The Toronto Comics Arts Festival was amazing, it was a whole corral of Fantagraphics cartoonists visiting Toronto with publicist Jacq Cohen and me to sell sell sell books to the sweetest Canadians. On Friday we stopped at the coolest comic book store, The Beguiling.
Dash Shaw's new floppy comic, 3 New Stories! Plus, Maidenheadlock a crazy screen printed comic.
There was an awesome shop called Honest Ed's full of $1 jeggings and $3 babies. BABIES, guys. It was a hell of deal. Luckily they had cool signage everywhere. If Jacq ever uses the internet for dates, here you go.
We were all lucky enough to enjoy a converstation between Gilbert Hernandez, Tom Spurgeon and Jaime Hernandez about Love and Rockets, alternative comics and more in the Reference Library Friday night.
Andrew and James (yes?) from The Beguiling working the Bros book booth on Friday night. Thank you for being sweethearts and working hard.
Mike Winters, funny comic book man and Kupperman fan, was ready for his first comics show and showed off his cash envelope-bowl. His loonies and toonies smelled faintly of egg salad.
Jaime and Dash Shaw were ready EARLY at 9am to sign books!
Our first cup of coffee was barely over before a Jaime fan bared all to show off his sexy Maggie tattoo. Jaime said "Make sure to get those boxers in the photo" just so you know I'm not objectifying this gentleman.
Then the magical Ulli Lust made her appearance. Leon Avelino of Secret Acres and The Beguiling's Peter Birkmoe showed up but were sadly outdone by the BEST CON FACE EVER. Thank you, Toronto.
Ulli doesn't really spend ANY time on these book signings, right? Man, alive!
Gilbert pretends to act crotchedy with an enthsiastic Peggy Burns from D&Q. Jade and Tracy in the background!
Jaime and I discuss Little League baseball. Gilbert keeps up the act.
Jacq and our former intern, future super cartoonist Sophie Yanow.
Oh geez, they had someone doing 10 minute henna at the front of TCAF show and while so beautiful, all I could think is what happens when someone accidentally rubs the still drying design on some $40 book. Actually, now I think about it that's a great way to get rid of some backstock.
Ulli and Dash signing books: Dash promises he was listening and not drifting back into his new book, New School.
BUT Dash Shaw and I only have to hear the first half of the word 'VOGUE' before hittin' it, so to speak.
One of the Beguiling employees was chuffed to meet Michael Kupperman so they had to pose for a photo. You can tell its nice and early here because of all the butt space people have while walking down the aisles.
Michael draws a commissioned illustration for a fan.
Jacq snapped this photo of Michael at his artist spotlight panel. We wish our cartoonists had more confidence.
Alex from The Beguiling picks up The Armed Garden by his favorite cartoonist, David B. NO, DA-vead Beh, say it right.
Ulli stops to say hi to smart person and comics fan, Gil Roth.
Thanks to Oliver East for tabling next to Fantagraphics all weekend, he is a true pleasure!
ALSO, thank you thank you to anyone who stopped by my comics booth. I put my name in for work and myself and never dreamed I'd get into TCAF with my own comics. Thanks to you, new friends, (and my harried and usually alone tablemate, Lucy Bellwood).
How cool is The Beguiling for buying all your comics (or a goodly amount) after the show? Standing in the line was worth it not to carry your comics back over the border! Hopefully you said thank you to Peter Birkemoe and Chris Butcher at some point.
The after party was at Lee's Palace, an old punk venue that was so gorgeous. The town is full of beautiful facades and interesting buildings.
The Monday after the show we ran around Toronto with whomever was left in town. Like Rutu Modan! Jacq, me and Rutu accidentally ate opposite Robin, Mark P. Hensel (aka William Cardini) and Murilo.
Theo Ellsworth joined us for a visit to the beautiful Taiyo Matsumoto exhibit at the Japan Foundation and we ran into the Matsumoto himself! I've been a fan since Steve Bissette showed me some of his comics and the Ping Pong movie. PLEASE check it out if you haven't already and prepare to be blown away.
This restaurant could be dangerous for someone like me. We were all confused as to what this kid's mouth is doing, why he's pushing his cheeks in, especially when saying the word 'cheese' pulls your mouth wide. You win this one, Toronto.
