Fantagraphics Warehouse strongman, Ajax salutes the Comic-Con and my camera. This was the second year Ajax worked Comic-Con and our second year without the riffraff crowd lingering around our booth and shoplifting our shit. Coincidence?
The Sultan of Shit, Johnny Ryan at the Buenaventura booth. I just read New Character Parade #2 and laffed alot. You should buy it so you can laff alot too.
The AMAZING Kim Deitch personalizes a copy of Shadowland for a fan. There's not much more I can write about Deitch. He's the greatest! I really enjoyed and strongly recommend the simultaneous reading of Deitch's Pictorama and The Comics Journal #296. Very rewarding.
• Review: For The Savage Critics, Sean T. Collins says The Last Lonely Saturday by Jordan Crane is "pretty much the best love story in comics form I've ever come across... It's an intelligent, moving, beautiful, terrific little comic."
• Review: Rob Clough says that Beasts! Book 2 "mingles myths, warnings, fairy tales, correctives, and genuinely unexplained phenomena and allows its artists to run with them. The end result is a consistently beautiful, lovingly assembled book that forms a kind of metacommentary on the entire notion of the fantastic."
• Review: The SF Site's "Nexus Graphica" says R. Crumb & David Zane Mairowitz's Kafka is "a terrific guide to Kafka's life and work — Mairowitz deftly sums up Franz' family/Jewish/pre-Holocaust European experiences and influences, and Crumb's heavy inkings lend the exact tones of darkness to recreations of both Kafka's life — and work." (See sidebar)
• Preview: The First Post presents a slideshow of images from Humbug, saying "the short-lived Humbug [was] an exquisite satirical work that, over its 11 issues, routinely equalled MAD in its displays of creative genius... providing a level of trenchant satire that was almost unheard of at the time."
• Preview: Bryan Munn, in "hyping" The Complete Peanuts 1971-1972, states "Now that two whole decades of Peanuts have been reprinted in the deluxe hardcover format published by Fantagraphics and designed by Seth, we can really get a sense of what a huge achievement this project is and will continue to be for a generation."
The enduring cultural phenomenon of comic book heroes was invented in the late 1930s by a talented and hungry group of artists and writers barely out of their teens, flying by the seat of their pants to create something new, exciting, and above all profitable. The iconography and mythology they created flourishes to this day in comic books, video, movies, fine art, advertising, and practically all other media. Supermen! collects the best and the brightest of this first generation, including Jack Cole, Will Eisner, Bill Everett, Lou Fine, Fletcher Hanks, Jack Kirby, Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, and Basil Wolverton. If the reader is expecting to find an All-American group of altruistic do-gooders, he in for quite a jolt. As Jonathan Lethem writes in his Foreword, “A collection like Supermen! works like a reverse-neutron bomb to assumptions about the birth of the superhero image: it tears down the orderly structures of theory and history and leaves the figures standing in full view, staring back at us in all their defiant disorienting particularity, their blazing strangeness.” Beautifully designed and produced in full color, Supermen! contains twenty full-length stories, ten full-sized covers, a generous selection of vintage promotional ads, and comprehensive end notations by editor Greg Sadowski, making it indispensable to anyone interested in the origins of superheroes and the history of the comic book form.
Mother, Come Home is Paul Hornschemeier’s piercing graphic-novel debut, long out of print and now available for the first time in hardcover. It secured the cartoonist’s place as one of his generation’s most skillful and ambitious practitioners, and proved a harbinger of the subject matter that the artist would go on to explore most consistently in later work: the nuclear family.
Mother, Come Home quietly studies the inner lives of recently widowed David and his 7-year-old son, Thomas; both are unable to deal with their grief directly. Thomas, protected by a lion’s mask that his mother gave him, constructs an identity for himself as “the groundskeeper”: ritual and routine, already important to children that age, become paramount to him. He struggles desperately to keep up appearances while his father, a professor of symbolic logic, becomes lost in abstractions. Father and son begin to retreat into their fantasies, but only one emerges.
Mother, Come Home is masterfully drawn: Eisner-, Harvey-, and Ignatz-Award-nominated Hornschemeier’s controlled brushwork is clean, and his nine-panel page layouts pace David’s inexorable descent into utter despair. Hornschemeier is equally precise when it comes to Mother, Come Home’s color palette: subdued but warm, which suits the story’s melancholy and contemplative mode. Mother, Come Home is a powerful work with universal themes of anguish and loss.
Hoping to further increase his irrelevance to the esteemed world of graphic novels and thus cement his status as “former cartoonist,” the saturnine Ivan Brunetti (author of the acclaimed Misery Loves Comedy and editor of Yale Press’s two essential Anthologies of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons and True Stories) has compiled HO!, which collects the vast majority of his morally questionable, aesthetically confused — and absolutely gut-busting — “gag” cartoons.
Culled mostly from out-of-print work (Hee! and Haw!) and other anthologies, the contents are discreetly presented in an uninviting, funereal package of unglamorous black and white. Hopefully, this will keep the impressionable, young, and faint-of-heart unintrigued and at a distance, while those who appreciate a touch of the gallows in their humor can enjoy an uncomfortable chuckle or two before the merciless thumb of oblivion grinds us all into less than dust.
HO! further cements Brunetti’s reputation as the contemporary king of the gag cartoon, a sentiment echoed by noted comedian Patton Oswalt (The King of Queens, Comedians of Comedy) in his introduction.
Bizarre, wacky, weird, wild and sexy — these are just a few of the adjectives that describe the cartooning of Boody Rogers. Before there were underground comics, Boody Rogers dug deep into breaking the rules; before their was low-brow art, Boody created art that hit hard below the brow. Rogers’s pen and ink outré raucousness was wrapped into great stories, beautifully drawn art, and hilarious gags. Fans of Boody Rogers’s Golden age comic book stories span generations of cartoonists, from Robert Williams to Art Spiegelman to Johnny Ryan. Spiegelman printed Rogers’s work in RAW magazine and recently it also appeared in the anthology book Art Out of Time: Unknown Comic Visionaries (Abrams). Here at last is a single book devoted to this cult comics hero, collecting Rogers's best Sparky Watts, Babe and Dudley stories, as well as much more. This beautifully designed tome also includes an introduction and comic-strip appreciation by editor Craig Yoe (Arf).
I had a great time at San Diego Comic Con 2008! I've been going for about 6 years in a row and each new year it swells and festers, expands and quivers like a giant quivering zit. I love it! Here are some photos...
I really like this photo of Jim Woodring. Raconteur of Blue Collar Surrealism and Cartoon Mysticism, Jim Woodring is a hero of mine, and has been since I was twelve! He is a constant source of sage wisdom, a profitable dawning of understanding and articulating human as well as immortal folly; Jim's work continues to alter my experience.
This is the last book I would've imagined finding at Comic-Con. I highly recommend you find a copy of Kenneth Patchen's The Walking-Away World and Jim's introduction nails it.
(L to R: Dan Nadel, Paul Karasik & Jordan Crane)
Like his work, Paul is replete with useful information... it's the kind of information that escapes most folks... and if you don't know what I'm talking about you need to track down a copy of Bad News #2. I like this photo because it looks like he's giving a lesson.
(L to R: Jordan Crane, Paul Karasik, Dan Nadel & Jim Woodring)
Isn't this great!? Maybe it's just me, but I love how impassioned Dan looks, how considerate Paul looks, how mischievous Jordan looks and then there's Jim to the far right, hard at work drawing another PERFECT Frank head.