With Halloween approaching, it's a good time to consider some spooky favorites from Fantagraphics Books.
The formative work of Charles Burns in Big Baby foreshadows the brilliance that would follow. Alluring stories like "Curse of the Molemen," "Blood Club," and "Teen Plague" remain creepy and compelling while exploring themes of adolescent angst. Ghost World by Daniel Clowes is a similarly insightful examination of the otherworldly imaginations of its youthful protagonists. It remains among the greatest graphic novels - and film adaptations - of all time.
Al Columbia's Pim & Francie is at first blush a collection of meticulously rendered drawings, but a closer examination reveals a seductive narrative involving a cute cartoon couple caught in a world of horrific nightmares.
A misanthropic witch wrestles with real world issues in Simon Hanselmann's Megahexand surreal horror unfolds in The Amateurs by Conor Stechschulte as two butchers are afflicted with a mysterious case of amnesia. Meat these amazing artists this Saturday at Fantagraphics Bookstore.
As the leaves begin to turn shades of red and orange (or fall straight off and green depending on where you live), backpacks are dusted off in preparation for a new load of textbooks, and we move into fall, we figure you could use some cause for celebration. How about our Labor Day/Back-To-School Sale? We've got great titles of all-ages, young-adult, and non-fiction titles at a whopping 40% Off from Saturday, August 30th through Monday, September 1st!
School can be anything you make of it, especially you don't give a damn. For the guy or girl that knows everything, try Unlovable 1and 2by Esther Pearl Watson. She may only break wind and not hearts, but Tammy Pierce is unstoppable. For some short stories from all walks of life, ugly and less ugly, grab Daniel Clowes' Caricature, often compared to to Nabokov for their complex naturalism and sense of humor.
Is cutting class altogether a common memory for you? How about a classic Fantagraphics alternative comic, sure to win even the most jaded of hearts: Daniel Clowes' Ghost World (now in its 20th printing) is for you. Already have it? Try the male version of Ghost World, Celebrated Summer by Charles Forsman, that came out in 2014. Night Fisher by R. Kikuo Johnson also follows the teenage trail of growing up and growing apart.
Cutting class was too weak? You just dropped out all together? Damn, you might enjoy Giraffes in My Hair, a Jack Kerouac-style story lived by Bruce Paley and drawn by his partner,Carol Swain, all about the summer of '67. On the cusp of flunking out with a drug habit, A Mess of Everything by Miss Lasko-Gross, is an intense and raw look at her own high-school experience. If you're looking for more personal and semi-autobiographical comic stories look no further than The Squirrel Mother by Megan Kelso. It also contains stories about the idea of America and American history, such as a trilogy of short pieces about Alexander Hamilton.
Consider some new books about comics as an assignment for a graded discussion. Black Images in the Comics by Fredrik Strömberg walks through comics, old and new, to enlighten the audience about the hideous caricatures racism produces so that we may never stray there again. Best American Comics Criticism compiled by Ben Schwartz features the best essays on comics from Chris Ware on Rodolphe Töpffer, Dan Clowes on Mad's Will Elder, The Daily Show's John Hodgman on Jack Kirby and more!
Advancements in modern technology have rendered the art of the prank phone call to be something of an anachronism. Which is a shame, and all the more reason why I'm rooting for this kickstarter to succeed. Never forget. Once upon a time, Park Grubbs was legendary, if mostly known only via tenth-generation cassette tapes shared through the mail by weirdos and misfits. Longtime Daniel Clowes fans will remember Grubbs as the esteemed winner of the "Eightball Prank Call Contest" (surely the Oscar of prank phone call awards). One of the kickstarter rewards is a signed print from longtime Grubbs co-conspirator / Fantagraphics friend and author Jim Blanchard, who will also appear in the film, I hear.
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).
Here in all its unfettered glory: the final slipcase cover art for Daniel Clowes' highly anticipated The Complete Eightball 1-18! This mouthwatering, two-volume hardcover slipcase will include over 450 pages of vintage Clowes artwork, some never before reprinted, AND brand new artwork that Clowes created specifically for this set!
