The Locust Moon Top 40: July 2014

40. THE WICKED + THE DIVINE

The new Image series from McKelvie & Gillen, a sort of bottomless bonus track to their dark-magic rock opera PHONOGRAM, is one of the most promising series to debut in 2014.

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39. This NSFW Spider-Man Statue

This baffling statue, atop a South Korean shopping mall, gives new meaning to the phrase “web fluid.”

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38. CHARLES SCHULZ’S PEANUTS: ARTIST’S EDITION

This beautifully designed collection of unaltered original Peanuts artwork brings us Charles Schulz’s earliest strips just as he made them — raw, unfiltered, and a little bit mean.

40 peanuts

37. OUTCAST

The world-weary horror of Robert Kirkman’s story is brought to life by the atmospheric, choking tension of Paul Azaceta’s moody, worrisome artwork. A promising debut for what looks to be a truly frightening series.

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36. This Animated Lobster Sculpture

Very lifelike. Keep it far away from butter sauce.

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35. THE LEFTOVERS

This off-beat, darkly funny, sprawlingly intimate HBO series, based on Tom Perotta’s novel of the same title, follows life in a small town in the years following the Rapture.

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Tuesday Tease

This week’s special TUESDAY TEASE goes out in honor of all those who’ve backed, supported, and spread the word of our insane LITTLE NEMO: DREAM ANOTHER DREAM Kickstarter campaign. We’re halfway through, and thanks to all the wonderful comics fans who’ve found us so far, we’ve raised an outright astounding $90,000!

Calvin Reid at Publishers Weekly wrote a great piece on the book & success of the campaign today, for which we unveiled another beautiful page from DREAM ANOTHER DREAM: CRAIG THOMPSON‘s! Craig (Blankets, Habibi) is a pillar of modern American cartooning, and one artist (among many!) that we are absolutely honored to have take part in this project. Here’s his page!

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Now, over on the Kickstarter site, I’ve written a lengthy update to give backers a look behind the scenes at what goes into something like this (and what we get out of it) from a financial standpoint, so go read that if you haven’t yet and are at all interested: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1576907254/little-nemo-dream-another-dream/posts/904343

The ultimate point of that post is to explain and announce our campaign’s brand-new STRETCH GOAL: if our campaign hits $125K before it’s through, we’ll be able to add on some beautiful new stuff to people’s rewards. A big bookmark from FAREL DALRYMPLE, a print of GERHARD’s majestic introduction to Slumberland, and an exclusively crazy 3D print of DENIS KITCHEN’s Little Nemo strip (colored by BOX BROWN)! Take a look:stretch125-bookmarks stretch125-prints

So that’s what we’re shooting for now. And we hope that everyone — current, future, and even never-backers who just care about cool things — will help us keep spreading the word about this book. On social media, in person, over fax and through plastic cup telephones. Let’s make sure everyone hears about this book now, when there’s a chance to get all this awesome stuff with it (if you haven’t seen all the rewards at the Kickstarter page yet, check it out — what’s pictured above is only the tip of the iceberg!).

– Andrew Carl

The Locust Moon Top 40: June 2014 – Nemo Edition

This is the space where we usually spotlight 40 amazing things from the last month — adorable cat videos, cheesy songs we can’t stop listening to, and COMICS COMICS COMICS. For the month of June, we’ve decided to do something a little bit different.

If you’ve been anywhere in our general vicinity or exist within nine degrees of separation from us on Twitter, you are probably by now aware of the epic Kickstarter campaign we’ve launched for our insane, Quixotic, 16″ x 21″ hardcover Winsor McCay tribute LITTLE NEMO: DREAM ANOTHER DREAM. This is one star-studded anthology — maybe the most star-studded comics anthology of all time — and there’s been a lot of press and attention on the big names who’ve come together to pay tribute to our favorite Sunday strip: the Paul Popes, John Cassadays, Michael Allreds, J.H. Williamses (and Yuko Shimizus and Bill Sienkiewiczes and Dean Haspiels and yada genius yada).

So we wanted to use this space to draw attention to 40 artists in DREAM ANOTHER DREAM whose names you may not know yet — cartoonists and illustrators whose work is stunning, beautiful, restlessly inventive, original and bold, but who haven’t yet achieved the name recognition of the people mentioned above. One of the things we love most about LITTLE NEMO: DREAM ANOTHER DREAM is that it combines the biggest artists of its day with the biggest artists of tomorrow. Here, in no particular order, are forty folks you should be hearing a lot about in the next few years.

