I want to direct you all to THIS. Last Gasp is the only vital, surviving publisher of the original underground comix movement, truly living up to its name. They're also the last meaningful, independent distributor of just about every great non-mainsteam comic (plus lots more) you've ever read. This is no coincidence. You couldn't write a book about American counterculture without Gasp's founder "Baba" Ron Turner figuring prominently. Well, you could, but it would be a lame book. Last Gasp is at the vanguard of promoting, selling and publishing books that aren't lame, and has been doing so now for something like 45 years. Gasp has been a huge advocate for Fantagraphics over the years. I feel a deep respect, love and debt for what Ron, his son Colin, and the rest of the staff do. Please consider lending your support.
Just this weekend, I was working the Fantagraphics' tables at the Alternative Press Expo in San Francisco. On Sunday, Ron, always the gentleman, came over to me to say hi and catch up. When he found out I was working the show solo, he insisted on getting someone from the Last Gasp staff to help me. I kindly assured him I was fine, but he wasn't giving up without a fight. I don't think he ever does. So you must know that if he's asking for help, he really needs it. Support Last Gasp.
[Photo of Ron behind the Fanta booth at APE 2014, taken by Marc Arsenault]
Nothing will get me off my lazy Flog! butt than the convergence of my two favorite things: comics and beer. Dave Eiffert is the President and General Manager of Snoqualmie Falls Brewing , located just east of Fantagraphics' home of Seattle. Snoqualmie Falls is famous for being used as a locale in Twin Peaks, but the brewery is increasingly what beer lovers like myself associate the locale with. Eiffert grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area during the late '60s and early '70s, where he was exposed to Bill Griffith ’s comic strip Zippy the Pinhead . He's been reading the strip and buying Zippy books ever since (did I mention we publish all of those ?), so it was probably inevitable that he would approach Bill about a Zippy-themed beer. Bill loved the idea and here's the result: Zippy Lemon Ale!
I haven't had a chance to try one yet, but I'm eager to. Eiffert explains that, "We made this one a mild 25 IBUs, and started with a clear high gravity wheat grist beer made with an Abbey yeast strain and Czech Saaz hops before we dose it with the lemon juice. It is a great refresher for Indian Summer, and there’s no need to slice up some poor defenseless lemon."
Here's pic from Bill himself, with Zippy Lemon Ale next to some other kindred "spirits":
Today would have been the 58th birthday of Kim Thompson. Recently I stumbled across this photograph, from the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery in 2012, while looking through the Fantagraphics flickr feed; I keep coming back to it. That's Kim with his back to the camera, looking at the work of our friend and former art director, Dale Yarger, who passed away that spring, another wonderful human being we lost to cancer way too soon. It would have been unfathomable at that time to think that Kim, too, would be gone within a year. Yet here we are. That's the great Jim Woodring in the foreground, with an unspeakably reverent look on his face that says more than I could ever hope to write. All three of these gentlemen have loomed large in my life, and this photo awashes me with emotion.
Advancements in modern technology have rendered the art of the prank phone call to be something of an anachronism. Which is a shame, and all the more reason why I'm rooting for this kickstarter to succeed. Never forget. Once upon a time, Park Grubbs was legendary, if mostly known only via tenth-generation cassette tapes shared through the mail by weirdos and misfits. Longtime Daniel Clowes fans will remember Grubbs as the esteemed winner of the "Eightball Prank Call Contest" (surely the Oscar of prank phone call awards). One of the kickstarter rewards is a signed print from longtime Grubbs co-conspirator / Fantagraphics friend and author Jim Blanchard, who will also appear in the film, I hear.
Just watch this. It's called "Nightmare," by The Francies. Written and Directed by Al Columbia. What else do you really need to know? Al has plenty of well-deserved fans for his visual art, but he's a helluva musician and filmmaker, too.
As work progresses on our long-awaited third volume of Ernie Bushmiller's NANCY (titled NANCY LOVES SLUGGO, and collecting the years 1949 through 1951), we belatedly realize that we are missing a half-dozen strips needed for this volume.
So we are sending out the plea to NANCY collectors: If you have clippings for any of the following NANCY dailies, we would love to hear from you. (For that matter, we are also including dates for two strips that were omitted from our previous volume, which we will run in Vol. 3 if they can be found).
(Note: We know it's possible to find scans of these strips online. We are looking for original print sources: newspaper clippings, or, even better, proof sheets, or, best of all, original art.)
Contact editor Eric Reynolds at reynolds at fantagraphics dot com -- and be sure to pass on this plea to anyone else you think might have contacts, message boards, what have you. NANCY fans unite!
London • Valentine's Day 2014 SEQUENTIAL, the graphic novel storefront and reader app focused on literary graphic novels, has announced that it is releasing titles by legendary art comics and graphic novel publisher Fantagraphics Books. The first tranche of titles, released on Valentine's Day, includes essential work from Fantagraphics flagship title Love and Rockets in the form of Jaime Hernandez's seminal Locas series, which tells the tales of Maggie and Hopey and a unique cast of characters.
Fantagraphics associate publisher Eric Reynolds said, "SEQUENTIAL's efforts to curate a quality selection of non-mainstream digital comics and graphic novels is something that we can get behind; we're delighted to have our titles available on their app."
SEQUENTIAL was released in August 2013 and is focused on book format art comics and literary graphic novels. It strongly rejects including superhero fare and has been offering titles from UK publishers Jonathan Cape, Knockabout, Myriad Editions, SelfMadeHero and Blank Slate Books. It has recently started adding major US-based graphic novel publishers to its list.
SEQUENTIAL founder Russell Willis said, "We are really thrilled to be able to add Fantagraphics titles to the app. When we started out we were driven by a vision of including the best work in the world, untainted by superheroes, and having comics and graphic novels from Fantagraphics available on SEQUENTIAL is a key part of making that vision a reality."
The first tranche of titles includes Locas #1, #2 and #3 (Maggie the Mechanic, The Girl from H.O.P.P.E.R.S. and Perla La Loca) by Jaime Hernandez, Hip Hop Family Tree by Ed Piskor, The Left Bank Gang and I Killed Adolf Hitler by Jason, and TEOTFW by Charles Forsman. Work by Gilbert Hernandez and other Fantagraphics favourites will follow shortly.
In addition the app features the work of Alan Moore, Brian Bolland, David Lloyd, Eddie Campbell, Ellen Lindner, Hunt Emerson, Isabel Greenberg, Nick Abadzis, Rutu Modan, Winshluss and many, many more.