Cartoonist, journalist, designer and lover of all comics! Here to encourage you to read Fantagraphics books and then pass them on to your friends AND family. Especially those Eros ones. Graduate of The Center for Cartoon Studies.
The furtherest-traveled Bethesda-sent postcard of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:NPR's Glen Weldon looks at The Hypo by Noah Van Sciver. "Although The Hypo is painstakingly researched, the book is no dry accretion of biographical detail. That's because Van Sciver approach's is so deeply, palpably personal, even idiosyncratic. . . Inspiring? No. But achingly familiar, relatably human and — most of all — profoundly real."
• Interview:Comic Book Resources and Ryan Ingram pulled Noah Van Sciver aside to talk about The Hypo. Van Sciver says, "My reason for spending so much time working on The Hypo was an honest to god interest in the subject of depression and the struggles Lincoln was going through at that time. Probably nobody else would have done this book."
• Review:We Got Reviews looks at Noah Van Sciver's The Hypo. Chad Parenteau closes it beautifully states," In The Hypo, Van Sciver proves in these pages that you can bring an almost mythic figure of the past to modern day terms while still making that figure heroic."
• Plug:Large-Hearted Boy got his mitts on The Hypo by Noah Van Sciver: "I've been looking forward to this book for what feels like two years now. . . It's a side of Lincoln rarely revealed, beautifully illustrated, and wonderfully told."
• Commentary: Rob Clough of the Comics Journal and High-Low made sure to organize some Noah Van Sciver within the Library of Congress mini-comic collection: "Everything's coming up Noah these days, with an Ignatz nomination for The Death of Elijah Lovejoy and the release of his Abraham Lincoln book The Hypo from Fantagraphics." Clough also comments on Jaime and Gilbert's Ignatz awards, "I dubbed Jaime Hernandez the King of SPX after he took home three extremely well-deserved Ignatz awards. After getting shafted by the other major comics awards shows, it was great to see him relishing this moment."
• Commentary: Tom Spurgeon says a bunch of nice stuff about the Hernandez Brothers, Noah Van Sciver on the Comics Reporter. "Los Bros had a steady line of admirers at the show, which was really encouraging to me. They had good solo panels, too -- Frank Santoro talked to Jaime and got him to choke up a bit, and Sean T. Collins talked to Gilbert and applied to that conversation the benefit of reading the holy shit out of all of Gilbert's work sometime in the last year. . . I enjoyed that Abraham Lincoln book of [Noah's]."
• Commentary:The Beat loves on all creators, great and small including the Hernandez Brothers
• Plug (video): Junot Diaz talks about the Hernandez Brothers in Vol. 1 Brooklyn.
• Commentary (audio): The podcasts Hideous Energy attends not only SPX but the Politics and Prose signing for the Hernandez Brothers . The hosts have a frighteningly good time at SPX despite the trials and tribulations of their hotel room at Red Roof Inn.
• Review: The School Library Journal dissects The Adventures of Venus by Gilbert Hernandez and includes some questions to ask when using it in an English or literature class: ". . . while certainly young readers should appreciate many aspects of the book, some of its content may land as so idiosyncratic (albeit playfully so) as to inaccessible. And that’s actually a good thing."
• Review:The Chicago Reader enjoys Lilli Carré's Heads or Tails. Noah Bertlasky compares,"Eschewing the autobiographical meaning-through-trauma tradition of Maus, the pop art goofiness of Fort Thunder, or the sex and drug spewing of underground artists like R. Crumb, Carré specializes in surreal narratives and exquisite design.. . . Reading this, it's easy to forget there was ever a time comics were viewed as separate from art."
• Plug: Alex Pardee of Juxtapoz picks Johnny Ryan as his dude du jour and demands you read Prison Pit #4 and all previous volumes."I'm pretty sure the words 'Johnny Ryan' mean 'Fuck You' in Elvish or Klingon. . . Lucky for us, Johnny Ryan doesn't give a Russell Brand about pissing anyone off. . . amassing a huge cult following based solely around brilliantly conveyed hemorrhoid jokes, hitler bashing, and 'shit-fucking-shit'. . ."
• Plug: Claire Donnor of comiXology focuses on No Straight Lines, edited by Justin Hall. "Besides offering an exciting array of new and rare talent, this volume presents a very refreshing change from the familiar straight male fantasizing that has traditionally dominated the indie and underground scenes."
