Reserve your tickets on-line now for "Building Comix" with Chris Ware, Charles Burns, and Chip Kidd at Town Hall in Seattle on Monday, October 22, co-sponsored by Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery. Only $5! This modest admission fee can be redeemed on the purchase of any book by these amazing artists at the signing following the presentations. (One discount per customer.) It promises to be an entertaining and enlightening discussion with three of the most compelling figures in contemporary comix.
Excellent! Mr. Charles Burns will be at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery on Saturday, October 20. Doh! Not that Charles Burns. Or are they one in the same? Cartoonist Charles Burns was an Evergreen State College classmate of Simpsons creator Matt Groening, after all.
And on Monday, October 22 Mr. Burns will be joined by Bart and Homer...ay, caramba! We mean Charles Burns will appear at 7:30 with incomparable cartoonist Chris Ware and book designer Chip Kidd at Town Hall, 1119 8th Avenue in Seattle. Cowabunga!
Here at Fantagraphics, we're gearing up for one of our biggest SPX'es ever, taking place on September 15th & 16th in Bethesda, MD! We'll be rolling out our list of debuts and our signing schedule soon, but while you wait, why not memorize this schedule of panels at the 2012 Small Press Expo?
Saturday, September 15th
• 12:00 pm // Crockett Johnson’s Barnaby and the American Clear Line School [Brookside Conference Room] In a canny mix of fantasy and satire, amplified by the clean minimalism of Crockett Johnson’s line, Barnaby (1942-1952) expanded our sense of what comics can do. Though it never had a mass following, this tale of a five-year-old boy and his endearing con-artist of a fairy godfather influenced many. To mark the launch of The Complete Barnaby, Dan Clowes, Mark Newgarden, Chris Ware, and the book’s two co-editors — Fantagraphics’ Eric Reynolds and Crockett Johnson biographer Philip Nel — discuss the wit, the art, and the genius of Barnaby.
• 12:30 pm // Jaime Hernandez: The Love Bunglers [White Flint Auditorium]Jaime Hernandez and his brothers launched the alternative comics era with their epoch-defining series Love and Rockets. From 1981 to the present, Hernandez has produced a singular body of work tracing the life of Maggie Chascarillo and her vast network of friends, family, neighbors, rivals and lovers. In recent years, Jaime has, again, broken new ground with brilliant comics novellas that remain accessible to new readers while building upon years of narrative to invest his stories with a profound emotionality. He will discuss his work with artist Frank Santoro.
• 2:30 pm // Gilbert Hernandez: Love From the Shadows [White Flint Auditorium]Gilbert Hernandez and his brothers launched the alternative comics era with their epoch-defining series Love and Rockets. Gilbert first made his mark with his Palomar stories, an intergenerational saga detailing life and love in a fictional Central American town. But a parallel strand of Gilbert’s restless oeuvre has since taken center stage in new graphic novels and stories that combine formal play with genre experimentation to open another window into the workings of the human heart. Gilbert will discuss his work with critic Sean T. Collins.
• 4:00 pm // Mark Newgarden Presents: Cartoonists and Comics On Camera, Reel One: 1916-1945 [Brookside Conference Room] A once-in-a-lifetime presentation of rare footage featuring 20th century comics greats and some unusual animated adaptations of their work, curated by Mark Newgarden from his personal collection of rare 35mm film. See Rube Goldberg, Otto Soglow, Chester Gould, Frank King, Harold Gray, Hal Foster (and many more) at the drawing board! See Jefferson “Gags And Gals” Machamer act! Plus Krazy Kat and many more surprises!
• 4:30 pm // Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist [White Flint Auditorium]Daniel Clowes first gained fame with his iconic comic book series Eightball and graphic novel Ghost World, which he co-adapted into a film of the same name. In recent books, including The Death-Ray and Wilson, his unique visual-narrative voice expertly manipulates the position of the reader to get more deeply under the skins of his sharply rendered characters. Recently the subject of a major retrospective exhibit and monograph, Clowes will discuss his work with Alvin Buenaventura, editor of The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist, and scholar Ken Parille.
