Chicago, IL - A strong comics community exists in Chicago, and for the third year in a row it's banding together again for the annual fundraiser to support CAKE or, Chicago Alternative Comics Expo. This year features a delicious lineup of artists auctioning off original works during a silent and live bidding, with all proceeds going to this year's CAKE.
CAKE takes places June 6th-7th, and this FREE show is open to the public from 11 AM-6 PM. More details about Fantagraphics at CAKE to come! In the meantime, consider making a stop at CAKE Bake this Saturday, and get loaded up on excellent art treats that'll satisfy more than just a sweet tooth.
You might read them religiously, or just while you're trolling online, but VICE has been working on bringing readers daily doses of comics from some of the hottest and hardest working artists from across the globe. Run by VICE Comics editor, Nick Gazin, the online series got up and running on September 11, 2011 with a meta Blobby Boys comic by Alex Schubert. Since then, VICE has picked up the pace with a rotation of ongoing weekly and monthly series, or a three month rotation.
This latest batch of artists is not to be missed, and is diverse and the people making them. Simon Hanselmann'sMegg, Mogg and Owl strips have been running weekly for almost a year, and we can't get enough of them. The gang's antics of galavanting through Amsterdam, or vegging out with a bowl and pizza (or six) is a constant high of the week.
(Simon Hanselmann, July 2014)
Since then, a number of talented artists have been brought on rotation, including Gilbert Hernandez with Roy in Hollywood, introducing a whole new generation of internet readers to the defining artist. Be sure to check out his new single issue series, Blubber, debuting this summer at San Diego Comic-con.
The Leslie Stein monthly diary comics have been reflective, sweet, and often spot on with her tales of childhood, moms, dogs, and benders. They're the perfect ramp up to her new book, Bright-Eyed at Midnight, a year long, page-a-day artistic experiment, often fuled by insomnia, which will be released this August.
(Leslie Stein, April 2015)
Most recently, Lane Milburn and Esther Pearl Watson have joined the VICE lineup with out of this world sci-fi adventures, and two ladies who kick-ass and don't give a rip about your name. Watson's Blood Lady Commandos is the A-Team meets Golden Girls, hilarious and righteous to behold. And with Milburn's new sci-fi epic, Envoy, the futuristic wasteland is traversed by bounty hunter, Jo Sparta. All your Heavy Metal infused dreams come true with this series.
(Lane Milburn, November 2014)
Dozens of other fantastic artists have been contributing to this ongoing comic anthology, and I can't recommend them enough. Check back often to see new updates, new series, and new artists bring you your new dose of comics.
Next month's issue of Booklist will include reviews of recent releases by Fantagraphics cartoonists + creators, excerpted below:
A Starred review for Displacement by Lucy Knisley "Knisley finds both the humor and the sadness in her grandparents' condition...Whereas Knisley's previous travel memoirs speak more to the young adult experience, Displacement is a timely and mature work that pairs perfectly with other elder-care titles, such as Roz Chast's Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant? (2014)." –Snow Wildsmith
Creeping Death from Neptune by Basil Wolverton, edit by Greg Sadowski "Wolverton was a genre unto himself..No matter what he drew-science fiction, costumed crime fighters, or wacky humor-his distinctively iconoclastic style, marked by blocky compositions and idiosyncratic stippling, set it far apart from anything else." –Gordon Flagg
Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge: The Seven Cities of Gold by Carl Barks "Barks' flair for combining humor with thrills is unmatched, as are his clear, expressive cartooning and his command of visual storytelling. The full-color restoration of the artwork and the useful historical notes give Barks' consummate work the deluxe presentation it richly deserves." –Gordon Flagg
Spawn of Mars and Other Stories by Al Feldstein & Wallace Wood "Wood's detail-laden panels, vibrant brushwork, and chiaroscuro lighting effects gave his stories a verisimilitude that the primitive cinematic special effects of the era sorely lacked...While the stories might be best enjoyed by a precocious 12-year-old, it takes an adult reader to fully appreciate Wood's astonishing craft." –Gordon Flagg
The award-winning and timeless collection of Love and Rockets stories gathered into the gorgeous book, Palomar by Gilbert Hernandez, was published more than a decade ago. But controversy at a high school library in New Mexico has given new life into the continuing dicussion, and sometimes battle, that surrounds comics when they attempt to break new ground and tackle themes which require context and analysis.
