Appropos of nothing comics, Beasts! contributor Heiko Mueller has an art show coming up here in the States this fall and "Gangland II" (pictured here) seems to be a culmination of everything that's inspiring about Heiko's work. I couldn't talk about this piece without talking about every anxiety and fixation on death that I have about the passage of time. I'd have to tell about the ghosts I had in my room as a child and nobody wants that here. Heiko captured time itself like I've never seen it captured. Check out his Flickr page HERE.
Not-to-be-missed Jon Vermilyea show opens Friday night in Los Angeles. I lifted this info straight off the Secret Headquarters site:
I believe Jon told me this show is all prints he drew reinterpreting the infamous "Mars Attacks" trading cards from the 1960s. Jon's old silkscreen book was a jewel of pop culture sickness that mashed-up the legend of Hercules' Trials with He-Man's life in Eternia. Like a Saturday Morning cartoon made by an acid-tripping Basil Wolverton, these Vermilyea interpretations should be amazing in person.
Meanwhile, in case you need a meat shirt, find one here. Or a print. Whatever.
Paul Buckley is Art Director at Penguin Books, a publisher known for iconic design (and Art Directors), and he recently started a Flickr page featuring a small sampling of his work. Buckley is also the guy who managed to spearhead all those amazing classics-of-literature-covered-by-cartoonists. It may seem obvious-- Chris Ware doing the cover art to Candide, Jason doing Dharma Bums, Charles Burns on The Jungle, and so many more-- but getting all that through the marketing teams and other red tape at an enormous publishing house isn't just brilliant, it's tenacious.
Looks like the hits just keep coming with the biggest no-brainer of all (Tony Millionaire covering Moby Dick) plus Ho Che Anderson, Jeffrey Brown, etc.
Perhaps our next online poll ought to ask for suggestions on future Penguin Classics. My vote: Bil Keane doing Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal."
UPDATE: I have to learn not to make these sloppy blog posts. I've made a lengthy note in the comments on why, as a book designer, I consider this feat noteworthy.
More importantly, Paul Buckley has pointed out that Helen Yentus was his partner on the original round of these covers. One of the great things Yentus pulls off is making novel covers that read as complete images, a perfect hybrid of typography and image. So it makes sense she would be involved here.
Portable Grindhouse won't be out until the late holidays but after a long delay I'm pleased to finally be sending Jacques Boyreau's baby off to press. What seemed like a good suggestion at the time-- to present these old beat up video tapes as austere artifacts (my "Richard Avedon" presentation according to Jacques)-- turned into a nightmare of production. But at last, rest easy VHS fans, this thing is going to press.
Featuring 200 pages of spreads showing the front and back of video boxes selected by Jacques, the book will also come inside a light cardboard slipcase, video box style. (Note, that's not the cover above (nor is the image at Amazon), that's just Flog filler.)
San Diego hosts Comic Con International this week and every comics "insider" has an opinion about CCI and most of the opinions I hear are exasperated ones, heavy with a burned-out tone. Granted, I've only been to one year of Comic Con-- 2007-- but I loved it. I'm a guy who hates crowds but still I LOVE COMIC CON. Comic Con is filled wall-to-wall with people who are SO FUCKING EXCITED to be THERE. Everyone is excited just to be among comics and people who also like comics. Not that they know what to do with that energy-- it's still largely poorly-socialized individuals-- but they are EXCITED.
In fact, literally 10% or better of them are so excited that they even made a costume to show everyone how excited they are to be in this place. Probably more than that. I mean, some people you see and their queer pastiche of street clothes and odd baubles makes you wonder if they maybe started off at 5 in the morning donning a fantastically curated getup and then slowly, over breakfast and the drive down, began to question their confidence about walking around as a superhero so now they just have the appearance of someone who got off work, went to the gym, then a disco bar, and got too drunk to remember which clothes were for what. AND IT DOESN'T MATTER. The saggy guy still gets to walk among the throngs as Superman in public for a day, which is more than Clark Kent ever got to do.
Anyway, I love that energy. Even guys like Eric Reynolds, third arm at Fantagraphics, has gone to Comic Con every year for something like twenty years (except the one year his daughter was born) and he gets weary but, still, he loves it. He loves any opportunity to see masters of the medium, like the Hernandez Brothers. Here he is enjoying Gilbert's and Mario's company:
Of course, he'd say he loves all the Bros. equally but he clearly REALLY enjoys Jaime best:
The point is Eric's just another guy who loves comics in a sea of people who seriously love comics. And everybody there has the chance to talk with a hero.
In 2007 I got to meet Kevin Eastman, who was a ridiculously nice guy. He was supposed to contribute to BEASTS2 but I guess he didn't get my emails:
Even Steven Weissman got the chance to meet a hero. Here he is with Gwar or maybe it's just an S&M community theatre troop. I guess I'm not sure but he and the guy in underpants were both pretty happy to see each other:
But, alas, this year the Art Department of Fantagraphics Books (Adam Grano and I) are just too busy to trek down to The Con. Besides having too much work to do, we are spearheading the first ever Fantacon, which is mostly just him and me drinking a beer at lunch. But crowds are welcome.
NOTE: Thanks to Mike and Janice for the photo of the TMNT bus rolling into SD09.
Jordan Crane is offering an enormous screenprint of one of the most classic comic book covers ever made-- Jaime Hernandez's art for Love and Rockets #24. Epic. Perfect.
Plus, he's got new prints of his own work, including the sure-to-be-classic cover of his latest issue of "Uptight". You buy these two prints, you put them on your wall, it's your funeral when your mind explodes.
Plus you can buy the second in his series of objects, this time of raffle tickets. Buy prints here.
After a very long stint as our Fantastic Intern here in the Fantagraphics Art Department, we are very pleased (and relieved) to have the poorly-photographed Alexa Koenings working on staff as Designer #3. We all know liquor sales rise as recession creeps but who'd have thought that we could add staff at a comics publisher?
Onward we push, to bring the world more comics, more graphic novels, more of the best inky inebriants. Thank you comics buyers for your support. We owe you a drink.
Trivia: Alexa's the only person I've met whose name is spelled and pronounced similar to Matt Groening. Fate?
I've yet to turn out to Capitol Hill Block Party but for a set of only Built To Spill fan favorites there's a good chance I will. Using the internet to its best effect, BTS are performing a set list decided by public opinion. I voted Dystopian Dream Girl but it's looking pretty iffy.
(*The old Fantagraphics benefit poster pictured above is unrelated but available from our pals at Patent Pending.)
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