We'd like to thank everyone involved in making 2012 a spectacular success at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery. Gifted artists, authors, musicians, and curators coalesced to create a stimulating cultural atmosphere at the space.
Thanks to artists Peter Bagge, Gabrielle Bell, Jeffrey Brown, Nathan Bulmer, Charles Burns, Art Chantry, Jack Davis, Michael Dougan, Ellen Forney, Camille Rose Garcia, Ruth Hayes, Gilbert Hernandez, Jaime Hernandez, Tom Kaczynski, David Lasky, Tony Millionaire, Gary Panter, Joe Sacco, Noah Van Sciver, Chris Ware, and Jim Woodring; authors Jim Demonakos, Susan Kirtley, Mark Long, Pat Thomas,and Nico Vassilakos; musicians Geneviève Castrée, Zachary David, Dennis Driscoll, Lori Goldston, Kyle Hanson,and Molly Nilsson; guest curators J. Michael Catron, Max Clotfelter, Michel Gagne, Ben Horak, Cathy Hillenbrand, Tim Miller, Kristy Valenti,and Jen Vaughn; bookstore interns Lillian Beatty and Lillian Morloch; bookstore staff Janice Headley and Russ Battaglia, as well as our retail partners at Georgetown Records.
Most of all we want to thank you - our wonderful patrons - for your enthusiasm and support over the past six years. Cheers!
It was a mad, Mad afternoon when Robin McConnell, MK Reed and I dropped into the Mad Office. Assistant Art Director and comics consumer Ryan Flanders reluctantly fell for my charms and agreed to a tour even though their deadline loomed large a few days later (hey, we don't want to impede a dying medium, right?). Even the guards had a cute shtick that took 5 minutes of my life and a humorless person would have left. Luckily, that's not me.
Ryan started off the tour by showing us his first office at MAD, it's near the door, pretty cold but looks a bit similar to mine at Fantagraphics.
The MADtropolitan Museum of Art showed off some of the best and brightest of recent hilarious paintings, complete in their gold gilded plastic frames melted down from the plastic noses and vintage glasses frames of the cancelled shows The Real Housewives of Jersey and Williamsburg.
The props display case was amazing from Gutrot which I've definitely drank and Spy vs Spy toilet paper. Photoshop ain't got nothing on printed, folded and glued cardboard.
Everyone else in the office was just as charming, waiting for the day their piles of tchotchkies bury them. Art Director (and a cartoonist himself) Sam Viviano showed off some amazing original artwork and Sculpey sculptures created for photo-shoots. Check out that DREW FRIEDMAN drawing over Ryan's shoulder.
One of my favorite props was an actual headstone used as a support structure in the office created for a back cover thanks to a Feldstein/Gaines joke.
Ryan's new office turned out to be a nightmare, so well organized I made a mental note to courier him a spring-loaded box of trash upon my return home.
Like any good office the mail room is actually where all the good stuff is located (at Fantagraphics, our fridge is in there). Snuggled among packing materials and one hell of a cutting board are sexy flat files full of Al Jaffee, Tom Bunk — EVEN a Tom Fowler, internet friend.
LOOK at this Al Jaffee fold-in drawing. My dream is to have one printed SOMEDAY, SOMEHOW instead of lamely attaching my fold-in to the magazine and tricking my friends into thinking it was actually printed in the magazine.
Jewish Batman, you slay me. That utility belt must have some tasty kosher deserts near the back. (by Al Jaffee)
One beautiful Jack Davis drawing that was REJECTED from the magazine (or Davis decided to redraw) blew me away. The best part was the tattoo "My Mom Loves Me" is infinitely better than Mother tattoos of the world.
In gorgeous ink and the now-illegal duoshade/duotone. Please place your drinks down, Fantagraphics and MAD magazine are not responsible for your spittle shorting out your keyboard.
Despite the slow decline of the magazine industry, MAD magazine has lived on, able to pay cartoonists for their work (wow-za!) and maintain a staff. By raising prices and creating a Mad reading app, they stay current and accessible. MAD's first audience may be a bit gray in the face now as they celebrate their 60th anniversary but continue to wow audiences. As a kid, I didn't have much access to the magazines but my grandmother would buy any books at any yard, church or library sale. Three rooms in their house were lined with built-in-books shelves and in the ‘humor' or comic sections lay the trade paperback editions of MAD (often with the cover ripped off). Ryan was kind enough to explain that most of those were unused comics and many have not been reprinted to this day due to copyright ambiguity. Sounds like something for a legal intern to help them figure out.
