You'll wanna hail down one of these wonderful new tees from Jim Woodring, designed for our friends at the non-profit literary organization, Rain Taxi!
I don't even know where to start when it comes to all the great stuff Rain Taxi does for literature. You may already be familiar with their award-winning quarterly-publication Rain Taxi: Review of Books, which is frickin' free all across the nation. But they also power tons of great events, like the annual Twin Cities Book Festival!
So, not only are you sportin' some fine Pushpaw action across your chest, but you're also supporting an awesome organization!
And it looks like they still have some of the Joe Sacco-designed tee in stock, but only in size small!
It's part of the long-running comedy series Carousel, hosted by the great R. Sikoryak since 1997. Tomorrow night, it's The Science Edition, featuring a cartoon slideshow from Tim and Michael, as well as Aaron Diaz, Roxanne Palmer, Doug Skinner, Kriota Willberg, and more!
Get ready to get schooled, starting at 7:30 PM at Dixon Place [ 161A Chrystie Street, btwn Rivington & Delancey ].
UPDATE: Kupperman reports, he'll be doing the new Quincy M.E. strip with help from Jackson Publick, creator, director, voice artist and writer of one of the best TV shows ever (according to me & Mike), "The Venture Bros."
When I first spotted a scan of this Enid & Rebecca cover of ARTnews on Tumblr last night I just assumed it was a forgotten bit of '90s or early-'00s nostalgia, but then Peggy Burns went and pointed out that it's the current issue, with an article on comic art in the fine-art world. Well all right! (Though I respectfully disagree with Peggy that comics require the attention of the fine-art world to be said to have "arrived." We're here on our own terms, maaaan.)
• Review: "Beautifully bound, this is graphic journalism on a human and environmental disaster with long-term consequences far beyond here-and-gone traditional news coverage. Honestly told, well written, beautifully illustrated and accessible to a wide audience: Oil and Water should reach readers of all ages and satisfy the most discerning critics. BRAVO!" – Craig Seasholes, JacketFlap
• Review: "More a graphic book than straight comic book or straight novel, it plays to the strengths of both mediums. Kupperman’s prose recalls the casual absurdity of early Woody Allen or Douglas Adams, and as there is no real overarching narrative other than Mark Twain’s fictional life, he is able to indulge his every comedic whim, be it a film noir genre parody or a chapter that’s mostly just a list of silly names. The artwork, rendered in black, white and blue, is fabulous as always. The greatest part of his art is how deadpan it is. His simple, clean lines have a retro style that wouldn’t be out of place in a Golden Age comic book or an old magazine advertisement....Mark Twain’s Autobiography 1910-2010is a testament to Kupperman’s strengths as both writer and artist." – Brandon Beck, Spandexless
• Review: "...Gilbert Hernandez... and... Peter Bagge... design an alternative dimension for alternative music in their graphic novel Yeah!, one that includes the spazzy siren call and pratfalls of teenage girls and the twitchy slapstick of music business screw-ups from other galaxies. ...[T]hese two secret masters of rock fandom and mavericks of cartooning show zest-finesse and feisty satire chronicling the lives lived on the margins of collaborated garage bomp in a series of outrageous stories that could only be true in the music world they’ve personally known..." – Chris Estey, KEXP
• Interview: Jean-Emmanuel Deluxe of French record label Tricatel talks to Drew Friedman (en Français), and so of course the first topic is Jerry Lewis: "The French understand clearly what so many Americans are unable to grasp, that is to say that Jerry Lewis is an actor AND a brilliant and innovative director. Unfortunately, people will not realize it until long after his death."
• Interview: Brian Heater of The Daily Cross Hatch wraps up his chat with Drew Friedman. Oh look, here's a familiar topic: "Jerry Lewis is a very serious guy. When I talk him, he’s very serious. He asks me what I’m doing and how I do this and that, as if he’s taking notes. He’s so interested in what I’m doing. He doesn’t want to talk about himself, which is kind of strange."
[In this installment of our series of Editors Notes, Kim Thompson interviews himself (in a format he's dubbed "AutoChat") aboutThe Cabbie Vol. 1by Martí, now available to order from us and at a comics shop near you. – Ed.]
Okay, then... so, a couple of weeks after an ultraviolent crime thriller by a French cartoonist (Like a Sniper Lining Up His Shot), you're releasing an ultraviolent crime thriller by a Spanish cartoonist. Is this a trend?
More like a coincidence. Of all the foreign books we're releasing this year, they're really the only two who fall into this category. The next few things I'm working on are about as far away from that as you can imagine. (Although Jason and Joost Swarte do have a violent crime story or two in each of their anthologies, actually. Hmm.)
The Cabbie has been released in the States before...
