Harvey Kurtzman created MAD, and MAD revolutionized humor in America. Kurtzman's groundwork as the original editor, artist, and sole writer of MAD provided the foundation for one of the greatest publishing successes of the 20th century. But how did Kurtzman invent MAD, and why did he leave it shortly after it burst nova-like onto the American scene? Bill Schelly's heavily researched biography finally and fully answers these question for the first time. Through fresh interviews with Kurtzman's colleagues, friends and family, including Hugh Hefner, Al Feldstein, James Warren, R. Crumb, Jack Davis, Gilbert Shelton, and many others, and an examination of Kurtzman's personal archives, this book tells the true story of one of the 20th century's greatest humorists. His family life, an FBI investigation during the McCarthy Era, his legal battles with William M. Gaines (publisher of MAD), all are revealed for the first time. Rich with anecdotes, from Kurtzman's Brooklyn beginnings to his post-MAD years, when his ceaseless creativity produced more innovations: new magazines, a graphic novel, and "Little Annie Fanny" in Playboy.
Seattle, WA - Our very own Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery is overflowing with events and community this Saturday where we will be opening our newest exhibit, Blacklight: The World of L.B. Cole. Joined by Fantagraphics editor, Mike Catron who will be giving a slide show presentation on the beautifully reprinted covers by L.B. Cole, a master of primary colors. If you thought that was enough for one day, you thought wrong. French artist collective Le Cagibi brings with them an engaging, entertaining, and FREE workshop that delves into the process of screenprinting. Their inventive techniqes on printing and binding have made them an important fountain of information for anyone looking to DIY their own work. All the festivities begin at 6 PM! (More Details)
Brooklyn, NY - The Scott Eder Gallery doesn't hold their art collection back, and it's only the best for their fans and patrons! Which is why they're premiering a new collection of paintings and drawings from the dreamworld master himself, Jim Woodring. The exhibit You Drive! begins with an opening reception on January 10th at 6 pm with Woodring in attendance. If you can't make it to this star studded appearance, the exhibit will be running until February 27th, where you can gawk, get inspired, and even purchase original art! Or pick up the next best thing, Jim, the collected autobiographical work. You can walk, train, or drive to The Scott Eder Gallery this Saturday. (More Details)
New Orleans, LA - Marguerite Van Cook and partner, James Romberger are special guests at this year's Wizard World: NOLA edition. The pair have been blazing across the country showcasing their newest release, Late Child and Other Animals, a gorgeous semi-autobiographical tale of generational relationships, history, and how we move forward. They will be there Saturday AND Sunday; show floor is open from 10-7. I expect an ol' fashioned New Orleans parade with cosplay, and trust that someone will get one started. (More Details)
Monday, January 12th
NYC - It's not just in the name, the extremely affable Lucy Knisley will be hitting up the best bookstore in New York, The Strand, in conversation with columnist Marie Anello of Absolute Magazine. They will be focusing on Lucy's two latest releases with Fantagraphics, An Age of License and her newest, Displacement. Displacement is a true tale of growing up and growing old, two things every person must come to terms with. Her honesty and self-reflection is touching, and will be the topic of this night's discussion. Stick around afterwards for a signing, where you can pick up Displacement before it hits the shelves! The evening begins at 7 pm (More Details)
L.B. Cole created some of the most bizarre, proto-psychedelic, eye-popping comic book covers of all time, yet remarkably this is the first retrospective of his career, featuring the largest collection of Cole covers ever assembled, in an oversize format that showcases his attention to detail and his versatility in all the popular comic book genres of the day. Cole burst into comics during the glory years of the Golden Age of comics. He was famous for his bold covers, usually featuring "poster colors" — brilliant primaries often over black backgrounds — and an over-the-top sense of the bizarre mixed with whimsy. There's never been a comic book cover designer like L.B. Cole and there's never been a book like this one.
"His covers are really noir: spirals, figures falling down through space, big spider webs, just great… The colors are all totally primary: just bright red, blue, almost no subtle colors… they really work." – R. Crumb
L.B. Cole created some of the most bizarre, proto-psychedelic, eye-popping comic book covers of all time, yet remarkably this is the first retrospective of his career, featuring the largest collection of Cole covers ever assembled, in an oversize format that showcases his attention to detail and his versatility in all the popular comic book genres of the day. Cole burst into comics during the glory years of the Golden Age of comics. He was famous for his bold covers, usually featuring "poster colors"—brilliant primaries often over black backgrounds—and an over-the-top sense of the bizarre mixed with whimsy. There's never been a comic book cover designer like L.B. Cole and there's never been a book like this one.
Today is a good day. That is because we've received advance copies of Black Light: The World of L.B. Cole at Fantagraphics HQ, and it is truly a beauty to behold. Oversized and filled with L.B. Cole's larger-than-life, eye-catchingly bold colorscapes, this book offers the largest collection of Cole covers as well as an in-depth biography written by comic book historian Bill Schelly.
With Halloween approaching, it's a good time to consider some spooky favorites from Fantagraphics Books.
The formative work of Charles Burns in Big Baby foreshadows the brilliance that would follow. Alluring stories like "Curse of the Molemen," "Blood Club," and "Teen Plague" remain creepy and compelling while exploring themes of adolescent angst. Ghost World by Daniel Clowes is a similarly insightful examination of the otherworldly imaginations of its youthful protagonists. It remains among the greatest graphic novels - and film adaptations - of all time.
Al Columbia's Pim & Francie is at first blush a collection of meticulously rendered drawings, but a closer examination reveals a seductive narrative involving a cute cartoon couple caught in a world of horrific nightmares.
A misanthropic witch wrestles with real world issues in Simon Hanselmann's Megahexand surreal horror unfolds in The Amateurs by Conor Stechschulte as two butchers are afflicted with a mysterious case of amnesia. Meat these amazing artists this Saturday at Fantagraphics Bookstore.