Cartoonist, journalist 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.
Sunday, May 4th • Los Angeles, CA: The Unlovable 3 Launch Party is at 5pm at Skylight Books. Cartoonist Esther Pearl Watson will be there to sign books so you can impress all the hotties at school. (more details)
We've recently had some new blood join our satanic circle in comics and are proud to highlight them. Meet Anna Pederson, badass at large currently at the warehouse who started back in January but was also an intern back in 2012!
What other jobs and experiences have you had in the comics industry? Fantagraphics was my first comic industry initiation when I did a stint as an editorial intern my senior year of college. After moving to New York, I did another internship with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF), because this industry is a labor of love, and you have to work really hard for free for a while. In NYC I also did my first retail work with Forbidden Planet, which honestly is one of the most informative areas of comic book publishing.
When the West Coast called me back home, I bummed around for a few months on the internet writing reviews for blogs and retailers, until Fanta found me in a ditch and brought me back into the fold.
What was the first comic you read? I think I've been reading newspaper comics since I could read, even the creepy weekday ones that talk about work place sexual harassment (I'm looking at you, For Better or for Worse). But then it was a gradual slippery slope into manga with Toriyama and Otomo, and mostly Vertigo titles, like Hellblazer, by high school. I was always an art fan, so without realizing their comic book ties, I was a fan of people like Moebius, Barry Windsor-Smith, andJack Davis. These dudes expanded my reading and visual tastes for the better.
What was the first comic that made you want to write, react, something? I've always enjoyed comics, but I think I'd be lying to myself if I thought it was anyone but Brandon Graham that made me feel like the worlds he created were visceral, and existed beyond storytelling purposes. I think I got my hands on King City sometime in high school, and I hope this makes him feel old. His street/graffiti, Japanese, Moebius style wraps my head in a blanket and tucks me in at night, while simultaneously fulfilling my need for sexy puns. The best of both worlds if you ask me.
Anna's Brandon Graham tattoo of Earthling J.J. Catingsworth the Third, photo Robin McConnell What can you recommend to Fanta readers? A book I picked up completely at random, but fell completely in love with has been Things Just Get Away From You by Walt Holcome. His whimsical and classic cartooning style often feels like how Pogo would read if all those characters grew up to be slightly dejected about society. But throughout his stories, Holcome hits on distinctly profound moments of love, childhood, and chasing dreams.
But I'm also really really excited for the release of Nijigahara Holograph by Inio Asano. It's everything that drew me into comics; horror, intense detail, magical realism. Love it.
Weirdest Fanta experience so far? I think this place used to be a lot weirder than how I found it. At least according to all the stories I've heard from legacy employees. I do remember once talking about whether or not plants would grow better with the nutrients of menstrual blood. But I'm probably the only one who remembers that, so who's the weird one now?!
I remember that conversation well, Anna. What's your favorite way to wind down? I love to bake. Cookies, pies, etc. Ask Kristy Valenti (Fanta editor) and she'll probably regale you with stories of my pies. I also sing a lot, mostly show tunes. Alienating one coworker at a time listening to Cabaret. Which shouldn't be hard to do since I only have one coworker.
What's your favorite drink? Whiskey. In my experience, if you work in comics you either drink whiskey or nothing at all. So chose wisely.
What projects do you have ahead of you outside of your job? The past couple of years have been spent on a pet project with local artist Josh Heath. It's probably one of those 'will never see the light of day' things, but you can't stop working on it either; quantity creates quality. I still write weekly columns about new comics coming out and why you should buy them, along with awesome preview videos hand made at Zanadu comics. But long term, my dream would be to curate and produce at least one multi-artist book, which is kind of the like the nerd idea of a fantasy team.
What's the best part of comic conventions? Conventions can be stressful, but I honestly love talking to people who are genuinely curious about the books you're trying to sell. They usually have a lot of enthusiasm, and are wiling to let me sell them amazing and weird books that hopefully makes them appreciate the unconventional, and become a reader for life. I sell people what I believe in.
Thanks again for answering the questions, Anna! More to come from the office monkeys soon.
