There's no sophomore slump for the Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation, co-organized by our own Lilli Carré! Although only in its second year, it's got another impressive line-up of experimental animation of all sorts: classic films, new works, and rare masterpieces, including a piece by another Fantagraphics artist, Nicolas Mahler.
Chicagoans can SEE the Eyeworks Festival for themselves this Saturday, November 5th and Sunday November 6th, at the DePaul University [ CDM Theater, 247 S. State Street, lower level ].
Walt Kelly started his career at age 13 in Connecticut as a cartoonist and reporter for the Bridgeport Post. In 1935, he moved to Los Angeles and joined the Walt Disney Studio, where he worked on classic animated films, including Pinocchio, Dumbo, and Fantasia. Rather than take sides in a bitter labor strike, he moved back east in 1941 and began drawing comic books.
It was during this time that Kelly created Pogo Possum. The character first appeared in Animal Comics as a secondary player in the “Albert the Alligator” feature. It didn’t take long until Pogo became the comic’s leading character. After WWII, Kelly became artistic director at the New York Star, where he turned Pogo into a daily strip. By late 1949, Pogo appeared in hundreds of newspapers. Until his death in 1973, Kelly produced a feature that has become widely cherished among casual readers and aficionados alike.
Kelly blended nonsense language, poetry, and political and social satire to make Pogo an essential contribution to American “intellectual” comics. As the strip progressed, it became a hilarious platform for Kelly’s scathing political views in which he skewered national bogeymen like J. Edgar Hoover, Joseph McCarthy, George Wallace, and Richard Nixon.
Walt Kelly started when newspaper strips shied away from politics — Pogo was ahead of its time and ahead of later strips (such as Doonesbury and The Boondocks) that tackled political issues. Our first (of 12) volume reprints approximately the first two years of Pogo — dailies and (for the first time) full-color Sundays.
This first volume also introduces such enduring supporting characters as Porkypine, Churchy LaFemme, Beauregard Bugleboy, Seminole Sam, Howland Owl, and many others. And for Christmas, 1949, Kelly started his tradition of regaling his readers with his infamously and gloriously mangled Christmas carols.
Special features in this sumptuous premiere volume, which is produced with the full cooperation of Kelly’s heirs, include a biographical introduction by Kelly biographer Steve Thompson, an extensive section by comics historian R.C. Harvey explaining some of the more obscure current references of the time, a foreword by legendary columnist Jimmy Breslin, and more.
Download and read a 29-page PDF excerpt (7.7 MB) including the Editors' Notes and Table of Contents; 16 pages of daily strips; and 4 Sunday strips.
This week's comic shop shipment is slated to include the following new title. Read on to see what comics-blog commentators and web-savvy comic shops are saying about it (more to be added as they appear), check out our previews at the link, and contact your local shop to confirm availability.
32-page two-color 8.5" x 11" comic book, with jacket • $7.95 Part of the Ignatz Series
"Kevin Huizenga has blessed us all with another issue of Ganges, totally unexpected and entirely wonderful. Let's not disappoint him." – Chris Butcher, The Beguiling
"...Ganges #4 seems to me to be the obvious choice for the $15 and under crowd, continuing everyman Glenn Ganges’ attempts to get some shuteye. This time he attempts to find a really dull book and the results are hugely entertaining." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
"I’ve been waiting for this one awhile, and glad to see it. $7.95 might seem like a lot for a 32 page book, but Huzienga’s craft really makes it worth it. It’d also be an ideal palette cleanser in case I read some unexpectedly bad books." – Chris Arrant, Robot 6
"I think the third issue of Kevin Huizenga’s series was either at the top of my list of favorite comics of last year, or at least very near the top, so this is one of my most anticipated releases not just for this week, but probably this year." – J.K. Parkin, Robot 6
"...Ganges #4 from Fantagraphics... has crept across this land’s shops like a heart attack down the spine of an insomniac; $7.95. Spooky." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
"Every single thing that Kevin Huizenga does is a must-have for me. This is a continuation of the insomnia storyline." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
"Great fun as always from Kevin, he certainly knows how to spin a yarn out of almost nothing." – Jonathan Rigby, Page 45
Congratulations to the great Stan Sakai, whose wonderful Usagi Yojimbo series reaches its milestone 200th issue (#141 of its current Dark Horse incarnation) this week!
And if you're picking up the big Someday Funnies book from Abrams ComicsArts this week, be sure to snag yourself a copy of The Comics Journal #299, which chronicles the long, strange history of this decades-in-the-making anthology.
It's official! Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery will be celebrating its 5th anniversary on Saturday, December 10 with an exhibition of Walt Kelly's original Pogo artwork. Look for a dozen dailies and several Sundays along with some appropriately swampy musical entertainment. Save the date and make your way to the bookstore where you will, indeed, be "confronted with insurmountable opportunities."
Members of the press are currently receiving our Spring/Summer 2012 distributor's catalog, with all of our releases slated to hit the book market from April through August of next year (in other words, everything but pamphlet comics) — but why should they have all the fun? Download your very own PDF of the catalog (11.9 MB) to get all the scoop on (spoiler alert)...
We say this every time, but man oh man, what a season! Joshua Glenn of Hilobrow (who, full disclosure, is co-editor of Significant Objects), says this about the new catalog: "The great news is that Fantagraphics keeps getting better. I am utterly blown away by the nature and quality of the books they’re publishing. Look at their author list — it’s second only to the Dalkey Archive’s.... I want to retreat to a cave and spend the winter doing nothing but reading Fantagraphics titles. I need a grant. Fantagraphics is a national treasure, providing a much-needed poke in the eye for this country’s middlebrow and lamestream culture. Long may they thrive." Thanks Joshua!
From now through November 14, 2011, place an order of $25 or more and choose two comics from the list below as our FREE GIFT to you! Just state your selection when checking out, either in the comments field in our online shopping cart or to your friendly phone representative.
Now is the time to check out that series or creator you've always been curious about, or even take a plunge on something you've never heard of before. What have you got to lose?
Choose any two issues from the following list (shown in no particular order):
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