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.
The evolution of the Sub Pop empire will be examined at Fantagraphics Bookstore in SODA POP: Super Sugar Big Buzz opening Saturday, July 13. These hand made publications serve as exquisite time capsules of early 80s indie culture. I recall sessions at Rosco Louie gallery with Bruce Pavitt and Russ Battaglia in 1981 individually coloring issues of Sub Pop #3 with crayons. The only directive I remember was "Don't stay inside the lines." Covers and random interior pages were scribbled with infantile abandon. Multiple examples of these early Sub Pop zines (with a quaint 80¢ cover price) will be on display.
In 1983 Pavitt migrated north from Olympia to Seattle, enabling him to interact with a larger cultural community. He soon found a home for Sub Pop as a regular feature in TheRocket, where he joined an extended family of talented writers, artists, cartoonists, and graphic designers that would play an important role in the future development of the Sub Pop aesthetic. The second installment of the column in May 1983 featured an early appearance of what would become Sub Pop's signature logo, designed by future Fantagraphics art director DaleYarger. TheRocket regularly ran comix and illustrations by LyndaBarry, CharlesBurns, Matt Groening, GaryPanter, RobertCrumb, GilbertandJaime Hernandez, and PeterBagge, among others. Several examples of these important columns will be featured in the SODA POP exhibition, along with art and artifacts by Barry, Burns, Bagge, DanielClowes, Charles Peterson, JimWoodring, and more.
At 1:00 PM on July 13, I'll moderate a panel discussion, PopGoesSeattle, with Pavitt, Bagge, Peterson and DannyBland on the formative period of the Sub Pop phenomenon. This informal but informative talk will be followed by a short reading by Danny Bland and GregDulli of Afghan Whigs from Bland's debut novel, InCaseWeDie, set in grunge-era Seattle. Patrons at the reading will be the first in the country with the opportunity to acquire this essential book. Russ Battaglia will spin period platters following the reading. Then the real fun begins. Free concerts by Mudhoney, BuilttoSpill, Chad VanGaalen, JMascis, TomPriceDesertClassic, and countless others right outside the bookstore. Don't miss a minute. Arrive early. Stay late. Buy comix!
My first encounter with Sub Pop founder Bruce Pavitt came when he participated in an art show I co-curated at Rosco Louie gallery called "Famous Artists of the 80s," which opened on New Year's Eve at the dawn of that decade. Bruce contributed a delightfully playful painting rendered on the headboard of a baby crib. Though still a student at Evergreen State College, he came closest to fulfilling the ironic premise of the exhibition.
Pavitt soon began producing his hand crafted Subterranean Pop fanzine, enlisting recent Evergreen alumni Lynda Barry to create the cover of issue 2 and Charles Burns to illustrate the back cover of issue 4. At this point the young editor was anxious to have the esoteric regional music he was promoting available for readers to experience. The inexpensive cassette format with a mini-zine insert ideally suited the dual-purpose publication. He again tapped Burns to draw the cover of the three subsequent cassette releases, and later the cover for the landmark Sub Pop 200 vinyl release.
Pavitt had an intuitive appreciation of the alternative musicians, cartoonists, and graphic designers in the region. As the '80s progressed, these elements combined to create an amazing atmosphere in Seattle that would soon impact popular culture on a global scale.
By the end of the decade I was director of Seattle's Center on Contemporary Art. In 1989 I coerced Pavitt and partner Jonathan Poneman to program a weekend concert series at this space. The shows featured Nirvana, Mudhoney, GWAR, Dwarves, Supersuckers, Tad, Dickless and Cat Butt. It's worth noting that Cat Butt's Danny Bland helped book the bands. None of the acts were named publicly. The event was promoted simply as SODA POP: Super Sugar Big Buzz - a reference to Mudhoney's recent Sub Pop release Superfuzz Bigmuff. (During Mudhoney's raucous set, the audience was showered with 80 pounds of powdered sugar.) In retrospect, this event seemed to suggest that something extraordinary was about to happen.
On Saturday, July 13, the legendary Seattle label commemorates 25 years of going out of business with the Sub Pop Silver Jubilee featuring free concerts by more than 15 amazing bands throughout the historic Georgetown arts community. Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery contributes to the festivities with SODA POP: Super Sugar Big Buzz, an art exhibition, panel discussion and reading fousing on the formative years of Sub Pop, emphasizing the role of regional cartoonists in shaping the attitudes and aesthetics of the emerging youth movement. Don't miss this! Make travel arrangements and hotel reservations now!
SODA POP: Super Sugar Big Buzz exhibition at Fantagraphics Bookstore examines formative years of Sub Pop coinciding with Sub Pop Silver Jubilee
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery celebrates the Sub Pop Silver Jubilee celebration in Georgetown with an exhibition, panel discussion and reading on Saturday, July 13. The show examines the influence of alternative comix, illustration, and graphic design on the legendary music label, which gave rise to the last significant youth movement of the millennium. This event coincides with the Sub Pop Silver Jubilee, a free music festival commemorating 25 years of Sub Pop featuring 15 bands on 3 stages in the Georgetown industrial arts corridor.
