In just a few short weeks - April 15, 2012 - the world will mark the 100th Anniversary of sinking of the RMS Titanic in icy North Atlantic waters, which remains one of the largest peacetime maritime disasters in history.
This month, Fantagraphics releases The Big Town, the new novel by Monte Schulz. This wonderful period novel, an allegory for the American dream as seen through the eyes of one man, is the third in a trilogy of novels set in the summer of 1929 (following This Side of Jordan and The Last Rose of Summer) that together form a sprawling tapestry of the American Jazz Age.
To celebrate the release of The Big Town, and to honor the memory of the victims and survivors of the Titanic on the centennial of its tragic fate, we are proud to release a free, standalone excerpt from The Big Town that presents a gripping, fictionalized account of the Titanic disaster. It all begins at High Society cocktail party in the big town, where a tony socialite makes conversation with the novel's protagonist...
"I conceived this story back in ‘93 and put it into the novel about three years or so later," says Schulz. "Some people have argued that the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 was an ending to the 19th century, so I rendered it as a life resolving event. I also wanted my character Harry to hear it as a reminder of the fragility of family."
THE BIG TOWN A Novel by Monte Schulz ISBN 978-160699-503-7
"Bold and stirring, The Big Town is a big walk through the dark side of Jazz Age America, a place where temptation and violence were only a breath away. A finely-textured tale of moral ambiguity told with gripping realism that richly evokes the sights and sounds of an era defined by gangsters and Gatsby."
We're super bummed to soon be saying goodbye to our longtime junior designer, Alexa Koenings, who is moving on to new challenges at the end of this month after several years of great work for us. We don't want her to go, but dammit, she's made up her mind.
One thing this means: WE'RE HIRING. We are currently accepting applications for the Junior Designer position. This is a full-time, salaried position in our office (telecommuters need not apply). If you don't currently live in Seattle, you must be willing to relocate.
• Strong layout and typography sensibilities. • Detail oriented-- both in your design work and in your ability to track change requests and stay on top of deadlines. • Thorough InDesign and Photoshop knowledge required. Any other programs are a plus. • Work well independently as well as with the various personalities of editors, artists, and authors, taking in and utilizing feedback. • Ability to design interesting, unique solutions that respect and adhere to the vision of the artists we package.
The primary role as a Junior Designer will be doing book production and design, but you will also design ads (print and web), postcards, posters, etc. You will need to be a nimble designer, capable of solutions on a quick turnaround and able to maintain a steady workload. You will be responsible for sending press ready files to printers, so pre-press skills are a plus.
The right candidate could be anyone with a solid design sense and a passion for doing good work. Knowledge of comics is helpful but it needn't be an obsession.
Interested parties email resumé and samples (or links to same) to Eric Reynolds: reynolds [at] fantagraphics [dot com]. Serious inquiries only, please!
And, congrats again to Alexa, who will be missed (and who hopefully won't mind me stealing this pic from her facebook page):
This is a fantastic "extended" clip of Dan Clowes' interview for the Shut Up, Little Man film, although it makes me nostalgiac for the pre-Internet 1990s, when things like these tapes were shrouded in mystery.
So, I've been in Florida for the past week visiting my wife's family for the holidays. Needless to say, I did a doubletake when I noticed this Honda parked next to our rental car outside a shopping mall in Naples:
I am dying to know whose car this is. Mort Walker? Jeff Mason? The guy from CrossGen? Anyone?
... for THIS massive Charles Burns art show. Charles tells me he has loaned over 330 pieces (!!!) for this exhibition. Leave it to the Belgians. Preview night is this Wednesday and formal opening is on Thursday, for you lucky Belgians.
Speaking of Charles, we're currently working with him on an exciting, non-comics project that will be announced by the end of the year. Stay tuned for more details; your thirst will be quenched soon enough.
So, our ol' pal Jacques Boyreau, he of the cinefantastic tomes PORTABLE GRINDHOUSE and the forthcoming SEXYTIME: THE POST-PORN RISE OF THE PORNOISSEUR (a collection of remarkably awesome movie posters from the Golden Age of adult cinema) from Fantagraphics, curated what looks to be an incredible art show in Anchorage, Alaska, of all places. I wanted to spotlight it on the blog, and figured the best way was to simply ask Jacques about. Here's what he had to say.
I've been involved with Fantagraphics for a few years now...as author-editor and all-around-nuisance. I suspect a reason for my insistency is that Gary G. is like the Travis Bickle-friend I always wanted. This association would be easier to make if G. had a buzz mohawk and was popping a red with a smile and several loaded handguns suckling the lean teat of his body, which is NOT out-of-the-question; it is, as they say, in the realm, where all visions are a'chomp.
But realm needs coin, and tomorrow's today's coin is gonna be SuperTrash. And that's what this little fucking blog's entry is gonna tell you a little something about. But back to Taxi Driver...I have always felt very resonant with the character of Easy Andy--the drug-Cadillac-Magnum.44 dealer--and his credo: "I'm just trying to get the right product to the right people"; with the risible connotation that Travis is alright...(and certainly you gotta wonder at least once: What If Travis had bought that pink slip from Andy?). See, Andy and I have the same credo it turns out. I experience selling as Compulsion, and that sutures with what Breton said about Beauty: it must be Convulsive. Society really should, and does take a step back and twist a funny thought out of its head when the Unacceptable becomes Accepted.
