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.
Your must-read link of the day: at Comics Comics, Jeet Heer presents a scan of a 1972 Washington Post profile of 17-year-old Gary Groth. Plus ça change: Gary still types with two fingers, and still forgets to close the door. (Also: evidence that the cliché of using sound effects in comics-story headlines dates back at least 37 years.)
If you've got pictures of Fantagraphics at SPX, let us know! Here's a few that we've found on our own or have been sent to us. Con reports abound on the web: Rob Clough has a good one to start with, and Sean T. Collins has audio from the Critics Roundtable panel featuring our own Gary Groth.
Here comes your Online Commentary & Diversions for today:
• Interview: We Love You So, the blog of Spike Jonze's Where the Wild Things Are movie, talks to newly-minted Ignatz winner Jordan Crane, saying "Presenting melancholy tales of workaday worries and broken relationships right alongside whimsical, child-friendly fare, Uptightprovides a fascinating peek inside Crane’s constantly shifting thoughts, and never fails to entertain." From Jordan: "When I’m writing something I usually have a particular person in mind that I’m writing it for. Not a general thing like 'I’m writing for someone between the ages of 25 and 50' but rather an actual person."
• Plug: "Oh yes, it's finally here — Johnny Ryan's bloody sexual fight comic [Prison Pit Book 1], ...a two-fisted smash-up of international comics influence and the universal joy of tight-wound one-on-one combat, so tight that everything that comes out of a body becomes a weapon, and doesn't that have a way of mixing pleasure and pain? ... I liked this a hell of a lot." – Joe McCulloch, Jog - The Blog
Our head honchos and "the best known good cop/bad cop team in comics today" Gary Groth & Kim Thompson appeared on Bob Andelman's "Mr. Media" interview show on Blog Talk Radio Monday night to talk about all things Fantagraphics. Needless to say, if you have any interest in the history and current state of comics and the comics industry, it's a must-listen. Listen in streaming audio in the embedded player below or, if you don't roll that way, click the link above.
Bob Fingerman was in attendance when legendary cartoonists Al Jaffee and Arnold Roth, two of the co-creators of Humbug, discussed the magazine's short lifespan with el jefe Gary Groth at the Strand Bookstore in NYC on April 14, 2009, and was kind enough to pass along his photos!
See a whole bunch more in our Flickr set right here. Thanks Bob!
Saturday at BEA was extremely busy, and my enthusiasm for picture-taking waned after a promising start Friday. We hosted a signing with Monte Schulz, whose novel This Side of Jordan is going to surprise a lot of folks this fall. It's fantastic.
That's Monte above, signing galleys for a big line in the autographing area, and graciously answering questions not only about his book, but also his father, Charles M. Schulz, for whom Monte wrote the book. Monte looks uncannily like his father. I couldn't get over this all weekend.
After the show, Gary, Jason and I had dinner with Monte, which included a surreal encounter with Katie Couric that I sadly got no pictures of. But so as not to completely disappoint you, here's a picture of Kathie Lee Gifford:
After a fantastic dinner, Gary insisted on a nightcap. Now, for me, "nightcap" usually involves whiskey. Not Gary. For Gary, it involves ice cream and hot fudge. We cabbed it up to Serendipity, the famous dessert place that I think Gary must own stock in.
Gary ate as much ice cream as Jason, Monte and myself combined, and threatened to eat more before we dragged him out. We continued elsewhere, meeting up with Monte's pals Sid & Karen, talking books until the wee hours of the morning, or to at least what passes as the wee hours of the morning to this pathetic dad who is usually up at 5AM with his one-year-old.
ABOVE: Gary, contended with a gut full of hot fudge.
ABOVE: My requisite Jason Miles Big Hands photo (sorry ladies, he's taken).
With MoCCA already in the rear-view mirror, it's a bit late to be recapping the 2009 Book Expo America, which took place the weekend before at the wonderfully air-conditioned Javits Center. But who doesn't like convention photos? Don't let the lack of cosplay action fool you, BEA was a great time for myself, Jason Miles and Gary Groth, and we enjoyed hanging out with the likes of Kim Deitch, Monte Schulz, Michael Kupperman, and Dash Shaw.
We flew in Thursday morning, Jason and I waking up at 4:00AM only to get to the airport by 5:00AM so I could get dissed at the Hudson News Stand by Spike Lee. Side note to Mr. Lee: if you do not want to be recognized, even at 5AM, I recommend not wearing the same designer eyeglasses, Yankees cap, and Nike sweatsuit jacket that you were wearing on the FRONT PAGE of the daily newspaper that same morning.
Friday was the start of the show, and here's Jason Miles, unusually well-dressed (sorry ladies, he's taken), prepping for the morning onslaught in our swanky new space within W.W. Norton's mighty BEA pavilion.
Friday was the official "Salute to Graphic Novels" day at BEA, and we hosted signing with Dash Shaw, Kim Deitch, and Michael Kupperman. All three were utter gentlemen, signing books for fans in our booth and in the official autograph area:
That evening, we stopped in at a BEA/DAP party where Jason regaled us with the story of a ukranian giant who, like Izzy in Love & Rockets, can't seem to stop growing due to a botched thyroid surgery. We ran into some old friends like Gabrielle Bell and Last Gasp's Kristine Anstine, and later enjoyed a great dinner with Dash his girlfriend, Jane Samborski. Conversation veered from Alex Toth to David Mazzucchelli to French comics and Manga. Oh, and "The Pussy Generation," as Clint Eastwood calls those of us who dare to question the meaning of life rather than just punch it in the face.
That's Dash & Jane up top, and Jason and Gary below. I have an exceptional gift for capturing pictures of Jason's remarkably large hands (sorry ladies, he's taken).
• Review: John Mitchell on Supermen!: “Supermen points to a time when comic books were a new and exciting form — admittedly low brow in presentation, but filled with visual and narrative leaps that would affect how we told stories visually for decades to come... This book chronicles the exciting, silly, fun and experimental world in which these kinds of [superhero] characters were forged — fairy tales from the modern era."
• Review: Lady, That's My Skull takes lunch with The Wolverton Bible, saying "It is a fascinating look at the side of an artist that most fans are not familiar with due to the scarcity of the material."
• Review: My Year Online on Ted Stearn's first Fuzz & Pluck collection: "[I] laugh[ed] out loud at many points. This is all down to Ted Stearn’s genius in depicting expressions, his excellent slapstick timing and great storyboards, where you can never tell what will happen next..."
• Reviews: The blogger behind Fluid Motion has "been reading a lot of comics by Jason recently," offering micro-reviews of 3 of his books
• Review: Newsarama enthuses about Popeye Vol. 3 (scroll about halfway down): "As with previous volumes of Popeye, it's a cornucopia of mangled English, slapstick, violence and hamburger soliciting... Fantagraphics continues to knock it out of the park with their work on the production of these books... With his fun designs and slapstick exaggeration, Segar's art has always been a plus, and nothing about that changes here... It's packed with adventure and humor, strong art, inventive and complex stories, and features more slam-bang punching than any other ten comics. It is a true, to use a much abused word, classic."
• Review: I'm not sure if this review originally ran in Rain Taxi or is original to the Powell's Books blog where it appears now, but: John Pistelli delves into The Lagoon by Lilli Carré: "The Lagoon's artisanal craftsmanship and child's-eye ironies reflect the baffled wisdom of a heroine too young to be foolish... it is a gorgeously bleak work for so young an artist."
• Interview: Baldur Bjarnason presents a 21-minute audio interview with el jefe Gary Groth recorded at the 2000 San Diego Comic Con