A century ago in sleepy Lumberton, the moving pictures, with their daring heroines, were the most exciting thing to happen to young Katherine Whaley. When a movie production came to town, her life took a most unexpected turn.
Decades later, Whaley recounted her wild, weird years in the company of the mysterious eccentric Charles Varnay and his uncannily intelligent dog Rousseau. Varnay aimed to produce a movie serial, with Katherine as its destined star, propounding a message about the future of the human race — a message he claimed was recorded on ancient artifacts in the voice of Jesus Christ himself!
Kim Deitch's first full-length all-original graphic novel in all of his hardworking, prolific, and heralded career is a big, widescreen book with a big, widescreen title! The Amazing, Enlightening and Absolutely True Adventures of Katherine Whaley is a winding tale featuring a rich eccentric, a too-smart dog, silent movies, strange religious artifacts, and the daring young woman who experienced it all, told in the "picto-fiction" format of illustrated text interwoven with comics which Kim began experimenting with in Deitch's Pictorama.
The book's at the printer now and should arrive on our shores in July. Read the Prologue and Chapter 1 for free right now, and pre-order your copy right here.
MoCCA was a BLAST, as usual. PR Director, Jacq Cohen, and I showed up early on Friday to set up the table. People couldn't wait for Saturday, clumping around the new books. Our two newest EC Comics Library releases featuring Al Williamson and Jack Davis' work are creating a heartbreakingly beautiful rainbow.
One side of the set-up table!
Friday night was Dash Shaw's opening for his New School art exhibition and 30th birthday at Desert Island. His fianceé (sorry, ladies and germs) made a cake that was uber-delicious. Below, Dash talks about his new comics.
Party hardy, Gabrielle Bell is talking to Ariel Shrag (!) in the left-hand corner.
A gentleman was purchasing Julio's Day by Gilbert Hernandez at Desert Island so we had to compliment him on his exquisite taste. Lo and behold, Tony (or so he says) showed up at MoCCA the next day ready to buy more quality comics, this time Castle Waiting Vol. 1 by Linda Medley. My mom would be so proud that I'm still somewhat polite!
I ran into a familiar face, cartoonist and animation intern Andrew Greenstone, who was more than willing to hang out and shot the shit---I mean, talk business.
If I ever become a comic book store owner, I hope I'm as cool as Gabe Fowler. The red print was a Desert Island exclusive!
Cartoonist Charles Burns showed up to hang out with friends and look at comics. I never ever tire of that man's company, but he did mention some people are reticent to eat with him because of what he draws in his comics. FOOLS, I say! Also, Evan Dorkin makes Chris Duffy guffaw in the background. Doesn't "Griffith, Dorkin, Duffy and Burns" sound like an amazing lawfirm? Like possibly corrupt but they probably have a pastry chef on staff to appease their clients?
Also signing at MoCCA was Kim Deitch, whose new book The Amazing, Enlightening and Absolutely True Adventures of Katherine Whaley is coming out soon and is haunting, to put it mildly. Deitch brought his original pages which fans poured over. James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook made their Fantagraphics signing debut for 7 Miles a Second, the moving comic written by David Wojnarowicz. The book has one of those covers that is both oblique and arresting (Jacq adds up some quick math on the right). While I did not stop a child from picking up the book, I did tell a parent or two it had adult material in it. One of my favorite sells of the weekend was selling Prison Pit Book Two to a 14 year old kid whose mom seemed dubious until I brought up the philosophy behind the book. The teen gave me a giant wink as he left, he might not get it still.
Van Cook discussed innovative printing techniques from their travels and non-profit advice while James would sketch in signed copies of the book.
Recently, Alex Dueben talked to Romberger for Comic Book Resources and stopped to meet them in person.
Next up was Leslie and Dash! Local cartoonist Leslie Stein is also in a pretty crazy fun band, Prince Rupert's Drops. If you live in the New York area, check them out. The rest of us will just live via our headphones or listening to their tracks on the recent AudioFemme interview. Leslie signed my old copy of Eye of the Majestic Creatureand we talked about second book that's coming out this fall! I heard some comments from other cartoonists that they feel weird about asking fellow toonies to sign their books but I don't give a humdinkle about that. Make it FANCY for me.
