This quote from a childhood friend of Barack Obama's jumped out at me in this great Guardian profile of people who knew Barack Obama growing up:
"Grandpa bought me all the DC Comics books, and I was the only one who had them, so [Obama] and Yanto would borrow the books and copy pictures of Batman and Spider-Man out and ask me to judge which was better. [Obama] was always better than Yanto. Even Yanto always agreed with that. [Obama] had a great eye."
Yes, we are gaining a president, but we have lost a cartoonist.
Here's an advance look at John Kerschbaum's brutally funny graphic novel debut Petey & Pussy, starring a pair of kvetching, balding, foul-mouthed anthropomorphic misanthropes. Click this link if the embedded slideshow doesn't appear above, and/or to open it in a new window.
This superbly evocative graphic novella by the award-winning Norwegian cartoonist Jason (his first appearance in the English language) starts off as a melancholy childhood memoir and then, with a shocking twist midway through, becomes the summary of lives lived, wasted, and lost. (Imagine a version of Stand by Me in which not all of the kids outrace the train.) Like Art Spiegelman did with Maus, Jason utilizes anthropomorphic stylizations to reach deeper, more general truths, and to create elegantly minimalist panels whose emotional depth charge comes as an even greater shock. His sparse dialogue, dark wit, and supremely bold use of "jump-cuts" from one scene to the next (sometimes spanning a number of years) make Hey, Wait... a surprising and engaging debut. Love and Rockets co-creator Gilbert Hernandez calls this one of the best graphic novels ever.
F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, and James Joyce walk into a Parisian bar... no, it's not the beginning of a joke, but the premise of Jason's unique new graphic novel. Set in 1920s Paris, The Left Bank Gang is a deliciously inventive re-imagining of these four literary figures as not only typical Jason anthropomorphics, but...graphic novelists! Yes, in Jason's warped world, cartooning is the dominant form of fiction, and not only do these four work literary giants work in the comics medium but they get together to discuss pen vs. brush, chat about the latest graphic novels from Dostoevsky ("I can't tell any of his characters apart!") to Faulkner ("Hasn't he heard of white space? His panels are too crowded!"), and bemoan their erratic careers. With guest appearances by Zelda Fitzgerald and Jean-Paul Sartre, and a few remarkable twists and turns along the way, and you've got one of the funniest and most playful graphic novels of the year. Like Jason's acclaimed Why Are You Doing This?, The Left Bank Gang is rendered in full spectacular color.
2007 Eisner Award Winner, Best U.S. Edition of International Material
YOW! Legendary Cartoonist Bill Griffith Book Signing and Zippy Art Exhibition at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery in Seattle on November 8.
“Are we having fun yet?” We will be on Saturday, November 8 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM, when Bill Griffith creator of the iconic Zippy the Pinhead comic strip character, makes a rare public appearance in the Northwest. Griffith will be on hand to sign his new Zippy collection Welcome to Dingburg, present an exhibition of original Zippy artwork, and give a brief slide talk. The public of all ages is invited to Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery in Seattle’s Georgetown district to welcome this extraordinary cartoonist.
Bill Griffith began his storied career in New York in 1969, publishing comics in the East Village Other. A year later he moved to San Francisco to join his colleagues in the Underground Comix movement. He collaborated with Art Spiegelman to launch Arcade, a quarterly anthology of alternative comics, and Young Lust, a parody of 1950s romance comic books. His signature character Zippy first appeared in 1970 in Real Pulp #1. In subsequent years, “Zippy the Pinhead” was syndicated and currently appears in hundreds of newspapers across the country. Griffith’s creation has entered the cultural lexicon with his sometimes oblique, sometimes pointed, commentary on American political and popular culture. Since 1993, Seattle-based Fantagraphics Books has collected “Zippy the Pinhead” strips in several periodical publications. The latest of these handsome volumes, Welcome to Dingburg, will make its debut at the event on November 8.
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale Street in the heart of Georgetown’s creative community, only minutes south of downtown Seattle - open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Bill Griffith’s appearance coincides with the colorful Georgetown Second Saturday Art Attack featuring visual and performing arts presentations throughout the neighborhood. A selection of imagery in a variety of formats is available for publication. For additional information contact Eric Reynolds at Fantagraphics.
BILL GRIFFITH Opening reception and book signing, Saturday, November 8, 6:00 – 9:00 PM. Exhibition of original Zippy art continues through December 10. Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery 1201 S. Vale St. (at Airport Way S.) Seattle, WA 206.658.0110 Open daily 11:30 – 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM www.fantagraphics.com
Johnny Ryan sez on his blog: "Superfan Patrick O'Odonnell and friends have produced another cinematic masterpiece based on one of my comics. If you ever wondered what would happen if Stanley Kubrick fell out of the top floor of the World Trade Center and landed brain first into a pile of my comics, you'd probably get something like this." Behold.