My very first Comic-Con International at San Diego was rather fan-freakin'-tastic. It is easier than people make it out to be but I imagine that if it started on TUESDAY night instead of Wednesday, we all would have died. This pictures are my con pictures so if that are mostly different than our previous CCI photo diaries. The caveat train is pulling away from the station!
Wednesday: I showed up the morning times with PR Director Jacq Cohen and our co-workers, Mike Baehr and Janice Headley had the table set UP! Aside from our many new releases we were thrilled to have new Love and Rockets shirts available. Here is the Fanta-crew dressed in all but that one with all those dirty words on it. Soak it in, that's the one time you'll ever see Gary Groth with his shirt untucked.
Oni Press and SCAD teacher Chris Schweizer immediately came over to look at his favorite cartoonist, Jason. Everyone will be sportin' a Schweizer nose-tupee next year, just you watch.
Then we caught Eddie Campbell reading our Prince Valiant while at the Top Shelf booth but once again, who could blame him?!
Speaking of Top Shelf, we spent most of the week occasionally locking gazes these lovely gents. Director of Digital, Chris Ross, and cartoonist of Cleveland, Joseph Remnant.
That night, Comics Reporter Tom Spurgeon, CBR's Kiel Phegley, International Freelancer Douglas Wolk and Fantagraphics' Jacq Cohen and I posed for a bunch of photos and examined gorgeous work at the CBLDF fundraiser.
. . . Until the BOSS showed up. Then we took Gary Groth and heir-to-the-throne Conrad to the Tri!ckster spot on J avenue to browse their books (our own event to happen on Friday night)
Friday: Two of the funniest men in comics, Steven Weissman and Johnny Ryan (creators of Chocolate Cheeks and Prison Pit respectively) chat up Jacq and Janice.
Gary Panter's Dal Tokyo finally came out for this show. Jon Chad's Leo Geo from Roaring Brook is a similar trim shape. They are perfect for the collector of art objects with really, really deep bookshelves. Trim de jour!
This photo COMPLETELY encapsulates the family aspect of not only Fantagraphics but most comic companies. Gary Groth watches, eats and even signs some of Gilbert Shelton's Fabulous Furry Freak books.
The Hernandez Brothers continued to work hard interviewed by MTV (below), Entertainment Weekly, MultiShow Brazil and many other news outlets.
For the Tr!ckster event parties, we co-sponsored a queer-themed drink and draw party to coincide with our new queer comics anthology called No Straight Lines. Check out this big sexy bear!
Drag Queens Dolly Disco and Grace Towers posed in the best Michael Jackson-Circus of the Damned leotards and put all us ladies to shame.
Jacq and I ran as fast as our heels could take us to the Eisners, saw Mickey Mouse Vol. 1 and 2 be awarded for Best Archival Collection/Print in comic strips! Eddie Campbell and Andrew Aydin tried to steal me away but no siren song is as sweet as Fantagraphics.
Saturday: No worse for the wear, Jacq Cohen and I adhered to my STRICT 5-2-1 rule. 5 hours of sleep, 2 meals a day and 1 shower to maintain humanity at cons. Jacq added 2 sets of clothes and I admit, it pays off. (And you like that OLD SCHOOL equipment? I'm trying to refit the credit card slider into a denim fanny pack . . . maybe for SPX)
Meanwhile, Drawn and Quarterly upped their dress game with full-on bow ties for Tom Devlin from Beguiling owner Peter Birkemoe. We were a bit jealous.
The Hernandez Brothers continued their BREAKNECK pace of signing books and getting visits from artists like Joe Keatinge, Matt Fraction and Bongo Comics' editor Chris Duffy!
While it may seem like you have seen a hundred Hopeys at comic cons (or dated a hundred Hopeys -- Jacq Cohen), this is the first cosplay the Hernandez Brothers have seen in thirty years of comics. Thank you, Dawn, for your Boot Angel get-up!
Jaime Hernandez and cartoonist Ed Piskor talked shop.
Almost had a heart attack when we saw this. I'm not ruining anyone's day by saying over 50% of our books are not for kids so it is sometimes surprising to see them pouring over Peanuts or Uncle Scrooge Comics (especially when The Furry Trap is TEN feet away)
BOOM! designer and fellow Center for Cartoon Studies alum, Carol Thomspon, laid her hands on our sweet trans-manga Wandering Son and couldn't let go.
So that's the whole she-bang! Thank you to the CCI organizers and all the people who helped out, bought comics, asked questions and brought me coffee. See you next year!
Diana Schutz of Dark Horse visits with Mario & Gilbert while Jaime keeps his nose to the grindstone. Citizen Rex sequel, anyone?
