This February, Michigan State University will host their annual MSU Comics Forum, an event that brings together scholars, creators, and fans in order to explore celebrate the medium of comics, graphic storytelling, and sequential art.
And this year's keynote speaker is noneother than the great Stan Sakai! On Friday, February 21st, Stan will be speaking from 7:00 to 8:30 PM in the Residential College of Arts & Humanities Theater. Sakai-san will be discussing his long-running anthropomorphic animal series, Usagi Yojimbo, and talking about his wonderful, highly-acclaimed 30+ year career!
MSU Comics Forum will take place at Snyder/Phillips Hall at Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.
The Blighted Eye is the most copious, the most diverse, and the most lavish compilation of original comic art ever published — all from the mind-boggling collection of Glenn Bray. Bray was an enthusiast of marginal or outsider American pop culture when he started to collect original comic art in 1965 — a time when very few people, including the artists themselves, truly valued the original art. Bray has, over the last nearly 50 years, amassed the most eclectic collection of original comic art in private hands. The Blighted Eye is not only the greatest collection of original art ever produced, but a testament to Bray's dogged and visionary commitment to preserving the work by the greatest artists working in an art form habitually sneered at by cultural gatekeepers throughout most of the 20th century.
The book features work by a pantheon of cartooning masters, including Charles Addams, Carl Barks, Charles Burns, Al Capp, Dan Clowes, Jack Cole, R. Crumb, Jack Davis, Kim Deitch, Will Elder, Al Feldstein, Virgil Finlay, Drew Friedman, Chester Gould, Justin Green, Rick Griffin, Bill Griffith, Matt Groening, George Grosz, V.T. Hamlin, Jaime Hernandez, George Herriman, Al Hirshfeld, Graham Ingels, Bernard Krigstein, Harvey Kurtzman, Gary Panter, Virgil Partch, Savage Pencil, Peter Pontiac, Charles Rodrigues, Spain Rodriguez, Charles Schulz, Gilbert Shelton, Joost Swarte, Stanislav Szukalski, Irving Tripp, Chris Ware, S. Clay Wilson, Basil Wolverton, Wallace Wood, Jim Woodring, Art Young, and — it should go without saying — many more.
With the increasing sophistication of comics over the last 20 and 30 years in the form of graphic novels, journalism, and memoirs, the cartoon form is finally taking its place alongside other popular narrative media — novels, films, theatre — as an art form to reckon with, widely reviewed and embraced by a discriminating reading public.
Simultaneous with this growing acceptance of comics as a literary form has been the recognition among museums and galleries that the artists' original drawings are art objects. Public exhibitions of original comics art has proliferated over the last decade with such shows as Masters of American Comics at LA's Hammer Museum and R. Crumb's Underground at Seattle's Frye Museum. Readers have been able to see this original art in museum catalogues and the occasional compilation of work digitally scanned directly from the original art. Although drawn for print, the hand-crafted original art — brush strokes and pen lines inked on paper — offers a beauty and an unique insight into the form, a different way of perceiving the artist's work.
If you love Kim Deitch as much as we do, you'll want to pile on Chance Press's Kickstarter campaign for A Deitch Miscellany, a limited-edition book compiling some stray comics and artwork which will come in Fancy and Even Fancier editions (that's not what they're actually called). There's an array of signed & limited prints to be had too. Jordan from Chance Press is a good fellow and a booster of ours, and we're happy to boost back.
We're very pleased to have had three books chosen by the American Library Association's GLBT Round Table for their two honors lists this year. 7 Miles a Second by David Wojnarowicz, James Romberger, and Marguerite Van Cook and Julio's Day by Gilbert Hernandez were both named to the 2014 Over the Rainbow List of recommended books for adult readers in the Graphic Narrative category, and Wandering Son Vol. 4 by Shimura Takako was chosen for the 2014 Rainbow List of recommended reading for younger readers under Graphic Novels. (This is the third year in a row on the list for the Wandering Son series.)
Vip: The Mad World of Virgil Partch at Fantagraphics Bookstore on February 8.
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is privileged to host an exhibition by Virgil Partch, one of mid-century America’s most influential humorists. A new book, Vip: The Mad World of Virgil Partch celebrates the legacy of this notorious cartoonist. An exhibition of art and artifacts from the book opens Saturday, February 8 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM.
