•Review:The New York Review of Books takes a look at Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons. Barry Moser: "[Flannery O'Connor] also said that a story—or a linoleum print, if you will—has to have muscle as well as meaning, and the meaning has to be in the muscle. Her prints certainly have muscle, and a lot of it."
•Plug:Kotaku was pleased with their copy of God and Science by Jaime Hernandez in an article called "Four Comics That Will Vibrate Your Molecules This Week." Evan Narcisse expands on an idea, "It's as if [the Hernandez Brothers] never shook their adolescent fascination with rayguns and capes, choosing instead to deepen the metaphoric and escapist elements of such genre tropes."
•Plug:Comics Crux snagged a copy of Jaime Hernandez' God and Science plus the FIB mini. Jess Pendley matter-of-factly states: "If you are a fan of either Jaime Hernandez or traditional capes-and-tights stories, you’ll only be doing yourself a service by purchasing this right now."
•Interview (video): Watch an 'Outrageous Tub' interview featuring No Straight Lines editor Justin Hall on Accidental Bear. In reference to a superhero question "Are you good or bad?" Hall replied, "I haven't made a decision yet." Be bad, be sooo bad.
•Plug: The guys over at Stumptown Trade Review got excited about No Straight Lines, edited by Justin Hall: "It was just the other day that I mentioned one could never tell what was coming from Fantagraphics. As if to prove my point, they are at it again. . ."
•Review:Paste Magazine had a lovely time reading Mr. Twee Deedle (edited by Rick Marschall): "[Johnny Gruelle's] strips seem crafted mostly to impart lessons (be kind, don’t wiggle, giving is better than receiving), and there’s no question that they can feel preachy and simplistic, but the art, deliberately old-fashioned even at the time and reminiscent of Kate Greenaway’s illustrations, rescues them."
•Plug:Robot 6 caught the scent of a very good book slated for September by Chris Wright. Michael May is excited for Blacklung: "Depressing, existential AND romantic? I couldn’t sign up quickly enough for Chris Wright’s original graphic novel debut."
Who's ready for some Comic-Con?! Fantagraphics is getting ready to head to San Diego ourselves, and over the next week, we'll be rolling out our list of debuts and our signing schedule right here on the FLOG.
How about a list of panels featuring our fabulous Fantagraphics artists? See you there!
Thursday, July 12th
• 1:00-2:00 PM //CBLDF Master Session: Gilbert Shelton: With his creations The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, Fat Freddy's Cat, and Wonder Warthog among others, Comic-Con special guest Gilbert Shelton is a master of establishing iconic characters and presenting them in scenarios that underscore his expressive cartooning abilities. Get a rare glimpse into the drawing process of this master of the Underground Comix movement, hosted by Tom Spurgeon of The Comics Reporter. The pieces created in this Master Session will be auctioned off at CBLDF's Art Auction on Saturday night. Room 11AB
• 4:00-5:00 PM //Womanthology: One woman's (Renae De Liz) question on Twitter became a fully realized all-female graphic novel anthology in under a year. A legion of supporters helped fund Womanthology: Heroic through a considerably successful Kickstarter campaign, and recently IDW announced the continuation of Womanthology as an ongoing series, starting with Womanthology: Space. Meet some of the more than 170 creators who made the book happen, including our own Trina Robbins (The Brinkley Girls). Moderated by Womanthology contributor Barbara Kesel. Room 25ABC
• 8:00-9:00 PM //Artist As Brand, Rise of the Artist Entrepreneur: Greg Spalenka moderates a panel discussion on art career sustainability. Learn strategies on how to create an income off your talent on your own terms. Panelists include Dave McKean (an icon of popular art culture, professional artist, photographer, graphic designer, director, musician, Arkham Asylum, The Sandman, MirrorMask),Craig Elliott, Shiflett Brothers, Miss Mindy, and Daniel and Dawna Davis. Room 8
Friday, July 13th
• 2:00-3:00 PM //No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics: Queer cartooning has been one of the most vibrant artistic and countercultural movements of the past 40 years, tackling complex issues of identity and changing social mores with intelligence, humor, and an irreverent imagination. No Straight Lines, a massive anthology published by Fantagraphics Books, is the most definitive collection to date of this material, showcasing everything from lesbian underground comix, to gay newspaper strips, bi punk zines, and trans webcomics. The editor of the book, Justin Hall moderates an all-star panel of some of the true greats of LGBTQ comics: Alison Bechdel, Paige Braddock, Ed Luce, Trina Robbins, and Eric Shanower. Room 25ABC
