The most-current Online Commentaries & Diversions:
•Interview:MTV Geek questions Noah Van Sciver about his new graphic novel, The Hypo, and why he chose to focus on the man before the president. ". . . it’s important to see who [Lincoln] became, or I should say how he became is more spectacular when you think about who he was, and where he came from, because I don’t even know if that’s possible anymore, to come from nothing and then become a president, you know?"
•Review: Drew on ComicAttack.net reviews kid-friendly The Adventures of Venus by Gilbert Hernandez. "It’s not quite Betty and Veronica, but it’s not quite Calvin and Hobbes; it’s that special place in between that catches that transition from childhood into adolescence, which doesn’t get captured on the comic book page much, and is a rare treat that Hernandez delivers here to such perfection."
•Interview (audio):ABC News Radio's Sherry Preston interviews Daniel Clowes (at the 30 minute mark) as his work is on display at the Oakland Museum of California. "I was more interested in kinda funny comics and comics about real life situations. And I thought it made no sense that there weren't comics about every subject you can imagine." You'll love the following story.
•Commentary: TURN IT OUT in clothes inspired by Daniel Clowes' Ghost World and America's two favorite juveniles on Trent.
•Plug:Follow the White Rabbit eloquently mentions Jacques Tardi's New York Mon Amour. A rough translation might say, "Altogether, a perfect Edition for the lovers of this French author that already amazed us at 'The cry of the people,' 'The war of trenches' or 'The extraordinary adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec'."
•Commentary: Chris Mautner of Robot 6 gives a nice mention to Michael Kupperman's Tales Designed to Thrizzle #8. "A pretty solid issue overall, the best and funniest part being the opening segment, a parody of coloring books, this time involving trains that … well, it’s not fit for polite conversation, really."
•Review: Greg Burgas of Comic Book Resources breaks down one beautiful page by Archie Goodwin and Alex Toth from Blazing Combat. "This story shows off [Toth's] strengths very nicely, because it’s one of the bleaker stories in the volume (none of them are happy; I mean “bleak” in that the landscape is stripped of vegetation and is dotted with destroyed building, giving this story its post-Apocalyptic tenor) and Toth does very well with that."
•Plug:The Daily Beast features an excerpt from Joe Sacco and Chris Hedges' new book Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt. In this article, they "detail the effects of coal mining in West Virginia, a state destroyed by mountaintop removal."
•Interview: Peering from under a swell hat, Noah Brand from The Good Men Project interviews TCJ contributer and cartoonist Tim Kreider on the art of writing. "Cartooning also seems to allow me to express a much sillier, stupider, more puerile part of my personality than writing. I get all stiff and serious and writerly when I sit down to write prose."
The last time we were lucky to have a visit from Joe was in 2007, when he and our Store Manager/Curator Larry Reid discussed Palestine: The Special Edition. You can watch video from that here. And, as you'll see in the video below, it was another riveting discussion, this time with our head honcho Gary Groth at the helm!
(Sadly, I missed the first couple of minutes of their talk, sorry!)
You can also check out some more beautiful shots from our new Editorial Intern Matt Burke (and some not-as-beautiful iPhone shots from me), both below, and on the Fantagraphics Flickr feed!
Gary Groth rocks the mic // photo credit: Matt Burke
The crowd before the Q&A began // photo credit: Matt Burke
Joe chats with local cartoonist Kelly Froh while Fantagraphics' own Russ Battaglia gives a grin
Joe signs a book for Marketing Director Mike Baehr
If you can't wait for the official release date, the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is the only place on the planet where you can get it before June 19th! I bet your Dad would like a copy! We're located 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.
• New York City, NY: Are you attending BookExpo America? Hey, so are we! Visit us at Booth #3422. Noah Van Sciver will be signing copies of The Hypo: The Melancholic Young Lincoln from 1-3 PM, and you can catch him at 11 AM on the Uptown Stage as part of the panel "Meet 2012 Graphic Novel Authors!"
Thursday, June 7th
• New York City, NY: You've got another chance to meet Noah Van Sciver at Booth #3422 at the BookExpo America. He'll be signing copies of The Hypo: The Melancholic Young Lincoln from 10 AM-12 PM.
• Worldwide: Our warehouse hero Ajax Wood (occasionally Cannibal Fuckface) can be heard worldwide at 9 PM PT with his old band Last Gasp (cough) on radio station KEXP, streaming online across the globe at KEXP.ORG, or at 90.3 FM if you live in Seattle. (Full disclosure: fine, yeah, I work there, too.)
