• Interview:AlterNet's Emily Wilson talks to Pat Thomas about writing Listen, Whitey! The Sights and Sounds of Black Power 1965-1975: "I was trying to write a book that was pro-Panthers, but not with an agenda as to what I wanted to say other than to sort of humanize these people. To me they were more than just statues frozen in time; they were people I was hanging out with in current day. I just wanted to capture their humanity in some way. Militancy or their strident side was just one part of it. I wanted to focus on how their legacy crossed paths with pop culture. You know, I talk about this wacky 'Partridge Family' episode where they meet the Black Panthers. It’s not a dogmatic book.... It’s meant to be, for lack of a better word, fun."
• Interview: On the Penny Ante Editions blog author James Tracy also talks with Pat Thomas: "I don’t know if it’s a danger [when white people take an interest in Black culture], unless it’s KKK member or some twisted 'White Power' kook… otherwise, there will always be a reason (good or bad or misguided) for Whites to explore Black culture. Frankly, America needs to have more dialogue between races, embracing their differences as well as what they have in common. I didn’t try to pretend to be Black - and that was something that Elaine Brown liked about me. I didn’t put on a 'mask' and start to talk Black or pull that kind of shit."
• Analysis: In the new entry in The Hooded Ultilitarian's critical roundtable on Jaime Hernandez, Noah Berlatsky examines nostalgia in the Locas stories, especially "Browntown" and "The Love Bunglers," from his trademark contrarian standpoint
Susan E. Kirtley discusses Lynda Barry: Girlhood Through the Looking Glass with Cathy Hillenbrand at Fantagraphics Bookstore on Saturday, March 24
The idiosyncratic work of cartoonist Lynda Barry, a Seattle native, is the subject of a new book by Portland author Susan E. Kirtley. Lynda Barry: Girlhood Through the Looking Glass is the first comprehensive critique of this influential American artist. Kirtley will discuss her book with Real Comet Press publisher Cathy Hillenbrand, who published Barry’s first four books, on Saturday, March 24, at 6:00 PM at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery. An informal reception and book signing will follow the discussion. This event coincides with the inaugural Georgetown Music March, featuring free performing arts presentations throughout the historic arts community.
Kirtley’s book examines the influence of Lynda Barry’s youthful experiences on her creative output via personal interviews and rigorous analysis of published work. Kirtley’s thought-provoking conclusions invite readers to reassess Barry’s body of work though the lens of an often-tormented adolescent girl. Kirtley is associate professor of English at Portland State University. Her book is part of the University Press of Mississippi’s Great Comics Artists Series, which includes works on cartoonists such as Chris Ware, Alan Moore, Carl Barks, Jack Kirby, Garry Trudeau, and Walt Kelly.
Real Comet Press is the subject of the current retrospective exhibition at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery. Taking its name from the publisher’s slogan “From Comix to Critique,” it features original art, graphics, and book works by Lynda Barry, Michael Dougan, Art Chantry, and Ruth Hayes. An informal reception and book signing will follow the discussion.
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale Street (at Airport Way S.) Phone 206.658.0110.
Susan E Kirtley discusses Lynda Barry: Girlhood Through the Looking Glass
• Review: "Any new work from Norwegian cartoonist Jason is worthy of a comics fan’s full attention, but the new, all-original short-story collection Athos in America is one of the best books of Jason’s career, which automatically makes it one of the best books of this year." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club
• Review: "...Joost Swarte... brought a nose-thumbing avant-garde sensibility to 'ligne claire' style Eurocomics in the ’70s and ’80s, even before he landed stories in the seminal art-comics anthology Raw. Is That All There Is? collects nearly 150 pages of Swarte’s most groundbreaking work... With his architectural sense of design and his punk-rock attitude, Swarte fused craft and nihilistic flippancy in stories about adventurers, harlots, musicians, and scientists, creating true 'modern art.'" – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club
• Review: "About all that was missing from Blake Bell’s 2010 Bill Everett biography Fire & Waterwas extended samples of Everett’s artist’s actual comics. Bell now remedies that by serving as editor on Amazing Mysteries: The Bill Everett Archives Vol. 1... These publications rode the superhero wave initiated by the companies that would later become DC and Marvel, and while they didn’t withstand the test of time, they’re still a kick to read, buoyed by their no-nonsense action plots and by Everett’s propensity for drawing narrow figures poised to commit acts of violence." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club
• Review: "This collection is the ultimate love letter to all those 1960s kid comic books, but with a modern twist.... Each person is a well-defined character with strong flaws and backgrounds. With so much diversity, there is bound to be at least one character you will like.... If you are looking for a kid-friendly book with some charm, go ahead and pick [Yeah!] up." – Kevin Brown, City Book Review
• Profile:Steve Appleford of the Los Angeles Times (via a few of their suburban affiliates like the Glendale News Press) visits Tony Millionaire in his garage studio: "In his introduction to 500 Portraits, Millionaire writes that life experience has taught him that 85% of all people are 'bogus' or worse. In the garage, he describes himself as misanthropic, but admits his drawings often suggest otherwise. 'As it turns out, you can tell by looking at these portraits, I obviously love people — even the [jerks]. Hitler's done very lovingly,' he says. 'I think it's nice to have the juxtaposition of my disgust for humanity mixed with my obvious love for humanity. You can't draw like that if you really hate something.'"
