James McNew, Bill Frisell, and Jim Woodring!!! Seriously, what more do I need to say?
I've writtenbefore about the creative synergy between our dear Uncle Jim and McNew and his band, Yo La Tengo. They've collaborated before on everything from CD illustrations to tattoos to plastic figurines of the band... yet, somehow, they had never collaborated ON STAGE.
This Sunday, October 5th, this monstruous injustice will be put to rest at Seattle's Town Hall. McNew will be joined by legendary jazz guitarist Bill Frisell, who collaborated with Woodring himself on the (now sold out) 2002 "children's" book, Trosper. Together, these two musical madmen will create catastrophic beauty with an "in-the-moment collaboration."
Inspired by the music, Woodring will create his otherworldly artwork, projected on a screen for everyone to witness unfolding. TL; DR? Simply put, minds will be blown.
Tickets are a ridiculously cheap $5. If ever there were a time to take advantage of the insanity of artists, this is it. Doors open at 6:30 PM, and the Fantagraphics Bookstore crew will have Jim's stunning books in stock. (And Jim reports he'll have some of those limited-edition hard-to-find Yo La Tengo Presspop Dolls with him!)
This once-in-a-lifetime (oh, fine, maybe it'll happen again someday) performance begins at 7:30 PM. The beautiful, historical Town Hall is located at 1119 8th Avenue.
Today would have been the 58th birthday of Kim Thompson. Recently I stumbled across this photograph, from the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery in 2012, while looking through the Fantagraphics flickr feed; I keep coming back to it. That's Kim with his back to the camera, looking at the work of our friend and former art director, Dale Yarger, who passed away that spring, another wonderful human being we lost to cancer way too soon. It would have been unfathomable at that time to think that Kim, too, would be gone within a year. Yet here we are. That's the great Jim Woodring in the foreground, with an unspeakably reverent look on his face that says more than I could ever hope to write. All three of these gentlemen have loomed large in my life, and this photo awashes me with emotion.
The time is nigh to buy tickets to see Jim Woodring at Town Hall in Seattle! On Sunday, October 5, from 7:30 - 8:45pm you will be glued to your seat for Offhand Gestures: An Evening of Spontaneous Creation with James McNew, Bill Frisell, and Jim Woodring. Woodring will great on-the-spot drawings and paintings inspired by the collaborative musical efforts of jazz guitarist Bill Frisell and James McNew, bassist for Yo La Tengo.An event for the lover of music, comics, visual performance arts and above all, collaboration. Presented by Town Hall Seattle, Fantagraphics and sponsored by City Arts.
Downstairs at Town Hall; enter on Seneca Street. $5. Doors open at 6:30pm. For more information or to purchase tickets in advance, please visit the Town Hall website. Woodring's newest book is available for purchase online, at your local comic and bookstores or your favorite library branch.
"Woodring's great talent, apart from his beautiful artwork, is his ability to make these absurd and almost nonsensical stories enthralling." - Mark Frauenfelder, BoingBoing
"These bite-sized biographies of hip hop’s biggest names and slice-of-life reflections on its defining moments are routinely featured at Boing Boing, but to really experience these beautifully stylized vignettes in all their throwback glory you really need to check out the collected editions." – Geek Dad
Review: "In this volume, you see the evolution from club following to recording industry. Names you recognize are put in a different light—Melle Mel, Kool Herc, Dr. Dre, DJ Yella, Ice T, Run-DMC, Rick Rubin, Russell Simmons." – Ebony
"This book is more thought-provoking than her other works, demonstrating growth and a challenge to readers to think about these things in their own lives." – Johanna Draper Carlson, Comics Worth Reading
"…her stories often feature tremendous longing and sadness, but they also lushly suggest what a blessing it is to be alive and in the world. She presents, in short, a more realistic picture of what it means to be a human, with our ever-present mind/body tug-of-war, than almost anyone else out there making art." – Hillary Brown, BoingBoing
"John Severin was a master at drawing in a very meticulous, detailed and old-school style, with beautiful depth and texture added in Elder’s ink-work. Severin was also known as being a stickler for historical accuracy, something that will be greatly appreciated by modern readers interested in history and historical wargaming." – Mark Frauenfelder, BoingBoing
"Forsman captures the simplicity of youth in Mike and Wolf’s interactions, as they freely flee and are more drawn to boardwalk video games than of the region’s infamous sinful escapes." – Stephanie Trott, Cleaver Magazine
Jim is a brand-new collection of Woodring's earliest comics work, which was originally produced as zines in the early 1980s until Fantagraphics cofounder Gary Groth fell in love with his work and became his lifelong publisher. This isn't a stack of embarrassing juvenalia; the quality of work is very high, but if you stare at the pages for a while, you'll notice a bit of uncharacteristic uncertainty resonating through the ink. In an interview with Woodring, he admits that "it is hard to go back to your old work," but he's overall "thrilled" to review his earliest comics. "I was stunned by how authentic [the work in Jim] is to me today," he says. The book "had this symbolic power, and I can feel it rising up in me again" while reading it. Keen eyes can spot a faulty bit of crosshatched shading, or a messy silhouette that Woodring would never sign his name to now, but for the most part, this is fully realized work produced by the hand of a man who is entirely confident about what he's trying to communicate.
