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Jen Vaughn's Blog
Description:
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.

Four Color Fear strikes prismatic terror in the heart of comiXology
Written by Jen Vaughn | Filed under John BensonGreg SadowskiFour Color Feardigital comicscomiXology 17 Apr 2013 10:50 AM

Four Color Fear at comiXology

The book that has been sold-out twice in a row comes to you, dear reader, in digital form. Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950s.  The finest non-EC horror covers and stories of the pre-code era by artist perennials Jack Cole, Reed Crandall, George Evans, Frank Frazetta, Jack Katz, Al Williamson, Basil Wolverton, and Wallace Wood, collected in a robust and affordable volume. And by volume, we mean four. This book is SO BIG, SO HUGE that we had to break it up into four parts: CMYK for the printing colors Cyan (blue), Magenta, Yellow and Black or parts one, two, three, four.

Editors John Benson and Greg Sadowski have sifted through hundreds of rare books to cherry-pick the most compelling scripts and art, and they provide extensive background notes on the artists, writers, and companies involved in their creation. Digital restoration has been performed with subtlety and restraint, mainly to correct registration and printing errors, with every effort made to retain the flavor of the original comics, and to provide the reader the experience of finding a most delightful read in their dusty, creaky attic. Each part is only 6.99 for 80-something pages bound to terrify and keep you up all night long, glowing from your tablets thanks to comiXology.

Four Color Fear

"[Its] a wonderfully creepy hurtle through the exuberant, cheerfully gross and icky horror comics that prevailed in the golden, pre-Comics-Code era. ...[T]he art is brilliant: indistinct piles of slimy viscera, purple-green zombies, skull-faced vampires and demons, Satan in a dozen guises, witches and occult symbols, creatures from the eleven hells of the darkest mythos of the human spirit." – Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing

Lilli Carré honoree of Lynd Ward Award
Written by Jen Vaughn | Filed under Lilli Carréawards 16 Apr 2013 12:42 PM

Heads or Tails

It was announced last week by Penn State University Libraries and the Pennsylvania Center for the Book that Chris Ware won the Lynd Ward Prize for Best Graphic Novel 2013, Lilli Carré with Heads or Tails was one of the two Honorable Mentions (along with Theo Ellsworth's The Understanding Monster)

"Each story is exquisitely crafted, demonstrating both a compelling literary style and a rich, engaging design sense that can seem deceptively naïve or childlike on first glance but in context reveals striking sophistication and complexity." You're damn right, it was and is! Lilli Carré's book, Heads or Tails is available in its beautiful simplicity and accumulating complexity at our online store or a bookstore near you.

Heads or Tails inside

Strange Suspense: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 1 on comiXology
Written by Jen Vaughn | Filed under Steve Ditkodigital comicscomiXology 16 Apr 2013 11:52 AM

Ditko pad

Finally, the sold-out first volme of the Ditko Archives is here in digital reading glory via comiXology, Strange Suspense. Before the Amazing Spider-Man and mysterious Dr. Strange, the legendary comic book artist Steve Ditko was conjuring all manners of horrors at his drawing table. In his first two years in the industry (1953 and1954), Ditko drew tales of macabre suspense that were not yet hobbled by the Comics Code Authority. These stories featured graphic bloodshed, dismemberment and blood-curdling acid baths as the ugly end to the lives of the dark and twisted inhabitants of Steve Ditko's imagination.

Strange Suspense: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 1 features, for the first time, spectacular full-color reprints of every story from those first two years of his career. Beginning with Ditko's very first story to Ditko's short stint in the Joe Simon/Jack Kirby studio, to Ditko's eventual encampment at the Charlton Comics operation in 1954, readers will see the initial works of an artist already at a level of craftsmanship that exceeded most of his peers. The book also features editor Blake Bell's insightful introduction, providing historical background and speaking to Ditko's influence and his unique craft.

Enjoy this 238 page masterpiece on your reading tablets, anywhere, anytime.

"Fantastic... Raw and grotesque and beautifully drawn and presented." –Dave Gibbons  

MoCCA in photos - All the photos
Written by Jen Vaughn | Filed under Ulli LustNoah Van SciverLinda MedleyLeslie SteinKim DeitchJohnny RyanJoe DalyJames RombergerJacques TardiGilbert HernandezGary GrothEC ComicsDrew FriedmanDiane NoominDavid WojnarowiczDash ShawChuck ForsmanCharles BurnsBill Griffith 15 Apr 2013 12:59 PM

EC Books
MoCCA was a BLAST, as usual. PR Director, Jacq Cohen, and I showed up early on Friday to set up the table. People couldn't wait for Saturday, clumping around the new books. Our two newest EC Comics Library releases featuring Al Williamson and Jack Davis' work are creating a heartbreakingly beautiful rainbow. 

