Seattle, WA: We here are Fantagraphics are already pretty privy to how much of a genius our boss, Gary Groth, is. Finally the World is standing up to take notice! And by the World, I mean The Stranger Genius Awards for Literature. Books editor, Paul Constant will be presenting a showcase at the Frye Art Museum for all the literature geniuses, including Gary, visual poet, Shin Yu Pai, and writer of the current Ms. Marvel series, G. Willow Wilson. Tickets $10, with mingling and drinks beginning at 5:30. 21+ (More details)
Saturday, August 30th
Chicago, IL: Purveyors of the finest comics, Quimby's Bookstore of Chicago will be hosting the prince of spaces escapades, Lane Milburn, as he parties with the public to celebrate the release of his sci-fi epic, Twelve Gems! A Heavy Metal saga meets your math class compositon notebook in this beautiful space opera that traverses the cosmos. The boogying starts at 7 pm. (More details)
Los Angeles: As a part of the Everything Is Festival at the Cine Family, Prison Pit cartoonist, Johnny Ryan will be freaking audiences out by screening the animated version of Prison Pit Book One. Joining him on a panel to follow with be noted comedians and bad boys, Rick Shapiro and Blake Anderson. Begins at 2:30 pm. Get tix quick! (More details)
Houston, TX: Amazing Houston Comic Con will be hosting a slew of the comic industry's most notable artists, and joing them is of course Mr. Ed Piskor of Hip Hop Family Tree! He will be around Friday and Saturday, and will hopefully ask Rob Liefeld what he thought of the special HHFT #300, found in your forthcoming deluxe box set. (More details)
Decatur, GA: If you find yourself in the dirty south this weekend, get a little dirtier by hanging out with a bunch of authors of cartoonists at the AJC Decatur Book Festival this weekend where Eleanor Davis and Ed Piskor will be giving you the down low on their works. Eleanor and Liz Prince will be giving a presentation this day at 1:45 pm titled, "How to be Graphic" - told you the south was dirty - (More details)
Sunday, August 31st
Decatur, GA: Ed Piskor is doubling up on events this weekend and making his way across the great American landscape to bring a launch of Hip Hop Family Tree Vol. 2, and a moderated panel to follow, where he'll discuss the only two things that still make sense in the world, hip-hop and comic books. Scoot on down to the Marriott at 5 pm! (More details)
This weekend, Eleanor Davis and Ed Piskor are going to rock Georgia's lit festival in Decatur. Free to the public on Saturday, August 30th and Sunday, August 31st, the Decatur Book Festival is all over downtown Decatur.
Eleanor is giving a presentation along with Liz Prince and moderator Kerry Leibling at the "How to Be Graphic" panel on Saturday, August 30th. A little less salty than it sounds, be at the Marriott Conference Center Ballroom A promptly at 1:45pm! (130 Clairemont Ave, Decatur, GA 30030) A book signing to follow.
Meanwhile, on Sunday Ed Piskor has the Hip Hop Family Tree Vol. 2 - Book Launch at 5pm. Along with moderator Edward A. Hall, Piskor will talk about the jump hip-hop has made from legends to comic book panels. Join him at Marriott Conference Center Ballroom. (130 Clairemont Ave, Decatur, GA 30030)A book signing to follow.
"What’s most impressive about Swain’s story is its quiet nature, and its delicate portrayal of darkness. Instead of going for the obvious and imposing gruesome imagery to match the backdrop of macabre, Swain portrays the setting as a far more subtle place to contain unease, at time bucolic even with the fog of despair that sometimes hangs there." – John Seven, Vermicious
"That's Davis' sensibility. In her roundabout way, she dramatizes not the prospect of happiness, but the promise of it. Her natural territory is found in all the funny and tragic effects of that promise." – Etelka Lehoczky, NPR
Whimsical, sensitive, and earthly real, cartoonist, Eleanor Davis achieves a level of quiet poignancy throughout this collection of comics and short stories that leaves the reader wondering, "how did she know?".
Pick up one of the most important books of the year, and head over to Bizarro-Wuxtry to say "Hi!" and other pleasantries.
