500 Portraits collects for the first time over two decades of portrait work by the beloved and award-winning creator of Drinky Crow’s Maakies, Sock Monkey and Billy Hazelnuts. Tony Millionaire’s gorgeous fountain pen illustrations, which mingle naturalistic detail with strong doses of the fanciful and grotesque, include the famous (Bob Dylan), the infamous (Abu Ghraib soldier/model Lynndie England), the fictional (Yoda), the animal kingdom (a cockroach), and everything in between. Literary figures (Hemingway), literary characters (Don Quixote & Sancho Panza), Hollywood legends (Steven Spielberg), comics icons (Hergé) and historical figures (Hitler) also figure prominently.
Millionaire’s impeccable linework resembles that of Johnny Gruelle (creator of Raggedy Ann and Andy), whom he cites as one of his main sources of inspiration along with Ernest Shepard and "all those freaks from the '20s and '30s who did the newspaper strips."
Many of these 500 portraits were created for The Believer, the magazine founded by Dave Eggers that Millionaire has helped define visually with his signature portraits of interview subjects in every issue since the magazine started. But it also includes dozens if not hundreds of illustrations from various other publications, including The New York Times, The New Yorker, Ephemera Press Historical Maps, The Wall Street Journal, and others.
“I think Tony Millionaire can only do important things.” — Dave Eggers
• Review: "In an historical moment when a cross-section of the population is waking up to the reality of brutal inequalities and the limited set of levers by which that might be expected to change, being reminded of past permutations of those same societal ills may prove hopeful or unbearable. It's hard to say. Either way, these are effective comics. The Road to Wigan Pier never manages the dead-on power inherent in much of Sacco's best work, but it's certainly worth any comics fan's time." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
• Review: "...[I]t is thrilling to see such a vital, and nearly forgotten, work of comics coming back into print, cleaned up and reorganized and ready to surprise a new generation of former kids.... Nuts is one of the best works, and one of the few single book-length works, by one of our time's best and most idiosyncratic cartoonists -- ...it is for everyone who really remembers how terrible and lonely and infuriating it can be to be a child." – Andrew Wheeler, The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.
• Plugs:Robot 6's ongoing "Holiday Gift-Giving Guide" survey of comics creators rolls on, with Joey Weiser suggesting "For the comic strip enthusiast: Mickey Mouse by Floyd Gottfredson – Super engaging strips that are full of life and very funny. I’m very glad that Fantagraphics is publishing these." Caanan Grall also recommends "Fantagraphics’s Floyd Gottfriedson Mickey Mouse and Carl Barks Donald Duck libraries."
• Plug:Heroes Aren't Hard to Find's Andy Mansell rounds up some gift ideas for their upcoming holiday sale this weekend, including Gahan Wilson: Fifty Years of Playboy Cartoons: "This is one of the best books of the past year (or so). Gahan Wilson is the true heir apparent to New Yorker comic weirdo Charles Addams. His comics are twisted, macabre, beautifully rendered and above all–laugh out loud funny. This 3 volume set belongs in every serious comic fan’s library."
Library Journal has named two of our releases to their top-10 Best Books of 2011: Graphic Novels list!
21: The Story of Roberto Clemente by Wilfred Santiago: "The Puerto Rican slugger overcame family poverty, racial prejudice, and the language barrier to become the 1966 National League’s Most Valuable Player. Santiago superbly captures the kinetic excitement of baseball as well as Clemente’s skill and warm humanity on and off the diamond."
The Arctic Marauder by Jacques Tardi: "An eccentric steampunk parody of turn-of-the-century pulp, beautifully rendered with amazing scratchboard art that mimics the look of engravings. Tardi favors the puckish over the grim, for a surprising sf comedy involving mad scientists, sea monsters, and weird machines."
Comics Alliance kicks off their Holiday Gift Guide this year with a preview and recommendation of Walt Disney’s Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes. CA's Chris Sims says "with its beautiful design, interesting bonus material and masterful all-ages storytelling, it’s one of the few comics that I can wholeheartedly recommend to anyone.... The hardcover's packed full of feature-length stories, shorts, and even one-page gag strips, with the blend adventure and comedy that made Carl Barks so legendary -- and it's even got one of the craziest Christmas stories I've ever read -- all wrapped up in Fantagraphics' usual incredible design. It's hands-down one of the best gifts of the year..." Who are we to disagree!
Jack Davis arrived on the illustration scene in the euphoric post-war America of the late 1940s when consumer society was booming and the work force identified with commercial images that reflected this underlying sense of confidence and American bravado. Advertising agencies were looking for new ways to tap a rich and expanding market, and there was a vast array of media that needed illustrations. Davis’ animated and exuberant images possessed a sense of spontaneous energy that proved to have universal appeal in every medium he worked in.
Beginning with his masterful pen and ink cartooning at EC Comics, he quickly forged a reputation as one of the most versatile artists in comics, drawing humor, horror, and war stories. In Harvey Kurtzman’s MAD, especially, Davis made a mark as a master of caricature, composition, and wild, anarchic crowd scenes, practically vibrating with energy.
After stints at MAD, Trump, and Humbug — three humor magazines that defined the satirical zeitgeist of the ’50s — Davis went on to become the most successful commercial illustrator of his generation, illustrating movie posters, magazine articles, magazine fiction, LP jackets, and more.
Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture is a gigantic, unparalleled career-spanning retrospective, between whose hard covers resides the greatest collection — in terms of both quantity and quality — of Jack Davis’ work ever assembled! It includes work from every stage of his long and varied career, such as: excerpts of satirical drawings from his college humor ’zine, The Bull Sheet; examples of his comics work from EC, MAD, Humbug, Trump, and obscure work he did for other companies in the 1950s such as Dell; movie posters including It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, The Bad News Bears, Woody Allen’s Bananas, The Party, and others; LP jacket art for such musicians and bands as Hans Conreid and the Creature Orchestra’s Monster Rally, Spike Jones and Ben Cooler; cartoons and illustrations from Playboy, Sports Illustrated, Time, TV Guide, Esquire, and many others; unpublished illustrations and drawings Davis did as self-promotional pieces, proposed comic strips that never sold (such as his Civil War epic “Beaureagard”), finished drawings for unrealized magazine projects — and even illustrations unearthed in the Davis archives that the artist himself can’t identify!
Much of the material will be scanned directly from original art, showing the painterly brush strokes and black and white pen work with far greater fidelity than any previous reproduction ever has. Many paintings and illustrations are accompanied by preliminary drawings that demonstrate the evolution of Davis’ drawing process.
In the back of the book you'll find a biography of Davis by Gary Groth, as well as tributes and testimonals written by a spectrum of Davis's cartoonist contemporaries and fans including Sergio Aragonés, Peter Bagge, Coop, Bob Fingerman, Drew Friedman, Bill Griffith, Al Jaffee, Joe Kubert, Peter Kuper, Tony Millionaire, Nate Neal, Spain Rodriguez and Jim Woodring.
Download a PDF excerpt (33.2 MB) with a smattering of 22 pages from the book.
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