MoCCA
One side of the set-up table!

Fantagraphics table
Friday night was Dash Shaw's opening for his New School art exhibition and 30th birthday at Desert Island. His fianceé (sorry, ladies and germs) made a cake that was uber-delicious. Below, Dash talks about his new comics.

Dash at Desert Island
Party hardy, Gabrielle Bell is talking to Ariel Shrag (!) in the left-hand corner. 

Desert Island
A gentleman was purchasing Julio's Day by Gilbert Hernandez at Desert Island so we had to compliment him on his exquisite taste. Lo and behold, Tony (or so he says) showed up at MoCCA the next day ready to buy more quality comics, this time Castle Waiting Vol. 1 by Linda Medley. My mom would be so proud that I'm still somewhat polite!

Tony Tony with Castle Waiting
I ran into a familiar face, cartoonist and animation intern Andrew Greenstone, who was more than willing to hang out and shot the shit---I mean, talk business.

Andrew Greenstone and Jen Vaughn
If I ever become a comic book store owner, I hope I'm as cool as Gabe Fowler. The red print was a Desert Island exclusive!

Gabe Fowler
The next day MoCCA started out with the great Bill Griffith signing new copies of Zippy: The Dingburg Diaries

Bill and fan
Cartoonist Charles Burns showed up to hang out with friends and look at comics. I never ever tire of that man's company, but he did mention some people are reticent to eat with him because of what he draws in his comics. FOOLS, I say! Also, Evan Dorkin makes Chris Duffy guffaw in the background. Doesn't "Griffith, Dorkin, Duffy and Burns" sound like an amazing lawfirm? Like possibly corrupt but they probably have a pastry chef on staff to appease their clients?

Griffith, Dorkin, Duffy and Burns
Also signing at MoCCA was Kim Deitch, whose new book The Amazing, Enlightening and Absolutely True Adventures of Katherine Whaley is coming out soon and is haunting, to put it mildly. Kim Deitch and Bill Griffith
Deitch brought his original pages which fans poured over. Kim Deitch and fans
James Romberger
and Marguerite Van Cook made their Fantagraphics signing debut for 7 Miles a Second, the moving comic written by David Wojnarowicz. The book has one of those covers that is both oblique and arresting (Jacq adds up some quick math on the right). While I did not stop a child from picking up the book, I did tell a parent or two it had adult material in it. One of my favorite sells of the weekend was selling Prison Pit Book Two to a 14 year old kid whose mom seemed dubious until I brought up the philosophy behind the book. The teen gave me a giant wink as he left, he might not get it still.

James, Marguerite and Jacq
Van Cook discussed innovative printing techniques from their travels and non-profit advice while James would sketch in signed copies of the book. 

7 Miles a Second
Recently, Alex Dueben talked to Romberger for Comic Book Resources and stopped to meet them in person.  

Romberger, Van Cook and Dueben
Next up was Leslie and Dash! Local cartoonist Leslie Stein is also in a pretty crazy fun band, Prince Rupert's Drops. If you live in the New York area, check them out. The rest of us will just live via our headphones or listening to their tracks on the recent AudioFemme interview. Leslie signed my old copy of Eye of the Majestic Creature and we talked about second book that's coming out this fall! I heard some comments from other cartoonists that they feel weird about asking fellow toonies to sign their books but I don't give a humdinkle about that. Make it FANCY for me.

Leslie Stein
Dash signed the spine of many a Bottomless Belly Button and cover of 3 New Stories for eager fans. Those gorgeous red prints (you can only see a quarter of it) are available from Desert Island if you are looking for something for the Shaw fan who 'has it all.' 

Dash Shaw signs
One of the favorite books of the con was Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life by Ulli Lust. Mk Reed confessed to reading the original edition with an English translation, she was so eager. Here, Carl Antonowicz expresses something...yes, it's joy at the book!

Ulli Lust's book and Carl Antonowicz
Publishers Weekly's Cal Reid looks great in his Love and Rockets shirt (Virtual Memories podcast host, Gil Roth suited up behind him).

Cal Reid
Really loved that Bill Griffith whipped out some future Zippy strips (for May!) during a lull during his signings. No big deal.

Zippy Panels
Self Made Hero
cartoonist JAKe (according to the internet) is a huge Drew Friedman fan, he just can't take great photos.

