Olympia, WA is a city well-known for its DIY ethos, so it's perfect that the guest of honor at this year's Olympia Comics Festival is Megan Kelso, an artist who self-published her influential mini-comic Girlhero throughout the '90s.
And, it's also appropriate that we will be debuting the reissue of her collection Queen of the Black Black at the festival! YES!
Queen of the Black Black compiles Megan's early Girlhero strips, along with a few other things, into a wonderful redesigned volume. The original limited edition pressing of this came out nearly a decade ago and has been long, gone, out-of-print, people. On a personal note, I'm just overjoyed that Fantagraphics is getting to reprint it. This is a book that NEEDS to be out there.
And there are so many opportunities to hear more about it, and all her books, from Ms. Kelso herself, this Saturday, May 21st!
Not only will Megan be there, but Mome artist (and another DIY champion herself) Andrice Arp will be at the festival. I'm waiting for Olympia to explode from the awesome when Andrice and Megan do their panel.
11:00 AM - 1:00 PM // Capitol Theater [206 5th Ave. SW] Introduction and live music by Spiritual Successor(us) Interview with Paul Chadwick Rick Perry presents a classic animated short Super Fun Contest Interview with Megan Kelso Stand-up comedian Morgan Picton makes comics funny again Why Not Do Some Improv About Comics? Interview with Larry Gonick Unintentionally Funny Comics Closing Remarks
But that's what made the talk so interesting and informative for me. Santiago sat down with local best-selling author Rob Neyer, national baseball editor for SBNation.com, and together, they introduced me to this inspirational athlete, whose accomplishments during his short life extended way beyond the dugout.
Wilfred Santiago talks with Rob Neyer.
Thanks to Rob and Wilfred for the engaging discussion at the store, and thanks to everyone for coming out on a rare sunny Seattle evening to participate and listen! If you live outside of Seattle, or just weren't able to make it for some reason, we've got video of their talk right here! (Please excuse the background noise... Not surprisingly, Steven Jesse Bernstein was talking about this neighborhood in his poem "More Noise Please.")
[On YouTube in two parts here and here, in case the embedded videos don't show above.]
After the talk, our curator Larry Reid turned the radio dial to the Mariners game (we're doing... bad?), and fans of baseball and comic arts lined up to get their books signed by Santiago.
There's more pics to see on the Fantagraphics Flickr page. Wilfred has some more events lined up, and I highly encourage everyone, sports fan or not, to go! We'll keep you posted with future signings and events right here on the Fantagraphics FLOG.
I can say, without a doubt, that was the Best TCAF Ever!
...Okay, fine, so Fantagraphics has only done the Toronto Comics Art Festivaltwice, but it truly was an amazing year! Thank you so much to Christopher, Peter, Miles, Andrew, Gina, and all the fantastic volunteers of TCAF!
And, of course, one of my favorite things about TCAF?
Canadian donuts. Oh yeah.
Mike and I woke up bright and early to set-up our table. There was a momentary panic when I realized one of our display racks didn't arrive from Seattle, but the stellar staff at the Toronto Reference Library loaned us one of their carts for the weekend so we could get all of our shipment out! Thanks Ab!!
This photo serves as proof that we DID bring copies of Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1 (see? on the front corner there) and Wandering Son Book 1 (front and center). They both sold out so quickly, some people thought their debut was a myth, but nope! It's also true that Wandering Son sold out in the first two hours of the show!
Not too surprisingly, The Raven was another sell-out, along with Lorenzo's Ignatz title Chimera. (Stigmata was also insanely close to selling out.) And how gracious and kind was Lorenzo Mattotti? I'm envious of everyone who got to attend his panels! He kept modestly insisting his English wasn't very good (it was good!), but his intelligence and great humor shine through in any language! Thank you so much to TCAF and the Italian Cultural Institute for bringing Lorenzo to Toronto!
