I'd like to take a rare personal moment here on Flog for a public service announcement: I walked away from this with a few minor scrapes and bruises yesterday. The other guy's OK too. Wear your seatbelts, folks.
This is also to explain why we've been relatively quiet the last couple of days as I've been taking some time off and to let you know we might miss posting some news and announcements in our usual timely-ish fashion for a little while as I try to catch up.
In the mid-seventies a trio of gifted cartoonists emerged from The Evergreen State College in Olympia: Seattle's Lynda Barry and Charles Burns, and Matt Groening from Portland. Their influence helped attract a new generation of cartoonists that fashioned a new comix movement. Among them; Jim Woodring, Joe Sacco, and Peter Bagge. Coupled with this new comix movement was the creation of prominent publisher Fantagraphics Books. The global popularity of the Grunge movement elevated alternative comix to unprecedented heights and firmly established the region as the center of this new form. By the dawn of the millennia, Seattle and Portland boasted no fewer than 6 alternative comix publishing houses. Learn more about the connection between the Northwest and "Alternative" comics in this lively panel Q&A. Panelist include cartoonists Jim Woodring and Ellen Forney, Real Comet Press publisher Cathy Hillenbrand, and Fantagraphics Books associate publisher Eric Reynolds. Moderated by Larry Reid of Fantagraphics Bookstore.
Tune in this Friday morning at 9:00 AM PT to hear more about it from Jim and Larry themselves! And then join us at the panel at 6:00 PM in Room 3AB at the Emerald City Comicon!
Can't make it to Comicon, but still wanna hang out with Jim and Larry? Guess what! If you're 21 or older, you can attend our FREE Emerald City Comicon Pinball Party on Saturday, March 31st at Shorty's Pinball Emporium [ 2222 2nd Avenue ]! There are prizes galore, including the grand prize of a colorful Jim Woodring-designed back glass from the forthcoming Frank pinball machine. Click here for all the details!
Author Monte Schulz will be bringing his captivating novel of the Jazz Age to the West Coast this Spring!
The Big Town is the story of a failed businessman whose dreams of prosperity hinge on the secret proposition of a millionaire industrialist and a dangerous relationship he finds with a poor orphan girl chasing love in the great American metropolis.
Come meet this engaging storyteller and get your copy of the book signed!
April 3rd Chaucer’s Books 3321 State Street Santa Barbara CA 93105
April 4th Skylight Books 1818 North Vermont Ave Los Angeles, CA 90027
April 10th Modern Times Bookstore Collective 2919 24th Street San Francisco, CA 94110
April 11th Copperfields 775 Village Court Santa Rosa, CA 95405
April 12th BookPassage 51 Tamal Vista Blvd Corte Madera, CA 94925
May 10th Tsunami Books 2585 Willamette Street Eugene, OR 97405
A novel of the Jazz Age, The Big Town is the story of a failed businessman whose dreams of prosperity hinge on the secret proposition of a millionaire industrialist and a dangerous relationship he finds with a poor orphan girl chasing love in the great American metropolis.
Harry Hennesey’s hopes of success, both in his household and the world, have driven him to sell his home in an Illinois small town and take his chances in the big city. He rents a room in a run-down hotel. He deals in wholesale items scavenged from yard sales and close-outs. One night at a movie theater downtown, he meets a teenage flapper named Pearl who latches onto him and won’t let go. For several years now, Harry has threatened his marriage and self-esteem with innumerable infidelities. Now he finds himself falling in love with a girl less than half his age. But that’s not all.
Charles A. Follette, chairman of the board of the American Prometheus Corporation, comes to him with a slick proposition: find Follette’s missing niece, and the road to riches shall be his. Soon, though, Harry discovers a darker secret to the identity of the missing niece and what lies behind the urgency for her detection. It’s this revelation that leads him to a closer examination of what it means to the life he’s known since the birth of his children and that life he believes awaits him if he can only reach the top of the ladder.
Harry’s story in The Big Town is set against a fantastic backdrop of an archetypal 1920s American big city. We see speakeasies, sanitariums, skyscrapers, and a glittering Gatsby-like party high atop the metropolis. Lost in his own moral confusions, we watch Harry try to reform his young lover and uncover the secret of her own past in a small canal town miles beyond a city where gangsters murder ordinary citizens and everyone seems to have a get-rich scheme as the Roaring ’20s come to a thunderous close. The Big Town evokes a lost era through language and flamboyant characters reminiscent of Fitzgerald, Dos Passos, Ring Lardner, etc. Yet it’s also eerily relevant to our own time with its study of the role of business, crime, morality, and love in our lives.
Advance Praise for The Big Town:
"Monte Schulz's The Big Town exposes decadence, wealth and consumption in Jazz Age America as spiritual myopia — where desperate, haunting characters hinge their lives on impossible dreams. This lyrical, gripping novel is as close to 1920s America as it gets, and penned with such frightening realism that the chaos of a bygone era erupts from its pages." – Simon Van Booy, award-winning author of Everything Beautiful Began After
"Bold and stirring, The Big Town is a big walk through the dark side of Jazz Age America, a place where temptation and violence were only a breath away. A finely-textured tale of moral ambiguity told with gripping realism that richly evokes the sights and sounds of an era defined by gangsters and Gatsby." — Persia Walker, author of Black Orchid Blues
This week's comic shop shipment is slated to include the following new titles. Read on to see what comics-blog commentators and web-savvy comic shops are saying about them (more to be added as they appear), check out our previews at the links, and contact your local shop to confirm availability.