• 6:00 pm // Sammy Harkham Q+A [Brookside Conference Room]Sammy Harkham has left a lasting impression on the comics field as editor of Kramers Ergot, the irregular avant-garde comics anthology series that represents, for many, a carefully articulated statement about the art form today. Harkham is also an engaged cartoonist, mindful of comics’ legacy while telling intimate stories that resonate with contemporary concerns. Several of his stories are collected in his new book, Everything Together. Harkham will discuss his work with Picturebox publisher and Comics Journal co-editor Dan Nadel.
Sunday, September 16th
• 1:00 pm // Mark Newgarden Presents: Cartoonists and Comics On Camera, Reel Two: 1932-1965 [Brookside Conference Room] A once-in-a-lifetime presentation of rare footage featuring 20th century comics greats and some unusual animated adaptations of their work, curated by Mark Newgarden from his personal collection of rare 35mm film. See Al Capp, Bill Holman (and many more) at the drawing board! See a drawing lesson from Fred C. Cooper! Plus Popeye, Nancy, Jacky’s Diary and many more surprises!
• 2:30 pm // Life After Alternative Comics [White Flint Auditorium] In the years after underground comix, the medium’s flag of ambition was carried by so-called “alternative comics:” nonconformist work in conventional formats that occupied marginal space in comics speciality shops. Alternative comics found common cause with other subcultural movements—before internet culture and the bookstore economy permanently changed comics’ formats and context. Dan Clowes, Gilbert Hernandez, Jaime Hernandez and Adrian Tomine will discuss the changes they have seen in a conversation moderated by Bill Kartalopoulos.
• 3:00 pm // Drawing Energy [Brookside Conference Room] What does it mean to invest a feeling of energy, of activity, of physical or emotional intensity in a drawing? How does the process and mindset of the artist at work relate to—or differ from—the visceral feeling the reader is intended to experience from the published image? ArtistJim Ruggwill discuss these issues and other questions of drawing process with Michael DeForge (Lose), Theo Ellsworth (Capacity), Hellen Jo (Jin and Jam), and Katie Skelly (Nurse Nurse).
• 3:30 pm // Perverse Comics Form: Challenging Comics’ Conventions [White Flint Auditorium] Comics’ traditional forms have been inventively engaged by countless artists towards unique expressive purposes. And yet, even skillful manipulations of the comics form often carry with them conventions forged over decades, often within a commercial context. This panel will discuss radically different approaches to comics form and their relationship to broader artistic practices. Bill Kartalopoulos will lead a conversation with artists Warren Craghead (How to Be Everywhere), Renée French (H Day), and Keith Mayerson (Horror Hospital Unplugged).
Did you memorize them? Good! We'll quiz you at the Fantagraphics table at SPX 2012! See you there!
The fresh-popped Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:Publishers Weekly discusses The Hypo by Noah Van Sciver, "Van Sciver’s psychologically astute examination of what might be termed Abraham Lincoln’s “lost years” (1837–1842) is as gripping and persuasive as the best historical fiction. . .This characterization of Lincoln is thoroughly human and identifiable, tracking a shadowy but formative period in the very uneven life of a man who shows little signs of becoming known as one of the greatest Americans. A thoroughly engaging graphic novel that seamlessly balances investigation and imagination." Wow!
• Plug: Noah Van Sciver's diary comics are showing up at The Comics Journal. Enjoy Day #1, Day #2 and Day #3.
• Plug:Comics Alliance JUMPED at the chance to be the first to comment on Naked Cartoonists. Senior writer Chris Sims comments, "Have you ever wanted to see Dilbert creatorScottAdams naked? Yeah, we haven't either, but apparently [Gary Groth] thought that was a good idea . . . joining artists like Will Eisner, For Better Or For Worsecreator Lynn Johnston, Jeff Smith (feel free to make your own Bone joke here) and . . . legendary MAD artist Sergio Aragones."
• Review:The Mary Sue names Moto Hagio's A Drunken Dream and Other Stories one of the 10 Feminist Manga to Read, that is licensed in the USA. Kellie Foxx-Gonzalez says,"Hagio is not only a storyteller, she is undoubtedly a feminist author, using her manga to explore gender, power, and women’s issues. If extended metaphors in manga as an avenue to explore philosophical questions is as appealing to you as it is to me, please, don’t hesitate to pick up this anthology."
• Commentary: Shannon O'Leary of Publishers Weekly says,". . . with No Straight Lines , the most definitive collection of queer comics to date, [Justin] Hall and Fantagraphics have made the voluminous but largely hidden history of LBGT (lesbian, bi-sexual, gay, transgender) comics finally visible as well."
