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 ].