Next weekend, April 5th and 6th at the regal 69th Regiment Armory Fantagraphics will be participating and doing a little dance for the MoCCA Arts Fest. Gary Groth will be presiding on his court with Frank Santoro at the Fantagraphics tables for MoCCA fest on April 5-6th. We'll be on the slight right just as you enter the convention at tables A20-A23!
Two butchers arrive at work to find their shop empty of meat and their minds empty of how to do their job. As customers arrive, events become increasingly disastrous. A surreal, debut graphic novella of horror and humor with one huge, hanging question. This often hilarious, enigmatic, and uncomfortable book establishes Stechschulte as an exciting new talent.
He's back! Now in his 30s and married with child, onetime slacker hero Buddy Bradley gets a "real" job, shaves his head, dons an eyepatch, quits his "real" job and buys the local dump - because what better place to raise a toddler? Peter Bagge's iconic character is to alternative comics what Homer Simpson has been to television animation over the past quarter-century: a generation-defining slacker and the greatest comedic character of its form and era.
This 32 page floppy comic is a sweet & sour, sad & funny story that follows the adventures of Annie and Verti as they shoot homemade movies for YouTube, guerilla-style, and face some unexpected consequences. What could possibly go wrong? A one-shot dose of humor and melancholy from the creator of New School, BodyWorld, and Bottomless Belly Button.
Summer vacation is here and Tammy Pierce is back with more sometimes ordinary, often humiliating, occasionally poignant, and usually hilarious exploits from the pages of Bust magazine! Her hopes, dreams, agonies, and defeats are brought to vivid, comedic life by Watson's lovingly grotesque drawings, filled with all the eighties essentials - too much mascara, leg warmers with heels, and huge hair, etc.
Vol. 1 (paperback) by Charles M. Schulz This first volume, covering the first two and a quarter years of the strip, features hundreds of strips rarely reprinted before this series. Three major cast members - Schroeder, Lucy, and Linus - initially show up as infants and only "grow" into their final "mature" selves as the months go by. Even Snoopy debuts as a puppy!
Friday night be sure to check out Robert Williams' Mr. Bitchin', a documentary about his career, showing at SVA's Beatrice Theater in collaboration with the Society of Illustrators.
2:00 Drinking Ink: Art Spiegelman and Joost Swarte in Conversation (Room One) Art Spiegelman and Joost Swarte have a long association, dating back to the earliest days of Spiegelman and Françoise Mouly's RAW Magazine, to which Swarte was a frequent contributor. Both artists have distinguished themselves with artwork both witty and profound, both have produced expressive comics and striking single images, and both have worked in multiple media including architecture and performance. Together, the pair will discuss their careers, their shared histories, comics and more in a conversation moderated by Bill Kartalopoulos. (90 minutes)
3:30 Drew Friedman Presents Old Jewish Comedians (Room One) Drew Friedman is an iconic cartoonist and illustrator whose intensely rendered, caricatural work first gained notice in the pages of publications including RAW and Spy, and whose illustrations regularly appear on the front page of the New York Observer. His upcoming book, Heroes of the Comics, will feature portraits of cartooning legends. Currently the subject of an exhibit at the Society of Illustrators, Friedman will discuss his Old Jewish Comedians series of books in this special presentation, revealing the concept and process behind these books, as well as their reception among the "Old Jewish Comedians" themselves. Broadcasting legend Joe Franklin will be co-hosting this auspicious panel.
1:00 Robert Williams Q+A (Room Two) Robert Williams has enjoyed a diverse and profoundly influential career expressing a singular artistic vision. Emerging from the West Coast hot rod scene (where he produced graphics for Ed "Big Daddy" Roth), Williams produced some of the finest underground comix of his era in the pages of Zap. Williams proceeded to produce a body of intense, phantasmagorical paintings and jumpstarted the so-called "lowbrow" art movement, founding the influential Juxtapoz Magazine in 1994. He will discuss his career in comics and fine art with critic and curator Carlo McCormick (Paper Magazine).
