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In October the science fiction writer Harlan Ellsion (pictured) sued Fantagraphics. It seems entirely accurate to say that the lawsuit is frivolous but in all honesty the thing seems bizarre enough to me that I'm nervous even saying the word 'bizarre,' 'frivolous,' or 'thoroughly megalomaniacal' for fear of being sued myself. This is only my independent opinion.
In the words of the official release from Gary Groth: "He is (basically) suing us over two issues: First, in the history-of-Fantagraphics book 'We Told You So: Comics as Art' that we serialized on the Fantagraphics website last year, Gary told two brief anecdotes about Ellison's conduct during the infamous Michael Fleisher trial. We are defending ourselves by arguing the content of these anecdotes are a) opinion and b) true (and for that matter have been circulated for over a decade unchallenged including on Ellison's own website in the context of the notoriously one-sided Gauntlet article), Ellison has now elected to allege that they were libelous. When we were apprised by Ellison's attorney initially that Ellison was unhappy with these comments, we offered him space in our book to rebut these comments or offer his own counter-narrative, but he rejected these options and chose to file suit instead. Second, we reprinted the Ellison interview that caused the Fleisher suit in our Comics Journal Library collection The Writers. Ellison is not suing over this - in fact, he's admitted in public that we own the interview and have the right to reprint it - but is claiming instead that it is illegal to use his name on the cover (along with the names of the other writers we interviewed)." Read the details here to get the whole picture.
To add to the trouble the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has washed their hands of it on the basis that this isn't a comic book issue since it's not a graphic novel or the like. Strange since the book is all about the history of a leading comics publisher and the book Ellison is suing over is all interviews with comics folk. But what do I know?
Since Eric our Shill ain't here this week and Gary isn't blog savvy I'm taking the reigns on sharing that Fanta, once again, needs help with paying their bills. This is becoming quite the expensive lawsuit. Worse in the unlikely event that Ellison wins the suit.
What can you do? Check that link above but the short answers are: 1. Buy books, lots of em. 2. Donate money. If you're an artist and want to donate art for auction that helps too. 3. Drop a line to propose 'guerrilla marketing ideas' or carry 'em out yourself.
SO. Call our 800 number and give us a donation via credit card; Pay by PayPal at email@example.com; Send us a check at our address: 7563 Lake City Way, Seattle, WA 98115.
Please make sure we have your name so that we can list you as one of our supporters if you so choose. Please help us prevent Harlan Ellison from crippling an independent publisher.
My two cents are this: I've been here at Fanta for going on three years and my respect for this company has never flagged. The consistency of Kim and Gary's integrity to the medium blows me away and I'm proud to have been any part of their vision, which is a lucky thing to have in a job. Fantagraphics has done more to archive (not just reprint) historically significant comics than anyone else and they've brought art comics into a more mainstream framework for disseminating the form while keeping it pure. In reading the 30 year history of the company they seem never to have seriously considered money as a motivation beyond the necessary steps to stay afloat. (Granted: Eros is in my mind a crassly tarnishing factor and perhaps the one area I see the integrity waver but it kept the company publishing great comics when the industry was in a downturn.)
In their rough history they've elevated the status of comics, pushing and pushing on the industry for three decades, fearlessly creating controversy and bruised egos and enemies for the sake of making comics more than just kid stuff and banal stories. I think comics would be in a very different place without the Comics Journal and Fantagraphics.
A misconception about the company is that Peanuts has made it rich. It's not. In fact, if anything, that opportunity enabled Fanta to step up putting out even more great books but, really, those books aren't million-dollar generators. It's not unusual to lose money on publications. But they're out there, illustrators are preserved, history is archived. It's a great thing.
I'm also floored by how supportive the fans of Fanta are. I get disappointed by my own cynicism so to see people flood in with support is really awesome. (The fans saved Fanta from closing up shop a few years back.) So all I'm saying is: if you donate/buy books you can feel good about the decision. End of two cents.
The Family store in Los Angeles had a party to commemorate being fully up and running, I guess. What an amazing looking shop. That Saelee Oh window installation will be growing live plants up out of the soil there. Rad and rad.
The Living and The Dead by Jason After a couple of downright chatty full-color books (Why Are You Doing This? and The Left Bank Gang) the Norwegian cartoonist Jason returns, for his ninth Fantagraphics graphic novel, to his two-tone mute roots with The Living and the Dead, a George A. Romero-esque zombie comedy that he intends to be the middle installment of his "horror trilogy" begun with the Frankenstein monster love triangle of You Can't Get There From Here. Jason's elegant deadpan style somehow manages to make the gruesome gore and splatter effects almost... charming - and yes, it is a sweet love story at heart. If you read only one book in which a zombie devours a baby this year (even Romero never quite summoned up the nerve for that), read this one! 48-page softcover black & white 7" x 10" $9.95 Available Now!
The goal of the Celluloid Bainbridge festival is to bring the Bainbridge community together to learn about and celebrate local filmmakers, both established and aspiring, and to provide a venue for the filmmakers to share their work with the community.
This year, the festival is proud to present Lazy Robinson - a collaboration of music, film and spoken word featuring Jim Woodring and Bill Frisell. Their performance takes place Sunday, March 11th at 3:10 pm.
Woodring and Frisell, of course, previously collaborated on the Fantagraphics picture book/CD Trosper.
Great news! The BBC reports that a Colossal Squid has been recovered from Antarctic waters. This is the first time one of these creatures has been found intact (they had previously only been found, eaten, in whale stomachs). The stories of giant squids battling sperm whales at sea are fascinating but now they've proven the existence of the even-bigger colossal squid (which is enormous-- possibly the largest animal on earth, though the existence of a Colossal Octopus is rumored as well).
