I like to play cards, so I was stoked to get this set from our pals at The Stranger. It instantly vaults past the nudie deck as my favorite. Each card features a classic cover from Strangers past, and they've had some great ones, including a bunch by Fantagraphics-published cartoonists like Jim Blanchard (who is featured on three cards, I think more than anyone), Ellen Forney, Jeremy Eaton, Charles Burns (colored by yours truly, coincidentally), and Tony Millionaire. I have no idea how to get this or if it's even for sale, so good luck. And neener-neener.
If you're in L.A. this Saturday, TRACK 16 GALLERY is hosting the opening reception of the L.A. WEEKLY BIENNIAL, featuring a four foot flying saucer painting by Esther Pearl Watson, along with a lot of other great stuff.
I was glad to hear about this show because it gives me an excuse to mention Esther on this blog. One of the books I'm most excited about for 2008 is a book collection of Esther's UNLOVABLE minicomics (also seen every month in BUST magazine). I was only peripherally aware of UNLOVABLE until last summer's San Diego Comic-Con, when Jordan Crane pretty much shoved all of Esther's minis at me and told me I had to read them. I was hooked immediately, as was just about everyone else I've forced them on since, and now we're doing the book collection at the end of 2008. UNLOVABLE is an adaptation of a diary of a teenage girl that Watson found some years ago (or so the story goes, anyway). The simple version is that it mines similar adolescent territory as some of, say, Lynda Barry or Lauren Weinstein's comics, but that kind of simplification is a disservice to all three of those exceptional artists, so excuse my laziness. But it is very funny and moving stuff, and it reads better than ever in book form. A lot of the material in the UNLOVABLE minis was presented out of chronological order, focusing on stand-alone scenes more than the longer narrative. The material in the book will be presented in the proper order, and the whole story just gets even better with the additional context.
Anyway, don't forget the art show this weekend if you're in the southland:
"SOME PAINTINGS" THE THIRD LA WEEKLY BIENNIAL curated by doug harvey January 12 - February 16, 2008 Opening reception Saturday, January 12, from 7-11 P.M.
In the last two or three weeks, I've acquired not one, not two, not three, but FOUR brand new Chris Ware books. WTF?!? First ACME 18, then the ACME 18.5 portfolio, then the second ACME Datebook. Then, yesterday I get the new issue of Virginia Review Quarterly, which features an all-new strip called "Jordan W. Lint," which continues the all-new Ware piece in the new Zadie Smith anthology that Jacob wrote about two posts back. How does he do it? Pact with the devil? Sweatshop? Computers? You know, when you have a child, your output is supposed to decrease, Chris. By my count, Ware is working on at least three graphic novels simultaneously these days: Rusty Brown, Building Stories, and Jordan W. Lint. And that doesn't even count all of the other shorter pieces he manages to put out. Anyway, right now is an embarrassment of riches for us Ware fans out there. Lap it up.
"REBEL VISIONS: The Underground Comix Revolution" Opens Saturday January 12 at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery in Seattle.
All comix fans will want to see "REBEL VISIONS: The Underground Comix Revolution" opening this Saturday, January 12 from 11:30 to 8:00 PM at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery in Seattle. This colorful art show will complement R. Crumb's Underground exhibition opening January 26 at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle.
Daniel Clowes and Chris Ware contribute stories to this Zadie Smith anthology of new fiction, The Book of Other People. Charles Burns illustrates the covers. It also has prose from the likes of Dave Eggers, Jonathan Lethem, and George Saunders. All of this makes for yet another beautiful Penguin Books artifact. [Note: I originally found out about this book via the great Blog Flume which has some scans of the cartoonists' work.]
This weekend I sat down with our latest Mome anthology (#10 with Al Columbia covers) and I highly recommend that every fan of the comics medium buy it if only for the brilliant piece by Dash Shaw. For me Dash came out of nowhere and now he's just burning up with unconventional story-telling and smart formal experiments. One of the more remarkable things about his work is that in general (but very specifically in Mome 10) Dash is succinctly using color the same way other cartoonists use images in addition to words-- as a means to tell more than the written word alone could convey.
Unfortunately I don't have time for a proper review of his work. Suffice it to say that I don't get excited about many comics and his Mome piece is a poetic sci-fi mindbender when Vonnegut is about as sci-fi as I usually read. His blog and Bodyworld strip are online now.
This is interesting: the New Yorker has set up a cartoonists' blog. Cartoonist and online cartoon editor Mick Stevens will be the blog's first "captain," and it'll rotate every month. If this means future blogging from folks like Gahan Wilson and Bruce McCall, count me in.
Come on down to JIM's INFO BARN, the new blog from artist Jim Blanchard. I particularly enjoyed the panoramic photo of his studio: if you check it out, be sure to look for the reflection of Jim's face in the mirror. I laughed.
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