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Category >> Gary Groth

Gary Groth's biography of Norman Pettingill
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under The Comics JournalRobert CrumbNorman PettingillJohnny RyanGary Groth 9 Mar 2010 3:25 PM

Back Woods Hospital - Norman Pettingill

On The Comics Journal website, Gary Groth writes:

"In June, Fantagraphics Books will publish a collection of Norman Pettingill’s work. Comic fans may remember that Robert Crumb published some of Pettingill’s cartoon drawings in Weirdo in the mid-’80s. The idea of publishing an entire book collecting Pettingill’s work was first broached to me by Johnny Ryan, a Pettingill fan (and the cartoonist behind Angry Youth Comics and Prison Pit), a few years ago. The John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, is the repository for most of Pettingill’s work, and agreed to help us put together a book. Johnny wrote a brief appreciation; R. Crumb loved Pettingill’s work and wrote a brief introduction. But, so little is known about Pettingill himself that I felt the book required a short biography of the man — so I wrote one."

Read the rest of Gary's intro, and the biography itself, starting here.

Daily OCD: 2/1/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Thomas OttSteven WeissmanreviewsPortable GrindhouseNewaveLove and RocketsJasonJacques BoyreauHotwireGilbert HernandezGary GrothDame DarcyDaily OCDcontests 1 Feb 2010 4:06 PM

Chock full o' Online Commentary & Diversions:

Review: "The third volume of this comics anthology is a whirl-a-gig of vivid color, giddy fun, black angst, and hauntingly disturbing images... The volume brings together carefully crafted stories with eye-searing artwork, packed with scatological humor, violence, and disquieting sexual acts... Hotwire Comics 3 is not for the faint of heart, but those who love underground comics or want an introduction to that world as it stands today, will embrace the volume." – Publishers Weekly

Review: "Classic kid comics are evoked with a weird, horror-inspired twist in [Chocolate Cheeks]... Weissman has a knack for combining the cute with the eerie and the unsettling, and the art—presented in both b&w and color—is outstanding." – Publishers Weekly (same link as above)

Review: "But even Jaime devotees should be paying attention to Gilberto’s recent work; since he closed the books on Luba, he’s been flexing his muscles with some astonishingly effective genre exercises, the latest of which is The Troublemakers. A lurid pulp excursion featuring an appropriately leering cover by Rick Altergott, the book uses peripheral characters from Beto’s other works to craft a story about missing cash, hot sex, and two-timing that combines equal parts neo-noir and sleazy ’70s-throwback exploitation. But what elevates it from being a simple mélange of clever genre riffs is Beto’s determination to load it with uneasy surrealist images and clever symbolic elements. The Troublemakers doesn’t read entirely like anything he’s done before, but it may be his best work in years. [Grade] A-" – The A.V. Club

Review: "[The] Troublemakers follows a cast of conmen as they double-cross one another until they run out of rope and hang themselves. It too features amazing cartooning. It’s very cinematic, but it’s not drawn with attention to realism like cinematic comics frequently tend to be... Instead, the storytelling relies on Hernandez’s masterful use of staging and talent with composition. His ability to spot blacks, place textures, and overall cartooning/drawing skills made this crime story a delight to read." – guest contributor Jim Rugg, Robot 6

Review: "The end of [Thomas Ott's The Number 73304-23-4153-6-96-8] isn’t surprising, but the way that the logic is worked out to its predestined conclusion is nice, and the drawings are wonderful." – Journey to Perplexity

Review: "If you are a student of the history of sequential art, Newave! feels like a must-have for your collection. It seems to be as perfect of a collection of mini-comix as you could ever find and it is informative as well as entertaining. It’s also the type of book that challenges your artistic side as well so that’s another bonus." – Chad Derdowski, Mania

Interview: Publicola's Heidi Broadhead talks to Michael Dowers about the Newave! book and exhibit: "Well, there are still a handful of us who are completely driven. It is in the very cell walls of our mind, body, and soul. Some of these guys are about to hit 60 years old, me included, and we don’t know how to stop."