• Profile: The Ottawa Citizen's Bruce Deachman catches up with Dave Cooper: "'There are different facets of my creative mind,' he says. 'I feel I need a lot of contrast, so I have all these things happening, but they’re all necessary to make me feel satisfied. It’s got to be this big pot happening, with everything boiling at once. It’s therapy for me,' he adds. 'I don’t see ever wanting to retire from the thing that I love to death.'" There's a short video, too, which Dave has posted on his blog
• Plug:Robot 6's Brigid Alverson is partway through Jim Woodring's Congress of the Animals: "Woodring’s art has a real solidity to it and like the best surrealists, he creates unreal shapes and figures that seem real—he has figured out how to make new bodily orifices that mimic the old and yet are totally different. Like visions in a dream, they are convincing and false at the same time."
"Jason teams up with Fabien Vehlmann to craft a dark comedy about someone following a mysterious map in a bottle to and island where something strange is happening. The premise itself is a spoiler, as it’s a laugh-out-loud moment when the reader finds out what is going on. Jason’s work is as stellar as ever, just with a lot more dialogue this time around."
"Safe Area Goražde wasn’t a new book in 2011, but the special edition it got last year was enough to earn it a spot on this list. Joe Sacco reigns as the preeminent comics journalist, and Safe Area Goražde is another great reason why."
Among the many highlights of the Real Comet Press Retrospective opening Saturday, March 10 at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is a rare public appearance by Michael Dougan. This influential cartoonist helped attract an influx of young artists thoughout the 1980s, as Seattle became a beacon of the alternative comix movement. Real Comet Press published his masterful East Texas anthology and the companion poster "The Bigger the Hair, The Closer to God," which, along with Lynda Barry's "Poodle With a Mohawk," became one of the enduring images of the era.
Also appearing will be graphic artist Art Chantry. His early Real Comet Press book of Seattle punk posters, Instant Litter, will be featured in the exhibition. It was prescient of Chantry to appreciate the value of these fugitive artifacts of a music scene that within a decade would influence popular culture on a global scale.
One of the few Real Comet Press publications that will be offered for sale at the retrospective, albeit in limited quantities, is Lynda Barry's first book, Boys + Girls,in the original format designed by Mark Michaelson and Helene Silverman. Publisher Cathy Hillenbrand often employed the gifted art directors of Seattle's Rocket magazine as book designers. Mark and Helene later established stellar careers in New York. (Helene is slated to accompany husband Gary Panter to his appearance at Fantagraphics Boostore later this year upon our publication of Dal Tokyo. Stay tuned.)
Don't miss the amazing exhibition of original art, comix, book works and ephemera, as well as many of the artists, authors and personalitites associated with the seminal stages of Seattle's alternative culture on Saturday, March 10 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM. Should be quite a reunion.
• Paris, France: Joost Swarte debuts an art show at the Bienvenue à la Galerie Martel, and will be in attendance signing copies of Is That All There Is? (or as it is known in France, Total Swarte). More information about this event is coming to the FLOG soon!
Saturday, March 10th
• Seattle, WA: The Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery celebrates the legacy of local arts activist Cathy Hillenbrand with “Real Comet Press: A Retrospective.” This exhibition features art, graphics and book works by regional artists nurtured by Real Comet Press including Lynda Barry, Michael Dougan, Art Chantry, and Ruth Hayes, among others. A limited number of out-of-print Real Comet Press titles will be available for sale (including the iconic Lynda Barry poster “Poodle with a Mohawk”). (more info)
“From Comix to Critiques” was the focus of seminal Seattle publisher Real Comet Press. Founded in 1981 by arts activist Cathy Hillenbrand, then owner the Comet Tavern, this prescient enterprise published an amazing array of books that foreshadowed Seattle’s ascendance to the forefront of international pop culture. Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery celebrates the legacy of Cathy Hillenbrand with “Real Comet Press: A Retrospective” opening Saturday, March 10, continuing through April 10, 2012. This exhibition features art, graphics and book works by regional artists nurtured by Real Comet Press including Lynda Barry, Michael Dougan, Art Chantry, and Ruth Hayes, among others.