Dash signed the spine of many a Bottomless Belly Button and cover of 3 New Stories for eager fans. Those gorgeous red prints (you can only see a quarter of it) are available from Desert Island if you are looking for something for the Shaw fan who 'has it all.'
Given our close proximity to the stairs to the bathroom, there wasn't much chance for wondering down aisles or buying comics. I really wanted to read L. Nichols' Flocks and she was helpful enough to COME TO ME with her Square for my plastic purchase.
Tucker Stone, of TCJ and Bergen Street Comics, came by to get Gary's signature on a copy of The Comics Journal. Pretty cute, right?
Jacq and me with two of our debut books by Ulli Lust and Gilbert Hernandez! Photo by Dre Grigoropol.
Hung with bossman Gary Groth, Dash, Leslie and Jacq one night.
Charles Forsman was out and about with his Oily Comics micropublishing outfit. Chuck's comic, The End of the Fucking World, will be out this July from Fantagraphics in one single beautiful book. I'm so excited about that. We in no way support NCIS.
Chuck and I go way back, we used to work at the same graphic novel library together in Vermont. A photo from 2009:
Speaking of libraries, the next day Tom Spurgeon and I visited Columbia University's Butler Library and Rare Book room, led around by enthusiastic librarian Karen Green. It was so very cool to see our books with library binding but they've also perfected a myler binding so we don't lose those cool spine designs. Shaw's Bottomless Belly Button and Noah Van Sciver's The Hypo.
Kim, I didn't forget about you, the library has a lot of Jacques Tardi books. Some were checked out, which is even better than finding them at the library.
A grand place I hope to visit again. Thanks to Anelle Miller and her trusty band of volunteers for the enjoyable convention, Gary and Jacq for booth help plus a few of these photos. Lastly, another one of my favorite moments of the week was selling Dungeon Quest Book One to a gentleman on Saturday who came back Sunday to buy the other two after reading the first in one sitting. It was a cherry on top of an awesome convention.
Saturday, April 6th // 1:00 - 2:00 PM Guest of Honor Bill Griffith in conversation with Paul Di Filippo [in the Programming Room in the Lower Level]
Where will all these wonderful books and artists be, you might be wondering? Why, tables B64, B65, C80, C81 -- right in front as you walk through the main entrance! (See a bigger version of this map here.) Our PR/Marketing duo of Jacq & Jen will be happy to see you at MoCCA!
The best looping GIF of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review: Publishers Weekly gives a Starred Review to Messages in a Bottle by B. Krigstein. "Krigstein’s stories are sometimes epic and sprawling, sometimes compressed and confined…His mastery of chiaroscuro, and his dramatic composition and layout, applied across a very wide range of subject matter, are what make this gorgeous collection so essential."
• Review:The AV Club also shows extreme love for the comics of B. Krigstein in his new collection Messages in a Bottle. Noel Murray writes, "Krigstein treated each assignment as a chance to put theory into practice, and even among EC’s formidable roster of stylists, Krigstein stands out as one for whom the words around the pictures almost don’t matter, because the art’s so mesmerizing that it’s hard to pay attention to anything else…"
• Review: The Advocate warms up to the reading of Gilbert Hernandez's Julio's Day. Jacob Anderson-Minshall writes "Hernandez is able to illustrate that those events had a global reach and dramatically impacted the lives of everyone — including the people in Julio’s life…A remarkable accomplishment that is likely to find its way on numerous Best of 2013 lists and garner Hernandez more well deserved awards and accolades, Julio’s Day is, at its heart, a gay story."
• Plug:Philip Nel plugs our latest volume of The Comics Journal #302 and it's interview -- the last interview-- with children's book author and illustrator Maurice Sendak. "Above all, in reading Groth’s interview, it’s great to hear Maurice’s voice — his salty, funny, grumpy, insightful, irascible voice — just one last time."