Note: click on any artist’s name to get to his or her website and see more.

40. RAUL GONZALEZ. Raw and refined. Sweeter than sugar, harder than real deal moonshine.
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39. BODIE CHEWNING is, quite simply, one of the most talented people out there. If only we could get him to draw more than six pages a year…
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38. Master of puppets JENNA TROST charms and creeps in equal measure.
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37. DAVE CHISHOLM slings a pen and a trumpet the exact same way — like he invented the thing, and he’s gonna show you what it can do.
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36. With a precise cartoonist’s eye, KATIE MOODY turns stories upside-down, inside-out and back again.
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35. BISHAKH SOM‘s mind-bending architecture, gentle characters, and inviting colors can keep us staring for hours.
bishakhsom Continue reading

the palace of ice

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this is the book that launched my love affair with little nemo and winsor mccay. up until receiving this book as a christmas present, i had only heard of this master artist and cartooning genius. this book held pure, unbridled wonder from cover to cover, and it was impossible to read it and walk away unchanged. over the years the particular copy i have has acquired a kind of totemic power for me; although i know its contents by heart, opening it up has a mesmerizing effect, a feeling of being transported that i can’t quite describe.

hopefully someone will have that feeling when they open LITTLE NEMO: DREAM ANOTHER DREAM.

maybe they’ll be able to describe it better than i.

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–chris stevens

Tuesday Tease

The topic of the month? Little Nemo. We thought we’d unveil a new page for you in celebration of the humblingly successful first 24 hours of the LITTLE NEMO: DREAM ANOTHER DREAM Kickstarter!

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James Harvey, editor of the rather absurdly perfect (or perfectly absurd) BARTKIRA project and artist/writer of the upcoming Image title PLANET PLANET, blew our minds with this stunningly ambitious, lovingly faithful take on Little Nemo for DREAM ANOTHER DREAM. Watch where the clown tells you to start reading — this thing reads left to right, doubles back on itself, arcs over the Flatiron building, peeks in at the First Second offices then plunges through the pavement into the subway.

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James also put an astonishing amount of thought into replicating the turn-of-the-century New York Herald’s then-cutting-edge color processes — these colors are formatted as three plates, as McCay’s strips would have been. The love and talent and invention on display here are obvious. And of course, it took a Brit to craft the most iconically New York strip in our book of tributes to an iconic New Yorker.

But the rest sure are pretty, too!

It’s been a little while since our last Tuesday Tease, but between Locust Moon’s unofficial westward expansion and our preparation of a certain Kickstarting book, we’ve all been pretty swamped. Apologies!

Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream KICKSTARTING NOW!

You may have heard us talk about this project before.

Now we’re finally ready to ask for your help in bringing this incredible book, this massive love letter to all that was, is, and can be great about comics, into this world.

The contents are done, we have a deal in place with the very printer who took care of Sunday Press’s totally perfect Little Nemo reprints, and now it’s all a question of funding. For a 144-page, 16″ x 21″ hardcover, the cost of printing is nothing to sneeze at.

Please, take a look at what we’ve managed (somehow!) to assemble together here — the sheer volume of modern masters, all working at a size and level of love they rarely if ever get a chance to even approach — and consider helping us any way you can. Even if you haven’t a single dime to spare towards ordering a book for yourself, there is so much that you can still do if you want to see this book become a real thing.

You can tweet. You can tumbl. You can reddit (we have no idea how to reddit!). You can pin and you can share and like. You can tell you friends, your local comic shop owners, and your eccentric neighbors. Grab the nearest soapbox and just get the word out there, everywhere. This is a chance to get the whole world talking about McCay and Little Nemo. Let’s all raise our voices together.

And let’s get started.

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kickstarter.com/projects/1576907254/little-nemo-dream-another-dream
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Tuesday Tease

Maris Wicks and Joe Quinones are one of our favorite working couples in comics. Their work seems to always bring a smile with it, whether they’re teaming up or going solo on books like FF, Primates, Wednesday Comics, Batman ’66, or Spongebob Comics. 

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So we’re super proud to welcome them into the Locust Moon family for LITTLE NEMO: DREAM ANOTHER DREAM!

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They’ve collaborated on one of the most charming strips in our tribute to the great Winsor McCay, complete with a certain hungry dinosaur who’ll end up printed about a foot tall on these broadsheet-sized pages!

To show any more would spoil the fun. But needless to say, a certain dinosaur’s appetite is very well documented. You’ll see!

