* CBR has a pretty extraordinary Joyce Farmer in-store appearance report. Man, it sounds like she tore her guts out to make that book.
* Matt Seneca interviews CF for the Hooded Utilitarian. One of the highlights is CF’s impassioned denial that he’s encoding occult symbolism of any sort into Powr Mastrs. And he really comes out swinging in favor of story-based comics:
I’m aware that there are young people right now trying to make moves in comics and deny the story, but comics are a storytelling medium, more or less. They can be poetic in the hands of one who “knows” (John Porcellino), but comics are designed to tell stories of some kind. So in a way you’re asking “why comics?”.
Stories are actually our history, our knowledge, our wisdom. We can’t live without them! Stories are unique in their ability to speak on many levels at once in a very intimate way. I’m drawn to that infinity of possibility. I want to talk about “everything” with my work, but in an elegant and economical way. Comics are perfect for this. So we have funny jokes, economics, significant and insignificant events, cruelty, violence, eroticism, death, and tranquility within one work. It’s a visual world, with exclusive abilities, living in time…. and still so simple. That to me is very beautiful. This is what comics are for… if I want to do other things, I make a painting, a sculpture, or music. There’s no excuse for abusing comics. Of course we can play with the idea of “story”, and I think that’s a great, worthy thing to do, but I want the characters and ideas to always remain legible within that experiment.
* This looks promising: The writers and cartoonists L. Nichols, Darryl Ayo Brathwaite, and Kevin Czapiewski have started a group blog called Comix Cube, where they’re mostly talking about influence and process and such, and in refreshingly personal terms. Highlights so far? Czap’s review of Blaise Larmee’s 2001, and his post touching on (among other things) one of the greatest comics of all time, Kevin Huizenga’s “A Sunset.” To me that’s the “Here” of the ’00s. Like Czap, I too was floored by that strip — it absolutely recalibrated my understanding of what comics were capable of. I think it’s maybe the underdiscussed comic of the past ten years.
* I’m tabling this till I can actually read the book, and god knows when that will be, but at first scan, Charles Hatfield’s review of James Stokoe’s Orc Stain, comparing it at length to other acts of fantasy-narrative worldbuilding and to D&D, looks like it’s working some very fertile ground.
* Dan Nadel explains Fort Thunder. Readers looking for a canonical list of Fort residents will come away confused, though, so make sure to consult The Official Handbook of the Fort Thunder Universe if you have any questions.
* Graeme McMillan loved Nick Bertozzi’s Lewis & Clark. Can’t wait to check this one out; Bertozzi’s historical comics have historically been beasts.
* Spider-Man’s joining the Fantastic Four (again). Sure, I’ll eat it. Spidey’s got a history with those characters, he’ll give the book some comic relief, the Hickman/Epting FF run has been really entertaining so far, and I like costume color changes on principle. Why not?
* Here’s an amusingly complete recap of the past fifty or so episodes of Jesse Moynihan’s cosmic-realist webcomic Forming. It’s a bit like reading a Wikipedia entry on The Young & the Restless, only instead of Victor Newman, there’s Ghob King of the Gnomes.
* I’m less nuts about Grayson Currin’s rave review of James Blake’s self-titled full-length album for Pitchfork, because given that the record’s big departure from Blake’s previous, shorter releases is the introduction of singing, it seems like the lyrics should have been discussed more, which is to say at all. This goes double because the lyrics are so minimalist, and therefore so direct. But I could just be saying that because the singing and the lyrics are what sold me on Blake at last, after a bunch of instrumental EPs that I thought were kind of undistinguished versions of things I’d heard before as far back as Burial and as recently as the last Four Tet record. By contrast, James Blake feels like the emergence of a bonafide pop songwriting tradition with mid-to-late-’90s Aphex Twin at its roots, which couldn’t be more up my alley. (That said, when I hear the phrase “Joni Mitchell cover,” I reach for my gun.)