Basil Wolverton is one of the greatest, most idiosyncratic talents in comic book history. Though he is best known for his humorous grotesqueries in MAD magazine, it is his science-fiction character Spacehawk that Wolverton fans have most often demanded be collected. The wait is over, as Spacehawk features every story from Spacehawk’s intergalactic debut in 1940 to his final, Nazi-crushing adventure in 1942.
Spacehawk is the closest thing to a colorfully-costumed, conventional action hero Wolverton ever created, yet the strip is infused with Wolverton’s quintessential weirdness: controlled, organic artwork of strangely repulsive aliens and monsters and bizarre planets, and stories of gruesome retribution that bring to mind Wolverton’s peer, Fletcher Hanks. Spacehawk had no secret identity, no fixed base of operations beyond his spaceship, and no sidekicks or love interests. He had but one mission in life: to protect the innocent throughout the Solar System, and to punish the guilty. He was a dark — yet much more visually playful — counterpart to Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon.
Spacehawk also includes the character’s final and rarely-seen Earthbound adventures. As the U.S. became involved in World War II, Spacehawk returned to 20th Century America to join the United States’ efforts in defeating fascism, which he does by patrolling the Earth’s stratosphere, looking for wrongdoing.
Fantagraphics Bookstore and Georgetown Records are pleased to announce a sensational series of music, comix, and literary events for the remainder of this year. Don't miss a minute!
On Friday, November 2, David Lasky and Noah Van Sciver appear for a joint exhibition and book signing from 6:00 to 9:00 PM. Musical entertainment will be provided by K recording artist Dennis Driscoll, who promises to cover some Carter Family material. The following Saturday, November 10 at 7:00 PM, newly christened "Stranger Genius" Ellen Forney will present her courageous new graphic memoir, Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, & Me in the Microsoft Auditorium of the Seattle Public Library Central Branch. On Saturday, November 24 at 6:00 PM, we host a book launch party for The Last Vispo Anthology, edited by longtime Fantagraphics staffer Nico Vassilakis. The evening features readings by many contributors and music by another "Stranger Genius" honoree Lori Goldsten (former Earth and Nirvana cellist), joined by former Black Cat Orchestra bandmate Kyle Hanson. On Saturday, December 8, from 6:00 to 9:00 PM, Fantagraphics Bookstore commemorates its 6th anniversary in style with Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez celebrating 30 years of Love & Rockets. Special guest artist and musician Geneviève Castrée will perform for the occasion. The series concludes on Sunday, December 30 from 2:00 to 4:00 PM with Nathan Bulmer signing Eat More Bikes collection from Koyama Press. All events are all ages and free. Make plans to move to Seattle now.
The kissiest babyface on a campaign of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review: The Las Vegas Weekly breaks out their ballots and their copies of Barack Hussein Obama by Steven Weissman. J. Calob Mozzococco says, "Weissman’s delicate line work and fine-art design style further remove the narrative from the caricature-style visuals usually associated with comics about politicians, and is perfectly suited to the meandering, poetic, almost meditative comic."
•Interview (audio): Steven Weissman talks about comics, math and trying to identify with such public, political characters on the Inkstuds podcast with Robin McConnell. Weissman talks about the impotes impotus for Barack Hussein Obama. "Initially, it was just his name and. . . the dreams his followers had for him. . . I started to treat Hillary Clinton as a Lucy van Pelt character."
• Interview: On the quest to The Cartoon Utopia, Ron Regé Jr. is interviewed by Ryan Ingram on Comic Book Resources. Regé states,"Similar to Lynda Barry's "What It Is," [The Cartoon Utopia] should be approached slowly, as a textbook would. It might also be useful when read via bibliomancy, opening the book to a random page to access the information in a magical way."
• Review (audio):Comic Books are Burning in Hell talks about Johnny Ryan and Prison Pit 4 with all the usual suspects: Joe McCullough, Matt Seneca, Chris Mautner and Tucker Stone. "While visually Prison Pit is very clean, composed and controlled, plotwise, I think, its the ultimate noise comic. Its fucking total destruction and nothing else. And I value the hell outta that."
• Review: Grovel enjoys the comics, yes literary but still comics of Lorenzo Mattotti and Jorge Zentner in The Crackle of the Frost. Andy Shaw states, "It’s a wilfully arty book – more of an essay in mood that just happens to have a plot, than a traditional story – but the writing is interesting and the artwork is stunning. . . so is one for the literary, rather than the mainstream comics enthusiast."
• Interview:Comic Book Resources coverage on the APE panel featuring all three Hernandez Brothers. Steven Sautter writes,"There was no set plan in those early days, no grand storyline or over-arcing plot; the Hernandez brothers simply told the stories they felt like telling, none of them counting on the eventual longevity of "Love and Rockets."
