Before there was Mome, before the current explosion of small-press anthologies, there was Blood Orange, the short-lived mid-'00s series edited by Chris Polkki which gathered rising stars of the art-comics scene in four distinctive, beautifully designed 48-page issues. Blood Orange captured the pulse of alt-comics circa 2004-2005. We recently recovered a small quantity of shrink-wrapped packs of all 4 issues from the distributor, and we're now offering them via mail-order for the special low price of $17.85 — that's 3 issues for the price of 4! (You can also get the individual issues for $5.95 each.)
In the first issue: Nicolas Mahler, Rick Altergott, Michael Kupperman, Lauren Weinstein, Typex, David Collier, Maaike Hartjes, Allison Cole, Tobias Tak, Dan James, Marc Bell, John Hankiewicz, Matthew Thurber, Kevin Huizenga, Ron Regé Jr., a sketchbook from Gary "Teacher's Pet" Baseman, and covers by Andrew Brandou.
The second issue continues to encourage experimentation, pushing the medium in new directions. Look for innovative stories from groundbreakers such as Archer Prewitt, Rebecca Dart, Chris Wright (with a full-length 18-page story), Ron Regé Jr., Jeffrey Brown, Matti Hagelberg, Lauren Weinstein, Cole Johnson, Helge Reumann, and Fabio Viscogliosi, along with drawings by Renee French... all wrapped in a lovely cover designed by the one and only Steven Weissman.
The third issue of this always-surprising quarterly anthology series features European cartoonists Pakito Bolino and Caroline Sury (of France's Le Dernier Cri), Ulf K., Alex Baladi, Nicolas Mahler, Olaf Ladousse, and Fabio Zimbres; as well the homegrown talents of Anders Nilsen, Renee French and Ben Jones (Paper Rad). Also includes a brand-new 11-pager by Jeffrey Brown! With an eye-popping cover by French illustrator Olivier Douzou.
Blood Orange #4 wraps up the series with exclusive new stories by Brian Ralph, Lark Pien, Tobias Tak, Rebecca Dart and Ted May. Covers by Lark Pien.
* Other People's Publications ** Yeah, You Know Me.
Hey, it's the very first 2012 edition of "Down With OPP," our occasional column where we spotlight books from other publishers that you can find at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery in Seattle! And I was thrilled to get to the store this past weekend to find the latest volume of the celebrated Kramers Ergot anthology, from our friends at PictureBox.
It's chock-full of Fantagraphics artists: It opens with a great "Jimbo" strip from Gary Panter. There's also a wonderfully-drawn one-page gag from Tim Hensley. Kevin Huizenga re-draws a sci-fi story originally written decades ago by Bill Molno and Sal Trapani. And Frank Santoro & Dash Shaw turn in a beautiful collaboration on, well, catching pedophiles.
Gabrielle Bell has one of my favorite stories, and I admit, I get so used to reading her autobiographical strips, that with this one, I had a moment of, "You and your Dad did what?!"
Reading Johnny Ryan's story, I found myself thinking, "This might be the most romantic thing he's ever written," but then I ended up nearly laughing out loud by the end. It complements Sammy Harkham's marital comic, in a weird way.
I couldn't help reading the comic from Ben Jones in an "Alfe" voice, and the dialogue is so hilariously quotable, I just wanted to post random lines from it on Twitter.
And there's still more I haven't even mentioned, like the glossy full-color photography, the 70's Penthouse reprints, and the intro from Ian Svenonius, who will forever be to me "The Sassiest Boy in America."
Get a copy for yourself at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, located at 1201 S. Vale Street in Seattle's Georgetown district. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone: (206) 658-0110.
• Seattle, WA: It's also your last chance to see the Short Run Art Show at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery! Curated by Kelly Froh, the exhibit features original comix art, illustration and book works by Max Clotfelter, Patrick Keck, Martine Workman, Elaine Lin, Jason T. Miles, Chris Cilla, Andrice Arp, Tim Root, Billis Helg, Marc Palm, Eroyn Franklin, Tom Van Deusen, Tim Miller, Tory Franklin, Jesse Reklaw, Sean Christensen, and Erin Tanner. (more info)
Fantagraphics is puttin' the "comics" back in Comic-Con as we head to San Diego this week with a slew of scintillating signings, almost two-dozen dynamite debuts, and a collection of comics sure to please any comics fan... and fill those enormous free tote bags they give away at the door.