Not pictured: Eric Reynolds, Mike Dean, Preston White, Paul Baresh, Anna Pederson, Larry Reid, TJ, Janice Headley, Dave Holmes, Jacob Covey, Matt Silvie and Dean. Our smooshed spiders-everywhere-in-the-trees-oh-god outtake.
144-page full-color 6" x 9" softcover • $19.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-745-1
"Pete Bagge created a generational icon who I grew up with, and continued to grow up with even after I was a grown up. This book collects the last thirteen years of Buddy's life - and keeping up with him is like keeping up with an old pal from college who, while you still don't see them as often, you still miss dearly, and are always surprised at how much your life and theirs still overlap." -Benn Ray,Atomic Books
"[Buddy Bradley] attacks modern, and more adult-oriented, social trends-MILFs, recessions, mortality-with the same critical skill and wit he brought to the grunge era. For those of us who've accepted these stories piecemeal over the past dozen years, it's nice to seem them joined together." –Christopher Arnott, Below the Fold
112-page black & white 9" x 11.25" hardcover • $19.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-729-1
"...it's maybe the best comic I've read all decade...A beautiful, humane, masterfully executed comic." –Tom Spurgeon,Comics Reporter
"Being a collected edition of Jaime Hernandez's hugely-appreciated climax-of-sorts to his ongoing chronicles of erstwhile romantics Maggie and Ray...IT'S THE SEASON FINALE OF LOVE AND ROCKETS." –Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
832-page four-volume hardcover 7.5" x 10.5" x 4" slipcased box set • $94.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-728-4
"I'm kind of hooked on the black and white author-oriented Fantagraphics volumes because they force me to reconsider artists that I power past when they're collected in a format resembling the original comics..." –Tom Spurgeon,Comics Reporter
"Horror is a peculiar and particular flavor of dis-ease. The body does not respond to it as it does to fear, with the urge toward fight of flight; instead, horror washes over you and lingers, reminding you that all is not as it should be in the world," writes Silke Tudor.
In Issue 31 of Hi-Fructose, Al Columbia is featured in a special matte paper insert featuring paintings, illustrations and some comics found in Pim and Francie, published by Fantagraphics in 2009. Columbia's dark hallways and candy-coated big-eyed children create the perfect landscape to lose yourself and your own mind in.
Founder and Editor-in-Chief 'Attaboy' says. "It's the layers of drawings and tracings atop half finshed thoughts, tear outs and revisions filled with obsessive detail that turns us into the shamless voyeaurs to what appears to be true madeness. We invite you to join us there."
"Millionaire's Sock Monkey comics feature a pair of stuffed toys...who dwell in a large Victorian mansion with their young owner, Ann-Louise…Millionaire's old-fashioned, lushly delicate drawing style is the ideal vehicle for these faux-nostalgic tales, which frequently end in devastation or take a disconcertingly dark turn....While the Sock Monkey strips bear a surface resemblance to classic children's comics, their actual audience is adults who fondly recall the comics of their youth but now require edgier fare." - Gordon Flagg, Booklist
The opening reception for the show, which runs through the month of May, will feature comics readings, signings, and geeky good times. A full array of queer comics and art will be available from all three artists, as well as from Northwest Press, during the reception from 8-10pm on Friday, May 2nd. Check out Justin's work from No Straight Lines and even pick up a copy while you're there! Ed Luce and Jon Macy also contributed comics in No Straight Lines, get your book signed at the 3-Way, maybe even at the same time (depends on their flexibility, wink.)
Magnet is 4122 18th Street, San Francisco, California 94114. They are open Wednesday - Friday 10am-8pm, plus Tuesdays + Saturday closing at 6pm. Check out their site for more events and their free sexual health services.
Toronto, put on your party pants! Ed Piskor is gonna shake the shack this Saturday at The Beguiling's Free Comic Book Day event! On Satuday, May 3rd from Noon-6pm, Ed Piskor will be signing and sketching in free copies of his Hip Hop Family Tree Two-in-One comic book (in addition to your Hip Hop Family Tree Vol. 1 graphic novels). Cartoonist and Ed's studio mate, Tom Scioli, will also be there signing his FCBD book, Transformers Vs. G.I. Joe.