These two squid types are probably the actual animals that are described as the monstrous Kraken in folklore and mythology ("Release the kraken!" as you may recall from the Harryhausen film "Clash of the Titans"). Stories of the kraken have explained many a lost seafaring crew throughout history. Fans of Maakies will see the beast pop up from time to time.
Seriously just think of this creature: It's out there choking whales with tentacles that can crush your mainmast. Eyes larger than the diameter of your dinner plate. Growing up to 70 feet long, possibly longer. Amazing.
We have a very special show at our bookstore and gallery planned for March 10.
Please join us on Saturday, March 10 from 6:00 to 8:00 PM as the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, in association with Georgetown Records, hosts an evening of fine art and punk rock. "Filthy Beasts" combines the CD release of the DT's "Filthy Habits" recording on the Get Hip label with an exhibition and signing of Jim Blanchard's "Beasts and Priests" art book. This festive event is FREE to the public of all ages.
The Bellingham-based DT's seamlessly blend elements of hard soul, garage rock and raw punk to create an energetic and accessible sound. The team of Johnny Sangster and Jack Endino, two of the primary architects of the ubiquitous "Seattle Sound" of the 1990s, produced "Filthy Habits." This is the DT's second long player on Get Hip. DT's guitarist Dave Crider is the proprietor of the Estrus record label, who together with renowned graphic designer Art Chantry created a collection of stunning garage-influenced LPs throughout the past decade. Chantry contributed the introduction to Blanchard's "Beasts and Priests" book, and designed an exquisite, exclusive poster for this event. The DT's will perform material from their new release, which will be available on both CD and vinyl.
Jim Blanchard, whose lovely wife Diana is the DT's vocalist, has punk rock credentials that date back to the early 80s, when he self-published the influential fanzine "Blatch." He has since contributed finely crafted illustrations to countless books and magazines, in addition to several comic books and related works published by Fantagraphics Books, including "Bad Meat," "Glam Warp," "Trucker Fags in Denial," and most recently "Beasts and Priests." His meticulously rendered portraits of famous and infamous American pop culture personalities are infused with both dramatic reverence and ironic curiosity. Chantry concludes his preface to "Beasts and Priests" with the declaration, "Jim Blanchard is a master." The exhibition of Blanchard's original artwork from "Beasts and Priests" continues through March 21 at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery.
Ever since I embraced the Age of the iPod, I've been all about the free MP3 downloads. So imagine my delight when I noticed that Pitchfork has a new song from Lavender Diamond's forthcoming debut LP from Matador . Lavender Diamond features cartoonist Ron Rege, Jr. on drums, so I imagine there are a few curious comics fans who will want to check this out. I think the song is fantastic, as I did LD's self-released debut EP. Pure pop heaven in an Olympia kind of vein, like a really polished K record, with those lilting girl vocals I fall for every time. Plus handclaps. When are handclaps ever a bad idea? They're like the opposite of saxophones. There are no saxophones in Lavender Diamond, I'm pretty sure.
I don't have a scan of this handy, so it's kind of silly to mention, but this week's "Caption Contest" in the New Yorker includes a finalist from Seattle, WA, named Marc Campos. Marc is a cartoonist, and not surprisingly, his caption is by far the funniest of the three finalists, proving once again that the Caption Contest is a stupid-ass feature and that cartoons should be left to cartoonists. Thank you, Marc.
So Polaroid makes sunglasses, have for decades. This new campaign might be great if it were a series of covert uses of sunglasses... except there's just the one: Leering at women. Sure, we do it. It's done. Funny to point it out publicly. But the entire campaign seems to be just this one theme over and over. Lame. (See two more ads at The Ephemerist, a good pop blog I only just came across...)
Everyone knows this already but the big NYC comic con is this weekend. And so is this signing at Giant Robot. A great lineup of folks to meet and rumor has it that Tim Biskup may even make a special appearance. Well, he said so anyway...
Some of my favorite artists at this. Note that Chris Neal and Stella Im Hultberg have been added to the lineup. The painting is by the awesome Andy Kehoe. And here's Chris Neal's superb interpretation of the werewolf...
The new issue of World Literature Today (WLT) is dedicated to "graphic literature" and offers a slew of comics content, including an introductory overview of the current alt comics landscape by TIME.com's Andrew Arnold and brief sidebar essays by Chris Lanier and Eddie Campbell. The issue also includes Anders Nilsen's "Event," which originally appeared in MOME Fall 2005. There's also an essay about comic book-related film, profiles of Jessica Abel, Joe Sacco, Lynda Barry, a Manga overview, and a slew of reviews.
Tonight the "10 BEASTS!" letterpress print set went live at Tiny Showcase. There's only half of the 100 sets left if you're looking to buy. You can view the ten contributing artist works at that link.
Two of the prints in the set have already been accepted into the 2007 exhibition of works from the International Print Center New York. ("IPCNY was established September 2000 as the first and only non-profit institution devoted solely to the exhibition and understanding of fine art prints.") One of the prints is this werewolf print by Jordan Crane. Jordan employed his usual superb color sense and then coupled his insanely technical production sense with that of Dan Wood, who printed it into existence. I mean, really, that picture up there is LETTERPRESS! Gorgeous.
Lest anyone be sickened by my shameless flogging of the Beasts! project, please know that I did this book almost entirely on my own time over two years and am seeing not one red cent from the book or the printset. That goes to others. So basically I just have this chance to promote cultural myths and 90 dreamlist artists in one book... I'm gonna go all out with it.
