Mingle with local comix luminaries at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery this Saturday, January 26 from 4:30 to 6:00 PM as the store plays host to participants in the Graphic Artists Guild annual Graphic Novel Panel, sponsored in part by Fantagraphics Bookstore and Emerald City Comicon. The party at the store is free and open to the public.
The stellar line-up includes David Lasky, artist of the sensational new graphic biography The Carter Family: Don't Forget This Song; Ellen Forney, whose recent memoir Marbles: Mania, Depression Michelangelo & Me was named by the Washington Post as the Best Book of the Year; cartoonist, game designer, and comix archivist Michel Gagne; and well as Fantagraphics friends Phil & Kaja Foglio, Allen Gladfelter, Stefano Gaudiano, and Mark Monlux. A special guest is the store's current featured artist Jim Woodring! We also anticipate visits from our colleagues Ryder Windham, Edd Vick and others. Complimentary refreshments and snacks will be served. This'll be great fun!
One of the first people in line was this awesome little girl! Jim's wife Mary tells us: "That cute little girl, now 8, has been a fan since the age of 4. Her favorite book for a long time was Seeing Things." Smart girl!
Large-scale reprints of Jim's sketchbook drawings adorn our gallery wall...
... while the original Moleskines are in a case below, some featuring his amazing 3-D pop-outs!
Admittedly, I didn't take a ton of pictures that night since I was DJing before and after our Yo La Tengo debut, but as I was segueing into "This Here Giraffe" by the Flaming Lips, this woman walked in, dressed as a giraffe! Uncanny!
Jim's exhibit will continue to be on display at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery through Thursday, February 7th. Drop by to see it in person at 1201 S. Vale Street in Seattle's Georgetown district. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone: (206) 658-0110.
The chest rackiest cough of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review: Andy Shaw reviews Chris Wright's Blacklungon Grovel. "The characters have enormous depth, and the book explores interesting themes on the nature of violence. It’s particularly strong on class structure, exploring the different levels of what’s acceptable to different people in different walks of life…While extremely dark this is definitely one of the most sophisticated horror books I’ve read in some time."
• Review: Blacklung by Chris Wright makes another best of list on Comic Book Resources. Greg Burgas writes "Wright’s pirate comic is a strange animal – it’s extremely graphic, both violently and sexually, yet it’s a bizarre meditation on religion and good and evil, all with characters who don’t look quite human.… Blacklung is a comic that deserves a lot of thought, so you might as well read it and think about it!"
• Review: Page 45 looks at Problematic by Jim Woodring. And "whilst there is indeed the odd everyday observation, the vast majority of it is Frank-related musings, thumbnails and roughs," pens Jonathan Rigby.
• Review:Page 45 enjoys the newest Richard Sala book, Delphine. "Truly this is the stuff of nightmares: a frantic evocation of being lost, misled and out of your depth in surroundings which barely make sense – except when they do after which you dearly wish that they hadn’t," says Stephen L. Holland.
• Plug:Graham Chaffee's Good Dog was singled out on Wired to be one of THE books of 2013. "The world does not have nearly enough graphic novels told from the perspective of adorable dogs. Let alone graphic novels that have a good chance of making you feel delighted on one page, then maybe like you might cry a little bit on the next page…it has all the polish and purpose borne by most books put out by fancy-pants publisher Fantagraphics," writes Erik Henriksen.
• Review: Page 45 enjoys Castle Waiting Vol. 1 (softcover) by Linda Medley. "Life in these stories gently flows along at the same pace as the early Bone stories, and the timing is as perfect as Linda’s art is impeccable…From what appear to be stock fairy-tale archetypes, Medley creates life and energy," writes Tom Rosin.
• Review: Johanna Draper Carlson of Comic Worth Reading reads I Love Led Zeppelin after catching Ellen Forney fever with Marbles. "it’s an entertaining, spicy read. For me, it provided new context for the background behind her story, fleshing out a decadent life in strong, distinctive lines."
I don't even know where to start in listing all the ties between indie rock veterans Yo La Tengo and our own Uncle Jim. Jim did some of the illustrations in their CD The Sounds of the Sounds of Science. Their bassist James McNew has Pupshaw and Pushpaw tattooed on his arm. James' solo project Dump can also be heard on Jim's Visions of Frank DVD...
And this Saturday, you and Jim Woodring will be two of the first to hear their forthcoming album in its entirety, before it's even in stores! Fade officially comes out Tuesday, January 15th (or Monday, January 14th in Europe) on the fine Matador Records label.
Seattle is once again the center of the alternative comix universe with shows opening all over town this weekend. On Friday, January 11 at Roq la Rue from 6:00 to 9:00 PM is the post-apocalyptic group show "I'll Love You Til The End Of The World" featuring Fantagraphics favorites Camille Rose Garcia and Scott Musgrove. The same evening you'll find "Friends" at Cairo, featuring Intruder artists Max Clotfelter, Darin Shuler, Aidan Fitzgerald, Tom Van Deusen, Marc J. Palm, David Lasky, Nikki Burch, Ben Horak, Jason T. Miles, Tim Miller, James Stranton, Kazimir Strzepek and Alexa Kristine Koenings. (The future of alternative comix now.)