As long as parents send kids care packages at camp, people stay overnight in the hospital and Hollywood makes bottom-feeder television and convoluted movies, MAD will reign supreme. Thanks again to Ryan Flanders for the tour, Robin McConnell for some of the photos (there are MILLIONS more here) and MK Reed for the company.
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.
"This is a super-strong week for the Seattle-based alt-comics mainstay publishing house. In fact, that would be a strong season for a lot of publishers." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
240-page black & white/color 7.25" x 10.25" hardcover • $28.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-545-7
"If I could splurge, I’d snatch up EC: Wally Wood – Came the Dawn and Other Stories. I’ve been aware of Wally Wood for a almost two decades now, but I tend to go through periods of simply floating around before I consume and learn more about him in short but voracious periods." – Chris Arrant, Robot 6
"...I feel like I haven’t read enough Kurtzman, so I’d like to read [Corpse on the Imjin]..." – Brigid Alverson, Robot 6
"I’m pretty excited for the new Fantagraphics EC books..." – Brian Hibbs (Comix Experience), The Savage Critics
"Fans of the old, influential genre stuff will enjoy Corpse on the Imjin! and Other Stories and Came the Dawn and Other Stories, two b&w collections of EC material focused on, respectively, Harvey Kurtzman and Wally Wood..." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
"The EC books I'm looking forward to devouring on some rainy afternoon in the next three or four weeks. I find that work pleasurable, and I look forward to seeing if reading these comics arranged by author (mostly) changes my opinion about any of the artists in question." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
"These @fantagraphics EC Libraries are slick!!" – Pulp Fiction
144-page black & white 10.25" x 12.25" hardcover • $24.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-596-9
"...I’ll first mention The Cartoon Utopia, a 144-page 'part sci-fi, part philosophy, part visual poetry, and part social manifesto' hardcover by the always-interesting Ron Regé, Jr." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
"Ron Regé Jr. is one of those special cartoonists where I buy everything he does without asking questions first." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
200-page full-color 7" x 9" softcover • $22.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-597-6
"Poetic short fiction pieces from an artist Chicago is proud to call its own." – Quimby's Bookstore
"...Heads or Tails [is] a nice-looking collection of short stories by up-and-comer Lilli Carré (The Lagoon), most of which ran in the Mome anthology..." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
"Lilli Carré returns after 2008′s The Lagoon with Heads or Tails, a 200-page collection of short stories..." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
"On the strength of this latest collection, with which I'm only about halfway done, Lilli Carré may join that group of [special] cartoonists [where I buy everything she does without asking questions first] much sooner than I thought possible, and I really liked her previous work. There's nothing about Heads or Tails that has to be processed through the 'promising cartoonist' filter, if that makes any sense." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
336-page full-color 8" x 10" softcover • $39.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-626-3
"Finally, The Last Vispo Anthology: Visual Poetry 1998-2008 presents 336 pages of visual poetry to tickle your image/text fancy." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
"I'm not even sure what Last Vispo Anthology is, but I'd look at it -- I assume it's the visual poetry thing that's been a big part of the lives of several people that have worked the last 20 years." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
• Seattle, WA: It's your last chance to see our exhibit The Horror: from the EC Comics Libraryat the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery! I wrote myself a note about this in my calendar that just read "The Horror Ends," which cracked up my friend who saw it out of this context. (more info)
Thursday, November 1st
• Seattle, WA: Our own Jason T. Miles is just one of many awesome local artists in the show Handbound: Exploring the Process of Short Run Small Press Fest Exhibitors at SOIL Gallery. This group show explores the creative process of exhibiting book artists through a combination of original art, sketches, ephemera and books. It's high-brow, low-brow and everything in between. Reception is from 5:00-8:00 PM, and the show runs through December 1st. (more info)
• Review: Brigid Alverson and Chris Mautner speak on the CBR about what comics they'd spend their money on, including You'll Never Know Book 3: A Soldier's Heart. "Tyler’s superb storytelling makes this a book to read over and over again," says Alverson while Mautner thinks "Tyler is a great cartoonist and woefully under-appreciated, so here’s hoping this final volume gets her some of the recognition she so richly deserves."
• Review:Ralph Azham Vol. 1 "Why Would You Lie to Love" by Lewis Trondheim is reviewed by Rob Clough of High-Low. "What's interesting about this book is that what starts as a seemingly lightweight exercise winds up going to some pretty dark places. . .There's never been a cartoonist as versatile as Trondheim who was able to work on virtually any kind of project and certainly not one who could blend his funny animal-style into any genre."