Tobin Sprout has long been one of my favorite musicians, from his days with Guided by Voices through his stellar solo work. He is also a very talented and prolific artist, and his most recent work was brought to my attention via Drawn yesterday. It looks like he's been moving away from his photorealist paintings, which are superb, and into a more atmospheric, surreal, illustrative style:
Even though we've never met in person, Devlin Thompson has long been one of my favorite people in comics. As the proprietor of Athens, GA's Bizarro Wuxtry, Devlin has cultivated an image of himself in my mind of something like a cross between Fred Sanford and Woody Gelman (of Topps fame), which is no doubt totally off the mark, but let me have it, it's a good image. Anyway, Devlin has started a blog, Early Works, focusing on art he created as a child, and I can pretty much guarantee it will be worth checking out.
If you're in NYC this weekend for the big comic-con, do yourself a favor and head on down to GIANT ROBOT on Saturday night for this awesome line-up of talent that will be on hand from our BEASTS! book, signing copies and hanging out (click image to enlarge):
WHAT: BEASTS! book release signing WHO: Jesse LeDoux, Katy Horan, Keith Shore, R. Kikuo Johnson, Sam Weber, Scott Teplin, Andy Kehoe and others t.b.a.
WHEN: Saturday, FEBRUARY 24th, 7pm (during New York Comic-Con weekend!) WHERE: Giant Robot NY, 437 E. Ninth St., New York, NY 1000 WEB ADDRESS: http://www.grny.net/ PHONE: 212.674.GRNY
Ellen Forney is taking her hilarious and sexy I LOVE LED ZEPPELIN road show on tour once again, this time in San Francisco and again in Seattle. After four standing room only performances in Seattle thus far, Forney takes her act to Seattle's WILD ROSE bar on Capitol Hill next Thursday, March 1st. The following week -- Wednesday, March 7 -- Forney will hit San Francisco for the first time, appearing at the illustrious BOOKSMITH in Haight-Ashbury.
Forney's interdisciplinary performance must be seen to be appreciated, mixing comics, performance art, animation and more into a riotous and ribald evening of entertainment. According to the Los Angeles Times, "I Love Led Zeppelin is a beautiful book, but it has a sneaky beauty. Amid the post-punk attitudes, the hints of sadomasochism and wry looks on characters faces, Forney offers real laughter and glimpses into the human. Sometimes you have to trick people into happiness. Forney pulls off this trick again and again." San Francisco audiences will have the rare opportunity to experience Seattle resident Forney's engaging comics during this lively multi-media presentation.
The evenings will feature Forney performing as narrator with flash cartoon clips of her wildly amusing observations on contemporary urban culture, including her elegy to live-fast, die-young ethos "The Final Soundtrack," which inspired the title of her book. The programs will also include her collaboration with comedian Margaret Cho "How to Be a Fabulous Fag Hag," and her early brush with celebrity in "My Date with Camille Paglia."
In his lyrical introduction to I Love Led Zeppelin, published by Seattle-based Fantagraphics Books, acclaimed author Sherman Alexie describes Forney's work as "eclectic, smart, sexy, funny and hotter than five-star curry." Salon.com calls the book "bold" and "badass." Fun Home author Alison Bechdel calls Forney, "A frickin’ force of nature."
I LOVE LED ZEPPELIN A multi-media performance featuring cartoonist Ellen Forney.
Thursday, March 1st, 2007, at 8:00PM WILD ROSE 1021 Pike (at 11th) Seattle, Washington 206-324-9210
Wednesday, March 7th, 2007, at 7:00PM THE BOOKSMITH 1644 Haight Street San Francisco, California 415-863-8688
The Daily Cross Hatch is a new site by journalist Brian Heater. I'll let him explain the site's mission: "We are pleased to announce the long-awaited launch of The Daily Cross Hatch. Aimed at supplementing the few and far between coverage given to the alternative comic scene in the mainstream media, The Daily Crosshatch blog will be bringing industry news, book reviews, guest artists, and creator interviews to fans and artists alike."
The site is off to a strong start, with new interviews with Frank Stack, Johnny Ryan, James Kochalka, and a new comic strip by Jeffrey Brown. An immediate must-add to the daily comics blogosphere.
I love the comic Bone. It's a wonderful all-ages epic that is great to have in the comics world. Smart, classic story-telling, engaging characters, beautifully crisp lines... Great. It's also cool to see a very successful artist owned-and-published work.
I'm thrilled to get to work with Bone's creator Jeff Smith in designing the Walt Kelly's Our Gang reprints that Fanta's been doing (he illustrates the covers in Kelly's style and I design 'em). And now Jeff is designing the Complete Pogo reprints and has become the revivalist for DC comic Shazam (crazy!).
Okay, everybody knows we're hosting a signing on Saturday night with Kevin Huizenga, Anders Nilsen and Gabrielle Bell. But there's another reason to come down to Georgetown this weekend. Don't miss your last chance to see the Beasts! exhibition this Friday and Saturday at Belle and Wissell (gallery open from 4-8pm both days)--a collaboration between Born Magazine and Fantagraphics Books.
Beasts books are now in stock again. Stop by during gallery hours, or call the gallery to reserve a copy: 206 322 7908. -------------------------------- Beasts! closes this Saturday, Feb. 17th. (Gallery hours: Friday and Saturday, 4-8pm.) Belle and Wissell, Co. (in Georgetown, next to All City Coffee) 6014 12th Avenue South Seattle, WA 98108 206 322 7908 Visit Belle and Wissell online at: http://www.bwco.info
Usagi Yojimbo is 100 issues old and in the shops. Fanta published the first few dozen of those comics and we still have the collected books available. But Dark Horse is the proud publisher of this milestone and here they have a Stan Sakai interview all about it. Congratulations Stan!
