Amid all the well-deserved praise directed at R. Crumb's Book of Genesis, I was reminded of another often-overlooked Crumb masterpiece. As Fantagraphics newly minted 4th printing of Kafka reaches bookstore shelves, it seems like a good moment to reflect on the amazing achievement of Crumb and author David Zane Mairowitz.
Entering college I was assigned The Trial for freshman lit. I just wasn't ready for it. I wasn't a total dunce, but there were so many alluring diversions (i. e. booze and babes.) Thus began, and ended, my brief exposure to the works of Franz Kafka.
Only decades later did I deign to revisit the legacy of this literary genius. And it took a Crumb comic book to get me there. Crumb's renderings are at once precise and passionate. The narrative seamlessly weaves Kafka's biography into his self-reflective stories. A delightfully entertaining treatment of Kafka's daunting discourse. Now I can use the cliché "Kafkaesque" at cocktail parties and have some clue.
Gahan Wilson's singular aesthetic with decidedly low brow sensibilities has roots in his adolescent exposure to lurid horror comic books and pulp magazines. ''I was a creepy little kid," Wilson recalls. "I did the whole comic book thing, and then I discovered Weird Tales — instantly homed right in on that around high school, and just loved it." His early illustrations found their way to the pages of the pulps and were later published in prestigious periodicals like Collier's, The New Yorker, and Playboy.
His delightfully demented sense of humor is celebrated in GAHAN WILSON: Fifty Years of Playboy Cartoons, an exquisite 3-volume slipcase edition from Fantagraphics Books that includes over 1,000 comics and illustrations by the acknowledged master of the macabre as well as all of Wilson's prose fiction in Playboy. Don't miss this rare opportunity to meet an American original, one week short of his 80th birthday.
Also on display on February 13 for one night only is a recently completed sculpted portrait of comix legend R. Crumb by Seattle artist Michael Leavitt (pictured below). Commissioned for a private out-of-state collection, this will provide the only opportunity to view the fully articulated wood carved figure — the latest addition to Leavitt's ongoing "Art Army" series.
The reception on Saturday February 13 coincides with the colorful Georgetown Second Saturday Art Attack featuring visual and performing arts presentations throughout the neighborhood, just in time for Valentine's Day. What better place for art mavens of all ages to observe this romantic occasion than in the enchanting industrial arts quarter of Georgetown.
Gahan Wilson: Fifty Years of Playboy Cartoons
Saturday, February 13, 6:00 - 9:00 PM
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery
1201 S. Vale St. (at Airport Way S.) Seattle, WA Phone 206.658.0110 Open daily 11:30 - 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM.
ALSO: Be sure to tune in to KUOW 94.9's "Weekday" show from 9AM to 10AM, on Friday, Feb. 12th, when Gahan will be talking to host Steve Scher about the event and his legendary career.
The Georgetown Second Saturday Art Attack celebrates is second anniversary on February 13, just in time for Valentine's Day. What better place for art mavens of all ages to observe this romantic occasion than in the enchanting industrial arts quarter of Georgetown? In the short span of two years the Georgetown Art Attack has gained a reputation as one of the region's most provocative and colorful cultural outings. The public is invited to experience the excitement on Saturday, February 13 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM as dozens of nightclubs, cafes and creative enterprises present a vast array of visual and performing arts.
Among the highlights: "Show Some Heart" by Georgetown artist and blacksmith Lisa Geertsen at FRIDA & Georgetown Tile Works; Pop art pet paintings by Shai Steiner at A Dog's Dream; make your own shrinky art with Shrinkmaster Malice together with paintings by Kris Kirwan and Michelle Robles at ProletariArt in the old Rainier Bottling Plant; new works by M. C. Corley and wine charms by Erika Tedin, as well as a huge assortment of fine wines and boutique beers at Full Throttle Bottles; paintings and prints by Mark Tedin, Kyle Abernethy and Julie Baroh at KrabJab Studio; legendary macabre cartoonist Gahan Wilson celebrates 50 years of Playboy cartoons at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery with the debut of a monumental new sculpture by Michael Leavitt; Annalisa Cristine Barelli's "Into the Dream" at the captivating Engine Room at Georgetown Studios; open house tours with Georgetown Atelier School of Drawing and Painting founder Tenaya Sims; informal music jam with guest musicians at Georgetown Music; diverse dining and drinking at Calamity Jane's, Jules Maes Saloon, Georgetown Liquor Company, 9 Lb. Hammer, Smarty Pants; Stellars Pizza & Ale; All City Coffee; Squid & Ink; Via Tribunali and more.
