[The Umpteen Millionaire Club is our series which puts forth book club discussion questions for Fantagraphics titles. The Comics Journal interns Keith Baralato, Eli Powell, and Evans Winters put together this set of questions. - Ed.]
Written by Keith Barbalato, Lillian Beaty, and Sonya Selbach
Rendered in vivid black and white (though it evokes psychedelia), Fran: The Preceding and Continuing Congress of the Animals depicts a story of love, loss, and healing - all in wordless panels. From one page to the next, Woodring builds a fantastical world Frank readers will be familiar with: the Unifactor is the landscape against which Fran and Frank's love plays out. In Fran, the impetuous titular character drags reluctant Frank along on adventures that clearly depict two very different people trying to find common ground, despite Frank's wish for total honesty and Fran's desire for complete privacy.
What effect does having no words in this comic have?
What does the mysterious "memory device" represent?
Why is Fran so against having this "memory device" on, and why is Frank so forceful about her wearing it?
Do Fran and Frank transcend gender roles? If so, how does Woodring depict this?
What is the nature of their relationship?
How do their personalities complement each other, and how do they clash?
How do Fran and Frank interact differently with their environment?
Who is the "many-eyed-man"?
How would you characterize Frank's relationship with his pets?
What purpose do the pets serve in Woodring's narratives?
• Brooklyn, NY: Well, will it? You better stop by the Scott Eder Gallery for the opening reception of the Kim Deitch exhibit to find out! 6-9 PM, with signings, AND the exclusive debut of this beautiful t-shirt below (barring any unforeseen events). (more info)
• Seattle, WA: What do comics and geology have in common? Find out when the one-and-only Ellen Forney wraps up her residency at Town Hall with the event Spinning True Stories, with Scholar-in-Residence David Montgomery! (more info)
Saturday, December 7th
• Seattle, WA: Sub Pop Records co-founder Bruce Pavitt will appear at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery for a reading and signing of Experiencing Nirvana: Grunge in Europe, 1989. Photographs from the triumphant tour will be on display with sales proceeds to benefit the Vera Project. Photographer Charles Peterson will guest DJ and several prominent musicians of the era will attend. (more info)
• Olympia, WA: Meanwhile, Jim Woodring will take over Olympia with a signing at Danger Room, and a live drawing demonstration at the downtown library! (more info)
Don't miss a minute of the action at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery this holiday season. We kick off the fun on Saturday, December 7 with an extraordinary event featuring Sub Pop founder Bruce Pavitt. His new book, Experiencing Nirvana: Grunge in Europe, 1989 documents a pivotal period in late 20th century pop culture. In an improbable effort to attract international attention to the fledgling label, Sub Pop sent Nirvana, Mudhoney, and TAD to Europe. Pavitt chronicled the triumphant tour with candid observations and captivating images. Members of all three bands will attend this monumental party. Georgetown Records will have recently reissued vinyl from the featured groups and the bookstore will stock merchandise from last summer's Sub Pop Silver Jubilee. See you all this Saturday at 6:00.
Celebrate seven years of Fantagraphics Bookstore on Saturday, December 14 with "cARToons: The Art of Alternative Comix" featuring Jeremy Eaton, Ellen Forney, Damon Gentry, John Ohannesian, Jesse Reklaw, and Jim Woodring. Exhibiting artists will be on hand to sign recent publications. This festive holiday gala coincides with the colorful Georgetown Art Attack from 6:00 to 9:00 PM. Listen for wandering carolers from Choir of the Sound featuring our own Lynn Emmert.
On Saturday, December 28 join us as we host a reception and book signing with Janet Hamlin. Her fascinating book, Sketching Guantanamo, captures the conditions faced by detainees in the makeshift island prison. As a courtroom sketch artist, Hamlin was among a handful of journalists to bear witness to the military tribunals of accused terrorists and "enemy combatants." Neither sentimental nor didactic, Hamlin's evocative drawings provide a revealing look at this enigmatic episode of American jurisprudence. We can't wait to meet her.
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale Street in the heart of Seattle's historic Georgetown arts community. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110.
Celebrate 7 Years of Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery with “cARToons: The Art of Alternative Comix” on December 14.
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery opened seven years ago in a deserted south Seattle 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.”