2:00 How Comics Are Queer (Room Two) As long as there have been comics there have been queer cartoonists. Comics that authentically engaged queer experience in America emerged in the radical underground comix milieu of the 1960s and '70s, fueled by the social liberation movements of the era. Comics' status in American culture echoes queer experience: once marginalized, now accepted, but still contested-while some of the most acclaimed comics of the day speak to and from queer experience. Howard Cruse, Edie Fake, Justin Hall and L. Nichols will consider the historical and contemporary intersections of queer experience and comics with moderator Margaret Galvan (The Graduate Center, City University of New York).
SUNDAY PANELS: 1:00 Comics, Illustration and the Conceptual Image (Room One) What does it mean to express an abstract idea in a concrete drawing? What is the difference between an idea that can be expressed in a single image and one that requires sequential exposition? Internationally acclaimed artists Marion Fayolle (In Pieces), Joost Swarte (Is That All There Is?), and Brecht Vandenbroucke (White Cube), work in both comics and illustration, addressing subtle emotional and intellectual concepts in each form. They will consider these questions and more in conversation with New York Times Art Director Alexandra Zsigmond.
The best-seasoned pan that your friends accidentally cleaned with soap of Online Commentaries and Diversions:
• Review: Comics Bulletin looks at Charles Forsman's latest: "Celebrated Summer works as an excellent examination of what remains unspoken between close friends and what it means to feel trapped in your own skin." –Geoffrey Lapid, Comics Bulletin
• Review: Santa Barbara News Press in PRINT, baby reviews "Unexpectedly, almost secretly lovely, Celebrated Summer has a sadness and listlessness at its core that resonates much louder...Forsman gets in and out quickly, not making more of this tale of suburban apathy than needs making, which only makes his story that much more poignant." –Katie Haegele, Santa Barbara News Press
• Review: Publishers Weekly looks at Celebrated Summer "Simpler and less dramatic than his previous, similarly themed TEOTFW, Forsman has built another excellent account of growing up via outsider behavior."
• Review: Celebrated SummerhitsBest of 2013 Comics on Comics Bulletin. "This is a bildungsroman of the narcissist, psychotic, detached. It is the psychic havoc of the perpetually doomed; the coming of age story of those striding forth into world where the connection between cause and effect is a spectator sport, where emotional content is gauged by 'hits' and the chance to go viral…And it will break you." –Daniel Elkin, Comics Bulletin
• Review:Locust Moon Comics looks at Celebrated Summer "...rendered in Forsman's punk-Hergé micron style, where the clear line of Kevin Huizenga meets the scratchy cross-hatching of Chester Brown... where TEOTFW was cold and harsh, preserving the mystery of its semi-sociopathic protagonists, CELEBRATED SUMMER is resignedly warm and humane." –Josh O'Neill, Locust Moon
• Review: "Forsman is one of the strongest and most vital young cartoonists currently putting pen to paper-not to mention one of the most fully, uniquely realized...Owing far more to Chester Brown's exquisite linework and Charles M. Schulz's deceptive lushness than to Porcellino's piercing iconography, Forsman's efforts on Celebrated Summer nonetheless radiate a singular soulfulness." –Jason Heller, The A.V. Club
• Plug: Broken Frontier "Completed before Forsman began work on TEOTFW, [Celebrated Summer] promises to be an intriguing tale of youth banging up against the world of adulthood." -Tom Murphy, Broken Frontier
• Review: A review of Celebrated Summeroriginally published in City Pages. "Like the structure of the song, where before the bridge all seems wondrous, loud and anticipatory, Forsman comes through with his own sullen, downtrodden acoustic lick to unsettle everything and beg his reader to question." -Alec Barry, City Pages
• Review: Page 45 "Beautifully drawn in a thin, fragile line with lots of intricate crosshatching and stylistic nods towards Trudeau…and Huizenga, this is a very quiet book..." –SLH, Page 45
• Review: Rob Clough looks at TEOTFW "He has a knack for giving voice to a certain sense of ennui and desperation for connection and meaning, yet manages to do so in a way that avoids navel-gazing and static storytelling...there are simply no extraneous lines to be found in this comic. That's a mark of a confident artist hitting his stride, and TEOTFW feels like Forsman's comics PhD project." –Rob Clough, The Comics Journal
• Review: On Forsman's The End of the Fucking World "...punches aren't pulled for the cartoonist's Fantagraphics debut, a study in sociopathology with shifting narrative perspectives and artwork that any amateur comics scholar will quickly point out owes a lot to Schulz' shaky line." –Brian Heater, BoingBoing
• Interview: Alex Dueben interviews Chuck Forsman about The End of the Fucking World on Comic Book Resources. "I like to set up a puzzle so that the reader has to do a little bit of work and put the dots together themselves. I don't like to over-explain everything or give everything away. I just think it's more interesting that way."
