The central character of Set to Sea is a big lug and an aspiring poet who runs up tabs at the local bars by day and haunts the docks by night, writing paeans to the seafaring life. When he gets shanghaied aboard a clipper bound for Hong Kong, he finds the sailor's life a bit rougher than his romantic nautical fantasies, but he learns to live — and love — a Conradian life on the sea, all the while writing poetry about pirates, bad food, unceremonious funerals, foreign ports, and unexpected epiphanies. By the end of his life, he's found satisfaction in living a life of adventure and finding a receptive and appreciative readership. What more could one ask for? Set to Sea is part rollicking adventure, part maritime ballad told in visual rhyme. Every page is a single panel, every panel is a stunning illustration, every illustration a part of a larger whole that tells a story in the deft language of cartooning.
On Saturday night, founder and co-publisher Gary Groth received the Genius Award in Literature from Seattle alt-weekly paper, The Stranger. (Photo above by Kelly O. of The Stranger). His competition was fierce but the force of the movement he created when he founded Fantagraphics with Mike Catron and soldiered on with Kim Thompson created a form of comics so prevalent. Paul Constant interviews Groth yet again after the event on comics at the Stranger's Slog: "Pop culture has become so stupefyingly banal that it's caught up with comics. It's kind of terrifying when you think about it," states Groth in reference to the multiple superhero movies, TV shows and comics popping up from here as far as the eye can see. Picture below by Short Run.
Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds was present at the Stranger Awards and commented, "It was a great night for Fantagraphics and for Seattle, and even though Gary's been completely insufferable since Saturday night, going on and on about 'genius this' and 'genius that,' blah blah blah, we're extremely proud of the big lug."
Eric, Kelly O. and Gary
Yes, indeed, we are so proud of Gary and happy to be a part of the everchanging landscape of comics, graphic novels and just damn good storytelling. VIVA COMICS and VIVA GROTH!
DETROIT! Let's grease the wheels and get on down to the Jazz Cafe. Author Pat Thomas will be in Detroit on Wednesday, October 29th from 7:00pm-9:30pm at the Jazz Cafe at Music Hall, reading from his book, Listen Whitey! The Sights and Sounds of Black Power 1965-1975 plus spinning rare "Black Power" recordings and showing unusual photos from the era. ML Liebler presents a special Detroit Tonight Live featuring Thomas that will also include special guests: poets Diane DeCillis & Dawn McDuffie plus fiction writer Brian Smith along with The Good Shepherd Poetry Blues Band.
Thomas is also working a new book coming out next year called Invitation to Openness, a book of previously unpublished jazz photos of the 1960s and '70s by Les McCann. So feel free to ask him about it!
Jazz Cafe at Music Hall 350 Madison St Detroit, MI 48226 (313) 887-8500
This weekend is THE Texas Book Festival in the heart of the state, Austin, on the grounds of the State Capital. Tim Lane of The Lonesome Go and Abandoned Cars will also be in attendence and holding court. Lane is known for his dense cartooning of American legends and dusty Route 66 tales. Stark washes of white and black pools of ink draw readers to the page while the mystery and mayhem leave them fraught with distress at each page turn. Here's were you can find Lane during the festival:
Saturday, October 25th
Foxing Quarterly and Fantagraphics LitCrawl with Tim Lane - 9:30 PM
The Volstead Lounge at Hotel Vegas. Just like with Lane's signing at The Phoenix, he'll be doing recordings of Jackie's Blues so if you are an earnest musician of any instrument come out to jam or do a solo recording for his project.
Sunday, October 26th
On Comics Panel- 11:15 AM - 12:00 PM Beautiful, and at times haunting, pen-and-ink illustrations clash with the Great American Mythological Drama in Tim Lane's new collection, The Lonesome Go. Moderated by Danithan Mejia.
Location: Capitol Extension Room E2.028
Immediately after Lane's panel you'll find him at the book signing tent signing The Lonesome Go. So please enjoy this free festival on the grounds of the capital and enjoy all the delicious food Austin has to offer whether it's the ever-present Torchy's Tacos, Aster's Ethiopian, or that beautiful white bean chili at the Texas Chili Parlor (mere steps from the Texas Book Festival.