Lorenzo may have been a "Guest of Honor" at the con, but really, all of our artists were "guests of honor" at the Fantagraphics table! We feel so lucky to work with some of the nicest people in all of comics, like Zak Sally here (seen with fellow Ignatz artist Mattotti). Not only did Zak do beautiful signings, but "Professor Zak" came out, engaging customers (and us!) with his insane depth of knowledge on comic history! [Note to Zak: I totally wanna see that Osamu Tezuka DVD!]
It's not a TCAF without pre-eminent Ditko scholar Blake Bell, and we were thrilled to have Dave Cooperattending TCAF for what we hope was the first of many signings to come!
And, of course, it's everyone favorite: T Edward Bak, seen here modeling his sweet new Popeye shirt. Covey, I know you're jealous. Bak split his time between signing with us and signing with Koyama Press, ran by Anne Koyama, aka The Nicest Woman in Comics™.
On Saturday night, Mike, Lorenzo and I attended our first ever Doug Wright Awards, where this adorable picture was shown during the induction of David Boswell (far left in the photo) into the "Giants of the North." Yes, that isDaniel Clowes with The Hernandez Brothers and a grunged-out Chester Brown. Awesome.
Without a doubt, the most romantic moment of TCAF was when Drawn & Quarterly's Tom Devlin surprised Peggy Burns with the prettiest bouquet on Mother's Day! They were the Prom King and Queen of TCAF!
Another favorite moment was watching T Edward Bak and Lorenzo Mattotti at the TCAF After-Party on Sunday night. The two artists bonded over a crazy book T Edward found featuring Heavy Metal-style artwork. We got on the subject of "First Concerts." Mike and Todd both saw U2 on the Joshua Tree tour, albeit in separate cities. (High fives ensued.) And Lorenzo's first concert? Canned Heat. Just when you thought the guy couldn't get any cooler.
So, as you can see, it was a wonderful time at TCAF! (And there are lots more photos over at the Fantagraphics Flickr page.) Thank you so much to everyone who stopped by the Fantagraphics table to browse or purchase books — we're so grateful for your support and your enthusiasm, and we can't wait to see you again next year!
Brooklyn! Head over to Littefield on Thursday, May 19th for The Spectactular Superfriends Show, featuring a performance from our superfriend, Michael Kupperman! He will be doing a live performance along with some "amazing friends," and thank goodness for that, 'cause you don't wanna do a live performance with lame friends. Only amazing ones.
The rest of the line-up seems pretty awesome, too, and I'm talking particularly about the headliner Adam WarRock, who is apparently an attorney-turned-MC, and is considered "the Internet's foremost comic book nerdcore rapper." I hope he raps about Snake 'N' Bacon. I mean, that's a dope rhyme in itself.
Our conjoined neighbors, Georgetown Records, will be transformed into a "mom-and-pop punk rock emporium circa 1988 Seattle," as our curator Larry Reid explains it. Beloved local icon Russ Fallout will be DJ'ing records from that era; just don't make any requests for Leonard & the Love Gods -- I think Kurt, Kurt and Kurt are still after royalties.
And then, later that night, join Fantagraphics just around the corner at The Mix -- uh, I mean, Buddy & Jay's Scrap Metal Emporium, as it'll be known for the occasion! We've got Can You Imagine? on the bill, the Seattle supergroup featuring Peter Bagge and Steve Fisk. The Capillaries are back, and cartoonist Matt Southworth and friends will take the stage.
And also on the bill, it's Wormburner, all the way from Buddy Bradley's hometown of New Jersey! You can even catch a live in-studio performance from Wormburner at 1:00 pm PT that Saturday on local radio station KEXP 90.3 FM (streaming worldwide at KEXP.ORG).
[Full disclosure: KEXP is my other home aside from Fantagraphics... and, uh, that other building... thingy... where our beds and TV... is.]
Tune in this Saturday, May 7th at 7:00 pm PT as Charles guest DJ's on KEXP's Audioasis, the longest-running local music show in Seattle. He'll be spinning some of his favorite local bands, and talking to host Hannah Levin about his upcoming exhibit "Charles Peterson: Taking Punk to the Masses."
