Like the postman making his appointed rounds, we pride ourselves in maintaining normal hours at Fantagraphics Bookstore no matter what the weather. But with TV spokesmodels breathlessly warning of blizzard conditions approaching the Seattle area, we encourage customers to call the store before strapping on their snowshoes. 206.658.0110.
Comix fans should take advantage of the current break in the weather to come pick up a copy of Action! Mystery! Thrills! This book is full of alluring covers from the Golden Age comic books. The imagery bolsters my contention that comix represent the most compelling reflection of the cultural climate of mid-century America. The covers of WWII era comic books combine patriotic themes with appallingly racist depictions of Imperial Japanese soldiers (though our German foes fare no better). Delightful deco aesthetics, garish colors and lurid themes, together with an informative index by Greg Sadowski, create one of the most appealing books in recent memory. The perfect read for a winter day indoors. Bring on the snow.
Good thing the Charlotte Street Foundation presents an exhibit on underground comix legend Frank Stack, titled: Good Thing I Used a Pseudonym: Work From a Three-Part Career: Frank Stack as Painter, Connoisseur, and Incognito as Graphic Novelist Foolbert Sturgeon.
PHEW! You gotta have a long title for an exhibit encapsulating Stack's five-decade-long career! Not to mention, this is the very first exhibit of Frank's that will include his traditional artwork made under his real name alongside the comix he created as "Foolbert Sturgeon." A very special exhibit, indeed!
The opening reception is this Friday, January 20th from 6:00 to 9:00 PM, and the exhibit will run through March 3, 2012.
And on Saturday, January 21st, join Frank Stack along with curators Anne Thompson and Nathan Boyer for a public discussion of his work at 2:30 PM. Anyone who saw his panel at San Diego Comic-Con last year can tell you, you will not want to miss this as Frank is a delightful and brilliant storyteller!
It all goes down at Project Space [ 21 East 12th Street, Kansas City, MO ], a Charlotte Street Foundation Urban Culture Project venue.
He'll be speaking at the infamous Strand Bookstore in NYC, discussing what happened when he joined his wife — artist Sarah Son-Theroux, whose work adorns the cover — on her Fulbright Scholarship to Estonia.
Let Theroux's razor-sharp writings transport you to this fascinating country without having to leave your seat in the Rare Book Room on the 3rd Floor of The Strand [ 828 Broadway (at 12th St.) ].
The event kicks off at 7:00 PM, and you can either buy Estonia from The Strand or a $10 Strand gift card in order to attend this event. Both options admit one person.
• List: Gustavo Guimaraes of Brazilian culture & entertainment site Ambrosia names "The best comics published in the U.S. in 2011 - Alternative and classic," including Congress of the Animals by Jim Woodring (all quotes translated from Portuguese)...
"The world created by Woodring is unique, beautiful and scary. His stories can be incomprehensible at times, but always intriguing and charming."
"Sala's characters look like something out of old horror and mystery movies, and his plots possess a rare levity for narratives of the genre. The colorful art makes the his twisted drawings even more attractive."
"Walt Kelly was a complete artist, his drawings were graceful, his stories were simple and fun while at the same time provoking the reader with hints of metalanguage and political content. His writing was faceted with the sensibility of a great satirist."
"A masterpiece of old adventure comics continues today thanks largely to Foster's fantastic realistic art. Landscapes and epic battles are played to perfection by the author, turning the limited space of each panel into a window to a world where historical characters live with mythological beings. Careful printing in oversize hardcover as well as meticulous reproduction of the beautiful original colors make this collection from Fantagraphics a model for classic comics publishing."
"Even if you already have all of Carl Barks' comics of you will want to buy this book. It is the first time that these comics are being reissued with the original colors, digitally restored. This deluxe edition, with hard covers and high-quality paper, includes articles on all the comics collected in the volume."