The beautiful image here is of the Japanese Gaki and shows another side of Stan's talent. (It's his contribution to the recent bestiary that Fanta published but I won't name yet again.)
Buenaventura Press. To paraphrase the first ever Peanuts strip: How I hate them. My god Alvin Buenaventura is sadistic. I will never ever be able to afford this Marc Bell "print," which is a 2 color etching. What's all that other color then? It's fucking hand water-colored by the artist! This is truly a throwback in printmaking that makes me weak in the knees. I truly thank god for Alvin Buenaventura.
Elvis Studio. BP is also putting out this book from Elvis Studio. THIS is the type of book that I see and know I need to quit my job, burn my computer, and start all over in this graphic design gig. I AM LAZY. The Elvis guys are not. (While you're at the site, check out Le Dernier Cri, Hopital Brut 8.)
Comics Comics #2. I have nothing to say except that it's number 137 on my list of things to buy.
Ryan Cecil. I don't think he means for this site to be for the public but I found it so here it is. Showcases a number of his concocted minis, etc. I ordered his Gem Cave book around Xmas and it's a remarkable piece of craft. This maze-like fold-out comic that you genuinely have to explore in order to read it. Easily the best execution of concept and package that I've seen in a comic. I've lost his email address so I can't tell you how to buy it...
Molly O'Connell. Ryan is part of the Closed Caption crowd, whose comic I'll eventually get around to ordering. I'm particularly interested in seeing more of Molly O'Connell who I can't seem to track down anywhere but at that blog. (She goes by the unfortunate name of Eggzema there.) That's her work up above and it's a 7 color silkscreen for only $15 if she still has any.
Dan Grzeca is a crazy talented print maker whose poster work you may already own. You probably don't own any of his original art but now you can. He's got some Ebay Auctions going. This happened pretty low key so the prices are ridiculously low. That High On Fire art is worth every penny you scrape up and I'm broke so you're the high bidder...
FANTAGRAPHICS TO PUBLISH WALT KELLY'S POGO, DESIGNED BY JEFF SMITH
Fantagraphics Books is pleased to announce that it has acquired the rights to publish a comprehensive series comprising Walt Kelly's classic POGO comic strip. The first volume of Fantagraphics' POGO will appear in October, 2007, and the series will run approximately 12 volumes, reproducing roughly two years of dailies and Sundays per volume.
Each Pogo volume will be designed by Jeff Smith, the award-winning cartoonist and creator of the Bone graphic novel, and a lifelong admirer of Walt Kelly.
Walt Kelly (born Walter Crawford Kelly Jr.) was born in 1913 and started his career at age 13 in Connecticut as a cartoonist and reporter for the Bridgeport Post, his local newspaper. In 1935, he moved to Los Angeles and joined the Walt Disney Studio, where he worked on classic animated films, including 'Pinocchio,' 'Dumbo,' and 'Fantasia.' In the mid 1930s, he drew his first comics work for the future DC Comics. Kelly left Disney in 1941 rather than take sides in their bitter labor strike. He moved back east and began drawing comic books for Western Publishing Company and the Dell line of comics.
It was during this time that Kelly created the character Pogo Possum. The character first appeared in Dell's Animal Comics as a secondary player in the 'Albert the Alligator' feature. It didn't take long until 'Pogo' became the comic's leading character. After the Second World War, Kelly became artistic director at the New York Star, where he turned Pogo into a daily strip. When the Star folded in 1949, the Hall Syndicate took 'Pogo' into syndication, so that the strip soon appeared in hundreds of newspapers. Until his death in 1973, he produced a feature that has become widely cherished among casual readers and aficionados alike as a classic comic strip.
Kelly blended nonsense, poetry, and political and social satire in making POGO an essential contribution to American "intellectual" comics. As the strip progressed, it became a hilarious platform for Kelly's scathing political views in which he skewered national boogeymen like Joseph McCarthy, J. Edgar Hoover, George Wallace, and Richard Nixon. Kelly was considered a sufficient threat that his phone was tapped and the US Government corresponded with a newspaper reporter who claimed that the eccentric patois Kelly created was a secret Russian code.) Pogo is well known for its elaborate and ornate lettering and for Kelly's distinctive use of language and lush brushwork. It is one of the few comic strips that succeeded in blending humor and politics into an uncompromising and entertaining whole.
The consecutive run of Pogo has never before been systematically collected into book form. (Fantagraphics published a series of 11 softcover volumes reprinting five-and-a-half years of the strip in the '90s.) This will be the definitive series collecting all of his Pogo strips from 1949 to 1973. "Walt Kelly is unquestionably in the pantheon of great newspaper strip cartoonists," said Gary Groth, President & Publisher of Fantagraphics Books. "Our Pogo books will present Kelly's work the way it should be published -- in a beautifully designed hardcover format, with careful attention paid to reproduction quality, and with knowledgeable introductory material."
"I am very excited that Fantagraphics has chosen to publish Pogo in such wonderful books," said Carolyn Kelly, Walt's daughter. "For many years people have been telling me how much they want to own this series, and I am thrilled that Pogo will now be so carefully compiled and available to us. Ol' Walt would be proud."
"This collection has been a long time coming," said Jeff Smith, "I've been waiting for it ever since I was nine. I'm very happy to be helping the Kelly family and Fantagraphics bring this comic strip masterpiece to a new audience."