Plugs: The Precocious/Manga Curmudgeon, David Welsh, recommends some Gilbert Hernandez books in recognition of Beto's birthday today: "For those of you who aren’t familiar with Palomar, it’s a small Central American town populated with interesting, complex people. It’s also populated with a variety of kinds of stories and tones, gritty realism one moment, magical realism the next. Hernandez really builds that web of community in these stories, exploring ties of family and friendship, lingering grudges, outside influences, sex, love and death."

Plug: "...[Almost Silent] is all stellar material for the most part, especially [Tell Me] Something and You Can't [Get There from Here], which trade on Jason's perennial theme of love found and lost in rather odd settings. So if you weren't able to get these books when they first came out, I highly recommend doing so when this new edition comes out..." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6

Plug/Contest: "Portable Grindhouse: The Lost Art Of The VHS Box is a dose of heavy design nostalgia for those of us who haunted (or worked in) video stores in the 80s and 90s. So many gloriously awful titles are given their due here..." – Kevin Church (Beaucoup Kevin), who's giving away a copy!

Update: What's Dame Darcy up to? Check her latest blog update and see

Needling: Hey Spurge, I'll bet you 20 bucks that Gary doesn't get the joke

Leaning Tower of Groth
Written by Eric Reynolds | Filed under staffoffice funGary Groth 19 Jan 2010 4:50 PM

Leaning Tower of Groth

Marketing Meeting, FBI HQ, 1.19.10

Daily OCD: 1/18/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Zak SallySteve DitkoreviewsPopeyeHans RickheitGary GrothGabrielle BellEleanor DavisEC SegarCarol TylerCarol SwainBest of 2009Al Columbia 18 Jan 2010 3:16 PM

It's your holiday Online Commentary & Diversions:

List: Paul Gravett names "The Best of 2009: Graphic Novels": No. 9 is Giraffes in My Hair: A Rock 'n' Roll Life by Bruce Paley & Carol Swain ("Paley combines so perfectly with his partner Carol Swain to capture Paley’s walks on the wild side as he journeys through sex, drugs and rock’n'roll, from hippy to punk. ... Hers has always been an utterly singular approach."); No. 13 is (appropriately) Pim & Francie: The Golden Bear Days by Al Columbia ("These distressed, distressing comics and illustrations repeat and escalate like a stuck record or never waking from a recurring nightmare."); and No. 14 is You'll Never Know, Book 1: A Good and Decent Man by C. Tyler ("A tender, bittersweet tribute from a daughter to a father and his military service in a beautifully crafted, tactile memoir.") (via The Comics Reporter)

List/Review: At The HeroesOnline Blog, Dustin Harbin explains why Popeye Vol 4: Plunder Island is #5 on his Fave 5 of 2009: "These Popeye books are made with the kind of love and care and attention to detail that’s rare in comics — it’s clear that their publishers treat this material with reverence, and it makes it even more pleasurable to crack a new volume open each year."

Review: "Though [Like a Dog] may seem like a hodgepodge of bits of [Zak] Sally’s work, there is consistency in the overall feeling. Much of his work is a collection of personal demons -- his insecurities, self-doubt, anger, pain, sadness and darkness -- that are exposed in obvious and subtle ways. ... The grit of this collection lies in the sense that one has had a sideline view of an intensely cathartic therapy session." – Janday Wilson, two.one.five Magazine

Review: "This is warts and all stuff, a young artist learning with every six pager. ... There is some juvenile pleasure to be had in the fact that these stories [in Strange Suspense: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 1] all predate the Wertham/Comics Code era, so there's quite a bit of blood, some severed limbs, and grisly comeuppance. And although still oscillating between styles and influences here, there is substantial growth... [E]ven in its infancy, Ditko's art is increasingly potent." – Christopher Allen, Comic Book Galaxy

Profile: Comic Book Resources' Kelly Thompson surveys the work of Eleanor Davis

Links: Love & Maggie continues their detailed, annotated and hyperlinked overview of The Comics Journal #38 from 1978 

Nerd fight: Hey look, it's a message board squabble about something Gary Groth wrote in Amazing Heroes umpteen years ago