– Andrew Carl

By the way, we’re keeping this list of Nemo names updated with most of the contributors we have publicly announced – so check it out if you’re wondering who else has signed up! And our first revealed pages from the book can be found here.

On Annie Lennox, David Bowie, and Waking Up

Imagine: you are a seventeen-year-old Annie Lennox, 1972. Listening to Ziggy Stardust with headphones plugged in to the hi-fi, alone with the songs, trying without luck to solve the seemingly insoluble mystery of what in the world this Spider from Mars is doing to you. Stuck in your shabby little teenage life, receiving this interstellar transmission that lays you open, hits you where you’re weak. You close your eyes and the music envelopes you. This little room in this worn down house, your bad haircut, your petty kid confusions — they all fade away and you are there in the bigger, scarier world from which this stuff is broadcast, this shadow dimension that feels realer to you than the mundane one in which you live. John, you’re only dancing.

Jump two decades, 1992. Here you are in London in your billowing dress and sequins, with your white-painted face and black-painted eyes in the visage of some dark goddess, having successfully climbed through the speakers into that other world, the one made of music and sex and voodoo, the one where this impossibly beautiful shape-shifting genius lives. He’s right here, Ziggy himself, Alladin Sane, the Thin White Duke in a pale green suit – you can see him, you can touch him, and even better you can sing with him. Not just any tune, but UNDER PRESSURE – this four-handed battering ram of a song, this song that doesn’t make sense at all unless its performers wield it as a weapon and try to burn each other down with hungry love. It’s a song that you have to try to win, and if it works its magic and the center holds you fight to a draw, close it out having laid everything on the line, Rocky and Apollo Creed clinging to each other, barely standing, spent – ain’t gonna be no rematch.

So here’s you, dizzy, drunk on impossibility, unsure sure how you got here in front of this sea of humanity, fronting Queen with David Bowie – you’re supposed to be paying tribute to Freddie Mercury, but for the moment it feels like you are Freddie Mercury, and didn’t he and Bowie fuck? Who knows what the rest of the night holds. You know one thing: you will give yourself to this performance, this moment, this song. You’ll get its blood under your fingernails. You’ll hang yourself from it like a cross, let it tear you limb from limb. You’ll sing it harder, louder that Mercury ever did, you will sing it better than the imponderable creature singing with you, this flesh & cheekbone godling with the mirrored eyes and lacquered hair – he’ll sing it like he always does, just like it sounds on the record, the consummate showman, his three decade career beyond its finest days, but damn if he doesn’t look ageless, good as ever, better even – he’ll sing it well but you’ll sing it like you’re trying to stave off execution.

And after the breakdown, with barely a moment to catch your breath, as the melody starts to build again to the shattering keen of its climax, you’ll let yourself get carried away: standing together on the lip of the stage you’ll wrap yourself around him, feeling his cool body and hot breath, his pulse barely elevated because he’s David Bowie, and what would it take in 1992 to make his heart race? You’ll push your face against his, feeling the softness of his skin, his fresh shave — he is human, after all, not an ambisexual android, not the man who fell to earth, just some person of impeccable vision, a dreamer who built a better myth, newer, sleeker, that turned on multitudes, multitudes which include you. And you’ll pull yourself closer to his body, constricting on him as tightly and ferociously as you’ve splayed yourself out across this song.

It’s erotic to be sure – your lip-quivering longing as you touch him with your mouth, push your space-face close to his – but it’s bigger and wider than lust, it’s wishful identification and hero worship and ego and sorcery and transcendence, that whole larger than life rock & roll current burning through you. It’s an erection of the heart. You want to fuck him, of course, that goes without saying — but what you really want to do is combine with him in violent harmony, your claws in each others’ hearts as reality comes crashing down around you in some kind of metaphysical orgasm, little death made huge, two perfect post-gender geniuses locked in an Ouroboros of art and fame and sex and myth and music.

You push in, closer and closer, your eyes closed, as dreamy as they were listening to Ziggy on the floor of that boring teenage house. You let the song, this perfect song, carry you, your lips moving ever nearer to his but never touching, some tantric proof of Zeno’s paradox, your heart hammering, your voice swinging every note like a haymaker, your eyes tight as he keeps his gaze set dead on the crowd, the perfect performer, deflecting every gaze, shining back the light shone on him brighter and hotter. Happily withholding everything, so utterly comfortable with his role as a totem, an object of painful longing and unmanageable desire, from you, from the crowd, from the world. Enjoying your perfect love but betraying nothing, letting your pure incendiary thirst hang hopefully in the air. Until the note ends and with a sly smile he steps away, finally looking at you, snapping his fingers, and the greatest moment of your life is over.