The Georgetown Second Saturday Art Attack is a monthly promotion of the Georgetown Merchants' Association. For more information contact Art Attack coordinator Larry Reid. For map see: www.georgetownartattack.com.
Hey look, some photos of the Newave! exhibit opening and book launch party last Saturday at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, nicked without permission from our pal (and Newave! contributor) J.R. Williams's Facebook page. We'll bring you more pics if/when they surface (got some? let us know!). Above, David Lasky and someone unidentified...
Self published mini comics in the 1970s and 1980s were the direct descendants of the Underground Comix movement of the 1960s hippie era. Early practitioners photocopied, stapled and distributed their miniature zines at comic book conventions and emerging comic book specialty shops. The immediacy and independence of these publications gave rise to today's popular alternative comics movement.
Mini comics creator Michael Dowers, former publisher of Starhead Comix and editor at Fantagraphics Books, compiled this impressive anthology. Included are interviews and commentary by the artists as well as the rare mini comics themselves.
The exhibition will feature original art and graphics by underground mini comix pioneers Jaimie Alder, Jim Blanchard, Wayne Gibson, David Lasky, Wayno, J.R. Williams, Steve Willis, Dennis Worden, and XNO. NEWAVE editor Michael Dowers will produce and distribute a mini comic on site. A comix jam by contributing artists will be accompanied by music from local indie rock band "iji."
Don't miss this splendid occasion on Saturday, January 30. Fantagraphics Bookstore is located at 1201 S. Vale Street at Airport Way in the heart of Georgetown.
NEWAVE! Underground Mini Comix of the 1980s exhibition and publication party.
Featuring Jaimie Alder, Jim Blanchard, Wayne Gibson, David Lasky, Wayno, Steve Willis, Dennis Worden, XNO. Mini comic demonstration and giveaway by Michael Dowers. Music by iji.
Saturday, January 30, 6:00 - 9:00 PM
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery 1201 S. Vale St. (at Airport Way S.) Seattle, WA 206.658.0110 Open daily 11:30 - 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM.
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is pleased to present a remarkable series of exhibitions, signings and receptions on successive Saturday evenings January 30 through February 13. These amazing events will feature both emerging talent and legendary masters of the comics medium.
Fantagraphics Books celebrates the publication of NEWAVE! The Underground Mini Comix of the 1980s with an exhibition, book signing, and mini comix workshop on Saturday, January 30 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM. The show will feature original art and graphics by underground mini comix pioneers Jaimie Alder, Jim Blanchard, Wayne Gibson, David Lasky, Wayno, Steve Willis, Dennis Worden, and XNO. NEWAVE editor Michael Dowers will produce and distribute a mini comic on site. This festive reunion also includes live music, a comix jam, and the debut of the NEWAVE! anthology.
On Saturday, February 6 from 7:00 to 8:00 PM, prolific comics creator and illustrator Steven Weissman appears on the occasion of the debut of his latest book CHOCOLATE CHEEKS. The award-winning Weissman explores a peculiar alternative to traditional childhood relationships. Influenced by classic comic strip characters and pop culture icons, this wonderful artist appeals to readers of all ages.
Please join us on Saturday, February 13 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM, when Fantagraphics Bookstore is honored to host an art exhibition and reception for living legend Gahan Wilson. His delightfully demented sense of humor is celebrated in GAHAN WILSON: 50 YEARS OF PLAYBOY CARTOONS, an exquisite 3-volume slipcase edition that includes over 1,000 comics and illustrations by the acknowledged master of the macabre. Don't miss this rare opportunity to meet one of America's most incredible idiosyncratic artists.
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale Street, only minutes south of downtown Seattle. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110. See you all soon.
Don't miss an opportunity to get a sneak peek at some of the great books you'll be reading later this year at the FANTAGRAPHICS 2010 PREVIEW event this Saturday, January 9 at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery in Seattle.
The opening from 6:00 to 9:00 PM coincides with the colorful Georgetown Art Attack featuring visual and performing arts presentations at several locations throughout the historic neighborhood. For details and a map visit www.georgetownartattack.com.
Fantagraphics Bookstore is located at 1201 S. Vale Street (at Airport Way S.) only minutes south of downtown Seattle. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110.