• 2:30-3:30 PM // Dave McKean: My Two Years with Dawkins, Christ, and a Small Crab Called Eric:Dave McKean, illustrator of many books with Neil Gaiman, Ray Bradbury, John Cale, Heston Blumenthal, Grant Morrison, and occasional artist,photographer, director, musician, writer, and singer of forgotten songs, talks about two intense years spent exploring both sides of the theological divide. Room 5AB
• 2:30-3:30 PM // Comics Arts Conference Session #8: Jack Kirby, Modernism, and Abstraction: Jack Kirby is increasingly emerging as an important 20th century American artist even beyond the realm of the comics world. This panel will discuss the relationship of Kirby with abstract art, his deeply modernist artistic achievement, and his influence on art and abstract comics. Andrei Molotiu (Indiana University, Bloomington; Abstract Comics: The Anthology) will give a presentation on the topic, then will discuss the subject with artist Mark Badger (Batman: Jazz, Martian Manhunter) and other surprise guests. Room 26AB
• 5:30-6:30 PM //D+Q & Fantagraphics: North America's two most influential independent comics publishers, which have defined the literary comics medium for the past 25 years, preview their upcoming lists. Jacq Cohen (publicity director) and Eric Reynolds (associate publisher) of Fantagraphics, and Julia Pohl-Miranda (editorial marketing manager) and Tom Devlin (creative director) for D+Q present their 2012 and 2013 lists, with a few surprises. Room 26AB
Saturday, July 14th
• 11:30-12:30 PM //Save the Date: Your New Favorite Film: This may be the first comic book film that isn't based on an actual comic book; instead, Save the Date uses the style and sensibility of indie comics by renowned graphic novelist Jeffrey Brown as a jumping off point to tell a contemporary story of the trials, pain, and happiness of modern love. Explore the challenges and advantages of working in film versus comics with cartoonist/screenplay co-writer Jeffrey Brown, director Michael Mohan, and producers Jordan Horowitz and Michael Roiff, and the cast.Room 5AB
• 1:30-3:00 PM //30th Anniversary of Love and Rockets: For 30 years Los Bros Hernandez have entranced comics readers around the world with their adventures of Maggie, Hopey, Luba, and the entire Love and Rockets cast of characters. Comic-Con special guests Gilbert Hernandez, Jaime Hernandez, and Mario Hernandez join with Fantagraphics Books co-publisher Gary Groth to talk about this award-winning series of comics and its decades-spanning durability. Room 24ABC
• 4:30-6:00 PM //Spotlight on Gilbert Shelton: Underground comix legend and Comic-Con special guest Gilbert Shelton makes a rare U.S. appearance to discuss his career (including The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers and Wonder Warthog) with moderator Fantagraphics Books co-publisher Gary Groth, plus Ron Turner (publisher, Last Gasp San Francisco), and Shelton's literary agent, Manfred Mroczkowski (Interlicense Ltd., Mill Valley, CA). Room 5AB
• 5:30-8:00 PM //Gays in Comics: 25th Year Celebration!: This year, founding moderator and best-selling author Andy Mangels, chairs a new form of panel, a live documentary that will unfold for the audience, featuring a mixture of commentary, images, music and other surprises! Showcased with live appearances and video messages will be an army of awesome creators who have appeared on the previous 24 panels, including Roberta Gregory, creator of Naughty Bits and Bitchy Bitch and the godmother of the gay comic movement; Trina Robbins, remarkable writer and artist whose work on behalf of women in comics has helped redefine the industry; Justin Hall, author of No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics, creator of Glamazonia, and Prism Comics talent chair; and much more! Room 6A
Queer cartooning encompasses some of the best and most interesting comics of the last four decades, with creators tackling complex issues of identity and a changing society with intelligence, humor, and imagination. This book celebrates this vibrant artistic underground by gathering together a collection of excellent stories that can be enjoyed by all.
