• Plug: "New in this week from Fantagraphics is Almost Silent, a collection of four earlier original graphic novels by the brilliant Jason. Regulars will know we love Jason’s work and if you’ve been meaning to read some and somehow never quite got round to grabbing the earlier works then this lovely little hardback is the perfect introduction (and it even looks pretty on your shelf)." – The Forbidden Planet International Blog Log
• Interview: At Super I.T.C.H., Beth Davies-Stofka, who says "Fantagraphics’ The Brinkley Girls: The Best of Nell Brinkley’s Cartoons from 1913-1940 is seductive and spell-binding, a siren call of exploding color and really, really pretty girls," talks to the editor of the book, Trina Robbins, who says "If you see Nell out of context, all you see is beautiful art, but the writing that goes with it is necessary in order to really understand what she was doing."
Mark your calendars for the big Blab! art show at the Society of Illustrators in NYC — it goes up March 24 and the opening reception is on March 26. More info here. (And for all the latest Blabby updates, join the BLABworld Facebook page.)
As the weather heats up, so does the action at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, with a series of exhibitions, signings and performances featuring some of our favorite artists.
On Saturday, March 13, from 6:00 to 9:00 PM, Fantagraphics Bookstore welcomes illustrious LOVE AND ROCKETS co-creator Gilbert Hernandez on the occasion of the release of his latest masterpiece HIGH SOFT LISP. This exhibition of his amazing original art and book signing doubles as the official after-party for the Emerald City Comicon. Expect to socialize with a diverse array of unannounced special guests at this festive annual event.
Rock on Saturday, April 10 with our crew of musical savants from the warehouse and friends for an evening of dissonant performance. Improvisational quartet Zinjanthropus features maestro Martin Bland reuniting with his mate Ren from the awesome Australian combo Lubricated Goat and his Monkeywrench axe man Tom Price of the legendary U-Men. Joining them is former Gas Huffer front man Matt Wright. Our beloved Ajax makes lovely noise as Ardent Vein. Georgetown will be filled with melodious mayhem all night as the cacophonous Honk Fest West marching band carnival takes over the streets. Un-freaking-believable, this one.
On Saturday, April 17 from 6:00 - 8:00 PM we host a signing and publication party for James Sturm and Peter Bagge. Sturm returns to Seattle where he co-founded The Stranger and created his popular comic Cereal Killings for Fantagraphics Books. He since co-founded the Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont and continued a successful career as a cartoonist. He'll be signing his recent graphic novel MARKET DAY. Also appearing will be the architect of the alternative comics movement Peter Bagge signing the highly anticipated HATE ANNUAL #8. Catch up on the latest shenanigans of Buddy Bradley and the gang.
Look for these and other activities throughout the Spring at Fantagraphics Bookstore, located at 1201 S. Vale Street only minutes sought of downtown Seattle. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110. See you all soon.
• List:Only the Cinema's Ed Howard concludes counting down The Best Comics of the Decade: the top 20 includes "The Lute String" (available in Mome Vols. 9 & 10) by Jim Woodring at #16 ("It's moving, funny, and as with all of Woodring's work it demands a close reading"), Alias the Cat (originally The Stuff of Dreams) by Kim Deitch at #14 ("It's funny, goofy, exciting and far-ranging in its imaginative nonsense accumulations, and throughout it all Deitch's fond sense of nostalgia for a world that never quite was lends emotional heft to the story's elaborate twists and turns"), Dash Shaw's Bottomless Belly Button and Mome stories (collected in The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century A.D.) at #13 ("Dash Shaw is an utterly brilliant young cartoonist who has, in a few short years, advanced from the academic experiments of his earlier work... into a formalist genius whose skills encompass both a natural gift for color and a feel for subtle, indirect characterization"), Safe Area Gorazde by Joe Sacco at #7 ("Joe Sacco is a unique figure in modern comics: there is no one else who combines sheer cartooning chops with a newspaper reporter's sensibility and instincts in quite the same way. ... Safe Area Gorazde [is] an especially powerful document of the effects of war"), the comics of Kevin Huizenga at #4 ("Kevin Huizenga is the best young artist in comics. It's as simple as that. With his recent Fantagraphics series Ganges (part of the Ignatz line of high-quality pamphlets) Huizenga has matured into one of comics' finest formalists"), Jimbo in Purgatory by Gary Panter at #2 ("The denseness of Panter's references and cross-references makes the experience of reading this book a truly overwhelming experience; every line, every image, spirals into multiple other references and ideas, pulling in the whole wide expanse of world culture as a stomping ground for Jimbo's wanderings through the Purgatory of modern existence towards enlightenment"), and the Love and Rockets Vol. II work of Jaime Hernandez (as collected in Ghost of Hoppers and The Education of Hopey Glass) in the #1 slot ("There is no greater all-around artist in modern comics than Jaime Hernandez, and his recent work builds on his past successes so that his oeuvre as a whole is shaping up to be one of literature's best sustained stories about aging and the shifting of relationships over the course of a life").