"What's most noticeable when the stories are laid up against one another is her varied visual approach, adapting her style to best fit the material...The success of this collection suggests that short pieces are likely Davis' métier, but what's here is so accomplished that it's natural to hope for a book-length work next time out." –Gordon Flagg
"Woodring launched his comics career in the mid-1980s with Jim, a magazine featuring surreal stories based on his disturbingly bizarre dreams...What these stories also share with the Frank-related comics is Woodring's lush but expressively cartoonish drawing style...Woodring's Frank comics subtly burrow their way into your subconscious, but the Jim stories work a similar magic in an-only slightly-more straightforward and accessible fashion." –Gordon Flagg
byLucy Knisley "In her classic travelogue style and interspersed with lovely, contemplative watercolor sketches, she offers glimpses of her journey-feeling...as she observes her life from the distance of travel, and her simple lines, lively illustrations, and patchwork of moments she chooses to include artfully capture her introspective mood. Fans of Knisley's earlier works, particularly older teens or young adults, will appreciate this honest, charming, and gently paced travel journal." –Candice Mack
Is your mind's eye open? Can it possibly hold all of the beauty in the world? If not, then Jim Woodring's new book JIM is the collection of comics to prepare you. Built on foundation of hallucinations and nightmares, Jim is Woodring's alter-ego and allows him the creative freedom live in alternate dimensions and answer the question "What If" in a language he didn't even know existed.
Joe Garvin of News from Mill Creek and the University Bookstore recently reviewed Jim, "Anthropomorphic creatures resembling frogs and elephants occupy strange but uncannily familiar landscapes; beings traverse realms and undergo spontaneous transformations. Nevertheless, all seems to belong to a private and coherent symbolic language. This is the wondrous and unique sensation of reading Woodring's most personal work-the artist delving deeply into his imaginative consciousness, and creating artful transmissions back from his world."
Jim Woodring, the cartoonist, will be discuss and sign his book at the free event at the University Bookstore on Thursday, September 4th at 7pm. (4326 University Way NE, Seattle w 98105). The book is available for purchase in-store, by phone at (206) 634-3400, or at ubookstore.com, on the date of the event.
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.
224-page black & white/color 7.75" x 11" hardcover • $29.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-752-9
"Jim Woodring is one of our greatest cartoonists, and these are some of his greatest comics. There are two or three potential top 25 all-time comics shorts in here." -Tom Spurgeon, Comics Reporter
"Fantagraphics hardcover collection of Jim Woodring's personal, allegorical and autobiographical comics from the '80s & '90s, works which proved very mind-expanding to me, personally, through their treatment of conscious and subconscious realities as equally pertinent to funnybook memoir. Some of them are also really, REALLY funny - proper ‘alternative comics'-era classics in here!" –Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
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 — is a bounty of Woodring's inspired artistry.
The Fantagraphics Bookstore is a happening place this week, and we're starting that party early by holding a reception for exceptional Toronto cartoonist, Georgia Webber. From 6-9:00 pm, get aquainted with one of your new favorite artists, as she debuts work from the web-serialized, autobiographical story, "Dumb". A terrifying true-story about losing her voice, and trying to not lose her mind, all while learning to cope and heal.
Saturday, August 9th
Now in stores! Come celebrate the release of JIM with none other than Jim! (Woodring that is.) Part anthology, part retrospective, Jim is his namesake's cartoon alter-ego, traversing the surreal and phantasmic landscape we've come to love and admire in his other work. A collection of comics, prose, and drawings that give great insight to one of the most mind-bending, and influential artists of the age. Pick up this beautiful new hardcover at our signing from 6-8:00 PM! (More details)