Friday, July 22nd: • 10:30-11:30 Comics Arts Conference Session #5: Critical Approaches to Comics: An Introduction to Theories and Methods— Matthew J. Smith and Randy Duncan with panelist, Andrei Molotiu. [Room 26AB] • 1:00-2:00 Comics Arts Conference Session #6: Wordless Comicswith Andrei Molotiu. [Room 26AB] • 12:00-1:00 CBLDF Master Session 3: Jaime Hernandez [Room 30CDE] • 1:00-2:00 Publishing Queer: Producing LGBT Comics and Graphic Novels with moderator Justin Hall [Room 9] • 1:00-2:30 The Golden Age of the Fanzine moderated by Bill Schelly. [Room 24ABC] • 10:30-11:30 Cartoon Network Comedy: Regular Show/The Problem Solverz and More! The Problem Solverz talent includes Ben Jones, John Pham, and Jon Vermilyea. [Room 6A]
The Comic-Con programming schedule for Friday July 22 is up — it's a bit less hectic than Thursday, so this will be a good day to come spend some time browsing our booth (#1718)! (We will, of course, give a complete run-down along with our signing schedule and more info in the near future):
10:30-11:30 Comics Arts Conference Session #5: Critical Approaches to Comics: An Introduction to Theories and Methods—Matthew J. Smith and Randy Duncan (powerofcomics.com), co-editors of the forthcoming textbook Critical Approaches to Comics (Routledge 2011), moderate a panel of contributors including David A. Berona (Plymouth State University), Andrei Molotiu (Indiana University), Stanford Carpenter (School of the Art Institute of Chicago), Jennifer K. Stuller (ink stainedamazon.com), Peter M. Coogan (Washington University), and Henry Jenkins (University of Southern California). They'll explain methodologies that can be used to analyze meanings in comics and comics culture, as well as engage in an interactive exchange with the audience members about how they can incorporate these approaches into their teaching of comics Room 26AB
11:30-1:00 Comics Arts Conference Session #6: Wordless Comics — Andrei Molotiu (Indiana University) makes the case that the sequential dynamics of abstract comics echo complex self-organizing systems such as occur in biological, mathematical, and sociological processes and that the same transmedia values underlie more traditional storytelling comics. Dietrich Grünewald (Universität Koblenz-Landau) examines the picture story principle and why it is not advisable to refer to what Rodolphe Töpffer called "literature in pictures" with a fixed general term. David A. Berona (Plymouth State University) investigates social, personal, and literary themes in contemporary woodcut novels. Room 26AB
12:00-1:00 CBLDF Master Session 3: Jaime Hernandez — No one can touch Jaime Hernandez's art as the gold standard for visual characterization in contemporary comics. Through a complex use of body language, facial acting, and the playful mix of exaggerated and realistic visuals, Hernandez's characters come to life in a way that is instantly recognizable and wholly unique. Witness his singular approach to visual storytelling at this CBLDF Master Session. The pieces created during this event will be available for bidding in Saturday's CBLDF Benefit Auction. Room 30CDE
1:00-2:00 Publishing Queer: Producing LGBT Comics and Graphic Novels— Queer-themed comics, once solely the domain of the gay press, are breaking into the mainstream. What are the challenges and rewards of producing this work and getting it in front of an audience hungry for the material? How can it be marketed and publicized, both to an LGBT readership and beyond? Should queer cartoonists self-publish or look to established publishers? Moderator Justin Hall (Glamazonia, Prism Comics Talent Chair) leads a spirited conversation with a diverse panel of publishing pros: Brian Andersen (self-publisher, So Super Duper), Charles "Zan" Christensen (publisher, Northwest Press), Jacquelene Cohen (publicist, Fantagraphics), Shannon O'Leary (comics editor and journalist), Bob Schreck (editor-in-chief, Legendary Pictures), and Tony Valenzuela (executive director, Lambda Literary Foundation). Room 9
1:00-2:30 The Golden Age of the Fanzine— Once upon a time...before the Internet and publishing on demand, a hearty group of comics lovers produced their own publications, called "fanzines," and comics fandom was born. Spinning off Comic-Con's 50th anniversary celebration of the birth of comics fandom, these pioneers of the fanzine will talk about those heady days and what it was like to publish their own zines. Panelists include Jean Bails (the widow of Dr. Jerry Bails, creator of Alter-Ego), Richard Kyle (Graphic Story World), Paul Levitz (The Comic Reader), Dick and Pat Lupoff (Xero), Roy Thomas (Alter Ego), Maggie Thompson (Comic Art), and some surprise fanzine publisher-type guests. Moderated by Bill Schelly, a fanzine editor himself and the guy who wrote the book on fandom (The Golden Age of Comic Fandom). For more on the Golden Age of Fanzines, check this year's Comic-Con Souvenir Book for a special feature! Room 24ABC
Not comics, but tangentially related:
10:30-11:30 Cartoon Network Comedy: Regular Show/The Problem Solverz and More!—Johnny Test! The Amazing World of Gumball! Adventure Time! Regular Show! MAD! The Problem Solverz! Cartoon Network is dominating Monday nights with the funniest night on television! Join creators and talent from Regular Show and The Problem Solverz as they talk about how these two comedy hits came to life, perform unique live readings, and show exclusive clips from upcoming episodes. The panel features Regular Show creator J. G. Quintel (Mordecai), Bill Salyers (Rigby), Sam Marin (Pops, Benson, Muscle Man), Janie Hadad (Margaret), and Mike Roth (creative director). The Problem Solverz talent includes acclaimed artist and show creator Ben Jones (Alfe and Roba) and Kyle Kaplan (Horace). Room 6A
Here's Cartoon Network's first promo for the Ben Jones-created show The Problem Solverz, debuting in April. Jones's Cold Heat collaborator Jon Vermilyea tweeted about it, and Jon's been working for Cartoon Network, so it's probably safe to assume that Jon's been working on this show, and John Pham's been working there too, so maybe he worked on the show too — don't quote me on that or anything though. (I guess I should contact the guys and ask them...) Anyway it looks super fun and I'm totally going to watch the heck out of it.
UPDATE: I contacted Jon and John and they confirmed that they are both designers on the show!
Here's two more angles on the Ben Jones-decorated ice cream truck that Adult Swim parked outside of Comic-Con (originally reported here), taken by our own Eric Reynolds, and Brian Ralph has yet two more views over at the New Bodega blog.
In the interest of fact-finding, we stood in line for free ice cream on our Comic-Con lunch break to confirm that yes, the graphics on the van (and the napkins which were handed out with the ice cream) are indeed by Ben Jones. The dude in the van said that Ben applied the vinyl decals by hand. BJ + B&J to promote Adult Swim (home of The Drinky Crow Show, once and possible future projects from Michael Kupperman, and possibly Ben's show Neon Knome among other fine programs) is brand synergy I can get behind. If I see it again I'll definitely try to get better pictures (and more ice cream).