As Jen Vaughn pointed out in our original posting of the challenged book, one mother of a 14-year-old who had checked out the offending text from Rio Rancho High School library, took to the local TV station, KOAT, to report that she had found pages upon pages of "child pornography pictures and child abuse pictures". She demanded that there be an investigation to find out how the book was allowed into the library in the first place.
Since KOAT's initial "reporting" of the book's content, several outstanding organizations have come to its defense. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, a First Amendment protection group, has teamed up with the Kids' Right to Read Project, and sent a letter to the Superintendent of Rio Rancho calling on the school to uphold it's own preported standards of procedure when it comes to a book's challenge. Additionally, the letter points out the obvious merits that the book carries within its pages, which have been lauded by numerous publications like The Times of London and Publisher's Weekly over the years for Hernandez's elastic realism approach to familial drama that immediately invokes comparison to writers such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Today, Greg Matiasevich at Multiversity posted an interview with Fantagraphics' Associate Publisher, Eric Reynolds, and CBLDF Executive Director, Charles Brownstein to get their reactions to Palomar being pulled from the shelves as it awaits a formal review from the school. When asked about why the removal of such a book is important, Reynolds replies:
"I don’t much care whether Palomar is in one particular library or not, but I do care about one rogue parent bypassing appropriate channels to remove it, instead escalating via a media that was all too enthusiastic in egregiously mischaracterizing the content of the work, fueling community outrage with flat-out falsehoods. It’s unproductive for everyone involved."
As Matiasevich points out, products based on comic books dominates our entertainment culture in the form of movies and TV shows, but too often the art form that these products were built off of is easily called out by those with little understanding of the medium itself, and shamefully erased from the hands of potential readers through public defamation. Brownstein and the CBLDF continue to take up these battles because "comics have a legitimate place in contemporary libraries and schools, but are more vulnerable to attack that other kinds of books because images are easier to take out of context and because there is still a diminishing, but lingering stigma that the medium is of low value."
Numerous titles have proven that assumption wrong over the years, but it's important to remember no one deserves to have stories or art taken from their hands due to the opinion of one person. Palomar is awaiting its fate at the Rio Rancho High School library, and the CBLDF will be standing by to update on their final decision.
BANG-ZOOM! KA-BLOW! "Comics aren't for kids anymore!" is a phrase hundreds upon thousands of comic fans, cartoonists, scholars and publishers are tired of hearing. Yet at the local high school in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, one family was left devastated when one teen checked out Gilbert Hernandez's seminal work, PALOMAR, "thinking it was a manga." Thanks to local news team at KOAT 7 in Albuquerque, NM, you can see just how many bookmarks the mom carefully made in the book, cataloguing the disturbing images and the investigation that is now under way. Because the images are so "disturbing" and "graphic" they could not show you any images, even the 9,209,384 inoffensive panels in the book. So here they are (based on on my memory and some casual flipping through the book): Instructions on staying clean
Actual love between a couple looking forward to their child:
A young girl, for once, taking pride in the fact her body is changing (and not because some guy said something nasty to her):
The HORROR! To be fair, there are some nude nudes in here of people in coitus that shouldn't necessarily be available in a K-12 library (which it wasn't) but the stories Gilbert Hernandez weaves are epic, layered, multi-generational, complicated---just like real life!
This really all raises the question: why go to the local news first? To create a hysteria around ONE book (see: Chicago, Persepolis) despite the hundreds of other books with devastating, often based-on-the-truth subject matter? If anything, the mom is teaching her kiddo some poor conflict resolution skills - don't attempt to resolve one-to-one, go immediately to the media! If Rio Rancho had a truly supportive community wouldn't the teen and mom go to the library and asked to have the book reassessed for the collection? Instead they are wasting time and money on an event that will end up cutting funding to local school libraries, which have already seen decreases in funding back to 2004 including when computers labs began moving to integrated classroom use (according to this 2004 Standards for New Mexico Libraries report, created by the New Mexico Task Force for Student Libraries). What will kids possibly do if they can't read books and comics at a higher reading-level than their grade? Turn to the internet in search of something worse? Nah, not these days.