POGO will join Fantagraphics' prestigious lineup of the world's best newspaper strip cartoonists — George Herriman (Krazy Kat), Charles Schulz (Peanuts), E.C. Segar (Popeye), Hal Foster (Prince Valiant), Harold Gray (Little Orphan Annie), and Hank Ketcham (Dennis the Menace), as well as the company's contemporary cartoonists (including Jaime Hernandez, Gilbert Hernandez, Daniel Clowes, Robert Crumb, Jules Feiffer, Jim Woodring, Carol Tyler, Peter Bagge, Tony Millionaire, and others).
As you loyal Flog! readers know, we have this going on this Saturday:
In addition that event, Mary Woodring (wonderful wife of Jim) alerted me to the following happening also taking place Saturday:
My bellydance class at the Y is putting on a fundraiser for the YMCA Partners with Youth [I know, unfortunate name] Campaign this Saturday from 6-8 at the University Heights Center, 5031 University Way.
There is going to be a silent auction, at which will appear a grayscale Mr. Bumper, one of the 100 in existence. (The others won't see the light of day until the San Diego Comicon.)
They won't announce the silent auction winners until near the end, so it's probably necessary to do the suggested donation of $10 ($20 family) and hang around to see some bellydancing----some professional, some amateur, all heartfelt (and unpaid.)
It all goes to a good cause: The U-Disrict Y has lots of youth programs----free classes for kids, subsidized day camp in the summer, and they feed and reach out to the abundant homeless kids who live around here.
I don't have a picture of the grayscale Mr. Bumper, but here he is in full glorious color:
Also, on Sunday at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, we're hosting a rather impromptu event with our pals at Manic D Press:
As soon as you click that link, a new window will open that will begin to load randomly generated images from all over the world of LiveJournal. Once you've seen all that page has to offer, just hit refresh and a new page-worth of images will load! And while I don't entirely understand what sort of sorcery runs the Generator, one shortcoming I've found that it is not truly "random." If you get too refresh happy, you'll get repeats. But if you don't overdo it, it's pretty much random! Which is why I think it should be called Toothpast for Dinner's Pretty Much Random LiveJournal Picture Generator. But whatever. I didn't make the site.
So because it is "Pretty Much Random" ["Pretty Much Random" TM & (C) 2007 Adam Grano] there's a lot of crap to sift through. And some of it's not safe for work. Consider yourself warned. But here are a few of the gems I've come across:
And look, Flog reader! I even came across something comics related! You like comics, right?
As Eric points out below, if you're a Johnny Ryan fan, let your papers know it. Especially if your paper is the Mercury who cut Blecky. It just takes you a second and it can affect things. Papers don't have a reliable way to know what is read so some bad decisions get made. Let's say you're a hip weekly that has become stagnant and somehow Anna Nicole Smith jabs just don't seem to be as "edgy" as they once were-- you may misdirect the frustration you have with your editorial content and cut popular features somewhat blindly. The Stranger made the decision to inexplicably axe Maakies at the new year but it's back because people wrote in. For that matter, write to whatever papers you dig and tell 'em what you dislike and what you want to see in print. Help Save a Cartoonist!
The always great Buenaventura Press has just begun offering up Tom Gauld's new book, "Hunter & Painter," and Cabanon Press has his also-new "3 Very Small Comics," which packages 3 minis in a charmingly tiny envelope. There is nothing else like Tom's crisp, beautifully-rendered, and funny vignettes on human relationships and I wish to god everyone would buy his stuff.
The official Gary Panter vinyl figure of Jimbo is coming from Dark Horse in September but Tom Spurgeon at The Comics Reporter has alerted us all. Let it be known that Mr. Panter has remained true to his form and allowed Jimbo to be a true Man, right down to the anatomical proof. Apparently. I have no photos to prove this.
Maxwell Loren Holyoke-Hirsch not only has the longest name in my vocabulary but also this good-looking print for sale. As you can see in the photo above, he's keeping one warm for you.
Lastly, thank you to Mr. Peter Bagge for hosting a swell party Friday night and my apologies to anyone who had to put up with me. Particularly Jaime Hernandez, my wife, and the police. Turns out alcohol isn't an anti-anxiety potion afterall...
Oh, and also to Eric Reynolds and Jason Miles, without whom I would probably be in a gutter or a prostitution ring right now. Not probably. Would be.
Thanks to all who came out this weekend to the Hernandez brothers show and talk at the Fanta bookstore. It was a great event, and our most successful weekend yet, which is fantastic. For those who weren't able to make the show, we still have a few of the limited silkscreen prints available at the store, while supplies last. In the meantime, here's a few pics from Saturday night. Also, the Successless Comics Blog has a nice recap of the Saturday reception and Sunday talk.
ABOVE: Jaime and Gilbert stand in front of their exhibition. Jaime's originals include classic "Flies on the Ceiling" pages and more from the late-1980s. Gilbert's pages are all taken from his latest work, "New Tales of Old Palomar."
ABOVE: Los Bros and your humble blogger.
ABOVE: A shot of some of the originals on display, along with the silkscreen poster.
ABOVE: Beto draws a sketch for a fan.
ABOVE: Fanta bookstore events coordinator Larry Reid and the store's own Rhea Patton.
ABOVE: Jim Woodring.
ABOVE: This guy also had a Maggie on the back of his neck.
ABOVE: El Jefe Gary Groth, with Gilbert in the background.
Charity by Numbers is now online. Curated by Gary Baseman and now appearing at the Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles, the art show consists of about ninety artists being given vintage Paint-By-Numbers paintings which they then ruin with their own paintbrushes, etc. And now they are up on Ebay for auction. See the list of artists at those links but here are a few of 'em that Fanta has published books of...
