• Review Pull-Quote of the Month: "A lot of people’s Top Ten Favorite-est Comics of the Year lists this year will involve comics about Israel or the exquisite sadness of being an Asian man who likes blondes, all that stuff; mine will involve cheeseburger-flavored semen...? I got dropped on my head a lot as a baby." - Abhay Kholsa of The Savage Critics on Johnny Ryan's Angry Youth Comix #14
Every day in July we're spotlighting books from our month-long Hidden Gems Sale, wherein we're featuring some of our under-the-radar backlist titles and encouraging you to try them by offering them at a nice discount of 25% off!
Today's installment features the debut volume from Eve Gilbert, which garnered high praise and an introduction from Robert Crumb:
Populated by junkies, grifters, hustlers, strippers, pimps and various strains of victims and criminals, this is a biting and satirical portrait of America as seen from the lower depths. A collection of autobiographical stories, this volume by Eve Gilbert allows readers full access to her decidedly unglamorous world, filled with people you probably hope never to meet. "The Real Resume" is a depressingly realistic tour of the various wage-slave jobs Gilbert has held over the years. Another highlight is "Pregnate?" — which was written in a San Francisco porn store while Gilbert was waiting for an interview — in which Gilbert relates how she ended up pregnant despite a safety net of latex, with no money for even a pregnancy test, let alone an abortion. Unflinchingly candid and caustic, Gilbert has one of the most uniquely confident and iconoclastic voices to hit the world of graphic novels in several years. If you put Henry Miller, Charles Bukowski and Kathy Acker in a blender and added the ratty, unadorned drawing style of Charles Rodriguez, you'd have some idea of just how hot and incendiary a brew this is.
96-page black & white 8" x 11" softcover regularly $12.95 • ON SALE $9.71 Order Now
More "Behind the Scenes": Part of the sheet of Jason lettering for the translations in "Pocket Full of Rain." There wasn't much to translate so Jason just wrote it all out on a single sheet of paper. A fun bit of ephemera that went along with this stray bit of text.
A lot goes on "behind the scenes" when producing these collections. You may note that the purple cap pictured seems just a little bit more detailed than the rest of the kids' clothes. In this case lawyers from Another Publisher had seen an advance copy of the cover and required four variations on the cap before they were satisfied that it didn't infringe on a character they represented-- let's call him Bucketface. A popular look in the 30s/40s, the hat is created by cutting a zig-zag out of the brim of a fedora. It is also a hat that this kid wears throughout the Our Gang stories. So while my uneducated opinion is that any infringement on Bucketface is meritless, what do I know?
Anyway, here's the evolution of the cap, minus the second stage which I lost documentation of. And yes, we had to add "more buttons" to the hat between the third and fourth change. And yes, this all cost a lot of money in lawyer fees on both sides.
I found an ironic twist to this story, via Wikipedia. At some point in the 1960s, Bucketface's friends got curious what his real name was: "[His friends] decided to go to City Hall and check his birth certificate; the stuffy clerk there demands a large fee, which they scrape up with difficulty. The clerk responds by reading them a very ordinary name, to their great disappointment. In the last frame, [Bucketface] crawls out from under the clerk's desk and hands him a cigar, saying 'Gee, thanks, Uncle George!' (a reference to a comedic short from the 30s show Our Gang)."
Oyvey. Thank you Jeff Smith for enduring these headaches (and so many others now) for your love of Walt Kelly!
Walt Kelly created dozens of Our Gang stories by the end of its 59-issue run in 1949, the year he quit comic books to switch careers a final time — as syndicated artist/writer on the immortal newspaper strip, Pogo.
In Our Gang’s third volume, Kelly begins to hit his stride by relying more on original ideas than following trite MGM scripts which had lacked in charm since the departure of producer Hal Roach in 1938. Keeping alive the wit that had been absent from the film series, this volume contains eight adventures of the mainstay offbeat personas as well as other whimsical characters, from mad scientists to eccentric animals. Suitable for adults and children alike, the work has been lovingly restored from the original comic books, giving Kelly’s art a renewed four-color splendor. With an all-new cover by Jeff Smith (Bone).
Move over MAUS, PERSEPOLIS, JIMMY CORRIGAN, PALESTINE, et. al. -- there's a new, epic graphic novel forthcoming in 2009 that is certain to be the toast of the tastemakers. Picture a mash-up of Gary Panter's JIMBO and John Carpenter's ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, with a little bit of WWE Wrestling thrown in. It could only come from the pen of one man. No, not John LeCarre! Yes, that's right, can you smell what JOHNNY RYAN is cookin'? Let's just say it's gonna make 300 look like FUN HOME. Ladies and gentlemen, introducing your 2009 National Book Award Winner:
Pictured above: a vintage Hat & Boots shot, one of Georgetown's most peculiar attractions. Below pics of the iconic Georgetown Pharmacy and of Rhea Patton in the Fanta gallery by my pal Kurt Schlosser.