The fun is only a few days a way. Show up EARLY 'cause those books are gonna be gone fast!
The terrific meltdown in the grocery line of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:nbsp;Cosplayers by Dash Shaw "It's a clever idea, and Shaw brings surprising insight to the very short stories. He uses different panel configurations and color palettes to break each story up into scenes, as if they were movies themselves, and his deft linework makes it all look easy." –Bridgid Alverson, Robot 6
• Review: Locust Moon on New School by Dash Shaw "...golly-gee wide-eyed comic classicism mixed with an antiquated, old-testament use of language and heavy moral seriousness, all in service of a surprisingly traditional and very relatably human story of a young kid's worship, envy and disillusionment with his older brother. Like so many of Shaw's comics, it's a wild experiment that works." -Josh, Locust Moon Comics
• Review: "Shaw is messing with the conventions of the comic strip narrative in a radical way, and that disruption is his true subject...…New School is a broad-ranging fantasia with the emotional template of a blockbuster film, where personal issues of love and loss are overshadowed by grandiose abstractions of good and evil." –Carter Scholz, The Comics Journal
• Plug: Thirteen Minutes lists New School as one of the top 10 comics of 2013 "Aside from the rich family dynamics and subtle sci-fi exploration of the new, New School is largely a paradigmatic tale about willfully crafting a cultural sense of identity. It's the best work so far from a daring creator who just gets better and better with each successive project." -Justin Giampaoli, Thirteen Minutes
• Review:Comics Bulletin lists New School by Dash Shaw on the Top 10 of Comics of 2013. "Dash Shaw expands the vocabulary of comics with his poetic approach to his graphic novel…New School is the most beguilingly fascinating, smartly innovative, deliberately off-putting work of comics art that I've read in several years. It's a masterpiece of innovation." –Jason Sacks, Comics Bulletin
• Review: Booklist Online looks at New School. "More enigmatic than Shaw's previous work, New School is a spectacular display of his graphic artistry... Stunning enough to be suitable for framing." -Ray Olson
• Review:Darling Dork on New School by Dash Shaw. "New School's title could be seen a call for a new breed of comics, a breed that takes only the bare minimum required from the past as it strides boldly toward the future. The New School is here, and Dash Shaw may just be its headmaster." –Nate Derr
• Review: On Jaime Hernandez's latest graphic novel "To experience Maggie's story is to watch a modern comic-book master explore the potential of his craft, and The Love Bunglersrepresents a high point for both the character and her creator." –Oliver Sava, A.V. Club
• Review: Broken Frontier on The Love Bunglers. "Even if you haven't shared the accumulated history of Maggie and Ray over the past 30 years, this is a universal story of literally breathtaking power...It might seem counter-intuitive to suggest that you jump in at what might be the end of it all, but once you've been through this story with the characters, you'll want to immerse yourself in the hundreds of pages that led them there. And your life - in comics and beyond - will be immeasurably richer" –Tom Murphy, Broken Frontier
• Review: Starred Review for Nijigahara Holograph by Inio Asano "Equal parts beautiful and highly disturbing, this story of love and loss, obsession and vengeance, is sometimes too opaque to be easily understood, but it has the kind of depth and layers that encourage multiple readings"–Publishers Weekly
• Review: Sarah Horrocks on Nijigahara Holograph< by Inio Asano. "Life in Nijigahara Holograph is depicted through the management of trauma and memory. Adults become adults by what precious things they are stripped of as children, and how well they function as adults is down to just how well they can deny those memories…That the horrors we are exposed to or create as children are perhaps unfairly navigatory in the horrible lives we end up living. The fragility of children in a horrible world, and how it predisposes them to perpetuate an eternal hell from which there is no salvation. Wire Seaon 4, ya." –Sarah Horrocks, Mercurial Blonde (1 of 2), Mercurial Blonde (2 of 2)
• Review:< \Nijigahara Holograph by Inio Asano "If David Lynch were a Japanese manga artist rather than an American film director, this is the sort of story one imagines he would tell in his hypothetical medium." –J. Caleb Mozzocoo, Robot6