The comix action moves to Georgetown on Saturday evening, with a show of "Paintoons" by John Ohannesian at the One Night Stand Gallery (located directly above Fantagraphics Bookstore.) John has been busy in recent months as a Fantagraphics freelancer faithfully restoring classic strips like Nancy, Buz Sawyer, and Popeye for your reading pleasure. It'll be interesting to see how this exercise informs his cartoon paintings. Across the street at LxWxH Gallery is Bette Burgoyne's "Forest," a 30-foot narrative scroll drawing. And, of course, don't miss the Problematic reception with Jim Woodring at our bookstore. Lots of great surprises await.
Join us at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery this Saturday, January 12 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM for the book launch party of Jim Woodring’s Problematic. An exhibition of imagery not included in the book will be displayed, as well as the artist’s original sketchbooks, including examples of Woodring’s inventive pop-up drawing constructions. Get a rare glimpse inside the creative process of this iconoclastic master of modern cartooning. The artist will be available to sign copies of his exquisite new book.
This event coincides with the colorful Georgetown Art Attack, featuring festive art events and exhibitions throughout the neighborhood. Fantagraphics Bookstore is located at 1201 S. Vale Street in the heart of Georgetown’s historic arts community. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110. See you soon.
FINALLY! Jim Woodring and his throbbing universe lead character Frank into the digital realm at comiXology. Weathercraft is Woodring's first full-length graphic novel set in the world of his most beloved character, Frank -- indeed, Woodring's first graphic novel, period! -- and it features the same hypnotically-gorgeous linework and mystical iconography. As it happens, Frank has only a brief supporting appearance in Weathercraft, which actually stars Manhog, Woodring's pathetic, brutish everyman (or everyhog). What happens when we are stretched to our limit? Will we come out the other end a changed person (or hog)?
A 2010 Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Weathercraft is not to be missed. Head over to comiXology now and get yourself a one-way ticket.
"It’s always darkest before the dawn, and the psychedelic body-horror of Jim Woodring has never been darker than it gets here. His hapless, villainous Manhog is made to suffer like you’ve seen few comics characters suffer before in any style or genre…only to emerge enlightened and overjoyed on the other side in a final act that feels like that first breath of fresh cool air after you’ve hidden your head under the covers in terror for minutes on end." – Sean T. Collins, Comic Book Resources
"Merely calling Jim Woodring’s comics surreal is selling them short. …Woodring’s vivid draftsmanship and narrative linearity operate just as easily as parable, gospel, and even slapstick. …Weathercraft… pushes his iconography and storytelling into new areas of grotesquerie and revelation, all without his characters uttering a word." – Jason Heller, The A.V. Club
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.
(Note that this includes some books that haven't been officially announced as shipping yet -- unless we missed it -- but we're pretty confident they've shipped over the last couple of weeks and we got tired of waiting to post the blurbs.)
128-page two-color (with some full color) 7.25" x 10" hardcover • $24.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-590-7
"I've wanted a collected edition of Sala's version of Snow White ever since it was released in Fantagraphics' great-looking, but difficult to store Ignatz format. And now I'm finally getting it. Merry Christmas to me." – Michael May, Robot 6
528-page black & white (with some color) 7" x 9.5" hardcover • $39.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-551-8
"A very early contender for manga release of 2013 arrives in the form of The Heart of Thomas, a 524-page all-in-one hardcover compilation of a mid-'70s landmark in Japanese comics-for-girls, Moto Hagio's epic of gnawing desire among sparkling schoolboys." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
240-page full-color 7.5" x 10.75" hardcover • $39.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-581-5
"Even older (and somewhat differently-themed) comics can be enjoyed in Weird Horrors & Daring Adventures: The Joe Kubert Archives Vol. 1, a 240-page, Bill Schelly-edited ‘best of' collection for pre-Code genre pieces by the late Kubert." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
364-page black & white 5.25" x 8" hardcover • $28.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-594-5
"And then you can just throw finished comics aside entirely in favor of Problematic: Sketchbook Drawings 2004-2012, a 5.25″ x 8″, 364-page collection of Moleskine pieces, 'much of it... too baffling to be harnessed for any practical use,' by the awesome Jim Woodring." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
136-page two-color 6.5" x 9.25" softcover • $19.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-541-9
"...[T]here are a lot of good books out this week. The new Tom Kaczynski book Beta Testing the Apocalypse comes most immediately to mind..." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
"Terror of the present, as Tom Kaczynski collects his excellent short stories of uneasy habitation into Beta Testing the Apocalypse, a 136-page softcover boasting substantial a new piece." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
"Just read page 1 of Tom @unciv Kaczynski's Beta Testing the Apocalypse published by @fantagraphics Best thing I've read in ages! ONE PAGE!!!" – OK Comics
320-page black & white 7.5" x 10.25" hardcover • $35.00 ISBN: 978-1-60699-504-4
"Struggles of the past, as Texas history returns to print in Jack Jackson's American History Vol. 1: Los Tejanos & Lost Cause, the 320-page first of three hardcover volumes set to collect the entirety of the underground pioneer's nonfiction graphic novels." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
•Los Angeles, CA: As we've mentioned previously on FLOG, when the great Ron Regé, Jr. isn't making awesome comics, he can be found making music, and this Wednesday, he'll be making a rare, special appearance at the Hyperion Tavern as "The Discombobulated Ventriloquist," performing songs on his new Casiotone mt400v! Do not miss this! (more info)