From its inception, the showroom for Seattle-based publisher Fantagraphics Books has endeavored to demonstrate the contributions of comix to contemporary culture. “cARToons: The Art of Alternative Comix” features the work of six narrative artists who elevate the medium. The exhibition features 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.
In addition to his role as Fantagraphics Bookstore curator, Larry Reid serves as president of the Georgetown Merchants Association (GMA), which played a pivotal role in revitalizing the formerly neglected business district. The bookstore’s anniversary celebration coincides with the holiday edition of the Georgetown Art Attack, a monthly promotion of the GMA. 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.
cARToons: The Art of Alternative Comix featuring Jeremy Eaton, Ellen Forney, Damon Gentry, John Ohannesian, Jesse Reklaw, and Jim Woodring.
Opening Saturday, December 14, 6:00 to 9:00 PM Exhibition continues through January 8, 2014 Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery 1201 S. Vale Street. Seattle, WA 206.658.0110 | www.facebook.com/fantagraphicsbookstore Open daily 11:30 – 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM
264-page black & white 7.25" x 10.25" hardcover • $28.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-749-9
The team of Harvey Kurtzman and John Severin was one of the most fruitful collaborations in the history of comics. The work they did combines the taut emotional and psychological insights of Stephen Crane with a verisimilitude so gritty that it seems as if they are reporting from the scene. Together with inker and friend Will Elder, whose own obsession for detail perfectly heightened the impact of every line, they produced 34 war stories — emotionally draining and dramatically eloquent — in just under three years. This book collects them all. Settings include: the Roman empire; the Revolutionary War; the American-Indian Wars; the Alamo; the Civil War; World War I (in the trenches and in the air); World War II (in the Pacific and in Europe, including the D-Day invasion); and the Korean War.
224-page black & white/color 7.75" x 11" hardcover • $29.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-752-9
Frank is, as everyone knows, Jim Woodring's bestselling cartoon character. Jim, on the other hand, is Woodring's cartoon alter ego, the fictional doppelganger who has for 30 years inhabited Woodring's alternate universe where shifting, phantasmagoric landscapes, abrupt, hallucinatory visual revelations, and unexpected eruptions of uninhibited verbal self-flagellation are common- place. Jim is a mind-bending collection of all of Woodring's best non-Frank creative work — comics stories, prose stories, drawings, and paintings, with a new introduction and afterword by the man himself. Abounding in metaphors if you choose to see them and naked self-disclosure if you don't, this volume of comics, prose, and images — collected here for the first time and including an all-new 24-page story — is a bounty of Woodring's inspired artistry.
Fantagraphics is thrilled to be part of the third annual Short Run Small Press Fest here in Seattle on Saturday, November 30th at historic Washington Hall in the Central District. Even though Short Run is a festival spotlighting self-published works, limited editions, and handmade books, Fantagraphics will have a presence in many, many ways, as you will see below...
• Visit the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery at Table L-51 on the first floor of Washington Hall! We'll have an excellent array of independent comics in stock from publishers who weren't able to make the trek to Seattle, like Koyama Press, Uncivilized Books, PictureBox, and more.
Plus, throughout the day, Manager/Curator Larry Reid will be joined by special guests who got their start in small press: our own Ellen Forney, who self-published her title I Was Seven in '75 with a Xeric Grant, and Bruce Pavitt, co-founder of Sub Pop Records, which started as a zine back in 1979. Stop by the table for a chat -- all three of them have tons of experience and knowledge about self-publishing that they'd love to share with you!
• All throughout the day, Short Run will be screening animation, including pieces from our own Dash Shaw and Lilli Carré, alongside Reel Grrls, SEAT (Seattle Experimental Animation Team), and dozens of other animators from around the country. Screenings take place on the balcony level of Washington Hall.
• Fantagraphics staffers Jason T Miles [C-11] and Jen Vaughn [landing] will be exhibiting with comics of their own!
• And then there's the panels (all taking place on the first floor)!
---> 12:20 PM: Women in Comics // Our own Megan Kelso will lead and moderate a panel focused on the females with panelists Geneviève Castrée, Gabrielle Gamboa, Roberta Gregory, Julia Gfrörer, and Virginia Paine. I have to say, Megan has been doing some amazing planning and research for this panel, and it is not to be missed!
---> 2:40 PM : The World of Comics // A survey of comics around the globe with Jason T Miles, Pat Moriarity, David Lasky, and Leonard Rifas. (Inspired by our own Kim Thompson.)