• Plug:The AV Club lists Celebrated Summer at #1 of the top 10 Graphic Novels and Art Comics of 2013. "Chuck Forsman is a cartoonist with a talent for expressing the emotional turbulence of adolescence and early adulthood...With an art style that combines the animated simplicity of Charles M. Schulz and the detailed linework of Chester Brown, Forsman establishes himself as one of the most promising alternative-comic creators." –Oliver Sava, The A. V. Club
• Review: "Forsman is a master of silences - few cartoonists are as articulate with words left unsaid - and this utterly recognizable and deceptively simple story speaks volumes without saying much at all." -Josh, Locust Moon Comics
• Plug: Celebrated Summer makes Froh's Best of 2013 list. "The way they regard each other rings so true of that age, that mix of boredom and wonder. Haven't we all stared at ourselves in the mirror the way Wolf does?" -Kelly Froh, Atomic Blog
• Review: "Forsman's The End of the Fucking World is both fatalistic and poignant...one of the greatest strengths of TEOTFW: Forsman has the ability to make protagonists who are capable of committing quite monstrous acts sympathetic, and even tragic, throughout."–Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier
• Review: TEOTFW on Mental Floss "This tale of young love is reminiscent of Terrence Malick's classic film Badlands in both its content and its sparse storytelling style. In fact, Forsman's whole low budget approach to making the comic gives it a mood similar to a low budget film despite the deliberate comic strip feel of his cartooning."–Rich Barrett, Mental Floss
• Review: "What is disguised as a rote teen disillusionment melodrama about two kids acting out their Bonnie & Clyde moment is in reality a powerful story about sociopaths, abandonment, cults, crime both petty and murderous, and unquenchable emotional hollowness...The End of the Fucking World is a superb graphic novel, poetic and gripping, a pure crime-noir page-turner that will stop you dead in your tracks and leave its mark on you like a hot needle burned into the skin in the mourning light." –Jeffrey O.Gustafson, Comics Pusher
• Review: "Forsman, a graduate of Vermont's Center for Cartoon Studies, has a solid grasp of comics storytelling and his lightly drawn page compositions display an intriguing degree of variety...Forsman's pair of nihilists are shown to be the results of terrible parenting and are so estranged from human society that they have difficulty feeling emotions and pursuing a viable relationship together, much less to recognise when other people are not psychopaths." -James Romberger, Hooded Utilitarian
• Review: The Comics Journal "Gfrörer's sense of pacing is superb-her panels advance patiently, so that the dread of her endings has the controlled pluck of a Twlight Zone episode…Black is the color of Gfrörer's humor." -Nicole Rudick, The Comics Journal
• Review: "Like Black, [Gfrörer's] body of work to date is offbeat and well wrought. Far more importantly than being enjoyable, it is also remarkably subversive.Black Is the Color is marked by an impressive poeticism in pacing, dark and intricate drawing, and a refreshing contemporary spin on gothic storytelling. It also marks a thrillingly mature period in Gfrörer's career." –Joshua Michael Demaree, LA Review of Books
• Review:Black is the Color on Robot 6 "Romantic, tragic, elegiac and beautiful, one could scarcely ask for more from a book, comic or otherwise." -J. Caleb Mozzocco, Robot 6
