I had to report to jury duty last week, and in the "jury assembly room" that had a large wall of posters for theater and art shows around town. They also had a sheet where you could sign up to reserve a poster when it came down. Only two posters had been reserved, apparently by a hippie who can't spell (I blocked out the guy's last name and phone number):
I tease; the guy had good taste. All the other posters were lame.
Fantagraphics pin-up expert, Alex Chun, is doing a rare presentation on Jack Cole and his Humorama brethren TONIGHT in Burbank. If you're into mid-century cartooning (or just purty ladies), this is not to be missed.
One of the strange things about editing MOME is that we're always sending an issue to the printer simultaneous to the previous issue hitting stores. So while Vol. 11 just hit stores this week, we're also sending MOME 12 off to the printer as well. I thought I'd give you all a sneak peek of the cover:
The cover is by Olivier Schrauwen, who contributes an original 13 page story to the issue (his first written in English). It's amazing, absurdist delight titled "Hair Types". If you haven't read his book, MY BOY, you should.
MOME 12 also features new work by Jon Vermilyea, Nate Neal, Sophie Crumb, Al Columbia, Ray Fenwick, Dash Shaw, Tom Kaczynski, Derek Van Gieson, Killoffer, Sara Edward-Corbett, Paul Hornschemeier, and the return of David B. Look for it at Comicon, where it will debut...
The following video presents footage of a book signing and reading, in conjunction with an exhibit of original Underground comic art, held at the CounterMedia bookstore in Portland, Oregon on December 20, 2002:
In this audio file, Patrick Rosenkranz is interviewed on the CBC Radio 2 program "Brave New Waves" in May, 2003. Click here to download the 17.19 MB MP3 (approx. 50 minutes in duration). The audio can also be streamed on this page, which archives all three of these features (please use that address if linking from your own site).
With our forthcoming opus STRANGE & STRANGE: THE WORLD OF STEVE DITKO hitting in just a few weeks, I thought I would share a brief Steve Ditko story. About ten years ago we had the great fortune of publishing a new series by Mr. Ditko, STEVE DITKO'S STRANGE AVENGING TALES. This was incredibly exciting to me, having been a lifelong Ditko fan. Unfortunately, I did not get to interact much with Mr. Ditko. See, I do all of our promotion, and to say that Mr. Ditko is not big on promotion is like saying the Pope is not big on gay marriage. And, he preferred snail mail to phone. As such, I did not have many opportunities to interact with one of the greatest comic book artists of all-time. Except one.
At the time, the venerable fan publication COMICS BUYERS GUIDE was very excited about Mr. Ditko's new series, and CBG Editor Maggie Thompson was kind enough to offer us the cover of an issue to promote the book, but asked if Mr. Ditko would provide an original cover for CBG. As I recall, Gary Groth ran the idea by Ditko and, somewhat surprisingly, he was game. So, I mailed Mr. Ditko all of the appropriate specifications for creating an original CBG cover. A week or so later, I received the following postcard in the mail:
I have to say, getting a postcard in the mail from Steve Ditko was just about the coolest thing ever. I was jazzed. I of course promptly wrote him back with enthusiasm, hoping to cement our acquaintanceship, telling him that I looked forward to the piece.
Soon thereafter, as promised, Ditko delivered the cover, and it was great -- a beautiful, greytoned wash illustration tying into the new series.
And here's where I made my mistake. As I recall, I wrote him back even more enthusiastically, thanking him for the piece. In an effort to be as thorough as possible, and since we still had some time before CBG's deadline, I reminded him (in case he hadn't seen an issue recently) that CBG had just switched from a B&W newspaper format to a tabloid format with color covers , and so color did remain an option if he was so inclined -- I just wanted to make sure he wasn't limiting himself to B&W because he thought he had to.
Anyway, a week or so later I got this postcard:
Reading the card now, I'm not even sure if he was actually that upset. I mean, he still sent his "regards," so maybe he was just trying to be as clear as possible, but at the time, I was convinced I'd royally pissed him off and felt terrible about it. I still do. Shortly after this, Ditko quit the series over other disagreements with Gary Groth, and only the first issue was published. So I never got the chance to prove to Mr. Ditko that I wasn't a moron.
I suppose, given Mr. Ditko's philosophical worldview, I never should have doubted that B&W cover. Maybe it was the shades of grey that threw me off. Either way, the pure white, economic postcards should have been a reminder that Mr. Ditko knew exactly what he was doing and I never should have questioned him.
Bottomless Belly Button is a comedy-drama that follows the dysfunctional adventures of the Loony Family.
After 40-some years of marriage, Maggie and David Loony shock their children with their announcement of a planned divorce. But the reason for splitting isn't itself shocking: they’re "just not in love any more." The announcement sparks a week long Loony family reunion at Maggie and David's creepy (and possibly haunted) beach house.
The eldest child, Dennis, struggles with his parents' decision while facing difficulties of his own in his recent marriage. Believing that his parents are hiding the true reasons behind their estrangement, Dennis embarks on a quest to discover the truth and searches through clues, trap doors, and secret tunnels in attempt to find an answer. Claire, the middle child, is a single mother whose 16-year-old daughter, Jill, is apathetic to the divorce but confounded by Claire and troubled by her own "mannish" appearance. The youngest child, Peter, is a hack filmmaker suffering from paralyzing insecurities who establishes an unorthodox romance with a mysterious day care counselor at the beach.
In a six-day period rich with atmospheric sequences, these characters stumble blindly around one another, often ignoring their surroundings and consumed by their own daily conflicts. Visually, Shaw employs a leisurely storytelling pace that allows room for exploring the interconnecting relationships among the characters and plays to his strength as a cartoonist — small gestural details and nuanced expressions that bring the characters to vivid and intimate life.
If the controversial R.D. Laing wrote an episode of The Simpsons, it might read something like Bottomless Belly Button.
(This book is available with two different covers. When ordering, please indicate your preference for "Mom" or "Dad.")
Now available in a newly designed and affordable softcover edition! This is a provocative chronicle of the guerilla art movement that changed comics forever. This comprehensive book follows the movements of 50 artists from 1967 to 1972, the heyday of the underground comix movement. Through interviews with the participants and other materials, Rebel Visions is the most intimate look ever at the people and events that forged the phenomenon known as underground comix, from New York to San Francisco, from the corn belt to deep in the heart of Texas, beginning that day in 1968 when R. Crumb debuted ZAP #1 from a baby carriage on Haight Ashbury Street. Rosenkranz has spent over 30 years researching this book and acquiring the cooperation of every significant underground cartoonist who worked throughout this period, including Crumb, Gilbert (Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers) Shelton, Bill (Zippy) Griffith, Art (Maus) Spiegelman, Jack Jackson, S. Clay Wilson, Robert Williams, and many more. The book is illustrated with many never-before-seen drawings by all of the underground cartoonists and exclusive photographs.
The book is centered in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district, where Crumb and the rest of his Zap cronies commingled with the rest of the city’s counter-cultural scene, notably musicians like the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin. The counterculture was omnipresent in San Francisco for those few years, with underground tabloids like Yellow Dog and the San Francisco Oracle steering the zeitgeist out-of-control, along with the music, political, and psychedelic drug scenes, all of which found a group of unlikely revolutionaries who drew cartoons right at the epicenter. This is the definitive book on a memorable and historic era, available for the first time in paperback in this newly designed, expanded and revised edition.