This Friday evening in Seattle marks the spectacle of the Dead Baby Bike Club's 14th annual downhill bicycle race. The contest itself is insane, but the real action begins at the finish line in Georgetown. Their apocalyptic party is like the Road Warrior on about 10 hits of acid. Not-to-be-missed: Tall bike jousting (really), bicycle powered carnival rides, music by Tad Doyle's Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, Kurt Danielson's Misericords, a sea of liquid refreshment, and more.
Two items which are due to arrive in this week's shipment to comic shops were not published by us but are of interest, one of which we are distributing and the other of which comes from one of the "big two":
136-page black & white 5.5" x 8.5" softcover • $10.95
Contrary to what is being reported, this is not a new printing of Hans Rickheit's Xeric-winning 2002 graphic novella which preceded The Squirrel Machine: this is the original self-published edition, which we are distributing to the Direct Market for the first time (via Adult Previews, due to the book's mature content). View some sample artwork here.
"...[R]un, don't walk, to get that book. Rickheit's a major talent and that book is something erotic and special. It's like a dirty secret." – Sean T. Collins, Attentiondeficitdisorderly
• Review: "Unlike current shojo manga, Hagio's sentiment is more restrained, recounting a calmer account of destructive sibling rivalry, a quieter portrayal of a romance destined for failure, a subtle unraveling of a young woman in mourning. Her craftsmanship reflects wisdom and exercises the creative strength necessary to unravel and tie together the range of narrative threads that make up the tragedies and slow recoveries of life. ... A Drunken Dream collects stories by Hagio from her beginning, middle, and current career. The consistency of her work is evidence of why she's finally being translated into English and why that was long overdue." – Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
• Review: "Threeyears after her award-winning debut graphic novel, Percy Gloom, Cathy Malkasian delivers her stunning followup, Temperance. This solidly grounded parable — rich with contemporary resonance for Fortress America — artfully and modestly flaunts all the same whimsicality, brutality, quiet heroics, worldbuilding, melancholy, weirdness and surrealism of its earlier cousin, but with ratios altered. ... If this book does not show up on all the comics awards ballots in 2011, the injustices perpetrated by [the book's character] Pa will pale by comparison." – Paul Di Filippo, The Barnes & Noble Review
• Review: "Huizenga’s command over his tools as an artist, the integration of his love of depicting wide-open spaces, and his general restraint in delivering prescriptive messages is what sets him apart as an artist. He’s not afraid to go into exacting detail on some technical point regarding time or consciousness, but it’s always done in the voice of an affable, self-effacing and highly unreliable guide who’s really trying to figure it all out himself. His work feels highly autobiographical in the sense that the artist has always been a thinker, and Ganges reveals the depths of his inquiries, while still remaining playful on the page and appealing to the eye. When the series is eventually collected, it may well be Huizenga’s masterwork to date." – Rob Clough, The Comics Journal
• Review: "Sometimes a comic book comes along and kicks your dick in. This is that comic. Writer/artist Johnny Ryan is my kind of freak. The raunchy and over the top violen-terrific action and splatter-tastic gore that take place in Prison Pit must be seen to be believed. ... Fans of MTV’s old Liquid Television series and Adult Swim’s Super Jail should definitely put Prison Pit on their must have list." – Mark L. Miller, Ain't It Cool News
• Review: "Fantagraphics’ volume of 11 of Basil Wolverton’s Powerhouse Pepper stories (along with 4 starring other characters) works as a great companion to their new Culture Corner volume, despite having come out in 1994. Where Culture Corner showed Wolverton’s skill at doing brief half-page joke strips, Powerhouse Pepper shows how his style worked with longer, 10-page stories — and oddly enough, the difference isn’t as great as you might expect." – Kittysneezes
We only just found out about this and it started at 2:30 PT, but you can still stream the program in its entirety: Jaime Hernandez & Todd Hignite appear on KCRW's Politics of Culture to discuss The Art of Jaime Hernandez with host Eric J. Lawrence today.
The "Summer of HATE!" continues at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery with a fresh batch of signed copies of Peter Bagge's HATE ANNUAL #8 available for cover price. If you haven't read this awesome issue yet, you're in for a thrill. If you have, pick one up for a friend.
And while supplies last, you can also spread the HATE with a set of 10 collectable HATE postcards for the special price of only $2.48. The cards include beloved Bagge characters like Buddy and Valerie, explosions, demolition derby crackups, and more! When you're in Seattle, drop by our store for a complete selection of HATE and more.
Gary was asked to speak about the history of The Comics Journal and Fantagraphics (as it says in the event description on the GRAPHIC website) but decided that that was too aggrandizing even for us, so he decided to weave those two subjects into a broader history of alternative and independent comics from the '70s to present; don't worry, though, he promises that it'll still be megalomaniacal enough to posit the centrality of those two stellar institutions to the rise of indie comics. There will be many amusing moments related with gusto and verve and accompanied by many images in a PowerPoint slideshow. Gary and our crack team of interns have been working hard on this presentation over the last week or so and Gary's wealth of knowledge and unique perspective should make it an enlightening and entertaining morning.
