This has little to do with comics, but I was crestfallen to read on Pitchfork this morning that Dave "Day" Havlicek, the amazing electric banjo wizard for The Monks, passed away yesterday. The Monks were one of the most badass bands who ever lived; if you don't believe it, check this shit out (or any other clip on YouTube). A group of misfit GIs stationed in Germany during the mid-60s found each other, shaved their heads, and became the first proto-psychobilly/punk rock punk rock band, and they wrote killer songs. Anyway, Dave had long since settled just outside Seattle and I had the pleasure to meet him. In the mid-1990s my then-roommates Jeremy Eaton, John Ramberg, Andy Schmidt and I were rabid Monks fans, and one night we met Dave and his wife at a Young Fresh Fellows show at the Crocodile Cafe. They'd been invited by Scott McCaughey of the Fellows, and we were introduced though him because John and Scott were pals. The four of us were beside ourselves and couldn't believe we were getting face time with a legend like this. But the Monks hadn't had their big renaissance yet (they had domestic CDs reissued in the late-1990s and reunited for a few gigs over the last ten years), and we were amongst a very few folks talking to the Havliceks. In fact, Dave couldn't even believe that there was anyone in their early 20s who knew about the Monks. We told him we not only knew about the Monks, we routinely danced to the Monks. We all talked at the bar for what seemed like a couple of hours, and the Havliceks couldn't have been more gracious to us, and at the end of the night we all exchanged info and promised to get together again. My roomies and I talked about having them over for a BBQ and jam session, which Dave expressed interest in. But we never did it; I think we doubted that he could really have an interest in us stupid kids. This is sure to be one of my great regrets -- I could have jammed with a Monk! Anyway, a decade has passed, and a few months back, I was in the Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery one afternoon when Dave and his wife walked in; they were in the neighborhood for a motorcycle show and knew the guys from Georgetown Records (our retail neighbors). We talked for about 20 minutes - amazingly, they remembered me -- and exchanged info again, but that was the last I talked to Dave. R.I.P., Mr. Havlicek, you were a major inspiration to me, and a real sweetheart.
Johnny Ryan was interviewed this morning by Howard Stern's '100 news' (his SIRIUS Satellite 'news' channel) and we're told the interview will run this afternoon at about 2:00PM Pacific Time. Johnny was interviewed about this drawing he did of the Stern show cast of characters.
The New Yorker has announced a contest inviting cartoonists to design their own version of the magazine's mascot, Eustice Tilly (originally designed in 1925 by Rea Irvin for the very first issue). My favorite Tilly probably has to be the above Crumb version, which was perceived as a blasphemous betrayal of the mag's proud tradition by some of its more calcified subscribers when originally published in 1994. Now it's a decade and a half later and folks like Crumb, Aline Kominsky, Chris Ware (see his Tilly below), Adrian Tomine, and Daniel Clowes are fairly regular contributors to the mag. Mouly and Spiegelman, what hath thou wrought?!
Hank Ketcham's Complete Dennis the Menace Box Set 1955-1958 By Hank Ketcham
A swell custom-designed case containing the third and fourth volumes of Hank Ketcham's Complete Dennis the Menace with strips from the years 1955 through 1958. (Sorry, case is not peanut butter or root beer resistant.)
two 672-page B&W 5.5" x 6.25" hardcovers with custom box $39.95 Order Now!
In keeping with his athletic goal of issuing a volume of his occasionally lauded ACME series once every new autumn, volume 18 finds cartoonist Chris Ware abandoning the engaging serialization of his "Rusty Brown" and instead focusing upon his ongoing and more experimentally grim narrative , "Building Stories."
Collecting pages unseen except in obscure alternative weekly periodicals and sophisticated expensive coffee table magazines, The ACME Novelty Library #18 re-introduces the characters which New York Times readers found "dry" and "deeply depressing" when one chapter of the work (not included here) was presented in its pages during 2005 and 2006. Set in a Chicago apartment building more or less in the year 2000, the stories move from the straightforward to the mnemonically complex, invading character's memories and personal ambitions with a text point size likely unreadable to human beings over the age of 45. Reformatted to accommodate this different material, readers will be pleased by the volume's vertical shape and tasteful design, which, unlike Ware's earlier volumes, should discreetly blend into any stack or shelf of real books.
56-page full-color 8" x 10.75" hardcover $18.95 Order Now!
Straggling behind the mild 2003 success of cartoonist Chris Ware's first facsimile collection of his miscellaneous sketches, notes, and adolescent fantasies arrives this second volume, updating weary readers with the last ten years of Ware's clichéd and outmoded insights.
Working directly in pen and ink, watercolor, and white-out whenever he makes a mistake, Ware has cannily edited out all legally sensitive and personally incriminating material from his private journals, carefully recomposing each page to simulate the appearance of an ordered mind and established aesthetic directive. All phone numbers, references to ex-girlfriends, "false starts," and embarrassing experiments with unfamiliar drawing media have been generously excised to present the reader with the most pleasant and colorful sketchbook reading experience available. Included are Ware's frustrated doodles for his book covers, angry personal assaults on friends, half-finished comic strips, lengthy and tiresome fulminations of personal disappointments both social and sexual, as well as his now-beloved drawings of the generally miserable inhabitants of the city of Chicago. All in all, a necessary volume for fans of fine art, water-based media, and personal diatribe. Hardcover, attractively designed, and easy to resell.
208-page 7" x 9.5" full-color hardcover $39.95 Order Now!
... regarding Chris Ware's recent output. From the aforementioned publications earlier this week, to the recent film poster for The Savages, and now to obscure midwestern literary journals, he continues to shame underachievers everywhere. More here. Tip 'o the Floghat to reader A.T.
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