The SODA POP exhibition, organized by Sub Pop founder Bruce Pavitt and Fantagraphics Bookstore curator Larry Reid, focuses on the formative years of Sub Pop as a hand-crafted zine, cassette label, and column in Seattle music monthly The Rocket, laying the foundation of the grunge phenomenon that would later impact global pop culture. The exhibition features art and artifacts from the formative years of Sub Pop by Lynda Barry, Peter Bagge, Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes, Owen Connell, Charles Peterson, Art Spiegelman, Jim Woodring, and more. The show takes its title from a 1989 concert at Seattle’s Center on Contemporary Art during Reid’s tenure as director of that organization. Featuring seminal bands like Nirvana, Mudhoney, Dwarves, GWAR, Supersuckers, Tad, Cat Butt, and Dickless, this event foreshadowed the Seattle sound that would soon reverberate around the world.
The exhibition programming includes a panel discussion “Pop Goes Seattle” at 1:00 PM featuring some of the principals of the early Sub Pop period including founder Bruce Pavitt, cartoonist Peter Bagge, photographer Charles Peterson, and author and musician Danny Bland. A book signing will follow the panel. At 2:00 PM, Bland will read passages from his debut novel In Case We Die, a fictional account of the grunge era in Seattle. Danny will be joined by guest reader Greg Dulli, who will later perform music outside the store. A limited number of advance copies of the book will be available at the reading. A companion exhibition, “CP25/SP25: Charles Peterson Presents Twenty Five Photographs from the Vaults in Celebration of Sub Pop's Twenty Fifth” takes place next door at All City Coffee.
The Sub Pop Silver Jubilee features sets by Mudhoney, J. Mascis, Built to Spill, Tom Price Desert Classic, Shabazz Palaces, Father John Misty, Chad VanGaalen and many more. Patrons are encouraged to arrive early. The event also coincides with the colorful Georgetown Art Attack featuring visual and performing arts presentations throughout the historic neighborhood. Patrons are encouraged to return the following day for the free Georgetown Garden Walk and Cross Pollinate art and music festival featuring residential garden tours; music by Shivering Timbers, Tummy, Dennis Driscoll; and more.
“SODA POP: Super Sugar Big Buzz” Art and artifacts from the formative years of Sub Pop by Lynda Barry, Peter Bagge, Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes, Owen Connell, Charles Peterson, Art Spiegelman, Jim Woodring, and more. Opening preview Saturday, July 13, noon to 9:00 PM.
“Pop Goes Seattle: The Seminal Years of Sub Pop” Panel discussion with Bruce Pavitt, Peter Bagge, Charles Peterson, Danny Bland, moderated by Larry Reid 1:00 PM, followed by book signing
In Case We Die Reading of Danny Bland's debut novel by the author and guest reader Greg Dulli 2:30 PM, followed by book signing.
In these comic grotesque portraits, themes of adolescent alienation and sexual awakening mingle with imagery of mutation, disease, and violence. Each smiling, yearbook-style portrait is accompanied by a Dorian Gray-like counterpart, picturing the same teenager with some troubling facial alteration.
Go, and take in all the exquisite work of the master Charles Burns! The Adam Baumgold Gallery is located at 60 E. 66th Street in New York City. The exhibit runs through July 26th, 2013.
Make hotel reservations now for the alternative music event of the decade. Sub Pop celebrates 25 years of rockin' the world with a free concert featuring 15 bands right outside our Georgetown bookstore on July 13. The official line-up as announced by Tad Doyle, Kim Thayil, Mark Arm, and Jack Endino will be complemented by some amazing guests. (We'll leave it to your imagination, but read Tad's lips at the end of the video for a clue.)
While serving as director of Seattle's Center on Contemporary Art in 1989, I somehow coerced Sub Pop moguls Bruce Pavitt and Jonathan Poneman into programming a weekend of music at our downtown space. The show featured Nirvana, Mudhoney, Gwar, TAD, Dwarves, Dickless, Supersuckers, and other awesome acts. CoCA intern Owen Connell created this memorable poster and wheat pasted them all over town. These shows seemed cathartic somehow. Maybe you had to be there. If you weren't, you're in luck...
I'm reviving this concept for an exhibit at Fantagraphics Bookstore coinciding with Sub Pop's Silver Jubilee on July 13. Focusing on the formative years of Sub Pop, the show examines the intersection of comix and music in Seattle beginning with the birth of Sub Pop in 1980. It includes art and artifacts by Charles Burns, Lynda Barry, Peter Bagge, Art Spiegelman, Charles Peterson, Daniel Clowes, and many more. Danny Bland will read from his new novel In Case We Die set in Seattle's grunge era. This'll rock hard! More details will be revealed later, but schedule your summer vacation accordingly.
You don't have to wait until summer to enjoy Sub Pop's contribution to modern music. This Saturday is Record Store Day and our retail partners Georgetown Records will have the special Sub Pop 1000 vinyl LP, as well as exclusive Record Store Day offerings from local label Light in the Attic including Roky Erickson, PiL, and Mercury Rev. Please come by, and wherever you are -- support your local record store!