Our group mind does not entirely suck. The answer I'm afraid is so simple it's attainable. But why tell you when I cannot and SuperTrash can and you should find out if you can. Let's just say that: an art show purporting to be a portrait of the 20th century told through movie posters was built at the Andy Warhol Museum and is now in Alaska in the quite-enormous Anchorage Museum.
My god, that's a beautiful baby, right? His name is Elliot, and we'd like to congratulate his wonderful parents, Jonathan and Amy Bennett , on their great fortune. They were already one of the most talented couples I know, but this is their greatest work yet!
One of America's most beloved and best known cartoonists, Jack Davis, will make a series of extremely rare appearances in New York City and Brooklyn in early December, to promote his new art book, JACK DAVIS: DRAWING AMERICAN POP CULTURE (published by Fantagraphics Books). These personal appearances will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet a living legend and one of medium's greatest practicioners.
On Thursday, Dec. 1 at 7PM, Davis will appear at New York's renowned Strand Bookstore, in conversation with Fantagraphics Books Publisher Gary Groth. The event will feature the world premiere of JACK DAVIS: DRAWING AMERICAN POP CULTURE.
On Friday, Dec. 2 at 6PM, Davis will be in attendance for an exhibition of his original art at the Scott Eder Gallery in Brooklyn.
On Saturday, Dec. 3, Davis will appear with Fantagraphics at the Brooklyn Comics & Graphics Festival, signing copies of JACK DAVIS: DRAWING AMERICAN POP CULTURE throughout the day and participating in a panel discussion with Gary Groth about his life and career (exact times t.b.a.).
Jack Davis arrived on the illustration scene in the euphoric post-war America of the late 1940s when consumer society was booming and the work force identified with commercial images that reflected this underlying sense of confidence and American bravado. Advertising agencies were looking for new ways to tap a rich and expanding market, and there was a vast array of media that needed illustrations. Davis' animated and exuberant images possessed a sense of spontaneous energy that proved to have universal appeal in every medium he worked in.
Beginning with his masterful pen and ink cartooning at EC Comics, he quickly forged a reputation as one of the most versatile artists in comics, drawing humor, horror, and war stories. In Harvey Kurtzman's MAD, especially, Davis made a mark as a master of caricature, composition, and wild, anarchic crowd scenes, practically vibrating with energy.
After stints at MAD, Trump, and Humbug — three humor magazines that defined the satirical zeitgeist of the '50s — Davis went on to become the most successful commercial illustrator of his generation, illustrating movie posters, magazine articles, magazine fiction, LP jackets, and more.
Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture is a gigantic, unparalleled career-spanning retrospective, between whose hard covers resides the greatest collection — in terms of both quantity and quality — of Jack Davis' work ever assembled!
So, a year or two ago, Tony Millionaire tells us, "I've have over 500 portraits of people on my computer. Let's make a book!" We say, "Sure!" (Because this is what you do when Tony Millionaire says, "Let's Make a Book!")
We schedule the book for the end of 2011, and this spring we start to have a conversation about it between myself, Tony and Jacob Covey (designer and co-editor). Tony sends us about 500 files that he's pulled from his hard drive. Jacob and I start going through them. We soon discover that this book is going to be more of a challenge than we initially expected. For one thing, about 100 of the files were duplicates, so we really only had about 400 portraits, and "400 Portraits" didn't have nearly the ring to it as a title.
Furthermore, almost none of the files include the name of the person depicted. Most were clearly named by Tony at the end of a long night, after a six or 12-pack, a job well done and the name no longer relevant to him. So we have files with names like "ghosthippy.tif," "evil.tif," "actscoolfucksinterns.tif," "prettyboy.tif," "crazybaldasshole.tif," "meathead.tif," as well as more than a few that appeared to be named by his forehead as he passed out: "dhfuhkjDZKh.tif," "cmnxz≈mz vas.tif," etc.
Tony has neither the time nor inclination to try and identify the names. He suggests making the book a giant puzzle for readers. Jacob and I resist. Jacob and I encourage Tony to flesh out the book with some essays about drawing, his process, etc. Tony resists. Stalemate!
Eventually, I enlist an army of interns to help me identify the portraits and after a few weeks of highly scientific research and renaming the files so Jacob can work with them easily, and after Tony digs up another 100 portraits (actually well over 100 -- by the time it was all said and done we actually had to cut a few dozen images to keep it to 500) and also sits down and writes a series of brilliant essays for the book just to shut Jacob and I up, we were on our way. (Seriously, Tony's "85%" theory about humankind is worth the price of admission alone.)
After a few weeks of nightly back-and-forths between the three of us, which mostly consisted of random insults and vulgarities mixed with parenting advice from Uncle Tony and lots of talk about our daughters (all three of us have daughters -- no sons -- and all of them appear in the book in one form or another; Jacob's wife even gave birth to his second daughter, Maren, during production!), we had a book.
I couldn't be happier with the result. Tony emailed us after he got his advance copy last week and said, "This is the best book ever made." I agree.
Register and Login to receive full member benefits, including members-only special offers, commenting privileges on Flog! The Fantagraphics Blog, newsletters and special announcements via email, and stuff we haven't even thought of yet. Membership is free and spam-free, so Sign Up Today!