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Ignatzes and beyond
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under awards 5 Oct 2008 8:21 PM

Congratulations to all of the Ignatz Award winners, and especially to new Fanta draft picks Laura Park (Outstanding Artist), whose work can be seen in the next issue of Mome, and Lilli Carré (Outstanding Story for her self-published The Thing About Madeleine), whose debut Fantagraphics graphic novel The Lagoon is coming this Fall.

Further congratulations to Laura for winning "The Warmest Drawings in Comics" and Miss Lasko-Gross for winning the "Third Annual Montgomery Burns Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence" at the unofficial "Nerdlinger Awards" at the Atomic Books anniversary party on Friday night (via The Beat).

The Terrorists Have Won, and Other Links.
Written by Jacob Covey | Filed under misc 3 Oct 2008 9:17 PM

Mike Baehr pointed out Tim Hensley using ComicLife in the links roundup a couple of weeks ago but he failed to mention how Fantagraphics' Righthand Man, Eric Reynolds, has even stopped drawing and now makes all his comics in the Macintosh program.

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Such a convert, he even got his mom into it. Seriously. I've seen her comics but I won't post those. It wouldn't be right-- and you probably don't even know who Mr. Blackwell is anyway.

Well, in spite of his flaws, I recommend all fans of comicdom check out Eric's massive Flickr archive of His Life in the Comics World. Lots of con and comic life photos, original art he's amassed, and baby pics. Mike Baehr is on Flickr too, with his photography and Yoda fetish.

So are these awesomely strange jam comic pages, care of Laura Park (who appears in Mome #something) and pals.

There's a great Donald Duck drawing, too. 

And J. Otto, the childrens book artist who made digital illustration relevant for everyone. Here he's spraypainting guitars.

While youre hanging out at Flickr you might as well see what Heiko Muller and Lizz Hickey are up to.

But Flickr also has something for the manga fans: Tatsuro Kiuchi's very strange Japanese comics. Note to the Editors: Tatsuro's work is great and should be in Mome, untranslated. Also, his piece in the upcoming Beasts2 was acknowledged with a prestigious illustration accolade. I forget which accolade. One of the good ones. Tatsuro is awesome.

Speaking of manga, I'm not clear who does Spermanga but I love his/her work. I guess it's "Bolino." I need to research this.

Speaking of things I have a reputation for hating, if you don't generally like web comics then you might want to check out this great French site, Grandpapier, that hosts over 100 comic artists. Technically billed as web comics, it's more like scans of indie books that you aren't likely to see in the States. Unfortunatly you kind of need to read French to fully enjoy the work.

But as long as we're just hanging out, shooting the shit, maybe you'd like to get away from comics: How about Mexican pulp covers featuring things like creepy space monsters with rayguns? Or dinosaurs fighting UFOs? Can anyone paint like this anymore? Can you? Contact me if you can. People should know about your work if it looks like this.

Bibliodyssey is pretty rad and so are these illustrations from Edith Farmiloe.

The Family Circus website could be a lot better. Where are the character bios and the tshirts, Billy? 

Jesus, there's a Gary Panter tee at Threadless?!

I e-met this guy Pierre Richardson a while back and, speaking as someone who did pretty well doing rock photography in a past life, Richardson's multiple exposure work (done all in-camera) is badass. Really. Also see his blog, with interviews of artists who have a scrawly, scratchy bent.

The Buenaventura Press space. If you were wondering. I was. Sort of.

I'm out of steam for this rambling.

Notes on Scanner Quality and Jpgs 2
Written by Jacob Covey | Filed under production 3 Oct 2008 8:35 PM

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Concerning my earlier post about Scanner Quality: Here is a photograph scanned with a $100 home scanner I bought because it sat up vertically on the desktop, taking up less space. It is worthless. Above is a 1.5 inch section of photograph I scanned at 300 dpi and saved uncompressed, showing all the same jagginess and lack of nuance that I talked about below.

Somebody at Fantagraphics doubted that cheap scanners had anything to do with this binary phenomenon but, yes, they do. They are the devil's work. As I said.

I'm late!
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under sales specialsmeta 3 Oct 2008 3:19 PM

In case you're wondering "Hey, last month's sale is over and there isn't a new one yet -- what gives?" and/or "Where's the informative Fantagraphics email newsletter that usually arrives in my inbox at the beginning of every month?" please rest assured that both are in the works and will be coming your way soon. In fact, this month's sale items are already marked down and you can enjoy the savings right now. Stay tuned for the real announcement, and thanks for your patience.

Chocolate Cheeks for 10/03/08
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under webcomicsSteven Weissmanmeta 3 Oct 2008 1:39 PM

Chocolate Cheeks by Steven Weissman

Time for a new installment of Steven Weissman's in-progress pages from "Blue Jay," an epic 32-page story from Chocolate Cheeks, the next collection of the Yikes! gang's adventures. In this week's episode: Steven challenges you to find the continuity error that will be fixed for the book! (Remember, you must be registered and logged in to read.)

