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janice headley's Blog
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the official fantagraphics ambassador of awesome... hiya!
Archive >> August 2011

Things to See: Introducing Wendy Chin
Written by janice headley | Filed under Wendy ChinThings to seeMomeJosh Simmons 18 Aug 2011 11:13 AM

Quackers by Wendy Chin and Josh Simmons

We continue our spotlight on first-time contributors to Mome 22, and I'm especially excited about today's feature on Wendy Chin

I love Wendy! I've actually known Wendy for ages through the online crafty community, and when she's not sewing or gluing googly-eyes on stuff, Wendy can be found collaborating on comics with her sweetheart, Josh Simmons. You may recall their current project Quackers from previous posts on the Flog! (And check out Franklin P. Quacker's blog for some rad renditions from Anders Nilsen and Jeffrey Brown!)

Wendy does lovely work on her own, as well, including this piece off her website.

Wendy Chin and Josh Simmons in Mome 22

And here's her collaboration with Josh for Mome 22 -- a heartwarming portrait of the friendship between... rocker Axl Rose and auteur James Cameron. Pre-order now, and be among the first to read of their adventures! And stay tuned as we introduce you to more first-time Mome artists on the FLOG!

Step Into the Metalhaus This Saturday
Written by janice headley | Filed under Jacques Boyreauevents 17 Aug 2011 2:28 PM

Metalhaus II Flyer

Fantagraphics Books and the Ninkasi Brewing Company are proud to present... METALHAUS!

For one night only, join Portable Grindhouse editor Jacques Boyreau, along with Darren Aboulafia and Tim Colley, for a "designer mess-up of VHS flotsam, hipster kitsch, and remastered live shows from seminal provocateurs like David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Blondie, Roxy Music, P.I.L., The Clash, and, oh yeah, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Twisted Sister, AC/DC."

Oh, and did I mention... there will be a special guest appearance by Killbot, a 9-foot-tall killer robot! Capitol Hill, you are doomed.

The Metalhaus reign of TV-trash-terror starts at 10:00 PM on Saturday, August 20th, at the Northwest Film Forum [1515 12th Ave, Seattle].  You do not want to miss this.

Fantagraphics at the Boise Art Museum
Written by janice headley | Filed under Shannon WheelerJim WoodringeventsEllen ForneyColleen Cooverart shows 17 Aug 2011 2:20 PM

Ellen Forney & Jim Woodring, Frye Museum, 03/27/08
Ellen Forney & Jim Woodring at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle, 03/08

This weekend, the Boise Art Museum unveils a new exhibit that is right down our alley: Comics at the Crossroads: Art of the Graphic Novel.

The exhibition spotlights 40 different comic book artists from the Pacific Northwest, including our own Jim Woodring, Ellen Forney, Shannon Wheeler, and Colleen Coover. We're also excited to see Fanta-friends David Lasky and Matthew Southworth included in the line-up!

Included in the exhibit will be original artwork, unpublished drawings, book covers, and more!

A preview party for Comics at the Crossroads is happening this Friday, August 19th at 5:30 PM, and the exhibit runs from August 20th to November 27th at the Boise Art Museum [670 Julia Davis Drive, Boise, Idaho].

Things to See: Introducing Malachi Ward
Written by janice headley | Filed under Things to seeMomeMalachi Ward 17 Aug 2011 12:21 PM

Mome artists Roberto Goodin and Malachi Ward
Robert Goodin shows newcomer Malachi Ward how great it is to be in Mome!

Mome 22 introduces a slew of first-time contributors, and today, we continue our spotlight on these newcomers with a new favorite of mine, Malachi Ward! Malachi was gracious enough to spend some time signing with us at San Diego Comic-Con, despite the fact that Mome 22 was delayed in customs and didn't make it after all. Quite clearly, he is awesome.