"Charles Peterson: Taking Punk to the Masses" opens Saturday, May 14th at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery in the somewhat-noisy neighborhood of Georgetown. Join us from 6:00 to 9:00 pm for a reception with Charles, and a guest appearance from fellow grunge-era icon Peter Bagge.
After the reception, Pete's band Can You Imagine?(featuring another local icon, musician/producer Steve Fisk) will be playing a show around the corner at The Mix. Opening acts include the return of The Capillaries, fronted by cartoonist/musician Matthew Southworth, and Wormburner from Hoboken, New Jersey – who, incidentally, we'll be live on KEXP themselves, performing an in-studio session on May 14th at 1:00 pm PT.
And the great thing about all these KEXP sessions is that anyone can listen at any time, no matter where you live, thanks to the streaming audio at KEXP.ORG!
Fantagraphics is thrilled to be heading across the border for the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, this weekend, Saturday, May 7th and Sunday, May 8th! Mike Baehr and I will be on hand, and, yes, it's true... we're bringing The Mouse to Canada! In fact, just look at all the new titles we're bringing with us:
Indeed, we will have The Raven after all, just in time for you to get your copy signed by artist Lorenzo Mattotti, making the trip all the way from Italy for a very rare international appearance! And he's just one of the many amazing artists signing this weekend!
Where can you find all this awesome-ness? Swing on by tables #162-163.
[ click the map to open a larger version ]
And don't forget to take in some of the great panels organized by TCAF! Listed below are the panels involving Fantagraphics artists, but, really, check out the entire schedule, 'cause there are tons of really interesting talks going on! (Mike, for instance, is especially excited about that "Adventure Time" panel!)
Saturday, May 7th
10:15 – 11:15 am // A15: Root Rot Release Featuring: T. Edward Bak, Michael DeForge, Ines Estrada, Bob Flynn, Jesse Jacobs, Hellen Jo, Joseph Lambert, Diana McNally, Robin Nishio, Angie Wang and Mickey Zacchilli Moderated by Anne Koyama Location: Learning Center 1 Koyama Press is proud to announce a launch party to celebrate the release of the Root Rot anthology. Ten of the artists will be in attendance for the book’s debut. Come and meet them! Plus live drawing, signings, giveaways and more!
11:30 – 12:15 pm // A16: Spotlight: Lorenzo Mattotti Moderated by Robin McConnell Location: Learning Center 1 Lorenzo Mattotti is recognized today as one of the most outstanding international exponents of comics art. His books have been translated all over the world. Mattoti, a Featured Guest of TCAF, appears here to discuss his life and his work, including his most recent graphic novels Stigmata and The Raven. Mattotti will be interviewed by the host of Inkstuds, Robin McConnell.
1:00 – 2:00 pm // A4: Creator Roundtable Panelists: Paul Pope, Brandon Graham, and Sam Hiti Moderated by Robin McConnell Location: The Pilot Paul Pope, Sam Hiti and Brandon Graham are creating modern comics built on a wealth of influences. Joined by Inkstuds host Robin McConnell, they will be exploring the tableau of work that inspires them and how that affects the creative processes in work such as Death Day, Tiempos Finales, King City, Multiple Warheads, 100%, THB and more.
Sunday, May 8th
12:30 – 1:30 pm // U2: Illustration Panelists: Lorenzo Mattotti, Jillian Tamaki, Adrian Tomine Moderated by Caitlin McGurk Location: The Pilot Many cartoonists also have a career in illustration. Come listen to four prestigious comics artists and illustrators discuss the difference between creating in a narrative form (comics) and a static one (illustration).
1:15 – 2:00 pm // U13: Print Culture Panelists: Tom K., John Porcellino and Dylan Williams Moderated by Zak Sally Location: Learning Center 1 From Comic Books to ‘Graphic Novels,’ from the Undergrounds to Art Comics, Fanzines to Zine Culture — the names may change, but one thing remains constant: they are all reproduced, on paper. No matter the decade, subject matter, or economics involved, comics have always been linked to print. With physical objects no longer being a necessity (and the book form itself on the decline), what will be the role of print culture in the next decade and beyond?