Josh Simmons' latest, greatest and most terrifying graphic novel yet is about to hit the United States and he is taking Black River to the road. Black River stars a group of women, one man, and two dogs are making their way through a post-apocalyptic world in search of a city that supposedly still has electricity and some sort of civilization. Along the way, they go to a comedy club, take a drug called Gumdrop, and encounter gangs of men who are fools, lunatics, or murderous sadists. In other words, all manner of terrors. You think the Hunger Games is scary? What if it was your every damn day? This full-length graphic novel is his best work yet, echoing director John Carpenter's perfect tick-tock pacing, as well as Shirley Jackson's ability to transcend genre and turn it into literature.
Check out Simmons 'round the United States tour (plus two Canadian stops) and mark your calendars. Some events feature some guest cartoonists, some music by Sunshine Ear's Gregory Spencer and some special venues will be screening Simmons' chilling short films.
4.18 Portland, ORLinework NW All weekend Tabling Norse Hall 111 NE 11th Ave, Portland OR
4.24 Vancouver, BCLucky's7PM Book signing + screening 3972 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5V 3P2, Canada
In addition to new copies of Black River on sale at each venue, Simmons has inked up gorgeous primo prints including this black light poster. Imagine the things you'll see looking at it...alone....at night.
And here are the three prints! An exquisite interior from Black River:
This week's comic shop shipment is slated to include the following new titles. Read on to see what comics-blog commentators and web-savvy comic shops are saying about them (more to be added as they appear), check out our previews at the links, and contact your local shop to confirm availability.
52-page two-color 6.25" x 6.25" hardcover $9.99 | 978-1-60699-814-4
"Mullin defined the modern sports cartoon by combining representative portraiture, cartoonish doodlery, and editorial commentary - part news account, part personal observation, his cartoons celebrated sport for its entertainment, cultural, and artistic value." –Bob Staake
"Crane's art is stunning, combining simple cartoony figures with richly detailed backgrounds in clever, colorful layouts. It isn't even necessary to read the dialogue or captions to follow the action; just scan Crane's dynamic lines, which make every panel look like a unique work of pop art. [Grade:] A-." - The A.V. Club
The award-winning and timeless collection of Love and Rockets stories gathered into the gorgeous book, Palomar by Gilbert Hernandez, was published more than a decade ago. But controversy at a high school library in New Mexico has given new life into the continuing dicussion, and sometimes battle, that surrounds comics when they attempt to break new ground and tackle themes which require context and analysis.
As Jen Vaughn pointed out in our original posting of the challenged book, one mother of a 14-year-old who had checked out the offending text from Rio Rancho High School library, took to the local TV station, KOAT, to report that she had found pages upon pages of "child pornography pictures and child abuse pictures". She demanded that there be an investigation to find out how the book was allowed into the library in the first place.
Since KOAT's initial "reporting" of the book's content, several outstanding organizations have come to its defense. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, a First Amendment protection group, has teamed up with the Kids' Right to Read Project, and sent a letter to the Superintendent of Rio Rancho calling on the school to uphold it's own preported standards of procedure when it comes to a book's challenge. Additionally, the letter points out the obvious merits that the book carries within its pages, which have been lauded by numerous publications like The Times of London and Publisher's Weekly over the years for Hernandez's elastic realism approach to familial drama that immediately invokes comparison to writers such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Today, Greg Matiasevich at Multiversity posted an interview with Fantagraphics' Associate Publisher, Eric Reynolds, and CBLDF Executive Director, Charles Brownstein to get their reactions to Palomar being pulled from the shelves as it awaits a formal review from the school. When asked about why the removal of such a book is important, Reynolds replies:
"I don’t much care whether Palomar is in one particular library or not, but I do care about one rogue parent bypassing appropriate channels to remove it, instead escalating via a media that was all too enthusiastic in egregiously mischaracterizing the content of the work, fueling community outrage with flat-out falsehoods. It’s unproductive for everyone involved."
As Matiasevich points out, products based on comic books dominates our entertainment culture in the form of movies and TV shows, but too often the art form that these products were built off of is easily called out by those with little understanding of the medium itself, and shamefully erased from the hands of potential readers through public defamation. Brownstein and the CBLDF continue to take up these battles because "comics have a legitimate place in contemporary libraries and schools, but are more vulnerable to attack that other kinds of books because images are easier to take out of context and because there is still a diminishing, but lingering stigma that the medium is of low value."
Numerous titles have proven that assumption wrong over the years, but it's important to remember no one deserves to have stories or art taken from their hands due to the opinion of one person. Palomar is awaiting its fate at the Rio Rancho High School library, and the CBLDF will be standing by to update on their final decision.