Thank you, TCAF and The Beguiling, for all the help and love. We had a great time. Ulli mentioned one time how much she loved 'North American enthusiasm' so you made her week!
Here's your first sneak peek of an advance copy of The Love and Rockets Companion, edited by Marc Sobel & Kristy Valenti and coming in July. This book fits nicely on your shelf with the Love and Rockets Library volumes and serves as your guide to the L&R universe, with 3 major interviews with the Hernandez brothers, character guides, previously unpublished artwork, Locas and Palomar timelines, a complete bibliography, and letter column excerpts. All this wrapped in a fold-out jacket with a poster on one side and character family trees on the other! We'll show you that in action along with more views of the book soon.
Our free 32-page preview assembles short excerpts from each of the major sections; read it here, where you can also place your pre-order. And you can pre-order a set of the Companion, Covers, and Reader books at a nice discount here.
Holy comicsolly! Here's photos from the Stumptown Comics Fest in Portland, OR. Dash Shaw was in attendance with New School, which flew off the table. WHY THE WAIT on pictures? We forgot our own con rules. To remain human you must 5-2-1-I: At least 5 hours of sleep, 2 meals a day, 1 shower and Ibuprofen at night. Four hours of sleep one night wrecked this gal and boy, did she pay for it.
Lots of our Fantastaff came to the show since it was so close! Me, Designer Emory Liu, PR Director Jacq Cohen, Dash and Office Manager Steph Rivers.
Patrick Rosenkranz held some long, lovely conversations with fans of comics history and his book Rebel Visions. Patrick also led a Spain Rodriguez tribute panel, if you can ever take a class by him bring a recorder!
Dash talks to fans, cartoonists and the awesome Ming Doyle (who is both).
Portland is awesome because there are cartoonists everywhere. And by everywhere I mean at bars or restaurants. We ran in to Greg Means, Alec Longstreth and Claire Sanders at the Red Flag on the way to the Top Shelf party.
Having the warehouse van proved useful driving home slightly drinky cartoonists. James Kochalka, Rachel Foss and Dash Shaw hold court in the back.
ACCESSORIES. We saw quite a bit. Ed Luce rocked some additional tags.
Dash signed the Stumptown sketch poster HIS WAY.
Patrick Yurick had the best NEW comics-related tattoo. It even has the Wattersonesque dropped panel borders for that comic beat.
Speaking of PANELS: Dash tickled the audience with this animation and comic panel. He's got comedic timing DOWN.
Here I am looking goofy alongside some of the smarter people in comics on a submissions panel: Allison Baker of MonkeyBrain Comics, Jamie S. Rich (talking about old Oni days), Bob Schreck and Sina Grace of Image and Skybound. Panel photo by Glenn Peters.
Our Kristy Valenti, Patrick Rosenkranz and Tom Spurgeon gave a beautiful Spain Rodriguez tribute panel. Photo by someone who still rocks a flash.
INTERN POWER. We had several interns tabling with their own comics. Low-res intern Kevin Uehlein and Ben Horak on the edges of a beautiful comics table, Beth Hetland and Pat Barrett in the middle. Ben's shy so all you get is his sideburns.
Intern Nomi Kane and her comic spread. The Back of Ben Horak.
We love all of our books but are especially happy for the creators of the Eisner-nominated books. You can vote until June 12 online. If you haven't read all of them, check 'em out individually or via our list!
Still no sure which to read? Heidi MacDonald, Cal Reid and company discuss the nominations on the Publishers Weekly podcast. Meanwhile, Chris Sims, Matt D. Wilson and more of War Rocket Ajax discuss the nominations, although I'm not sure how long the podcast will be up at this link.
Some of the nominations gather in our mail room. See you in JULY!
[The Umpteen Millionaire Club is our series which puts forth book club discussion questions for Fantagraphics titles. The Comics Journal interns Brooke Chin, Tom Graham and Toby Liebowitz put together this set of questions. As this is intended for those who have read the book and contains spoilers, questions can be found behind the jump. - Ed.]