• Spokane, WA: And Jen Vaughn, the latest addition to our marvelous marketing team, will be making an appearance at the Saranac Art Projects, giving a talk about life at The Center for Cartoon Studies! She'll also be available to review your portfolios, so head over there at 2 PM! (more info)
The FantaMenace is our entry in Hazardfactory's annual Power Tool Races at the Georgetown Carnival next Saturday. Powered by a Makita disc sander and built by Close Enough Engineering on a concept by Larry and Bella, this tool is wicked quick. We plan a triumphant return to the podium this year after our 2010 victory in the Georgetown Chainsaw Massacre. Don't miss Joe Sacco, Girl Trouble, Bubble Man and so much more. Free fun all day long. Listen to Fantgraphics Bookstore curator Larry Reid discuss the Carnival with Marco Collins on Tuesday at 3:30 PM on Jet City Streamradio.
Please join us at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery as we welcome two of the country’s most acclaimed contemporary cartoonists: Jeffrey Brown on Saturday, June 2 and Joe Sacco on Saturday, June 9. These remarkable artists represent the current diversity of alternative comix and their potential to impact both popular and political culture.
Upon graduating from the Art Institute of Chicago, Jeffrey Brown came to the attention of comix readers with works dealing with relationships and romantic misadventures. His primitive rendering style complemented his candid observations in a series of accessible graphic novels comprising the “Girlfriend Trilogy.” His recent work has taken a turn to humor and satire. Public response to his latest book, Darth Vader and Son (Chronicle Books, April 2012), has been nothing short of phenomenal. Brown imagines the Dark Lord in the role of “Father Knows Best” to mischievous young Skywalker. At once ridiculous and revealing, Darth Vader and Son resonates with generations of Star Wars fans. As co-writer of the new movie, Save the Date, Brown will appear at the Seattle International Film Festival with director Michael Mohan following screenings on Thursday, May 31 and Friday, June 1. This romantic comedy, nominated for a Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, also features Brown’s comics. At his appearance at Fantagraphics Bookstore on June 2 at 6:00 PM, Brown will discuss his comix career followed by a book signing and informal reception.
Joe Sacco’s journalism studies at the University of Oregon informed his career in comix. Following a trip to the occupied territories of the Middle East in 1991, Fantagraphics Books published his provocative comic book series Palestine. Sacco’s unfiltered portrayal of the tragic consequences of the continuing conflict helped alter American perceptions of Palestinian refugees. Now in its 14th printing, Joe Sacco’s Palestine is widely regarded as one of the transformative works in the comix medium. He has subsequently visited other regions ravaged by war and reported on the suffering of civilian populations, including atrocities in the Balkans (Safe Area Gorazde), Chechnya (Chechen War, Chechen Women), and elsewhere. His latest work, Journalism (Metropolitan Books, June 2012), collects Sacco’s documentary reports from North Africa, India, Iraq, and other areas of social and political unrest. Sacco will discuss his unique approach to comix and journalism prior to signing books at Fantagraphics Bookstore from 6:00 to 8:00 PM on Saturday, June 9. Arrive early and enjoy the colorful Georgetown Carnival arts festival featuring lively visual and performing arts presentations throughout the historic neighborhood.
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale Street (at Airport Way S.) minutes south of downtown Seattle in the heart of the historic Georgetown arts community. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110.
Jeffrey Brown discussion and book signing Saturday, June 2, 6:00 to 8:00 PM
Joe Sacco discussion and book signing Saturday, June 9, 6:00 to 8:00 PM
Join us on consecutive Saturdays in June as Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery welcomes two remarkable cartoonists back to Seattle. Jeffrey Brownwill appear on Saturday, June 2 from 6:00 to 8:00 PM. He'll discuss his role as co-writer of the romantic comedy "Save the Date" (which will screen the night before at the Seattle International Film Festival) and sign copies of his new book Darth Vader and Son.
The following Saturday, June 9 from 6:00 to 8:00 PM we're pleased to present Joe Saccocelebrating his new book Journalism. Visitors to this signing will be among the first in the nation to see the book, which will be offically released 10 days later. Don't miss this opportunity to meet this extraordinary artist and pick up an advance copy of the book. Bonus! This event coincides with the colorful and wildly entertaining Georgetown Carnival arts festival.
Attn: Flog Faithful... posting might lessen a bit this week as we continue to navigate the brutal, nine-day convention gauntlet that is Stumptown, MoCCA and TCAF. To ease your cravings, we bring you an exclusive Flog! report from our Tobacco Road Correspondent Rob Clough. -- Ed.
