They come around so rarely now that they deserve top billing when they do: The Comics Journal #302 has landed and it’s just as big as the last one. It’s got the longest Maurice Sendak interview ever published, and it’s one of the last interviews he did before he died last year. He looks back at his 60 year career and talks art, childhood, parents, life and death. There’s an excerpt over at the online Comics Journal which I’m going to put a chunk of here because, well, obviously:
SENDAK: …It’s what you see as a child, it’s what you notice. It’s like when I was … the man who wrote a book that said Hauptmann was not the killer of the Lindbergh baby … and that’s bad. He made the terrible mistake of talking about his book at the Richfield Library. Richfield, this is the most right-wing, goyish a county that could ever be. And I went to the lecture, about eight people there — Who wants to hear about the Lindbergh kidnapping? — I kept raising my hand saying, “No, no you got that wrong, you got that wrong,” and afterward … he came over to me and said, “Can we have coffee? You seem to know an awful lot about his case.”
And I said, “I know when you made a mistake. You really haven’t done your homework carefully enough.”
So we went out for coffee and he said, “What is it about his case that … Why are you so involved in it, even now?”
And I said, “Because when I was child, and I was shopping with my mother and she was holding my hand because I was a very little boy, and I passed the newsstand, and I saw a picture of the baby dead in the woods with an arrow pointing down to show it had to be him, and I took my mother to see it. And apparently nobody but me saw it.” So I was convinced that I was crazy and that I saw a dead baby in the newspaper. And I said, “It’s only in the past few years that I realized Colonel Lindbergh was enraged that that picture was used and it was taken off the afternoon edition; I saw the morning edition.”
I spent my whole life believing I saw that picture. But that to me is why children are so important: they see these things.
And then you have a mother who says, “You didn’t see that, that’s disgusting! Why do you think of such things?”
And I told my father and he says the same thing, “I don’t want you to talk about that!”
But see, children see those things. And when you take away the truth from them, you take away everything from them. And one of the passions I have about children is, we don’t know what they see, we don’t know what they really hear. And occasionally they are polite enough to let us in.
Wise dude. Also in the new Journal you’ll find an interview with Jacques Tardi by Kim Thompson, Art Spiegelman talks classic kids’ comics, there’s a previously unpublished Roy Crane interview, plus new comics stuff by Joe Sacco and Lewis Trondheim, and lots more besides. Speaking of the Journal, Eddie Campbell wrote a great piece on the way we talk about write about comics. Smart stuff being said, applicable to music and all sorts. Go read.
Lewis Trondheim himself turns up in a new and ridiculously French-sounding graphic novel called The Initiates by Etienne Davodeau. It’s an account of an experiment whereby the cartoonist swapped jobs with a wine-maker for a year and the wine-maker sat around reading and making comics and meeting all Etienne’s comics pals — Trondheim, Marc-Antoine Matthieu (Museum Vaults), and Emmanuel Guibert (The Photographer and also this week’s Ariol: Just a Donkey Like You And Me drawn by Marc Boutavant, preview here).
Genius, Illustrated: The Life and Art of Alex Toth is the very late (is it very late? I have no idea, it seems like people have been asking for it for months) follow-up to Dean Mullaney and Bruce Canwell’s Genius, Isolated. This one covers everything from the 1960s to his death in 2006, so you’ll get a lot of artwork and complete stories from his time at Warren, DC, Red Circle, Marvel, plus Hanna-Barbera animation stuff, sketchbook pages, doodles and all manner of thing pulled from drawers and boxes in Toth’s house.
Slight thematic change here from cartoonists and why they do it to, uh, sticker books about Kurt Cobain. Kurt & The Gang is from the same guy who brought you the Bill Murray colouring book, Thrill Murray, of which we have several copies back in stock sitting right next to these new Kurt-themed stickers. “After putting together the Bill Murray colouring book I guess a sticker book seemed like the next obvious step. I was a big fan of the Merlin Premier League annuals as a kid, I grew up with swaps and shinies. The illustrators I wanted to work with lent themselves nicely to a sticker book. The madness began.” Mike Coley talks to Don’t Panic about the book and where to find the best pizza in London. Preview there too.
Elsewhere on the upstairs new release shelf you can find Adventures of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks, a hardcover and in-colour-for-the-first-time collection of her occasional webcomic (previewed here), a new Assassin’s Creed book by Karl Kerschl and Cameron Stewart called The Chain, and Caitlin R. Kiernan’s Alabaster Wolves in hardcover (preview here). Downstairs, Batman: Night of the Owls HC collects the whole sprawling storyline that went through several DC titles. Daredevil by Mark Waid HC Volume 1 collects issues #1 to #10.1 of, uh, Daredevil by Mark Waid along with the crossover Amazing Spider-Man issue (#677), in an oversized format so you can see Paolo Rivera’s pretty pencils a little bit bigger. It’s arguably Marvel’s best monthly comic. Fantastic Four: Island of Death collects, in trade-paperback, Fantastic Four: Isla De La Muerte!, Spider-man & The Human Torch In…bahia De Los Muertos! and Fantastic Four In Ataque Del M.O.D.O.K.! all by Tom Beland and Juan Doe, exclamation point.
Comics. Elephantmen #46 is worth picking up this week even if you’re not an Elephantmen person because Shaky Kane (Bulletproof Coffin) drew it. Here’s a preview. Similarly, Creepy Comics #11 has some “new romantic scares” (sounds medical) from Gilbert Hernandez and Peter Bagge, et al. Dark Horse have a preview. Fan-favourite Walking Dead villain The Governor is the subject of this week’s Walking Dead special, which collects a story from the character’s early days (previously published in the 2012 CBLDF Liberty Annual) as well as some stuff from Walking Dead #27.
Quick #1s round up: there’s Katana #1 by Ann Nocenti and Alex Sanchez (previewed here), Nick Spencer and Luke Ross’ Secret Avengers #1 (previewed here), Powers: The Bureau #1 by Bendis and Oeming which is a good jumping on point for new readers standing awkwardly by the pool (preview here), and Uncanny X-men #1, also by Bendis, illustrated by Chris Bachalo. Preview here if you like Bendis. Bendis.
And finally, finally, we have a six-issue miniseries by or about Coldplay or something. Says the press release: “Every album begins with the germ of an idea, every song tells a story, and now it is finally revealed that there is a secret other worldly narrative behind Coldplay’s newest hit album and its enigmatic title: Mylo Xyloto.”