|Joe Sacco, Enemy of Puppies|
|Written by Eric Reynolds | Filed under Joe Sacco||16 Aug 2010 8:02 AM|
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Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck: The Son of the Sun (The Don Rosa Library Vol. 1) [Pre-Order - U.S./CANADA ONLY]
An Age of License [Pre-Order]
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Okay, you've already heard about our contest for this, and been informed about the Onion's recent interview with its director, but I just wanna testify and tell anyone who might be curious that they should go buy the new Criterion release of Terry Zwigoff's Crumb film already. I bought the Blu-Ray edition yesterday even though I think it's now the third iteration of the film that I've purchased; well worth it, though, because Criterion is the first to get it right. It's a handsome and thoughtful package, which includes a fascimile reproduction of Charles Crumb's (In)Famous Artists Test booklet, as well another booklet of 'liner notes'. And the DVD extras look fantastic: almost an hour of previously-unseen footage shot for the film, two Zwigoff commentaries (one new one conducted for this edition as well as the 2006 commentary he did with Roger Ebert for previous DVD editions), a new digital transfer of the film, etc. I'm already looking forward to picking up the Criterion edition of Zwigoff's first film, Louie Bluie, next.
Now if Criterion would just bring us Ghost World and Art School Confidential, we'd be in business...
My name is Eric, and I'm a recovering Comicon attendee.
Okay, that's a loaded opener and implies that I had an unhappy experience this year. I didn't; I just couldn't resist. But my way of navigating the show and finding ways to make it more enjoyable have definitely evolved over the years. I've been to every Comic-Con but one since sometime in the early-to-mid-1980s (and I'm only 39 -- you do the math), long before the current convention center was built. I've gone as a child, an adult, a fan, a retailer representative, a journalist, a publicist, and a publisher. I know my way around the show. And the way that I've found I can make the best of it anymore is, frankly, by making the least of it. I've given up on trying to soak in as much as I can and find I'm happier if I let go and try to soak in as little as I can. Work the booth, talk to fans, enjoy a few quiet dinners, go to the Eisners. That's about the extent of it. Forget walking the floor, forget hitting the best parties, forget cramming as much into as little time as possible. It's madness, and my body can't take it anymore.
So, Mike Baehr has already chronicled the Fanta goings on at Comicon far better than I ever could -- I still can't figure out how Mike had time to take pictures and tweet all day, every day, while he was also constantly helping customers and our authors and barely had any breaks for about six days straight. Mike rules.
But here's what I can tell you: On behalf of all of the Fantagraphics staff, I really want to thank everyone who came all the way down to our end of the hall with a little bit of money left in their wallets and bought some books from us. When you think about it, what with all of the hundreds of thousands if not millions of items that are for sale at Comic-Con, to know that enough people find what you're doing worthwhile enough to cover our significant expense of exhibiting is really kind of incredible. I say that as someone who knows our books are great; I just don't necessarily expect anyone else to agree with me. So when you do, well, it makes us feel good, and I know I can speak for everyone we had down there that we honestly enjoy talking to the people that read our books. We have a lot of really nice customers. My biggest fear about Comic-Con is that it is getting so big that casual comics readers unwilling to make plans a year in advance are getting squeezed out by hardcore fans who only want to see Twilight panels or whatever. That's not to sound anti-Hollywood; it's just the reality of the logistics of Comic-Con anymore.
That said, I kept telling folks all weekend that even though it's in my nature to complain, I had almost nothing to complain about in regard to this year's show (which I realize makes for a boring con postmortem). Yes, I find it weirdly condescending and annoying that every retail worker in downtown San Diego now seems to wear some generic comics-related t-shirts or capes for five days straight (especially when you know they're being forced to do it and probably resent it every bit as much). But so be it. When I go to a nice restaurant downtown, I can promise you that I'm not so hungry to relive my day on the floor that I need Green Lantern-themed cocktails or steaks named after the wild creatures of Pandora. But I will be famished enough to forgive it.
