At ComicAttack.net, Ken Meyer Jr. has posted another "Ink Stains" column featuring Gary Groth's pre-Fantagraphics Fantastic Fanzine — this time, number 11, focused on Jim Steranko, from 1970. The entire issue is available as a free PDF download, and Meyer provides some historical background and commentary: "How a high school kid managed to score so many amazing pieces of art points to Groth’s future success as a publisher and muckraker."
• Review: "...Moto Hagio, whose work might officially be classified as shōjo manga, ...is apparently one important, daring renegade in the manga world. This handsome collection that encompasses almost four decades (from 1971-2007) of Hagio’s short stories comes complete with a thorough, illuminating interview with Hagio conducted by the volume’s translator, Matt Thorn. [...] Hagio’s collection of 10 short manga stories [A Drunken Dream and Other Stories is] filled with unexpected twists and endings." – Terry Hong, BookDragon (Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program)
• Review: "Malkasian weaves her story carefully [in Temperance], pulling the different narrative threads together in unexpected places, and while the parallels to the real world are clear, this is no simplistic fable. [...] Malkasian’s art is incredibly expressive, and her characters are filled with vitality..." – Brigid Alverson, Robot 6
• Review: "There are no great deeds in Tardi’s comic [It Was the War of the Trenches]. No Légion d’honneurs, no Croix de guerres, no Victoria or Iron Crosses. No suggestion that only the brave and courageous have the right to cry out in protest. No sense of fellowship, no pitched battles to gratify our base senses and desires, and certainly nothing of that most typical of war time sensations, boredom." – Ng Suat Tong, The Hooded Utilitarian
• Review: "In many ways, Ghita is like a female, uncensored Conan. ...Everything has its place in the script. The artwork, with excellent black ink, I do not need to explain that is excellent..." – Andreas Michaelides, Comicdom (translated from Greek)
• List: Feel the love as 50 comics pros each name their 5 favorite Fantagraphics releases (minus some ringers as determined by Tom Spurgeon) at The Comics Reporter; read some additional flattering commentary by participant Mike Sterling; Sean T. Collins comments "The result shows just how deep a bench that publisher can field. Greatest comics publisher of all time."
• Interview:Comic Book Resources' Shaun Manning gets all the latest scoop from Stan Sakai, including details about the long-gestating Usagi Yojimbo Special Edition set (coming in December): "It'll be all the Fantagraphics stories in a two-volume slipcase hardcover edition. I'm looking forward to it. It's also going to publish all the extras that were only in the hardcover [collections], with the exception of the full-color story that was published in the book 4 hardback, because that was reprinted recently in [Dark Horse's] 'The Art of Usagi Yojimbo.' But this is the sketches and covers and things that were included with the hardcover editions. So it'll be a lot more, plus it'll be about the same price as buying them in the trade paperback."
This weekend is Seattle's BUMBERSHOOT festival ("bumbershoot" is old-timey for "umbrella" -- get it? it rains a lot here!), one of the biggest cultural events of the year in the great Pacific Northwest, and Fantagraphics will have a presence at the show in a few different ways, most notably a massive art exhibit curated by our own Larry Reid. Here's the skinny on all FBI goings-on:
NORTHWEST COMIX: A 30-YEAR SURVEY OF SEATTLE ALTERNATIVE CARTOONISTS Curated by Larry Reid in Association with Fantagraphics Books
Venue: Northwest Rooms
Open free to the public September 4-6 with admission to Bumbershoot 2010
This retrospective examines the Northwest's legacy as the birthplace of alternative comics (aka comix). Beginning with the work of Lynda Barry circa 1980, and running through today, the emphasis is on the role of comix in Seattle's youth movement of the '90s that went on to influence global popular culture. Curated by Larry Reid in conjunction with Fantagraphics Books, this exhibit features original artwork on display together with demonstrations by Friends of the Nib and Bureau of Drawers, as well as screenings of Hooked on Comix. Artists include Lynda Barry, Charles Burns, Peter Bagge, Jim Woodring, Ellen Forney, Patrick Moriarity, Mark Zingarelli, Roberta Gregory, Megan Kelso, Jim Blanchard, David Lasky, Justin Hampton, Ted Jouflas, and others.
AN EVENING WITH TONY MILLIONAIRE
Venue: Leo K. Theatre
Monday, September 6, 2010 • 5:30 pm- 6:30 pm
Tony Millionaire is the multiple award-winning creator of the self-syndicated comic strip, Maakies, which appears in weekly newspapers across the country. Maakies has been adapted to the small screen in 1998 for Saturday Night Live and in 2008 as The Drinky Crow Show for Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. Moderated by Eric Reynolds of Fantagraphics Books.
LISTEN WHITEY: A HISTORY OF BLACK POWER RECORDINGS Hosted by Pat Thomas
Venue: Words & Ideas Stage
Saturday September 4, 2010 • 3:45PM - 4:45PM
Pat Thomas' forthcoming Fantagraphics book, Listen Whitey: The Sounds of Black Power 1965-1975, chronicles his huge collection of rare and out-of-print Black Power poetry, speeches, interviews, jazz, soul, rock, and pop recordings. He will be speaking about this exhaustive collection and providing unique insight into the historical movement, while playing tons of music and recordings.
Also, if you live in Seattle, you might want to get in on this contest asap to win a few thousand dollars worth of killer swag, including a bunch of Fantagraphics books!
