Seattle's Crocodile Cafe unceremoniously closed down this weekend, the latest in a slew of old school Seattle venues going the way of Fallout Records & Comix and the old Rendezvous. The Croc was the best rock club in Seattle in the 1990s - just off the top of my head I can recall seeing a slew of pretty huge bands in its not-so-huge confines: Guided By Voices, Nirvana, Built To Spill, Cheap Trick, Yo La Tengo, Mudhoney, Pearl Jam (opening for Cheap Trick), Sebadoh, Dead Moon, The Shins, The Go-Betweens, Mike Watt, Jonathan Richman, Iron & Wine, Low, etc.
The club was always good to Fantagraphics - we put on several events there over the years, including a Comic Book Legal Defense Fund benefit with Neil Gaiman in 1997 or so that was one of the most successful regional fundraisers the Fund had ever done at the time and even garnered a Seattle city award for "Best Fundraiser (Under $200,000 category)" of the year, which I accepted from the Mayor in a gigantic gala ball. In 2000, the Croc lent us its space to put on a special Built To Spill concert to raise money for a serious debt we were in when our then-distributor went out of business owing us $80,000 - the event raised almost $10,000 and literally may have been the difference in keeping us in business at that moment. We helped organize a series of "ATM art shows" at the Croc in the 1990s (named so because every piece was an ATM-friendly $40, with pieces from Chris Ware, Dan Clowes, Peter Bagge -- you name it) with then art school student Kirsten Anderson, an experience which she parlayed into opening Roq La Rue, one of the most vital galleries in Seattle for going on a decade now. The club's booker at that time, Peter English, was also my next door neighbor for a few years and became one of my best pals, so there was a personal connection, as well. We took care of each others' cats when the other traveled.
Here's a cool story from USA TODAY about the increasing number of comics-related courses offered at the university level, focusing on Carol Tyler's program at the University of Cincinnati but also other places like the Center for Cartoon Studies.
Our pal Dick Schyberg sent us this pic from a visit to our office this past summer. From left to right: Mike Baehr, Adam Grano, Jacob Covey, Stephanie Hayes, Gary Groth, E. Zuniga, Kim Thompson, and Ludvig the Dachshund.
I don't usually link to reviews, but I wanted to share this Playboy review of Frank Thorne's Complete Iron Devil collection because it's a book that's probably flown under the radar of a lot of Fanta fans, since it's technically an Eros book. But it's also the most gorgeous package Eros has ever put together and it's some of Thorne's finest cartooning of his career, and if anyone deserves a little extra love, it's a legend like him.
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