No Straight Lines showcases major names such as Alison Bechdel (whose book Fun Home was named Time Magazine’s 2006 Book of the Year), Howard Cruse (whose groundbreaking Stuck Rubber Baby is now back in print), and Ralf Koenig (one of Europe’s most popular cartoonists), as well as high-profile, crossover creators who have flirted with the world of LGBTQ comics, like legendary NYC artist David Wojnarowicz and media darling and advice columnist Dan Savage. No Straight Lines also spotlights many talented creators who never made it out of the queer comics ghetto, but produced amazing work that deserves wider attention.
Until recently, queer cartooning existed in a parallel universe to the rest of comics, appearing only in gay newspapers and gay bookstores and not in comic book stores, mainstream bookstores or newspapers. The insular nature of the world of queer cartooning, however, created a fascinating artistic scene. LGBT comics have been an uncensored, internal conversation within the queer community, and thus provide a unique window into the hopes, fears, and fantasies of queer people for the last four decades.
These comics have forged their aesthetics from the influences of underground comix, gay erotic art, punk zines, and the biting commentaries of drag queens, bull dykes, and other marginalized queers. They have analyzed their own communities, and their relationship with the broader society. They are smart, funny, and profound. No Straight Lines will be heralded by people interested in comics history, and people invested in LGBT culture will embrace it as a unique and invaluable collection.
"I discovered... what I was looking for, a queer world with stories and characters that I could recognize, that I could laugh with and care about. What I needed was a book like this: hairy legs and all." – Lana Wachowski (The Matrix, Bound), from her introduction
"We've all been waiting too long for a collection like this! You must buy this book!" – Alison Bechdel (Fun Home, Dykes to Watch Out For)
• Interview: On the National Post, Nathalie Atkinson interviews Gabriella Giandelli on her graphic novel, Interiorae., and the retrospective exhibit at the Italian Cultural Institute. Giandelli states, "There are some stories where it would be possible to have the soundtrack of what you listened to during the work for every page of the story. Or sometimes the song is inside my work — nobody knows but for me it’s there."
• Review:The Weekly Crisis solves the weekly dilemma for you with a "buy it" verdict for Gabriella Giandelli's Interiorae. Taylor Pithers says, "Giandelli also weaves magic on the way the other characters speak. There is a certain rhythmic beauty to the dialogue that gives the whole book a feeling of quiet, almost as if everyone is speaking in soft tones."
• Review: The Boston Phoenix gets a slap in the face from Hans Rickheit and asks for more. In the review of Folly: The Consequences of Indiscretion, S.I. Rosenbaum says, "It's as if other masters of visual bodyhorror — Cronenberg, Burns, Dan Clowes, Tarsem Singh — are weird by choice. Rickheit, it seems, just can't help it. There's a conviction to his creepiness, a compulsive nature even in his early draftsmanship."
•Commentary: BEA was last week and Publishers Weekly couldn't get enough of Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds and new book, The Hypo by Noah Van Sciver. Heidi MacDonald and Calvin Reid teamed up to cover the event: "Eric Reynolds said it was a good show for the house, noting that all the galleys for Van Sciver books were taken and there was “huge interest” in Fantagraphics titles, like the Flannery O’Connor: The Cartoons."
•Review:The Comics Bulletin reviewed God and Science: Return of the Ti-Girls by Jaime Hernandez. In the wake of near-universal criticism for super hero comics, Jason Sacks gives an angsty-yet-positive review: "[God and Science] is indeed very indy and quirky and idiosyncratic and personal and uncompromising as any of Jaime's comics."