• Review: Suvudu, Random House's blog on Nijigahara Holograph"Nijigahara Holograph has the same strong focus on character [as Asano's previous works], but with much more emphasis on the creepy and violently destructive…The complex, multi-layered storytelling rewards attention...I was left thinking about isolation and the need to belong and how much childhood traumas could shape the adults they became." –Johanna Draper Carlson, Suvudu
• Review:The Blighted Eye, edited by Glenn Bray "...it is a strange and wondrous feast. Behold its glory!...Just try and stay away from this book of temptation, I dare you!" –Librarie D&Q
• Review:The EC Comics Slipcase Vol. 1"They are now considered some of the finest comic books ever published...Publisher Fantagraphics is finally making these comics affordable in a series of high-quality slipcase editions."-Mark Frauenfelder Wink Books "The greatest comic books ever published," He continued on Boing Boing
• Review:Sucker Bait & Zero Hour "These collections show comics in a pure, unadulterated form. Before the Superhero frenzy, before '60s cynicism, and just before the Comics Code Authority started trimming all the gory and sexy fun from the pages with their seal of approval." - Under the Radar
• Review:Zero Hour and Other Stories by Jack Kamen, Ray Bradbury and Al Fieldstein on Forbidden Planet. "…the moral reminder (hey, this is the 50s) that in the end crime doesn't pay and that everyone will get their just deserts...Throughout all of these short tales though Kamen's artwork is gorgeous - the lurid, leering expression of the villainous man, the seductive and yet somehow simultaneously vicious glance of the scheming femme fatale...It's very much of its time though - not just the style of storytelling, but of that early post-war society that it came from." –Joe Gordon, Forbidden Planet International
• Review:Zero Hour and Other Stories "Kamen excelled at drawing 'ordinary,' domestic scenes, and this ability was effectively juxtaposed in a number of creepy stories here, including a trio of Ray Bradbury adaptations...The focus, though, is on the stories themselves, and that is as it should be. Once again Fantagraphics has released a quality collection from an outstanding talent. It is to be hoped that these compilations just keep coming." -David Maine, Spectrum Culture
• Review:The Comics Journal Library Vol. 8: The EC Artists edited by Mike Dean and Gary Groth "This is a terrific book for anyone interested in the workings of the legendary EC Comics from behind the scenes...many of these interviews are obscure or long out of print, and are a trove of gossip and insight into the machinations of history's most notorious comics publisher." -David Maine, Spectrum Culture
• Review:Perfect Nonsenseby George Carlson "Prepare to be hurled deep into the past century to a vividly entrancing, pre-CG place of whimsy and wonder...Poring over the rich detail enlivening children's rhymes or his depiction of the Queen Mary ocean liner can be equally arresting and transporting." –Hays Davis, Under the Radar
• Review:Perfect Nonsenseby George Carlson "George Carlson shows himself to be the missing link between Lyonel Feininger and Dr. Seuss. He was not the sort of cartoonist who was broadly influential, but the sort whose work was known to a relative few and remembered by all of them…George Carlson takes us back to a visual environment where Disney doesn't exist, and thus his work has the fascination of the unfamiliar." –R. Fiore, The Comics Journal
• Review:Stranger Than Life by MK Brown is a staff pick at Last Gasp! "Holy shit, can she draw funny...MK Brown's art is terrific, her writing is unique, and this book makes me want to be struck by lightning while reading it, so I can die happy." –Kristine, Last Gasp
• Review:Stranger Than Life by MK Brown on TCJ: "Even if it wasn't one of those rare books where the writer of the afterword denounces the work of the writer of the foreword, Stranger Than Life would be guaranteed to be unlike anything else on your bookshelf, where it ought to be." –R. Fiore, The Comics Journal
• Review:Pretty in Ink by Trina Robbins "...her latest oversized, lushly illustrated offering is the most beautiful of the bunch. "Pretty in Ink" is encyclopedic in scope, if not scale, as Robbins summarizes lengthy careers with poetic succinctness..."-Jake Austen, Chicago Tribune