Sweet Dreams by Malachi Ward

Malachi debuted this gorgeous self-published comic at SDCC.  If you turn it over, it has an entirely different cover and different story.  I tried to convince Malachi that he could trick people into buying two copies that way, but he is far too nice for that kind-of trickery.

Expansion Part 3

Malachi also does a collaborative comic with Matt Sheean titled Expansion. Above is a sneak peek at Expansion Part Three, which they plan to debut at APE 2011!

Malachi Ward in Mome 22

And here's a sneak peek at his contribution to Mome, Vol. 22! Don't you wanna see more? Well, pre-order now! And stay tuned as we introduce you to more first-time Mome artists on the FLOG!

Taking Punk to the Masses Tour: West Seattle
Written by janice headley | Filed under Taking Punk to the Massesevents 17 Aug 2011 11:13 AM

The tour rolls on for Taking Punk to the Masses: From Nowhere to Nevermind! EMP Senior Curator and editor of the collection, Jacob McMurray, is on tour across the Northwest, doing readings and discussions of the "Seattle sound."

And this Friday, August 19th, Jacob will be appearing at Easy Street Records in West Seattle! Enjoy an ice cold beer as the store spins hits from the "grunge" era, and join Jacob for a presentation, followed by a Q&A.

(And don't miss the vinyl section upstairs at Easy Street, man, oh man...)

Taking Punk to the Masses artwork by Ellen Forney
Artwork by Ellen Forney, from the pages of Taking Punk to the Masses

This all-ages event starts at 6:30 PM. Easy Street Records is located at 4559 California Ave SW in West Seattle. Stay tuned to the Fantagraphics Events page and our FLOG for upcoming dates on the Taking Punk to the Masses tour!

Things to See: Introducing Jim Rugg
Written by janice headley | Filed under Things to seeMomeJim Rugg 16 Aug 2011 11:13 AM

Afrodisiac by Jim Rugg

We're introducing quite a few new artists to the pages of Mome 22, so as we wait for the final Mome to hit the stores, we're profiling some of these newcomers on the FLOG! Such as, Jim Rugg here!

First and foremost, I encourage everyone to check out Kristy's incredible interview with him over at The Comics Journal.  And here are some more "Things to See" from Jim!

A spread from Afrodisiac by Jim Rugg

I can't even begin to list all the awards that Rugg's blaxploitation ode Afrodisiac has received, but most recently it was a 2011 Eisner Award nominee for Best Humor Publication!

Rambo 3.5 by Jim Rugg

Speaking of awards, here's a detail from Rambo 3.5, a 2010 Ignatz Award winner for Outstanding Mini-Comic. You can read the entire thing for free on his website!

New York Magazine panel by Jim Rugg

This fall fashion comic for New York Magazine didn't win any awards as far as I know, but it totally wins for "Most Likely to Catch Janice's Eye." (It helps that the comic shares a title with one of the best albums ever made ever.)

Jim Rugg in Mome 22

And here's a panel from Jim's contribution to the upcoming Mome. Hey! What's gonna happen to that beautiful baby doe?! Find out when Mome 22 hits the streets later this month!  And stay tuned as we introduce you to more debuting Mome artists on the FLOG!

Diaflogue: Lorenzo Mattotti Exclusive Q&A
Written by janice headley | Filed under Lou ReedLorenzo MattottiinterviewsDiaflogue 16 Aug 2011 12:26 AM

The Raven by Lou Reed & Lorenzo Mattotti

This interview was conducted by Fantagraphics' Eric Buckler. Thanks to Eric and Lorenzo! (Ed. note: Hi Lorenzo! We miss you in North America! xo janice)

Lorenzo Mattotti is a talented necromancer; his hands give life to some of the most charged and heart-pounding characters in cartooning and illustration today. Having a cabaret of phantoms at his disposal, Mattotti has assembled comics that are a dangerous and dark exploration of human emotion. His latest cartooning project was a collaboration with Claudio Piersanti called Stigmata, which follows a man who bleeds from his palms as he trudges down a dark path that mutates wildly from the straight and narrow.