• Review: "the scratchy intensity of Gfrorer's line is the key to the book's success...Every line is an assault, from the tiny stilettos that comprise the dense waves to the darkness of night that is almost invasive…In a story where death is a certainty, that kind of dignity represents a kind of triumph, one more authentic than if Gfrorer had let the happy ending be real." –Rob Clough, High Low Comics
• Review: Page 45 on Black Is the Color by Julia Gfrörer. "The whole book is conducted in this simple, easily accessible format as well as style. There's not just a wobbly fragility to the lines, there is a bleakness to them as well - for it is cold at sea - even during sensual embraces." -SLH, Page 45
• Review: Some fans have a way with words "If Dante were alive today, he would say, 'Yes!' in thunder toJohnny Ryan's Prison Pit series. Endlessly inventive, repulsive, retributive, and beautiful, Prison Pit is funny and foul, an eternal nightmare that deserves a life on the big screen…" –Tom, Goodreads
• Plug: Librairie Drawn & Quarterly is ready for Prison Pit Book Five. "The fifth installment of Johnny Ryan's Prison Pit, like its predecessors, is full of over the top, violence and sci-fi gore rendered in crude black and white drawings... One thing's for sure, guts will flow and blood will spill!" -Librairie Drawn & Quarterly via Largehearted Boy
• Plug: Atomic Hearted Boy runs a plug for Prison Pit Book Five"Ryan continues to push well beyond the limits good taste (thankfully) with this new installment of his sci-fi, prison gore-a-palooza epic." -Benn Ray, Atomic Books
• Review:NPR lists great gifts for hip hop fans. "Ed Piskor's Hip-Hop Family Tree is a real fusion of both art forms. Piskor tells the gripping origin story of hip-hop in storyboard form with original artwork. Illuminating for kids and grown-ups alike." –Evan Auerbach, NPR
• Interview:Free Comic Book Day interviews Ed about his new FCBD comic and his favorite part of Hip Hop Family Tree. "I cracked the code because I created and tailored the perfect project for me to work on. I'm excited to wake up in the morning and get back in the saddle."
• Interview: Hip Hop Family Tree Proper Mag "Though the story may be a well known one, as a hip hop fan from back in the day I still found something new and revelatory on each of these carefully drawn and vintag-ed yellowy pages...So if you love Hip-Hop in any shape or form then this is an essential read. Vol. 2 should be a soulsonic sensation, so get your Kangols and shell-toes at the ready."–Neil, Proper Mag
• Review: "Piskor uses the form of his comic to recreate the thunderous beat of the speakers and the rattling effect a heavy bass line has on you physically....The comic books hits you in your gut the same way that the great music does. Piskor hits that perfect alchemy of comic and music...Everything about Hip Hop Family Tree Volume 1 is a love letter to the music and comics of bygone time." -Scott Cederlund, Newsarama
• Review: "The book is an absolute essential for any hip hop head to read and any comic book fan to gander over." Kevin Cortez of Mass Appealinterviews Piskor on Hip Hop Family Tree. "I think my major strength in telling this story is that I don't have hero-worship when it comes to anyone in particular. It's hip hop that I love and all these players just make up the bigger whole," says Piskor.