"Though Watson illustrates Tammy’s life in excruciating, embarrassing detail to often-hilarious effect, her clear affection and empathy for her subject shines through. She universalizes Tammy’s experiences, taking us back to relive our own tortured, giddy, deadly serious, horny, boring, and horribly self-conscious teenage years." – Robert Kirby, The Comics Journal
"This is exactly what summer blockbusters should be, only Milburn’s is a singular vision. He exploits clichés by embracing them, and he busily captures hyperspace hilarity, while the black and white pages never feel overwhelmed by the dark backdrops or Milburn’s detailed designs." – Alex Carr, Broken Frontier
"Tardi is unremitting in his focus on the small, human details of the catastrophe—not just the look of uniforms and weaponry, but the way one soldier advances in an awkward, stiff-armed posture, 'protecting my belly with the butt of the rifle,' and the way another makes sculptures and rings from discarded shells, to sell to his comrades." – Gabriel Winslow-Yost, The New York Review of Books
"Many of Davis’ stories here explore the way people live with each other and try to find themselves in the modern world. They are funny, surprising, touching, and insightful. Some have a sci-fi slant to them, some are fantasy, and some are just about real people." – Rich Barrett, Mental Floss
"The title story might be the best known in the entire EC comics oeuvre… EC tales often sported morals reinforcing decency and forward-thinking that were decades ahead of their time. 'Judgment Day' is one such story, an O. Henry type of tale about an Earthling astronaut who visits a robot-inhabited planet that is strictly divided along color lines…When the twist ending comes, it carries a surprise even today; sadly, this reflects as much on our own time as the era in which the story was produced." – David Maine, Spectrum Culture
"I was amazed to find that many of these people were born in the late 1800s and that most of them have military service as part of their illustrious resumes. These weren’t hoity-toity art students born with silver spoons in their mouths; these were hard-working American mutts that, against nearly impossible odds – using only their imaginations, a lot of blood, sweat and tears (and apparently a huge amount of cigarette smoke) – managed to craft a uniquely American artistic medium that would influence countless generations to come." – Bob Leeper, Nerdvana
"The story unfolds asynchronously, creating a sense of mystery. Why does the kids’ teacher, Miss Sakaki, have bandages on her face? Why is the class bully so affected by what happened to Arié? Why is the new kid at school, Amahiko, willing to jump out of his classroom’s window? And why are there glowing butterflies everywhere?" – Unshelved
Plug:Paul Gravett has a feature on French artist Jacques Tardi: "The exhibition and much of Tardi’s work reveals his strong anti-war feeling. It’s an obsession that goes back to his childhood, part of it spent in post-War Germany."
Commentary:MTV.com on social issues being discussed and dissected at Comic-Con. Trina Robbins "described the underground comics world being like a boys' club she wasn't invited into. So she and other women made their own comics. 'I produced the very first all-woman comic book in the world, in 1970,' she said. Her new book, 'Pretty in Ink,' is about women cartoonists, and only the latest book by this herstorian of women in comics."
"Woven through the pages, impressing lightly on Helen’s still child-like mind, are issues such as transgenderism and isolation, appearance and identity, the harsh truths surrounding the commercialisation of nature and the issue of suicide among struggling farmers." – Tom Murphy, Broken Frontier
"Davis notes in the book's opening pages that 'this is not a book about how to be happy,' and I agree. How to Be Happy is a book that shows people living with despair, grief, and unhappiness. It is a book about how people fail and sometimes succeed in calming the harsh storm inside ourselves." – Sequential State
Interview:Scout Books profiles Eleanor Davis: "Initially I think I tried to water down my stuff too much, which was a mistake. Now I try to be as much of my own voice as I can get away with. The art directors tell me when it’s too much. What I’ve found is that if I enjoy myself making a piece, people will respond to it. If I’m bored making a piece folks won’t like looking at it either."