• Review:The Awl and Kim O'Connor talk about autobio comics and include such underground greats like Aline Kominsky Crumb, Carol Tyler in addition to Chris Ware and Joe Sacco. While on the subject of Aline: "An important part of her project was to promote self-loathing as normal and even funny in an era when to do so was extremely unfashionable." O'Connor touched on the rawness of Chris Ware's work,"there's this sense of playful geometry that's deeply satisfying, even if it sometimes gives you the impression the artist's memory palace looks a lot like the Container Store. But the central delight in reading Jimmy Corrigan, as in all of Ware's work, is how it's painfully awkward and incredibly cool at the same time."
• Review: Rob Clough on the High-Low reviews Jim Woodring's Congress of the Animals: ". . . is interesting because it's much more linear a narrative than most of his comics.. . .Unlike the typical Frank story, there's a greater sense of urgency to Frank's wanderings, as he encounters many temptations and pitfalls along his journey to a destination unknown to even him."
• Review:The Critcal Mob released their short list of summer reads and a few Fantagraphics titles made the cut. Paul Guie looks at Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons: "O'Connor's artwork is frequently abstract and raw-looking. . .Nevertheless, her cartoons are always pleasing to look at thanks to the author's strong sense of composition. Panels are rarely cluttered by unnecessary lines, and O'Connor frequently frames her characters with an eye toward visual balance." Peanuts latest volume is also on Guie's radar: ". . . these later comics remain consistently witty and entertaining, and reflect Schulz's continued mastery of comedic timing within a four-panel layout.. . .Consistently subtle yet always timely, after 30 years, Schulz still had a winning formula on his hands." Last but not least, Guie takes Buddy Does Seattle to the beach,"Bagge's artwork [takes] the public's perception of '90s youth as angry and volatile and pushed it to hysterical levels. Heavily influenced by late-'60s counterculture cartoonists like Crumb, Bagge's drawings are fluid and grimy-looking, with frequent use of exaggerated facial expressions helping to cultivate an atmosphere of chaos."
• Commentary: Best Cover EVER on Forbidden Planet according to Richard: "The absolute iconic image. The raw power. Jaime’s incredible use of black in his art. The faces of the crowd. The stagediver (in heels) who’s just left the stage. But most of all, it’s the best comic cover ever because I swear that I’ve never looked at this cover and NOT heard the music they’re playing." The next best thing for Richard? Buying the new shirt featuring the cover of Issue 24.
• Plug:Comics Alliance and Caleb Goellner collect the most recent Adventure Time covers. James Hindle PLAYS an homage to Jaime Hernandez's distinctive cover. Check it out!
• Review:io9 recently created a list of the 10 Comic Characters Cooler than Batman. Jaime Hernandez's Maggie (the Mechanic) and Jacques Tardi's Adele Blanc-Sec topped the list. "Maggie is a survivor, who never stops kicking ass even she's dealing with depression and heartbreak." says Charlie Jane Anders and in reference to Adele Blanc-Sec:"She's a writer in pre-World War I Paris, which automatically makes her cool. . . She's not afraid to shoot guns, drink the hard stuff, or smoke like a man. She spent World War I in cryogenic suspension and then rocked the 1920s."
• Plug:The Last Vispo's editor Nico Vassilakis recently curated an online group of visual artists called Ten Turkish Visual Poets at Trickhouse.
• Interview: The powerful and deft Friedman brothers were interviewed about Any Similarity to Persons Living or Dead is Purely Coincidental by William Michael Smith of the Houston Press. Josh Alan Friedman talks about his brother's artwork,"Originally [Drew Friedman] worked with stippling technique, using a rapidograph pen. Bent over a desk like a watchmaker, doing thousands of dots. A technique made famous by 'Sunday in the Park with Georges' Seurat, but strictly shunned by art schools in the 20th century."
• Plug: Ron Regé, Jr. is up to something sneaky! At We Can Do It.
The newest and week-old pre-SDCC stinky socks found under your bed-style Online Commentaries and Diversions minus the hullabaloo about Love and Rockets:
•Interview (video):Noah Van Sciver is interviewed by documentary film maker Dan Stafford on his upcoming book about Lincoln's depression, The Hypo, coming out this fall. "Lincoln battled things his whole life. He battled with poverty in his youth; the part that I cover, battling with depression; the struggle of his own fate followed by keeping the nation together, how we know him best."