Before he rose to fame as the author of the bestselling graphic novels Ghost World, David Boring, Ice Haven, and The Death Ray, Daniel Clowes made his name from 1989 to 1997 by producing 18 issues of the beloved comic book series Eightball, which is still widely considered to be one of the greatest and most influential comic book titles of all time. Now, for the 25th Anniversary of Eightball, Fantagraphics is collecting these long out-of-print issues in a slipcased set of two hardcover volumes, reproducing each issue in facsimile form exactly as they were originally published. Included are over 450 pages of vintage Clowes, including such seminal serialized graphic novels/strips/rants as “Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron,” “Ghost World,” “Pussey,” “I Hate You Deeply,” “Sexual Frustration,” “Ugly Girls,” “Why I Hate Christians,” “Message to the People of the Future,” “Paranoid,” “My Suicide,” “Chicago,” “Art School Confidential,” “On Sports,” “Zubrick and Pogeybait,” “Hippypants and Peace-Bear,” “Grip Glutz,” “The Sensual Santa,” “Feldman,” “Glue Destiny,” and so many more, including many never reprinted before now.
The Complete Zap Comix collects every issue of Zap — every cover and every story, and even the Zam mini comic jam among the Zap artists — in a multi-volume, slipcased hardcover set. It will also include the 17th unpublished issue with work by Crumb, Moscoco, Wilson, Rodriguez, Shelton, Mavrides, and Williams. Plus, an introduction by founder R. Crumb and an oral history of Zap by Patrick Rosenkranz. Zap is the most historically and aesthetically important comics series ever published.
This Special Signed Edition includes everything in the regular edition, but also contains a portfolio of five giclée prints, scanned from original pages of Zap art by Robert Crumb, Paul Mavrides, Gilbert Shelton, Robert Williams, and S. Clay Wilson, each signed by the artist. Limited to 250 copies.
Grab your leather jacket and the nearest cat, and plop yourself down to enjoy this first look at our advance copies of Wuvable Oaf! The books are gorgeous to behold with their bright pink exterior, cover overflowing with cats, and featuring our most wuvable protagonist. The generous page size really lets you see every individual hair on Oaf's chest and shows off the bold linework of artist Ed Luce.
And, just when you thought it couldn't get any better, we've also got a limited edition dust jacket and slipcased version personally designed by Ed Luce and our own Mike Baehr. It's the What the Fuzz Edition, featuring some exquisite spot flocking and foil stamped nipples, with all the original Wuvable Oaf covers on the slipcase cover.
The long held view of Fantagraphics Bookstore curator Larry Reid that the Pacific Northwest gave birth and momentum to the alternative comix movement provides the premise for a lively PechaKucha presentation by 10 regional cartoonists this Wednesday evening at Cornish Playhouse. Reid will be joined by veteran cartoonists Peter Bagge, Jim Woodring, Ellen Forney and David Lasky, along with emerging artists Eroyn Franklin, Kelly Froh, Max Clotfelter, Tom Van Deusen, Gina Siciliano, and Tatiana Gill. The PechaKucha concept involves each artist showing 20 images for 20 seconds each - an ideal format for narrative art presentations.
Reid maintains the foundation for alternative comix was laid when three exceptionally talented cartoonists emerged from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington in the late 70s. Lynda Barry, Charles Burns and Matt Groening began syndicating their strips in alternative newspapers around the country. Olympia's fledgling Sub Pop enterprise and Seattle's popular music magazine The Rocket provided platforms for these and other inventive cartoonists. Peter Bagge arrived at the dawn of grunge era and soon convinced Fantagraphics Books to relocate to Seattle. The rest, as they say, is history. Reid plans to present a convincing case that our region can claim a heritage of alternative comix innovation.
Come celebrate Seattle's legacy of creative comics and narrative art at Cornish Playhouse at the Seattle Center on Wednesday, March 11. Doors open at 6:00 PM. Program begins at 6:30. Admission is free. A book signing and social hour will follow.
Let the chill of the early evening air fill your lungs as you head over to Challengers Comics + Conversationon Sunday, March 22nd to get all* your comics signed by Peter Bagge. His newest book is a collection of the DC comic, Sweatshop, which discusses seedy underbelly of the comic book industry. Originally published as a six-issue series by DC Comics in 2003 this is one of the best and most undervalued works of one of the key voices of his generation. This Sunday evening soiree starts at 6pm.
Sweatshop focuses on the unhappy, out-of-touch cartoonist, Mel Bowling. As the hand behind a very bad daily comic strip called Freddy Ferret (a cross between Dilbert and Garfield), he spends most of his time listening to Rush Limbaugh and coming up with horrible catchphrases to merchandise, while his "sweatshop" cast of studio assistants grind out all the hard work.
Challengers Comics + Conversation was the recipient of the 2013 Will Eisner "Spirit of Comics" Retailer Award and has been open since March 2008 when Patrick Brower and W. Dal Bush first opened up the store. With an engaging set of comic book sellers and a beautiful store, don't you just want to buy a copy of everything? LOOK at those red chairs! Photo by Bookstores of Chicago Tumblr.
Posters by Will Rhodes.
*yeah, we mean all, even those Creepy comics.
Challengers Comics + Conversation 1845 N Western Ave Chicago, IL 60647