• Plug: Liv Suddall of It's Nice That thoroughly enjoys the content and design of Is That All There Is? by Joost Swarte. "With a more-than-just-a-nod nod to Tintin creator Hergé, this surprisingly raunchy book is a big slice of aesthetic pleasure from start to finish and should probably be on everyone’s wish list this Christmas."
Children reveling in piles of leaves, the sharp intake of breath with the brisk morning chill. Just the other day, I was gazing out the window at the prismatic display of fall, we love the colors and splendor even though it represents the slow annual death of our tree friends. But thank god for that because Richard Sala is creating some gorgeous new work inspired by this time of the year.
"Autumn and Evil" is a alphabetic collection of 26 drawings (if you go by the English Human alphabet) Sala is gradually posting on his blog. Drawings for letters A-I have gone up so far. It's hard not to love his dirty denim color-palette, asymetrical demon faces and ladies who rock thighs of size. Gargoyles and Forgotten Ones lurk above and below. A fan of 'J' myself, I hope to see a Jersey Devil next!
Consider all this Sala's lead up to his next book from Fantagraphics, DELPHINE, which is slated to be thrilling and chilling readers in bookstores this February. Can't wait? Order a copy of The Hidden for a frightful Halloween.
If you weren't one of the lucky few who got the opportunity to paw over a preview copy of Tom Kaczynski's Beta Testing the Apocalypse at last Saturday's Fantagraphics Bookstore event, here's your first glimpse of the finished book, which will be arriving in stores in January (and our mail-order warehouse a bit sooner). Printed in various duotone shades throughout and bound in the snazzy Flexibound softcover format we've been so fond of lately, this super-smart package of super-smart comics will be one of the first must-haves of 2013 for discerning and intelligent comics readers. Further previews are forthcoming; you can pre-order a copy and read a free 10-page excerpt right now, right here.
Don’t Forget This Song chronicles the colorful career of The Carter Family, country music legends of the 1920s and '30s. Written by Southern-born Seattle resident Frank M. Young in the dialect of the day, this engaging narrative parallels the turmoil of that period. It portrays the family’s perseverance in the face of rural poverty, bigotry and isolation, as well as the myriad problems brought by sudden success. Meticulously rendered in full color by veteran Seattle cartoonist David Lasky, the book includes a CD of vintage Carter Family radio recordings. Both Lasky and Young will be available to sign copies of the book at the reception.
The Hypo: The Melancholic Young Lincoln documents the troubled young adulthood of one of America’s most beloved leaders. The book follows Abe Lincoln as he arrives in Springfield, Illinois to begin his life in politics and law. A promising career is sidetracked by a series of professional and emotional setbacks that result in a crushing cloud of depression Lincoln described as "The Hypo." Van Sciver’s attention to detail and emotive drawing technique combine to create a compelling story of irrepressible ambition overcoming all obstacles — laying the foundation for a figure bound to alter the course of history. Van Sciver will appear at the reception to sign copies of his new book, as well as his popular self-published Blammo comix.
The opening at Fantagraphics Bookstore in Seattle’s historic Georgetown arts community on Friday, November 2 is associated the Short Run Small Press Fest activities. A coinciding exhibition of work from Seattle alternative comix tabloid, The Intruder, will be held next door at One Night Stand gallery from 6:00 to 9:00 PM.
David Lasky and Noah Van Sciver art exhibition and book signing Friday, November 2, 6:00 to 9:00 PM. Exhibition continues through November 22. Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery 1201 S. Vale Street, Seattle 206.658.0110 | www.fantagraphics.com
In anticipation of their exciting book release party this coming Sunday, October 28th, we've been asking our artistsSteven Weissman and Ron Regé Jr. about the genesis of their friendship. You can read Steve's answers on Ron here. And now, today, it's Ron's turn...
Do you remember the first time you met Steven? No, I don't remember the first time I met Steven! It was probably at a comic convention? One of the 3 or 4 early memories I have of Steven must be the "first time," but unraveling it now, it feels like I already knew him all of those times. It was around the turn of the century. Who is this Steven character, anyhow? I thought his name was Ribs?
Do you have any funny stories of Steven? Steven used to live in a little house in Chinatown in San Francisco. It was on a really steep hill. It was a little shack in between all these big buildings, like that old Warner Bros. cartoon. As I came up the hill, there he was at his desk, looking out the window. I think it was at this moment that I stopped calling my peers "cartoonists" and just started calling them "cartoons." All them funny cartoons. haha.