Caveat: I am not a parent, just a former library technician at a comic book library.
Wednesday is not only New Comics Day in the stores but also new comics day online and on your favorite digital reading device. comiXology has a swank-and-huge list of titles that came out today! Love & Rockets: New Stories #7finds Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez writing and drawing at the top of their game. In Jaime's stories, Maggie and Hopey take a road trip to visit a 'sick friend' while Ray visits some old sick friends of his own. Gilbert offers a suite of stories, including a sweeping epic of derring-do in which Fritz as Morgan Le Fey teams up with Aladdin; a WWII sci-fi thriller and 'Daughters and Mothers and Daughters,' in which flashbacks to Luba's mother Maria reveal how old secrets affect their family today. is $17.99 at comiXology and is also available on the Sequential app.
Peter Bagge's Sweatshop is an intense situational comedy about a newspaper strip "sweatshop" of aspiring cartoonists who are attempting to make it big like their boss, Mel Bowling, but on their own terms. Featuring art also by Johnny Ryan, Jim Blanchard, Stephen Destefano, Stephanie Gladden and Matt Ray; Sweatshop is a must have for the Fantagraphics' fan and anyone who has had a terrible boss. Sweatshop is also available on the Sequential app. In addition you can get Hate 18, now out digitally.
In the sweet follow up to An Age of License, in Lucy Knisley's Displacement recounts the experience of caring for her frail grandparents aboard a cruise ship, while reflecting on her own fears on mortality, her age, and her family's relationships and history. Meanwhile, Noah Van Sciver's latest graphic novel, Saint Cole, is a brutal look into in pathos and the human condition. It follows a dead-ender, Joe, over four days as his life goes from terrible to unraveling at every possible seam, from drinking on the job to a live-in girlfriend and crying baby at home. You can also find both of these titles on the Sequential app.
More serial comics please!
Serialized from the pages of Dungeon Quest Book Three #8 by Joe Daly, we join Millenium Boy, Millenium Boy, Steve, Nerd Girl and Lash Penis mid-adventure. A series of beasts called Womraxes attack the group, ripping off clothes right and left. (and only $1.99 per issue!).
In Dame Darcy's Meat Cake #15, Richard Dirt and Friend the Girl show you exactly how to pass the Zombie Survival Test before Dame Darcy takes a trip around the world gathering local lore like the Chupacabre of Texas and the Science Un-Fair. Plus, get your munch on with her finest raw food recipes! It's one of the best one hundred and ninety-nine penny dreadfuls you can get!
Bagge's HATE #18 has the Bradley home in Jersey is bursting at the seams with little birdies who tried out their wings, landed in a bloody heap on the ground, and limped back into the nest. The newest re-addition to the family unit: Butch. Buddy's errant little brother is discharged from the Navy, due in large part to his chronic alcoholism, and he heads straight for the nearest port - home sweet home. His constant belligerent presence makes life even more difficult for Buddy and Lisa, who are having a hard enough time of it as it is. Needless to say, things wind up coming to an ugly head between Buddy and Butch, and nothing is resolved as a result, since such is the nature of adult siblings. Now and forever, in full and glorious FantacolorTM from cover to cover!
This week's comic shop shipment is slated to include the following new titles. Read on to see what comics-blog commentators and web-savvy comic shops are saying about them (more to be added as they appear), check out our previews at the links, and contact your local shop to confirm availability.