Steven Weissman & Jon Vermilyea compare notes on strap-fondling techniques. Hey, there's Zack Carlson partially visible over Steven's shoulder — a special shout-out to Zack for his good spirit and volunteerism this week. (Zack also made one of the most amazing Comic-Con purchases I've ever heard about: a 1964 Chevrolet Corvair.)
Young Romance is a real page-turner, as editor Michel Gagné demonstrates.
Eric and Tom Spurgeon yak it up while D&Q's Tom Devlin ponders the unspeakable and Janice looks on.
Scott McCloud looks happy to have found some (mc)clouds in Johnny Gruelle's Mr. Twee Deedle (shut up, I'm tired).
Comic-Con Sundays are always too hectic for much picture-taking:
Old friend Roger Langridge popped by and sketched the Great Gonzo for Clem Reynolds, to papa Eric's delight.
Thanks to the thousands of folks who visited our booth this year (especially those who spent their money in it), Comic-Con staff & volunteers, our wonderful artists, our kick-ass staff, all of our pals & colleagues... another humdinger of a year! I'm off for a week of R&R so I'll catch you all next week.
• Los Angeles, CA: Check out the opening of "Freak Scene," featuring Johnny Ryan, Mome-vet Jim Rugg, and our very own Jason T. Miles! This collection of underground comix opens at Synchronicity Space [ 713 N. Heliotrope ] (more info)
1-2-3-4, Johnny Ryan declares a penis war! Johnny's frenemy-bromance with French cartoonist Frédéric Fleury has blossomed into a book, War + Penis: The Great Online Comics Insult War, out now from Italy's The Milan Review. Johnny and Fred spent months dumping on each other's Facebook walls with dozens and dozens of disgusting and hilarious insult cartoons, and now here they are collected between two alternate covers, a "France wins" version and an "America wins" version. You can order the latter direct from Johnny. Get a room you guys!
• Interview (Video):VICE's Rocco Castoro: "Johnny Ryan has been filling the back page of VICE magazine with twisted comics for the past ten years. Not to toot our own horn here, but it's fair to say that his strips are some of the funniest and grossest being published anywhere right now. We sat down with Johnny at his house in LA to discuss how he got started, his feelings towards R. Crumb, and how he used to barely give a shit about the work he submitted to us."
• Interview: At Stumptown, our pal Gavin Lees sat down for a chat with the great Stan Sakai on assignment for Bleeding Cool: "My abilities as a storyteller have matured over the years, I hope, and if you look at the early years of Usagi, you can see a huge difference in the character. His proportions have changed — at the beginning, he was maybe three-heads high, now he’s more like five-heads. So, he’s gotten sleeker and he’s not as cuddly any more. That may be because I’ve concentrated on more dramatic stories, rather than humorous, as the series went on. Most of the changes are unconscious on my part, though, just myself maturing as an artist and a storyteller."
• Review: "Austrian cartoonist Nicholas Mahler cheerfully spoofs superheroes and modern comic-book publishing with Angelman... These kinds of jokes about the venality of superhero industry have been made many times before, but Mahler’s little squiggly characters are adorable, and his gags are genuinely funny, especially as poor little Angelman gets more and more loaded down with quirks and complications. Angelman is a satire, yes, but it also revels to some extent in the goofiness of revamps, retcons, and all the other gimmicks that keep mainstream comics afloat." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club
• Review: "The Matthias Wivel-edited anthology Kolor Klimax: Nordic Comics Now offers a generous sampling of recent work by new and veteran cartoonists from Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Denmark.... Overall, it’s a fine survey of creators who are largely unknown here in the States." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club
• Review: "Spain Rodriguez is one of the legends of the original underground comics wave, and he tells his own origin story in Cruisin’ with the Hound: The Life and Times of Fred Tooté, a collection of short stories about coming of age in Buffalo in the ’50s and ’60s. ...Cruisin’ with the Hound... gives a real flavor both of Rodriguez’s work — which was so different in its point of view than the other underground comics of the late ’60s and early ’70s — and from whence it came." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club
• Review: "It's over. And I am so sad. Fantagraphics's breathtaking reprints of some of the greatest comic strips of all time -- E.C. Segar's fabulously wonderful Popeye -- comes to a conclusion with this amazing sixth volume, a perfect collection of comics art that brings joy literally from cover to cover. From the latest spectacular die-cut front cover to the awesomely odd letter reprinted on the inside back cover, the final volume of the adventures of the sailor man and his friends, enemies and pets is pure joy and bliss, a deliriously charming collection... There was no world quite like the insane world that E.C. Segar created in Popeye. And that world is pure magic." – Jason Sacks, Comics Bulletin
• Review: "One of the most beloved comic strips of all time, Charles Schulz's Peanuts chronicled the adventures of Charlie Brown and friends for nearly five decades. Fantagraphics has been working for a few years now on a massive reissue of the entire strip, and their latest edition, The Complete Peanuts 1983-1984, collects work from the post-'classic' Peanuts era of the '60s. While it wouldn't be unfair to expect a bit of staleness at this stage, these later comics remain consistently witty and entertaining, and reflect Schulz's continued mastery of comedic timing within a four-panel layout.... Consistently subtle yet always timely, after 30 years, Schulz still had a winning formula on his hands." – Phil Guie, Critical Mob
• Interview (Audio): Podcaster Jason Barr: "Johnny Ryan guests on this addition of A.D.D. We talk about political correctness, illustration, growing up outside Boston, religion, wanting to be a priest, childhood loves, hating Doonesbury, having a funny family, not giving a shit, confrontational art, marriage & why people are afraid of Johnny Ryan among many other topics."