Drew Friedman
Given our close proximity to the stairs to the bathroom, there wasn't much chance for wondering down aisles or buying comics. I really wanted to read L. Nichols' Flocks and she was helpful enough to COME TO ME with her Square for my plastic purchase.

L. Nichols
Tucker Stone, of TCJ and Bergen Street Comics, came by to get Gary's signature on a copy of The Comics Journal. Pretty cute, right?

Tucker Stone and Gary Groth
Jacq and me with two of our debut books by Ulli Lust and Gilbert Hernandez! Photo by Dre Grigoropol.

Jen and Jacq
Hung with bossman Gary Groth, Dash, Leslie and Jacq one night. 

Gary Groth, Dash Shaw, Jen Vaughn, Leslie Stein, Jacq Cohen
Charles Forsman
was out and about with his Oily Comics micropublishing outfit. Chuck's comic, The End of the Fucking World, will be out this July from Fantagraphics in one single beautiful book. I'm so excited about that. We in no way support NCIS.

Jen Vaughn and Chuck Forsman
Chuck and I go way back, we used to work at the same graphic novel library together in Vermont. A photo from 2009:

 Jen and Chuck
Speaking of libraries, the next day Tom Spurgeon and I visited Columbia University's Butler Library and Rare Book room, led around by enthusiastic librarian Karen Green. It was so very cool to see our books with library binding but they've also perfected a myler binding so we don't lose those cool spine designs. Shaw's Bottomless Belly Button and Noah Van Sciver's The Hypo.

Library binding  Library binding
Kim, I didn't forget about you, the library has a lot of Jacques Tardi books. Some were checked out, which is even better than finding them at the library.

Tardi  Jen and Jacques Tardi 
A grand place I hope to visit again.  Thanks to Anelle Miller and her trusty band of volunteers for the enjoyable convention, Gary and Jacq for booth help plus a few of these photos. Lastly, another one of my favorite moments of the week was selling Dungeon Quest Book One to a gentleman on Saturday who came back Sunday to buy the other two after reading the first in one sitting. It was a cherry on top of an awesome convention.

Gary Groth

New Comics Day 4.10.13
Written by Jen Vaughn | Filed under New Comics DayJack DavisEC ComicsAl Williamson 11 Apr 2013 1:05 PM

This week's comic shop shipment is slated to include the following new titles. Read on to see what comics-blog commentators and web-savvy comic shops are saying about them (more to be added as they appear), check out our previews at the links, and contact your local shop to confirm availability.  

50 Girls 50

50 Girls 50 and Other Stories (The EC Comics Library)
illustrated by Al Williamson et al.; written by Al Feldstein et al.

264-page black & white 7.25" x 10.25" hardcover • $28.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-577-8

"these comics still matter, at least to hardcore fans. I think they look great, and I enjoy these comics for what they are as opposed to how they were seen in the miserable context of 1950s mainstream comic books. I'd buy the Williamson before the Davis, but I think most people I know prefer the Davis." –Tom Spurgeon, Comics Reporter

"Al Williamson's classic tales from Weird Science and Weird Fantasy which stand as landmarks in comics sci-fi/fantasy." –Benn Ray, Atomic Books

"The great Al Williamson is one of my all-time favorite artists…Unlike the cookie-cutter plots of the EC horror stories, 50 Girls 50 contains  original ’50s style Sci-Fi stories including three tales adapted from the works of SF Greats Ray Bradbury and Harlan Ellison. And like the great Mr. Loomis mentioned above, Al Williamson is a master at capturing the female form in all its glory times 50!" –Andy Mansell, HeroesOnline

'Tain't the Meat

'Tain't the Meat... It's the Humanity! and Other Stories (The EC Comics Library)
by Jack DavisAl Feldstein

224-page black & white 7.25" x 10.25" hardcover • $28.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-578-5

"…this edition is an ideal place to get the true feel of the 1950′s EC Horror comics. These horror stories are rather formulaic, but the art of Jack Davis makes them essential.  But that taint all…" –Andy Mansell, HeroesOnline

"Fantagraphics continues its excellent series of EC Comics Library editions with two new books. 'Tain't The Meat collects some of Jack Davis's Tales from The Crypt stories which highlight his masterful balance of gore, humor and terror." –Benn Ray, Atomic Books



Swing away with 21 on comiXology
Written by Jen Vaughn | Filed under Wilfred Santiagodigital comicscomiXology21 11 Apr 2013 11:31 AM

21 The Story of Roberto Clemente

Wilfred Santiago's baseball biography comic is ready to read on the way to your next away game at comiXology. 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente follows Clemente's life from his early days growing up in rural Puerto Rico, the highlights of his career (including the 1960s World Series where he helped the Pirates win its first victory in 33 years, and his 3000th hit in 1972 during the last official at-bat of his life) as well as his private life and public mission off the field.

