"A mix of evocative, geometric watercolors and fluid pen-and-ink cartoons, How to Be Happy tells stories of sad people, lonely people, strong people, confident people, all trying to find a tiny bit of happiness in life…Davis’ clever and sometimes jaw-droppingly beautiful artwork makes those stories feel real." – Dan Kois, Slate Book Review
"The use of Adam and Eve’s human bodies to communicate to one another, to seek the bliss that’s coming, to lift that weight, is the image Davis wants us to leave with. No moral, no punchline, no muted epiphany — discarded along with all the other distractions, they leave only Edenic bliss behind." – Sean T. Collins, The Comics Journal
"A valuable gem to add to any collection focusing on independent comics and alternative storytelling with its avant-garde narrative voice, classical art style, and brilliantly paced sense of adventure" – Alger C. Newberry III, Library Journal
"Wood (1927-1981) conceived of witzend as a haven where he and his peers could publish personal work and burst the chains of mainstream comics. Though 'personal,' it must be said, often meant drawing generously endowed women flaunting bared breasts." – Dana Jennings, The New York Times
"It felt like a fan publication, but was produced by professionals. It appeared at the dawn of underground comix, but featured standard genre material, including a (great) Wood jungle hero named "Animan." And, most significantly, it had a philosophy that proved problematic, though intriguing." – Jake Austen, Chicago Tribune
Phoenix, AZ: It's supposed to be 109F in Phoenix, so if you're looking to escape the heat in a large air conditioned convention center, consider going to Phoenix Comicon! Fantagraphics artists Don Rosa (Donald Duck) and Ed Piskor (Hip Hop Family Tree) will be on hand to sign, and chat about their upcoming releases with Fantagraphics! This four day show runs from June 5th-8th. (More details)
Saturday, June 7th
Olympia, WA: The birthplace of alternative everything, Olympia, will host the 2014 Olympia Comics Festival on Saturday, June 7th, and special guests include Jesse Reklaw and Charles Burns! They will be signing books and participating in panels at the various downtown venues. First event begins at 11 am, and the Expo itself is FREE! (More detail)
Sunday, June 8th
San Francisco, CA: The Queer Comics Expo kicks off pride week with a celebration of the history and achievements of queer voices in comics. Held at the Cartoon Art Museum, the wonderful Ed Luce (Wuvable Oaf), is the guest of honor at this event. Art demonstrations, drag queens, and fun! Begins at 11 am. (More details)
Don't miss the dazzling array of attractions at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery in the coming weeks and months. The action begins with the Georgetown Carnival on Saturday, June 14 from noon to 10:00 PM. Cheer on our entry in Hazardfactory's famous Power Tool Races and enjoy free concerts by Fantagraphics friends like Jack Endino's Earthworm, Mark Pickerel, Ancient Warlocks, Tummy, and more! Acrobats, carnival games, sideshows, burlesque, beer gardens and so much more. All free, all day.
Join us on Friday, September 19 from 6:00 to 8:00 PM as we welcome home one of the most influential figures in contemporary pop culture, Charles Burns, presenting his new book Sugar Skull.
The Short Run comics art festival begins with a reception at the store on Friday, November 14 featuring Ed Piskor signing the second volume of Hip Hop Family Tree, Tom Neely signing the forthcoming Henry & Glenn Forever and Ever collection, MariNaomi presenting her new book Dragon's Breath, and other special guests. Indie art stars, music, comix, and more kick of the Short Run festivities. Stay tuned for more exciting announcements.
It'll be a homecoming for Charles Burns, who went to college at Olympia's Evergreen State College in the mid '70s (along with Lynda Barry and Matt Groening, be still my heart). Stop by his table and have him sign your old copies of Black Hole, inspired by the eerieness of the Pacific Northwest!
And Jesse Reklaw is surely no stranger to our corner of the country, as a former resident of Portland! He'll be signing his beautiful graphic memoir, Couch Tag, among other work!
Both artists will be participating in the Comics Stage Show at the Capitol Theater, in panels at The Olympia Center in the afternoon, and will be signing at Danger Room Comics in the early evening. We'll post the complete schedule as soon as we get it, but in the meanwhile, block out your calendar for the first weekend in June!
With Halloween looming, allow me to suggest thirteen frightening favorites from Fantagraphics Books. Spooky fun for everyone, in no particular order.