• Review: "To say that it has been worth the wait is wild understatement. Pogo Through the Wild Blue Wonder is beautifully produced — no surprise to anyone familiar with the work of Fantagraphics Books in Seattle — and a joy to read. It comes as a genuine gift to anyone who loved Pogo and, it is to be hoped, as an introduction for younger readers to what many people believe was the best comic strip ever drawn in this country." – Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post
• Review: "Wilson's genuine bravery, as this strip makes clear, is not that he set himself up as a rival to Charles Schulz but rather the directness with which Nuts confronts genuinely painful and baffling topics like sickness, mental illness, and death. When dealing with master artists, any ranking becomes absurd because each creator is memorable by the individual mark he or she leaves. So let’s leave Peanuts comparisons aside and say that Nuts is one of the major American comic strips and we’re lucky to have the complete run in this handsome, compact volume." – Jeet Heer, The Comics Journal
• Review: "Jacques Tardi’s interpretation of Jean-Patrick Manchette’s book [Like a Sniper Lining Up His Shot] is an intense and shocking thriller.... Dark, brutal and uterly compelling, classic thriller fans should lap this up. Put a few hours aside before picking it up though, because you won’t want to put it down and it’s a feast worth savouring." – Grovel
• Review: "I gave Roy Crane’s Captain Easy, Solder Of Fortune: The Complete Sunday Newspaper Strips Volume 1 1933-1935 a good thumbing many, many times before picking it up. The artwork was too simple, the stories silly. One day in my local comic shop with nothing new to read I picked it up. What I failed to comprehend as I stood in the comic shop flipping pages in this book is that Crane chose the elements of his strip carefully, especially those I dismissed it for. Simple character design, bright colours, fictional locations and action with a sense of humour. After finishing the volume I applaud his choices." – Scott VanderPloeg, Comic Book Daily
• Interview (Audio):The Comics Journal presents a recording of the Jack Davis interview conducted by Gary Groth and Drew Friedman at last month's Brooklyn Comics & Graphics Festival (posted here after a slight delay due to technical audio issues)
• Interview:Culture Brats has "Seven Questions in Heaven" with Esther Pearl Watson: "Even though now I have a huge collection of mini-comics, I try not to look at other comic artists as influences. They draw too nice, or have their thing down. Comic storytelling styles can be as individual as fingerprints. We spend years creating our own narrative language. Instead I look at naive drawing and self-taught artists to de-skill."
• Conflict of Interest: Our own Larry Reid names Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 one of his favorite comics of 2011 in a guest column at Graphic Eye: "The conclusion of Jaime’s poignant 'Love Bunglers' story alone made this book essential reading in 2011. Almost unfathomably, Love & Rockets keeps getting better with age."
Leslie Stein gives you an illustrated and photo-documented glimpse into her life all this week for the latest Cartoonist's Diary feature at TCJ.com. Her self-portrait in the style of Sam Henderson is worth the price of admission alone.
• Kansas City, MO: The name of this exhibit says it all: "GOOD THING I USED A PSEUDONYM: Work From a Three-Part Career: Frank Stack as Painter, Connoisseur, and Incognito as Graphic Novelist Foolbert Sturgeon." This is the first exhibition that will include Stack’s all-important comics work. The opening reception is from 6-9 PM, and the exhibit runs until March 3, 2012. (more info)
• Kansas City, MO: In conjunction with the aforementioned exhibit "GOOD THING I USED A PSEUDONYM: Work From a Three-Part Career: Frank Stack as Painter, Connoisseur, and Incognito as Graphic Novelist Foolbert Sturgeon," Frank Stack himself will appear at Project Space for a discussion with curators Anne Thompson and Nathan Boyer at 2:30 PM. (more info)
Here's an exciting discovery: the original art for an extra-long Peanuts strip that was done by Charles M. Schulz for the July 22, 1958 issue of Look Magazine and apparently never reprinted since then. The artwork is being offered for sale next month by Heritage Auctions — thanks to Rodrigo Baeza of Comics Commentary for the tip.
• List: Chris Mautner's list of "12 Comics to Look Forward to in 2012" at Robot 6 includes our first volume of Crockett Johnson's Barnaby: "Johnson’s wonderful, vastly underrated comic strip about a little boy and his underperforming fairy godfather is finally, finally being collected. Can’t wait."
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