•Plug: The blog for CAKE (Chicago Alternative Comics Expo) mentioned the our newest collection, No Straight Lines. "LGBTQ cartooning has been one of the most vibrant artistic and countercultural movements of the past 40 years, tackling complex issues of identity and changing social mores with intelligence, humor, and an irreverent imagination. No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics . . . is the most definitive collection to date of this material, showcasing the spectrum from lesbian underground comix, to gay newspaper strips, to bi punk zines, to trans webcomics." Debuting this weekend at Cake in Chicago, you can find editor, Justin Hall, at table 76.
•Review: A short-and-sweet review on Scripp News popped up today. Andrew A. Smith tips his hat to Mysterious Traveler: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 3. " . . .despite the stultifying constriction of the draconian Comics Code of 1954, Ditko managed a remarkable body of work in both volume and content. Even more amazing is his accelerated learning curve, which shoots straight up from first page to last."
The most delicious comic-con ever debuts this weekend, Saturday, June 16th and Sunday, June 17th... Introducing CAKE: the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo, a weekend-long celebration of independent comics, inspired by Chicago’s rich legacy as home to many of underground and alternative comics’ most talented artists!
While Fantagraphics won't be tabling there ourselves (sob!), many of our wonderful artists will be there, as featured guests, panelists, exhibitors, or probably just walkin' around somewhere.
And check out these panels with our Fantagraphics artists! Why, it's the icing on the... okay, I'll stop:
• Crude and Rude: Comics and Vulgarity: featuring Ivan Brunetti , Lisa Hanawalt, Hellen Jo and Onsmith, moderated by Josh Reinwald and Justin Rosenberg (Sponsored by Quimby’s Bookstore)
• Jeffrey Brown Makes a Minicomic: Jeffrey Brown makes a minicomic in 1 hour!
• Double Vision: Comics and Animation: with a Q&A featuring Jo Dery, Jim Trainor, Amy Lockhart and Marc Bell, presented by the Eyeworks Animation Festival (Lilli Carré and Alexander Stewart)
• Start a Micropress: featuring Sarah Becan, Austin English, Jesjit Gill, Annie Koyama, Greg Means and Caroline Paquita, moderated by Zak Sally
• Comics In Chicago: The Past 10 Years (Sponsored by the Chicago Independent Radio Project - CHIRP): featuring Ezra Claytan Daniels, Lyra Hill, Paul Hornschemeier, Robin Hustle and Jeremy Tinder, moderated by Edie Fake;
• Queer Communities, Queer Anthologies: featuring Justin Hall, Robert Kirby and Annie Murphy, moderated by Noah Berlatsky (Sponsored by Little Heart, a Comic Anthology for Marriage Equality)
• Violent Line: Mark-Making and Meaning: featuring Anya Davidson, Charles Forsman, Patrick Kyle, Grant Reynolds, Conor Stetchschulte, Lale Westvind and Mickey Zacchilli, moderated by Noel Freibert
• Real Life: A Roundatable on Women and Graphic Autobiography: featuring Rina Ayuyang, Lucy Knisley, Keiler Roberts, Marian Runk, Leslie Stein, Julia Wertz
CAKE will be held at the Columbia College of Chicago's Ludington Building [ 1104 S. Wabash (8th Floor) ] from 11 AM to 6 PM. It is free and open to the public. Go, and give our artists a hug and your money.
"This book is considered a pioneering example of shonen-ai (boys’ love), often referred to as yaoi in the United States. In a German boarding school, young Thomas Werner kills himself because of unrequited love for a schoolmate, who is in fact in love with Thomas, but secretly. Unpacking the emotional threads among the boys and their fellows leads to a sophisticated and beautifully drawn melodrama."
"Herewith a color and black-and-white sampler from a less-recognized underground of gay comics from the past four decades, including Bechdel and Cruse, Europe’s Ralf Koenig, and 2011 ALA keynote speaker Dan Savage (Savage Love; The Kid; It Gets Better). Fantagraphics promises 'smart, funny, and profound' — and uncensored."