88. Buddy Bradley fromHate, Buddy Buys a Dump, etc. "For some, though, Bagge's early ‘90s hipster caricature was the closest comics got to depicting the world Gen X'ers knew, or at least the world they thought would make them look cool if they acted like they knew it. Through Buddy, Bagge bitingly dredged up the paranoia at the core of every ‘90s alt doofus." – Garrett Martin
35. Enid Coleslaw from Ghost World "Teenage girls, in particular, get the short shrift in comics as Betties and Veronicas, but Enid is spunky, dangerous and recognizably human. In Ghost World, Enid brings her glorious three dimensions to the trials of adolescence." – Hillary Brown
"His cantankerous, money-crazed persona is tempered by a sympathetic backstory from Barks, showing how the millionaire waterfowl earned every dime of his immense wealth through hard work and cunning. This simple setup has fueled decades of stories, the animated series DuckTales and, more recently, a new series of acclaimed reprints of Barks' classic comics by Fantagraphics." –Zack Smith
"Hopey is all spikes and broken glass - a kid at heart - and, as children are, often thoughtless, selfish and wild. That she manages to be completely endearing and relatable to the reader speaks to Hernandez's achievement in Hopey's characterization." – Hillary Brown
10. Maggie from Love and Rockets/Locas by Jaime Hernandez "Maggie's evolving, deepening emotions since 1981 make her one of the most realized and substantial characters in the entire comics medium. She's stereotypically feminine in many aspects - emotional, irrational, eats her feelings - but she also bends gender norms, as evidenced by her talent as a mechanic." – Hillary Brown
Rolling Stone recently listed it's Top 50 Non-Superhero Graphic Novels and we made up 22% of that list (including a few books that we published and have been rereleased by others). If you haven't picked up one of these books, get steppin' to your local comic book store, buy one from the website, visit the library---you've go so many options! Picks by Joe Gross also of the Austin-American Statesman.
47Safe Area Gorazde by Joe Sacco "Joe Sacco is one of the medium's premier journalists; that he has focused on war-torn regions makes his work feel that much more vital and impressive...Gorazde - is a great place to start."
44You'll Never Know series by C. Tyler "Tyler is a top flight memoirist, and You'll Never Know pulses with a maturity not often found in the medium."
43Usagi Yojimbo by Stan Sakai "Never less than thoughtful and entertaining, Usagi Yojimbo is one of the most consistent comics around."
15Uncle Scrooge by Carl Barks "His Donald Duck stories are a comedic blast, but his Uncle Scrooge stories are veritable silly symphonies of complicated plotting and intercontinental adventure. Need a master class in how to tell a great comics story? Read any Barks' Scrooge stories from 1950 until his retirement in 1966. It's all there."
5The Complete Crumb by R. Crumb "To ignore him completely is only to invite accidentally ripping him off; he's the Bob Dylan of the comics underground, and his work is embedded in the medium's DNA now."
1Love and Rockets by Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez "Imagine the Clash or R.E.M. or Run-DMC not only never broke up, but, for 30 years, never once released a less-than-excellent record. Imagine their command of their craft just became more pronounced year after year, earning the unshakable admiration of their fans and peers. Imagine they made the best record of their career, 30 years on, this decade. This is essentially what Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez have done with Love and Rockets, the greatest American comic book series of all time."
And Dan himself will be there to kick off the show, in conversation with comics scholar Hillary Chute, starting at 7:00 PM in the Mershon Auditorium! This special event is FREE thanks to Art Museum Day, a nationwide initiative of the Association of Art Museum Directors.
Not only will Dan discuss his extensive bibliography, but he'll provide some insight into the accompanying exhibit Eye of the Cartoonist: Daniel Clowes’s Selections from Comics History -- a collection of work by past greats whom he admires or considers influences! Who did he pick? Well, we can tell you both Nancy and Peanuts are in there!
As for his own exhibit, if you haven't seen it yet in its previous stops in Oakland and Chicago, you can feast your eyes on "original black ink and Zipatone drawings of pages from these works, as well as beautifully realized gouache paintings of the covers of Ghost World and other publications... Modern Cartoonist: The Art of Daniel Clowes is the first museum survey of his work, bringing together over 90 pieces of original art and artifacts from the full range of his career."
The Wexner Center for the Arts is located on the Ohio State University campus at 1871 N High Street in Columbus, Ohio. Both exhibits will be on view through August 3rd, but you sure don't want to miss that talk!
We're deep in production on The Complete Eightball box set and there's a piece of the puzzle missing: We want to reproduce this cover, to Eightball #7, scanned from the original, but we can't track down the owner of the piece. (This low-res scan was found online, but was uploaded over 10 years ago and the source is MIA.) Any and all tips are appreciated — see the danielclowes.com blog for all the details.