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.
For your shopping pleasure, Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery will remain open an extra hour until 9:00 PM this Friday, December 23. So sled down to Georgetown for some holiday cheer. We close at 5:00 PM on Saturday, December 24 and remain closed on Sunday, December 25. Come back and visit on Monday, December 26. We'll be open normal hours 11:30 to 8:00 PM the rest of the week.
Every so often I'm asked whatever became of Fantagraphics old delivery van, which was vandalized — I mean decorated — by masters of alternative comix during a 1991 signing at Fallout. (Crumb, Clowes, Bagge, Bros., Mavrides, Woodring, etc.) We spoke to the Georgetown owner last summer and he assured us restoration was underway. On Friday, Georgetown Records unearthed a cache of vintage Rocket magazines. The April '91 issue contained a sidebar on this rolling masterpiece.
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, which combine naturalistic detail with strong doses of the fanciful and grotesque, include the famous (Bob Dylan), the infamous (Abu Ghraib soldier/model Lynndie England), the fictional (Yoda), the animal kingdom (a cockroach), and everything in between. Literary figures (Hemingway), literary characters (Don Quixote & Sancho Panza), Hollywood legends (Steven Spielberg), comics icons (Hergé, Daniel Clowes, Hernandez Brothers, etc.) and historical figures (Hitler) also figure prominently.
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, Ephemera Press Historical Maps, 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.
Tony Millionaire PORTRAITS
Artist reception & book signing Saturday, January 7, 6:00 to 9:00 PM Exhibition continues through February 8, 2012
We can hardly believe it’s been 5 years already. This wonderful experiment in promoting comix culture has been an amazing experience. Make plans to join us on this momentous occasion. The party coincides with the lively holiday edition of the Georgetown Art Attack with open art studios, exotic shopping, diverse dining and imbibing throughout the historic arts community.
We’re located at 1201 S. Vale Street (at Airport Way S.) only minutes from downtown Seattle. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110.
Please drop by and see us this Saturday, December 10 to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the store. Holiday cheer galore with "Playing Possum: The Pogo Art of Walt Kelly," music by Sawsome (a female banjo and saw duet), Christmas carolers, and complimentary seasonal refreshments.
I can scarcely believe it's been 5 years already. This wonderful experiment in promoting comix culture has been an awesome experience for me. I've always pictured myself as a kind of crossing guard at the uncontrolled intersection of fine art and pop culture. The bookstore has seen a lot of traffic. Here's to another 5 busy years at the crossroads.
I have yet to see the movie, but I'm guessing J. Edgar Hoover's obsession with Pogo didn't make the cut. Walt Kelly regularly poked fun at powerful political figures, but apparently the Pogo parody of the FBI director drove him around the bend. According to documents released under the Freedom of Information Act, Hoover ordered Bureau cryptographers to decipher the secret Okefenokee code. Remind me now. Who was the cartoon character here?
A delightful example of this historically significant strip line will be on view at Fantagraphics Bookstore in "Playing Possum: The Pogo Art of Walt Kelly" opening December 10. The original works will be offered for sale at remarkably affordable prices. The "J. Edgar" strip, measuring 19.5 by 6.5 inches, is only $575. For additional information on these wonderful works, call curator Larry Reid at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery. 206.658.0110.
Celebrate the 5th Anniversary of Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery! “Playing Possum: The Pogo Art of Walt Kelly” opens December 10.
In 1970, Walt Kelly’s playful possum Pogo looked upon his polluted Okefenokee Swamp and uttered in despair, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” This line quickly became part of our cultural lexicon and cemented Pogo’s place in American popular culture. Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery celebrates the publication of Pogo: Through the Wild Blue Wonder with “Playing Possum: The Pogo Art of Walt Kelly.” This exhibition of original Walt Kelly strips opens Saturday, December 10 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM on the occasion of the bookstore’s 5th anniversary gala.
The long-anticipated Pogo: Through the Wild Blue Wonder, Volume 1 of the Complete Comic Strips collects early Sunday and daily Pogo comics from 1949 – 1950. Kelly introduces his huge cast of irreverent swamp dwellers and their singular dialect known as “swamp talk.” Politics soon became a central topic in the swamp. While Kelly claimed to oppose “the extreme right, the extreme left, and the extreme middle,” political figures cynically cloaking themselves in patriotic garb were clearly disdained. Kelly boldly caricatured red baiting Senator Joseph R. McCarthy as Simple J. Malarkey. An obvious parody of J. Edgar Hoover seemingly drove the FBI director to distraction. He reportedly assigned cryptographers to decipher the secret swamp talk “code.” (A strip from 1971 referencing this will be on display.) Kelly’s characters also embraced the burgeoning environmental movement and other progressive causes. “Playing Possum: The Pogo Art of Walt Kelly” includes 12 memorable dailies and 4 Sunday strips. These original works reveal the artist’s concern for composition, delicate line quality, and detailed dialogue.
The opening on Saturday, December 10 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM promises to be a festive affair. Musical entertainment will be provided by Sawsome, a female saw and banjo duet. The evening commemorates the 5th anniversary of Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery and coincides with the holiday edition of the colorful Georgetown Art Attack featuring art exhibitions, special events and wandering carolers from Choir of the Sound throughout the historic neighborhood.
PLAYING POSSUM: The Pogo Art of Walt Kelly Opening reception Saturday, December 10, 6:00 – 9:00 PM 5th Anniversary Holiday Gala with musical entertainment by SAWSOME Exhibition continues through January 4, 2012
Just another Sunday in the swamp. Check out the meticulous composition, line quality and lettering in this amazing Walt Kelly strip. One of 16 original Pogo pieces on display at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery’s 5th anniversary gala on Saturday, December 10. Always a highlight of the holiday season!
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