Write me a haiku about his brand new book Barack Hussein Obama! ribs new book is art makes sense if you just read it stories get told all drawn
Angelenos, do not miss this incredible event. Now is your chance to ask them much better questions than the ones I asked! The book release party starts at 5:00 PM at Skylight Books [ 1818 N Vermont Ave. in the Los Feliz neighborhood ].
While supplies last, customers who order this volume can also receive the box set slipcase for Vols. 1 and 2 at no extra charge!
Even though Pogo had been in syndication for less than two years as this volume begins, Walt Kelly's long professional experience (including seven years creating Pogo stories for comic books) had him at the peak of his powers, and this book features page after page of gorgeously drawn, hilarious vaudevillian dialogue and action among the swamp denizens, as well as Kelly's increasingly sharp-tongued political satire — especially on display during the 1952 election season.
Kelly was famous for his prolific creation of recurring characters, and by the end of this second volume, the count will already have topped over one hundred. New arrivals include Tammanany the Tiger, the voluble P.T. Bridgeport, the sinister Sarcophagus MacAbre (with his funereal speech balloons), Uncle Antler the bull moose... and Bewitched, Bothered, and Bemildred, the adorable trio of bats.
The two years of daily strips in this volume (all the strips from 1951 and 1952) have been collected before but in now long out of print books; and even there they were not as meticulously restored and reproduced as in this new series. Bona Fide Balderdash also reprints, literally for the first time ever in full color, the two full years of Sunday pages, also carefully restored and color-corrected, shot from the finest copies available.
This second volume is once again edited and designed by the cartoonist’s daughter, Carolyn Kelly, who is also handling much of the restoration work. It includes a new introduction by the legendary author, recording artist, and satirist Stan Freberg, who was not only a friend of Kelly’s but the voice of Albert the Alligator in the I Go Pogo: Pogo for President movie. There are also be more extensive annotations by comic strip historian and expert R.C. Harvey, as well as additional historical information from writer Mark Evanier.
34-page excerpt, including Table of Contents, 16 pages of dailies, 5 Sunday pages, and incidental artwork (download 6.7 MB PDF):
A boxed set of the first and second volumes of Pogo - The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips. Shipping shrinkwrapped, with Volume 1: "Through the Wild Blue Wonder" and Volume 2: "Bona Fide Balderdash" packed in a sturdy custom box designed especially for this set, it's the perfect gift book item. (For more information on the contents of each volume, see the individual product listings linked above.)
Already have Volume 1? Order Volume 2 and we'll include the box set slipcase at no extra charge! (While supplies last.)
• Review: Brigid Alverson and Chris Mautner speak on the CBR about what comics they'd spend their money on, including You'll Never Know Book 3: A Soldier's Heart. "Tyler’s superb storytelling makes this a book to read over and over again," says Alverson while Mautner thinks "Tyler is a great cartoonist and woefully under-appreciated, so here’s hoping this final volume gets her some of the recognition she so richly deserves."
• Review:Ralph Azham Vol. 1 "Why Would You Lie to Love" by Lewis Trondheim is reviewed by Rob Clough of High-Low. "What's interesting about this book is that what starts as a seemingly lightweight exercise winds up going to some pretty dark places. . .There's never been a cartoonist as versatile as Trondheim who was able to work on virtually any kind of project and certainly not one who could blend his funny animal-style into any genre."
• Plug: Tom Spurgeon at The Comics Reporter gives a good reason or three to get Ralph Azham. "Lewis Trondheim is a wonderful, prolific and very mainstream-oriented cartoonist -- by the last I mean he has books in print that I can give to just about anybody on my Christmas shopping list, with everyone getting a different book. I liked this one quite a bit on the first read; the writing seemed way more measured than a lot of fantasies in comics form usually seem to me."
• Interview (audio):Pat Thomas of Listen, Whitey! is interviewed on WFMU's Gaylord Fields show and they spin some tunes together. The interview is spliced between great songs by The Patridge Family, Amiri Baraka and Shahid Quartet.
• Review:Whisperin' and Hollerin' reviews a recent Pat Thomas talk on music and the Black Panther movement as discussed in his book Listen, Whitey! "Pat shows us a very cool and funny clip from that with actual Black Panthers playing violins with the Partridge Family for added surreality."
• Plug: Martin Eden on the Forbidden Planet International lists his "Best Cover EVER?" as Love and Rockets #1. "It’s such a simple idea, but so well crafted, so beautiful to look at. And Jaime Hernandez’ art on this cover hints at the stunning artwork we are to be treated to over the next few decades – the effortless character dynamics and the lifelike poses and the general amazingness. So good."
This weekend, Saturday, October 27th and Sunday, October 28th, the festival focuses on abstract animation and unconventional character animation. The festival showcases outstanding experimental animation of all sorts: classic films, new works and rare masterpieces.
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