Julio’s Day is a graphic novel by Gilbert Hernandez that spans the hundred-year life of one man. It opens with his birth; it follows Julio and his family and friends in a small farming village as successive generations are born and die. Packed within the pages is a range of human experience: a soldier goes to war and is changed; evil in the family goes unaddressed; and there’s the blue worm. We follow Julio to the end, which is much as the beginning, or, to quote Samuel Beckett, "the same day, the same second."
"Come kick-off the 10th Anniversary of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival with us on the evening of Friday, May 10th! TCAF will welcome to the stage alt-comix legends Gilbert Hernandez and Jamie Hernandez, as they engage in a lively career-spanning conversation with The Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon! Both artists will also sign autographs and meet with fans at the event. Selections from their complete comics library will be available for sale at the event.
Plus! A look back at ten years of TCAF with some very special guests."
Presented by Toronto Reference Library and The Beguiling Books & Art, with support from Drawn & Quarterly Books and us, Fantagraphics Books. On Saturday and Sunday be sure to get your books signed by the Hernandez Brothers at our TCAF table!
"…his paramount creation was the celebrated if obscure newspaper strip Barnaby, which, from its distinct visual look (minimalist, Thurberesque drawings; typeset word balloons) to its wry, understated humor, was unlike anything else ever to hit the comics page…There have been sporadic reprintings, but this effort, the initial installment in a five-volume series, is the first to collect it in its entirety. Even Mr. O'Malley couldn't conjure up a more welcome endeavor." – Gordon Flagg
"Because day in it means a lifetime (like what we mean by saying, "in Grandma's day"), the title of this spare graphic novel denotes an entire century… For lengthy stretches of his story, he's unspeaking, in the background, nowhere around as we watch the more dramatic lives of friends and family flare in bizarre illness and death, in madness and violence, and in love, at home more than in the wars and wanderings they are called to. All along, he lives with his mother, the still center of a century-long family storm that Hernandez's mastery of comics somehow makes somberly beautiful." –Ray Olson
"This welcome reissue publishes the work to its originally intended large page size and restores the original watercolors…The gritty yet gaudy artwork by Romberger, a friend of Wojnarowicz's who worked closely with him on the project, convincingly conveys the seedy milieu of Wojnarowicz's younger years as well as his later rage and frustration as he awaits his death, with the expressionistic colors ratcheting up the nightmarish intensity. Two decades on, Times Square is cleaned up and the AIDS crisis in America is largely contained; but Wojnarowicz's defiant cri de coeur retains its harsh potency." – Gordon Flagg
The tantric release of Online Commentaries & Release:
• Review:The LA Times and Noel Murray interviews Gilbert Hernandez about Julio's Day, Marble Season (from D&Q), plus the future books Love and Rockets: New Stories #6 and Maria M. LA Times: Gilbert says " ‘Julio’s Day’ is very simple. I mean, there’s a lot of heavy stuff going on, but I wanted it to read like a very simple, direct story."
• Interview:comiXology interviews Gilbert Hernandez about his most recent comic Julio's Day on their podcast.
• Review: Tom Spurgeon looks at Gilbert Hernandez's latest work, Julio's Day, on the Comics Reporter. "I found Julio's Day moving at times, again for reasons I'm not really certain I can fully articulate. The idea that we may be known as much for the choices of those around us and things that happen in proximity to ourselves as much as if not more than by the choices we make is either the ultimate comfort or the first back-of-throat rumblings of an existential howl."
• Plug:Publishers Weekly lists Julio's Day as a pick of the week: "A marvelous and tightly scripted epic whose last page is a heart-stopper."
Review: Charles Hatfield of The Comics Journal flips through Julio's Dayby Gilbert Hernandez. "When it comes to Beto, the lightning keeps striking, and if it doesn’t strike exactly the same place twice, it does testify to the same divided genius…It is the great lost Beto comic, belatedly given new form and new life.
• Review:Grovel's Andy Shaw reads Julio's Dayby Gilbert Hernandez. "Just buy it now. This is Gilbert Hernandez at his finest, distilling a lifetime into a single volume of pleasure and pain.Julio’s Day is a literary classic, and another incredible piece of work from a true master of comics."
• Plug:Largehearted Boy plugs Julio's Day. "Gilbert compresses the history of the 20th century as well as the life of a man into a riveting, masterful story," writes Benn Ray.
