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.
• Review: "If Spielberg shed the skin of Hergé’s style in an effort to get to the heart of his stories, the compelling work of Dutch cartoonist Joost Swarte performs the procedure in reverse.... Swarte, equally inspired by the underground comix that emerged from the American counterculture of the 1960s and ’70s, adapted the clear line and reanimated it with subversive content unlike the perennially chipper Boy Scoutism of Hergé’s Tintin. ...Is That All There Is?, collecting the bulk of his comics oeuvre to date (excluding a body of children’s comics), provides an overdue opportunity to linger over and consider his narrative work.... Like a Rube Goldberg machine designed according to De Stijl aesthetics—with a rhythm and blues soundtrack—Swarte’s comics communicate a historically freighted, European sense of the absurd, poised toward a globalizing, postmodern present." – Bill Kartalopoulos, The Brooklyn Rail
• Review: "The real joy of Swarte’s work... is the architectural elegance of his illustrations and his fine ability to colour them using everything from watercolour to retro duo-tones. Looking at Swarte’s mostly 20th century work [in Is That All There Is?] now, what’s also — and tangentially — interesting is the retro-futuristic look of it: the settings are near-future, but everything’s styled circa the 1940s, much in the same way Ridley Scott imagined the future in Bladerunner. For sheer design swagger you need to check Swarte out." – Miles Fielder, The List
• Review: "These stories [in Athos in America] are a little less open-and-shut than Jason usually makes. His comics are always good, but I usually don't think about them too much after reading them. This one's more of a think stimulator than previous books.... It's a beautiful book. This is definitely Jason's best book yet. Good job, Jason." – Nick Gazin, VICE
• Interview:Chicago Publishes has an interview with Mome contributor Laura Park: "I’m really happy with the stories I did for MOME. I love short stories. Novels are the format now — it’s a selling format. You can have graphic novels in a bookstore, because non-comics people might buy them. Whenever you can get a comic from the comic shop into a bookstore, it’ll make more money. But short stories are kind of magical to me. My favorite writer is Flannery O’Connor. She has novels, but her short stories are the ones that linger and itch away through you."
• Review: "Wearing its stylistic debt to Chester Gould’s classic Dick Tracy strips on its sleeve, this Spanish-produced series [The Cabbie] (which was originally printed in the ’80s) revels in a stark and sleazy noir aesthetic that drags the reader on a vicious trip through the scabrous underbelly of 'the Big City.'... An intriguing throwback to the days of heroes with worldviews defined in terms as rigidly black and white as the panels they battled their way through, this visual and thematic love letter to (and simultaneous critique of) Gould’s tropes is highly recommended for grownups with a taste for refreshingly lurid pulp fiction." – Publishers Weekly
• Review: "The Hidden feels like a Poe short story, but Richard Sala actually reaches further back into gothic literature for information, filtering Frankenstein through a zombie apocalypse. Just like Poe, the fun here is all in the telling, and Sala’s campfire-ghost-story illustration is blunt enough to be cynically hilarious and cruelly gory, often at the same time. The allegory is the same as from Shelley’s original, but like the best gothic writing, the fun comes from putting the pieces — all the pieces — together at the end." – David Berry, National Post
• Interview:Robot 6's Chris Mautner has a brief chat with Richard Sala about a book that's not ours (the Nursery Rhyme Comics anthology from First Second) but any interview with Richard is worthwhile
• Review: "The final edition of Mome leaves a vacuum that thus far has always managed to get filled — let’s hope the graphic world hasn’t lost its taste for short stories just yet — but it will always be a shame to file something this sharply curated in the shelf. The fifth installment of Devil Doll is likely the most beautiful piece here, and there’s a terrific streak of humour throughout — Laura Perk’s Hobbesian, malevolent George is the pitch-black highlight, but there’s plenty of other strains — all adding up to an end that’s perfectly fitting, but no less unfortunate." – David Berry, National Post