• Review:Castle Waiting by Linda Medley is listed on the LitReactor's 10 Most Unconventional Comics to Read. "Decidedly feminist and surprisingly light despite the inherent darkness of many fairy tales, Castle Waiting gives readers a rare and impressive glimpse into a collection of unusual characters and stories that will delight....It's frequently insightful, surprising, and is wonderfully dense and layered, not to mention literally long" -Kelly Thompson, LitReactor
• Review:Black Lung by Chris Wright on No Flying No Tights. "It's all very hazy and evoking something that's a step-sister of steampunk, or perhaps a drugged-out [new] Edward Gorey. Plunder, torture, lechery, drunkenness, mutilation, and madness throng this shocking story to the point that it becomes almost routine…the real point of Blacklung's existence is to let Chris Wright explore what he can do with his squirm-inducing, spooky cartooning style - each panel cross-hatched to infinity, with many blacked-out panels or even whole pages gone black for narrative effect, darkness setting in from all sides." –Emilia Packard, No Flying No Tights • Review:Cannon by Wallace Wood "I can't decide if it's the most amazing thing I've ever read or the most morally reprehensible thing I've ever read. In fact, it's amazing partly because it's so morally reprehensible. John Cannon is a more manly James Bond...Despite the rather warped sexual politics (which might have been more acceptable in the early 1970s, but still seem extreme for the time period), Cannon is a wildly entertaining strip, full of action and excitement." –Greg Burgas, Comic Book Resources
• Review: Sequential Crush takes a heartfelt look at Young Romance 2. "...What you'll discover after reading this volume is that the early Simon and Kirby romance stories are filled with young women who are steadfast in their dreams, and won't quit until they reach them... For me, the backgrounds are an education in our material past."–Jacque Nodell, Sequential Crush
• Review:Comics Worth Reading enjoys Young Romance 2 "...the impulses to risk everything for love or disobey parents who just don't understand are universal. The stories are dense - with intent, with events happening quickly, with full panels that establish setting background and costume, because all that is so important to getting caught up in these stories of women who only want to find love…It's a tribute to Jack Kirby's skill that the images, even when crammed into half the panel space, are so striking and evocative. The text, meanwhile, is full of flavor, setting a deeply emotional, almost melodramatic mood." -Johanna Draper Carlson, Comics Worth Reading
• Plug: Animation Magazine on Peanuts Every Sunday by Charles M. Schulz "You'll find very young versions of the gang and Snoopy in this edition, and it's quite fun to trace the origins of the more sophisticated characters we're more familiar with from later years and the animated specials...the whole reason to have this volume is to relive the joy of reading the Sunday morning funnies-and that's why the larger format is absolutely vital to the experience. Keep ‘em coming, folks!" –Ramin Zahed, Animation Magazine
• Plug: More kinds words about Charles M. Schulz's complete run of Peanuts "…the pleasure of spending time with Charlie Brown and friends isn't purely nostalgic. Schulz was like Emily Dickinson in comic strip form, boring to the core of human experience with just a handful of words and gestures." –John Warner, Chicago Tribune
• Review: Batter Up, Charlie Brown by Charles M. Schulz "Jacob Covey provides the beautiful book design, with a limited palette of spring-appropriate yellows and greens...no matter how humiliating the defeat, Charlie Brown always shows up to play, which is in large part what makes this particular loser such a loveable one."–J. Caleb Mozzocco, School Library Journal • Review: NPR on Charles M. Schulz and reading Peanuts. "Charlie Brown makes me feel better about myself. It's not your normal guilty pleasure read, I know. It's my escape from guilt, into pleasure. The thousands of strips are comforting in their vastness - the most solid books on my shelf that could shield me, momentarily, from the advancing troop of guilt." -Yiyun Li, NPR
• Review:Prison Pit Book Five by Johnny Ryan "Visceral and juvenile; hypersexualized violence and hyperimaginative pseudo-sci-fi-Prison Pit has it all...Over-the-top bananas. I quite enjoyed it. Your mileage may vary. You've been warned." -Jeremy Nilsen, Under the Radar