Named one of Library Journal's Best Books 2011: Graphic Novels, one of Booklist's Top 10 Graphic Novels: 2012 (for 2011 books), one of ALA/YALSA's Great Graphic Novels for Teens 2012, 21 is a great book for teens, adults and baseball fans all around. 179 pages of the struggle and success of a immigrant baseball player achieving the American dream can be yours. Batter up!

21 page

"...21: The Story of Roberto Clemente... is drawn with a jagged whimsy that gets at the sudden sharpness of a baseball game's action, the frenzy that comes from out of nowhere to temporarily replace the long, slow stretches of waiting, scratching, spitting and eyeballing opponents that are endemic to the sport…Comic books bring a different kind of narrative that's not possible in any other medium — not books, not movies.'" – Julia Keller, Chicago Tribune

"Santiago evokes the world Clemente lived in, from the dusty Puerto Rican streets where he played baseball with bottle caps and tree branches to his years as a perennial All-Star. The art is scratchy and abstract when it’s dealing with home and homesickness, and then hardens into the stuff of superhero comics whenever Clemente steps to the plate." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club

21 page

Beer And Movie Fest All Month Long in Portland
Written by Jen Vaughn | Filed under videoThings to seemiscJacques Boyreaueventscontests 4 Apr 2013 12:10 PM
BAM MoveandBeerfest

BAM, BeerAndMovie Fest, returns for its 4th year in the Portland market. Sponsored exclusively by Ninkasi Brewing and Fantagraphics Books, BAM takes place April 5-11 at the Academy Theater, and April 5-May 2 at the Laurelhurst Theater. Sexy Time editor Jacques Boyreau tells you why you need to be there:

With BAM (BeerAndMovie) in its 4th year, can BAB (BeerAndBook) be far off? Let's hope it ain't! If the alignment design (by Olga Lopata) between Fantagraphics Books and Ninkasi Brewing that adorns our marquee is any omen, expect BAB soon.

Back to BAM...as the info posits, we got some cool movies ready to go. Speaking to the mosh of BAM, what fest has ever existed that so neatly connected ANNIE HALL with THE DUELLISTS (portraits of obsession); or HARD BOILED with PATHS OF GLORY (studies of body counts); or WHERE EAGLES DARE with STARSHIP TROOPERS (paragons of WW2 fetish); or ROAD HOUSE with KELLY'S HEROES (macho magical realism meets feminine absurdity). Yes it is so---BAM occupies the most potentially integrated, schizoidal zone of Pop Rep Cinema known to man or venue...Zoinx! All you need do is recall that in our first year we paired BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA with ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING.

The Academy series comprises 4 titles showing every day, April 5-11: ANNIE HALL (1977), STARSHIP TROOPERS (1997), ROAD HOUSE (1989), and HARD BOILED (1992). All Academy titles are on 35mm film.

The Laurelhurst series runs 4 consecutive weeks, with each title playing for the whole week: April 5-11 WHERE EAGLES DARE (1968), April 12-18 PATHS OF GLORY (1957), April 19-25 KELLY'S HEROES(1970), April 26-May 2 THE DUELLISTS (1977). All Laurelhurst titles are digital prints.

So sit your butts in some seats for sweet films and win some Fantagraphics books while you're there! Brew Views says "it’s still a great excuse to gather with a group of friends, the Swayze and some giant bugs for a beer—or six." There's even an art contest called "Interpreting Patrick Swayze" going on during the fest. Wanna draw the Swaze? You can turn in your art in the theater during any show or email it directly to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it . Here are some of early entries:

Swayze Fan art

Tim Colley captures the Road House homoeroticism between Swayze's "Dalton" character and the mysteriously named "Jimmy" (played by Marshall R. Teague).

Swayze fan art

Tim Colley channels The Swayze in sensitive black and white.

Swayze fan art

Colley goes "meta" with this Swayze-as-tat piece.