• Review:The A.V. Club looks at The Adventures of Jodelle by Guy Peellaert. "The essays-which at 80 pages take up more of the book than Jodelle-are this volume's real selling point... Peellaert foregrounded the eroticism of advertising, and exposed how pulp imagery affects the public's understanding of everything from politics to gender. And he did it without resorting to polemics. The Adventures Of Jodelle book-both the comic strip and the supplemental material-is a delight both visually and intellectually," writes Noel Murray.
• Plug:Largehearted Boy plugs The Adventures of Jodelle by Guy Peellaert. "Think of Barbarella animated in that Yellow Submarine style and you get the idea of what Jodelle's adventures look like. This is comics as art."
• Plug: Angel House Press is celebrated National Poetry Month with a focus on visual poetry, inspired by latest collection of it The Last Vispo, edited by Nico Vassilakis and Crag Hill. Check here for a month of visual poetry.
• Review: Heroes Complex at the LA Times looks at 50 Girls 50 by Al Williamson. Noel Murray writes, "These pieces are classic EC: punchy, knowing and ironic in the best sense of the word, in that they force readers to examine their own expectations. The best stories in '50 Girls 50 have readers rooting for heels, or celebrating war, all while framing the situation in such a way that readers question their responses." In reference to the whole EC Comics Library line, Murray writes, "All of these books are essential purchases for comics fans, but for those on a budget who are looking to prioritize…These are the books that best show off how EC took genre stories seriously, striving to create comics that didn’t treat readers as naive or ignorant."
• Review:Fangoria reviews the next two EC books. Rick Trembles enjoys 'Tain't the Meat by Jack Davis. "Jack Davis’ dark comedic touch is all over this collection, diffusing the ghastly nature of the stories somewhat, an aspect to his work that was obviously lost on his opponents." Meanwhile with Al Willliamson's 50 Girls 50, Trembles writes "here we’re dazzled by romanticized sci-fi heroics and delicate line-work of the ilk of FLASH GORDON’S original artist Alex Raymond, Williamson’s main inspiration. Dinosaurs, spaceships, and outlandish otherworldly creatures populate the flora of faraway worlds, accompanied by buxom, exotically garbed beauties."
• Review: Nick Gazin sets his VICE sights on 'Tain't the Meat by Jack Davis. "Even though he wasn't a perfectionist, Jack Davis's laziness is better than most people's best work. When Davis does invest himself in a drawing it's just a mind bender. This is a must have for anyone who loves horror, EC, Jack Davis, any of that stuff."
• Review: Comics Bulletin looks at 3 New Stories from Dash Shaw. "This is a short, floppy-sized comic, but it's incredibly rich in complexity and depth. Shaw delivers an amazing collection of stories here."
• Interview:DigBoston and Clay Fernald talk to Dash Shaw about 3 New Stories, New School, Bottomless Belly Button and more. Shaw says, "Words and pictures are very different. They don't sit comfortably next to each other. Some cartoonists try to bring them closer together. Ware is like that. I like that space between things. I want the differences between things to be activated."
• Plug: Largehearted Boy hosts Atomic Books look at new comics included 3 New Stories. "Dash Shaw is a modern comics master. He experiments with everything from structure to narrative to color. If you're unfamiliar with his work, he's sort of like Gary Panter illustrating a Chris Ware story, or, in this case, 3 stories of dystopian societies," writes Benn Ray from Atomic Books.
• Review:Nerds of a Feather enjoys Tom Kaczynski's Beta Testing the Apocalypse. Beta Philippe Duhart states "The thin lines, sharp angles, and rigid geometry…brings a clarity and simplicity that expertly balances the abstractness of the themes at the heart of Beta Testing the Apocalypse…One doesn’t need to have read Žižek to grasp Beta Testing’s themes and criticisms. One only needs to have only gone apartment hunting."
• Interview:Comics Bulletin and Keith Silve interview James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook on 7 Miles A Second. Van Cook remembers, "David was a poet of the soul, there was always a tension between beauty and the vileness of what society did to anyone who was not of the mainstream. I once asked him what he did with the money he got from hustling when he was so young and he told me he would take a bus to the country and walk around. We thought it was so ironic that selling one's body and selling art had many of the same qualities. We laughed rather darkly, about how the body and art are commodified and priced so arbitrarily."
