Open reception! Open critique! It's Open Ending, a show opening and closing this weekend, Saturday, August 27th and Sunday, August 28th, featuring new works by CalArts MFA students and recent graduates, such as our very own Esther Pearl Watson!
Esther tells us she's been working on some larger paintings in this space, so if you're in the L.A. area, head to The Farley Building this weekend at 1669 Colorado Blvd. They'll be doing a 12 hour marathon critique on Sunday, with participating artists and the general public. Go tell Esther her stuff rocks!
And if, like us, you live far away and are sad about missing out, Esther has sent over a sneak peek of her new work, so check it out below!
Starting at 7:00 PM, Bernard will show you work from the 1870s to 1940, documenting how popular cartoon characters like the Yellow Kid, Little Orphan Annie, and Popeye have figured in advertising campaigns, and how their creators were highly sought-after pitchmen, selling products alongside the best movie stars in Hollywood. As part of his presentation, Bernard will have on-hand original ads and other advertisting items from the era.
Sergio Leone’s retooling of classic westerns for his “spaghetti westerns”… Stieg Larsson’s striking take on the serial killer/mystery thriller in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo… And for that matter ABBA’s fiendishly catchy appropriation of American pop music. Sometimes it takes Europeans to make gold of tuckered-out American tropes.
Add to those instances of inspired global cross-pollination the Spanish cartoonist Martí’s eye-popping The Cabbie, which spins off Martin Scorsese’s sordid urban-justice drama Taxi Driver with a graphic style that unapologetically appropriates and even refines the brutal slabs of black, squashed perspectives, and grotesque approach to human physiognomy (and its ability to withstand punishment) that define Chester Gould’s Dick Tracy.
And as Art Spiegelman (who was the first to publish Martí’s work in English, in RAW magazine) notes in his introduction, while “Gould’s graphic black and white precision and his diagrammatic clarity live on in Martí’s work,” he points out that “more interestingly, perhaps, so does Gould’s depravity.” Indeed, if anything, The Cabbie is even more savage than the legendarily brutal Dick Tracy, with its pimps, whores, petty thieves, corrupt businessmen, all swirling around the ingenuously violent “Cabbie” whose self-administered “upstanding citizen” status entitles him — in his view — to even more shocking acts of violence — especially on his quest for the stolen coffin of his father, which he’s told includes his entire inheritance!
Special Offer: When ordering The Cabbie , you can add Calvario Hills #1, Martí's Ignatz Series comic with a new Cabbie story and more, to your order for just $3.98 — that's 1/2 price! Make your selection when you place your order for The Cabbie.
• Review: "Celluloid is a challenging work, not so much in how it is read, but in how it pushes at the boundaries of what we call a graphic novel and what we consider erotica.... Considered as a visual ode to the erotic imagination, Celluloid is a powerful work of grace and deviance in its explorations. McKean has crafted a new grammar for comic book storytelling, bringing the printed page as close to a live performance as possible while still using the graphic narrative form to accomplish what no other medium can." – Greg Baldino, Rain Taxi
• Review: "The story of baseball great Roberto Clemente is now in graphic novel form. After reading it, I would recommend it to everyone, especially to young readers. I plan to have my son read it one day, because Clemente's tale is an interesting one. The official title of the graphic novel is 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente. It chronicles the former Pittsburgh Pirates' life growing up in Puerto Rico, his great baseball career, his humanitarian missions and tragic end to his life on Sept. 18, 1972. ...Clemente remains a bit of a mystery to those who never saw him play, but Santiago's graphic novel brings Clemente to life in glorious fashion, and is not be missed." – Mark Podolski, The News-Herald
• Review: "Murder By High Tide is by a the terrific French cartoonist Maurice Tilleux (a new discovery for me). Republished by Fantagraphics, this edition features two Gil Jordan detective stories. The artwork is amazing and Tilleux is clearly a master of the 'comic-dynamic' style... I really hope Fantagraphics makes a habit of reproducing these types of stories for an English-speaking market!" – Alexis E. Fajardo (Kid Beowulf)
• Profile: Italian blog Coca Colla has an art-packed survey of the work of Dave Cooper — even if you don't read Italian (or can't be bothered to autotranslate) there's tons of eye candy to ogle
Russ informs us that punk legend Exene Cervenka of X fame dropped by Fantagraphics Bookstore on Monday evening with Phil Alvin of the Blasters to do some record and comix shopping. Visiting Seattle to perform at Neumos with X bandmate John Doe, Exene was reportedly pleased to find a copy of Talk to Her, a collection of interviews conducted by Krisitne McKenna. Exene is interviewed, along with counterculture celebrities like Lou Reed, Joey Ramone, Allen Ginsberg, Johnny Rotten, Joe Strummer, Chrissie Hynde, Joe Sacco, Elvis Costello, Walter Hopps, and Richard Hell, among others. The book includes portraits of interview subjects by Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes, Tony Millionaire and more. Pick one up. You won't be able to put it down.
This interview was conducted by Fantagraphics intern Rolando A. López. Thanks to Rolando and Jaime! And,Esperanza will be in stores this week! -- janice
In his 1989 The Comics Journal interview (#126), Jaime Hernandez said: “I hope [Love and Rockets is] still fresh 20-50 years from now. I hope it doesn’t lose anything in the long run. Even if I’m writing about contemporary things . . . I hope people can look back at it as a piece of history instead of a gimmick.”