•Interview: The Advocate and Jase Peeples takes some time to speak to No Straight Lines editor Justin Hall on comics and the LGBTQ community. Hall says, "There are interesting parallels between comics and queers; both have a hard time getting respect by the dominant culture, and both have problems understanding their own history."
•Interview (audio): On the heel's of Pride Month, Comic Book Queers interview a gaggle of people including No Straight Lines editor Justin Hall. Hall states, "We turned the project into a class. I taught at the California College for the Arts and the backbone of the class was bringing in queer cartoonists and had the students interview them."
•Commentary: On The Rumpus editor Justin Hall writes about the history of Queer Comics. You can read more in the anthology!
•Interview:The New York Times and Penelope Green cover uncoventional taxonomy in Significant Objects while interviewing editor Joshua Glenn. Glenn states, "Even if we don’t identify ourselves as collectors, we are collectors of things. And things are collectors of meaning in various ways."
•Commentary:Electric Literature covered the fun book launch of Significant Objects at the Strand on July 10th. Editor Joshua Glenn is quoted by Karina Briski: "the stories become the things of value, all on their own."
•Review:Pop Matters enjoys Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge and Mickey Mouse Vol. 3: High Noon at Inferno Gulch (edited by David Gerstein and Gary Groth) with childlike wonder but still has those nagging questions. Michael Barrett: "There’s still no explanation for how some animals are “humans” while others are just animals, like how Mickey can ride a horse in the West and then come home to be greeted by his pal Horace Horsecollar."
•Review: The Tearoom of Despair takes a look at the Hate Annuals by Pete Bagge. Bob Temuka laments, "Bagge has actually done so many comics over the past decade and a half, that he is almost – shamefully – taken for granted. While new books by the likes of Clowes or Ware are almost an Event, a new mini series from Bagge might get a couple of reviews, most of which will point out that it’s more of the same."
•Commentary: Video gamesite, 1Up features some satirical video game adaptations including Pete Bagge's Hate, Ghost World by Dan Clowes and the most epic Jimmy Corrigan panel by Chris Ware.
•Review: Music magazine and site Under the Radar enjoys the writings of Stephen Dixon's What Is All This? Uncollected Stories. Hays Davis: "Stephen Dixon has a gift for revealing mundane environments as vibrant social microcosms. With that, it seems almost apropos that Dixon's flown under the radar commercially for decades, though he's always garnered respect in literary circles"
Last night's episode of popular cop show Law & Order SVU contained an unlikely Chris Ware reference. A misguided comic shop clerk (uh-oh) prowled the streets dressed as a superhero to protect the public from a SoHo serial rapist. Turns out [SPOILER ALERT –Ed.] superclerk was the perp all along. His heroics were a misguided attempt to spark a romance with an unsuspecting female customer. During his climactic rooftop arrest, he confesses that on her first visit to the comics shop he attempted to lure the woman with a copy of Jimmy Corrigan. Right. That always works.
For perhaps obvious reasons, I invariably find myself re-reading Palestine this time of year. Twenty years ago, cartoonist Joe Sacco visited the biblical lands of the Middle East and reported his observations in a groundbreaking series of comic books that would help change our perceptions of the troubled occupied territories. It's a sad commentary that reading this book twenty years later, it seems like it could have been written yesterday. With every read — going on a dozen now — I find something new in Sacco's brilliant tale.
I recall not long after beginning work as Fantagraphics marketing and promotions director, co-publisher Kim Thompson handed me a blue-line copy of the first issue of Palestine. "This is amazing," I responded, "but you can't seriously expect me to sell this thing. It's not very funny at all!" (I believe I said something similar when Kim showed me the first issue of Chris Ware's Acme Novelty Library.) Well, after 10 printings of the collection and a special edition hardcover, Palestine seems to have found a readership.
If you haven't done so already, please get a copy of this book. Now's a perfect time to peruse its pages. Sacco visits Bethlehem and finds little evidence of the promise of peace we will celebrate this Sunday. But he does discover humanity amid the turmoil of the region. And with it — hope for a peaceful resolution.
If you find yourself in Seattle anytime soon, drop by Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery. We have a limited quantity of Palestine #1 first edition comic books signed by Sacco for only $2.95, as well as a large selection of his more recent works. Happy holidays.
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