• Review: "Last month, Fantagraphics released The Art of Joe Kubert, a wonderful oversized art book that traces the career of the comics legend who has worked successfully in all the major 'Ages' of comics. While seeing the art in a larger format is nice, it's the text that winds through the book that opened my eyes to a lot of new things in comics that I had never known before.... Schelly's words opened up a new world of art critique for me.... The Art of Joe Kubert is probably the best DC book I read in September, and DC didn't even publish it. Fantagraphics did, and a wonderful job they did, from the raw materials to the book design and packaging." – Augie DeBlieck Jr., Comic Book Resources
• Review: "Maybe, perhaps, at last, the time is right for a mass re-evaluation of the Duck comics, as Fantagraphics steps into the breach to produce a definitive library of Carl Barks' oeuvre. Not only do they step in, but they do so fearlessly... The series starts in November with Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes, an impressively affordable $25 hardcover... Happily, the stories look great and the book is a wonder to hold in your hand.... As to the content, itself, it's just as remarkable an achievement in comics as I remembered.... The contents of the book are as good as they're going to get, produced with an eye towards recapturing as much of the look of the original printings as possible, without sacrificing clarity or design. The quality of the black and white line work is top notch, too.... Pre-order today. Just do it. You can thank me later." – Augie DeBlieck Jr., Comic Book Resources
• Interview: Speaking of short interviews about books that aren't ours, there's a Q&A with Michael Kupperman on the Marvel website about his contribution to their upcoming humor anthology Shame Itself
• Convention sketches inspired by song lyrics is a pretty great idea, and an Atlanta comic fan named Erich collects them and posts them on his blog. Above: Lisa Leavenworth + Mudhoney by Peter Bagge (hat tip: CBR)
Special double-sized FINAL issue! After 6 years and over 2500 pages of comics, MOME heads into the sunset with an all-star, jam-packed farewell bonanza. Several past MOME favorites return for the swan song, including Kurt Wolfgang, Tom Kaczynski, Joe Kimball, Eleanor Davis, Anders Nilsen, Tim Hensley, Paul Hornschemeier, Gabrielle Bell, and Zak Sally (those covers!). Meanwhile, several newcomers get in just under the wire: Jesse Moynihan, Malachi Ward, James Romberger, Nick Drnaso, Joseph Lambert, Nick Thorburn, Victor Kerlow, and Ignatz Award-winners Jim Rugg and Chuck Forsman! Recent MOME favorites also return, such as Sergio Ponchione, Steven Weissman, Sara Edward-Corbett, Laura Park, Josh Simmons (plus collaborators The Partridge in the Pear Tree and Wendy Chin), Derek Van Gieson (with collaborator Michael Jada), Tim Lane, Nate Neal, Lilli Carré, T. Edward Bak, Dash Shaw, Ted Stearn and Noah Van Sciver. Over 30 artists in all, including a surprise contributor we don't want to give away!
• Review: "...[T]he [Comics] Journal returns in a new bricklike bookshelf format (seriously, this thing has like 600 pages!), anchored by a massive Robert Crumb interview, and a whole freakin’ lot of really strong criticism. I most especially liked the Cerebus retrospective by Tim Krieder.... Great great great read!" – Brian Hibbs, The Savage Critics
• Review: "The artists that create worlds that start with the alphabet — these are the ones who have been getting in my head lately, motivating me to sort through my response to their art and settle my own ideas on alphabets. Mascots by Ray Fenwick is a great place to start. The book announces itself boldly — it is small, but its hot pink cloth cover is difficult to ignore. The title breaks across a few lines, so it is less a word than a jumble of letters — a mascot for the word 'Mascot,' so to speak. The book is appropriately titled: from the very beginning, everything announces itself as something else – forms are always changing, names are invented 'mercifully' (to use one of the narrators’ parlance) for things that are unnamable, faces that smile when the book is held in one direction are revealed as faces that frown when the book is flipped. The book conveys a sense of being stuck just outside of where everything makes sense and fits together." – Jordan Hurder, Chance Press
• Opinion: I don't think Jon Carroll of the San Francisco Chronicle knew about our upcoming series of Pogo collections when he wrote his reminiscences about the strip — "Pogo had it all: love, fear, friendship, ambivalence, pails of water, morality, plus a love of high-flown language and, not incidentally, wonderful draftsmanship" — and bemoaned the scarcity and high prices of past collections (via The Daily Cartoonist)