Blogosphere roundup for 10/3/08
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under reviews 3 Oct 2008 1:06 PM

People on the Internet share their thoughts about our books:

A Girl Who Wears Glasses covets Ghost World: Special Edition, plans to go as Enid for Halloween; Emily Martin also says nice things about the book

• This Irish blogger named Conor recommends I Killed Adolf Hitler by Jason

Dans ta bulle, a French-Canadian internet radio show about comics, discusses Jules Feiffer's Tantrum and Tim Lane's Abandoned Cars

Comic Book Resources and ComicMix both examine Love and Rockets: New Stories #1 by the Hernandez Brothers

• Finnish blog Bundologi takes note of The Portable Frank by Jim Woodring

Pol Culture reviews Night Fisher by R. Kikuo Johnson

Sequart takes a good look at the newest volume of The Complete Peanuts; the Pakistan Observer asserts that "Charlie Brown - not Superman - is the real hero the American nation should be looking up to"

The Rack serves up another fictional-comic-shop picks-of-the-week strip, including Sublife by John Pham

• Spanish comics site Entrecomics takes note of our two giant hardcover Krazy & Ignatz collections

Heeb names Jules Feiffer's Explainers one of the top 10 comics of the year 5768

Ed Howard's list of "10 Ideal Books to Introduce Readers to Comics" includes a bunch of our stuff

They also talk about other Fanta-related people, places and things:

Our own Kim Thompson memorializes Belgian cartoonist Raymond Macherot for The Comics Reporter

Liam Blair recalls a visit to the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery

• The Attleboro, MA Sun Chronicle profiles Paul Karasik

North Shore News has a Q&A with Peter Bagge

The Riverfront Times reports from the opening reception/book release party for Tim Lane's Abandoned Cars at Subterranean Books in St. Louis last Friday

Chronogram Magazine interviews Jessica Abel

Editor & Publisher has the scoop on our forthcoming Zippy collection Welcome to Dingburg and Bill Griffith's visit to our bookstore for an exhibit of original Zippy art on Nov. 8; the Hartford Courant talks to Griffith about Zippy merch and marketing

• The Ann Arbor Book Festival website has a page of photos and video from this year's festival that includes a video interview with Paul Hornschemeier

Say, if you know of something that you think we should link to in our next roundup, whether it's new or we've missed it in past weeks, contact us through the site here and put "Attn: Mike Baehr" somewhere in your message. Be sure to include the full URL of the link. I might not be able to respond to every message or include every link, but I'll include a credit to the tipster if it's something I don't also find myself. Also, don't forget that you can track these links in a more timely fashion on our Delicious page and RSS feed, or by adding us to your Delicious network.

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Written by Jacob Covey | Filed under misc 3 Oct 2008 1:04 PM

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Vote or die
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under awards 3 Oct 2008 10:03 AM

Can't wait until November to cast a ballot for a worthy candidate? Vote for us in the "Best Comics" category in KING 5 Evening Magazine Best of Western Washington poll. (Registration is required, just like in a real election.)

Notes on Scanner Quality and Jpgs.
Written by Jacob Covey | Filed under production 2 Oct 2008 11:14 PM

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I should make time for posts like this more often but here's a little rundown on why people shouldn't use cheap scanners to archive material.

Take a look at this scan of an original old pin-up page that was sent to me this week, compressed as a jpg. At a glance it looks great with the watercolor paper really showing its tooth. (Technically the page has also not been laid down flat enough and we're getting an uneven light but let's overlook that.) Above shows the full art which was scanned large--about 11" tall at 300dpi.

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Looking closer you can see that the mottling (modelling? now I'm not sure which.) is actually quite inconsistent, made up more of a kind of binary than a continuous tone. Her skin looks blemished. The wall just looks awful. Cheap scanners tend to blow out the highlights and sink the shadows. It's like getting the box of 8 crayons instead of 64, so the scanner relies more on contrast to form the image and you lose detail.

If you then compress that file as a jpg, it makes those tones crumple into jaggy pixelation. Everyone should know this by now but it's amazing how few people do: Jpg files are for the web. It makes your file size small so windows load more quickly. Most of the time there's no good reason for large files to be saved as jpgs. You want .tif (or .psd) for your precious artwork. If you save it as a .jpg you better have a reason. If you don't have a reason I hope you get stuck in an elevator with Jordan Crane, who will tear you apart without pity. (Go NOW to download his Reproguide at the bottom of this page .)

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This last detail really showcases what makes cheap scanners the devil's work. The artwork is technically high resolution enough for print but if it were run at actual size you would see how awful the shading really looks. You would see how the highlight shading is a bunch of tiny gray boxes. The jpg compression is also making for all the little noise that's going on along the edges of lines. 

As it is I'm probably going to use this file for print but run about a third of the size of the original. For the purposes of a non-archival project such as the Pin-Up series I simply don't have the luxury of controlling the work as much I'd like, besides the fact that most of the material will be scanned from old pulp digests.

It helps to explore compensatory tricks-- I originally planned the pin-up series to be embellished with a second spot color not just because it looked cool and mirrored the coloring of the digest covers but specifically to draw the eye away from the generational loss of scanning continuous tone artwork off of crummy, 50 year old pulp. 

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Another DeCarlo post.
Written by Jacob Covey | Filed under Dan DeCarlo 2 Oct 2008 1:34 PM

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Throughout the late midcentury, Dan DeCarlo was simultaneously defining the look of tight-sweatered Riverdale girls in Archie comics for little Billy while drawing titillating Riverdale-esque women losing their sweaters in Humorama magazines for Bill senior. Like Playboy being produced by Disney, the utter American-ness of it resonates deeply and rather disturbingly. It's the ultimate subversion to see these Archie girls squeaky-clean and wide-eyed in a slick, crass, Man's World of viral virile impotence. And I can't stop admiring DeCarlo because of and in spite of it...

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[Ha. I misspelled 'virile.' And, no, I'm not going to explain myself.]