Or maybe your heart can’t handle that kind of thunder. So forget Annie Lennox, try this one on: you are me in 2014. A fledgling comic publisher and retailer with a career that’s half imaginary, no book that’s done any big sales, no money, no business plan to speak of, just a lot of love and partners who constantly inspire you and an unshakeable desire to make comics even though you don’t really know how and can’t draw, a fixation that you don’t entirely understand but you know stems from the fact that comics did something to you when you were a kid, worked some kind of strange magic and you never shook it off so now you’re stuck in this fucked up industry with no idea what you’re doing, with nothing on your side but this pure want.

And you and your dudes wind up concocting this tribute to Winsor McCay, who is your favorite cartoonist of all time (tied with Bill Watterson), start pitching it to people and suddenly the thing takes on a life of its own and the lineup of contributors reads like a list of the people whose work you admire most, some of them the actual ones who enchanted you in those formative, bad haircut, transmission-from-another-planet years.

All these pages start pouring in and they’re so wild, so massively ambitious, just full of sublime desperate passion, all these brilliant people from the top to the bottom of the comic industry breaking their backs, working fingers to the bone, drilling deep into the wellsprings of their vision, creating these glorious strips that look back with gratitude and forward with hope, dancing across the huge, forgotten expanse of this broadsheet page, pushing comics to their very limit.

And as the whole beautiful thing begins swimming into focus it starts to feel like you’re spending your days in conversation with the dreamer himself, this titan who died eighty years ago, and it feels like he’s listening. Talking back to you. It feels like you reached through the page somehow, these magical pages that ravaged your mind, that infiltrated your dreams, that became a central part of your understanding of the world and yourself, of your fantasies and nightmares. It feels like you read so hard, and loved so much, that a doorway opened, and even if you could only poke your head in for a second you could feel the soft Slumberland sun on your face, taste peppermint on the wind. You’re doing it not by talent, not your own at least, but by lighting a beacon, finding remarkable people who love what you love and bringing them together. And it turns out, for fleeting moments, that yes Virginia, love is as potent as money, as strength, as power.

You press your face against it and it dances away. All you get is a taste – it can’t ever be yours. But goddamn, Annie, thanks for the reminder: if you ever get a chance to sing with David Bowie or build your own Slumberland, you better not fuck it up.

-Josh O’Neill

Tuesday Tease

With the announcement of three new contributors to LITTLE NEMO: DREAM ANOTHER DREAM, the least we could do was share a panel from one of these guys’ pages for the book.

So here’s how DAVE CHISHOLM‘s loving (and in this case, wonderfully destructive) marriage of comics and music kicks off:

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And it’s all downhill — for Nemo, but certainly not for us — from there…

– Andrew Carl

By the way, we’re keeping this list of Nemo names updated with most of the contributors we have publicly announced – so check it out if you’re wondering who else has signed up! And our first revealed pages from the book can be found here.

LITTLE NEMO: DREAM ANOTHER DREAM update

Proudly announcing three new contributors to LITTLE NEMO: DREAM ANOTHER DREAM…

STEPHEN R. BISSETTE

Legendary creator Steve Bissette is rightfully adored for kicking off Alan Moore’s groundbreaking SWAMP THING run and creating S.R. BISSETTE’S TYRANT®, the same fascinatingly realized tyrannosaurus rex who’ll be starring in his own monstrous strip for DREAM ANOTHER DREAM.

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TROY NIXEY

A top-notch cartoonist who turned our heads back in the ONI DOUBLE FEATURE, Troy continued to wow us in books like JENNY FINN and BATMAN: THE DOOM THAT CAME TO GOTHAM with Mike Mignola. Lately he’s been spending a lot of time directing films like DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK, but luckily he’s decided to make room for Nemo…

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DAVE CHISHOLM

We met this guy last fall at the Society of Illustrators, where he showed us his soon-to-be-published graphic novel, INSTRUMENTAL. Dave appears equally enamored with making music as he is with making comics…and if he’s half as good at playing that trumpet as he is at laying down a page of comics…well…life just wouldn’t be terribly fair for the rest of us.

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Curious to see what Dave’s bringing to the NEMO table? We’ve got a peek for you right here.

– Andrew Carl

We’re keeping this list of Nemo names updated with most of the contributors we have publicly announced – so check it out if you’re wondering who else has signed up! And our first revealed pages from the book can be found here.