Mattotti has now collaborated on the book The Raven with Lou Reed, a project where he re-interpreted the works of Edgar Allen Poe and Lou Reed into creatures and situations in painting and illustration. Mattotti creates images from these stories that help to unlock any hidden power the pieces may have, as well as perfectly stating the obvious elements.

This interview was conducted at 3:00 am between Seattle, WA and Paris, France.

Eric Buckler: How did the Raven project come together?

Lorenzo Mattotti: I was contacted by Lou Reed's agency to ask me if I was interested in a collaboration. I didn't understand very well initially what he wanted. He wanted to make an illustrated book involving The Raven. At the beginning, I understood that he wanted to make a graphic novel, but when I read the text, I understood this was impossible. [laughter] So, he informed me that he would like me to make a book inspired by the show he made with Robert Wilson. But really, I still didn't understand it that much, so we decided to meet each other. I went to New York and we met, and I wanted to know how free I could be to make the book. Did he want classic illustration or could I be free to make my own interpretation? Lou wanted me to make my own interpretation, hearing the music. The style could be different according to the atmosphere and the music, in a very free way. I showed him one of my sketchbooks. Normally, it is very free, my personal work. So, I started to do many sketches in black and white, and I sent them to him by mail. He wanted to see everything. He told me what he preferred, and what he didn't really like, and we decided what to make in color. There were different techniques: there was pencil, brush, crayon, and ink.

Buckler: Do you have any personal connection with Edgar Allen Poe's work? Is it important to you?

Mattotti: I like his work very much. When I was young, it was strange, because I started to read Edgar Allen Poe done by a very good comics artist, Dino Battaglia. He made a version of a little novel by Edgar Allen Poe in a wonderful way with very evocative drawings. So, then I started to read the stories. I think Edgar Allen Poe is really inside my imaginary world because he has influenced so many other writers and so many other artists. I think he is now part of our collective imagination, really inside my idea of terror. The mystery, you know, the darker, the obsession of the head, of the brain. When I knew that he (Reed) wanted to make a book about Edgar Allen Poe, for me it was really natural. I did Jekyll and Hyde, and for me to go inside the obsession, you know to take the dark side of ourselves, for me, it is pretty much my work. And the idea that I could work with Edgar Allen Poe and Lou Reed pushed me to go really in a very straight way to not be afraid to make very strong images. I was justified. So it was really natural and it was really a pleasure to have the possibility to make these kind of images. It's a part of my work.

Buckler: What about the music of Lou Reed? What kind of a connection do you have to his music?

Mattotti: I knew the music of Lou Reed at the beginning of the '70s. I wasn't really impressed by his way of singing, to use the voice like an actor. Sometimes it was strange the way he changed his voice, sometimes he spoke, sometimes he sang. It was the way he interpreted the words, the expression of his voice. I remember there was a very good record, No Prisoners, I think, a live performance where there was really an atmosphere of the cabaret. I remember that I was thinking of a way to draw in this kind of voice. I was always interested by the music in the way that I draw. Really, I remember that I was thinking what kind of sign could be the voice of Lou Reed: very dry, and black & white with strange variations. I think that it is kind of my thinking with the voice of Robert Wyatt.

Buckler: Who was that?

Mattotti: Robert Wyatt, Soft Machine -- you know, an English group from the '70s?

Buckler: Oh, OK, Soft Machine.

Mattotti: Yes, the drummer of Soft Machine. Also, he has a strange way of singing. So for me it was very good to know that Lou Reed wanted to work with me.

Lorenzo Mattotti at TCAF 2011
Lorenzo Mattotti, signing books at TCAF 2011

Buckler: You illustrate in different styles throughout the book. Can you talk about how you decided on these different styles?