Virgil Partch (1916 – 1984) burst onto the pages of the nation’s magazines with his captivating cartoons virtually overnight. His irreverent observations inspired a new breed of post-war comedians and cartoonists. Known affectionately by his signature, “Vip,” his work adorned books, advertisements, album covers, beer cans, cocktail napkins other accoutrements of mid-century American culture. The exhibition at Fantagraphics Bookstore will demonstrate the diverse range of Partch’s appealing aesthetic.
The exhibition opens on Saturday, February 8 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM and continues through March 5, 2014. The opening coincides with the festive Georgetown Art Attack, featuring colorful visual and performing arts presentations throughout the historic arts community. Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale, only minutes south of downtown Seattle. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110.
• Seattle, WA: This Saturday finds rising star Julia Gfrörer signing the sensational new book Black Is the Color. Her story of a castaway sailor’s attraction to a nefarious mermaid examines the dubious value of maintaining dignity to the detriment of intimacy, and the erotic potential of the worst-case scenario. (more info)
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is burning with love in February. This Saturday, February 1 finds rising star Julia Gfrörer signing the sensational new book Black Is the Color. Her story of a castaway sailor’s attraction to a nefarious mermaid examines the dubious value of maintaining dignity to the detriment of intimacy, and the erotic potential of the worst-case scenario.
On Saturday, February 8 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM we open a colorful exhibition of art and artifacts by Virgil Partch, one of midcentury America’s most influential humorists. This event coincides with the festive Georgetown Art Attack featuring challenging visual and performing arts presentations throughout the historic arts community.
Join us from 6:00 to 8:00 PM on Saturday, February 22 for an appearance by Gregory Benton signing his new book B + F from the adventurous AdHouse imprint.
And finally, on Wednesday, February 26 from 7:00 to 11:00 PM we host a reception with Foxing Quarterly and other small press publishers in town for the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) conference. Don’t miss any of the lovely action next month.
Out of the nihilist inkwell and printed in poison! Meet the finest in new cosmic horror! Face melters from: Max Clotfelter (Henry & Glenn Forever), Alex Delaney (Rapt in Fear), Eamon Espey (Wormdye and Songs of the Abyss), Noel Freibert (Weird Magazine), Sammy Harkham (The Simpsons' Tree House of Horror, Kramers Ergot and Everything Together), Juliacks (Swell and Rock That Never Sleeps), Jason T. Miles (Love Wins), Scott Roller (Rapt in Fear), Matthew Thurber (1-800 Mice and Infomaniacs), and Zach Hazard Vaupen. Cover by Alex Degan (Area CC, Mighty Star and Soft Xray/Mindhunters). Published by Profanity Hill!
Jack Kamen's deceptively wholesome approach to comics storytelling was never put to better use than in the science fiction shockers Al Feldstein wrote for him at EC Comics. Together, the two conspired to exploit Kamen's clean-yet-lush graphics with fantasies of the future that take a startlingly brutal twist and high tech romances that veer suddenly, awfully out of control.
The suburban Spielbergian idyll of the title tale, "Zero Hour" (one of three here adapted from stories by Ray Bradbury), is particularly well served by Kamen's slick surface innocence. Kamen performs similar magic in "A Lesson in Anatomy," with Mayberry-perfect notes that conceal an interstellar threat.
But the devil in Kamen comes out when he pours on the sex appeal. Cheating wives and jealous mistresses alike drive Kamen's hapless heroes to extremes, sometimes fatally, as in "Punishment Without Crime" (Bradbury again) and "Hot-Rod" (a fast woman and an even faster car make for a dangerous combination). Even the supercomputer in "Only Human!" falls victim to a beautiful woman's charms.
Discover for yourself why Jack Kamen, perhaps the most underrated artist during the heyday of EC Comics, is undergoing a long overdue rediscovery and earning fresh appreciation from a new generation of readers.
Zero Hour and Other Stories contains 22 classic EC yarns — plus the usual all-new biographical, historical, and critical essays that have made Fantagraphics' EC Library series the ultimate version of these classics.
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