• Interview (video): Back in January, Carol Tyler spoke to University of Southern California Provost's Professor Henry Jenkins and students as part of the USC Visions and Voices series. Mike Lynch was good enough to blog about it as soon as USC put up on the internet. She speaks about personal life and drawing comics, including the You'll Never Know series.
• Plug:Manga Bookshelf lists its first quarter favorites of 2013 and include Moto Hagio's newest book. "The Heart of Thomas was my most eagerly anticipated manga of the year, and while its January release date set the bar perhaps unfairly high for the year to come, I can’t bring myself to be sad about that."
• Review:Comics Worth Reading pulls out the Castle Waiting Vol. 2: Definitive Edition by Linda Medley. Johanna Draper Carlson writes "…it’s engrossing and beautifully drawn. I was surprised, reading the whole thing at once, how much of what figures in the final chapters was mentioned very early on. It gave me new appreciation for Medley’s long-term storytelling."
• Review:Calgary Public Library's Teen Blog speaks out on Castle Waiting Vol. 1 and 2 by Linda Medley. Adrienne writes, "Castle Waiting is a great comic book that takes elements from fairytales such as 'Sleeping Beauty' and combines them with a good dose of humour and plots about bearded ladies, two-headed girls, pregnancy and hidden libraries..I highly recommend her"
• Review: Strange Journal reviews Castle Waiting. "I’ve really fallen for it, it’s what they’d call a triple threat in show business: It can sing, dance AND act…In the tradition of Jeff Smith’s Bone and the better parts of Dave Sim’s Cerebus, Medley has conjured an amazing and beautiful world and filled it with flawed, interesting folks eking out their existence in a castle on the edge of the world," states Adam Blodgett.
• Review: Delphine by Richard Sala is reviewed on Comics Bulletin. Jason Sacks "We're used to fairy tales telling the story of a journey by a girl from innocence to the real world. Delphine inverts the gender of those classic tales, but uses those familiar tropes to tell a familiar story. Richard Sala treads a world of metaphor and allusion, a world that feels as familiar as Grimm's Fairy Tales and as mysterious as our own heart."
• Review: Nick Gazin sets his VICE sights on Out of the Shadows by Mort Meskin (edited by Steven Brower). "Shadows everywhere. The stories are just a lot of old timey chatter where people call each other chum and stuff but the compositions and choices that Mort Meskin made are pretty sophisticated."
• Interview:The Comics Journal posts an article titled Crockett Johnson and the Invention of Barnaby. Philip Nel writes about it all including the creation of fairy godfather, Mr. O'Malley's favorite catchphrase. Barnaby is coming so soon, we'll all cry "Cushlamochree!"
• Review: iFanboy hypes up Impossible Tales: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 4 (by Steve Ditko and edited by Blake Bell) coming out this May. Josh Christie states: "Steve Ditko is one of those guys you could picture on the Mount Rushmore of comics creators…Like so many of the great comics from the 1950s, the drug-fueled, macabre scenes look more like something out of an alternate dimension rather than from the states’ apple pie and bubblegum past."
• Review:Arkham Comics reviews Messages in a Bottle by B. Krigstein (edited by Greg Sadowski). A rough translation states, "Messages in a Bottle is a magicalbook,atimeless andstunningclarity:a lesson incomics aswe do notmeet every day."
• Review:Noah Van Sciver's The Hypo is reviewed on We Read Comics "Sciver absolutely nails it…We see Lincoln's plain spoken style, his humbleness, his self-doubt, and his honesty here with so much fucking economy and elegance."
• Interview:Noah Van Sciver appears on Comic Impact to talk about The Hypo and his newest comics project.
• Plug:The End of the Fucking World (Spoiler alert!) on The Chemical Box. "Similar to Derf’s analysis of Jeffery Dahmer in 'My Friend Dahmer', you can see James (along with Dahmer) struggling with their basic instincts."