Mattotti: I found it more and more interesting to make books where I can put inside different ways I interpret images. The idea that the book would be not so monolithic; only one style, only one direction, really intrigued me. I normally use different ways to draw so I can make the same object represent different emotions. I wanted the freedom to interpret it in the same book, to put different emotion in different ways. Always the idea develops not in a closed way, but the book is like a laboratory, a development of different ways to interpret the text. I have always been interested in this. I can interpret one page one way, but I say, “Oh, maybe it is possible in another way, look at this.” I want to give to the reader the possibility to open their imagination, give them inspiration to think about a different way. Always the images must be strong, not a sketch.

Buckler: Right, they must be complete pieces.

Mattotti: Yeah.

page from The Raven by Lou Reed & Lorenzo Mattotti
A page from The Raven

Buckler: The book is full of creatures. Can you talk about where some of these come from, how you craft those creatures?

Mattotti: Creatures are always our insides. Its part of a long work that I have always done in my sketchbooks. I think in 30 years, I'll continue to make drawings like that in my sketchbook. They are always drawings about my insides, so they are metaphor, they are symbols, symbols of our natural inside. So, I don't think they are different creatures from us, they are not animals, they are us. They are our brains, they are our ideas. The drawing gives us the possibility to change the form to make signs that interpret the reality. They are the concretization of our imagination. So, maybe sometimes they explain much better than a realistic image would. So, the creature from inside you. You may think that they are creatures of another world but they are creatures of our world; the spider, the monster, the stranger, the character. The distortion is the distortion of our brain.

Buckler: So, you lent the creature inside of yourself to this work to help translate it?

Mattotti: To what?

Buckler: You said that the creatures were a concretization of the creature inside of you?

Mattotti: They are a concretization of ideas, of sensations, of emotions. I don't have an animal in my brain, I have emotion, contradiction, tension, pieces of sensation and emotion. And when I draw, my creatures are the concretization of emotions. I do not know before I draw what will happen on the paper, they go out in a very natural way. They are the symbol of sensations that I have inside.

Buckler: Can you take us through creating one of your images? What your process is?

Mattotti: There is always a different creative process. It depends very much on the work. In this case, I read the text of Lou Reed [Edgar Allen Poe], and sometimes I was impressed by some images. But it was more natural when I put on the music. So, I put on the music and I read some of the text, then I started to draw. The music gave me much more of the images, the atmosphere and tone of my images. Much of my work is influenced by music, so for many other images I let myself go on the melody and the atmosphere of the music. In my history, the music gave me some ideas and perspective for some of the work. It is not always like this, sometimes I must make an illustration and I try to make the composition in a very logical way, much more like a project, I have to make sketches and little by little I change. I do that when I have to make posters, or covers for magazines. When I make a comic it is between that. In a way it is a project, a very rational project, logic project, in another way you must make it possible for the drawing to develop the sense. So it is between the two.

Buckler: Could you talk further about how music relates to your art?

Mattotti: I could give you an example?

Buckler: Sure.

Mattotti: Fire is completely influenced by the music of Peter Gabriel and Brian Eno. I remember the first images of Fire were done hearing the music of Peter Gabriel. Always, my books have a sort of soundtrack that I use to concentrate with. The book Carnival, for me it was about the possibility to try to relate the place between music and images.

Buckler: Do you listen to music while you make art?

Mattotti: Yeah, yeah, all the time.

Buckler: You originally went to school to be an architect, correct?

Mattotti: Yeah, but I never wanted to be an architect. I really went into architecture because I couldn't go to fine art school. So, I decided to go into architecture school. There were good subjects. In a strange way I learned many things that I couldn't learn in a fine art school.

Buckler: Did you learn things in architecture school that you have been able to use in your career as a cartoonist and an artist?