Oh, sure, I could complain about "Hollywood," I suppose. At the Eisner Awards, I was sitting with two nominees in one of the categories that the cast of Scott Pilgrim presented. Given that one of the other nominees actually was a Scott Pilgrim book, I guess I could complain that the presenters effectively eliminated any element of surprise over who was going to win. But really, we just thought it was funny. If you can't laugh during the Eisners, you're in for a long night.
So, I can dig it. My 13-year-old con-going self would have stabbed somebody in the eye to see a panel about an Avengers movie. Nowadays, I'm fairly ignorant to the pervasiveness of the cult of celebrity of Comic-Con. I'm good at tuning things out. This year, I noticed the creeping influence of tinseltown less within the show than I did outside. As soon as I stepped outside the convention, that's where I felt the constant, sensory assault of shameless hucksterism, with sidewalk salesmen shoving video game and movie-related hype left-and-right into my face and hands whether I wanted it or not (I didn't). The con itself is a breeze compared to walking up First Ave. on Saturday night at 7PM.
Within the con, I keep to the comics end of the floor and rarely set foot more than a row or two past our own aisle towards the "popular" end of the show. It's civil and peaceful; everybody likes each other. And if you get bored, there's a lot of good books to read, and a ton of really great cartoonists who will do free drawings for you. If you come next year, see for yourself. And if you came this year, thank you.
Robert Pollard has a new art exhibit in NYC on August 27/28. Its open to the public, so come on down!
As writer Rick Moody put it in his introduction to Fantagraphics' TOWN OF MIRRORS: THE REASSEMBLED IMAGERY OF ROBERT POLLARD, "The visual art of Robert Pollard ... is uncanny, moving, strange, and it summons a dark melancholy.... We are lucky to have these riddles to ponder and unlock."
THE 45 SPACE in New York will host "The Public Hi-Fi Balloon," an exhibit of collages by Robert Pollard incorporating pictures, words, and sound on August 27 and 28, 2010.
Pollard, whose super-human productivity as a songwriter is the stuff of
Among the works on display will be more than 60 imaginary record sleeves, as well as dreamed-up magazines and coffee table books. "You can see Duchamp in Pollard's collages, as well as the influence of the painterly spaces of De Chirico and Yves Tanguy," wrote Moody in the introduction to Town of Mirrors. Moody also noted "a residual pulse in the images of the swinging sixties, not the flowers-in-their-hair iteration, but the dark bad-acid psychedelia of that low, dishonest decade."
Pollard is the leader of the seminal indie-rock band Guided by Voices, which emerged from Midwestern obscurity in the early 1990s to conquer the national scene with such transcendentally lo-fi albums as Bee Thousand, Alien Lanes, and Under the Bushes, Under the Stars. One of Spin magazine's "Top 50 Rock & Roll Front Men of All Time," Pollard recently electrified fans and critics alike when he announced that the original lineup of Guided by Voices would be reuniting for a series of shows this fall.
Pollard created the cover art for most Guided by Voices releases, not to mention those of his many other musical projects. The cover collage for Guided by Voices' 1997 album Mag Earwhig was displayed in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.
Pollard's music and his visual art are unified at a fundamental level. "They
Pollard was introduced to the New York art world in 2007, when visual artist Todd DiCiurcio and actor Michael Imperiole co-hosted "Do the Collage," a show that included the original art for several classic Guided by Voices album covers. DiCiurcio will co-host "The Public Hi-Fi Balloon" with Vanity Fair executive online editor Michael Hogan.
The 45 Space is located at 45 Bond Street (between Lafayette Street and the Bowery) in Manhattan. Opening night is Friday, August 27, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. The exhibit will also be open to visitors on Saturday, August 28, from 2 p.m. until 11 p.m.
Portland-based writer, publisher, and bookseller Chloe Eudaly and renowned cartoonist and journalist Joe Sacco, author of Palestine and Footnotes in Gaza, will discuss comics and journalism in a casual and lively presentation on Sunday, August 1 at the Portland Art Museum.
What: Joe Sacco and Chloe Eudaly in Conversation
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The Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale St., Seattle WA 98108. Tel: 206-658-0110.