Things to see: Hans Rickheit 's Ectopiary page 7

Things to see: Gabrielle Bell's strip about Richmond concludes

Additional TCJ.com ribbon-cutting
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under The Comics JournalGary Groth 14 Dec 2009 11:01 PM
In addition to our previously posted official news-type announcement of the "hard launch" of the new Comics Journal website at TCJ.com, TCJ Executive Editor Gary Groth has composed an introductory hail-fellow-well-met-cum-statement of purpose titled "Welcome to TCJ.com and Oh, By the Way, A Brief History of Comics Criticism While I'm At It" which is well worth your attention. It's downright inspirational, I tells you.
Whoa indeed.
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Gary Groth 11 Nov 2009 1:10 PM

I AM GROTH.

Via Zack Soto on Twitter.

Daily OCD: 11/5/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under reviewsPeanutsJohnny RyanHans RickheitGary GrothDash ShawDame DarcyCharles M SchulzAl Columbia 5 Nov 2009 2:56 PM

Online Commentary & Diversions, now with more Tonya Harding than ever:

• Review: "Occasionally, there are works of art or literature that defy simple classification. The brain breaks upon them like waves and they give up different secrets with each tide but never all the secrets and never all at once. These creations challenge as much as they entertain and ask for obsession as toll on the road to understanding. The Squirrel Machine by Hans Rickheit is just such an enigma. ... Surreal, gorgeous, and both satisfying and confounding, The Squirrel Machine is a hypnotic, occasionally repulsive, always entertaining, and wildly creative graphic novel. It does not invite rereading so much as demands it, and each encounter reveals new and different details and interpretations. This book is a wonderful mystery, a basket of questions, a wealth of enigmas, and it looks utterly arresting every step of the way." – Christian Zabriskie, Graphic Novel Reporter

• Opinion: At Comics Comics, Dash Shaw has an interesting proposal for colleges that teach comics: "Instead of hiring teachers based on their achievements (and many of the current teachers are geniuses, no doubt about it), hire people who previously worked for many years in a now-defunct house style. Someone who drew Archie for years and is now selling their originals at Comic Con? Hire them."

• Interview: ParentDish's Brett Singer talks to Jill Schulz about her famous dad and the Peanuts legacy (via Robot 6)

• Panel: Robot 6 posts a transcript and MP3 of the Critics Roundtable panel from this year's SPX, featuring our own Gary Groth and several other names who will be very familiar to Daily OCD readers

• Plug: The folks at Meltdown Comics in LA are almost as excited for Johnny Ryan's Prison Pit Book 2 as we are

• Plug: The folks at Tiny Showcase take note of the release of Al Columbia's Pim & Francie: The Golden Bear Days

• Things to see: Dame Darcy illustrates Nancy Kerrigan & Tonya Harding and teaches spells & potions for Vice — this and more in the latest Dame Darcy blog update

Burne Hogarth's TV commercial
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under The Comics JournalGary GrothBurne Hogarth 20 Oct 2009 8:57 PM

Found on YouTube, a TV commercial for Excedrin pain reliever circa 1970 using an animated series of drawings by Burne Hogarth, cartoon classicist and great Comics Journal interview subject (as evidenced in The Comics Journal Library Vol. 5: Classic Comics Illustrators). Gary Groth, who passed this along, says "This is very fucking weird... I wish I'd known about this so I could've asked him about it."

 

Daily OCD: 10/20/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Zak SallyWillie and JoeTim LaneSteven WeissmanSteve DitkoStan SakaiRobert CrumbRichard SalareviewsPopeyePaul HornschemeierMonte SchulzMomeMichael KuppermanLove and RocketsLos Bros HernandezLilli CarréKim DeitchKevin HuizengaJohnny Ryanjohn kerschbaumJaime HernandezIgnatz SeriesGary GrothGabrielle BellGabriella GiandelliFemke HiemstraFantagraphics historyDash ShawBill MauldinAnders NilsenAbstract Comics 20 Oct 2009 5:52 PM

Online Commentary & Diversions is back! This is a catch-up post so it's a honker:

• Best-of List: Sandy Bilus of I Love Rob Liefeld belatedly compiles the critics' 2008 end of year best-of lists and semi-scientifically determines that Dash Shaw's Bottomless Belly Button was the #1 comic of 2008, with Ganges #2 by Kevin Huizenga at #6. Also on the Top 100 list, in descending order: Love and Rockets: New Stories #1, The Education of Hopey Glass by Jaime Hernandez, The Lagoon by Lilli Carré, Willie & Joe: The WWII Years by Bill Mauldin, the year's issues of Mome, Sammy the Mouse #2 by Zak Sally, Abandoned Cars by Tim Lane, Popeye Vol. 3 by E.C. Segar, Interiorae #3 by Gabriella Giandelli, Petey & Pussy by John Kerschbaum, Angry Youth Comix #14 by Johnny Ryan, and Deitch's Pictorama by the Deitch brothers. (We also compiled the lists into our own handy shopping guide of 2008 Critics' Picks.)

• Review: "It's a surprisingly rare thing to find the great comic artist who can not only draw with poetry and beauty, but write like a demon as well. In this lavish scrapbook of uncollected ads, posters, covers, ephemera and one-offs [All and Sundry], [Paul] Hornschemeier's skills are nearly as verbal as they are visual, his art encompassing many different styles, from richly layered classical surrealism to densely structured and primary color-heavy McSweeney's-style illustrations. But taken together, the work exhibits an instantly recognizable and distinctive panache. The depth of his art truly comes to life in the melancholic squibs of text and short fictions studding this collection. For all his talents, Hornschemeier is a working artist who clearly takes on all kinds of assignments, from bookstore ads and bookmarks to a quirky little piece on Anderson Cooper commissioned by CNN. Perhaps the intrusion of the journeyman keeps an exquisite volume like this so rewarding and yet grounded." – Publishers Weekly (starred review)

• Review: "What I liked [in Abstract Comics], I liked for more than just the strips themselves--I liked them for the proof they offer that comics really is still a Wild West medium in which one's bliss can be followed even beyond the boundaries of what many or even most readers would care to define as 'comics.' That an entire deluxe hardcover collection of such comics now exists is, I think, one of the great triumphs for the medium in a decade full to bursting with them." – Sean T. Collins

• Review: "Hallelujah... for Michael Kupperman! He returns with his second collection, Tales Designed to Thrizzle Vol. 1, which brings under one cover the first four issues of the same-named comic. And comic it sure as hell is. I'm not entirely certain when I've read anything that made me laugh out loud as often as this volume, with the possible exception of Kupperman's debut Snake 'n' Bacon's Cartoon Caberet. Women who've given birth to multiple children and older readers are advised to secure some kind of adult diaper." – Late Reviews and Latest Obsessions

• Review: "The only problem with Love and Rockets: New Stories is that it's an annual. Volume 2 was, well, fabulous. ... Both Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez are in full form in this volume. Lucky us." – Ace Bauer

• Review: "Willie & Joe is an extraordinarily compiled and presented tribute to Bill Mauldin, the two-time Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist who chronicled life in the U.S. Army from 1940 to 1945. The set is bound in army green canvas and typeset in the font of an old manual typewriter, the kind an army clerk might have used during the Second World War. The collection is a sensory delight, pleasing to touch and beautiful to see. ... There are many scholarly works written on the topic of World War II, and those books can teach us a lot about the war, but anyone who wants to feel what American soldiers felt during the Second World War should seek out Willie & Joe. ... For the winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, for the man who was once America’s most celebrated enlisted man, Willie & Joe is a fitting, and wonderful, tribute." – David Mitchell, BiblioBuffet

• Review: "[Prison Pit Book 1 by Johnny Ryan is an] over-the-top, ultra-violent, gross-out,  juvenile, yet fun and hilarious book... The dialogue that does exist retains his comic sense of disjunction and fights are as demented as you’d expect. This is not a jokey book, but his humor is retained in subtle ways—if you can envision subtle Johnny Ryan humor. ... This is just a balls-out, funny, sicko, good time. My only complaint with Prison Pit is how quickly the story ends, but hopefully the subtitle (Book One) is a promise and not a joke." – Lincoln Michel, The Faster Times [Ed. note: Book Two is in progress and due next year.]

