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Category >> Humbug

Daily links: 3/11/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under reviewsJacques TardiHumbugHarvey KurtzmanEsther Pearl WatsonBeastsAnders Nilsen 11 Mar 2009 1:17 PM

• Review: Bookforum says of the two volumes of Beasts!: "Covey’s brave band of 180 artists... put these mythological and folkloric beings on vivid display. The distinct and varied styles of the cartoonists, illustrators, and graphic artists give further evidence of each creature’s unique characteristics... The enthusiastically detailed evocations in these books give us all reason to believe."

• Review: Dear Stranger reads The End #1 by Anders Nilsen and declaims "It’s sad. In that way that things are only ever sad when they’re really honest, so it’s beautiful, but you feel a bit guilty for thinking so -- because under the beauty, it’s still sad, honestly so."

• Review: The Star Clipper Blog says "[Esther Pearl Watson's] Unlovable spares no degrading detail, but still remains an ironically loving tribute to the awkward protagonist... these monstrous depictions of early puberty could be found in just about anyone's high school yearbook... perhaps the perfect teenage girl experience."

• Preview: Publishers Weekly Comics Week covers our announcement of our new Jacques Tardi publishing project

• Profile: For Bookforum, Ben Schwartz examines the career of Harvey Kurtzman, with a look at Humbug, natch

Daily links: 3/10/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Tori MikireviewsHumbug 10 Mar 2009 1:13 PM

• Review: In a blog post simply titled "Rave Review," Mark Evanier says of Humbug, "The material is excellent. It's Kurtzman, Elder, Davis, Al Jaffee, Arnold Roth and a few others working at the peak of their awesome powers. The package is excellent. It's well-designed and well-printed, and I can't think of a way in which it could have been improved. We've seen a lot of fancy comic book reprint projects lately but this may be my favorite. Buy it. Just buy it."

• Review: Comics Worth Reading checks out Anywhere but Here by Tori Miki, concluding "Did I like it? Yes, due to how different it was from every other manga I’ve seen, and how I appreciated the way one’s mind is engaged."

Daily links: 3/9/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Tim LanereviewsJohnny RyanHumbugDash ShawBoody RogersBob FingermanBasil WolvertonAl Jaffee 9 Mar 2009 1:13 PM

• Review: Comic Book Resources gives 4 stars to Boody. The Bizarre Comics of Boody Rogers, saying it "features some of the nuttiest comics you'll ever read... Boody Rogers presents an off-kilter world of hilarity that seems like an oft-unheralded link between the Golden Age of the newspaper strips and the underground cartoonists of the 1960s."

• Review: In the weekly Robot 6 "What Are You Reading?" roundup, Chris Mautner says of Humbug, "It’s a really impressive collection of work... and the production design here is nothing short of stunning. Fantagraphics really knocked this one out of the park in restoration."

• List: At New York Magazine, Bob Fingerman, Dash Shaw and a host of other creators pick their favorite New York City-set comics

• Blurb: Trendspotting blogger RobOrange spots The Wolverton Bible

• Interview: The Daily Cross Hatch continues their conversation with Al Jaffee, focusing on his early career

• Things to see/read: Illustration and story by Tim Lane

• Things to see: "I did a whole bunch of illustrations for this Japanese business magazine ASAHI," says Johnny Ryan

• Oddity: Kitchen Synch stumbles across some Duplex Planet Illustrated synchronicity

HUMBUG 3/7/09 part five
Written by Jason Miles | Filed under Humbug 5 Mar 2009 4:00 PM

Your prayers have been answered!

More photos of original HUMBUG art by the likes of Will Elder (gush! gush!), Al Jaffee (get laughy with Jaffee!) and Arnold Roth (makes a mean chicken fat broth!).

The work pictured below will be on display at the Fantagraphics Books this Saturday March 7th to celebrate the release of HUMBUG.

 

The original for Will Elder's "Fake Santa Clauses" from HUMBUG #6, including tissue overlay indicating where to place the spot color.

 

The same without overlay. What you can't see in the photo are the several different pieces of paper glued together making the drawing complete. It wouldn't be altogether inappropriate to call this piece a collage. If I remember right, there's 6 to 8 different pieces of paper fixed together for the drawing alone, not including the lettering and type. 

Note the white paint. I seem to hear a lot of talk about how much or how little a cartoonist uses white paint... implying the less white paint the better... This has always struck me as comics-jock bullshit...  I've even read cartoonists advertise the sale of their original art with sheepish addendum's shamefully stating the use of white paint (and by "white paint" of course I mean white-out or correction fluid, etc.). I'm here to tell you (or you could see the show yourself) that for HUMBUG, Elder & Jaffee (Roth's a different story) used A LOT of white paint and A LOT of different pieces of paper... some of their originals look like they committed cartoon surgery! AND the printed work is neither better nor worse for it! The printed work is fucking awesome! These guys were/are super human talents and it's pretty cool to peak behind the printed process (circa 1955 to 2009) to catch a glimpse of how they made their masterpieces.

 

Here's a detail. Notice the cut line around "Fake Santa Clauses" head...

I had the good fortune to go through A LOT of original art for HUMBUG. Primarily I went through originals for the three aforementioned cartoonists. The most common reoccurring tendency for all three cartoonists, the one thing that unified their craft, was the numerous times they re-drew and pasted on a characters head or face.

 

Here's a detail from a piece by Arnold Roth. Roth's originals are quite a bit different than Elder's and Jaffee's. There's hardly any white paint used for correction. When Roth uses white paint he uses it for effect. Spy the white paint in the hatching surrounding the characters above. But! Time and time again, exhibited in Roth's originals, there are many heads re-drawn and pasted overtop pre-existing work.