• Plug:The Beat waxes on about Julia Gfrörer and Black is the Color. Zainab Akhtar writes, "Gfrorer’s work is consistently excellent, featuring themes of myth, folk lore, mysticism and spirituality, coupled with her fine-lined, evocative art."
• Plug: Demencha calls Ed Piskor a Hip Hop Archeologist and more in reference to Hip Hop Famiy Tree. "His classic indie comic composition and narrative ease make the strip readable, informative (who knew Rammelzee went tagging with Basquiat?), and respectful to the art forms and artists it covers," writes J.P. McNamara.
• Review: In an oddly religious review, Mirrors of Christ looks at Eye of the Majestic Creature by Leslie Stein. "Sadly in this story the lyre (guitar) did not participate in the worship of God but in the desire of the flesh."
• Review:Orgasm reviews Sexytime edited by Jacques Boyreau. "…if you want an oversized coffee-book that your guests might enjoying flipping through the pages as you bring refreshments, Sexytime is for you. And hey, it might even get you laid."
• Review:Josh Simmons' story from The Furry Trap, 'Mark of the Bat' is reviewed on Vorptalizer. Seat T. Collins comments, " 'Mark of the Bat' picks and picks and picks at our dovetailed drive for cruelty and need to feel superior to others until the fingernail tears off. It leaves a mark."
• Plug:Comics Workbook enjoys reading The Portable Frank digitally thanks to comiXology.Leah writes, "Woodring’s way of transitioning images between panels (in, ya know, a pretty trippy way) lends itself really well to the panel by panel viewing of the digital reader."
• Plug: Tucker Stone mentions the new issue of The Comics Journal on the Comics Journal, not trying to get to incestuous. "The new issue of the Journal is pretty good; the Tardi interview is great."
• Plug:Textures of Ether looks at Abstract Comics. "Do Abstract Comics artists need to be aware of comics history?…Molotiu’s articles explore the theory behind Abstract Comics and are always interesting to read. They would make a welcome addition to any future AC anthology."
• Review: Nick Gazin checks out Cruisin' with the Hound by Spain Rodriguez on VICE. "Spain's comics always feel lively and real and there's this sense that he was probably too cool to be making comics but somehow he was. You can tell he was for real because he put the most energy into drawing motorcycles and cars and his people always look kinda like they're secondary to their machines. Great book from a great artist and story teller."
• Plug: Musical notation in Peanuts is analyzed on the Hooded Utilitarian. "In this sense, Schulz again collapses into Charlie Brown — locked out of high art virtuosity and romantic opportunities, disappointed in art as in love.…Schulz has, perhaps, found a way to invert Lichtenstein," writes Noah Berlatsky.
• Plug (video): Al Jaffee and Robert Grossman are interviewed on the Imperium about the Harvey Kurtzman retrospective at the Society of Illustrators. Jaffee states, "His concepts were, to us at the time, revolutionary because he was breaking the third or the fourth wall, whatever you want to call it."
It's a Love and Rockets two-fer! These books are in the can, ready for press, available for pre-order, and coming to you this Summer:
At last, all of Gilbert Hernandez's New Tales of Old Palomar are collected between two covers for your bookshelf, with a new name: The Children of Palomar. These stories flash back to the "Heartbreak Soup" days — and before! — and expand the Palomar mythology in new and surprising ways. When first released in comic form, this material was hailed by critics as some of Gilbert's best work ever, and the stories, while richly rewarding for longtime fans, stand on their own for new readers as well. (We've bundled it up with Gilbert's recent triumph Julio's Day in a nicely discounted set.) Get a sneak peek at 11 pages of story & art here.
Well, the Love and Rockets 30th anniversary books are missing the actual anniversary, but they are so worth the wait! The Love and Rockets Companion: 30 Years (and Counting) is the ultimate guide to everything Palomar, Hoppers, and beyond, with 3 major interviews with the Hernandez brothers, character guides, unpublished artwork, timelines, a checklist, and even letter column highlights from the original series. Oh and by the way, the black title area on the cover is a removable sticker and the jacket folds out into a poster on one side and character family tree on the other! We've put together a 32-page preview with smatterings of pages from the major sections, which you can read and/or download here.
These two covers really show off the versatility of our lead designer Tony Ong, don't they?
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