. Fourteen other courses offered at Crafton Hills fulfill the same degree requirement as English 250. The college’s online calendar shows that the Spring semester began on January 12, and the last date to drop a course with no grade penalty was January 30. Shultz apparently brought up her objections to four out of ten books covered in the class after that date, when her only options were to complete the assigned work or withdraw with a 0.
Bonus stupidity: Tara Shultz' father wants these books yanked from the college bookstore, because “there are under-aged kids here at this campus.”
Comics legend Scott McCloud returns to fiction with The Sculptor, the exceptional story of a struggling sculptor who makes a deal with Death for incredible artistic ability at the cost of his life in 200 days. The story is long and sprawling and details those last days as David tries to leave his mark on the art world. It’s epic and heartbreaking and sure to leave a lasting impression when you’re done.
McCloud has been a frontrunner of online publishing since releasing Reinventing Comics in 2000. It’s interesting then that his newest work is something I feel has to be experienced in print. The book is THICK, and on some level almost feels sculpted; the design of the thing from jacket to cover to page is presented as a complete work of art. This has to be important when you name your book The Sculptor. The book is beautifully built, and I actually prefer the blue hardcover illustrations of David and Meg over the full color dust jacket. Pages are colored mostly in blue, which is unique and serves to make the drawings look almost like a blueprint or an artistic sketch at times, underscoring the sculpting/art element of the story in a cool way. McCloud’s drawing is top notch; he uses the full power of comics, sometimes going for pages without a word of dialogue, letting the pictures tell the story. On several occasions I paused to study pages for longer than I normally would, just because there is so much going on in each panel. There is not a wasted image among them, every little expression and detail is used to tell the story. It’s great to see an artist putting so much effort into every aspect of their work, and having the full weight of it in hand elevates the experience. – Alex Strine
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776 pages commemorating a quarter-century of Canada's outstanding, astounding indie comics press, including essays by Margaret Atwood, Jonathan Lethem and Lemony Snicket, and featuring seminal stories from Jillian Tamaki, Chris Ware, Adrian Tomine, and Art Spiegelman.
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I haven't read a comic book this much fun in a quite a while. The Humans, written by Keenan Marshall Keller and drawn by Tom Neely is about a planet (Earth?) where apes rule supreme and humans are mute beasts. Sound familiar? Yes, it's Planet of the Apes, but without the time-traveling astronauts (at least not yet) and without a Lawgiver handing down a sacred "Ape Shall Not Kill" scroll.
One other difference: instead of riding horses, the apes ride choppers and behave like 1960s outlaw motorcycle gang members. They deal drugs, throw wild parties, encroach on rival gangs' turf, and engage in epic knife-and-chain rumbles. There's the Haterz (an "all-gorilla ape-power gang from Okland"), the Thrill Killers ("hippy-dippy druggies" who "run the acid trade in San Francisco"), Los Muertos from Las Vegas ("these dudes are strange and keep to themselves"), Satan'z Minions ("Satanist, viking monsters who live in the deserts"), and -- the stars of the series -- The Humans (who are apes but think The Humans is a good way to broadcast their violent, animalistic way of life).
The gangs use homo sapiens (they call them "skins") as work animals, and train them to fight each other for gambling and entertainment purposes. One of The Humans keeps human females as sex slaves, much to the disgust of the other members.
Artist Tom Neely (Henry & Glenn Forever) is perfect for this series. It's detailed, slightly-cartoonish, and old school enough to convey the era of underground comics. The coloring by Kristina Collantes is superb.
Image has collected the first four issues into a trade paperback that includes bonus art and an issue of The Humans' motorcycle club newsletter.
Seconds - a humorous graphic novel about a mushroom that allows a young chef to “revise” her mistakes with unexpected consequences
If you had the power to erase your mistakes, what would you do? Would you change big things, little things? How about every single seemingly insignificant thing you did today? That’s the question in Seconds, when Katie, a young chef aspiring to own her own restaurant, discovers a magical mushroom that allows her to “revise” her mistakes. Immediately she uses the power to course correct every aspect of her life, from arguments with friends to bad business decisions. As you’ve probably guessed, things quickly spiral out of control, often in humorous ways.
The book itself is pretty; the full-color artwork is drawn in a style similar to the Scott Pilgrim cartoony-ness that made author Bryan Lee O’Malley famous. The pages have a painted quality and the panels are bordered with a ton of white space on the top and bottom so you can never forget that you’re reading a book. This design feels thematically important to the story, as Katie is constantly forced to question her reality and we are constantly reminded that the story isn’t “real.” A handful of full page illustrations creep in to surprise you with how awesome they look: the two-pager of the Seconds basement is something I would hang on a wall. The book has a cool hardcover design with a dust jacket that interestingly does not cover the entire book, making this a great addition to any bookshelf. – Alex Strine
There is no way around it. Habibi is a strange graphic novel. Not strange as in surreal, or ugly, or weird, but strange as in stranger, different. It is beautifully drawn. The writing is poetic. But the story is… odd. It takes place in an indefinite time in a place where Islam and Christianity meet. It wrestles with myth, status, slavery, love and transcendence.There’s horrific sin and redeeming grace. There’s an exotic multi-generational saga. It also serves a tutorial on how arabic calligraphy works. See, strange like that. This big fat book is a true work of art.
Imagine Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer told in Family Circus comic strip style, Alice in Wonderland’s Alice as a rude fat brat with a Valley-girl accent, Little Red Riding Hood as a young woman who climbs into bed with the Wolf, or Harry Potter told as a comic without words, except for some exclamations and sound affects. Although these mega-popular “children’s” stories have already been recreated by illustrators, artists and filmmakers throughout the years, Graphic Canon presents them and 46 others with a fresh and twisted take by contemporary artists such as Dame Darcy, Lucy Knisely, Roberta Gregory, and World War 3’s Peter Kuper. From Aesop fables and Brothers Grimm tales to The Little Mermaid, Mark Twain’s “Advice to Little Girls,” The Oz series and Watership Down, this fourth volume of Graphic Canon brings us household children’s literature as we’ve never seen it before. This book of children’s literature might not be suitable for children! I would rate it PG-13.