• Review: Neal Wyatt of the Library Journal looks at the new books coming out this year from Fantagraphics. "Browsing the Fantagraphics spring catalog underscores the myriad of styles and literary approaches that graphic novelists and artists explore—be it Anders Nilsen’s near metaphorical images or Dash Shaw’s crowded and kaleidoscopic landscapes." He singles out Good Dog by Graham Chaffee, The Amazing, Enlightening and Absolutely True Adventures of Katherine Whaley by Kim Deitch, Lost Cat by Jason, New School by Dash Shaw ("Known for his frenetic and inventive artwork…") and The End by Anders Nilson.
• Plug: The Austin Public Library highlighted two of our books on their blog. On Jordan Crane's The Last Lonely Saturday, Betsey Blanche described as "The artwork is simple – drawn in mostly red and yellow – but full and effective." They also pulled out Lilli Carré's The Lagoon: "It’s another haunting but beautiful book about a family, mysteries, and the power of legends."
• Review:The Comicbook Pusherman looks at 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente by Wilfred Santiago. "…as a comic it absolutely crackles. The art is stunning. Santiago clearly captures baseball's (and Clemente's) unique energy and the Americas of the '50s and '60s and most distinctly the Puerto Rico of the 30s and 40s," says Jeffrey O. Gustafson.
This month's Diamond Previews catalog is out now 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 March 2013 (give or take — release dates are likely to 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.
Fantagraphics is heading over to the mighty 2012 MoCCA Fest this weekend, with so much awesomeness in store for you all! Visit us this Saturday, April 28th and Sunday, April 29th at the Lexington Avenue Armory in New York City!
First off, take a look at all the debuts we're bringing! Many of these books won't be in stores for several more months, and copies are limited, so make our table your first stop:
Find all of this, and even more, at the Fantagraphics booth, located at our usual spot at #J1, J2, K1, K2:
And hey! Check out these panels!
Saturday, April 28th
12:15 pm // With Nicolas Mahler and Tom Gauld: Brian Heater interviews two artists; Tom Gauld of Scotland, and Nicolas Mahler of Austria. (Room B)
1:15 pm // Checklist for a New Comic: A Guide to Getting Started: In this brief seminar, Jessica Abel and Matt Madden will walk you through the many considerations you should keep in mind when you embark on a new comic of any kind. Abel and Madden will help you strategize and come up with a working plan for your next project, and will cover: creative block and coming up with ideas; choosing a format and platform that makes sense; setting goals and scheduling your time so that you can reach them; finding an audience and looking for collaborators and/or publishers. So bring some paper and be ready to take notes on your next big (or small) project! (Room B)
3:15 pm // Hans Rickheit in Conversation: Brian Heater takes on Hans Rickheit -- musician, performance artist, cartoonist. (Room B)
3:15 pm // A Nordic Roundtable with Fredrik Strömberg (SE), Peter Madsen (DK), Kaisa Leka (FI), Bendik Kaltenborn (NO) and Mattias Elftorp: The comics culture of northern Europe is brimming with energy, talent and innovation, among other things visible in the new anthology Kolor Klimax from Fantagraphics. Come and meet some of the Nordic artists present at MoCCA. (Room A)
5:15 pm // Carousel with Michael Kupperman, Domitille Collardey, Shannon Wheeler, Leslie Stein, Lauren Weinstein and R. Sikoryak: Live comics brought to life by cartoonists and a team of talented voice actors. With voices by Julie Klausner, Dave Hill, Scott Adsit. (Room A)
Sunday, April 29th
2:00 pm // A Discussion with Josh Neufeld and Shannon Wheeler: These two creators interview one another about their work in comics, especially as it relates to their approaches to documenting tragedy on the Gulf Coast. (Room B)
Be sure to drop by tables #J1, J2, K1, K2 to say hi to Jacq, Kristy, who is making her MoCCA debut, and Jen, the latest addition to the Fantagraphics Marketing team! See you at MoCCA!