• Review: "Hip Hop Family Tree depicts a time before the quest for conspicuous riches overshadowed much of the music's highest-profile culture. Fittingly, Piskor's book feels just as real and authentic as the retro rap it celebrates" -Michael Cavna, The Washington Post
• Review: Page 45 on Hip Hop Family Tree: "The ability of comics to transport you to a time and place in a manner that prose works just cannot match is demonstrated here as Ed perfectly captures the nature of street life and the crazy characters at that time...Fans of hip hop need this work." -JR, Page 45
• Review: The Seattle Times lists Hip Hop Family Tree as a great gift for music lovers. "His extremely thorough and academic history lesson is also action-packed, fun and funny" –Andrew Matson
• Review: Propeller Magazine writes "one of the most awe-inspiring narrative achievements of the year, Piskor tells the early history of hip hop by seamlessly weaving together all of their creative highs and lows, their commercial hits and freeze-outs. Rarely has such an extremely informative historical document been so gossipy, entertaining, and original." -Patrick McGinty, Propeller Magazine
• Plug: On Hip Hop Family Tree "The intersection of art and music is not an unfamiliar one. But if Basquiat and Rothko isn't to your taste, and you grew up with the likes of Stan Lee and Alan Moore, perhaps Ed Piskor's ingenious Hip Hop Family Tree is more suited to your needs." -Joyce, Pigeons and Planes
• Review: TCJ on Couch Tag: "Fear gives way to anger and despair, and no feeling is left unexplored... I'll look forward to the next full-length book from Reklaw, who has a truly special intellect and keen sense of humor. I'd love to see what would happen if he brought all aspects of his storytelling technique together at once." –Katie Haegele, The Comics Journal
• Review:Couch Tag was on Boing Boing's Best Books of the month: "Couch Tag, on the author hand, is a sort of family autobiography, assembled from countless loose threads centered around objects and things, discarding any semblance of chronology. It's painful at times, like childhood itself, but Reklaw is mostly an objective tour guide through the strange and seminal moments of his youth." -Brian Heater, Boing Boing
• Interview: Tom Spurgeon on The Comics Reporter interviews Jesse Reklaw on Couch Tag, mental illness and the comics game. "That first chapter of Couch Tag was the first thing that I did as a long format work that my friends actually liked. That was very significant to me, because I'm one of those people that bounces around in my own head for a very long time. It's where I find a hole to ooze out." –Reklaw
• Plug: Reklaw's Couch Tag appears on John Porcellino's Best Books of 2013. "How Jesse has remained so deeply underground up to now is beyond me, but there are few books I've looked forward to and waited longer for than this collection of his stunning, very sad and powerful comics about his childhood, and his life growing up in a mentally and emotionally unbalanced family. Reklaw has the chops to draw anything, and the skill and taste to write with an understated grace that allows emotions and experiences to well up and breathe on their own." -John P.
• Plug:Couch Tag also landed on the list for Best Comics of 2013 on Forbidden Planet International "Couch Tag has been delighting me over the holidays...it dealt in the well-worn tradition of autobiographical comics about family life, [not] focusing on some huge event, rather inviting us into all the little ups and downs that make up everyone's life, and [was] the more charming and welcoming for it..." -Joe Gordon, FPI
• Seattle, WA: This Saturday finds rising star Julia Gfrörer signing the sensational new book Black Is the Color. Her story of a castaway sailor’s attraction to a nefarious mermaid examines the dubious value of maintaining dignity to the detriment of intimacy, and the erotic potential of the worst-case scenario. (more info)
This month, Portland celebrates a former resident of theirs: Jesse Reklaw!
Join Pony Club Gallery tonight from 6:00 to 10:00 PM for the opening reception of The Art of Couch Tag, an exhibit of original pages from his outstanding tragicomic graphic memoir, Couch Tag. I dearly hope there will be pages from the piece "Thirteen Cats" (featured in The Best American Comics).
Pony Club Gallery is located at 625 NW Everett Street in Portland. The exhibit runs through January 31st.