"Friedman is known for adroitly capturing gesture, mood, and psychological nuance in vivid portraits somehow combining elements of caricature and realism…Each of his portraits feels so alive, it is like being welcomed into each artist’s private world." – Steven Heller, The Atlantic
"I knew that [Glenn Bray] was the first person to seek out and collect the work of the great Donald Duck comic book artist writer Carl Barks back in the 1960s, that he published some small books about grotesque-artist Basil Wolverton, and that he was the champion of forgotten genius Stanislav Szukalski…He was probably the first real comic book art collector, buying original work in an era when everyone else considered it to be worthless." – Mark Frauenfelder, Wink
Commentary:Comic Book Resourcesrecaps Fantagraphics' SDCC Panel, "Fantagraphics Forward": "Groth said that what sets Fantagraphics apart from other comics publishers is the fact that 'almost everything we publish is written and drawn by the same person,' an approach which has contributed to defining the Fantagraphics aesthetic."
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.
152-page color/b&w 7.75" x 10.125" hardcover • $24.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-740-6
"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
"This collection of short stories about people desperately trying to suppress or embrace or just somehow deal with all the difficult emotions careening around in their brain just underscores what those who have seen Davis' work in scattered anthologies already suspected: that she is a tremendous talent, and one of the smartest voices working in comics today." - Chris Mautner, Robot 6
176-page black & white 7.5" x 10" softcover • $22.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-755-0
"When she made her debut in the late 1980s, with a prolific burst of anthologised short stories and her own Way Out Strips comics, her unique style already seemed fully formed: spare, oblique, atmospheric and textured, characterised by an air of mystery and an a seam of dry, humour." –Tom Murphy, Broken Frontier
"I suspect this will be one of those wonderful slow-burners that, as you flip through each page slowly but inexorably draws you in and immerses you." –Richard Bruton, Forbidden Planet
"This collection of short stories about people desperately trying to suppress or embrace or just somehow deal with all the difficult emotions careening around in their brain just underscores what those who have seen Davis’ work in scattered anthologies already suspected: that she is a tremendous talent, and one of the smartest voices working in comics today." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
"Ultimately, Wilson is a perfect representative of the dark side of the '60s. His work crackles with the viciousness that was the flip side of flower power. If he has any message to convey, it's that the world is falling apart: that (to quote Yeats by way of Joan Didion) 'the center cannot hold.'" – Etelka Lehoczky, NPR
"What's striking about these 34 stories, written by Harvey Kutzman and illustrated with bold, deft confidence by Severin, is their range of tone. Sure, there are the expected heroics of American soldiers fighting in the relatively contemporary war zones of WWII and Korea; there are strong-jawed sergeants, good-natured grunts and daredevil flying aces. But there is also plenty of cowardice, irony, shame and sheer wastefulness–elements that must surely be part of any large-scale conflict, yet are often excised from their comic-book portrayals." – David Maine, Spectrum Culture
"The Heart of Thomas works in several different themes, many revolving around the concept of love. It asks the questions, what does it mean to love or be loved? What will we do to be loved or to help the one we love? Is it okay to accept another’s love? While asking all these questions, Hagio doesn’t put any conditions on them… The feelings are portrayed so genuinely that gender becomes meaningless, and just seeing the characters happy are all that's important in the end." – Lori Henderson, School Library Journal
Here's a complete list of fun panels our cartoonists, editors and team players will be on Thursday through Sunday at San Diego Comic Con. We love questions so don't feel shy at the panels. And check out all these people during their lovely signings at the table, booth #1718.