As owner of the Comet Tavern in the late 70s, Hillenbrand became an advocate for Seattle’s avant garde artists. In 1980, Lynda Barry won a contest to design the Comet’s matchbook cover, beginning a long association with the young Capitol Hill cartoonist. A year later, Hillenbrand published the text to “Propagandists Lament,” a performance work by Seattle artist Annie Grosshans. She soon sold the tavern to devote full time to publishing. Real Comet Press went on to publish four books by Lynda Barry — Girls + Boys, Big Ideas, The Good Times Are Killing Me, and Naked Ladies, Naked Ladies, Naked Ladies — as well as East Texas by Michael Dougan, Instant Litter by Art Chantry, and a series of animated flipbooks by Ruth Hayes. In addition, Real Comet Press published catalogues, criticism, and feminist theory by artists, curators and critics such as Lucy Lippard, Jo Spence, Douglas Kahn, Rini Templeton, Ernst Friedrich, James Turrell, and countless others. Many of Hillenbrand’s books and memorable marketing materials were designed the brilliant graphic artists associated with The Rocket magazine.
Join us on Saturday, March 10 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM to fete the former publisher. Real Comet alumni Hayes, Dougan and Chantry will host the celebration, which includes an exhibition of art, books and ephemera from the Real Comet archives. A limited number of out-of-print Real Comet Press titles will be available for sale (including the iconic Lynda Barry poster “Poodle with a Mohawk”). This reception coincides with the colorful Georgetown Art Attack featuring arts presentations throughout the historic neighborhood.
On Saturday, March 24 at 6:00 PM Fantagraphics Bookstore presents Susan Kirtley, author of Lynda Barry: Girlhood Through the Looking Glass from University of Mississippi Press, in conversation with Cathy Hillenbrand. This enlightening discussion will be followed by an informal reception and book signing.
On Friday, March 30 at 6:00 PM, Hillenbrand joins cartoonists Ellen Forney and Jim Woodring, and Fantagraphics associate publisher Eric Reynolds on the panel discussion “Northwest Noir: Seattle’s Legacy of Counterculture Comix” moderated by Fantagraphics Bookstore curator Larry Reid at Emerald City Comicon at the Washington State Convention Center.
REAL COMET PRESS: A RETROSPECTIVE Art, comix, and books from the seminal Seattle publisher.
Opening reception Saturday, March 10, 6:00 to 9:00 PM Hosted by Art Chantry, Michael Dougan, and Ruth Hayes
Exhibition continues through April 10, 2012
Saturday, March 24, 6:00 PM Susan E. Kirtley, author of Lynda Barry: Girlhood Through the Looking Glass In conversation with Real Comet Press publisher Cathy Hillenbrand
Cartoonists will want to arrive early to Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery on Saturday evening to preview the "Funny Valentines" ahow and experience visiting artist Frank Santoro's comic book layout workshop at 5:00 PM. Santoro is a columnist for The Comics Journal and teamed with Dash Shaw in the latest Kramer's Ergot anthology.
When wandering around Saturday's Georgetown Art Attack, don't forget to contribute to the Georgetown Music Store recovery fund. This neighborhood institution was the recent victim of a brazen burglary. Thieves literally tore the gates from the storefront and made off with valuable guitars and gear. Georgetown merchants are taking collective action to support our friends and neighbors at the music store. Fantagraphics Bookstore and Georgetown Records are offering cool Art Attack buttons in exchange for contributions.
Original paintings by celebrated Southern California artist SHAG.
A multimedia homage by Seattle artist (and frequent Fantagraphics printmaker) Art Garcia.
Plus awesome works by graphic design legend Art Chantry, ceramicist Charles Krafft, and cartoonists Tom Neely, Johnny Ryan, Roberta Gregory, Pat Moriarity, Peter Bagge (from the pages of MAD), and a dozen others, including the master himself, Jack Davis. Arrive at 6:30 to experience a virtual visit with Davis via Skype, hosted by Gary Groth.
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