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]
Comic-Con keeps rolling out their 2011 programming schedule — today they've posted Saturday's lineup and it features our can't-miss 35th Anniversary panel which will include a couple of announcements that will knock your socks off. Here's what Fanta fans will want to catch:
10:00-11:30 50 Years of Comic Fandom: The Founders— It's hard to believe but it's been fifty years (more or less) since that peculiar institution called Comic Book Fandom was born. Meet some of those who were there at the inception, including Jean Bails, Paul Levitz, Dick and Pat Lupoff, Richard Kyle, Bill Schelly, Roy Thomas, and Maggie Thompson along with moderator Mark Evanier, as they discuss how fandom came to be and just what it was. Room 24ABC
11:30-12:30 Bill Blackbeard: The Man Who Saved Comics— In the 1960s, while writing a history of the American comic strip, Bill Blackbeard learned that most of the nation's libraries were discarding their newspaper archives in favor of microfilm, destroying countless pages of comics in the process. Over the course of the next three decades, Blackbeard and his volunteers at the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art amassed a collection of more than 2.5 million comics, including virtually every comic strip ever syndicated in U.S. newspapers. When he passed away earlier this year, Blackbeard had contributed to more than 200 comic strip collections, including the beloved Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics, and his work had inspired generations of cartoonists, historians and fans. Cartoon Art Museum curator Andrew Farago, publishers Gary Groth and Dean Mullaney, editor and herstorian Trina Robbins, and Jenny Robb, curator/assistant professor from Ohio State University's Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum celebrate Blackbeard's life and legacy. Room 24ABC
12:30-1:30 Fantagraphics 35th Anniversary— Fantagraphics Books was founded in 1976 with the launch of their first publication, The Comics Journal. Since then, they've grown to become one of the world's foremost publishers of literary comix and comic strips. Publishers Gary Groth and Kim Thompson offer a multimedia presentation highlighting their favorite works from the past 35 years, as well as previewing some of their upcoming favorites. Expect a major announcement or two, as well! Room 24ABC
1:00-2:00 Spotlight on Anders Nilsen— Comic-Con special guest Anders Nilsen debuts his magnum opus, the 800+-page Big Questions, which he began self-publishing over 10 years ago and which quickly placed Nilsen at the forefront of alternative cartoonists. He is part of the Chicago comics collective The Holy Consumption with Jeffrey Brown, John Hankiewicz, and Paul Horsnchemeier and was recently featured in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Join him as he presents a slideshow of his work from his haunting postmodern fable. Room 4
2:30-3:30 The Art of the Graphic Novel—Andrew Farago (curator, Cartoon Art Museum) talks with graphic novelists Chester Brown (Paying for It), Seymour Chwast (Dante's Divine Comedy), Eric Drooker (Blood Song), Joyce Farmer (Special Exits, A Memoir), Joëlle Jones (Troublemaker), Jason Shiga (Empire State: A Love Story (Or Not)), and Craig Thompson (Habibi) about their work in the genre that has elevated comics to mainstream bookstores all over the world. Room 24ABC
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
Comic-Con has announced their programming for Thursday July 21, the first full day of the convention, and here are the panels to circle in your program or plug into your smartphone app or scribble on the back of your hand (we will, of course, give a complete run-down along with our signing schedule and more info in the near future):
12:30-1:30 Spotlight on Bill Schelly— Comic-Con special guest Bill Schelly (The Golden Age of Comic Fandom, The DC Archives) is a leading fandom and comics historian. Moderator Gary Brown interviews Bill about his work, with special emphasis on his latest books The Art of Joe Kubert (debuting at Comic-Con 2011) and Founders of Comic Fandom, followed by a Q&A session. Room 8
1:00-2:00 CBLDF Master Session 2: Shannon Wheeler— From DIY zine making to the pages of the New Yorker and every flavor of independent press in between, Shannon Wheeler has distinguished himself for an ability to craft humor strips that are equal parts sardonic and existential. Take a close-up look at his approach to creating cartoons and gain insight into the nuts and bolts of making cartoons that connect with editors and readers at this CBLDF Master Session! The pieces created during this event will be available for bidding in Saturday's CBLDF Benefit Auction! Room 30CDE (Recommended by The Washington Post's Michael Cavna: "From zines to New Yorker magazine, Portland’s own has much knowledge to share with the aspiring.")
2:00-3:00 Love and Rockets —Gilbert, Jaime, and Mario Hernandez converse with Gary Groth about 30 years of creating their landmark comic book series, Love & Rockets. Since 1982, Love & Rockets has virtually defined alternative comics and culture, launching from the punk rock scene in Los Angeles and growing into one of the most mature bodies of work ever produced in the medium. Room 9 (Recommended by The Washington Post's Michael Cavna: "The Brothers Hernandez talk with Gary Groth about three glorious decades of L&R.")
2:30-3:30 Joyce Farmer: Special Exits, A Memoir — Can graphic work become serious literature through excellent artwork, writing ,and subject matter? Where does graphic work belong in bookstores and libraries? This Q&A with Comic-Con special guest Joyce Farmer examines her Eisner Award-nominated book Special Exits, A Memoir (Fantagraphics) in this spotlight panel. Room 4 (Recommended by The Washington Post's Michael Cavna: "Her Eisner-nominated Fantagraphics graphic-novel memoir is a must-read. Which makes Farmer a must-see.")