Yes, we're treading well-trod ground here, I have to admit. Catalan Communications released their edition of The Cabbie back in 1987, after RAW had run a couple of Martí stories if I recall correctly...
Did RAW publish every significant 1980s Euro-cartoonist? Between Mattotti, Martí, Swarte, and Tardi, it seems like all of Fantagraphics' 2010 releases are consisting of RAW's sloppy seconds.
It certainly seemed that way (and thank you for that lovely image), although we've also been doing 1990s L'Association-type books and classic 1960s Belgian books. But Spiegelman and Mouly, let's face it, they just had insanely good taste; in fact, there are still more European cartoonists they published in RAW we're planning on getting around to.
Why did you see the need to reprint Martí's work specifically?
First of all, I love it. And the Catalan Cabbie has been out of print for a good number of years. And for obvious reasons it seemed like a European project that would be pretty accessible to American audiences (I'm still skittish about going too "European" on these, to be honest). And let's face it, in terms of translation, lettering, and production the Catalan version wasn't up to today's standards. Moreover, Catalan published only the first volume; there's a whole second volume that has never been published in English, which we're going to release in 2012.
No, the Calvario Hills "Cabbie" story was the first chapter of a projected third Cabbie volume which unfortunately, in part due to the failure of the Ignatz line, Martí has set aside.
Is the cover on your edition new? That painterly style is something we haven't seen much from Martí before.
There's a couple of old El Vibora covers along those lines, as I recall (that's where it was first serialized). But the vast majority of his covers have been line drawings, yes. My understanding is that it was some sort of private commission for which Martí kept a scan or a transparency, just in case, as all smart cartoonists do. And when I mentioned that I wasn't really wild about any of the covers that had been used for the Spanish editions (they're great drawings, they just didn't seem to work well for our purposes), he pulled it out of his files. So far as I know it hasn't been published before. Most Martí fans I know were a bit taken aback by it just because it's so outside of his normal range, they're used to those evil, black Chester Gould brush strokes and giant slabs of black — in fact, I was a little startled at first myself, but it's really grown on me. Martí has promised that he'll do a new cover for the second volume in the same style, which is fantastic.
Between Swarte's faux Hergé style and Martí's faux Chester Gould style, one could be forgiven for thinking that European cartoonists routinely pick up someone else's style and run with it.
There is a bit of that going around. Ted Benoît is another Hergé-derived cartoonist, Conrad (of Les Innomables fame) did a number of albums in a style cribbed from Lucky Luke's Morris, and my old friend Freddy Milton rocked a Carl Barks style for years and years. Yves Chaland. And don't forget Dinosaur Bop...
Oh my God, was that that insane Jack Kirby-ish prehistoric thing...?
Yeah... Jean-Marie Arnon. We really should collect that someday. But yes, Europeans have a pretty relaxed attitude about picking up and repurposing a classic style for their own uses. There are cases in the U.S., of course, like the Air Pirates (particularly Bobby London's exemplary faux Herriman, which has served him well). But Martí and Swarte are particularly interesting because their work really is both a subversion of and a commentary on the original — as Spiegelman himself points out in the introduction to our book, of course.
The Cabbie is far more violent than Dick Tracy...
Actually, not that much. You must not have looked at vintage Dick Tracy recently. When I was leafing through IDW's (excellent, highly recommended, buy one today — hello, editor Dean Mullaney) Tracy reprints looking for Gould panels to run in the intro, I was shocked by just how grisly and twisted the original Gould Dick Tracy was: bullets ripping through bodies, pools of blood, people burned alive — the infamous flagpole impalement of the Brow was actually pretty much the norm, not some excessive outlier. Martí does take it a step or two further, but only a step or two (and he does add in the sex). Nor am I sure that any scene in The Cabbie is worse than the Tracy sequence I stumbled across where the villain slowly strangles a dog to death over an entire week. I'm not kidding!
As Spiegelman points out, Martí's attitude toward his hero is also ambiguous...
Yes. Gould's hero's were 100% good and brave and moral, and Martí simultaneously mocks and empathizes with his hero. He's a bit of law-and-order fascist and kind of a dunce... but he has a good heart. And everyone else in the book is much, much worse!
You didn't translate The Cabbie.
No. As we've ramped up our translations I've found that I can't do all of them, being only human and all, so I've been building up a group of translators, including Helge Dascher, who does King of the Flies, and our former intern Jenna Allen. I found Katie LaBarbera more or less by chance: She's Kevin Huizenga's wife, and... in fact, I'll let her tell the story:
I was interested in getting into translating, and was asking Kim for some advice. I certainly didn't think he'd give me a shot at a whole book! Even as I was working on the first chapter to get a feel for it, I looked at it as a practice exercise. But Kim's been great throughout the entire process. One thing I really like about working with him is that you always get a little something extra, a bit of movie trivia, a quote, or his own made-up back story for the characters!