My picture-taking fell off on the last day of Comic-Con as things got even more hectic with last-minute wheeling & dealing, including our Sunday-only 20%-off-everything sale. Here are a few things I managed to capture:
Peter Bagge chats with Scott McCloud (while our own Eric Reynolds and D&Q 's Jessica Campbell watch from a distance)...
...and with Jeffrey Brown, visiting from the neighboring Top Shelf booth (while our own Jason T. Miles confers with Sparkplug's Dylan Williams in the background).
Pete keeps his Inkpot trophy handy while Stephen DeStefano diligently signs and sketches.
And it was over! Here's me & Janice, all packed up & ready to go, with mixed feelings. Thanks to our booth neighbors at BloodFire Studios for this last shot (and for loaning us their handtruck at the very beginning):
We did a few things differently this year, most notably a smaller booth and smaller staff, but sales and enthusiasm seemed to be greater than last year. And while there are "teachable moments" every year, this was overall as smooth and successful a Comic-Con as I can remember in my brief history with the company. Thanks to all the staff, volunteers, artists, family members, professional colleagues and especially the fans who helped make Comic-Con 2010 another great show!
• Review: "By the 1980s, however, the anti-establishment sensibility of the underground comix had been replaced by a faith in just 'do-it-yourself' — making your own 'zines,' and that sense of independence is what [editor Michael] Dowers praises [in Newave! The Underground Mini Comix of the 1980s]." – George Elliott Clarke, The Chronicle Herald
• Review: "...Jim Woodring's Weathercraft creates a fantastic alternative universe. ...Woodring constructs a nightmarish tale in which Manhog falls victim to the villainous depredations of the all-too-aptly named Whim and the spells of the witchy pair Betty and Veronica. Those unfamiliar with the Woodring dreamscape may want to pick up The Frank Book collection as a primer, but the stand-alone Weathercraft requires no real prep work — just an openness to disturbing, id-derived imagery." – Cliff Froehlich, St. Louis Post-Dipatch
• Review: "Although King of the Flies... is anchored in a sharply delineated but deliberately generic suburbia, the book plunges us into an often violent, always profane environment that recalls David Lynch's Blue Velvet. Using multiple narrators, the book is an intricately constructed series of interlocking short stories that acidly etch a disquieting portrait of modern alienation and unease." – Cliff Froehlich, St. Louis Post-Dipatch
• Review: "French master Tardi gives an infantry-level view of World War I's meat-grinder carnage in grim vignettes that primarily keep tight, telling focus on the stories of individual soldiers. ...[It Was the War of the Trenches] deserves a place on the top shelf of graphic lit." – Cliff Froehlich, St. Louis Post-Dipatch
• Review: "Reading Jacques Tardi's It Was the War of the Trenches, I realized just how short most American war comics fall in portraying the reality and horror of war. ... Tardi brings every ounce of his talent to the task of trying to articulate the sheer horror of this war. And while he doesn't flinch once, neither does he resort to trite 'war is bad' or 'good versus evil' oversimplifications. He merely puts you directly in the soldiers' viewpoint and then tries to relate their experiences to you. ... It's a raw, uncompromising, devastating book, and, I'm kind of sad to say, unlike anything that's been published on these shores." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
• Review: "...St. Louisan Tim Lane's Abandoned Cars, one of 2008's essential comics, has recently been reissued in paperback with two variant covers that vividly recall the lurid pulps of the 1930s." – Cliff Froehlich, St. Louis Post-Dipatch
• Review: "It can sometimes be hard to get a grip on what Jason is going for in his stories, since even when he approaches a familiar subject, he takes a strange angle and dwells on the types of moments that wouldn’t normally receive focus in these sorts of tales. Werewolves of Montpellier goes even further afield... Leave it to Jason to dwell on the awkwardness of the 29 non-full-moon days of the month in which the werewolf has to pass as a normal human." – Matthew J. Brady, Indie Pulp
• Review: "What I think is most interesting about [The Best American Comics Criticism] is that in his choices of pieces, [editor] Schwartz is laying out a theory of lit comics. It's a theory that rings very true to me. Part of this theory goes that as literary comics grew, they made necessary a reevaluation and relearning of certain classic comics." – Robert Boyd, The Great God Pan Is Dead (via The Comics Reporter)
• Profile: Steve Duin of The Oregonian talks to Patrick Rosenkranz about assembling The Artist Himself: A Rand Holmes Retrospective: "With rare access to Holmes' journals and sketchbooks, Rosenkranz succeeds in giving readers access to the cartoonist that Holmes denied his closest friends. And he succeeds because of a compulsion, born 45 years ago, to understand the world in which these artists moved 'and how what happened in their lives affected their work.'"
• Comic-Con: At About.com: Manga, Deb Aoki gives a quick report from the Moto Hagio Spotlight Panel at Comic-Con 2010, with a promise of more to come: "...Hagio-sensei charmed the audience with her self-effacing wit and matter-of-fact responses to questions..."
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