But, wait! There's more... The day before Short Run Small Press Fest, Friday, November 29th, they'll be hosting Read/Write, a day of panels, workshops, and more at the Vera Project, including...
---> 2:00 PM : DIY Publishing in the Digital Age Panel // With our Associate Editor Eric Reynolds, plus Bruce Rutledge (Chin Music Press), self-publisher Alec Longstreth, and moderator Zack Soto (Study Group).
• And for full-disclosure, I, Janice, your friendly Flogger, should mention I'm one of the organizers this year, so there's that...!
For the complete Short Run Seattle schedule, including Read/Writeon Friday, November 29th at the Vera Project [ Warren & Republican Ave North ], and Short Run Small Press Fest on Saturday, November 30th at Washington Hall [ 153 14th Avenue ], visit shortrun.org! Both events are FREE and open to the public! See you there!
An interview and book signing by everyone's favorite Jim Woodring to take place at Danger Room on Saturday, December 7th at 3pm. For a hoppin' good time head over to the downtown Olympia Library for a live drawing demonstration by Jim and his GIANT pen Nibbus Maximus at 7pm. (The poster pretty much sums it up!)
Jim will also be signing copies of his book FRAN so either bring your copy or buy the newest installment of his series set in the surreal Unifactor.
201 W 4th Ave downtown Olympia 360.705.3050
downtown Olympia Timberland Library 313 8th Ave SE Olympia WA 98501
I've been meaning to write about this for a while now, but frankly, there aren't words strong enough to describe my excitement for this collaboration between two of my all-time favorite artists, Jim Woodring and Yo La Tengo!
Their love story goes a long ways back, as we mentioned on the FLOG earlier this year when we premiered the band's most recent release Fade at the book launch party for Jim's collection Problematic: Sketchbook Drawings 2004-2012. And now Jim has taken the artwork for Fade and interpreted it into The Tree, a set of three figurines and a DVD produced by our friends at PressPop! We'll let them describe the rest:
Experience the magical collaboration of Yo La Tengo and Jim Woodring. The three band members, Ira, Georgia and James come to life as 3 original characters in the land of “the Tree!”
Present/past/future, the real/unreal, visible/invisible, sadness/joy…… "the Tree” will grow, enveloping all. And the ecstatic creatures that inhabit “the Tree” are the 3 beings blessed by the god of music. The curtain has been raised for Woodring’s mysterious and psychedelic dream land. But the story has just begun……
This product is a set of DVD and 3 soft-vinyl dolls. The DVD contains an original animation (5:20 minutes) of a mind-blowing colorful dream world that centers on “the Tree” and the 3 whimsical characters. It is made by a Japanese production company that specialize in hand-drawn animation: drop. And of course, All NEW music by Yo La Tengo! The 3 colorful soft-vinyl dolls were sculpted by Japanese master sculptor: Tomohiro Yasui. Beautiful packaging design by Jim Woodring with a bonus comic on the back.
As you can see, the resemblance is striking! These figures are currently available (in incredibly limited quanties) at the merch table on the band's European tour, or you can also pre-order a set of your own at the Matador Records website. I am already planning for them to take a ride on Mr. Bumper, and maybe get in some battles with Lorbo.
"The yarn Deitch spins around that outrageous premise includes surprisingly less of the supernatural and many more words than usual, which wrap around the panels and are carefully chosen to project the heroine's personality-that of a smart but unpretentious woman who once had an utterly fantastic adventure. Even more riveting than Deitch's other spellbinders." –Ray Olson
"the heightened emotional stakes are new: Frank's followers have watched him shrug off violent treatment with the resilience of a Warner Bros. cartoon character, but the loss of Fran seems more devastating than the worst punishment he's received at the hands of the devilish Whim."
Join us at Fantagraphics Bookstore this Saturday, October 26 from 6:00 to 8:00 PM for a festive event featuring Jim Woodring's latest batch of ODDLAND beer from Elysian Brewing. We'll taste free samples while Jim demonstrates drawing skills with his oddly giant pen. He'll also be available to sign copies of his fabulous new graphic novel Fran.
Begin your Halloween frolicking at this colorful early evening gala. Odd attire encouraged. Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale Street in Seattle's lively Georgetown arts community. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM. Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110.