Daniel Clowes' modern masterpiece Ghost World eerily conveys the otherworldly cool of 1990s counterculture. Peculia, by Clowes colleague Richard Sala, collects the misadventures of the precocious protagonist of his EvilEye comic book serial. Northwest native Charles Burns' essential Big Baby anthology of contemporary horror comix includes classics like "Blood Club," "Teen Plague," and "Curse of the Molemen."
Mysterious Traveler collects proto-psychedelic horror from Steve Ditko's Charlton era. Similarly, Weird Horrors displays the late, great JoeKubert's pre-Code classics edited by Kubert scholar BillSchelly. WallyWood weighs in with Came the Dawn, featuring timeless tales from the "Vault of Horror," as well as mid-century socio-political nightmares like "The Guilty."
When Seattle software giant Microsoft purchased Skype in 2011, the company committed to create a contemporary working environment to house the service. Consulting with Fantagraphics curator Larry Reid and others, Jason Thomas Faulkner from the Skype UX Design Team recently completed finishing touches to the Skype complex, located in two buildings on Microsoft's sprawling suburban campus. Last week Faulkner gave Reid and Fantagraphics associate publisher Eric Reynolds a guided tour of the stunning new facility.
One building features lyrical graphics related to Seattle's celebrated music history, with rows of oversized Charles Burns portraits from Black Hole defining conference rooms intended to facilitate creative communication. In addition to the Burns installations, the building includes important works by Jini Dellaccio, Victoria Haven, and Ron English, among others.
The adjacent building explores the architecture of communication using breathtaking floor-to-ceiling Chris Ware imagery as a backdrop. The glass partitions in both buildings double as white boards, (though Faulkner was quick to observe that staff had so far been reluctant to blemish the pristine spaces with unsightly scribbling).
Alternative comix add an element of casual creativity and culture to any edifice devoted to innovative communication. Bring some comix to work. You'll see!
This week's comic shop shipment is slated to include the following new titles. Read on to see what comics-blog commentators and web-savvy comic shops are saying about them (more to be added as they appear), check out our previews at the links, and contact your local shop to confirm availability.
176-page black & white 5" x 6.5" softcover • $19.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-667-6
"[It] pulls you in like no other comic this year. Stunning in its simplicity and brave in its subject matter. Charles Forsman is a future force. . . [it] is like stumbling onto the ultimate secret in comic books, but based on how great TEOTFW is, it won't be much a secret longer." -Eddie Wright, MTV Geek
"I enjoyed the work, and I think Forsman is a cartoonist to watch." -Tom Spurgeon, Comics Reporter
In Case We Die by Danny Bland; illustrated with photos by Lance Mercer
248-page black & white 6" x 8.5" hardcover • $26.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-675-1
"Bland is a brutally funny and bravely honest writer. A perfect guide through the bloodshot streets and desperate bedrooms of the underground wilderness." - Dave Alvin (Blasters)
"A great piece of work - full of filth and heart." - Steve Earle
128-page full-color 12.25" x 9.25" hardcover • $29.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-651-5
"...this book Nudnik Revealed!, is a must-have for anyone interested in animation, cartooning or Gene Deitch. I especially recommend it to those currently doing storyboards." -Jerry Beck, Cartoon Research
"Deitch achieves what only the greatest cartoonist can - a deep spiritual resonance with minimal representation." - New York Press
• San Francisco, CA: The California College of the Arts concludes their summer "Comics in the City" series with special guest Dash Shaw! Dash's discussions on his work and his latest book, New School, are not to be missed. (more info)
• Los Angeles, CA:Johnny Ryan's solo art show, Johnny Ryan's Chicks With Dicks, opens at Мишка! Johnny will also be debuting two exclusive new t-shirt designs, available only at this art show. (more info)
Next door at All City Coffee is the companion exhibition CP25/SP25, featuring 25 arresting mages by famed photographer Charles Peterson commemorating 25 years of the Sub Pop phenomenon. Don't miss the last weekend of the Sub Pop Mega Mart, scheduled to close their temporary quarters across the street on Sunday. This Friday, June 19 get a groove on with an in-store DJ set by Shabazz Palaces.
And in case you somehow missed it, here's a Charles Peterson picture of our own Janice Headley during Mudhoney's unprecedented set on the top of the Space Needle last Thursday as she snaps a picture of Peterson and Fantagraphics curator Larry Reid as they buzzed the pit in a helicopter at the end of the show. Awesome inadequately describes the moment.
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