• Review:The North Adams Transcript reviews Mattotti and Zentner's The Crackle of the Frost. John Seven writes, "What the words cannot portray, the images do, the real psychological landscape that Samuel's confused analysis grapples with, and a testament to the power that can be born of the collusion between the literary and the illustrative in the best examples of graphic storytelling."
• Review: Carter Scholz returns to The Comics Journal to pen a review of Dal Tokyoby Gary Panter, "So think of it as a comic strip, a periodic commitment. A blog before and after its time, a day book spanning three pitiless decades. Each strip of the first series is time-stamped, by hand, to the minute, testimony to Panter’s living and working and recording in the here-and-now of it."
• Interview: Max Robinson of City Paper interviews Dan Clowes and about the continuing success of Ghost World: "I’m heartened that it seems to live on. It’s about teenage girls from another world, really; [they] don’t text, don’t have cell phones, don’t have computers. It’s really about the olden days and yet it seems like the whole new readership of teenagers seems to take to it every year."
• Review:Pop Matters talks about Daniel Clowes. Features editor Josh Indar says, "This is why I love Dan Clowes. He’s the only comic artist I’ve read who can do this to me, to pull me so completely into his world that, just as the old lady said, I start seeing reality through the lens of his work."
• Review: Nick Gazin's Comic Book Love-In #72 on Vice includes Jacques Tardi's New York Mon Amour. "Many of the comics they're publishing have never been translated into English before so it is a big, big deal that they are providing this service to all American lovers of comics. . . The art's great and it captures what New York in the early 80s was."
• Interview:Print Mag interviews the indeliable Roger Langridge on comics, acting and life. It's worth reading yourself for the gorgeous panels full of exquisite details. Langridge says, "It's a fascinating world, theater."
• Interview: Chris Auman of Reglar Wiglar interviews Ed Piskor on his previous book and upcoming Hip Hop Family Tree. "I grew up surrounded by hip hop. I feel like the fact that I even learned to draw was shaped by a hip hop mentality."
Occasionally a finger on the camera slips and reporters or other publishers accidentally take a picture of the people working on publishing the books, rather than our wide array of talented artists and authors. Here are some nice things people said about us and some semi-nice photos of Gary, Kim, Eric, Jacq and Jen: Tom Spurgeon at Comics Reporter, Chris Mautner on Robot 6 and Comic Book Resources, artist Nick Abadzis, Charles Brownstein at CBLDF, Heidi MacDonald at The BEAT.
Creator of The Cartoon Utopia, Ron Rege will be hosting a workshop at SAW, the Sequential Artists Workshop, in March 2013. In this week-long workshop, students will work with Ron from morning to evening, expanding their minds and vision and translating their ideas and stories to the finished page. Rege has created autobiography, true stories, comics from dreams and histories and lately, intricate spectacles and essays on magic and the unknown. Students will get to work with Rege for a week, to learn his process and connect to The Cartoon Utopia!
Ron's workshop follows a week-long intensive with John Porcellino so you can soak up the knowledge and inspiration from two masters of comics in a short time frame. Sign up now or send your questions to Tom, Leela and the whole cartooning gang.
In the comics and freelance world, you make your own opportunities and draw for a variety of clients. And sometimes, they happen to be a badass brewing company like Brooklyn Brewery. The Tony Millionaire-designed superhero Brooklyn Defender is also a "draft-only hoppy amber IPA". Kegs will be tapped this September 25th and rolling out to many bars for NYCC (New York Comic-Con). While the drink is draft-only, maybe the Brooklyn Brewery will print out some labels as small posters for that niche cross-over of comics and beer fans? Or some stickers, we looooove stickers. Read more on the origins of the Brooklyn Defender and where you can chug-a-lug while in New York today!
Marke B. and Caitlin Donohue said, "His book brings us back to a time when porn was just as reviled as it is in these present days of virgin-brandishing Republicans — which leaves us with the comforting lesson that, no matter what the crazies are saying on Fox News, there will always be something to jerk off to."
Recently, Boyreau (below) held a Seattle-based party at a car dealership with hot rods and hot bods in attendance (in addition to the scuzzy Fantagraphics staff). In the style of Sexytime, bikini fashion shows were accompanied by spinnin' DJs in an attempt to recreate that beautiful 70's porn atmosphere. Looking for something to laugh at, lust after and sweat to when you're alone? Look no further for a Sexytime.