• Feature: "Love and Rockets has probably been my favorite comic book series for over a decade now. Though it’s been running since the early '80s, I didn’t discover it until Penny Century #1 came out in the late 90s -- I was immediately drawn to the cover art (as seen here), and the story within wasn’t at all what I expected. Of course, I immediately started reading all the collections starting from the beginning, so I could figure out who these characters were and discover their rich backstories." – Alicia Korenman, Chapelboro
• Plug: "Available now is an exceptional collection that just might have missed your attention. I have particularly enjoyed [The Sincerest Form of Parody].... This collects the 30 best stories from all the wild comics that came out to compete with EC's original Mad Comics, in 1953-55.... Plus I enjoy every project editor JohnBenson writes about. He offers fascinating insights into each of these disparate titles, interesting facts about the artists and even what they were spoofing." – Bud Plant
• Plug: On YALSA's The Hub blog, Emily Calkins includes Wandering Son by Shimura Takako on their list of graphic novels featuring LGBTQ characters
• Review/Plug:City Weekly's Scott Renshaw previews Kevin Avery's appearance at The King's English Bookshop in Salt Lake City on Friday to sign Everything Is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson, saying "Avery crafts a biography of a largely self-taught thinker who immersed himself in his passions, whether that meant classic film, the detective fiction of Ross Macdonald or folk music. The author allows his subject to develop primarily through oral history, as his friends and contemporaries recall a quirky iconoclast who disappeared into obscurity and a lonely death in 2006. But the book is most compelling simply by bringing Nelson’s own distinctive writing voice to a new generation, a voice that burned with intelligence, unabashed pimping of the work he loved and a commitment to understanding what artists were trying to accomplish."
• Profile: Scott Iwasaki of The Park Record talks to Kevin Avery in advance of his signing at Dolly's Bookstore in Park City, UT on Saturday: "'Even though it started out as an anthology of Paul's work, as I started learning more about him and his life, I found there was a lot of Paul between the lines of the reviews and I knew the book I needed to do had to also be a biography,' Avery said. 'I thought it would be a great way to present his work and tell his story.'"
• Review: "...I like comics to be really crazy. Luckily there are people out there who share my deranged concept of what comics should be. One is Johnny Ryan, who understands comics at odds with artistic correctness and had already demonstrated his lack of respect towards his fellow artists in particular, and everything in general... The level of violence reaches insane levels of pure abstraction; the figures in Prison Pit cannibalize, maim, tear, break, eat and shit with such enthusiasm and rawness, it's like watching some amoebas evolving through the microscope.... A Stan Lee for the new millennium." – Alfonso Garcia, C (translated from Spanish)
• Interview: There's a seemingly-slightly-out-of-date but still fun Q&A (with acrostic Qs!) with Steven Weissman at Wall Drawing: "Nice colors help a lot. Black and white is tough, you know, I have to think more. Even when I’m drawing for fun I like to use markers, screentones and so forth."
If you don't have a pre-teen spitfire looking out for you, you can keep checking H&M stores across the country. Or just give it up and get yourself some Johnny Ryan books instead at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, 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.
And keep an eye out for that Bella. Girl's smart as a whip, and I'm sure you'll be hearing more from her in the years to come!
A typical Johnny Ryan fan // photo courtesy of H&M.com
Yes, our Johnny Ryan puts the hurl and mucus in H&M with his brand-new collection for the Swedish fashion empire that is quickly sprouting up stores around the USA. (Think IKEA for clothes.)
Johnny was one of four guest artists for the Spring 2012 Divided collection, and his work can be found on two tees (seen below) and that fetching tank top, above.
Unfortunately, it doesn't look like online purchasing is available in the US, so you'll have to venture out to one of their locations to get one. I, myself, will be attempting to buy some this weekend. I'll keep you posted...
We like the way the Cottesloe Theatre (the smallest of the 3 stages in London's National Theatre) labels their rechargable batteries with the names of Love and Rockets, Hate, Angry Youth Comix and Ghost World characters. Instagram photo (via Twitter) by Mike Winship, who informs us "Sadly, Maggie & Luba have been lost to the great battery dump in the sky*... (*ground)."