Camille Rose Garcia:
Jesse LeDoux (who we don't publish but he's good people and I've known him for years so it's kind of amazing to see him alongside Mark Ryden on something like this):
Get yours: Only for sale here. The illustration is of the folkloric Asp Turtle, described (in short) as resembling a gigantic turtle with a passive disposition until, say, some sailors pitch a tent to it and begin a cook fire. Souther illustrated it for the "10 Beasts!" print set while R. Kikuo Johnson had chosen it for the BEASTS! book proper, giving us all the chance to see how two extremely talented artists translate the same words into very different images. Below is an alternate version of the final, printed Kikuo piece. (He decided he didn't like the blue coloring, try as I might to convince him to run it.)
All this week I've had the theme song to the Heathcliff cartoon stuck in my head. If this seems totally "weird," or "random" to you, dear FLOG reader, then you probably weren't a kid in the '80s. And you are obviously otherwise unaware that the Heathcliff cartoon had what is quite possibly the most radical theme song ever, complete with "woah-woahs" and a key change. Simply put, it is a pop masterpiece. And not only this, but it is a feast for the eyes. You get Heathcliff in all his snaggle-toothed glory, muscle-shirted Mungo, babe-a-liscious Cleo and her ankle-warmers, and the coolest cat of them all, Riff-raff. And if that weren't enough, Heathcliff rides a freakin rocket! Holy crap, indeed.
Despite the special place in my heart for the Heathcliff cartoon, I have spent my life unfamiliar with the Heathcliff comic strip. You see, the newspaper my parents subscribed to when I was a child had that other cat comic (the one that rhymes with "Barf-field.") instead of Heathcliff. Of course, I didn't mind this when I was younger, but now that I'm older and jaded-er I have a bone to pick with the world. SO. Spurred into action by this week of reminiscence, and thanks to Comics.com, I was finally able to see what I've been missing all these years. Apparently, not much.
HOLY HELL! I just got the word that within the first 24 hours of announcing blind preorders for that "10 BEASTS!" letterpress set mentioned below there have been 30 orders. Good god. Thank you to everyone who is supporting them artists! I'm dumbfounded. If you wanna get one, contact Tiny Showcase. There are only 70 sets left-- meanwhile they've posted the first preview image at that link.
And you know what? My project, my scoop. Sorry TIny but here's a preview of our own Jordan Crane's piece. Let me remind you this is LETTERPRESS! Lookit all those gorgeous, pressed in colors! OH NO. I can't share that one-- it's the final preview of the set. Dang. You're just gonna have to wait.
At last, rising above the shadow of its kin, Beasts! the book, Tiny Showcase and myself present: 10 BEASTS!, the letterpress set.
Ten artists have created ALL-NEW artwork for the set, with each print measuring 7" and individually named and numbered in a blind deboss. All ten prints have the same number in the set and that matches the number hand-written on your portfolio case. Fancy.
The set is limited to just 100 sets going up for sale on Feb.20th. Tiny Showcase is accepting preorders from their mailing list folks and those of you who read this blog. As Tiny fans know, it's commonplace for their prints to sell out within an hour of going online so getting a jump on this will be critical for your happiness. Leading up to the release date they will be posting one image a day from the set.
The list of artists was determined in a battle royale of Tiny Showcase choices (Jon Buonaccorsi and Shea'la Finch) and mine. The result is this fantastic lineup: Tony Millionaire, Jordan Crane, Souther Salazar, Josh Cochran, Keith Shore, Saelee Oh, Meg Hunt, Kenneth Lavallee, S.britt, and Jesse LeDoux.
The prints are superb, ranging from one to six colors and printed by Dan Wood in Rhode Island. The hand-crafted portfolio box done up by If'n Books + Marks was designed by me in deep brown, green, and some tricky glow-in-the-dark ink.
The set will sell for $300 so save up your lunch money or buy it with ten friends and fight over who gets what.
I just learned that a slated Hernandez brothers cover of Seattle's Stranger newspaper for next week has been bumped in favor of Anna Nicole Smith, who just died (time to sell your TrimSpa stock). I'm trying to come up with some kind of clever joke comparing what a plastic fake she was compared to the fully-realized (and often similarly endowed) female characters in Love & Rockets, but I'm too annoyed.
ABOVE: Bizarro world Penny Century and H.R. Costigan.
Jim Woodring's son Max has posted a slew of great pics from Woodring's exhibition at the CNBD in Angouleme, which by all accounts was the most popular of the festival this year. As well it should be, of course, as Jim is a goddamned genius.
I've got a backlog of stuff I've been trying to find time to post. Here we go...
Justin B. Williams is part of a great show down at Grasshut in Portland. Saw it, loved it. You also get some Peter Thompson, Luke Ramsey, and great A.J. Purdy work among others. Justin has a new blog for you to check out. Goddamn but there is some amazing work there.
If your gallery project is called the Wurst then it's a pretty awesome dream to have realized when you put together a one-night show of 100 dogs illustrated by 100 artists (hmmm, that'd make a good book...) and that show is the same day as the Westminster Dog Show in England and you call your show The Wurstminster Dog Show. That's exactly what went down on Saturday night and now you can head over to the website and buy some art. Above is a Neapolitan Mastiff inked by painter/cartoonist Kevin Scalzo that sold for just $75 and you missed out.
Online shopping for the Family shop in LA is finally filling out and it's superb. Being that this is an enterprise of Sammy 'Ergot' Harkham you can be sure that there will always be some unique treats like this edition of Anders Nilsen screenprints pulled on various old maps. The zine section is a goldmine.
