Tom Spurgeon is reporting this morning that Kees Kousemaker, founder of the great Galerie Lambiek comic book store, passed away yesterday in the Netherlands at the age of 68. The staff of Fantagraphics Books would like to extend its sympathy to his family and to the entire Lambiek staff. Lambiek is not only the world's oldest comic book shop, it is arguably the very best, a true treasure trove of great cartooning spanning centuries. I've had the good fortune of visiting several times, and Kees was always gracious and generous, even putting me up in the legendary apartment above the store for several days during a trip in 1997 or so, a space which featured dozens of 'thank yous' to Kees and Lambiek in the form of cartoons drawn by the likes of Chris Ware, Dan Clowes, and many others on one of the walls. I've always felt immensely grateful to have been welcomed, even briefly, into the amazing Lambiek family and even if I never visit again it will always stand out in my memories as a near-magical environment for people who love good cartooning, and I am truly saddened to hear this news this morning. R.I.P., Mr. Kousemaker. Long live Galerie Lambiek.
FANTAGRAPHICS BOOKS AND ROSEBUD ARCHIVES ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP, LAUNCHING WEB SALES OF RARE AND BEAUTIFUL CARTOON ART IN A VARIETY OF FORMATS
SEATTLE WA, / DUMONT NJ, APRIL 8, 2010 --- Fantagraphics Books and Rosebud Archives have announced an agreement to market a wide variety of products related to vintage comics and posters, historical cartoons, advertising images, and illustration. The product lines will include prints, posters, framed art, books, stationery, and a hybrid format called the Rosebud PadFolio. The products are available for sale immediately on Fantagraphics.com:
“We are proud to be allied with Fantagraphics, whose commitment to quality and the advancement of the graphics arts has been notable for decades,” announced Rosebud Archives founding partners Rick Marschall and Jonathan Barli. “Our own commitment to preservation, restoration, and high historical standards are a perfect match with Fantagraphics.”
The core of Rosebud Archives’ image bank is arguably America’s largest private resource of comics-based popular culture, the collection of Rick Marschall, to which is added the collections of Jonathan Barli and several other major sources in the US and in Europe. Barli, veteran proprietor of Digital Funnies, is a specialist in restoration and themed compilations of cartoon art. He is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts.
Rosebud Archives releases will also include collectors’ editions of artwork created for, and featured in, Fantagraphics publications, including The Comics Journal and Nemo magazine. “The availability of Rosebud’s customized art objects is a perfect complement to the Marschall Books imprint we previously announced,” said Fantagraphics President Gary Groth. “Rick Marschall’s imprint will be a series of substantial volumes by individual cartoonists, thematic anthologies, and cultural collections of cartoon-related imagery. Rosebud will produce customized and short-run cartoons in various popular formats, which we’re very happy to provide on our website.”
Rosebud Archives was established in 2009 and has already released several lines of products that reflect the company’s vision. These early releases feature the work of George Herriman, ZIM, and Charles Dana Gibson; cartoon series by Gluyas Williams; prints of cartoons by Winsor McCay, Harrison Cady, and John T McCutcheon; and special art by Cliff Sterrett, George McManus, and Milt Gross. Specialty items include a “Krazy Kat” triptych and a Limited Edition portfolio of Marlene Dietrich photographic portraits. Boxed editions of works by great black-and-white cartoonists are issued under Rosebud’s “Shwartz and Weiss” imprint. Stationary items include notecards, postcards, and envelopes. Framed, frame-ready, and gallery-wrapped prints are also offered. The Rosebud Padfolio is a bound portfolio with detachable prints, a uniquely devised format.
Rosebud Archives offers its products on its own website (www.rosebudarchives.com), and has made all products available on the Fantagraphics Books website (www.fantagraphics.com). “A perfect synergy of serving the sophisticated comics connoisseur, and reaching collectors far and wide with proven integrity,” is how Marschall characterized the agreement between the two companies. Fantagraphics’ website offers all its books — by such cartoonists as R. Crumb, George Herriman, Charles Schulz, Hal Foster, Basil Wolverton, Gahan Wilson, Steve Ditko, Robert Williams, Daniel Clowes, Jim Woodring, Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez, and many others— directly to consumers. “We have tried to publish the best cartooning in the world, and Rosebud’s beautifully conceived art objects fits right into our aesthetic,” said Groth.
Movieline has the scoop on Dash Shaw's animated feature film, THE RUINED CAST, going to the Sundance Directors Lab this June. This is huge news! The Director's lab has launched the careers of directors like Quentin Tarantino and Paul Thomas Anderson. We're pullin' for ya, Dash!