 

Detail of Old Blue Eyes by God - Whoops! I mean Will Elder! Check out the new cranium Elder fashioned for Sinatra... Now, I have my theories about all this. It's no secret Harvey Kurtzman was a perfectionist and it's not hard to imagine him asking a cartoonist to change a characters facial expression...

 

... but I had my doubts, simply from the sheer amount of correction and collage found in Elder and Jaffee's work, it's equally not hard to imagine them turning in their pages with re-drawn heads. Going through Arnold Roth's originals however has reaffirmed my hunch that Kurtzman was directing the facial character or "acting" of his fellow cartoonists' work. The only "correction" a Roth HUMBUG original ever exhibits is when he's redrawn a characters head or face, as is the case above with his pin-up of Dave Beck from HUMBUG #1.

 

Tangent Time: Seattleites and Teamsters take note! I can't express how happy I am to have Roth's original, satirical pin-up of Seattle's own Dave Beck hanging in our gallery/bookstore. My Mother's side of the family hails from this neck of the woods and it just so happens they were neighbors of Beck's back in the 50's... right around the time Roth penned this piece. My Mother and Aunt played with Beck's kids as he was being interrogated by Robert F. Kennedy and when he was succeeded as the President of the Teamsters Union by...

 

... Jimmy Hoffa by Arnold Roth with redrawn head from HUMBUG #7.

Parting Note: Astute readers and happy owners of our HUMBUG collection can flip open the first volume to the title page and peep examples where Jack Davis re-drew Karl Malden's face !



HUMBUG 3/7/09 part four
Written by Jason Miles | Filed under Humbug 4 Mar 2009 8:00 AM

Look at this!

LOOK AT IT!

Closer!

CLOSER!    

 (Click on the image above. Seriously. Click it for the detail.)

How did he do this!?!     It's not scratchboard and it's not ink.     Even resident alchemist Ted Jouflas doesn't know how Arnold Roth drew (?) this savage portrait of Mike Wallace from HUMBUG #5. 

 Look at it!     Or don't look at it on the stupid computer.     See the real thing this Saturday March 7th at the Fantagraphics Bookstore in gorgeous Georgetown Washington and help us celebrate the release of HUMBUG our latest pièce de résistance!

New Comics Day 3/4/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under New Comics DayMort WalkerJules FeifferJerry DumasHumbug 3 Mar 2009 10:41 AM

Fantagraphics titles scheduled to arrive at comics shops this week:

Explainers (2nd Printing) by Jules Feiffer (good timing, too, since we just temporarily ran out of our mail-order allotment)
Sam's Strip: The Comic About Comics by Mort Walker & Jerry Dumas 

Check out our descriptions and previews at the links above, give your local shop a jingle to make sure they ordered the books, count up your nickels and then trundle on down there tomorrow.

UPDATE: At least 2 sources are saying that Humbug is shipping this week too, although it's not on the official distributor list. We'll definitely have it at our shop for the art opening on Saturday!

HUMBUG 3/7/09 part three
Written by Jason Miles | Filed under Humbug 3 Mar 2009 8:47 AM

 

 

We hope you've enjoyed our continuing photographic preview of but a smidgen of the art & artifacts to be on display at the Fantagraphics Bookstore Saturday March 7th 2009 to commemorate the release of HUMBUG .

Al Jaffee interview
Written by Eric Reynolds | Filed under HumbugAl Jaffee 3 Mar 2009 6:03 AM

Al Jaffee talks MAD in this first of a three part interview with Daily Crosshatch, with HUMBUG talk to come...

HUMBUG 3/7/09 part two
Written by Jason Miles | Filed under Humbug 2 Mar 2009 8:00 AM

Folks lucky enough to make our public preview and book launch for HUMBUG this coming Saturday March 7th, will find themselves audience to the originals of the 2 covers by Arnold Roth & Al Jaffee for our newly published masterpiece.     Behold...

The Arnold Roth originals we got for the show are unbelievable!     Upon first spying them, most folks here at the office didn't think they were original drawings.     They thought they were old stats.     Roth's work is classy, precise and hilarioius.     Sadly, for Roth, I think the full appreciation of his work is still yet to come.     I predict HUMBUG readers will come away smitten with Roth.

 

The above image is of Al Jaffee's original painting for the cover with vellum overlay showing the potential space for title placement and credits.     Early on in one of our editorial meetings, it was decided by Gary Groth (Editor), Adam Grano (Designer) and myself (Assitant Editor) that it'd more exciting to share the magnatude of Jaffee's hypnotic work sans credits.     To my way of thinking, Jaffee is peerless when it comes to his painted work (runner's up include ALL of Jim Woodring's color work and Dan Clowes' cover paintings for EIGHTBALL #17, 18 and the first hardcover edition of GHOST WORLD).     When Jaffee's painting, the decal like result hums flouescence and stikes some harmonic, vaudvillian chord replicated by none!     Jaffee kills me.

HUMBUG Designer Adam Grano evades the camera.

Daily links: 2/27/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under MomeHumbugDave CooperCarol Tyler 27 Feb 2009 12:39 PM

• Review: French-Canadian site L'Autblog says Ripple by Dave Cooper is "a fascinating little book" according to the Google translation

• Blurb: Richard Cowdry is the latest blogger excited about Humbug

• Interview: The Pulse talks to future Mome-inista Noah Van Sciver

• Interview: The link for this Newsarama interview with C. Tyler isn't working at the moment; hopefully it'll be back up later