Tagged: Tom Spurgeon

Morgan Pielli’s Pile of Minis: The Shortpants Observer Issue #1

This week we’ve got a really interesting a new anthology to look at! Originally formed as a collective of Midwestern cartoonists, Shortpants Press has blossomed into an indie publisher of curated talent. Now they’ve put out their first anthology; a three-color collection of some of the groups’ artists. According to their website, Shortpant Press was described by Tom Spurgeon as “one of the half-dozen most reliable sources for quality mini-comics going right now.” I’m happy to report that The Shortpants Observer Issue #1, edited by Sarah Becan, lives up to that high praise.

The book features four artists, each with a very different style and choice of subject matter. Normally (as I’ve expounded upon in previous reviews), this could have easily resulted in a scattershot anthology; bereft of focus. However, perhaps because of their relationship with the Shortpants collective, these artists share a similar rhythm and sensibility. So, while the comics themselves are very different, the tone of the book has a subtle cohesiveness.

Mr. Magic in: Holey Moley by Anya Davidson is a surreal story about a slick huckster; part con-man and part sociopath; who has almost supernatural powers. Davidson’s thick marks and loose line-work is reminiscent of Lynda Barry. Coupled with a prose full of 60s-era Robert Crumb swagger, there is an intimacy to the story, as though it were being told specifically to you. There is a lot going on here, both visually and textually, and it can become a bit overwhelming at times. But overall Davidson strikes a good balance with her conversational tone and aggressive mark-making.

Four Short Comics About Death by Corinne Mucha are conversational in a different way. These autobiographical ruminations about mortality are as funny as they are frank. Mucha draws in a pared-down style that is rich with charm and flows nicely with her writing (though she could do with more variety of facial expressions). My favorite comic of the anthology was her second-to-last of the four; Easy Life, Hard Life, Hard Life, Easy Life; is about something a since-departed friend once said to the author that always stayed with her. Indeed, that friend’s mantra (the story’s title; about the dangers of procrastination) stuck with me as well.

Sorties by Becca Taylor is a fascinating mash-up of different existing texts, culled presumably from nature programs and documentaries about sharks, as well as excerpts of prose and poetry. The comic reads like a stream-of-consciousness narrative. Coupled with the fluidity of Taylor’s delicate line-work and isolated visuals, the story has an appropriately dream-like underwater quality to it.

Lastly is Forever by Jeremy Tinder, a melancholy moment-in-time piece about three friends (a girl, a boy, and a bear) in the woods. It feels like it was part of a larger story, but it functions well as a stand-alone piece all the same. Tinder presents an interesting mystery as the story’s focal point; an atomic clock in the middle of nowhere. The artist has a refined style that he is working with; honed to maximize clarity of story-telling; that reads like visual language. His people (and bear) are as characterful as his writing is nuanced.


Look for more from Morgan Pielli online at IndestructibleUniverse.com and follow him on Twitter at @UltraMorgnus

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The Randomness on a Holiday Season Saturday

It’s a Saturday in December and we’re in full gear Holiday Season drive here at FPNYC.

Christmas, Bruce Willis Die Hard
From my favorite Christmas movie- Die Hard.
  • Man, do I wish one of our suppliers and/or colleagues made a high-quality repro of that shirt (I’m looking at you, founditemclothing.com ).
  • Can’t think of that perfect gift for the comics-savvy person/people on your shopping list? Tom Spurgeon (aka The Comics Reporter) has some great suggestions.
  • Perennial all-ages bestseller Bone has some mighty stiff competition from Amulet this year.
  • You may have seen in an earlier post that Lynda Barry came by the shop last week and signed all our copies of her new book, Picture This.  Pick yours up while we have stock, or contact us for mail-order availability.  There’s something else… What was it?  Oh yeah, the book was also favorably reviewed  in The New York Times last week.

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SDCC: Eisner Award Winners 2010

The Eisner Awards were presented Friday evening in concurrence with Comic-Con International at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront.  Onstage guests included the cast of the imminent Scott Pilgrim film, Thomas Jane, Ben Garant (Reno 911), voice actor Phil Lamarr (Futurama, Samurai Jack). The event was MC’d by Maurice LaMarche (“The Brain,” from Pinky & The Brain and notable veteran of many other cartoons).

There were also some real life comic creators there, presenting awards to their  peers, the likes of which included Chris Claremont, Milo Manara(!), James Robinson, Berkeley Breathed, Peter Bagge, James Sturm, and Jillian Tamaki.

