“From Comix to Critiques” was the focus of seminal Seattle publisher Real Comet Press. Founded in 1981 by arts activist Cathy Hillenbrand, then owner the Comet Tavern, this prescient enterprise published an amazing array of books that foreshadowed Seattle’s ascendance to the forefront of international pop culture. Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery celebrates the legacy of Cathy Hillenbrand with “Real Comet Press: A Retrospective” opening Saturday, March 10, continuing through April 10, 2012. This exhibition features art, graphics and book works by regional artists nurtured by Real Comet Press including Lynda Barry, Michael Dougan, Art Chantry, and Ruth Hayes, among others.
As owner of the Comet Tavern in the late 70s, Hillenbrand became an advocate for Seattle’s avant garde artists. In 1980, Lynda Barry won a contest to design the Comet’s matchbook cover, beginning a long association with the young Capitol Hill cartoonist. A year later, Hillenbrand published the text to “Propagandists Lament,” a performance work by Seattle artist Annie Grosshans. She soon sold the tavern to devote full time to publishing. Real Comet Press went on to publish four books by Lynda Barry — Girls + Boys, Big Ideas, The Good Times Are Killing Me, and Naked Ladies, Naked Ladies, Naked Ladies — as well as East Texas by Michael Dougan, Instant Litter by Art Chantry, and a series of animated flipbooks by Ruth Hayes. In addition, Real Comet Press published catalogues, criticism, and feminist theory by artists, curators and critics such as Lucy Lippard, Jo Spence, Douglas Kahn, Rini Templeton, Ernst Friedrich, James Turrell, and countless others. Many of Hillenbrand’s books and memorable marketing materials were designed the brilliant graphic artists associated with The Rocket magazine.
Join us on Saturday, March 10 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM to fete the former publisher. Real Comet alumni Hayes, Dougan and Chantry will host the celebration, which includes an exhibition of art, books and ephemera from the Real Comet archives. A limited number of out-of-print Real Comet Press titles will be available for sale (including the iconic Lynda Barry poster “Poodle with a Mohawk”). This reception coincides with the colorful Georgetown Art Attack featuring arts presentations throughout the historic neighborhood.
On Saturday, March 24 at 6:00 PM Fantagraphics Bookstore presents Susan Kirtley, author of Lynda Barry: Girlhood Through the Looking Glass from University of Mississippi Press, in conversation with Cathy Hillenbrand. This enlightening discussion will be followed by an informal reception and book signing.
On Friday, March 30 at 6:00 PM, Hillenbrand joins cartoonists Ellen Forney and Jim Woodring, and Fantagraphics associate publisher Eric Reynolds on the panel discussion “Northwest Noir: Seattle’s Legacy of Counterculture Comix” moderated by Fantagraphics Bookstore curator Larry Reid at Emerald City Comicon at the Washington State Convention Center.
REAL COMET PRESS: A RETROSPECTIVE Art, comix, and books from the seminal Seattle publisher.
Opening reception Saturday, March 10, 6:00 to 9:00 PM Hosted by Art Chantry, Michael Dougan, and Ruth Hayes
Exhibition continues through April 10, 2012
Saturday, March 24, 6:00 PM Susan E. Kirtley, author of Lynda Barry: Girlhood Through the Looking Glass In conversation with Real Comet Press publisher Cathy Hillenbrand
Cartoonists will want to arrive early to Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery on Saturday evening to preview the "Funny Valentines" ahow and experience visiting artist Frank Santoro's comic book layout workshop at 5:00 PM. Santoro is a columnist for The Comics Journal and teamed with Dash Shaw in the latest Kramer's Ergot anthology.
When wandering around Saturday's Georgetown Art Attack, don't forget to contribute to the Georgetown Music Store recovery fund. This neighborhood institution was the recent victim of a brazen burglary. Thieves literally tore the gates from the storefront and made off with valuable guitars and gear. Georgetown merchants are taking collective action to support our friends and neighbors at the music store. Fantagraphics Bookstore and Georgetown Records are offering cool Art Attack buttons in exchange for contributions.
Original paintings by celebrated Southern California artist SHAG.
A multimedia homage by Seattle artist (and frequent Fantagraphics printmaker) Art Garcia.
Plus awesome works by graphic design legend Art Chantry, ceramicist Charles Krafft, and cartoonists Tom Neely, Johnny Ryan, Roberta Gregory, Pat Moriarity, Peter Bagge (from the pages of MAD), and a dozen others, including the master himself, Jack Davis. Arrive at 6:30 to experience a virtual visit with Davis via Skype, hosted by Gary Groth.