Readers have followed the lives of Maggie, Hopey, and the gang for almost 30 years now, and Love and Rockets is still going strong. Today, Jaime Hernandez is one of the most revered names in the world of comic books and beyond; cartoonists Alison Bechdel, Zak Sally, Simpsons creator Matt Groening, filmmaker Darren Aronofsky and writer Junot Díaz have all cited his influence. Hernandez’s work, simply put, is part of the comics canon.
Esperanza, the fifth volume in the Complete Love and Rockets, collects the stories from Love and Rockets Vol. II. Here, readers see Maggie struggle with the ghosts of her past, find Hopey settling down, and meet some new faces, which cause trouble in the already troublesome lives of the Locas. In this Q&A, Jaime Hernandez talks about growing along with his characters, his storytelling techniques and his elusive muse.
Rolando A. López: Esperanza, Hopey’s full first name, means “Hope” in Spanish. Why did you choose this as the collection’s title?
Jaime Hernandez: Actually, Kim Thompson came up with it. I couldn’t think of a better title so I happily agreed to it.
López: It seems to me these stories would be really rewarding to someone who’s read the Locas saga since it began. How do you take into account readers who have been following the series when you’re crafting your comics? Conversely, what storytelling techniques do you use to help acclimate new readers to new Locas stories?
Hernandez: I try to tell these stories in a way that a new reader can jump in and not feel overwhelmed and intimidated by the continuity that has built up for 30 years. It’s not always easy. [As for the fans,] I can only hope they’ll stay with me even if we’ve been at it this long.
López: Elliptical storytelling — how did you develop it and why did you develop it and what does it allow you to do?
Hernandez: It happened naturally. The storytelling was more of a learning process for me than the art was in the early L&Rs. I was trying whatever worked. Soon I started to visualize the story like a movie, with cinematic jump cuts and things like that, and came to realize I could cut a lot of corners and fit in more story. That also taught me how to let the character’s body language and expressions tell the story instead of letting the words do it. Finally, it taught me that leaving out actual “story” involves the reader more by letting them fill it in themselves.
López: How do you structure your stories?
Hernandez: It’s different most of the time. If the characters write the story, which they most often do, it’s sort of waiting to see what will turn out. If an idea writes the story, it’s more tightly structured: making sure there’s a beginning, middle and end.
López: You have a very intuitive approach to storytelling — you listen for your muse and almost “transcribe” what she says. Do you ever have “fights” with your muse?
Hernandez: Every time. That way it will flow naturally but still connect with the reader. Muse doesn’t always translate on its own.
López: How do you calibrate your artistic process?
Hernandez: I trust my instincts. I have to.
López: How did this process play out in the writing of the first half of the book (the “Maggie” stories)?
Hernandez: I don’t remember. It was quite a few years ago. The usual, I suppose. If I’m doing Maggie, she’s always gonna tell me where to go. Yeesh! Listen to me! “And then a UFO came down and ...”
López: One new character is Vivian, a femme fatale: she destroys everything she touches, and in turn, everyone that touches her either lives to regret it, or dies. How did you come to create her?
Hernandez: I wanted to create a character with no boundaries: someone who basically has nothing to lose. A character like that is the funnest and easiest to write because they can be put into any situation and it works. Making her very sexy only lets her character get deeper into trouble.
López: Why did you decide to put her in Maggie’s life?
Hernandez: It wasn’t planned, but I discovered they worked really well together because Maggie is the opposite of Viv. With Maggie’s nagging conscience, I can only take her so far. Dragging her into Viv’s world gives her (and me) a lot more to work with.
López: Sometimes I think of Vivian as being a darker counterpart to Penny Century; they’re both desirable and somewhat volatile. Is this an apt comparison?
Hernandez: In a way, but I understand Viv’s demons more than I do Penny’s and hopefully that makes them feel a little different from each other. I know why Viv is crazy but I don’t know why Penny is crazy and I prefer it that way. Both give me a lot to work with in different ways.
You may recall the special offer we made during Comic-Con this year for "sketch editions" of several of our books. While most of the sketches for that offer were done by their respective artists to-order, Frank Stack did a bunch of extras in advance, and so we're able to offer them once more FREE with purchase of Frank's book The New Adventures of Jesus: The Second Coming! Order while supplies last and you'll get a randomly-selected sketch at no extra charge. We made sure we got scans of the sketches before we send 'em out — he drew them 4 to a page, as shown below, but they've since been quartered. Click each image for a larger version. Oh my gosh they sure are great — you can't go wrong with any of 'em!
Prison Pit blends Angry Youth Comix creator Johnny Ryan’s fascination with WWE wrestling, grindhouse cinema, first person action video games, Gary Panter’s “Jimbo” comics, and Kentaro Miura’s “Berserk” Manga into a brutal and often hilarious showcase of violence like no other comic book ever created. Even the lead character’s name, which is only one letter away from “Cannibal Duckface” (hint: “Cannibal” is correct) is unprintable.
Prison Pit is so deranged and twisted that even the author’s plot description, while admirably reflecting the spirit of the book, has to be edited into a sea of asterisks in order to be bearable to normal human beings: “A mysterious new a**hole has descended into the Prison Pit. He’s looking for Cannibal F***face and he wants revenge. Revenge for what? Probably for some f***ed up evil s***. But before he can get his hands on the CanMan he’s got to battle his way through some pretty vicious motherf***ers. S***’s about to get real.”
Well, yes, exactly.
"Hey are you doing any more scary guys made out of tar ripping each other's dicks off? You know why I like those? Because you don't have to read all them stupid words and stuff. Right? Haa ha, hey Johnny wanna come over and play? Ha Ha!" – Tony Millionaire
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