I definitely struggled with how close I should stay to the original without having it sound stilted and weird. Kim's advice early on to just put it away for a while and then look at it with a fresh pair of eyes was really helpful. For the first draft I didn't even realize that I had to pay attention to how much text would fit in the word balloons.
Actually, I don't worry overly much about that myself, I always figure we'll fix it in the editing. Generally English is a more succinct language than any European language so you don't get into trouble very often — and if we did, you can always discreetly Photoshop yourself a bigger balloon with that newfangled digital technology.
But Katie was terrific, and some of the original Spanish wasn't easy...
Yes, I had trouble with some of the slang, but St. Louis cartoonist Max Vento was good enough to help me out with a few nasty phrases (one or two that made me blush!). It was a bit easier once I caught on to Martí's sense of humor and got immersed in the story. And luckily my life experiences, so similar to those of the Cabbie's, really helped me to get into his mindset. It's an amazing book, and the cartooning is great - I especially like the Cabbie's mom, with the gaping, black holes for eyes.
It was a fun working experience. You know, if I had my druthers, all my translating jobs would be collaborations, or at least strong translator-editor combos. (I'm having a great time working with Diana Schutz on a Manara project for Dark Horse; she's so razor sharp, and I hope I'm half as good when I wear my editor hat working with any of "my" translators.)
I thought it was interesting that you changed all the names to Anglo-Saxon ones.
That was a debate I had with myself, and with Katie. Martí's names were all deliberately generic Spanish names like "Pérez," and I realized that the Cabbie's universe isn't specifically Spain per se, it's really one of these "global" environments that isn't particularly beholden to any one culture...
Like King of the Flies.
Exactly. So keeping everyone Spanish was in its own way more distracting than just picking similarly bland, generic English names. There are books where you want to keep the taste of the original language/country — on that Manara project I purposely kept all the "Signoras" and such to anchor it more firmly in Italy (I do that with Adèle Blanc-Sec, too, she's always "Mademoiselle") — a bit like the translations of Scandinavian crime fiction, which keep things like "Frøken" ("Miss") for local flavor - but The Cabbie seemed international - and in fact somewhat American if anything.
You seem to be building up quite an extensive staff for these things.
Yeah. In addition to my translator du jour, I have our computer wiz Paul Baresh, who created all the non-dialogue re-lettering (signs and sound effects) based on Martí's own original lettering (the dialogue lettering we did with a Martí font left over from Calvario Hills); two interns who keyed in the dialogue and captions; Gavin Lees, my go-to guy for calligraphy on things like hand-written letters and notes (another former intern, incidentally); Jim Blanchard, who did that awesome license-plate logo; and of course our designer Alexa (also an ex-intern), who did some sweet work on the title page, intro, and back cover. What can I say, it takes a village to put together one of these furrin Fantagraphics comics. One mostly populated by interns and ex-interns.
The exhibit runs through April 15th at the Yeshiva University Museum in the Center for Jewish History [ 15 West 16th Street ] and features Fantagraphics artists Miss Lasko-Gross, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Trina Robbins, and Diane Noomin, alongside a ton of other amazing female artists, like Vanessa Davis, Bernice Eisenstein, Sarah Glidden, Miriam Katin, Miriam Libicki, Corinne Pearlman, Sarah Lightman, Sarah Lazarovic, Racheli Rottner, Sharon Rudahl, Laurie Sandell, Ariel Schrag, Lauren Weinstein and Ilana Zeffren.
And on Monday, October 24th, you can join Miss Lasko-Gross and Ariel Schrag, Miriam Katin, and Lauren Weinstein for the panel "Close & Personal: Jewish Women Artists & their Graphic Diaries." Robin Cembalest, executive editor of ARTnews, will moderate. There will be a viewing at 6:00 PM, with the panel starting at 6:30 PM. Admission is free, with advance reservation, so get to it!
There will be live comedy from (five-time Emmy nominee!) Jon Glaser, Kate Beaton, David Rees, Max Silvestri, Emily Flake, Dyna Moe, and more. There will be live cartoons. There will be a Mark Twain costume contest, so start grooming those mustaches! And, yes, ladies and gentlemen... there will be a frog-humping contest.
Littlefield is located at 622 Degraw Street in Brooklyn. Doors are at 7:30 PM, and the show starts at 8:00 PM. Tickets are $5 in advance, or $8 at the door. And, sorry, kids, it's 21 and over only... y'know, frog-humping.
UPDATE: Michael has tweeted a couple additional details: "Free posters for everybody! A FREE BOOK for anyone dressed as Twain!"
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