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True Crime

by Ho Che Anderson
Paperback: 80 pages
Fantagraphics Books
ISBN: 1560971126
Comics artist Anderson has produced a grand, interpretive biography of Martin Luther King Jr. that seeks to probe the man, his accomplishments and America's racial dilemma. Powerfully cinematic, the work opens with a series of anonymous characters, the attestors, speaking of their personal attraction to, or disdain for, King. Then a short sequence focuses on four urban black communities,  presenting a contemporary sampling of racial conflict and violence, before introducing King's childhood in Atlanta, Ga., in 1934. From there he plunges into King's life with a passion: graduate studies in liberal Boston; meeting Coretta; his collaboration with Ralph Abernathy; Rosa Parks and the Montgomery bus boycott; and the ever present physical danger. This first of a projected three-volume series ends with King's stabbing at a boycott in 1960. Anderson has produced a vividly complex portrait of a legendary American figure, detailing King's flaws--his woman-chasing and domineering personality--as well as his courage and moral vision. The stark black-and-white illustrations erupt from the page, perfectly capturing the visual force of a violent and heroic period in American history.
Copyright 1993 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
A compelling look at a very great, but very human, man.
This book is a revealing documentary about one of the greatest men in American history, Martin Luther King, Jr. It essentially reveals that this man who is now seen as the Twentieth Century's equivalent of Abraham Lincoln was also a man of foibles and some weaknesses, and how much of his crusade still has to be won. And yet, the book does not take away the essential nobility of his fight, even though it was shown to be tougher than we remember. In fact, this book, by showing how King had flaws, emphasizes that we have ability to take up his cause and not be intimidated by the lionized image of this very great, but very human, man.
Brian Biggs
Frederick & Eloise:
A Love Story
by Brian Biggs
Fantagraphics Books
ISBN: 1560970960
Dimensions (in inches): 0.15 x 8.02 x 7.22
BLAB Edited by Monte Beauchamp
     & Chris Ware
Click HERE to order BLAB #9
Edited by Monte Beauchamp & Chris Ware
Paperback: 144 pages
Fantagraphics Books
ISBN: 156097284X
"No comics anthology currently in production shows as wide a variety of the medium's potential as BLAB!"
--The Onion
"Neither periodical or book, BLAB! is quite obviously a work of art."
--Comic Buyer's Guide
Two years after the multiple-award winning Blab #8 comes editor Monte Beauchamp's next installment of America's premiere comics anthology. The front and back covers are by Gary Baseman, and you'll find new comics stories by Richard Sala, Doug Allen, Spain, Terry Laban, Peter Kuper, Chris Ware, and others. Plus there are essays on America's first serial killer, Howard Unruh (by Jeffrey Steele), and the cover art of Dell mystery paperbacks (by Beauchamp). The cornerstone of this issue is an amazing 13-page retrospective of the art of Boris Artsybasheff, an expatriate Russian designer/illustrator who created more than 200 covers for Time. His images of war and industry influenced a generation of artists.

From Booklist:
From the modest digest size of its first eight numbers, Blab has evolved into a square, oversize affair. The elaborate ninth edition includes strips from Richard Sala, Spain Rodriguez, Peter Kuper, and Chris Ware (the latter two's stories appear in vibrant color, and they are not the only ones that do). Nearly as impressive are newcomers Archer Prewitt, Brad Johnson, and Peter Hoey, and editor Beauchamp casts his net beyond the comics world to gather work by Tony Fitzpatrick and Christian Northeast. All these artists' contributions are enjoyable, but those of some cartoonists who work in more conventional modes, such as Terry LaBan and Doug Allen, don't particularly benefit from the lavish packaging, careful production, and cutting-edge design. A retrospective of illustrator Boris Artzybasheff's work and a portfolio of vintage Dell paperback mystery bookcover art round out the volume. With the demise of Art (Maus) Spiegelman's Raw, Blab is the leading showcase for contemporary cartoonists; may its new publisher publish it more regularly.

Gordon Flagg
Copyright© 1998, American Library Association. All rights reserved.
BLAB # 10
Click HERE to order BLAB #10
"At its peak, it's like The New Yorker--
for mutants."
--LA Reader
Edited by Monte Beauchamp & Chris Ware
Paperback: 112 pages
Fantagraphics Books
ISBN: 1560973234
"It is, simply, a great book."
--Chicago Tribune Magazine
From Booklist:
Since the demise of the groundbreaking Raw nearly a decade ago, the vaguely annual Blab has become the premier showcase for comics as art. The latest edition features leading names in the field and some promising newcomers. Standouts include Peter Kuper's paean to porn, Al Columbia's vision of the Apocalypse that resembles an old black-and-white Max Fleischer film cartoon, Spain's autobiographical story of a visit to a degenerate carny, Richard Sala's take on German expressionistic film, Pamela Butler's feverishly sexual Red Riding Hood drawings (mature readers only here), and a Rocket Sam tale by Chris Ware, who does more in two pages than most artists can accomplish in an entire graphic novel. Raw mainstay Gary Panter makes his Blab debut with an uncharacteristic, rather inconsequential illustration. But why does editor Beauchamp fill the volume out with mundane essays on boxer Jack Johnson and R & B singer Jackie Wilson? (Drew Friedman's caricature almost redeems the latter, though.) Aside from such prose miscues, the only bad thing about Blab is the long wait between volumes.
Gordon Flagg
Copyright© 1999, American Library Association. All rights reserved.
BLAB #11
by Monte Beauchamp (Editor)
Paperback: 120 pages
Fantagraphics Books
ISBN: 1560974079
America's premier anthology of cutting-edge comics and illustration art is back with its most spectacular volume yet. Sporting all-new covers by acclaimed painter Mark Ryden, Vol. 11 features the return of comics giants Richard Sala, Peter Kuper, Drew Friedman, as well as illustration legends David Goldin and Jonathan Rosen. Newcomers include American Illustration award-winner Greg Clarke and Lou Brooks. With the cream of the crop of comics and illustration talent from around the world, BLAB! is a fan-favorite in both comics circles and the world of graphic design. 
From Booklist 
The latest edition of the roughly annual anthology Blab is always welcome. Originally an elegantly packaged showcase for alternative cartoonists, Blab now includes cutting-edge graphics of all forms. New-to-Blab talents--notably the Clayton brothers and cover painter Mark Ryden, all known for their appearances in the alternative-art magazine Juxtapose --appear alongside Blab regulars, who are among the brightest luminaries in the comics-as-art world. Standout contributions include a droll story by American Illustration Award-winner Greg Clarke, David Goldin's tale of nautical child abuse, and disquieting visual fairy tales from Blanquet and Pamela Butler. Strong contributions from relative traditionalists Richard Sala, Peter Kuper, and Spain Rodriguez prompt regret that Blab has largely turned away from its comic-strip roots. Letdowns include a one-page toss-off from Drew Friedman and an inconsequential prose story by illustrator Lou Brooks (such occasional prose pieces are Blab' s Achilles' heel). Editor Beauchamp's contribution is an assortment of vintage German postcards depicting Krumpus, a Satanic anti-Santa who punishes wicked children. Sharply designed and attractively assembled, Blab belongs in libraries' graphic novel and fine-art collections.
Gordon Flagg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved.
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