3:30-4:30 Spotlight on Frank Stack— Comic-Con special guest Frank Stack, pioneer of underground comix in the 1960s with such titles as New Adventures of Jesus, Feelgood Funnies, Amazons, and Dorman's Doggie, remains active as a fine artist and cartoonist. His Jesus stories were recently reprinted as The Second Coming by Fantagraphics. Frank will present a visual presentation and Q&A. Room 4
6:00-7:00 Comics for Social Justice: The Making of Oil and Water —Oil and Water is a book-length comic (Fantagraphics, Summer 2011) that is a partly fictionalized account of a 10-day trip that 22 Oregonians (activists, teachers, business owners, scientists, and artists) took last summer to "bear witness" to the BP oil spill on the Gulf Coast. Shannon Wheeler will briefly present the historic impact of comics on issues of contemporary social relevance and give a quick overview of why this project was conceived and what it hopes to accomplish. He'll then present his sketches from the Gulf Coast and show how he and collaborator Steve Duin transformed them into a compelling portrait of what hope and challenges remain along a ravaged coastline, one awash in both seafood and oil, that will be changed as irrevocably as those Oregonians that chose to bear witness to the tragedy. Q&A session to follow. Room 9
Whew! Get ready for a lot of running from room to room. Why, you'll barely have time to hit our booth and buy books!
The new Diamond Previews catalog is out today and in it you'll find our usual 2-page spread with our releases scheduled to arrive in your local comic shop in September 2011 (give or take — some release dates have changed since the issue went to press). We're pleased to offer additional and updated information about these upcoming releases here on our website, to help shops and customers alike make more informed ordering decisions.
You'll find hotly-anticipated titles like the next volume of Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse by Floyd Gottfredson (a Diamond "Staff Pick"!), Pogo Vol. 1 (yes, Pogo!); The Art of Joe Kubert ("Certified Cool"!); the new Prison Pit; the Golden Age cover collection Action! Mystery! Thrills!; and our next prose book, Alexander Theroux's Estonia. See them all here!
This weekend is the Emerald City Con, our hometown comics event of the year. We'll be exhibiting all weekend and showcasing a host of new spring books including Gilbert Hernandez's LUBA, Bob Fingerman's CONNECTIVE TISSUE, Miss Lasko-Gross's A MESS OF EVERYTHING, the great HUMBUG boxed set, Archie Goodwin's BLAZING COMBAT, Boody Rogers' BOODY, Paul Hornschemeier's MOTHER, COME HOME, and much, much more. We'll also be hosting signings, including:
JAIME HERNANDEZ: all weekend!
PAUL HORNSCHEMEIER: all day Saturday!
DAME DARCY: Saturday from 1 to 3PM
BILL SCHELLY (author of MAN OF ROCK, the excellent JOE KUBERT bio): Saturday from 11 to 2PM
Also, STAN SAKAI will be in attendance in Artist's Alley all weekend, signing copies of USAGI YOJIMBO.
After the con on Saturday, join us at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery from 6:00 to 9:00 PM for an extraordinary exhibition of original artwork by Jaime Hernandez and Stan Sakai. Jaime and Stan, together with special guest Paul Hornschemeier, will be signing books and mingling with fans.
It's impossible to overstate the enduring influence of LOVE & ROCKETS on the comics medium, so we'll skip the superlatives. Suffice to say that Jaime will be on hand to greet fans and sign books. Stan's epic USAGI YOJIMBO adventure series has introduced generations of young readers to the world of comics, and his books are more popular than ever. His original drawings and paintings are inspiring. Jaime and Stan will be joined by their young colleague Paul Hornschemeier signing copies of his wonderful new graphic novel MOTHER, COME HOME.
This event serves as the official after-party for this weekend's Emerald City Comicon in Seattle, so expect to see other comics creators and luminaries. Adult beverages will be provided for grown ups and sodas for the kids.
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located just minutes south of downtown Seattle at 1201 S. Vale Street (at the corner of Airport Way S.) in the colorful Georgetown arts community. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.669.9059.
• Review: For The Savage Critics, Sean T. Collins says The Last Lonely Saturday by Jordan Crane is "pretty much the best love story in comics form I've ever come across... It's an intelligent, moving, beautiful, terrific little comic."
• Review: Rob Clough says that Beasts! Book 2 "mingles myths, warnings, fairy tales, correctives, and genuinely unexplained phenomena and allows its artists to run with them. The end result is a consistently beautiful, lovingly assembled book that forms a kind of metacommentary on the entire notion of the fantastic."
• Review: The SF Site's "Nexus Graphica" says R. Crumb & David Zane Mairowitz's Kafka is "a terrific guide to Kafka's life and work — Mairowitz deftly sums up Franz' family/Jewish/pre-Holocaust European experiences and influences, and Crumb's heavy inkings lend the exact tones of darkness to recreations of both Kafka's life — and work." (See sidebar)
• Preview: The First Post presents a slideshow of images from Humbug, saying "the short-lived Humbug [was] an exquisite satirical work that, over its 11 issues, routinely equalled MAD in its displays of creative genius... providing a level of trenchant satire that was almost unheard of at the time."
• Preview: Bryan Munn, in "hyping" The Complete Peanuts 1971-1972, states "Now that two whole decades of Peanuts have been reprinted in the deluxe hardcover format published by Fantagraphics and designed by Seth, we can really get a sense of what a huge achievement this project is and will continue to be for a generation."