Archive for lucy knisley

odds and ends

Posted in odds and ends, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on March 18, 2011 by Christopher Pearce

As is likely clear from my weekly trolling of all our local thrift stores, one big vice that I have is books. I love books. Love to own ’em, love to have ’em, and I really love ¬†fancy-pants special editions of my favorites books, comics, and stories.

Behold one fancy collection that I will have to somehow live my life without owning:

The Bone 20th Anniversary Full Color One Volume Collector’s Box Set. It comes with an art print signed by Bone creator Jeff Smith. It comes with three pewter figures of the Bone cousins. It comes with a 22k gold-plated recreation of Phoney Bone’s gold coins. It comes with a facsimile of Bone #1 in black and white. It comes with a DVD documentary.

Oh, it also comes with one of my favorite comic stories ever, in hardcover with a beautiful new coloring job… presented in a handsome red case.

Cost: $350 dollars… although Cartoon Books is offering a version for $1,000 dollars wherein Smith will draw and Hammaker will watercolor a sketch for you. I honestly prefer Bone in B&W as that is how I originally encountered the story, but you cannot argue with how beautiful Steve Hammaker’s work is. Plus, I LOVE that Phoney Bone coin.

Alas and alack… I think I’ll probably use that money to feed and clothe my children. I will content myself with the original One Volume edition, which proudly sits on the shelves of both my classroom and my own private collection.

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I was excited to read Horribly Heartbroken at Hogwarts this week, a sort-of travelogue by cartoonist Lucy Knisley and her studio mate Laura Renick-Reinhart.

I’ve become a fan of Knisley’s work in the past year, especially her contribution to Dan Savage’s It Gets Better campaign. It inspired me to write my own comic in response!

HHH found its’ beginnings in a rather unique fashion- Knisley and Renick-Reinhart opened a Kickstarter project to fund a trip to Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure, with the goal of visiting the new Harry Potter theme park in Orlando, Florida. The deal was this: if the readers would fund their trip, they’d get to read the comic about the trip. The ladies’ project was a resounding success- they asked for $2,500 dollars… they got over $7,000. Had I been in a position to donate at the time, I certainly would have… but I’ve contented myself with resting on other’s laurels and buying a PDF of the comic after the fact.

As far as the comic pertains to the more lofty stated goal of the strip (connecting their recent break-up woes with significant others to their love of Harry Potter), I thought HHH missed the mark. There are some interesting swipes at the thesis; in particular, I liked the observation Lucy makes about dealing with her logical-thinking ex-boyfriend versus her more emotional travel companion. Still, by and large the “heartbroken” stuff felt shoehorned into the comic and wasn’t my favorite part of the 25 page book.

From the perspective of a travelogue, I enjoyed Horribly Heartbroken at Hogwarts immensely. Part of the goal of this project seemed to be glorying in all things Potter and the authors carry that off with style. I, for one would jump at the chance to pay for Knisley and Renick-Reinhart to take another trip in the future, if it means more comics like this. Ladies, if you’re ever interested in a sequel, I will gladly fund your trip to visit the places in England and Scotland where the Harry Potter movies were filmed.

Download the comic for $3 dollars!

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Finally, I wanted to share this with all of you. A few months ago, I told you all about my son Elliot’s love of Ralph Consentino’s Batman: The Story of the Dark Knight, to the point where he has the book memorized and will quote it for you in odd places. I got in touch with Ralph and he generously sent Elliot a lovely drawing of the Dark Knight himself.

Ellen is the manager of an art gallery/framing studio and she decided to have both Ralph’s drawing and my own sketch framed… and here’s the result:

A beautiful job, if I do say so myself. I wanted to thank Ralph again here on the blog- it was a genuine thrill for Elliot… and myself!

friday odds & ends: comics recommendation edition

Posted in commentary with tags , , , on June 4, 2010 by Christopher Pearce

I thought for today, I’d take a second to recommend some comics that I’m currently enjoying. I know a lot of my readers aren’t traditional comics readers, so if you are inclined… take a minute to check out something new!

I picked up cartoonist Lucy Knisley’s work at a secondhand bookstore and like most people who read her comics, instantly became a tremendous fan. Her travel journal French Milk soon made its way into my classroom’s comic lending library and became a great favorite of all who checked it out, especially those students who are beginning their first year of studying French. I’m an armchair critic to be sure, but talking with my kids, it seemed they liked how approachable Ms. Knisley paints herself and her exploits in Paris. I can bear this out; I sent Lucy a quick e-mail letting her know how much my students and I have enjoyed her book, emphatically saying that she did not need to write back to me, I just wanted to let her know what a hit she was… and she wrote back. My students were thrilled.

Anyhow, Knisley’s just self-published another “everything and the kitchen sink” collection of comics titled Make Yourself Happy. My awesome sister Laura picked me up a copy of this collection a few weeks ago at MoCCA and it’s terrific fun. Lots of 24 hour comics, a de facto sequel to French Milk wherein the author and her boyfriend revisit the City of Lights, and some other really lovely comics. Click over here to buy some stuff.

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I was a Boy Scout for eight years. Some of you might scoff at that, but scouting was a HUGE part of my life as a teenager. I am an Eagle Scout, f’r Pete’s sake. That being said, the “image” of a Boy Scout that most people have never quite jibed with me. Sure, “Trustworthy, loyal, helpful brave…” and all that… but c’mon. TEENAGERS.

Cartoonist Mike Dawson gets this and I am a complete and total fan of his recent comics project Troop 142. Again, my sister was kind enough to scoop up the first three print collections of Troop 142 and they so accurately capture the scouting experience… heck, the adolescent teen male experience… it’s eerie.

Lucky for you that Mr. Dawson’s posting the ENTIRE Troop 142 comic online for your perusal. Start here and enjoy!

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I don’t buy many comic books these days. I’ve lately preferred to wait and buy trades and hardcover collections, but I wanted to recommend one “traditional” comic to folks before the movie leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouths. You may have seen commercials for the upcoming Jonah Hex movie starring Josh Brolin and Megan Fox. It looks pretty turdy, I agree. Your opinion of the movie should not influence your opinion of the source material because man oh man, DC Comics’ Jonah Hex is the best.

Hex is, for those who don’t know, a down and dirty Western where the main character is a wholly unlikable cuss. Hex is a bounty hunter with an occasional code of honor, and his series has been chugging along for about five years now, all of which have been ably written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray. The book has a rotating roster of powerhouse comics artists including J.H. Williams III, Darwyn Cooke, and the tremendous Jordi Bernet.

The cool thing about Jonah Hex is that besides a few storylines, each comic issue is self-contained. You can pick up one, read it, and be done… or you can get bit by the bug and devour the series whole-cloth. It’s not Superman or Captain America, but it’s just awesome.