• Review:Prison Pit Book Five by Johnny Ryan "...despite all the gore, Ryan frequently is able to achieve a certain amount of sublime, horrible beauty, most notably in the way he transitions between scenes...here's a genuine sense of horror at the proceedings, as though the comic were some sort of test, not for the reader (it's much too entertaining and smartly paced) but for Ryan himself, gazing into the abyss perhaps to see what exactly will make him flinch... There's an artistry and legitimacy here that belies the notion that picking at scabs is an exercise in futility." –Chris Mautner, Robot 6
• Review:Ed Piskor's NY Times Best Selling "Hip Hop Family Tree is the story of a very different kind of mash-up counterculture emerging from the empty lots of the Bronx, where commercial pop and jerry-rigged sound systems turned an economic wasteland into a space for creativity, pride, and the birth of a new culture…With Hip Hop Family Tree, Piskor fully embraces the role of graphic historian that he began to fulfill in his earlier work on the Beats and the history of hacking…" –Jared Gardner, Public Books
• Review: "Julia Gfrörer is a talented young cartoonist whose delicate linework brings to her gothic storytelling a fragile sensuality and somber humor. In her young career she has produced some splendid short work and mini-comics, but it is her debut novella, Black is the Color, that has brought her the attention she deserves." -Jared Gardner, Public Books • Review: FPI is excited about the upcoming How To Be Happy "Eleanor Davis is, without question, a major young creator...the constant is an incredible storytelling sense even when really pushing page layout, couple this with bravery, honesty, passion in what she makes and you have a star in the making." -Richard Bruton, Forbidden Planet International
• Plug: Ruben Bolling plugs our new Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Trail of the Unicorn collection by Carl Barks. "These Fantagraphics reprints of the Carl Barks Donald Duck/Uncle Scrooge comics are the gold standard for reprint publications -- which is an embarrassment of riches because the underlying material is the gold standard for cartooning. Some of the best comic book items ever produced, I can't 'Recommonday' them enough." –Ruben Bolling, Tom the Dancing Bug
• Review: Meat Cake by Dame Darcy is available to read digitally and people are loving it! "I was thrilled when I heard the first issue is now available for free on ComiXology. Grab it and enjoy the Victorian witches and that one lady who speaks via Pez messages. It's perfect. (Head to Fantagraphics to get it in print.)" -Whitney Matheson,USA Today
• Plug:Henry Speaks for Himself is mentioned on Gweek by Ruben Bolling on Gweek • Review:Dan DeCarlo "It turns out that DeCarlo was also a prolific cheesecake gag cartoonist, churning out dozens of drawings of buxom women that look like Betty and Veronica's older sisters. This Fantagraphics anthology is masterfully designed in two colors by Jacob Covey..." -Mark Frauenfelder, Wink Books
• Review: "[Barnaby] seems to float, as the best newspapers strips do, in some eternally mythic American moment." –Josh O'Neill, Locust Moon Comics
• Review:Nutsby Gahan Wilson is reviewed on Kitty Sneezes "a memoir-like piece about, ultimately, how scary childhood can be."
• Review: Heroes Online blog looks at VIP, edited by Jonathan Barli. "His madcap-often bawdy and even a little naughty- style was immediately recognizable and oft times laugh out loud funny... a career long retrospective of a comic genius that is long overdue. "–Andy Mansell, Heroes Online
• Review: From our friends across the pond about Janet Hamlin's books "Sketching Guantanamo is an extraordinary witnessing of history in the making. Hamlin's patient skill as a graphic artist seems to communicate the personality of her subjects far more deeply and expressively than any photographer could."–New Internationalist
Collector extraordinaire Glenn Bray will be joined by special guests, Todd Hignite and Robert Williams, who each supplied a foreword to this exceptional book! Get a copy of this gorgeous book featuring artwork from all of your favorite cartoonists and even a section of special Krampus commissions Bray had made once he exhausted the world's supply.
See you tonight from 7:00 to 9:00 PM at the La Luz de Jesus Gallery at Wacko/Soap Plant, located at 4633 Hollywood Blvd. If you cannot attend the event and would like a signed book, contact Soap Plant at (323) 663-0122 or
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