I KNOW you're sick of Beasts! flogging but I'm afraid I cannot stop. I really am sorry. In fact, it's not going away: Save your money up cuz I'm about ready to announce the all-new, all-original letterpressed print set. Just...around...the...corner...
So first up is a picture sent to me showing Chris Ryniak's contribution to the book as it recently appeared on an FX show, Dirt. It's there on the wall to the left and I dunno how this happened.
Souther Salazar lazily 'doodling' on the table at the Thinkspace L.A. signing. Hmmm, I wonder if Souther has ever done a letterpressed piece. One that is beautiful and limited to just 100 copies and being released this month...
Robin McConnell has stepped up his game so now you can get all your Inkstuds comics artist interviews and banter at the official Inkstuds website.
I'm working on this book job with an art gallery featuring lots of great artists and am compelled to share this self-portrait that the brilliant Marcel Dzama sent in for it.
I had this dream of doing a book of just animals fighting other animals. That's all, just animals fighting animals. It would be called Bears vs. Horses and it was inspired by the bizarre book cover above. And then Mike Baehr sent me this link and I just got hopelessly depressed...
Lastly: FUCK YOU ALL! I HATE MANGA! I HATE EVERY DEVELOPMENTALLY FROZEN THING YOU LIKE YOU BUNCHA HAIRY-PALMED ILLITERATES. Ha! Blog that ya critics.
Another music-related comics posting. Or comics-related music posting. You choose.
Craig Thompson of Blankets fame is responsible for the artwork of "Friend and Foe," the new album from Menomena (pronounced "Meh-nah-meh-nah," I learned last weekend). Beautifully illustrated and die cut to interact in a variety of ways with the cd or tray beneath, it's a good reason to actually purchase the physical "compact disc" in this digital age. Take that "em-pee-threes" and "eye-pods." And it doesn't hurt that it's one of the first great albums of the new year. Good enough that I even forgive their occasional use of saxaphone, an instrument that I inherently loathe and distrust.
And if I could I would send you, loyal FLOG reader, the Menomena e-card, so you could see more of Craig's fantastic art in slideshow form and listen to the whole glorious album.
The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA) is launching a new ongoing exhibition series paying tribute to the many talented comic and cartoon artists living in New York City. MoCCA's New York Artist Showcase will be an ongoing series at the Museum, spotlighting a different New York comic or cartoon artist (or group of artists) for up to eight weeks at a time.
MoCCA's New York Artist Showcase series will officially open on February 10 with an exhibition of comicbook artwork by friends and Brooklyn roommates R. Kikuo Johnson and Paolo Rivera. The show will have an opening reception at the museum on Saturday, February 10 at 8pm.
Link via THE BEAT, which has more details and the full MoCCA press release.
HEARTBREAK SOUP: The First Volume of "Palomar" Stories from Love & Rockets by Gilbert Hernandez Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2007, Love and Rockets is being released in its most accessible form yet: As a series of compact, thick, affordable, mass-market volumes that present the whole story in perfect chronological order. This volume will collect the first half of Gilbert Hernandez's acclaimed magical-realist tales of "Palomar," the small Central American town, beginning with the groundbreaking "Sopa de Gran Pena" (which introduces most of his main cast of characters as children, plus the imposing newcomer Luba), and continuing on through such modern-day classics as "Ecce Homo," "Act of Contrition," "Duck Feet," and the great love story "For the Love of Carmen." 288-page B&W; 7 1/2” x 9 1/4” paperback $14.95 Available Now!
MAGGIE THE MECHANIC: The First Volume of "Locas" Stories from Love & Rockets by Jaime Hernandez The 25th anniversary Love and Rockets celebration continues with this, the first of three volumes collecting the adventures of the spunky Maggie, her annoying best friend and sometimes lover Hopey, and their circle of friends, including their bombshell friend Penny Century, Maggie's weirdo mentor Izzy as well as the wrestler Rena Titanon and Maggie's handsome love interest, Rand Race... "Maggie the Mechanic" collects the earliest, punkiest, most heavily sci-fi stories of Maggie and her circle of friends, and you can see the artist (who drew like an angel from the very first panel) refine his approach: Despite these strong shifts in tone, the stunning art and razor sharp characterizations keep this collection consistent, and enthralling throughout. (Note: A number of these stories were not collected in the hardcover Locas.) 272-page B&W; 7 1/2” x 9 1/4” paperback $14.95 Available Now!
L&R; poster available only in Seattle this weekend.
For this weekend's LOVE & ROCKETS exhibition grand opening at our very own bookstore & gallery in Seattle, we've produced a special limited-edition silkscreened poster available exclusively at the store through the opening weekend. Limited to 200 copies, this poster will be available exclusively at the store through the opening weekend on a first-come, first-serve basis, and then, if we have any leftover (doubtful but not impossible), we'll alert you regular Flog readers about how you can get your grubby mitts on a copy, so stay tuned next week.
This jpg doesn't do the poster justice, by the way, because of the way the inks lay on top of each other in the printed piece. It's handsome.
A brief note. I'm already poised for the feedback I'll be getting for my unsolicited and narrowly-focused critique of the Brown University L&R; exhibit and someone just informed me of the TCJ Journalista posting about me being vivisected for my limited view of Japanese comics. I'm too busy to post the links and I'M NOT A JOURNALIST so forgive me if this is uncouth. I'd rather post links to the new Justin B. Williams blog but even that'll have to wait. (a href = something or another...)