The works below are linked to either the item on the FPNYC webstore or the winner’s homepage where applicable.

Best Short Story
“Urgent Request,” by Gene Luen Yang and Derek Kirk Kim, in The Eternal Smile (First Second)

Best Single Issue (or One-Shot)
Captain America #601: “Red, White, and Blue-Blood,” by Ed Brubaker and Gene Colan (Marvel)

Best Continuing Series
The Walking Dead, by Robert Kirkman and Charles Adlard (Image)

Best Limited Series or Story Arc
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by Eric Shanower and Skottie Young (Marvel)

Best New Series
Chew, by John Layman and Rob Guillory (Image)

Best Publication for Kids
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz hardcover, by L. Frank Baum, Eric Shanower and Skottie Young (Marvel)

Beasts of Burden, winner Best Painter, Best Publication for Teens
Beasts of Burden, winner Best Painter, Best Publication for Teens

Best Publication for Teens
Beasts of Burden, by Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson (Dark Horse)

Best Humor Publication
Scott Pilgrim, Vol. 5: Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe, by Bryan Lee O’Malley (Oni Press)

Best Anthology
Popgun, Vol. 3, edited by Mark Andrew Smith, D. J. Kirkbride and Joe Keatinge (Image)

Best Digital Comic
Sin Titulo, by Cameron Stewart

A Drifting Life, winner Best Reality-Based Work, Best U.S. Edition of Foreign Material (Asia)

Best Reality-Based Work
A Drifting Life, by Yoshihiro Tatsumi (Drawn & Quarterly)

Best Adaptation from Another Work
Richard Stark’s Parker: The Hunter, adapted by Darwyn Cooke (IDW Publishing)

Best Graphic Album — New
Asterios Polyp, by David Mazzucchelli (Pantheon)

Best Graphic Album — Reprint
Absolute Justice, by Alex Ross, Jim Krueger and Doug Braithewaite (DC Comics)

Best Archival Collection/Project — Strips
Bloom County: The Complete Library, Vol. 1, by Berkeley Breathed, edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW Publishing)

Best Archival Collection/Project — Comic Books
The Rocketeer: The Complete Adventures deluxe edition, by Dave Stevens, edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW Publishing)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material
The Photographer, by Emmanuel Guibert, Didier Lefèvre and Frédéric Lemerier (First Second)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material — Asia
A Drifting Life, by Yoshihiro Tatsumi (Drawn & Quarterly)

Best Writer
Ed Brubaker, Captain America, Daredevil, Marvels Project (Marvel) Criminal, Incognito (Icon)

Asterios Polyp, winner Best Writer/Artist, Best Graphic Album, Best Lettering

Best Writer/Artist
David Mazzucchelli, Asterios Polyp (Pantheon)

Best Writer/Artist–Nonfiction
Joe Sacco, Footnotes in Gaza (Metropolitan/Holt)

Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team
J. H. Williams III, Detective Comics (DC Comics)

Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art)
Jill Thompson, Beasts of Burden (Dark Horse); Magic Trixie and the Dragon (HarperCollins Children’s Books)

Best Cover Artist
J. H. Williams III, Detective Comics (DC Comics)

Best Coloring
Dave Stewart, Abe Sapien, B.P.R.D., The Goon, Hellboy, Solomon Kane, Umbrella Academy, Zero Killer (Dark Horse); Detective Comics (DC Comics); Luna Park (Vertigo)

Best Lettering
David Mazzucchelli, Asterios Polyp (Pantheon)

Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism
The Comics Reporter, produced by Tom Spurgeon

Best Comics-Related Book
The Art of Harvey Kurtzman: The Mad Genius of Comics, by Denis Kitchen and Paul Buhle (Abrams ComicArts)

Absoloute Justice, winner Best Graphic Album (reprint), Best Publication Design
Absoloute Justice, winner Best Graphic Album (reprint), Best Publication Design

Best Publication Design
Absolute Justice, designed by Curtis King and Josh Beatman (DC Comics)

Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award
Vault of Midnight, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Hall of Fame
• Burne Hogarth
• Bob Montana
• Steve Gerber
• Dick Giordano
• Michael Kaluta
• Mort Weisinger

Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award
Jeannie Schulz

Bill Finger Award for Achievement in Comic Book Writing
Otto Binder, Gary Friedrich

Russ Manning Most Promising Newcomer Award
Marian Churchland (Beast)

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