• Review: "Longtime [Richard] Sala readers will recognize some familiar tropes right away [in Delphine]: strange surroundings, shady characters who seem to hold malevolent secrets. And Sala's art is familiar as well, but taken to a new level — lovely watercolors on the covers and moody washes on the gray interiors. The creamy paper that's typical of the Ignatz releases lends additional otherworldly, othertimely atmosphere to the story. And the logo itself is so good it deserved to be used for a long-running series. But it's the story that departs from Sala's work in some major ways... so resonant and unsettling that... it has to rank as one of Sala's major works." – Christopher Allen, Comic Book Galaxy

• Plug: "Reading [The Complete Peanuts 1971-72 and 1973-74] in one fell swoop, I've kind of come to the conclusion that this period is really the apex of Schulz's career. ...he was never as consistently hilarious or as poignant as he was in the early to mid-70s. If you're only buying two volumes of this series, it should be these two." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6

• Plug: "This just in! Steve Ditko book to be awesome: Seriously, just look at this thing. Wow." – J. Caleb Mozzocco, Newsarama

• Plug: Wunderkammer, the blog of Portuguese shop Ghoulgear, recommends Rock Candy: The Artwork of Femke Hiemstra as a "beautiful book" of "stunning works"

• Profile: Dan Taylor of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat catches up with Monte Schulz on his book tour for This Side of Jordan: "'It’s weird doing this,' Schulz said by phone from Nevada City during a break between book shop dates. 'It makes me nervous, at every single stop. I just realized I’m not a very public person.'"

• Interview: At Marvel.com, Sean T. Collins' series of chats with Strange Tales contributors continues with Stan Sakai talking about the creation of Samurai Hulk: "Actually, I tried to make it as much of a parallel to the modern Hulk as possible. Such as his name-he is referred to as Sashimonowhich means 'banner.' It's a samurai banner. And obviously there's no gamma rays, so he's cursed into turning into the Hulk by a witch called Gama, which is Japanese for 'toad' — she kinda looks like a toad." Oh man I can't wait for that.

• History: Steve Duin at The Oregonian digs up a nugget: Gary Groth on the 50th anniversary of Superman in Amazing Heroes, 1988: "My only interest in Superman, marginal at that, stems from his continuing presence as a symbol of banality and infantilism in the history of the American comic book." And it goes on!

• Events: Gabrielle Bell, Kim Deitch, Hope Larson and Anders Nilsen will be on a comics panel discussion at the University of Richmond next Sunday, Oct. 25 — here's the Facebook invitation

• Things to see: Leon Beyond on mnemonics, by Kevin Huizenga

• Things to see: Michael Kupperman's The Mannister, come to life!

• Things to see: Paul Hornschemeier's illustrations for James Kennedy's in-progress novel The Magnificent Moots (via Paul's blog)

• Things to buy: Commission yourself a cute portrait by Steven Weissman

• Oddity/thing to buy: The R. Crumb snowboarding jacket, as revealed by Robot 6

• Random quote of the day: "Guido Crepax: popular enough to have an entire half-shelf in the Fantagraphics library, circa mid-1990s; not popular enough to have his books stolen by the interns." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter

Gary Groth: The Early Years, Part 2
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Gary GrothFantagraphics history 13 Oct 2009 11:19 AM

Fantastic Fanzine 10 cover

Unofficial Gary Groth History Week continues, this time at ComicAttack.net, where Ken Meyer Jr. looks back at Gary's pre-Fantagraphics Fantastic Fanzine, specifically issue #10, with lots of background and commentary from Gary and a PDF download of the full issue. Looks like Ken will be looking at more issues of FF in the future, too, so we'll be sure to alert you when that happens.


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Our Bookstore

The Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale St., Seattle WA 98108. Tel: 206-658-0110.

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FBI•MINIs

FBI•MINIs

FREE exclusive FBI•MINI comics with qualifying mail-order purchases! (More details here.)

Related Sites

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