The Cleanest Mug in the Kitchen of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:Booklist reviews the Mysterious Traveler: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 3, by Steve Ditko and edited by Blake Bell. Gordon Flagg notes these horror stories feature "Ditko’s distinctly off-kilter drawings and boldly potent composition" and the "meticulous restoration means that the stories look far better here than they did upon their original appearances."
• Review:Booklist enjoys Mort Meskin's Out of the Shadows, edited by Steven Brower. "Meskin’s powerful compositions add a fitting dynamism to superhero tales featuring the Black Terror and Fighting Yank. His bold use of shadows and other solid black areas impart a moody atmosphere to horror and crime stories, and even the romance and sci-fi pieces included here benefit from his economic illustration style and attractive page designs," writes Gordon Flagg.
• Review:Black Gate picks up Linda Medley's Castle Waiting: Volume 2 for a good read. John O'Neill stated, "it retold the fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty (sort of), as seen by an odd cast of mostly minor characters. It was well written and beautiful, feminine in perspective and mood, incredibly slow-paced, and wholly original. I loved it."
• Interview: Gary Panter spent a whole hour talking to Benjamen Walker on the Too Much Information show at WFMU about life, Dal Tokyo, the evolving medium of comics and more.
• Interview: New Statesman interviews Chris Ware on Building Stories, Jimmy Corrigan and the time inbetween books. "Kim Thompson at Fantagraphics was really willing to experiment [with format]; I remember how much he and I sweated the idea of putting out a comic book that was just 1/2" shorter than the standard format in 1993."
• Review:Dal Tokyo by Gary Panter is listed in The Times of UK as one of the essential books for Chris Ware. Ware says "Gary Panter is the William Blake of comics; a true poet who sees and feels what the rest of us can't, and he's done more to expand the power of drawing in the medium thatn probably anyone else alive." Original article here.
• Interview: Cartoonist and creator of Jimmy Corrigan, The Smartest Kid on Earth Chris Ware is interviewed by Phawker by Rita Book.
• Commentary: ArtVoice visits the Spain Rodriguez retrospective at the Burchfield Penney Center in Buffalo, NY. Jack Foran says,"Rodriguez was a kind of incorrigible rebellious type. . . when abstract expressionism with its two-dimensionality principle was dogma—he was into three-dimensionality, in spades—and his blue-collar employment in Buffalo area manufactories, where the curriculum was the much more interesting subject to him of simmering socioeconomic class warfare."
• Review: Rob Clough of High-Low reposted his Seqart post on Megan Kelso and The Squirrel Mother. Cough states, "What makes Kelso one of my favorite artists is her total devotion to the medium and a constant desire to improve. . . Kelso's art is all about the narrative. Every word and every line advances the story; there are no extraneous pyrotechnics. Indeed, Kelso's line is more elegant than spectacular."
• Review:Publishers Weekly enjoys Love and Rockets New Stories #5. "In the 30 years they’ve been writing and drawing Love and Rockets, Los Bros Hernandez have created wonderfully complex story lines and characters. . . This web of superior magical-realistic storytelling involves readers in the perplexed yearnings of a huge cast of unforgettable characters unaware of their own capacity for general self-delusion and occasional self-discovery."
• Commentary: Hannah Means-Shannon contines her SPX coverage with more on the Bros on The Beat. On the "Life After Alternative Comics" panel, Jaime Hernandez and Daniel Clowes spoke about the past and present of their comics-making environment. "Dan Clowes addressed the 'wasteland' of comics in the early 1980’s and the origin of his LLOYD LLEWELLYN series and the strange, often intriguing piles of fan mail he received from readers and prison inmates."
• Interview: Also on Phawker is an interview of Charles Burns, creator of Black Hole. He weaves stories by "paying close attention to the way my brain functions. I sit and write every day and it amazes me how often I repeat myself – come up with the same “brilliant” solution to a plot thread only to discover notes from years earlier where I’ve already clearly laid out the same ideas."
