• Review: "Any new work from Norwegian cartoonist Jason is worthy of a comics fan’s full attention, but the new, all-original short-story collection Athos in America is one of the best books of Jason’s career, which automatically makes it one of the best books of this year." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club
• Review: "...Joost Swarte... brought a nose-thumbing avant-garde sensibility to 'ligne claire' style Eurocomics in the ’70s and ’80s, even before he landed stories in the seminal art-comics anthology Raw. Is That All There Is? collects nearly 150 pages of Swarte’s most groundbreaking work... With his architectural sense of design and his punk-rock attitude, Swarte fused craft and nihilistic flippancy in stories about adventurers, harlots, musicians, and scientists, creating true 'modern art.'" – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club
• Review: "About all that was missing from Blake Bell’s 2010 Bill Everett biography Fire & Waterwas extended samples of Everett’s artist’s actual comics. Bell now remedies that by serving as editor on Amazing Mysteries: The Bill Everett Archives Vol. 1... These publications rode the superhero wave initiated by the companies that would later become DC and Marvel, and while they didn’t withstand the test of time, they’re still a kick to read, buoyed by their no-nonsense action plots and by Everett’s propensity for drawing narrow figures poised to commit acts of violence." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club
• Review: "This collection is the ultimate love letter to all those 1960s kid comic books, but with a modern twist.... Each person is a well-defined character with strong flaws and backgrounds. With so much diversity, there is bound to be at least one character you will like.... If you are looking for a kid-friendly book with some charm, go ahead and pick [Yeah!] up." – Kevin Brown, City Book Review
• Profile:Steve Appleford of the Los Angeles Times (via a few of their suburban affiliates like the Glendale News Press) visits Tony Millionaire in his garage studio: "In his introduction to 500 Portraits, Millionaire writes that life experience has taught him that 85% of all people are 'bogus' or worse. In the garage, he describes himself as misanthropic, but admits his drawings often suggest otherwise. 'As it turns out, you can tell by looking at these portraits, I obviously love people — even the [jerks]. Hitler's done very lovingly,' he says. 'I think it's nice to have the juxtaposition of my disgust for humanity mixed with my obvious love for humanity. You can't draw like that if you really hate something.'"
• Profile: The Ottawa Citizen's Bruce Deachman catches up with Dave Cooper: "'There are different facets of my creative mind,' he says. 'I feel I need a lot of contrast, so I have all these things happening, but they’re all necessary to make me feel satisfied. It’s got to be this big pot happening, with everything boiling at once. It’s therapy for me,' he adds. 'I don’t see ever wanting to retire from the thing that I love to death.'" There's a short video, too, which Dave has posted on his blog
• Plug:Robot 6's Brigid Alverson is partway through Jim Woodring's Congress of the Animals: "Woodring’s art has a real solidity to it and like the best surrealists, he creates unreal shapes and figures that seem real—he has figured out how to make new bodily orifices that mimic the old and yet are totally different. Like visions in a dream, they are convincing and false at the same time."
"Jason teams up with Fabien Vehlmann to craft a dark comedy about someone following a mysterious map in a bottle to and island where something strange is happening. The premise itself is a spoiler, as it’s a laugh-out-loud moment when the reader finds out what is going on. Jason’s work is as stellar as ever, just with a lot more dialogue this time around."
"Safe Area Goražde wasn’t a new book in 2011, but the special edition it got last year was enough to earn it a spot on this list. Joe Sacco reigns as the preeminent comics journalist, and Safe Area Goražde is another great reason why."
• Paris, France: Joost Swarte debuts an art show at the Bienvenue à la Galerie Martel, and will be in attendance signing copies of Is That All There Is? (or as it is known in France, Total Swarte). More information about this event is coming to the FLOG soon!
Saturday, March 10th
• Seattle, WA: The Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery celebrates the legacy of local arts activist Cathy Hillenbrand with “Real Comet Press: A Retrospective.” This exhibition features art, graphics and book works by regional artists nurtured by Real Comet Press including Lynda Barry, Michael Dougan, Art Chantry, and Ruth Hayes, among others. A limited number of out-of-print Real Comet Press titles will be available for sale (including the iconic Lynda Barry poster “Poodle with a Mohawk”). (more info)
• Review (Video): It's a pretty safe bet you've never seen a review quite like Héctor G. Olarte's take on the Spanish edition of Jason's Athos in America for el Mundo's el Cultural — from the text intro (in translation): "If you have not read any of Jason, I can not think of a better way to start than with Athos. Most likely not be the last work of this author that passes through your hands."
• Plug: "Fantagraphics has released the cover for Popeye Vol. 6, the final volume of their handsome reprint series of E.C. Segar’s immortal Thimble Theater strips. We’re eager to get this if only to finish selling out POPEYE on the back of the books. Great design, great strip — one of those 'must haves' for every well-stocked comics library for sure." – Heidi MacDonald, The Beat
• Commentary:The Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon again, endorsing Jim Woodring's fundraising efforts for his in-progress book Fran: "Jim Woodring is one of the great cartoonists of his generation, and probably one or two generations on each side of his own. He's one of those cartoonists that raises one's estimation of the entire art form for him being [in] it." Joe at Forbidden Planet International adds "I doubt I am alone in thinking Jim creates some of the most amazing art in the medium and he’s an artist well worthy of support." Amen to both.
