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.
• Interview: At The Believer's blog, part 3 of Ross Simonini's 2008 chat with Jim Woodring: "[Frank]’s an agent representing my interests, my perspective. The world is never a settled matter to him. He’s always trying to discover what is really going on, and when he does find out, he gets a terrible jolt. Sometimes he is driven beyond the limits of sanity. As William Burroughs said: a schizophrenic is a guy who has just discovered what is really going on. That’s a paraphrase."
• Review: "The Peanuts of 1981 was an utterly professional entertainment machine, and still the pure product of Charles Schulz's own pen and mind. But its pleasures in the '80s were like those of watching a late-season baseball game between two teams out of contention: it doesn't mean anything, and won't have any real effect on anything, but it's a quite agreeable way to spend a few hours." – Andrew Wheeler, The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.
It's still over 8 months away but the Alternative Press Expo folks are wasting no time in announcing their first batch of special guests, including 3 Hernandez Brothers (Gilbert, Jaime & Mario), continuing their Love and Rockets 30th Anniversary U.S. Domination Tour (not the actual name of the tour), and the one and only Jim Woodring, debuting (knock on wood) his new book Problematic: Selected Sketchbook Drawings 2004-2011!
Mark your calendars for October 13-14 at the Concourse in San Francisco, and stay tuned for future news and updates!