Famed alternative cartoonist Charles Burns will appear at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery this Friday, September 19 from 6:00 to 8:00 PM presenting his new book Sugar Skull. He will be followed on Sunday, September 21 from 3:00 to 5:00 PM by Chris Wright signing copies of his recent graphic novel Blacklung.
Seattle native Charles Burns, now a resident of Philadelphia, was among the founders of the alternative comix movement in the 1970s when he emerged from The Evergreen State College with Lynda Barry and Matt Groening. This trio of gifted artists began syndicating their innovative comic strips in alternative weeklies, which gave momentum to a new approach to cartooning. Burns' groundbreaking graphic novel Black Hole, serialized by Fantagraphics Books, is considered a masterpiece of the form. The story is set in 1970s Seattle and was recently featured in the critically acclaimed film Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Burns will be signing copies of his highly anticipated new book Sugar Skull, which completes a trilogy that began with X'ed Out, followed by The Hive. Burns' unique graphic sensibility has left and indelible mark on Seattle's culture through his early work with Sub Pop and The Rocket. Join us in welcoming this influential artist back home on Friday, September 19.
Chris Wright is among a new breed of emerging artists building on the foundation laid by Burns and others. His recent graphic novel from Fantagraphics Books, Blacklung, combines elements of otherworldly adventure and horror rendered in brutal detail - unquestionably one of the most impressive graphic novel debuts in recent years. The signing on Sunday, September 21 marks the artist's first visit to Seattle. Fantagraphics Bookstore is located at 1201 S. Vale Street in the heart of Seattle's historic Georgetown arts community. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sunday until 5:00 PM. 206.658.0110.
The film noir genre holds a special place in American cinema and the posters reveal a lot about mid-century aesthetics. As director William Friedkin observes in the book's introduction, "The posters convey the style and content of the movies they were designed to advertise, and yet they represent an art form of their own. They are a valid and important school of American art." These posters depict the biggest stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood in some of their most memorable roles. The book includes both a synopsis and fascinating analysis of the films depicted by the posters.
Editor Mark Fertig will attend the opening to discuss and sign copies of the book. This event coincides with the colorful Georgetown Art Attack featuring challenging visual and performing arts presentations throughout the historic arts community. Fantagraphics Bookstore is located at 1201 S. Vale Street (at Airport Way S.), just minutes south of downtown Seattle. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110.
Don't miss appearances by Seattle native Charles Burns signing his new graphic novel Sugar Skull on Friday, September 19 from 6:00 to 8:00 PM and Chris Wright signing Black Lung on Sunday, September 21 from 3:00 to 5:00 PM. See you all soon.
The word is out! The night before the Small Press Expo in Bethesda, MD (aka SPX), Atomic Books is hosting their annual party. This year will have a stellar cast of characters doing readings from their comics and signing. On September 12th from 5-6pm, enjoy the THE Charles Burns signing his third installment of his current series called Sugar Skull. From 7-9pm, your ears will be thrilled by the sights and sounds of Ed Piskor(Hip Hop Family Tree Vol. 2), Simon Hanselmann (Megahex), Noah Van Sciver (with his AdHouse book Youth Is Wasted), Emily Flake, Josh Bayer and Tom Neely plus MORE.
We can't wait, so save some fliff (money) to spend on great comics by amazing cartoonists and buy a beer at the Daniel Clowes' inspired Eightbar while you're at it. (Photo by Kaitlin Newman).
"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!