Joe Sacco gave a lecture and Q&A to an audience of about a hundred at Duke University on 4/24/2012. He said that this was probably the last time he was going to give this particular lecture on Comics Journalism. If you haven't seen it, Sacco gives an account of his working method by talking about the ways in which the comics page is an ideal construct for delivering multiple and often conflicting and contrasting forms of information. For example, in a page from Palestine, there's a heavy background emphasis on how rainy the weather was at the time and how uncomfortable that made everything. In each panel, you could see grey clouds following around Sacco and his friend and mud on their feet. Sacco noted that in prose, it's difficult to emphasize the constant nature of physical discomfort without being awkward. He said that you couldn't simply add the phrase "and there was mud on their feet" at the end of every sentence. Sacco repeatedly said how important accuracy is to him, from gettng the quotes right to trying to find out what a building or neighborhood might have looked like fifty years ago. For some aerial views that he didn't have access to (noting wryly that the governments of Egypt and Israel weren't about to grant him permission to fly over the settlements in Gaza), he simply used drafting skills and perspective to figure out what things would look like from above. Sacco also went into some detail about how he composes each page. On pages where there is violence or chaos, he favored a fractured panel arrangement where the reading order was made deliberately unclear for the reader, to reflect the chaos of the situation. On another such page, there was a spider-web of panels, where you could follow one character along one web to see what's happening with them, but the overall page had no set structure in terms of what order to read things in.
He talked about about how he represents himself in his comics, noting that he hides his eyes as a way of telling the reader that you're not getting every bit of info about him as a part of the story. He said that in choosing how he chooses to represent his experiences, he was conscious of how he affected the narrative, and more to the point, how the story affected him. When asked if he ever felt the urge to intervene or help in particular situations, he said that the works themselves were his form of intervention. Sacco told me that he's quite aware of other comics journalists operating, like Suzie Cagle, Dan Archer, Josh Neufeld, etc, though he wasn't necessarily an avid reader of anyone else in particular. I asked him about his feelings regarding the "embedded journalism" he did with the US military; he said that the experience is what you made of it, but that he didn't encounter a lot of grief in finding out things he was interested in. Similarly, he answered no when I asked him if his long-form journalistic works were a repudiation of the 24-hour, brief news cycle. He said that he depends on that news cycle to a certain extent and that it has its place. Instead, he said that he sees his work as a repudiation of shallow journalism.
Unsurprisingly, Sacco was warm and friendly with the long line of attendees who were having their books signed (many of which were provided by Duke's excellent Gothic Bookshop). He said that one reason why his touring is going to slow down is that he's going back into research and drawing mode. He has not one, but two books coming out this June. The first is Journalism, a collection of his short journalism stories that appeared in a variety of venues, and many of the stories were not published in the US. That one will be 208 pages. Also coming out is a book he's doing with Chris Hedges called Days Of Destruction, Days Of Revolt, which is about urban decay and the rise of a permanently doomed underclass in the US. Finally, he said that his current project involves research into Mesopotamia, partly because he had to get away from doing books about modern war zones. He said that he's going to work in aspects of his long-promised Gentleman's Guide To The Rolling Stones in the book. -- ROB CLOUGH
• List: For The Guardian, comics creators Bryan & Mary Talbot select their top 10 graphic memoirs, with Joe Sacco's Palestine at #4: "Sacco was trained as a journalist and singlehandedly created the genre of reportage in graphic novel form. Immersing himself in a situation, his in-depth reports use the medium of comics to its full potential. Like his Safe Area Gorazde or recent Footnotes in Gaza, Palestine follows his experiences as he investigates events and interviews residents, explaining the history, politics and dynamics of the place as he goes along. The palpable sense of place and the feeling that we're in the presence of the people who relate their experiences to him (and therefore to us) is a testament to his storytelling skills, his work being far more intimate than that of a filmed documentary. Sacco is a master of this medium."
• Feature: "Compiling the book was a learning experience for Thomas... 'They (the Panthers) switched from a gun-toting paramilitary organization to a more community-based entity offering free food, clothing, and medical care,' he says. And, perhaps, this may be Listen, Whitey!’s biggest strength — and greatest contribution — to future discourse about this topic that has been so distorted and misrepresented in its presentation to the consciousness of mainstream America. Maybe now, 40 years after the histrionics and exaggeration, enough time has passed so the emergence of Black consciousness can be scrutinized with a measure of clarity." – Gregg Reese, Our Weekly
• Interview: At The Atlantic, Steven Heller has a Q&A with Daniel Clowes: "I was trying to get work as an illustrator in the '80s, but no art directors actually ever called, which is what led me to throw up my hands in despair and slink back to comics. Originally, I was hoping to find a writer to collaborate with, since I was much more interested in the drawing part of the equation, but that didn't work out. And so I began writing my own stories."