Janet Hamlin has worked as a sketch artist like no other, in an American court like no other: at the Defense Department’s Military Commissions, the tribunal chambers at Guantanamo Bay.
In Sketching Guantanamo, you can take a look at the young Canadian who grew into manhood behind the barbed wire of Guantanamo — beard and all — claiming his innocence, and that he was tortured, until he ultimately confessed to committing a war crime when he was 15.
Then peer through double-glazed soundproof glass as Hamlin gives the world its first look at the man who boasted that he orchestrated the 9/11 mass murder. Khalid Sheik Mohammed disappeared into the CIA’s dark sites to 183 rounds of waterboarding, last seen in a tattered T-shirt in need of a shave. Next he emerges on her sketchpad — a gray-bearded figure at the Guantanamo war court.
One morning in 2006, Hamlin put a fluorescent orange charcoal to her pad to capture the defiance of an Ethiopian captive who came to court in a traditional Muslim tunic — specially dyed in a shop in London to match the jumpsuit of the condemned. That man, Binyam Mohamed, is gone from Guantanamo now: set free by diplomatic dealings begun during the George W. Bush administration. But the sketch artist’s work endures, an exclusive look inside a courtroom walled off from the world by a White House that fused American criminal law and military justice — an evolving experiment that continues to this day.
Camp X-Ray in the U.S. military base in Guantanamo, Cuba, opened in January, 2002 in the wake of the 9-11 attacks to house alleged terrorists — off the American mainland, unaccountable to the U.S. judiciary — in "indefinite detention." Newer and more permanent prisons were later built miles away, and continue to house terrorist suspects today.
The United States government does not allow photographs of the military trials at Guantanamo, but beginning in 2006, Janet Hamlin went to Guantanamo as a courtroom sketch artist to serve as a visual witness to the courtroom proceedings and provide worldwide media with artwork drawn during them. She has been the only sketch artist covering these trials from 2006 to the present time.
Sketching Guantanamo is both a collection of her most potent and revealing sketches drawn during this period, as well a chronicle of her experience at Guantanamo.
Before entering the viewing booth behind multi-paneled soundproof glass in the back of the court, Hamlin is daily subjected to thorough searches, wanding, and metal detecting in three separate checkpoints. The U.S. government and even detainees can demand that certain details be "smudged" or even changed. When one detainee who had just pled guilty demanded that sketches of him not be released, Hamlin staged a four-hour sit-in until the authorities relented.
Hamlin's drawings and her accompanying text provide rare insight into the military courts of Guantanamo. The trials are considered notorious and historic, among the most carefully censored trials in recent U.S. history, and sketches are the only visuals the world is allowed to see.
Sketching Guantanamo features nearly 150 drawings, as well as photographs of the surrounding facilities that enhance the artist's illustrations and her running commentary. It also includes a foreword by Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award winner Carol Rosenberg, a member of a reporting team that won a 2001 Pulitzer Prize.
Holy yes-more-please, SPX rocked us. Jacq Cohen, Gary Groth and I traversed across the country for one of the single best comic books shows that exists. We knew it was going to be quite the fun time when we boarded the plane and saw Joseph Remnant. A small favor to stranger later and he was TRAPPED between us for 4+ hours.
SPX is that magical place where we stay in the same hotel as the convention so you run into people all the time. We found a Ben Catmull by the elevators right away! Maybe he was haunting the place (NOT COOL, BEN)
Early morning rise and shine, all the books were out in their deliciously intimidating stacks including all sexy color Peanuts Every Sunday.
Speaking of Peanuts, kids are attracted to it like a magnet. Yes!
Sketching Guantanamo also debuted at SPX and Janet Hamlin, the military tribunal artist for the last seven years showed upwith some new sketches. This book is very important, not just to Janet or us but to the United States as a form of public record.
Peter Bagge signs some books for fans! (photo by Meredith Rizzo)
Zak Sally took a break behind our booth to do some sweet sketches.
The last thing to do at a con after packing up some unsold books and labeling boxes is EAT COOKIES. SPX social media coordinator and crazy busy man, Michael David Thomas, is the stuff fucking dreams are made of my friends.
I'm so pissed I forgot to show off my '90s HIP HOP socks to Ed while he was signing Hip Hop Family Tree. See those smiley faces and peace signs? The kind of socks you keep for the rest of your life! Eden Miller, Ignatz organizer, also showed off her own foot related fashion---an Ignatz tattoo pulled right from the pages of Herriman's comic!
Back on the plane ride home, Jacq took a photo of me working on comics.