Anyway, for those of you who don't know, apparently there are people who take blog posting seriously and apparently I have upset people for saying, off-handedly, that Manga is crap. I'm not worried about defending that but do want to take the chance to address the fundamental question of why anyone would care I said that. I hadn't realized that people see this board as a voice of Fantagraphics in some direct sense. I can see why they would make that assumption but I certainly don't think of this as, say, the TCJ board where there is a journalistic need to be neutral. The Fanta Flog is, to me, a lively list of random info that a comics fan might be interested in, particularly things related to Fanta projects. Around here I post largely about the general arts world (comics-and-related) rather than specifically about comics because I am in no way the expert on comics that most everyone else here is.
So. Not all manga is crap. I'm being flip, it makes for a fun read, right? Half of the office tells me there's good manga and I'm sure there is. In the context of my post I'm just talking about the adolescence-worshiping that pervades the racks of Barnes and Noble (the DC/Marvel/Image stuff is right on par). I accept my righteous bias that I would love to see some kid reaching for Big Eye Kirai #13 and instead buy Love and Rockets. I'm certainly not condemning the entire 'genre' of Japanese People Who Make Comic Books. Although that may be the one thing I do feel bad about-- my catchall use of the word Manga implying a limited artistic capacity of Japanese comics. So for that I apologize. The good news in all of this is that henceforth I will try to keep my posts limited to disseminating art and events rather than my admittedly egocentric opinions. Mostly.
Why am I awake? Whothehellknows. OK, alright: the answer is I'm working on late-night freelance and emailing with my even-harder-working freelancing pal Jesse LeDoux of LeDouxville, R.I., where he spent time this afternoon witnessing the talk of Jaime Hernandez at Brown University (if that podium in the picture is to be believed).
While Jaime was great to see speak, I'm told, it sounds like the pictures here pretty much say it all as concerns the actual 'exhibit.' Now I've curated some shows and I can tell you my hat is off to the folks who put together this Love & Rockets show. That getup took some serious time. But, friends, L&R; is not a punk rock living room cliche and I'll be goddamned if I'm gonna sit by and watch this silently. I say this not to undermine the well-intentioned fans that put this together but to beg of the witnessing masses to know that this comic is vital and alive. It isn't just its origins anymore than you are. It's not the fault of the exhibit makers, per se, that the room is all Eightiesified. There is a shorthand that happens shockingly often in the comics world-- legitimacy through vicarious association. I don't think most of the Artists are asking you to make this association but well-meaning critics and fans usually are.
It's true that Jaime was punk from the start and that Jaime remains punk in his work still but, like so many artists, he isn't at all representative of the popular concept of the genre he is associated with. The problem is the coda. The final word that Love & Rockets is this punk rock comic the same way that R.Crumb was this underground artist. Is R.Crumb every hippie breath ever toked? Not even.
Whatever. This probably misses my point, I'm tired. You just wait until kids are telling everyone to take Chris Ware seriously because he is the voice of Neu Century Ragtime and see if you don't post Blogosphere missives.
NOTES: Jaime at the podium. Deb of If'n Books (in red) and sometimes-cartoonist Alec Thibodeau in the Punk Rock Living Room. The Living Room.
Fans of Islands or Paper Rad have probably already seen this since it's been around for a while. But since I was only recently deemed worthy of contributing to the FLOG, I'ma gonna post it anywho. The Paper Rad* video for "Don't Call Me Whitney, Bobby," by Islands:
And Nick Diamonds, nee Thorburn, of Islands is a cartoonist in his own right. Check out his weekly strip at This Is Howie Doo.
(And buy Islands' "Return to the Sea," easily one of the best albums of last year.)
* Or maybe just Ben Jones? I still not sure how to tell the difference. And I'm lazy. So if you tell me how to tell, I might not listen.
According to the Young Adult Library Services Association press release, "The purpose of the Great Graphic Novels for Teens list is to encourage teens to discover and enjoy quality works of sequential art that are both engaging and entertaining. The selected works all reflect an integration of images and words; exhibit clarity of visual flow on the page and the ability of the images to convey necessary meaning. The Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee considers graphic novels and manga, both fiction and non-fiction written for teens and adults. We accept nominations from librarians and teens from across the country throughout the year, meeting to decide on a final list at the ALA Midwinter Meeting."
The complete lists and the press release may be found here, and will also be published in the ALA publication ALA's Guide to Best Reading.
Here's a few pics from Friday's night's BEASTS! event at Grass Hut in Portland (a great place in a great town), courtesy fellow Beastie Jason T. Miles:
ABOVE: Adam Grano made the trek down from Seattle with fellow contributor Kaela Graham (not pictured).
ABOVE: Jacob Covey & hippo.
ABOVE: Jacob Covey & hippo.
ABOVE: Jacob signing a book.
I'll post more pics this week, it was a fun night. Grass Hut sold out of the book, I believe, and I'm beginning to have a feeling we will very soon, too. If you're in Chicago & New York, don't miss our upcoming events there (see my earlier posts).
PoetryFoundation.org has launched a new feature, "The Poem as Comic Strip," conceived by Ed Park (also the editor of the Believer). This has the potential to be a great ongoing feature. First up: David Heatley tackles Diane Wakoski's "Belly Dancer". I'm told that Gabrielle Bell and Jeffrey Brown will soon follow...
Craig Yoe is previewing some material from the current ARF book, ARF MUSEUM (look for ARF FORUM in the spring), over at his Arf Lovers Blog. Included is a brand-new strip that Mort Walker (of Beetle Bailey fame) created for ARF, about meeting Roy Lichtenstein in the 1960s. This is clearly some kind of sign that the universe is collapsing in on itself, right? Mort Walker doing a new strip for Fantagraphics, about Roy Lichtenstein?