192-page full-color 7.25" x 10.25" softcover • $24.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-511-2
"Before there were knockoffs of MAD-the-magazine like Cracked and Crazy... there were a whole lot of knockoffs of MAD-the-comic-book, like Whack, Nuts, Eh, Unsane... This John Benson-edited anthology collects work from a bunch of them." – Douglas Wolk, ComicsAlliance
"On the historical side, Fantagraphics brings us The Sincerest Form of Parody: The Best 1950s MAD Inspired Satirical Comics ($24.99). KC’s working on a review that we’ll have for you shortly [since posted here – Ed.]." – Joanna Draper Carlson, Comics Worth Reading
"I was well aware of the number of imitators that attempted to capitalize on Kurtzman and company’s success early on, but didin’t know much more than that. Were any of these comics any good? Hopefully this book will let me know." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
"Editor John Benson follows up 2010′s excellent Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950s [John Benson provided editorial consultation and contributed to the back matter for Four Color Fear, but the book was edited by Greg Sadowski – Ed.] with The Sincerest Form of Parody: The Best 1950s MAD-Inspired Satirical Comics, culling choice bits from humor magazines by Atlas, Charlton, Harvey and the like; $24.99." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
"The success of MAD Magazine lead to a number of 1950s knock-offs. This book collects some of the of the finest examples of non-MAD parody comics, featuring work by Jack Davis, Will Elder, Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers, Bill Everett, Bob Powell, and many more. Portzebie!" – Benn Ray (Atomic Books), Largehearted Boy
104-page black & white 6.5" x 9.25" softcover • $16.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-485-6
"And readers that missed out on Thomas Ott’s 2005 collection of wordless works can now enjoy a softcover edition of Cinema Panopticum; $16.99." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
"Love reading comics but find all the words a drag? Then Thomas Ott's wordless, gorgeous and haunting scratchboard horror stories are just the thing for you." – Benn Ray (Atomic Books), Largehearted Boy
"I assume this is a new edition of the Thomas Ott, in which case I already have it. If you don't, those books tend to hold up really well over time." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
• Review:Pitchfork gives the Listen, Whitey!companion album an 8.0, with Stephen M. Deusner writing "Perhaps the most powerful aspect of Listen, Whitey! The Sound of Black Power 1967-1974 -- the album and the book, both representing many years' research by historian Pat Thomas -- is how they portray a music in flux: Artists such as the Watts Prophets, the Original Last Poets, Shahid Quintet, and Marlena Shaw were only just realizing the potential for cross-genre synthesis and for radical political statement through music.... Thomas is interested in depicting Black Power music at street level rather than playlisting the most popular songs of the era. ...[B]y focusing on the range of music inspired by this movement, Listen, Whitey! allows so much of the confusion, outrage, anger, emotion, humor, and even optimism of this music to resonate anew."
• Review: "I had always meant to read Love and Rockets, but it might be possible that I've given myself a gift by waiting until I'm at this point in my life. My reading now, in my 40s might be more nuanced, and less surface than having read them 20 years ago. I'm going to recommend the series. There is an element of sexuality, but not sexism. And there's an element of Bohemianism as well. However, I guess Love and Rockets is like a complicated wine: what you taste at first isn't the taste that lingers as you look a little closer." – Catherine Schaff-Stump, Writer Tamago
Fantagraphics is thrilled to announce that Peter Bagge will be a special guest at the 9th Annual Stumptown Comics Fest in Portland!
Join us on Saturday, April 29th and Sunday, April 30th at the Oregon Convention Center [ 777 NE ML King Blvd. ]. Tickets are on sale now, so don't miss out! And stay tuned to the FLOG for more details about our Stumptown weekend.
Jacques, along with fellow curators Tim Colley and Darren Aboulafia, have concocted a SuperTrash mix of sci-fi-fantasy trailers, blistering 80s metal and provocative situations, including a meditation upon fire itself. This 90-minute program will delight nerds of all genders and possibly be worthy of taking notes. Trailers include Space Amoeba, Funky Forest: The First Contact, Xtro 2, Dark Breed, Screamers, Super Inframan and Alien Intruder. Plus, it's your chance to meet Black Terminator! Prepare to have your mind blown starting at 11:00 PM at the Northwest Film Forum [ 1515 12th Ave in the Capitol Hill neighborhood ].
Join Dan on Thursday, April 5th for this very special celebration of his new collection The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist, from Abrams ComicArts. The evening will be hosted by Blair Butler (of G4's Fresh Ink), and there will be an interview conducted by Mark Frauenfelder of BoingBoing, followed by a Q&A!
The event starts at 8:00 PM, but get there early! If you purchase one copy of the new book from Meltdown, you'll be granted two tickets to this event. An extra ticket can then be purchased for $10. But you can't buy individual tickets, so bring a buddy and join the fun at Meltdown Comics [ 7522 Sunset Blvd ].
And at 6:00 PM, it's the First Annual "Enid Coleslaw" Meet-Up at Nerdmelt [ also 7522 Sunset Blvd ], the "nerdy little comedy theater that is the marriage between Nerdist Industries and Meltdown Comics."
Nerdmelt is inviting everyone to "wear your glasses, your favorite Enid looks, and your best bored expression" for an Enid Coleslaw cosplay night. Seeing as how a lot of my friends look like Enid no matter what, I wonder how many ladies are gonna wander on to that scene unsuspectingly!
There will be photo-ops, and a screening of the film version of Ghost World to get everyone pumped up for Dan's arrival. So, get ready for a Clowes Celebration in L.A.!
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