• Plug: Tom Spurgeon at The Comics Reporter gives a good reason or three to get Ralph Azham. "Lewis Trondheim is a wonderful, prolific and very mainstream-oriented cartoonist -- by the last I mean he has books in print that I can give to just about anybody on my Christmas shopping list, with everyone getting a different book. I liked this one quite a bit on the first read; the writing seemed way more measured than a lot of fantasies in comics form usually seem to me."
• Interview (audio):Pat Thomas of Listen, Whitey! is interviewed on WFMU's Gaylord Fields show and they spin some tunes together. The interview is spliced between great songs by The Patridge Family, Amiri Baraka and Shahid Quartet.
• Review:Whisperin' and Hollerin' reviews a recent Pat Thomas talk on music and the Black Panther movement as discussed in his book Listen, Whitey! "Pat shows us a very cool and funny clip from that with actual Black Panthers playing violins with the Partridge Family for added surreality."
• Plug: Martin Eden on the Forbidden Planet International lists his "Best Cover EVER?" as Love and Rockets #1. "It’s such a simple idea, but so well crafted, so beautiful to look at. And Jaime Hernandez’ art on this cover hints at the stunning artwork we are to be treated to over the next few decades – the effortless character dynamics and the lifelike poses and the general amazingness. So good."
A convincing case can be made that Harvey Kurtzman was as influential as Andy Warhol or the Beatles in shaping youth culture in the last half of the twentieth century. His work with EC comics and MAD magazine emboldened a generation to question authority and employ art in the service of degenerate discourse. American society was never quite the same in his wake. Please join us this Saturday, October 13 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery to celebrate the legacy of Kurtzman and his EC cohorts with "The Horror: Selections from the EC Comics Library."
Visitors to the reception will receive free copies of Tales From the Crypt EC sampler by Jack Davis. A display of pages from the first two EC Comics Library collections by Kurtzman and Wallace Wood will be supplemented by a short slide presentation by series associate editor J. Michael Catron. Complimentary beverages and seasonal snacks will be served. A highlight of the evening is a free concert by Berlin-based recording artist Molly Nilsson. Her lyrical approach and haunting vocal delivery perfectly reflect the EC aesthetic. Here's Molly performing live in Prague earlier this year. Sheesh! Talk about seducing the innocent...
• Plug: This is Halloween, HALLOWEEN, Halloween Month. Check out your local comic bookstore and see if they have the stuff you want and need for Halloween Comicsfest: namely the Jack Davis' Tales From the Crypt and Basil Wolverton's Spacehawk.
• Plug:Unbored recently highlighed Gary Panter's drawing tips. Excellent suggestions from a master cartoonist, Dal Tokyo being his latest publication. "Make [a sketchbook] into your little painful pal. The pain goes away slowly page by page."
• Commentary (audio): Publishers Weekly More to Come Podcast, episode 34 talks about SPX! Heidi MacDonald touches on the three Ignatz Awards for The Hernandez Brothers as a bit of "justification or vendication after not even being nominated for the Eisner Award after doing some of the greatest work of their, you know, world-class career. So there were a lot of people very happily clapping for them."MacDonald also touches on the how long it had been since Clowes, Ware, Hernandez and Hernandez had all been together --- since 1999! And The Hypo by Noah Van Sciver was a great as expected.
• Review: On The Weekly Crisis , Taylor PithersdecidesNew York Mon Amourby Jacques Tardi is a MUST BUY! "The Cockroach Killer is the sort of yarn that David Lynch would go on to tell throughout the tail end of the eighties and culminating in the 'as frustrating as it is exciting' Mulholland Drive. . . For those who have yet to experience Tardi this is as good a place as any to start, but to be honest any of the books that Fantagraphics have published by the modern master are a good place to start, as there is a strong chance that you will be back for the rest once you have read one."
The exhibit opens on Saturday, November 3rd, and the next day, Sunday, November 4th, curator Patrick Dean, a cartoonist himself who sits on the board of the Jack Davis Foundation, will give a talk from 3:00 to 4:00 PM with a reception to follow.
Dean says, “The point of the show isn’t to shun his more popular sports drawing, but to bring attention to his work that may not be as well known to the general public. Visitors may recognize some of these images, but I hope they appreciate the level of detail Davis put into his work. Some of that detail gets lost when the images are shrunk down and printed on paper stock of varying quality. Studying Jack Davis’ crosshatching and brushwork will be a real treat to anyone who’s admired this man’s work.”
The Georgia Museum of Art is located at 90 Carlton Street in Athens, GA, at the University of Georgia. This exhibit runs through January 6th, 2013.