"A serious yet sweet fifth-grade drama about several boys and girls who want to change their gender. Unlike many manga involving boy/girl reversals, this one does not play gender issues for laughs, even if gentle comedy enters the picture along with serious emotional drama."
• Review: "The seventeenth volume of this great series from Fantagraphics [The Compete Peanuts] is just as delightful as all the rest. Yes, the ink line of Charles Schulz is a little wobbly at times, but his humor is just as sharp as ever.... I’ve said it before, but if you want reading material that will make you smile and laugh it’s hard to beat this series. And I’m continuing to admire the subtle and classy cover designs by Seth. Highly recommended." – Todd Klein
• Interview: At The Art Newspaper, Sarah Douglas chats with Robert Crumb about his museum retrospective show in Paris: "The contemporary fine art world has never particularly interested me. They started to embrace me and have big fancy gallery shows and museum shows. I’m one of the few cartoonists who mainly work for print who is now finding their way into the fine art world, and it’s the choice of the fine art world; it’s not my choice. I haven’t consciously promoted myself in that world."
• Commentary: At The Comics Journal, R. Fiore uses Mark Kalesniko's graphic novel Freeway as a springboard to discuss the history of American animation: "The eponymous metaphor of Mark Kalesniko’s Freeway is almost too easy: A transportation network that once granted free and effortless mobility that’s become a morass of stagnation and frustration to symbolize an animation business that promised personal expression amid camaraderie but delivers forced mediocrity in an atmosphere of Machiavellian backbiting. Condemned to a purgatorial traffic jam, Kalesniko’s dog-headed alter ego Alex grinds his teeth to reminiscences about his thwarted career, potentially idyllic but presently in-law plagued romance, and his abortive first expedition into Los Angeles, intermixed with idealized visions of animation’s golden age and premonitions of [SPOILER REDACTED – Ed.]."
• Commentary: "I’d love to see Locas become a well-made animated television series, because I feel like Jaime Hernandez’ work deserves the widest-possible audience. But is such an idea messing with a classic that doesn’t need such 'help'?" – Graeme McMillan, Spinoff Online
• Profile: David Berry of Canada's National Post profiles the Toronto-bound Jason: "'I guess I’m not the most talkative person myself, so most of my characters end up the same way,' says Jason (a.k.a. John Arne Sæterøy) who, true to form, conducted our interview over email from his current home in France. 'I just think silence can be more effective than a lot of words.' The truth of that is in the book he’ll be showing off at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, Athos in America. The collection of short stories is in a lot of ways a quintessential distillation of his themes and tendencies, blending together his cast of mostly melancholy (and quiet) anthropomorphized characters, dryly existential humour, sparse but careful composition and plots borrowed but tweaked from Hollywood genres such as crime, science fiction and, in the case of the titular musketeer, historical derring-do."
• Review: "...Mauldin created great art. His illustrative skill still catches our eye. His depth of thought and feeling still draw us in. We ponder Willie and Joe. We weigh their posture. We stare into their ravaged eyes. Who are these men, we ask? Where did they come from? Where will their paths lead?... Mauldin’s creations are as isolated and as awaiting-of-an-unknown-fate as Vladimir and Estragon. Their foxhole encapsulates their existence with the totality of Nagg and Nell’s garbage cans. Day-by-day, Willie and Joe confronted their readers, making no progress but enduring.... Fantagraphics has honored... the survivors and the fallen, while enriching the rest of us with this collection." – Bob Levin, First of the Month (via TCJ.com)
• Plugs: Lawrence Ferber of Next Magazine mentions a few of our titles in his MoCCA Fest report: "Batman received a subversive skewing in Josh Simmons’ gleefully un-PC The Furry Trap(another of its screwy adults-only tales involves a rape-happy elf). Trap's publisher, Fantagraphics Books, will release volume three of excellent gender-bending coming-of-age Manga series, Wandering Son, this summer, along with a queer comics compilation edited by San Francisco’s Justin Hall, No Straight Lines."