Venue Information:

Academy Theater
7818 SE Stark Street
Portland, OR 97215
503.252.0500
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Laurelhurst Theater
2735 East Burnside Street
Portland, OR 97214
503.232.5511
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Julio's Day at comiXology
Written by Jen Vaughn | Filed under Gilbert Hernandezdigital comicscomiXology 4 Apr 2013 11:06 AM

Julio's Day on iPad

The Year of Gilbert Hernandez begins with a bang with Julio's Day, now available via comiXology. Or truth be told it begins in the year 1900, with the scream of a newborn. It ends, 100 pages later, in the year 2000, with the death rattle of a 100-year-old man. The infant and the old man are both Julio, and Julio's Day (originally serialized in Love and Rockets Vol. II but never completed until now) is Hernandez's latest graphic novel, a masterpiece of elliptical, emotional storytelling that traces one life - indeed, one century in a human life - through a series of carefully crafted, consistently surprising and enthralling vignettes.

This singular, standalone story released this week both digitally and in print will help cement Gilbert Hernandez's position as one of the strongest and most original cartoonists of this, or any other, century. And you can read it anyway via your tablets thanks to comiXology.

Julio's Day

"A haunting performance and about as perfect a literary work as I've read in years. Hernandez accomplishes in 100 pages what most novelists only dream of — rendering the closeted phlegmatic Julio in all his confounding complexity and in the process creating an unflinching biography of a community, a country and a century. A masterpiece." – Junot Díaz

 

New Comics Day 4/3/13
Written by Jen Vaughn | Filed under Robert CrumbPeanutsNew Comics DayGuy PeellaertGilbert HernandezCharles M Schulz 3 Apr 2013 4:57 PM

This week's comic shop shipment is slated to include the following new titles. Read on to see what comics-blog commentators and web-savvy comic shops are saying about them (more to be added as they appear), check out our previews at the links, and contact your local shop to confirm availability. 

Julio's Day

Julio's Day
by Gilbert Hernandez

104-page black & white 7.5" x 10.75" hardcover • $19.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-606-5

"This is the second major book for Gilbert Hernandez in what may be seen as his year, a changes-the-way-you-view-it collection of a recent… serial…Gilbert Hernandez can do it all." –Tom Spurgeon, Comics Reporter

The Adventures of Jodelle

The Adventures of Jodelle
by Guy Peellaert & Pierre Bartier

164-page full-color 10.25" x 13.25" hardcover • $45.00
ISBN: 978-1-60699-530-3

 

"Guy Peellaert was to Europe what Andy Warhol was to America — except Guy had more talent!" – Jim Steranko

 

"Lusciously designed flat color patterns and a dizzying forced perspective reminiscent of Matisse and Japanese prints. Graphically, Jodelle sets a new record in comic-strip sophistication." – New York magazine

The Complete Peanuts Vol. 19

The Complete Peanuts 1987-1988 (Vol. 19)
by Charles M. Schulz

344-page black & white 8.5" x 7" hardcover • $28.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-634-8

"the time period when Schulz moved into three-panel dailies on a more regular basis. It comes in the second half of the book, and it's jarring at first -- you realize just how much of Peanuts' unique energy came from Schulz's ability to shape his characters' dialogue through silences, false starts and awkward points of discussion." –Tom Spurgeon, Comics Reporter

The Complete Crumb Vol. 2

The Complete Crumb Comics Vol. 2: Some More Early Years of Bitter Struggle (New Softcover Ed.)
by Robert Crumb

144-page black & white/color 8.5" x 11" softcover • $19.99
ISBN: 978-0-93019-362-1







Comedy Central, Fantagraphics and You
Written by Jen Vaughn | Filed under videoTony MillionaireThings to seeJanet Hamlin 29 Mar 2013 2:36 PM

Colbert and Tony Milionaire

Just a cool note that some of our artists' work has been appearing on The Colbert Report and The Daily Show. It's friggin' awesome because you (dear reader) have been with us for a long time, supporting the likes of Tony Millionaire or our political comics, this is Janet Hamlin's first book with us, and now they are showing up on your computer monitors or TVs or Google glass. Above, Steve Colbert ran a picture of Tony Millionaire's cover to the classic Moby Dick. Below is a clip of Jon Stewart on The Daily Show discussing Guantanamo Bay detainee, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and his reaction to courtroom sketch of himself by Hamlin. Hamlin was the only media allowed to visually document the trials from 2006-early 2013.

 Janet Hamlin's work also appeared on The Colbert Report last month in a piece on censorship of the Guantanamo Bay courtroom trials with Stephen Colbert. You can pre-order her book Sketching Guantanamo from us today. Enjoy the twisted system that is American justice in action.

 One day we'll have some of our creators on there, showing off their amazing work and our sensuous book design.


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