Thursday, July 24th
5:00-6:00 Spotlight on Eleanor Davis Eleanor Davis (How to be Happy) will do an autobiographical presentation that has something to do with finding truth in fiction & the strange passions inside an author/reader relationship. Room 9
6:30p.m. - 7:30p.m Indie Comics Marketing & PR 101 Have a comic but don't know how to get it in front of the most people possible? Learn essential marketing and PR tips and tricks from the industry's best in this roundtable discussion, revealing all the secrets of pulling off effective marketing & PR to get your comic noticed. Host Chip Mosher (comiXology's marketing & PR maven) is joined by BOOM! Studio's dynamic marketing & PR duo Mel Caylo and Christine Dinh, along with Fantagraphics Books's stellar PR and marketing team Jacq Cohen and Jen Vaughn, for an inspiring and wide-ranging discussion that will teach you how to market yourself and your comic to the widest audience possible. Room: 8
8-9:00pm Monkeybrain Comics: Digital and Beyond Since launching in 2012, Monkeybrain Comics has become recognized as a premier publisher for quality digital comics, and many of their titles have since been released in print editions by publishers such as IDW, Image/Shadowline, and Dark Horse. Co-publishers Allison Baker (Monkeybrain Comics) and Chris Roberson (Edison Rex) are joined by Anina Bennett (Heartbreakers), Christopher Sebela (High Crimes), Jen Vaughn (Avery Fatbottom), and Gabriel Hardman (Kinski) to discuss the advantages of publishing digitally and how digital and print can work together. Room 28DE
10am-11am Will Eisner: Teacher and Mentor For a magic moment, New York City's School of Visual Arts had Will Eisner, Harvey Kurtzman, and Art Spiegelman all teaching classes on comics. Hear stories about those classes from students Joe Quesada (Marvel Entertainment), Drew Friedman (Heroes of the Comics), Batton Lash (Supernatural Law), Mike Carlin (DC Entertainment), and a surprise guest. Plus a not-to-be missed discussion about Will Eisner's other educational efforts. Moderated by Paul Levitz, who is writing Will Eisner: Champion of the Graphic Novel for release next year by Abrams ComicArts.
11:00am - Noon Moving Forward by Looking Back: The Golden Age of Archival Books
President of IDW Publishing Greg Goldstein leads a spirited discussion about the recent boom in prestige collections of archival comic material. Joining Greg will be renowned comic book historian Craig Yoe, VP of book trade sales at Dark Horse Comics Michael Martens, founder of Sunday Press Peter Maresca, associate publisher of Fantagraphics Eric Reynolds, and IDW senior editor of special projects Scott Dunbier. If you have a bookshelf bowing under the weight of great big books full of comics and still crave more, this is the panel for you! Plus announcements and giveaways. Just added! Dean Mullaney from the Library of American Comics! Room: 32AB Eric
3:00pm-4:00pm Words and Pictures Presenting some of the most exciting voices in graphic novels today: Michael Cho (Shoplifter), Faith Erin Hicks (Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong), Lucy Knisley (Relish, An Age of License), Jen Wang (In Real Life), and Gene Luen Yang (The Shadow Hero). The age of the graphic novel is truly beginning in the comics industry, and these panelists will discuss their own work, their process, and the future they see for graphic novels today. Moderated by Lev Grossman (TIME).
Friday July 25, 2014 3:00pm - 4:00pm Room 9
3:30-4:30pm A Celebration of Walt Kelly's 101st Birthday Last year, we had such a good time celebrating the 100th birthday of the creator of one of comics' great newspaper strips that we've decided to keep the party going. Kelly's magnum opus, Pogo, is now receiving its first ever complete reprinting in an Eisner-winning series from Fantagraphics Books. Let's remember him with David Silverman (The Simpsons), Jeff Smith (Bone), comic historian Maggie Thompson (Comics Buyer's Guide), film critic Leonard Maltin, Carolyn Kelly (co-editor of the Complete Pogo series and Walt's daughter), and moderator Mark Evanier (Groo the Wanderer). Room 8
4:30pm-5:30pm Humor in Graphic Novels & Illustration Moderated by the Comics Reporter himself, Tom Spurgeon, this panel will explore the use of humor by today's best cartoonists slash illustrators. Drew Friedman (Old Jewish Comedians)'s newest book Heroes of the Comics debuts right here at Comic-Con, and his comics and illustrations have appeared in National Lampoon and High Times. Lisa Hanawalt is the James Beard Award winner for humor for her comics in Lucky Peach and is the cartoonist behind My Dirty Dumb Eyes. Mimi Pond wrote the pilot of The Simpsons, the cult classic The Valley Girl's Guide to Life, and her new fictionalized memoir Over Easy. Spurgeon will get out of these cartoonists' way when they lay it on thick, explain when to go easy, and share how to always get a laugh. Friday July 25, 2014 4:30pm - 5:30pm Room 26AB