At ComicAttack.net, Ken Meyer Jr. looks at another piece of historical Gary Groth juvenilia, the 12th issue of Fantastic Fanzine from 1970 (that's the full-color cover by Robert Kline above), saying "I hope you will be interested in all the elements that make this fanzine such a great representative of the enthusiasm, the imagination, the skills, and the fun that fueled fandom at this time." You can download the whole issue as a 62.1 MB PDF file at the link.
Our old friend Dale Yarger has a new website that I wanted to point out as an excuse to sing his praises as someone who was instrumental in Fantagraphics' history as the first proper designer/art director the company ever employed on staff, shortly after Fantagraphics moved to Seattle from Los Angeles in 1989. Dale was a pillar of good taste and professionalism in the office when I first came to Fantagraphics in 1993 and I will always look back with fondness on my time working with him (along with other art dept. stalwarts at the time, notably Jim Blanchard and Pat Moriarity).
Dale is a Seattle design legend (although he now lives in the Bay Area), having served as as Art Director for both Fantagraphics and our friends at The Stranger, as well as having had a hand in creating iconic logos for both Fantagraphics and SubPop. Check out his portfolio, there's some iconic stuff there for fans of Grunge Era counterculture from the great Pacific Northwest.
• History: At Comics Comics, Jeet Heer gives a brief overview and critical commentary on Fantagraphics anthologies throughout the years: "Any complete history of Fantagraphics will have to tell the story of how they slowly learned to put together interesting anthologies."
One of the funnest parts of editing the CRITTERS anthology lo these many years ago (1985 to 1990 if you're counting -- gah, two, two and a half decades ago!) was working on the great "Gnuff" stories by my old buddy Freddy Milton. I was always sorry that there was not enough demand for these charming, neo-Barksian adventures to graduate to their own books, and of course by now those original CRITTERS comics are nigh impossible for find.
Well, thank God for the internet! Freddy, who is now a respectable retired gentleman of leisure (although he still cartoons up a storm), has been amusing himself by combining the original CRITTERS translations with color art files done for the Danish edition, and if you go here you can read the entire 46-page epic "introductory" "Gnuff" story -- as Freddy points out not the first one he did, but the earliest in the Gnuff chronology and the first to be printed in CRITTERS.
Freddy has also put up the only "Gnuff" story to be printed in full color in English, "Double Star" from the out of print USAGI YOJIMBO COLOR SPECIAL #1. Lettered by Bill Spicer, incidentally.
As if that weren't enough, Freddy has commissioned another old buddy of mine, Dwight Decker (who actually translated most of the CRITTERS "Gnuff" stories back when) to translate a classic Woody Woodpecker story of his, "Happy Water," and that can be found here -- and here's yet another Woody story, "The Coming of the Blot."
In fact, if you go to the main page and cruise down the menu bar you'll see a huge amount of great stuff, including (down toward the bottom) video interviews with Freddy and Daan Jippes in English.
For those of you unfamiliar with Freddy's work, he hit upon a pretty great racket: He'd do stories for European Disney and/or Woody Woodpecker, keep the copyrights for the work itself but not the characters, so he was able to later convert, say, a Woody Woodpecker story to a Gnuff story. If I remember correctly one particular story he did was re-purposed something like three additional times, changing characters from ducks to woodpeckers to dinosaurs (and as needed removing or adding one of the three kids, as Donald had three dependents and Woody and Gnuff only two).
I always thought Freddy's work was absolutely charming and felt bad that none of it has been available to English-speaking fans for many years. Well, now there's three full graphic novel length stories available for your reading pleasure, and for free. Enjoy!
• List:Details magazine names Ghost World #10 on The 25 Greatest Gen X Books of All Time: "This caustically funny duo-tone tale follows the iconic cat-eyed adolescent Enid Coleslaw in her quest to find meaning, or at least cruel humor, in an age where everything's disposable."
• Review: "Strange Suspense collects dozens of Ditko stories from the 1950’s... Almost a decade before Ditko moved to Marvel, these stories bear his unmistakable style. His fine line work and flair for the abstract that would serve him so well on Doctor Strange particularly, is on full display. ... If you only know Ditko for his work at Marvel or later at DC, here is the chance to explore Early Ditko, unconstrained by editors or the Comics Code. While all of this work is marvelous, clearly Ditko is best at home in horror where he could let his imagination run wild, creating monsters and demons and the things that go bump in the night. Rediscover Ditko today!" – Tim Janson, Newsarama
• Review: "Brian Kane, author of the [Definitive Prince Valiant] Companion and surely the world’s foremost authority on the strip and its creator, Hal Foster, has once again done a herculean amount of work, and Fantagraphics has once again clothed that work in a sturdy, pretty volume. Prince Valiant hasn’t been treated this well since the ersatz King of England sang his praises. Those unfamiliar with the character – a young man who finds adventure, fame, and even love at the court of the legendary King Arthur – will find here all the background information they could ever want... But even long-time Prince Valiant fans will find plenty to fascinate them in this volume." – Khalid Ponte, Open Letters
• Review: "Delphine is a morbid interpretation of the symbology of fairy tales resounding with echoes of unrequited love and abandonment. This is perhaps Sala’s darkest and most intricate story ever – impressive in its nuance and ever shifting emotions. One can only hope that it is not ignored." – Ng Suat Tong, The Comics Journal
• Interview: From TCJ.com: "Every weekday from now until December 25, we’ll be posting a conversation between cartoonists from The Comics Journal #300, complete and online! In today’s installment, it’s a chat between L’Association publisher Jean-Christophe Menu and Kramers Ergot publisher Sammy Harkham."