• Review: "The best argument that the underground tradition is still alive is Hotwire Comics, edited by Glen Head (one of the most underrated cartoonists around, incidentally). Hotwire Comics is a visual assault, abrasive, confrontational, willing to poke and prod the audience: a real live wire that can shock. Everything a good underground comic book should be." – Jeet Heer, Comics Comics
• Review: "Strange Suspense is a handsome book generally, with a fun front cover and a nice, sturdy, feel. As far as my eye can tell the work is reproduced well; admittedly, I have one of the worst eyes in comics for that sort of thing. It's nice to have a bunch of comics from this time period, particularly the grittier pre-Code or Fear of Code-Like Crackdown work. There are some truly repulsive pieces of throwaway pulp in this book's pages, and Ditko was more than up to the task of illustrating them." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
• Review: "Mother, Come Home is a subtle, dark story about death and madness and fantasy, tied together by symbols and the voice of an older Thomas looking back on his childhood. It's not bleak, though; Thomas survives his traumatic childhood, and perhaps Hornschmeier's lesson is that we all can, if we try — if we step outside our rituals and fantasies and reach out to each other, we can make it through." – Andrew Wheeler, The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent. (via ¡Journalista!)
Almost Silent packages four original Jason graphic novels — three of them out of print since mid-2008 — into one compact, hardcover omnibus collection. (As the title indicates, this volume favors Jason’s pantomime works.)
“You Can’t Get There from Here,” the longest story of the book (and the only one to be printed in color — well, a color), tells the tale of a love triangle involving Frankenstein, Frankenstein’s Monster, and The Monster’s Bride: Jason cleverly alternates between totally silent sequences involving the three characters and scenes in which Frankenstein’s hunchbacked assistant discusses the day’s events with a fellow hunchbacked assistant to another mad scientist. (You didn’t know they had a union?)
“Tell Me Something” is a brisk (271 panels), near-totally-silent (just a few intertitles) graphic novelette about love lost and found again, told with a tricky mixture of forward- and back-flashing narrative. “Meow, Baby” is a collection of Jason’s short stories and gags, and finally, “The Living and the Dead” is a hilariously deadpan (and gory) take on the traditional Romero-style zombie thriller.
All of these yarns star Jason’s patented cast of tight-lipped (or -beaked) bird-, dog-, cat- and wolf-people, and show off his compassion and wry wit. Almost Silent is a perfect starting point for a new reader wanting to know what the fuss is all about, and a handsome, handy, inexpensive collection for the committed Jason fan.
Download an EXCLUSIVE 27-page PDF excerpt (840 KB) with 6 pages from each section (plus spacer pages separating the sections).
• List:Only the Cinema's Ed Howard begins counting down The Best Comics of the Decade: part 2 includes Black Hole by Charles Burns at #36 ("Few books do a better job of capturing the fear, and the excitement, of nascent desire and adolescent longing, as these diseased teens are driven mad by hormones and embarrassment"), Epileptic and Babel by David B. at #30 ("With his elegant style, dominated by striking blacks and contrasts, he invents numerous metaphors and visualizations for his brother's disease, treating the fight against the disease as a physical, mortal conflict"), Chimera #1 by Lorenzo Mattotti at #29 ("a rare pleasure from this elusive artist... a powerful work"), and The Squirrel Mother by Megan Kelso at #26 ("Kelso's work can be devastating in the way she pares down the excess to get at the essence of a particular moment or situation").
• Review: "…[A] fascinating treasure trove of an anthology... In addition to work by greats like Artie Romero, Rick Geary, and Mary Fleener, and 50 or so others, [Newave!] serves as the history of a movement." – Publishers Weekly
• Review: "Taken as a book that records a history, it’s pretty awesome. ... Newave! does include essays about minicomics and interviews with some of the creators. These are fun and provide a great look at how all of this came about." – Eden Miller, Comicsgirl (via Wow Cool)
• Review: "[Newave!] is really cool. ... It's great to see the kind of passion that was going on... when there was this explosion where people just wanted to do comics because they had a passion for drawing, for telling stories... It's just a book full of passionate comics... I definitely recommend checking it out..." – Steampunk Willy's Mad Comix Ride - The Comic Book Podcast (via Wow Cool)
• Review: "[I Killed Adolf] Hitler mixes elements of classic time travel science fiction fare with personal melodrama and a strange sense of humor that's unlike anything else in comics today. ... Jason pulls off some nice storytelling tricks when you aren't looking. ... The pacing of his story is refreshing, never getting bogged down, never moving too fast." – Augie De Blieck Jr., Comic Book Resources
• Interview: At Fatally Yours, Sarah Jahier has an enlightening Q&A with Dame Darcy: "My Dad is an artist, so is my uncle, brother, and a lot of my family. We are related to John Wilkes Booth and many of the guys in my family look like him (like a handsome villain). I [attribute] a lot of my family’s talent and good looks to Booth but also the craziness." I did not know that! (via The Beat)
• Profile: At Comix 411, Tom Mason profiles E.C. Segar's Popeye protegé, Bud Sagendorf
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