Jason Pettigrew of Alternative Press Magazine rocks what is undeniably one of the best comic covers AND t-shirts ever. He'd better watch out though, Cynthia Luna might do what it takes to get that shirt. Fear not, Cynthia, for Graphitti Designs STILL has this shirt in stock in addition to the other five shirts. Head over to Graphitti Designs and search for the "Love and Rockets" shirt you'll wear until the end of time.
Save the visit to the Library of Congress, which will come up later, these are THE pictures and thoughts on Small Press Expo 2012. We honestly were so busy that there was little time to make the rounds to other aisles and buy books or snag pics of our friends at this family reunion of a show. So please accept my apology for no SWEEPING landscapes of the table set-up as it was busy, busy, busy. SPX'sExecutive Director, Warren Bernard, ran a good show and David Michael Thomas could not have been better with convention previews and making sure we were comfortable throughout.
The Washington alt-weekly newspaper or insert covered the special guests of the con including the Hernandez brothers. Love and Rockets tattoos are the ink du jour as you can see along with Jughead hats and SUPER short skirts (even though we all know leggings that look like wormholes or intestinal tracts are really in this year). Drawing by Thomas Pitilli.
The signing at Politics and Prose in D.C. kicked off the 30th Anniversary Northeast Tour. With trusty escorts like Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds, PR Director Jacq Cohen and myself, what could go wrong? First things first though, toothpicks to make sure teeth are clean.
The first book of the weekend AND the first copy of The Hypo by Noah Van Sciver went to Leon Avelino, publisher at Secret Acres.
Long lines formed for the Hernandez Brothers both days and were chock full of other exhibitors and cartoonists like First Second's George O'Connor.
Fans got books signed, bought drawings and got their SPX convention badges signed.
That night at the Ignatz awards, Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez cleaned up. While humbly accepting their Herriman bricks, they thanked Daniel Clowes & Art Spiegelman for NOT having new stories this year. The Brothers won Outstanding Series for Love and Rockets while Jaime won Outstanding Artist and Outstanding Story for "Return for Me"of Love and Rockets: New Stories #4.
Author Phillip Nel sold his Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss biography to whet everyone's appetite for the Barnaby book. Rich Tommaso sold his The Cavalier Mr. Thompson, a Fantagraphics-distributed book about a 1920s hotel in Texas.
Fans and friends got their signatures and tiny drawings by Tommaso.
Cartoonist TJ Kirsch shows off his Daniel Clowes drawing in Twentieth-Century Eightball.
Despite his dour face, Daniel Clowes genuinely liked Gary Panter's Dal Tokyo while Charles Burns looks on.
John Porcellino (of Spit and a Half, King Cat and Drawn and Quarterly) soaked in the cross hatching glory of Van Sciver's The Hypo. Maybe he was enjoying it too much.
As always, my partner-in-crime Jacq Cohen and I accidentally dressed to match some of our favorite classic books, me with Nancy and Jacq with Peanuts.
Jacq and I ran off after the convention to eat some delicious food with our good friends. Clockwise from the bottom left: Gilbert Hernandez, me, Jaime Hernandez, Tom Neely of Sparkplug, Joseph Remnant of ZAP/Top Shelf, Noah Van Sciver and John Porcellino. Delicious!
And finally, a picture from 2010's MoCCA Fest where I'm handing Jaime minis as a fan. Now we get to argue about baseball uniforms and proper sock height while working the Fantagraphics table. Thank you everyone for coming to the Fantagraphics table to buy our books, talk to our artists and spread more of the convention cheer. See you next year!
Photos by Jacq Cohen and me. Attitude by Fantagraphics.
Today is New Comics Day so we are releasing No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics via comiXology! Edited by cartoonist, teacher and historian Justin Hall, this first definitive collection of queer comics gathers the world's greatest LGBT comics under one cover. These smart, funny, and profound works provide an uncensored window into the last four decades of queer culture.
