|Down with OPP*: Johnny 23|
|Written by janice headley | Filed under Fantagraphics Bookstore, Down with OPP, Charles Burns||24 Jan 2011 2:24 PM|
** Yeah, You Know Me.
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Archive >> January 2011
* Other People's Publications
** Yeah, You Know Me.
"What the hell is this?"
Working at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, I hear this question a lot, but I especially get it in reference to this week's spotlight title: Johnny 23 by Charles Burns.
If you were one of the fans crushed in the crowd when Charles Burns visited the store back in November, then hopefully you caught his discussion about the similarities in his latest novel X'ed Out and Hergé's classic The Adventures of Tintin. (Ken Parille has a great run-down on those similarities on The Comics Journal blog here.)
And in a nod to the bootleg Hergé titles that float around, Burns has created his own "bootleg" of X'ed Out, re-arranging the panels and adding brand-new artwork to create Johnny 23. French publisher Le Dernier Cri printed only a few thousand copies of this one, and from what I understand, it ain't getting reprinted, so you should get yours now.
Oh, and did I mention it's written in ALIEN? 'Cause... yeah. And Burns has said, it's not a translation of the text from X'ed Out. Apparently, there are keys online somewhere, or maybe you can send some cereal box proof-of-purchases and get a decoder ring. But just think, once you learn the language, won't that look impressive on future job resumes for our eventual alien overlords?
* Other People's Publications
"Down with OPP" spotlights excellent titles from other publishers that you can find at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery. And this week, I present to you Make Me a Woman by Vanessa Davis (Drawn & Quarterly).
This week's column ain't exactly for the ladies. I'm sure we all bought this book when it first came out, gleefully pouring over this collection of sketchbook drawings that Davis did from 2004 to 2010. Some of these stories were originally published online in a monthly column she did for Tablet magazine, but they were new to me.
No, this column is for the fellas. I see you walking by our tables of new releases, your eyes darting across the covers, and some of you seem to flinch at the exuberantly girlish cover here. Really? It makes me wanna hit you in the face with this book, and it's a $24.95 hardcover, so it's gonna sting. How's THAT for being a woman?
Davis has a wonderful drawing style, somewhere between the frame-eschewing style of Ellen Forney (and with all the similar tiny anecdotal notes!) and the energetic spirit of Julie Doucet. Some drawings are slapdash pencil sketches, while others are beautifully watercolored, with exquisite attention to floor tiles, curtains, and book spines.
And, sure, some of you boys aren't gonna appreciate the awesome way she draws clothes and hairstyles as much as I do (I reaaaally appreciate it), but there's so much more about this book to enjoy. Maybe you went to Fat Camp, too. Maybe you'll agree with her opinions on R. Crumb's The Book of Genesis. Maybe you can relate to her Jewish upbringing. And actually, as a woman, I couldn't relate to any of that, but I still enjoyed this book. Look, I don't pee in jars, but I still enjoyed reading Peepshow!
So, be a man, and get Make Me a Woman.
We've also got another Davis book in stock, Spaniel Rage #1 (Buenaventura Press). It, too, is a collection of diary comics and sketchbook drawings, but from 2003 to 2004. And it's softcover, so I won't hit you with it.
[Um, and that "Cheri" t-shirt on the cover of Spaniel Rage? Well, it pops-up again in Make Me a Woman, in a scene where she's drawing with Gabrielle Bell and Michel Gondry -- Yeah, don't think I didn't notice!!!]
Both Make Me a Woman and Spaniel Rage #1 are currently in stock at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, located at 1201 S. Vale Street in Seattle's Georgetown district. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone: (206) 658-0110. See you soon!
* Other People's Publications
We're introducing a new column to the FLOG this year, spotlighting some excellent titles from other publishers that you can find at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery! (And spotlighting my dorky predilection for song titles from the 90's.)
Subtitled "Comics From Bangkok to Belgrade," Gazeta, Vol. 1 debuts its series with a collection of artists from places I've never heard of. (Zagreb? Tampere? I need to get out more.)
Our store manager/curator Larry Reid recommended this one to me, pointing out the cover by the great Ron Regé , Jr. (who, speaking of 90's music, I discovered "back in the day" through the amazing band The Swirlies).
Admittedly, two of my favorite pieces come from the more well-known artists, Dylan Horrocks (whose story "Cornucopia" is so sweet, I may have swooned), and the aforemention Regé. Regé's piece is one of the longer ones in the collection, and was inspired by the writings of P.B. Randolph (the, uh, founder of "sex magic"!), and the teachings of Neville Goddard. Even though he didn't write the philosophies himself, the story is pure uplifting, transcendent Regé.
I may have swooned again.
The collection also introduced me to some artists I was unfamiliar with, including Portugese artist André Lemos, whose stark drawing style reminded me of our own Jason T. Miles, and the beautiful, haunting pencil drawings of Amanda Vähämäki, whose name has three umlauts, so clearly she's hardcore!
Gazeta, Vol. 1 is currently in stock at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, located at 1201 S. Vale Street in Seattle's Georgetown district. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone: (206) 658-0110. See you soon!
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The Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale St., Seattle WA 98108. Tel: 206-658-0110.
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