The news of Dave Stevens' passing today was as sad as it was unexpected. It's difficult to appreciate today how special The Rocketeer was when it came out. I'm not going to pretend that it was a totally brilliant comic book or anything, but when it first came out during my formative years in the '80s, it really was something else. Its retro chic style was, paradoxically, ahead of its time, and there's little arguing that Stevens was one of the very best craftsmen of the post-Frazetta school of illustrators (see above). I haven't re-read any of The Rocketeer in close to 20 years, but I think I will have to dig them out tonight and rectify that.
You may or may not be aware that last week Fantagraphics co-sponsored a "bookwarming" party for Drew Friedman at NYC's exclusive Friars Club, on the occasion of the release of More Old Jewish Comedians from Fanta. I say you might not be because it was a private affair by invitation only, so it wasn't publicized in advance, although you may have seen some of the "postgame" coverage. Despite it being a private affair, by all accounts it was one of the most successful events the Club has ever thrown, with an estimated 400 people cramming into the Milton Berle Room and joining a cavalcade of comedy legends in honoring Drew, including Mickey Freeman, Freddie Roman, Jerry Stiller, Gilbert Gottfried, Jeffrey Ross, Joe Franklin, Larry Storch and others.
We should be getting a slew of pics that we'll upload soon into a Flickr set, but in the meantime, don't miss these great write-ups (with photos):
Here's the fourth in a continuing series I like to call "Cool shit from my walls that will fit on my (very small) scanner."
This first one didn't scan so well, probably because I'm too lazy to take any of these pieces out of their frames before throwing them on the glass. But also because the detail in this Jim Blanchard portrait of motivational speaker Tony Robbins is enough to cause my scanner to melt. I don't seem to have an "inifinity DPI" setting. Jim gave my wife Rhea and I this as a wedding present; Tony keeps us on a righteous path.
This Mat Brinkman drawing is from an issue of Jordan Crane's NON. It didn't scan so hot, either, I should have beefed up the contrast to make it more readable. Oh, well. But it makes me laugh every time I look at it:
This is a portrait of yours truly by the great Steve Brodner, and it's the only piece of art on my walls that my dad has ever expressed liking. I love that.
I can't remember what the right term for this pinwheel animation thing is, but Al Columbia made it back around 1994:
Speaking of Al, this is the original art he made for a single cover by our old band the Action Suits recorded back in 1996. Al didn't play on the single, he'd moved out of Seattle by then, but he stayed in the family:
Aw, shucks! The top response (with 37.1% of 170 votes) to our poll question "What was the primary reason you registered on Fantagraphics.com?" was "Just because I love you." See the full results here. Thanks for the outpouring of affection.
Starting today there's a brand new poll which you can find at the bottom of the right column here on FLOG and on various other pages of our site (including the homepage): Which part of our product listings do you find most useful or persuasive? The results will help us make the website an even better shopping experience, so vote today!
We made brief mention of this a few posts back, but here's the full announcement:
By popular demand — by which we mean “endless nagging from people on the TCJ.com message board” — The Comics Journal is pleased to announce that online-only subscriptions are now available, at over half off the print-subscription price. Choose from five-issue and ten-issue subscriptions to the subscriber section of the TCJ website, where you can not only read the current issue over the Internet, but every issue from TCJ #278 to present as well! Details at the links.
But wait, there’s more! We realize that you might want a look at what you’re purchasing, so for one week only, we’ve decided to make the online version of current issue, TCJ #288, free in its entirety for your reading pleasure. The whole thing’s there, from the best-of-2007 section to the comics section, and there’s no need to register — just click here and start reading! Offer ends Sunday evening, March 16, at which time the issue goes back behind the subscriber firewall.
We'll have more Fanta-specific news about this show soon, but I liked this new Jeffrey Brown poster enough that I wanted to share. Oh, there is some news to share: Jordan Crane has been added! Jordan will be signing at Emerald City as well as having an art show opening at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery that same weekend. Make your travel plans now!
Are you reading Dash Shaw's BodyWorld? Jog is. And he reminds me to tell you that you should, too, because it's free and good! Speaking of free and good, are you reading Jason's Low Moon in the New York Times? Same deal.