The Psychedelic Furs dropped by Fantagraphics Bookstore on Saturday to stock up on records and comix ahead of their set at the Showbox. It was amusing to hear Chicago-born saxophonist Mars Williams, a Krazy Kat enthusiast, attempt to explain the decidedly American brickbat humor of the strip to his British bandmates. Mars graciously agreed to a photo op next to Krazy Kat book designer and fellow Chicagoan Chris Ware's Building Stories display. Thanks to the band for putting us on the guest list. Fun show (below).
The weekend's newest Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Plug: The best footnote IN THE WORLD? appeared on Grantland's excerpt of Marvel Comics: The Untold Story written by Sean Howe. It refers to Marvel's idea of hiring Gary Groth. . . Look for footnote 7.
•Review: Johnny Ryan'sPrison Pit: Book 4 is reviewed on Nick Gazin's Comic Book Love in #73 and Mr. Ryan himself is interviewed. . . via text. "There's no point in trying to explain Prison Pit. You can only experience it to understand it. Start buy buying all of them at once if you haven't yet. . . It wears its intentional stupidness and violence on its sleeve while also showing off Johnny Ryan's sophisticated sense of composition and black and white ink prettiness."
• Review: Comics Bulletin likes Rich Tommaso's The Cavalier Mr. Thompson. Nick Hanover says, "Tommaso's distinctly minimalist, animation-influenced style adds another seemingly disparate element that actually serves to enliven the material all the more, finding some sweet spot between the Coen Brothers and Popeye."
• Plug:Comics Alliance lists their favorite covers of the month and include Rich Tommaso's The Cavalier Mr. Thompson. Andrew Wheeler says,"I'm drawn to the graphic simplicity of this cover. It plays with scale, line and color in creative ways, and the composition pulls it all together."
• Review: Rick Klaw at RevolutionSF flips through Dungeon Quest 3 by Joe Daly ". . .rousing adventure and ass-kicking action — all staged in front of fantastic backdrops replete with strange vegetation, ancient ruins and steampunk imagery."
• Commentary:The Beat reports on an SPX panel with Daniel Clowes and his editors, Alvin Beaunaventura and Ken Parille, for The Daniel Clowes Reader. Hannah Means-Shannon states,"Clowes, who appeared energetic and amused by such a large crowd commented that working on the retrospective book with Buenaventura was a welcome thing because he’s 'lonely and working all the time'so it was 'fun to have someone to hang out with'. . . Little details provided by Buenaventura and Clowes about the research process set the scene for comedy, including Buenaventura rifling through Clowes’ closets constantly and 'measuring his art' while Clowes wondered what dirty laundry the writer might dig up that he had forgotten about."
• Review: Rob Clough of High-Low picks up The Squirrel Machine, which is being reprinted in soft cover next spring, by the creeptacular Hans Rickheit. "Rickheit's stories tend to take place in a more upscale, reserved and even Victorian setting, which befits his delicate, sensitive line. . . Rickheit strikes at the heart of what it means to be human: connecting with other emotionally and physically, seeking to express oneself through art, investigating the world around us--in other words, to be emotionally and intellectually curious."
• Review: Chad Parenteau reviews Hans Rickheit's newer Folly on We Got Issues. "Rickheit clearly wrestles with the meaning and purpose of his work with every page he creates, as other artists do. Hans might be consider rude for speaking so out loud about it if more people hung around long enough to listen. Me, I’m so ensconced in his Underbrain, I’m taking notes."
• Review:Comic Impact soaks up The Crackle of the Frost by Jorge Zentner and Lorenzo Mattotti. John Mueller states, "Frost is a sharply written book that takes the reader deeper into a character’s psyche more than any other comic in recent memory. Still, as well-written as the book is, what will undoubtedly get people to pick it up is the sensational art by the acclaimed Mattotti. . . the styles of the art can jump from impressionism to expressionism, symbolism to Hopper-esque realism often within the space of just two panels."