No Straight Lines showcases major names such as Alison Bechdel (whose book Fun Home was named Time Magazine’s 2006 Book of the Year), Howard Cruse (whose groundbreaking Stuck Rubber Baby is now back in print), and Ralf Koenig (one of Europe’s most popular cartoonists), as well as high-profile, crossover creators who have flirted with the world of LGBTQ comics, like legendary NYC artist David Wojnarowicz and media darling and advice columnist Dan Savage. No Straight Lines also spotlights many talented creators who never made it out of the queer comics ghetto, but produced amazing work that deserves wider attention.
". . . with No Straight Lines , the most definitive collection of queer comics to date, [Justin] Hall and Fantagraphics have made the voluminous but largely hidden history of LBGT (lesbian, bi-sexual, gay, transgender) comics finally visible as well." -Shannon O'Leary, Publishers Weekly
"I like my queer comic anthologies like I like my women. Handy AND beautiful. . .What No Straight Lines really achieves is putting all of these influential comics in one place. Together, they contextualize each other and the LGBTQ scene at the same time." -Sarah Hansen, Autostraddle
What started out as a web comic Ed Piskor's Hip Hop Family Tree traces the foundation of hip hop from its Bronx origins with DJ Kool Herc and DJ Hollywood through Doug E. Fresh, Run DMC and beyond in four color fury. The comic easily transitions from depictions of live shows to breaking in the streets to the foundation of record companies, eager to spread the music. Currently published weekly at the epicenter of cool, Boing Boing, Piskor's work will be collected and printed by Fantagraphics next year.
The full-color book will be around 112 pages, collecting the first year's worth of comic strips spanning 1975-1980. As a beautiful backup to Piskor's story, ten beat-friendly cartoonists are providing pin-ups of their favorite hip hop artists and rappers. The overarching theme of comics delving deep into music culture make Hip Hop Family Tree and Ed Piskor make a happy addition to works of cartoonists like Peter Bagge, R. Crumb, Joe Sacco, Mary Fleener, the Hernandez Brothers and authors like Pat Thomas, Jacob McMurray and Kevin Avery.
Piskor is best known for his works like self-published and then Top Shelf published hacker comic, Wizzywig. Piskor also worked with late, great Harvey Pekar in the collection, The Beats. Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds said, "Hip Hop Family Tree is not only a great read, it's a wonderful visual history of the important genre of music of the past 30 years. We're excited to publish it." After all the paperwork was signed Piskor said, "While working on the this project, I began to feel like the belle at the ball, in a matter of speaking, because lots of different publishers started getting in touch. They had certain ideas that would have required compromise. Fantagraphics is one of the only publishers I personally sought out, because I thought they might facilitate my exact vision, and it feels like I was right. Basically, I'm a huge brat and I want what I want, and Fantagraphics is down for the cause."
You can see Piskor and Fantagraphics this weekend at SPX and keep your eyes and ears open for more jammin' comics by Ed Piskor. Start clearing away space now next to your turn table for Hip Hop Family Tree.
The fastest 'ping' of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:iFanboy makes Carl Barks man of the month when Uncle Scrooge: Only a Poor Old Man is Book of the Month. Conor Kilpatrick writes a truly superb review and says "Carl Barks’ genius is not only about his wonderful art. He was an excellent storyteller who used his stories to not only tell jokes and send these characters on great adventures. He also told us about how they were as people and used them to examine real issues."
• Interview (audio): Love and Rockets' Gilbert Hernandez showed up on the short-n-sweet comiXology podcast today. The interview also coincides with the newest collection of work from Gilbert and brother, Jaime, coming out on comiXology the same day as the store release. The very beginning of Love and Rockets in the form of Heartbreak Soup and Maggie the Mechanic is now also available for your e-reading pleasure.
• Plug:The Comics Reporter talks about this weeks' releases and Love and Rockets: New Stories #5 is of course, at the top of the list. Tom Spurgeon says, "The follow-up to last summer's devastatingly good issue isn't as devastating, but it's still really good. Lots of Borneo in the Jaime story. I find that character alternately hilarious and terrifying."
• Review:Another Mag happily turns the pages of Sexytime edited by Jacques Boyreau. Laura Bradley states, "[this] oversized book. . . is a glorious portrait of taboo-busting 'porn chic'. Curated by author-filmmaker-curator Jacques Boyreau, the 100+ re-mastered posters vary in style – some with amusing imagery and tag lines, some darkly surreal, some sleek and stylish; all hosting kitsch appeal."