The precocious sock monkey Uncle Gabby, his innocent pal Mr. Crow, and their tiny doll-friend, Inches, are the heroes of this funny, unsettling, and all-new Sock Monkey storybook. Convinced that their human, Ann-Louise, has been kidnapped by a vicious monster dubbed the Amarok, our heroes bravely venture into the Haunted Woods to rescue her. The epic quest that follows takes them by sea, land, and air through many fantastic lands and introduces a cast of fanciful characters and creatures including the Trumbernick (the pixie shaman of the forest), a giant sea monster, the Guardsmen of Bear Town, and a flock of flying harpies. Beloved by adults and children, Sock Monkey hearkens back to all-ages fantasy-adventure such as The Wizard of Oz or Alice in Wonderland.
It’s in this volume (featuring another two years' worth of Pogo strips) that we meet one of Walt Kelly's boldest political caricatures. Folks across America had little trouble equating the insidious wildcat Simple J. Malarkey with the ascendant anti-Communist senator, Joseph McCarthy. The subject was sensitive enough that by the following year a Providence, Rhode Island newspaper threatened to drop the strip if Malarkey's face were to appear in it again. Kelly’s response? He had Malarkey appear again but put a bag over the character's head for his next appearance. Ergo, his face did not appear. (Typical of Kelly's layers of verbal wit, the character Malarkey was hiding from was a "Rhode Island Red" hen, referencing both the source of his need to conceal Malarkey and the underlying political controversy.) The entirety of these sequences can be found in this book.
But the Malarkey storyline is only a tiny portion of those rich, eventful two years, which include such classic sequences as con-man Seminole Sam's attempts to corner the market on water (which Porkypine's Uncle Baldwin tries to one-up by cornering the market on dirt); a return engagement of Pup Dog and Houn'dog's blank-eyed Little Orphan Annie parody "Li'l Arf and Nonny"; Churchy La Femme going in drag to deliver a love poem he wrote, Cyrano style, on Deacon Mushrat’s behalf to Sis Boombah (the aforementioned hen); P.T. Bridgeport's return to the swamp in search of new talent; and of course two rousing choruses of "Deck Us All With Boston Charlie."
In addition to presenting all of 1953 and 1954's daily strips complete and in order for the first time anywhere (many of them once again scanned from original syndicate proofs, for their crispest and most detailed appearance ever), Pogo Volume 3: "Evidence to the Contrary" also contains all 104 Sunday strips from these two years, presented in lush full color for the first time since their original appearance in Sunday sections 60 years ago — plus the usual in-depth "Swamp Talk" historical annotations by R.C. Harvey, spectacular samples of Kelly's work scanned from original art, and a whole lot more!
Dash Shaw's Doctors has been optioned by Twentieth Century Fox. Producer David Goyer (Batman Begins; Man of Steel; The Dark Knight) has jumped on board to adapt Shaw's sci-fi graphic novela into a feature film.
"I'm curious and excited to see what they do with it," says cartoonist Dash Shaw.
Doctors is centered around a machine called the Charon that can bring a dead person back to life by manipulating the memories of the recently deceased. The creator of the device, Dr. Cho, has found a way to make death into a profitable venture. When a young woman loses her mother in a tragic accident, she calls on Cho and his team to bring her mom back. But what happens if a person doesn't want to come back? Part science-fiction thriller, part family drama, part morality play for the 21st century, Doctors packs a lot of story into 96 pages.
"From the moment I read Dash's first draft of this book, I could picture it as a film, so this is exciting news," explains Fantagraphics Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds.
VP of Production at Fox, Matt Riley, will be overseeing the project. Further details have yet to be released.
Since their original publication, Peanuts Sundays have almost always been collected and reprinted in black and white. But many who read Peanuts in their original Sunday papers remain fond of the striking coloring, which makes for a surprisingly different reading experience. These late-1950s strips comprise the first golden age of Peanuts Sundays in one gorgeous, full-color coffee table book. Linus, Charlie Brown, Pig-Pen, Shermy, Violet, Sally, Patty, and Schroeder are all present, but the rising star is undoubtedly Snoopy. Peanuts Every Sunday: 1956-1960 has been scrupulously re-colored to match the original syndicate coloring — allowing readers once again to plunge back into Charles Schulz's marvelous world.
It is our very distinct pleasure to finally be able to show you a physical copy of the long-awaited Creeping Death from Neptune: The Life and Comics of Basil Wolverton Vol. 1! Packed cover to cover with photographs, letters, early illustrations as well as tons of full-page comics, this is THE definitive first volume detailing the cartoonist's full, prolific life from 1909 to 1941.
You can pre-order this book now and expect it on your doorstep by the end of the year. We'll have our usual previews available in the following weeks, so keep your eyes peeled for more sneak peeks!