• Review:Bookgasm reviews The Crackle of the Frost by Jorge Zentner and Lorenzo Mattotti. JT Lindroos thinks,"THE CRACKLE OF THE FROST is realistic in a manner very few graphic novels are, pinpointing a phantasmagorical and poetic vision of human relationship in its naturally nonlinear movement. It’s also a perfect example of a work that might appeal to someone not customarily interested in comics"
• Interview:The Chicago Tribune talks to Chris Ware about life, comics and Peanuts. "When he was a child, Ware connected deeply with Charlie Brown, he said. He remembers connecting so deeply that he sent Charlie Brown a valentine." Fitting that Fantagraphics has published work by both.
• Commentary: Hannah Means on The Beat comments on the SPX Ignatz Awards. "The presence of the Hernandez brothers at SPX this year brought a great deal of energy, and often hilarity, and the Ignatz awards were no exception."
• Commentary: Hannah Means covered the Brooklyn Book Festival on The Beat including the 'Sex and Comics' panel that included Gilbert Hernandez. She describes, "Hernandez was asked whether he has used sex in his works as a plot device, but countered this possibility rather precisely by explaining the undesirable tendency of depictions of sex to slow down plot movements rather than usher them along."
• Interview (audio): Sean T. Collins interviewed Gilbert Hernandezrecently at SPX. Check out the full interview today.
• Interview: Vince Brusio caught up with Jaime Hernandez on the Northeast Coast Tour and interviewed him for PREVIEWSworld.
• Plug: On Forbidden Planet's Desert Island series, Gary Northfield said he could not live without Buddy Does Seattle by Peter Bagge and I Shall Destroy All Civilized Planets by Fletcher Hanks, edited by Paul Karasik. "This guy knew exactly what he was doing; his panels are graphically stunning, boldly drawn in full manipulation of the crude 4 colour printing processes being used to churn out the pulpy monthly comics. Monthly adventure comic books were in their infancy and finding their feet and Hanks was ploughing his own crazy, psychopathic path" meanwhile "Peter Bagge’s deranged, yet no doubt closely auto-biographical soap opera is an expert lesson in slice of life story-telling and comic book narrative."
The saltiest sounds of the ocean's Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Interview: Dubbing them "The Four Horseman of AltComix" Sean T. Collins interviews Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez, Chris Ware and Dan Clowes all in one go onRolling Stone. What a beautiful meetup of minds. Ware says, "Well, there are better cartoonists now than there ever have been. I firmly believe that. There's some amazing work being done." While Gilbert laments the change in alt comics, "That's what was missing from alternative comics after us: The art got less and less good."
• Interview (video): George O'Connor with co-host Natalie Kim recap SPX on InkedTV, including an interview with Gilbert Hernandez, and George shows off his Love and Rockets shirt.
• Plug:Dan Clowes is interviewed on what inspires him by the NY Times : "I didn’t really listen to the Kinks growing up at all — I was just vaguely aware of them, like everybody else — so when I was in my mid-20s I bought a couple of their records, just on a whim, and got sort of obsessed with them."
• Review:Comics Alliance reviews Lorenzo Mattotti's newest collaboration The Crackle of the Frostwith Jorge Zentner. Sarah Horrocks points out,". . . what you're looking at in The Crackle of the Frost is a largely amazing new Mattotti release for North American audiences, with fantastic art that has to be seen to be believed. It is a work that is better than most of what you can get on the stands on any given Wednesday. But it's also a book that is hurt by how achingly close it gets to its own perfection."
• Review:InkedTV reviews Joe Daly's Dungeon Quest Volumes 1-3 on their new video reviews featuring Natalie Kim and George O'Connor. "You will never find a book or a series of books that is so genetalia-obssessed as this book." Take a gander at our back catalog and you might find more.
• Plug:The Comics Journal lets Philip Nel tell a bit of the tale before the legend of Crockett Johnson, from his biography on the man called Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss. Fans have their eyes on the horizon for Johnson's Barnaby, edited by Nel and Eric Reynolds. Nel writes, "But before Barnaby, there was Crockett Johnson. And before Crockett Johnson, there was David Johnson Leisk."
