Sunday, December 20, 2015

Incoming Books: Mid-December

A few days ago, I mentioned buying some graphic novels (squarebound comics, BD, whatever the heck you call fancy comic books in book shapes), because my local comic shop had a great sale for Cyber Monday.

Well, that wasn't the only great Cyber Monday sale. The comics publisher Fantagraphics also had one, and -- since I'm only a man, with a man's weaknesses -- I had to buy some things. Most of those came in at the end of this week, minus the books that haven't actually been published yet. And these are they:

Gag On This, a collection of gag cartoons by the late, great Charles Rodrigues. Fanta also published Ray and Joe, a collection of Rodrigues's longer comics, last year, which I was very happy to see. Rodrigues had a wonderfully scruffy line and an equally scruffy mind to write the comics he did. I'm amazed that there's a Rodrigues revival, but it's very welcome.

Violenzia And Other Deadly Amusements is the latest collection of comics by Richard Sala, master of stylish mayhem and creepy doings and attractive young barefoot girls. What Sala does is very distinctive and, one might even say, predictable. But no one else does it, and I love it.

The Complete Peanuts, 1995 to1996 by Charles M. Schulz (of course!) sees the reprint series coming close to the end of the line at Schulz's death in 2000. This one also has an introduction by a couple of the current Rifftrax writers (not Mike, Bill, or Kevin, the faces and voices of the franchise) and a couple pages of Schulz strips riffed -- which doesn't work terribly well, but that's understandable: it's a style designed for bad art, so why would we expect it to work with Schulz?

And then I got a few things from the  less reputable side of Fanta, their Eros imprint -- which, as I understand it, kept the whole enterprise afloat in the rough '90s, but is basically defunct now in the era of Internet porn. (One does wonder what Fanta/Eros could make out of DeviantArt, but not in our side of the Trousers of Time, I suppose.) One was Frank Thorne's The Complete Iron Devil because I've never read much Thorne, and I have the sense that his work was always smutty to one degree or another, so this should be representative, more or less.

And I also got two of Fanta's collections of those old under-the-counter gems, the Tijuana Bibles. Those were Volume Seven and Volume Eight; I may try to collect the whole series. I read the big Tijuana Bibles book before this blog started, and still think I might get a new copy to replace the one the floodwaters stole. TBs are weird, quirky products of the deepest recesses of the American Id -- some of them are just lousy, but some are fascinating, and a select few are fun and amusing and well-drawn. (That, though, is never the way to bet -- they were cheap crap mass-produced illegally to meet a disreputable need.)

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