FUNNY VALENTINES: A TRIBUTE TO JACK DAVIS Group art exhibition opens February 11 at Fantagraphics Bookstore
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery celebrates the legacy of legendary artist Jack Davis with a group exhibition "Funny Valentines: A Tribute to Jack Davis" opening Saturday, February 11 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM. Davis is among the most influential American artists of his time. He created comics art for the seminal EC imprint and contributed to subversive magazines like MAD, as well as illustrating popular record albums, memorable movie posters, trading cards, mainstream magazines, and advertising campaigns.
Seattle-based Fantagraphics Books recently published the career retrospective Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture. To commemorate the occasion, a stellar group of accomplished artists from diverse disciplines have created works demonstrating the influence of this prolific artist. Between 1959 and 1963 Davis drew four sets of "Funny Valentines" for the Topps trading card company. This series provided the inspiration the show featuring two-dozen contemporary cartoonists, illustrators, graphic designers, and fine artists. Exhibiting artists include Peter Bagge, Nikki Burch, Art Chantry, Tom Dougherty, Jesse Edwards, Ellen Forney, Art Garcia, Roberta Gregory, Charles Krafft, Jason T. Miles, Pat Moriarity, Tom Neely, Joe Newton, Ries Niemi, John Ohannesian, Augie Pagan, Eric Reynolds, Bob Rini, Johnny Ryan, Frank Santoro, SHAG, Matthew Southworth, and Jim Woodring. Original works by Jack Davis will also be displayed.
The opening reception on Saturday, February 11 promises to be a festive affair. Davis will appear at 6:30 PM via Skype from his home in Atlanta. Many exhibiting artists will also be present. A limited number of advance copies of Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture will be available with a special signed bookplate. Please join us to pay homage to this extraordinary artist. This event coincides with the 4th anniversary installment of the colorful Georgetown Art Attack, featuring visual and performing arts presentations throughout the historic neighborhood.
FUNNY VALENTINES: A TRIBUTE TO JACK DAVIS
An exhibition featuring Peter Bagge, Nikki Burch, Art Chantry, Jack Davis, Tom Dougherty, Jesse Edwards, Ellen Forney, Art Garcia, Roberta Gregory, Charles Krafft, Jason T. Miles, Pat Moriarity, Tom Neely, Joe Newton, Ries Niemi, John Ohannesian, Augie Pagan, Eric Reynolds, Bob Rini, Johnny Ryan, Frank Santoro, SHAG, Matthew Southworth, and Jim Woodring.
Opening Reception Saturday, February 11, 6:00 to 9:00 PM
While researching this book project in Oakland, archivist Pat Thomas discovered rare recordings of speeches, interviews, and music by noted activists Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Elaine Brown, and others that form the framework of this definitive retrospective. Listen, Whitey! also chronicles the forgotten history of Motown Records’ Black Power subsidiary label, Black Forum, which released politically charged albums by Stokely Carmichael, Langston Hughes, Bill Cosby and Ossie Davis, among others. Obscure records produced by African-American sociopolitical organizations of the period are examined, along with the Isley Brothers, Nina Simone, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Watts Prophets, Roland Kirk, Horace Silver, Angela Davis, H. Rap Brown, Stanley Crouch, and others that spoke out against oppression. Thomas will give a slide and music presentation, and limited number of advance copies of the book will be available to the public. Also making its debut is a companion CD of the same title from Seattle-based Light in the Attic records. The album features rare tracks from African-American activists like Dick Gregory, Eldridge Cleaver, Last Poets, and others, with protest music by Bob Dylan, John and Yoko Ono, Gil Scott-Heron, Roy Harper, and more.
The Silence of Our Friends is the semi-autobiographical tale of Mark Long. Set in 1967 Texas against the backdrop of the civil rights struggle, a white family from a notoriously racist suburb and a black family from its poorest ward cross Houston’s color line, overcoming fear and violence to win the freedom of five black college students unjustly charged with the murder of a policeman. Co-authored by Jim Demonakos (founder of Seattle’s Emerald City Comicon), and drawn by award-winning cartoonist Nate Powell, The Silence of Our Friends is a new and important entry in the body of civil rights literature.
Join these remarkable authors on Saturday, February 4 from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, located at 1201 S. Vale St. (at Airport Way S.) in Seattle’s colorful Georgetown neighborhood. Phone 206.658.0110.