• Review:Broken Frontier covers King of the Flies by Mezzo and Pirus. "King Of The Flies by Mezzo & Pirus is one hell of a hardcore comic. It is noir on acid, dark and unrelenting. It is one of the most thorough examinations of the cimmerian darkness the human species can dwell on and it will hit you square in the chest." But what about Book 2? "King Of The Flies 2 : Origin Of The World is maybe even better than its original and though it bears the number 2 it can just as well be read on its own."
Fantagraphics Bookstore Presents Contemporary Cartoonists Charles Burns, Chris Ware, Gabrielle Bell, Tom Kaczynski, and more! (Really.)
Fantagraphics Bookstore is pleased to present two of America’s most celebrated cartoonists, Charles Burns and Chris Ware, together with emerging artists Gabrielle Bell and Tom Kaczynski on October 20 – 22. Burns, Bell and Kaczynski appear on Saturday, October 20 at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery from 6:00 to 8:00 PM, followed by Burns and Ware at Town Hall on Monday, October 22 at 7:30 PM.
Seattle native Charles Burns will appear at Fantagraphics Bookstore to sign his new book, The Hive, the much-anticipated follow-up to 2010’s sensational dreamscape, X’ed Out. Burns’ gripping graphic novel, Black Hole, is set in Seattle’s Ravenna neighborhood and was serialized by Fantagraphics Books. It is widely regarded as one of the masterpieces of the alternative comix movement. Black Hole inspired Seattle-based Elysian Brewing Company’s monthly "12 Beers of the Apocalypse" series — the latest being "Blight Pumpkin Ale." This event coincides with Elysian’s popular Great Pumpkin Brew Festival at their nearby Georgetown bottling plant, featuring dozens of seasonal pumpkin beers from regional boutique breweries. (Burns will attend the tapping party for the new "Omen" flavor of the "12 Beers of the Apocalypse" at the Elysian Brewing Company’s Capitol Hill location on Sunday, October 21 from noon to 3:00 PM.)
Burns will be joined at the bookstore on Saturday, October 20 by talented young artist Gabrielle Bell presenting her new work The Voyeurs, published on cartoonist Tom Kaczynski’s Uncivilized Books imprint. Kaczynski will also be present with a preview of his dystopian graphic novel Beta Testing the Apocalypse, coming soon from Fantagraphics Books. These two emerging artists will also have an array of small press publications and prints available.
On Monday, October 22 Fantagraphics Bookstore is pleased to co-present "Building Comix with Charles Burns and Chris Ware" at Town Hall. Based in Chicago, Ware is among the most influential cartoonists of his generation. His graphic novel Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth was serialized by Fantagraphics Books in Acme Novelty Library and brought Ware international acclaim. His complex design sensibilities set new standards for the medium. His latest book is the monumental box set Building Stories, containing 14 diverse works. Together, they demonstrate the artist’s affinity for existential narratives driven by architecture in meticulous, multi-dimensional compositions. Charles Burns and Chris Ware promise to provide an entertaining and enlightening evening. The modest $5.00 admission fee can be redeemed on the purchase of any book at the signing following the presentation. (Due to a scheduling conflict, a previously announced appearance by book designer Chip Kidd had to be cancelled.)
Charles Burns, Gabrielle Bell, and Tom Kaczynski book signing and reception. Saturday, October 20, 6:00 to 8:00 PM. Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery. 1201 S. Vale Street. Seattle. 206.658.0110 www.fantagraphics.com
12 Beers of the Apocalypse tapping party with Charles Burns. Sunday, October 21, noon to 3:00 PM. Elysian Brewing Company. 1221 E. Pike Street. Seattle. 206.860.1920 www.elysianbrewing.com
Building Comix with Charles Burns and Chris Ware presentation and book signing. Monday, October 22, 7:30 PM. Town Hall. 1119 8th Avenue. Seattle. 206.652.4255 www.townhallseattle.org
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!