We had SUCH a great time at SPX, thank you so much to Warren Bernard, Michael David Thomas, Dan Stafford, Eden Miller, Sam Marx and the many, many, many other staffers and volunteers who made the show rock. Our bags are already packed for next year.
Boasting one of the most PACKED signing schedules of SPX and Fantagraphics' we have FOURTEEN people signing at our table (and a few more Fantagraphics' cartoonists are tabling all by their lonesome) You can find all these sweet 'n' sassy cartoonists and book debuts at tables W57-6, along the very rightmost wall.
As usual we have an action-packed signing schedule for you at San Diego Comic Con. Keep your schedules open so you can stop by our magnificent table and get your signatures hot and fresh in your books at - See more at: http://www.fantagraphics.com/?Itemid=113&option=com_myblog&show=San-Diego-Comic-Con-Debuts.html#sthash.199ZEXcU.dpuf
• Hip Hop Family Tree by Ed Piskor Yes yes y'all! This explosively entertaining, encyclopedic history will school you on the old school, taking you back to the early days of the music genre that changed global culture. Originally serialized on the hugely popular website Boing Boing, Hip Hop Family Tree is now collected in a single volume cleverly presented and packaged in a style mimicking the Marvel comics of the same era.
The only public visual record of the notorious, historic, carefully censored military trials at Guantanamo is Hamlin's courtroom sketches. This book collects her most potent and revealing sketches and chronicles her experience. - See more at: http://www.fantagraphics.com/index.php?keyword=sketching+guantanamo&search_type=titles&Search=Search&Itemid=62&option=com_virtuemart&page=shop.browse#sthash.xQzpBR6W.dpuf
Court Sketches of the Military Tribunals, 2006-2013 - See more at: http://www.fantagraphics.com/browse-shop/sketching-guantanamo-court-sketches-of-the-military-tribunals-2006-2013-oct.-2013.html?vmcchk=1#sthash.DF2ADBuc.dpuf
• Fran by Jim Woodring What is to become of the beloved trilobular chuckbuster Frank now that he has journeyed outside the Unifactor and met his soulmate, Fran? The answer is delivered here in devastatingly unpredictable fashion. Fans of Frank, connoisseurs of bizarre romance, and spelunkers in the radiant depths of graphic metaphysical psychodrama will want to add this singular cartoon adventure story to their lifetime reading list.
• Everybody is Stupid Except for Me (And Other Astute Observations) by Peter Bagge A decade of informed, provocative, cantankerous & hilarious cartoon opinion pieces from our favorite libertarian curmudgeon, on topics ranging from Stupid War to Stupid Sex and, of course, Stupid Politicians. BONUS: This new edition of the sold-out Everybody Is Stupid features an extra 32 pages of never-before-collected comics, including an epic biography of eccentric libertarian (and Ayn Rand contemporary) Isabel Mary Paterson.
• Treasury of Mini Comics Volume 1, edited by Michael Dowers Four decades of deliberate DIY cartoon rebellion! Collecting some of the best mini comics ever produced by some of the most creative artists in the world. In a do-it-yourself world, anything goes... boundaries are crossed, envelopes pushed, wounds opened. From the silliest fart or boob jokes to the most deeply felt "EMO" style poetry, mini comics creators have been uninhibited in their efforts to strive for something fresh, raw, and vital.
• Love and Rockets: The Covers by Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez (badass design by Jacob Covey) A beautiful, oversized art book featuring over 120 iconic comic covers (front & back) from the first 3 decades of Love and Rockets, collected for the first time in full color. The perfect gift for L&R fan, this book presents them without trade dress (logos, marketing hype, etc.) when possible, allowing the original cover illustrations to communicate on their own. With a fancy clear plastic book jacket, you need to grab a copy and return home a hero.
A beautiful, oversized art book featuring over 120 iconic comic covers (front & back) from the first 3 decades of Love and Rockets, collected for the first time in full color. The perfect gift for L&R fan, this book presents them without trade dress (logos, marketing hype, etc.) when possible, allowing the original cover illustrations to communicate on their own. With a fancy clear plastic book jacket, you need to grab a copy, get it signed and return home a hero. - See more at: http://www.fantagraphics.com/?Itemid=113&option=com_myblog&show=San-Diego-Comic-Con-Debuts.html#sthash.RzbNaI5J.dpuf
• Wandering Son Volume 5 by Shimura Takako In this volume of the acclaimed series about transgendered kids exploring their unfolding identities, we've reached a big event; the junior high school entrance ceremony. Envy and jealousy are prominent themes in Volume 5: Chiba-san is jealous of Takatsuki-san, for whom Nitori-kun still carries a torch. Maho envies Anna-chan's professionalism as a model. And Chii-chan's loyal sidekick, Shiri Momoko, is intensely jealous of anyone in whom Chii-chan shows the slightest interest. And so our protagonists set off on the journey to adolescence....
• Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Christmas on Bear Mountain by Carl Barks Uncle Scrooge's first appearance, in one of Barks's funniest holiday stories! "Christmas on Bear Mountain" is one of Barks's funniest holiday stories and a true landmark in comics history, and offers a fascinating look at a rough-edged, genuinely nasty character whom Barks would soon soften... Journey to Volcania, "down under" and the West Indies with Donald and the nephews. Plus seven 10-pagers and abundant critical and historical notes. Not available in stores until NOVEMBER!
• Walt Disney's Donald Duck Christmas Gift Box Set by Carl Barks A double dose of Disney's Donald Duck! A thoughtful, memorable, can't-miss special Christmas item handsomely presented in an inviting gift box set that will delight readers of any age. In these twin volumes, you'll find page after page after page of intrepid quests, daring adventures, and breathtaking escapes. Readers will be spellbound by these timeless classics - with their engaging plots, clever humor, and heartwarming themes.
On November 24th, artist Janet Hamlin will bring her sketches from Cuba to her hometown of Nyack, NY.
Join illustrator/instructor Hamlin for a discussion of Sketching Guantanamo: Court Sketches of the Military Tribunals, 2006-2013, a collection of her most potent and revealing sketches drawn during the 9/11 trials, as well a chronicle of her experience at Guantanamo, in general. From 2:00 to 3:00 PM, she'll be discussing these notorious and historic trials, and showing her exclusive, powerful illustrations.
We're pleased to present this 18-page preview of Sketching Guantanamo: Court Sketches of the Military Tribunals, 2006-2013 by Janet Hamlin. Hamlin's drawings are the only complete visual journalistic record of the military tribunal hearings of suspected terrorists at GTMO, and this historic book is the first place they're gathered all together. In this excerpt you'll be able to browse the Table of Contents; read Hamlin's background on her assignment, getting to the base, and her process; and see her sketches of the GTMO compound and her first tribunals.
This fascinating volume is due to hit shelves in October and can be pre-ordered here.
Janet Hamlin's first on-screen interview about her new book Sketching Guantanamo: Court Sketches of the Military Tribunals, 2006-2013 (coming in October) was aired on the Arabic news channel Al Arabiya this week. Filmed on location at Guantanamo after a full day of hearings, the video shows Janet in the compound, journalists photographing her drawings, and some nice views of the book including the striking shot below. It's a perfect introduction to Janet, her work, and the book.
Certain books have a gravity just by their presence, and things are just a bit more weighty around the office since we got our advance copies of Janet Hamlin's Sketching Guantanamo: Court Sketches of the Military Tribunals 2006-2013. Hamlin's artwork is the only official visual record of the legal hearings of suspected terrorists, including those accused of being responsible for the attacks on 9/11, taking place at the offshore military installation that houses the world's most controversial prison. These drawings are history, and this is the first time they have been published together, along with commentary and background from Hamlin and others.
Designed by Jacob Covey and covered in prison-jumpsuit orange, this important and essential book is due out in October and can be pre-ordered here.
Janet Hamlin, the only court artist from 2006 until earlier this year at the Guantanmo Bay trials, reported last week that the stadium glasses she's been using to draw the courtroom trials have been...banned.
Just a cool note that some of our artists' work has been appearing onThe Colbert Report and The Daily Show. It's friggin' awesome because you (dear reader) have been with us for a long time, supporting the likes of Tony Millionaire or our political comics, this is Janet Hamlin's first book with us, and now they are showing up on your computer monitors or TVs or Google glass. Above, Steve Colbert ran a picture of Tony Millionaire's cover to the classic Moby Dick. Below is a clip of Jon Stewart on The Daily Show discussing Guantanamo Bay detainee, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and his reaction to courtroom sketch of himself by Hamlin. Hamlin was the only media allowed to visually document the trials from 2006-early 2013.
Janet Hamlin's work also appeared on The Colbert Report last month in a piece on censorship of the Guantanamo Bay courtroom trials with Stephen Colbert. You can pre-order her book Sketching Guantanamo from us today. Enjoy the twisted system that is American justice in action.