Like the postman making his appointed rounds, we pride ourselves in maintaining normal hours at Fantagraphics Bookstore no matter what the weather. But with TV spokesmodels breathlessly warning of blizzard conditions approaching the Seattle area, we encourage customers to call the store before strapping on their snowshoes. 206.658.0110.
Comix fans should take advantage of the current break in the weather to come pick up a copy of Action! Mystery! Thrills! This book is full of alluring covers from the Golden Age comic books. The imagery bolsters my contention that comix represent the most compelling reflection of the cultural climate of mid-century America. The covers of WWII era comic books combine patriotic themes with appallingly racist depictions of Imperial Japanese soldiers (though our German foes fare no better). Delightful deco aesthetics, garish colors and lurid themes, together with an informative index by Greg Sadowski, create one of the most appealing books in recent memory. The perfect read for a winter day indoors. Bring on the snow.
We were privileged to host another delightful evening with our friend Tony Millionaire at Fantagraphics Bookstore on Saturday. A wonderful cast of characters assembled to celebrate the publication of his exquisite new book 500 Portraits. We were pleasantly surprised to receive a visit by the legendary Charles Burns, whose portrait is among those featured in the exhibition. It was also nice to see comix scholar Hillary Chute, who interviews cartoonists in The Believer, where many of Tony's portraits first appeared. (Hillary also notably edited Art Spiegelman's new book Meta Maus.) Our colleagues from the University of Mississippi Press were on hand, as well as comix authority Charles Hatfield. A host of luminaries, along with a screening of a Drinky Crow film short by bookstore curator Larry Reid, made Millionaire's most recent appearance truly extraordinary. And that's not all.
Our wildly entertaining and talented cartoonist friend Tony Millionaire will appear at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery on Saturday, January 7 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM for a book signing and art show. He'll be exhibiting brilliantly sedate work from his new book 500 Portraits, recently released by Fantagraphics Books.
500 Portraits collects over two decades of work by the beloved creator of Drinky Crow's Maakies, Sock Monkey and Billy Hazelnuts. Tony Millionaire's gorgeous fountain pen illustrations are pretty amazing. Many of these 500 portraits were created for The Believer, the magazine founded by Dave Eggers that Millionaire helped define visually with images of interview subjects in every issue. The book also includes dozens of illustrations from various other publications, including The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, and others.
The artist will be present to sign copies of his many Fantagraphics titles as well as the recent Encyclopedia of Hell and other works. The evening will also feature the premiere of the short live-action film "Everybody Loves Drinky Crow" by Fantagraphics Bookstore curator Larry Reid.
The store is located at 1201 S. Vale Street at the corner of Airport Way S. in Seattle’s historic Georgetown arts community. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sunday till 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110
This is the last week to view the sensational exhibition "Playing Possum: The Pogo Art of Walt Kelly" at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery. The critical and popular response to this show has been nothing short of phenomenal. The exhibition will be on view through next Wednesday, January 4. We'll be open every day 11:30 to 8:00 PM except Sunday, January 1, when we'll be closed for New Years Day.
Kelly's historic strips are being offered for sale at remarkably affordable prices. Several of these wonderful works remain available. If you can't make it to the space, feel free to call Fantagraphics curator Larry Reid at the bookstore at 206.658.0110 for more information. (Download the price list in PDF format.)
For perhaps obvious reasons, I invariably find myself re-reading Palestine this time of year. Twenty years ago, cartoonist Joe Sacco visited the biblical lands of the Middle East and reported his observations in a groundbreaking series of comic books that would help change our perceptions of the troubled occupied territories. It's a sad commentary that reading this book twenty years later, it seems like it could have been written yesterday. With every read — going on a dozen now — I find something new in Sacco's brilliant tale.
I recall not long after beginning work as Fantagraphics marketing and promotions director, co-publisher Kim Thompson handed me a blue-line copy of the first issue of Palestine. "This is amazing," I responded, "but you can't seriously expect me to sell this thing. It's not very funny at all!" (I believe I said something similar when Kim showed me the first issue of Chris Ware's Acme Novelty Library.) Well, after 10 printings of the collection and a special edition hardcover, Palestine seems to have found a readership.
If you haven't done so already, please get a copy of this book. Now's a perfect time to peruse its pages. Sacco visits Bethlehem and finds little evidence of the promise of peace we will celebrate this Sunday. But he does discover humanity amid the turmoil of the region. And with it — hope for a peaceful resolution.
If you find yourself in Seattle anytime soon, drop by Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery. We have a limited quantity of Palestine #1 first edition comic books signed by Sacco for only $2.95, as well as a large selection of his more recent works. Happy holidays.
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