Mattotti: I think architecture gave me the notion of space, the structure of the images. The idea of the project. Also, it gave me other influences in how to approach a subject. Not only in an artistic way, but about the historic way, also the logical side of the subject. In a way, it is more scientific. I learned how to be more scientific in the way I work.

page from Stigmata by Lorenzo Mattotti
A page from Stigmata

Buckler: Can you talk about the difference between creating these kind of illustrations for The Raven and creating comics?

Mattotti: It is a big difference. This kind of book is a sort of a mosaic. I started with some images from one side and another side and little by little the world of this book started to exist. In the comics, I am obliged to start the development of the characters. The structure of the pages are completely different. You must think about the tolerance of the style. If you change the style, it must be justified around the subject of the story. Maybe it is more complicated to make the comics, for me it is more complicated. There must be a tension inside that is done with the images and the text. Here in a book like The Raven, or other books, I am more free, less obligations. In a way I can go on the extreme side, the free way. The relation of the text and the pages is completely different. It is a sort of complimentary thing, you must open the structure of the text that you read, you put a way to interpret it. I don't think it is easier. I think it is more simple than comics. Comics are more complicated I think.

Buckler: Do you believe that this project can be interpreted any further, into another form?

Mattotti: Maybe, yes. It could be interesting. Lou Reed, once in an interview, said that this text could be a ballet. He is always interested to reinterpret this text in a different way with different artists. Maybe it could be a dance, or an animation. I don't know. I remember one idea that could be beautiful: if there is a reading with the music and a projection of the images. Could be interesting to make something with animation or something strange in the theater. I don't know in the future what Mr. Lou Reed will do, he has so many projects -- me, too. It's like a mine, it's a big concentration of images. It's a pity the book is not published with the CD inside. It could be a beautiful addition if people could hear the music and look at the images and read the text.

Buckler: I am sure you get asked this a lot, but I wanted to concentrate on your art. Who are some graphic artists who have influenced you?

Mattotti: There are so many, but I always say that for me one of the big masters is Alberto Breccia, the Argentine master. He opened so many doors, he opened the possibilities in comics, possibilities for the expressionists to be abstract. The explosion of sensation. There are so many other masters. I think about [Dino] Battaglia in Italy. There are many painters; Francis Bacon, Caravaggio. I love Alfred Kubin and Odilon Redon. For me this book is really in the tradition of the symbolic illustrator, like Alfred Kubin or Odilon Redon.

Buckler: Who are some cartoonists who have influenced you?

Mattotti: When I was younger I read all kinds of cartoonists, I was always influenced by the story of the cartoon. In Europe we have different tradition in comics: such good creators like Hugo Pratt, but I also like American comics like Walt Kelly and Dick Tracy [Chester Gould], [George] Herriman. I really fell in love with [Lyonel] Feininger, I use many ideas of Feininger. I grew up with comics history. Jose Muñoz, I am good friends with Jose Muñoz, so he influenced me. The relation with life and work. Also, Art Spiegelman influenced me. Robert Crumb, who opened the door for independent comics. There are so many. I grew up with comics. It was the '60s and '70s. For me comics was like film or literature.

Buckler: Are there any other projects you have in the works that you wanted to talk about?

Mattotti: Now I am working in animation, experimental for television. I will be working in one of my first books Huckleberry Finn Adventures by Mark Twain. We are putting color to it right now with computers, it will be put out in France. I will maybe put out new pages or a new version of Chimera. I want to continue some of my old comics projects, black and white. I had stopped for a while.

Buckler: Is there anything we didn't cover, anything you would like to add?

Mattotti: This book, The Raven, is really a collaboration with Lou Reed, because he wanted to give me ideas, to control and be part of the project. He really wanted to work on this project. The melody of the images was done together.

Lorenzo Mattotti
Photo Credit: Benoît Grimalt

Esther Pearl Watson is a Rrriot, Girl!
Written by janice headley | Filed under merchfashionEsther Pearl Watson 15 Aug 2011 6:09 PM

Esther Pearl Watson for Poketo

Apparently, we're not the only ones with the '90s Riot Grrrl movement on the brain!