As so often happens with good intentions, I realize I'm quickly running out of steam when it comes to doing a big blog post about my week on the east coast for the MoCCA Festival and a trip to the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, VT. I came back with more minis and other comics than I have from any trip in years, so the idea of highlighting the highlights has proven to be too daunting.
One thing that strikes me after attending MoCCA, and being given so many decent submissions, and see much of the work on display, is that maybe for the first time I can think of, there really is more good work being created than established publishers like Fanta, D&Q, Top Shelf, etc. can publish. I see so much good work that even ten years ago we probably would have published but just don't have room for these days. It's remarkable.
I had a great time at MoCCA, hanging with my coworkers Mike Baehr, Jacq Cohen and Janice Headley, as well as old comics pals like Jaime Hernandez, Charles Burns, Frank Santoro, Dan Nadel, Todd Hignite and Peggy Burns. It was my first MoCCA in a few years and I thought everything was run very smoothly; the show was unequivocally a success for us, it was possibly the best-ever non-Comic-Con weekend we've ever had at a show, actually. So that was nice. I got some great sketches for my daughter's sketchbook, including contributions from Al Jaffee and Arnold Roth! There's about 87 years separating Mr. Jaffee and my daughter, so that was particularly special for me.
But the real highlight of my trip came after MoCCA, when I took the Dartmouth coach from Manhattan up to sleepy Vermont and this most unlikely Shangri-La:
Myself, critic Douglas Wolk, D&Q Publisher Chris Oliveros, Scholastic Books Creative Director David Saylor, and First Second Books Art Director Colleen AF Venable were all invited to the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, VT for the school's annual "industry day." The school, founded by James Sturm about four years ago, pretty much owns White River Junction. Students seem to staff everything in town, and signs of comics exist everywhere. It really is a strangely idyllic place for a cartoonist. I felt at home and loved the town and the school. Here's a blurry pic of Douglas Wolk in the awesome Charles M. Schulz comics library, which I wanted to spend the night in:
I don't have the stamina to really write up the highlights from my three days in WRJ, but I couldn't have had a better time. Our hosts -- the aforementioned Mr. Sturm and CCS President and co-founder Michelle Ollie and CCS Secret Weapon Robyn Chapman -- were wonderfully gracious hosts and clearly have created something special in WRJ. I've been to a few other schools that offer curriculums in cartooning, and hands-down, the quality of work coming out of CCS was the best I've ever seen. Very little work derivative of the dominant genres in comics -- namely, manga and superheroes -- and instead a focus on personal expression and style with little regard for learning what it takes to be a "commercial" artist. We all did portfolio reviews one afternoon and I was frankly dreading it a bit but found myself thoroughly enjoying it.
There were other students I could single out but it's been a week since I got back and if I don't cut this short now I'll never finish it. But thanks to everyone who helped show me a good time in Vermont. It was even worth almost not making it home at all.
Northwesterners unite! Fantagraphics will be heading down I-5 tomorrow to take part in the Pacific Northwest's premiere art comics event, The Stumptown Comics Fest! Staffers Jacq Cohen and Tony Remple -- both former Oregonians -- will be on hand all weekend to answer your questions and sell you some books. We'll have a few new releases on hand as well as signings with Dame Darcy and T. Edward Bak (MOME). Also, our own Jason T. Miles will also be in town for the show, pimping his Northwest-centric zine concern, Profanity Hill. Come check it out!
British magazine 125 has a pretty wild feature in its latest issue, No. 15: a photo tribute to Charles Burns' BLACK HOLE, featuring seven re-creations of Burns' classic mutant yearbook photos from the book/comic book series. The photos were taken by Max Oppenheim. Here's a couple:
The Homewood Art Workshops wraps up its 35th anniversary celebration with a slide talk by legendary cartoonist Kim Deitch on Monday, April 26. Deitch's talk, "The Search for Smilin' Ed and Other Tales," will begin at 5:30 p.m. in Room 101 of the F. Ross Jones Building, Mattin Center, on the Homewood campus at 3400 N. Charles St. in Baltimore.
Deitch's latest book, The Search for Smilin' Ed, will be published by Fantagraphics in June. He will sign advance copies of Smilin' Ed at the Johns Hopkins Barnes & Noble, 3330 St. Paul Street, on Sunday, April 25, from 4 to 6 p.m.
My pal Hernán Migoya sent me this cover to his new novel, Quitame Tus Sucias Manos de Encima (a.k.a. Get Your Hands Off Me), being published in Spain this summer. The book tells the story of an obscure, fictional movie from the '70s written by Rod Serling and Richard Matheson and directed by Tom Gries and sports an original cover by our own Peter Bagge (and, I might add, a title page by yours truly)!
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