Jack Davis draws Gary Groth // all photos by Janice Headley

R.I.P. Jack Davis 1924-2016

Jack Davis draws Gary Groth

We were heartbroken to hear of the passing of Jack Davis, legendary cartoonist and one of the original MAD Magazine artists. His instantly-recognizable cartooning style adorned everything from album covers, ads, film posters, trading cards, TV Guide covers, and, of course, comics. In 1950, he began freelancing for EC Comics — you can read some of the work he collaborated on collected in Fantagraphics’ The Living Mummy and Other Stories. And, in 2011, Fantagraphics released the ultimate collection Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture – A Career Retrospective.

In celebration of the release, the Fantagraphics Bookstore organized the art show Funny Valentines: A Tribute to Jack Davis. Inspired by the Topps trading cards that Davis drew between 1959 and 1963, Larry invited two-dozen contemporary cartoonists, illustrators, graphic designers, and fine artists to create their own interpretations. Exhibiting artists included Peter Bagge, Nikki Burch, Art Chantry, Tom Dougherty, Jesse Edwards, Ellen Forney, Art Garcia, Roberta Gregory, Charles Krafft, Jason T. Miles, Pat Moriarity, Tom Neely, Joe Newton, Ries Niemi, John Ohannesian, Augie Pagan, Eric Reynolds, Bob Rini, Johnny Ryan, Frank Santoro, SHAG, Matthew Southworth, and Jim Woodring. Original works by Jack Davis were also on display.

For the opening reception on February 11, 2012, we rigged up a laptop to a projection screen and “Skyped” Jack right into the store. (And, yes, I’ve already talked to Larry about reviving this concept!) Following a presentation on comics creation by exhibiting/visiting artist Frank Santoro, Gary led a Q&A online, and Jack even took some questions from the audience, charming everyone with his genteel Southern sweetness. Sadly, we didn’t take video of the whole night, but University of Washington documentary student Helene Christensen caught a bit of the evening in her short film about the store — skip to around 3:00 minutes or so for footage from opening night, or, heck, watch the whole dang thing, ’cause it’s a lovely profile!

There’s also some low-lit iPhone photos I took that night, including the shot above where Jack drew a portrait of Gary in mere minutes! (I hope he mailed that to you, Gary.)

R.I.P. Mr. Davis, and THANK YOU for decades of laughs and for influencing generations of cartoonists, past, present, and future.

Frank Santoro talks about the music of comics.
Our Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds stands on a chair to ask Frank Santoro a question during his presentation.
Gary Groth pops around the corner to call Jack.
We’ve made contact! Gary Groth and Larry Reid make our initial video chat connection with Jack Davis, from his home in Georgia.
During our video chat with Jack Davis, he did a quick drawing of our fearless leader, Gary Groth!
Mr. Jim Woodring in front of our gallery wall.
Jim made paper versions of his Jack Davis-inspired artwork to hand out to guests! (Not pictured: the less-flattering back of the card, ha!)
The lovely Ellen Forney makes an appearance.
A look at the exclusive signed bookplate that guests received free with their purchase!

What’s in Store: Intruder, Sammy Harkham, and More!

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Mark your calendars for Saturday, July 9 from 5:00 to 9:00 PM as we welcome acclaimed indie comix artist Sammy Harkham and wish a fond farewell to the Intruder at the second annual Hot Off the Press book fair at Fantagraphics Bookstore! This colorful festival features tables of local handcrafted comix and zines by many of the Northwest’s most admired artists. Special guest Sammy Harkham will sign copies of the newly released Kramer’s Ergot 9 anthology as well as his alluring self-published serial Crickets. Another attraction is Seattle artist Josh Simmons signing the latest installment of Jessica Farm project, a highly conceptual comic book series designed by Harkham.

13418473_1229023350441686_4423743070647562796_oThe fair will also feature the final issue of the Intruder, a free comix tabloid that has been largely responsible for launching the careers of a new generation of Seattle cartoonists including Tom Van Deusen, Max Clotfelter, Marc Palm, Ben Horak, Marie Hausauer, Brittany Kusa, and many more. Issue #20 will debut with a retrospective exhibition of contributors. Selected back issues will also be available. A festive after-party will follow across the street at Machine House Brewing. This event coincides with the Georgetown Second Saturday Art Attack featuring lively visual and performing arts presentations throughout the historic art community, including a performance by seminal Seattle punk rock act Chinas Comidas at Georgetown Records. Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale Street, just minutes south of downtown Seattle. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206-658-0110.

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Announcing the Olympia Comics Festival Line-up

We’re pretty excited to share that Fantagraphics’ own Peter Bagge will be a featured guest at the 2016 Olympia Comics Festival, alongside fellow local artists Tatiana Gill and Brandon Graham. This annual festival is always a fun time, and a great chance to head down to Olympia and eat some Quality Burrito in between events. Here’s the schedule; plan your attack:

Cartoonists Expo, 11 am – 4:30 pm, The Olympia Center (222 Columbia St NW)
Dozens of talented comic book creators offering up their wares to satisfy your penchant for purchasing and perusal! Also panel discussions, interviews, and presentations to educate, enlighten, entertain, and elate! And food trucks and other fun times! Admission to the Expo is free (but you will most likely buy some comics)!

Signings with Guests Of Honor, 4 – 6 pm, Danger Room (201 W 4th Ave)
Peter Bagge, Tatiana Gill, and Brandon Graham will be signing copies of their work (which will also be avialble for purchase) at your friendly neighborhood Danger Room! Autographs are free.

Stage Show, 7- 9 pm, Capitol Theater (206 5th Ave)
Essentially a variety/talk show that is all about comics! Expect a roundtable discussion from our Guests Of Honor, stand-up comedy, slideshows, a pun-off between Brandon Graham and Danger Room’s own Casey Bruce, and more! Admission is $6 (CHEAP)!

Who can resists a pun-off! Many of the small press artists we carry at the Fantagraphics Bookstore will be there, such as Fanta’s own Jesse Reklaw and Josh Simmons, and independent artists Mita Mahato, Robyn Jordan, E.T. Russian, Rachel Comics, Regina Schilling, and many more. Meet them in person and give them all your money!