Our friends at Poketo have just released a new series of wallets entitled "You're a Riot, Grrrl!" -- each wallet featuring artwork by bold female artists, like Lisa Hanawalt, Hellen Jo, and our very own, Esther Pearl Watson

I got the "Unlovable" wallet at San Diego Comic-Con, and lemme tell ya, so far, it's been quite lovable! The inside design boasts the truth "1978 Honda Hatchbacks are sexy" (damn straight) and it comes with a 1" Tammy Pierce button.

Esther Pearl Watson for Poketo 2

Poketo even did an illustrated interview with Esther on their blog, which you can read here, and you can get a wallet for yourself here. Totally.

Taking Punk to the Masses Tour: Bellevue
Written by janice headley | Filed under Taking Punk to the Massesevents 10 Aug 2011 11:13 AM

Our summer tour continues for Taking Punk to the Masses: From Nowhere to Nevermind!

After a sell-out show in Olympia [note: it was free], editor and Senior Curator of the EMP museum, Jacob McMurray, is now heading over the water to bad-ass Bellevue, WA

Sub Pop 200 illustrated by Charles Burns
Charles Burns's iconic artwork for Sub Pop 200, from Taking Punk to the Masses

Sub Pop friends like Modest Mouse and Sunny Day Real Estate both formed on that side of the lake, and the East Side used to boast some legendary all-ages venues like Ground Zero and the Fire House.

You can join Jacob this Saturday, August 13th at Silver Platters Records in Bellevue at 2:00 PM for more local music talk and a book signing at this free, all-ages event!

Silver Platters Records is located at 15600 NE 8th St, in the Crossroads Shopping Center, next to the QFC. Keep an eye on the Fantagraphics Events page and stay tuned to the FLOG for upcoming dates on the Taking Punk to the Masses tour!

Christmas Island at the Fantagraphics Bookstore
Written by janice headley | Filed under rockFantagraphics Bookstore 8 Aug 2011 2:58 PM

Lucy Wehrly of Christmas Island at the Fantagraphics Bookstore

We were totally thrilled to have In the Red / Volar Records band Christmas Island stop by the Fantagraphics Bookstore during their West Coast tour this past weekend!

Ajax and I actually met their awesome drummer Lucy at the San Diego Comic-Con late last month, and she had mentioned that her band was gonna be playing The Funhouse in Seattle for Pizza Fest 2011! [Full disclosure: Ajax works the door at The Funhouse when not workin' the warehouse at Fantagraphics.] But I totally suck, and I missed the show and the ensuing pizza-eating contest! Dammit.

Don't suck like I did: the band are still on tour, heading back home to San Diego over the next couple of weeks.  If you dig that lo-fi garage-pop thing, go see 'em, and chat with Lucy at the merch table about VHS horror films and Johnny Ryan comics!

8/8: The Tube - Portland (w/Grrrl Friend)
8/10: The Knockout - San Francisco (w/Personal and the Pizzas)
8/11: The Blue Lagoon - Santa Cruz (w/ The Groggs)
8/12:  Thee Davis Big TV House - Davis
8/13: Total Trash Fest - Oakland
8/15: Burger Records - Fullerton
8/16: Studio Danza - Whittier
8/17: Tower Bar - San Diego (w/ Bear Slim)

And, if you're in a band coming through Seattle, why not visit us at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery? We've got your perfect tour van/backstage-reading material in store.

Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery
1201 S. Vale Street (at Airport Way S.)
Seattle, WA 98108
206.658.0110
Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM 











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Upcoming Events

09.20.2014 | 14.00
Pirates in the Heartland: S. Clay Wilson
09.24.2014 | 19.00
Simon Hanselmann World Tour
09.27.2014 | 20.00
Simon Hanselmann World Tour
09.30.2014 | 19.00
Simon Hanselmann World Tour
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