• Plug: "I loved Nancy in childhood, and I love Nancy now. The accuracy and economy of Ernie Bushmiller’s art and the genial simplemindedness of his humor make an irresistible combination. So I am happy that Fantagraphics at last has published Nancy Is Happy: Complete Dailies 1943–1945." – Michael Leddy, Orange Crate Art
• Interview: Our own Eric Buckler talks to Wilfred Santiago at our own The Comics Journal: "Unlike working with someone else’s script, there’s no linear method when I work on my own. That is to say I write while I ‘toon, and I ‘toon while I write. So the most important step is editing–what’s left on the page before going to the printer and into the sweaty hands of readers. I do believe writing has improved my cartooning. I don’t think it’s an accident that some of the best cartoonists are writers. I’m not putting myself in that group but I strive for it."
• Review: "This is a wonderful collection of golden age material from Bill Everett, all never before reprinted.... For fans of golden age material or Bill Everett Amazing Mysteries: The Bill Everett Archives, Vol. 1 is a must have look at early comics from lesser known publishers... At $40 it’s an investment into rarely seen material." – Scott VanderPloeg, Comic Book Daily
• Review: At Danish comics website Nummer9, Nikolaj Mangurten Rubin looks at Kolor Klimax: Nordic Comics Now, calling it "A many-headed troll monster of a book" and giving it a 4 out of 5 rating
• Review: "Not many music writers warrant a biography. Lester Bangs was one. Maybe Tosches or Kent. But Everything Is an Afterthought, by Kevin Avery, is a singular piece of work, a hybrid bio and anthology. Nelson was the Orson Welles of rock letterdom, a man whose profiles of Springsteen and Zevon were masterpieces of the form. A slow stone-cutter of a writer, a cinephile and a noir buff (and an inveterate deadline-misser), he shot himself in the foot many times, but Avery’s book makes the reader misty-eyed for a time when music journalism was populated by hard-nosed evangelists, not suck-ups or career snarks." – Peter Murphy, "Blog of Revelations," Hot Press
• Review: As part of ComicsAlliance's series focusing on sex in comics, Douglas Wolk looks at Gilbert Hernandez's Birdland: "Birdland has been out of print for a while, which is a pity. It's witty, eccentric, bursting with joy, and utterly, cheerfully smutty.... And the whole thing is drawn in a style that's the erotic equivalent of Jack Kirby's fight scenes: grounded in the way actual bodies interact, but pumped up to an imaginative intensity way beyond anything the naked eye has ever seen. On top of that, Birdland is funny -- not corny-funny or nudge/wink-funny, but absurd and sly, with a terrific sense for what can make the overfamiliar language of pornography fresh again."
This month's Diamond Previews catalog is out and in it you'll find our usual 2-page spread (download the PDF) with our releases scheduled to arrive in your local comic shop in April 2012 (give or take — some release dates may have changed since the issue went to press). We're pleased to offer additional and updated information about these upcoming releases here on our website, to help shops and customers alike make more informed ordering decisions.
Justin recently taught the Engage: Queer Comics Project class at the California College of the Arts, and now his students are curating an art show opening this Saturday, December 17th at the S.F. Cartoon Art Museum.
The show will feature art from LGBTQ comics over the last four decades made by local creators, as well as a film composed of interviews of major figures in queer cartooning conducted by the students, and Quiltbag, a zine of original material created by the students themselves.
Among the featured artists is our very own Trina Robbins! Other artists featured in the show include: Burton Clarke (Gay Comix), Jaime Cortez (Sexile), Ed Luce (Wuvable Oaf), Jon Macy (Teleny and Camille), MariNaomi (Kiss and Tell), Joey Alison Sayers (Just So You Know), Christine Smith (The Princess), Mary Wings (Come Out Comix), and Rick Worley (A Waste of Time).
Plus, there will be comics-inspired drag performances by the uncanny Sue Casa, Trangela Lansbury (ohmygod, best name ever), Karma Zabetch, and others. The party runs from 5:30 to 7:30 PM at the S.F. Cartoon Art Museum [ 655 Mission Street, San Francisco ].