100-page black & white 7.25" x 10.5" softcover $14.99 | 978-1-60699-770-3
"Jaime has always been brilliant at investing his characters with personality & emotion, and his illustration of Maggie speaks volumes....the latest edition of Love and Rockets: New Stories has a wealth of material from both of the Hernandez brothers. Jaime and Gilbert continue to develop their large casts of characters and unfold numerous plotlines in an intriguing manner. And the artwork from both of them is gorgeous." -Ben Herman, In My Not So Subtle Opinion
"Love and Rockets is incredible, and a complete about face from superhero comics if you find yourself growing tired of the Big 2." –Comic Book Herald
152-page full color 6.75" x 10.25" softcover $19.99 | 978-1-60699-812-0
"Sweatshop is entertaining stuff, and, as a bonus, it's fairly self-reflexive." –Hillary Brown, PASTE Magazine
"Unsurprisingly, Bagge's latest from Fantagraphics sounds highly intriguing...Peter Bagge is up there with Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez as alternative comics creators from the 80's and 90's that you're cooler just for knowing." –Comic Book Herald
168-page full color 5.5" x 7.5" softcover • $19.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-810-6
"No one out there is Knisley, who always finds a way to create a narrative out of diverse thoughts and ideas - turning a musing sort of travelogue or blog into something wholly satisfying and meaningful. Expect a moving look at aging, 'The Greatest Generation' and love." –Menachem Luchins, 13th Dimension
"Knisley's able to achieve an impressive balance between humor and poignancy, juxatposing observations on the bizarre line-up of nighttime entertainment and the strangeness of her fellow passengers with thoughtful observations on aging and excerpts from her grandfather's World War II journals." –Brian Heater, Paper Mag
Pour yourself another cup of coffee ('cause you'll be reading all night) and start clicking "ADD TO CART" at comiXology because we are having a Love and Rockets sale TODAY ONLY! The flagship title of Fantagraphics, now it it's 32 year, has enough poundage to break a bookcase or two thanks to the trusty and hard-working pens of Gilbert Hernandez and Jaime Hernandez. Luckily, you can get all the books digitally at comiXology. The Library volumes that start with Jaime and Gilbert's universes from 1983 through 2008 are only $6.99! The Love and Rockets: New Stories collections featuring the newest comics are only $3.99! And even better, the sale is so you can catch up because Love and Rockets: New Stories #7 is hitting the stands, comic bookstore and the digital shelf on Wednesday!
Not sure where to begin or maybe you have some books you've already read? Check out our handy "How to Read Love and Rockets" guide since the they've been drawing longer than some of you have been a-live. The sale runs from today ONLY and ends at 11pm EST.
MILLENNIUM COURT ARTS CENTRE JANUARY 23rd - FEBRUARY 28th 2015
Curated by Ben Crothers Currently on display: YOUNG ADULT (or, a daring, urgent, malfunctioning age) exposes and investigates youth culture gone wrong. Fun, boredom, alcohol, sex, parties, drugs, gangs, violence and death collide in an array of video, photography, comic books and literature which straddles both sides of the Atlantic, exploring young adulthood in the UK and the United States, from Belfast and Manchester to New York and North Carolina. Featuring works by seminal cartoonists such as Daniel Clowes and Gilbert Hernandez in addition to the next generation of Charles Forsman and Noah Van Sciver, this show is a must see for the comics fan in the United Kingdom.
Focusing on work made about teenagers and twenty-somethings, YOUNG ADULT depicts those who seek solace in places where they perhaps should not, taking extreme measures to postpone adulthood and the difficulties which await them. Referred to as Millennials, Generation Y, "boomerang kids", and the "Peter Pan generation", their youth no longer presents hope and promise for the future, but rather crippling uncertainty. Numbing themselves to a reality for which they were never prepared (despite, or indeed because of, their comfortable upbringings and college educations), rites of passage into adulthood are rejected as today's young adults hurtle towards it, with potentially devastating consequences.
Here some young adults flip through some of the comics on display after seeing artwork:
Whether presenting fact or fiction, the artists and writers featured within the exhibition all recognise the complex problems facing young adults in contemporary society. Some may blur or distort the truth, but even escapism ultimately leads back to reality. The traditional process of growing up seems to have gone off course as contemporary youths face issues and challenges that did not exist, or were unacknowledged, in previous generations. Young people are going back to school for lack of better options, travelling the world, avoiding commitments, competing for unpaid internships, and remain unattached to romantic partners or permanent homes - in other words, forestalling the beginning of what many would consider "adult life".
Frat boys under the influence of drugs and alcohol, teenage vandals, and internet-addicted, jobless graduates suffering from ennui are yet to find their place in the world, passively drifting through life or desperately seeking some form of respite, whether it is healthy or ultimately all the more damaging.
Ian Charlesworth / Daniel Clowes / Brian Finke / Charles Forsman / Gilbert Hernandez / Dave Kiersh / Tao Lin / Michael Lucid / Mardou / Rebecca McIlwaine / Alasdair McLellan / Ryan Moffett / Erin Patrice O'Brien / Francis Pienaar / Noah Van Sciver / Charlie White