• Scene: On the Sequential Artists Workshop blog Tom Hart writes "Tim Kreider came to SAW to discuss with Cartoonist Majed Badra and myself the issues of expressing charged themes in single images, in addressing concerns of sensitivity, the powerful vs the powerlessness, coming to historical understandings in political situations, plus also just cramming concepts and images together to get strong visceral cartoons."
Jim Woodring needs your money so he can buckle down on Fran, the in-progress sequel to last year's wildly-acclaimed Congress of the Animals. Jim promises that the new story "pulls the Frank mythos into new realms of emotional and philosophical depth and complexity," and that "I don't drink, take drugs or play the horses; any funding I receive from this United States Artists Special Project will be spent entirely and judiciously on those most essential of art supplies: food and shelter." Believe it or not, our cartoonists are not able to live high on the hog from the advances we give them.
As usual with these sorts of things, there are pledge incentives at various dollar levels, including signed books, sketches and even a two-hour art mentoring session. Go, give till it hurts.
• Interview:The Believer presents the fourth and concluding part of Ross Simonini's 2008 interview with Jim Woodring (which can be read in its entirety here): "I don’t believe in art like I used to. I believe in something beyond it, something that contains art and everything else. But I just don’t quite have the nerve to chuck drawing and painting. Part of it is that I enjoy IT too much, and part is that I don’t have the courage to renounce the world. I don’t want to move out of this nice neighborhood so that I can live in a shed and devote myself to meditating and touching something I can’t feel. I’m addicted to the fun of playing in the world."
• Review: "Fantagraphics is giving us another opportunity to revisit R. Crumb's iconic character in a hardcover edition of his collected adventures, called The Life and Death of Fritz the Cat.... Despite Fritz's demise 40 years ago, these stories maintain their wit, satirical edge, and their ability to offend and shock. The earlier stories are funny and bizarre..., and the later ones are funny and angry... Even the final story can be viewed as funny in an extraordinarily dark context, although it helps to be aware of Crumb's intentions. To read 'Fritz the Cat, Superstar' first, or without knowledge of Crumb, would feel a lot like confronting a knife-wielding lunatic in a dark alley.... Fantagraphics' new hardcover edition of the Fritz portfolio is unburdened by editorial commentary or contextual material of any kind. This encourages readers to experience the comics as if for the first time -- and find that the acid in Crumb's humor still stings." – Casey Burchby, SF Weekly
• Review: "Just released by Fantagraphics, [Action! Mystery! Thrills!] is one the best books yet done on Golden Age Comics! Sadowski is by far my favorite editor of compilations/retrospectives on comic book art!... A fascinating and important look at an exceptional period of American art! My highest recommendation to anyone interested in 20th Century illustration and of course the comics!" – Golden Age Comic Book Stories (via The Comics Reporter)
• Review: "[Athos in America]'s the usual collection of laconic oddness and outright weirdness.... Yes, it would be fair to say if you're looking for examples of dark humour in comics, Jason probably would be a very good place to start." – Jonathan Rigby, Page 45
• Review: "Mixing illustrated text pieces with short comic strips, Kupperman uses [an] oddball conceit [in Mark Twain's Autobiography 1910-2010] to deliver a wacky, adventure-filled romp that sends you laughing your way through the twentieth century.... The thick, precise lines of Kupperman’s drawing style bring a much needed dead-pan expression to a book that might otherwise feel out of control. The text pieces are often well-used, giving Kupperman more room to play with Twain’s voice and toss in frequent verbal puns." – Matthew L. Moffett, No Flying No Tights
It gives us great pleasure to reveal that Celluloid by Dave McKean and Congress of the Animals by Jim Woodring are two of the five finalists for the 2011 Los Angeles Times Book Prizes in the Graphic Novels category. (It's Jim's second nomination in a row, following last year's for Weathercraft, for those of you keeping score.) Congratulations Dave and Jim! This is a high honor for these two bold, visionary and coincidentally wordless books. See the complete list of finalists here. (Additional congrats to Mome contributor Joseph Lambert for his nomination for his debut collection I Will Bite You!) Winners will be announced on Friday, April 20, 2012.
Mark your calendars, and start, uh... NOT practicing for the Fantagraphics Emerald City Comicon Pinball Party!
Convention guest Jim Woodring will be your host for the evening on Saturday, March 31st at Shorty's in Seattle. And the highlight of the event will be a low-score pinball tournament. Tank it without tilting, and you could win this beautiful backglass from a forthcoming custom-madeFrank pinball machine! (As seen above, and currently on display at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery! Bee-yoooo-tiful!)
More details coming soon about the Emerald City Comicon, and our fun-filled after-party! See you there!
We managed to get our hands on a small quantity of the recent hardcover reprinting of Jim Woodring's The Frank Book, which was an almost-immediate sellout upon its release just 4 months ago. Find out all about the book and see copious previews here, but don't spend too much time making up your mind because they're sure to go fast!
Original paintings by celebrated Southern California artist SHAG.
A multimedia homage by Seattle artist (and frequent Fantagraphics printmaker) Art Garcia.
Plus awesome works by graphic design legend Art Chantry, ceramicist Charles Krafft, and cartoonists Tom Neely, Johnny Ryan, Roberta Gregory, Pat Moriarity, Peter Bagge (from the pages of MAD), and a dozen others, including the master himself, Jack Davis. Arrive at 6:30 to experience a virtual visit with Davis via Skype, hosted by Gary Groth.
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