Saturday 11:00am-12:00pm Spotlight on Don Rosa American cartoonist and Comic-Con special guest Don Rosa is best known for his Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck stories, especially his prize-winning Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck. Join Fantagraphics publisher and life-long friend Gary Groth as he interviews the man in the ink-stained gloves who wrote and drew a whopping two decades' worth of ripping Scrooge and Donald yarns. Room 4
12:00pm - 1:00pm Spotlight on Drew Friedman Comic-Con special guest Drew Friedman (author/artist of Heroes of the Comics) and Gary Groth (publisher of Fantagraphics Books) discuss Friedman's new book Heroes of the Comics, debuting at Comic-Con. Friedman and Groth will discuss many of the comics legends portrayed in the book, including some they have known personally, among them Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, Will Eisner, and Harvey Kurtzman. Room 23ABC
2:00-3:00pm Spotlight on Lucy Knisley Comic-Con special guest Lucy Knisley, author of Relish: My Life in the Kitchen and the forthcoming An Age of License, discusses her creative process, her upcoming book, and her unique approach to nonfiction graphic novels. Room 28DE
5:00-6:00pm Comics 101: Making Sense of the World of Comics Just getting into comics but not sure where to start? Loving all the new comic movies and TV shows but don't know which series ties in best? Noted comics industry professionals discuss how they started reading comics, their favorite series, and what's popular and awesome in the world of comics today. Moderated by comiXology's marketing maven Chip Mosher, he'll be joined by comiXology co-founder and CEO David Steinberger, DC Entertainment's SVP Vertigo & Integrated Publishing Hank Kanalz, BOOM! Studios' Lumberjanes editor Dafna Pleban, Fantagraphics Books marketing and outreach manager Jen Vaughn, and writer of Five Ghosts , Black Market, and Solar: Man of the Atom Frank J. Barbiere. Room 28DE
Sunday, July 27th 10-11:00am Comics for the Whole Family Everyone loves comics, and the only thing better than reading comics is sharing them with your friends and family. An all-star panel of cartoonists discuss what makes a great all-ages comic book that the whole family can enjoy. Panelists include Comic-Con special guests Brian Crane (Pickles), Eleanor Davis (How to Be Happy, The Secret Science Alliance), Brian Haberlin (Anomaly Productions), Willie Ito (The Flintstones, Bugs Bunny), and Don Rosa (Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck); moderated by Andrew Farago (curator, Cartoon Art Museum; author of TMNT: The Ultimate Visual History). Room 23ABC
10:00-11:00am Nickelodeon: New Animated Comedies! Be the first to see an exclusive peek at Nickelodeon's new LOL-inducing animated comedies! You'll also get an insider's look at the creative processes behind these funny, warped, endearing, and booty-shaking shows. The panel features Breadwinners creators Steve Borst and Gary "Doodles" Di Raffaele, Pig Goat Banana Cricket creators Johnny Ryan and Dave Cooper, and executive producer David Sacks. Chowder creator C. H. Greenblatt will be showing off his brand new Nickelodeon series with the working title Bad Seeds. Moderated by Rich Magallanes (SVP of current series animation for Nickelodeon). Room 7AB
3:00-4:00pm Fictionalized Nonfiction: The art of combining Fact & Fiction The Beat's Heidi MacDonald will get today's best literary cartoonists to spill their guts on just how they use moments and memories from their lives with actual facts from the time period and how they combine everything into the art of nonfiction or the fictitious memoir. Gilbert Hernandez is the cartoonist behind Marble Season, Bumperhead, and Love and Rockets that touches on his childhood but never tells the full story of his life as one of the famous Hernandez Brothers. Mimi Pond's Over Easy tells the story of Madge, an art school drop out in the '70s when hippy met punk, a story close to her own life. David Lasky's The Carter Family is a biography of the first superstar group of country. MacDonald will ask: Do they draw likenesses from memories or from photographs? Do they take liberties with the facts to tell a more engrossing story? "Fictionalized Nonfiction" will peek into the creative process of today's leading graphic novelists. Room 32AB
"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
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