• Portland, OR: Don't miss a reading and signing with Jesse Reklaw at Floating World comics tonight! From 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM, Reklaw will be signing copies of his graphic novel, Couch Tag. Let him know which of his 13 cats was your favorite. (more info)
Friday, December 20th
• Chicago, IL: Lilli Carré debuts a solo show at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, part of the MCA's Chicago Works series, focusing on new work being made by emerging and established Chicago artists. She's created all new work for the show, including projected animation, works on paper, and a series of ceramic pieces. The show will be up through April 15th, but why wait? Go today! (more info)
• Mexico City, MX: Esther Pearl Watson and Mark Todd launch a stunning new art show, titled Challengers of the Unknown, atGuru Gallery Shop tonight! Come see Esther's glittered saucer paintings and collaged foil/pencil drawings. Mark will be exhibiting a group of new comic-inspired works, and debuting a limited edition zine with original drawings. (more info)
One of many highlights of the show is the cover painting for Jesse Reklaw's sublime graphic memoir Couch Tag. The artist will be present to sign copies of his amazing new book. Also on display is a suite of four drawings by Ellen Forney from her bestselling book Marbles as she contemplates the torment of Vincent Van Gogh. The show also features the debut of a significant new painting by Jim Woodring. We'll also have available the fanciful new collaboration between Woodring and Yo La Tengo including an animated video DVD and colorful soft vinyl figures. The perfect complement of art and music. Additional comix art, prints, and publications by Jeremy Eaton, Damon Gentry, and John Ohannesian make this an event not to be missed.
The party coincides with the holiday edition of the Georgetown Art Attack featuring adventurous visual and performing arts presentations throughout the historic arts community. Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale Street, only minutes south of downtown Seattle. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110. See you all soon.
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery opened seven years ago in Seattles Georgetown industrial district. In the intervening years, both the bookstore and the neighborhood have woven themselves into the cultural fabric of the region. Celebrate the impact of this unique urban enterprise on Saturday, December 14 with a festive holiday gala and opening reception for "cARToons: The Art of Alternative Comix" featuring Jeremy Eaton, Ellen Forney, Damon Gentry, John Ohannesian, Jesse Reklaw, and Jim Woodring. Exhibiting artists will be present to sign recent publications at the opening on Saturday, December 14 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM.
The bookstore's anniversary coincides with the holiday edition of the Georgetown Art Attack. Dozens of visual and performing arts presentations take place throughout the historic neighborhood, including wandering carolers from Choir of the Sound featuring our own Lynn Emmert.
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale Street (at Airport Way S.), only minutes south of downtown Seattle. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110.
• Savannah, GA: Spooky Girls is a combined show by artists Austin Highfield and Dame Darcy that examines the duality of 2D and 3D art work. Please join them for an opening night of supernatural revelry from 6:00 to 8:00 PM! (more info)
Jesse Reklaw's Launches His New Graphic Novel at Floating World
WHAT: Get Off The Couch Book Tour for Jesse Reklaw's Couch Tag WHEN: Thursday Nov. 19th, 6-9pm WHERE: Floating World Comics, 400 NW Couch St
Join Jesse Reklaw at Floating World Comics in Portland, OR on December 19th for a night to remember. From 6pm to 9pm, Reklaw will be signing copies of his twisted graphic novel, Couch Tag. Let him know which of his 13 cats was your favorite.
Veteran alternative cartoonist Jesse Reklaw, creator of the long-running weekly comic strip Slow Wave, delivers a tragicomic graphic memoir, his first long-form work. Presented as a series of comic novellas that together comprise a thoughtful, sometimes dark and often hilarious memoir about childhood, family, death, mental illness, sex and drug use, the entire book is told through cleverly inviting conceits like cat histories and card games. Reklaw's own psychological state is expressed through his erratic art-style changes and darkening imagery.
The graphic novel is told in five parts: In "Thirteen Cats" (featured in The Best American Comics), Reklaw discovers coping mechanisms that mimic his family pets; "Toys I Love" relates the author's pre-pubescent brushes with deviant sexual activity, and the way innocence converges with real sexual trauma; "The Fred Robinson Story" tells the story of Reklaw's period stalking perfect strangers; "The Stacked Deck," in which hereditary influences towards criminal behavior, drug use and depression are explored via card games the author played with his family; and "Lessoned," a family history of mental illness.
Floating World 400 NW Couch St Portland, OR www.fantagraphics.com/couchtag