FUNNY (not funny) Recent Comic Art Exhibiting Signs of Black Humor Curated by Ryan Standfest
January 22 - February 26, 2010 Reception: Friday, January 22 6-9pm
The University of Michigan Work : Detroit Gallery 3663 Woodward / Suite 150 Detroit, MI 48230
Participating Artists: Ivan Brunetti Chris Cilla Sue Coe Lisa Hanawalt Glenn Head Tim Hensley Ian Huebert Ben Katchor Michael Kupperman Mats!? Daniel Maw Taylor McKimens Travis Millard Tom Neely Mark Newgarden David Paleo Jonathon Rosen David Sandlin Rob Sato Jon Vermilyea
The "FUNNY (not funny)" exhibition seeks to elicit uncomfortable laughter in the realm of black humor-a place where the serious and the taboo are fodder for comic provocation. Artists in numerous media have long sought to overturn convention and challenge what is funny with what is not as a means of producing humor out of the unlikeliest of situations. Work by the twenty artists on view in "FUNNY (not funny)" demonstrates that cartooning is keeping the tradition of black humor alive and flourishing. The very form of the comics page itself is as relevant a vehicle as ever, freed from so many of the commercial restrictions placed on other art forms, to effectively deliver potent images and narratives that carry with them a very immediate and accurate measure of the absurdity of our age.
This Saturday, get yourself to Williamsburg for an incredible comics event! With a lineup of guest artists including (from the extended Fantagraphics family) Gabrielle Bell, Charles Burns, Kim Deitch, Michael Kupperman, Mark Newgarden, Gary Panter, David Sandlin, Frank Santoro, Dash Shaw, R. Sikoryak and many many more, an amazing slate of programming, and a stellar group of exhibitors, all organized by our esteemed pals and colleagues at Desert Island and Picturebox, the first annual Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival is an absolute can't-miss! (Except we won't be there, wah.) Click here for all the info, including schedule, directions, and the full program.
Flog readers, here's the official word on our big Comicon news...
FANTAGRAPHICS TO PUBLISH ERNIE BUSHMILLER'S NANCY
As announced at last week's Comic-Con International, Fantagraphics Books - the leading publisher of classic strip reprints including The Complete Peanuts, Popeye, Krazy & Ignatz, Prince Valiant, Captain Easy, Dennis the Menace, Zippy the Pinhead and others - has acquired the rights from United Media to publish Nancy by Ernie Bushmiller, beginning in Spring 2010.
According to Co-Publisher Gary Groth, who inked the deal, Fantagraphics has contracted to publish the first 24 years of Nancy dailies, beginning in 1938 (when Nancy took over the strip from its former star, Fritzi Ritz) through 1961. "If the demand is there," Groth noted, "we will of course want to continue into the 1960s and beyond, if for no other reason than to run all those great 'hippie' Nancy episodes. But we'll cross that bridge in 2016 when we finish publishing the books we've contracted for."
"I was a late Nancy convert," admits Co-Publisher Kim Thompson, who will be editing the series. "It wasn't until Denis Kitchen published his Nancy collections in 1989 and 1990, after people like Bill Griffith and Scott McCloud had been touting it for years, that I finally 'got' it. It's one of the all-time greats -- way ahead of its time in its own goofy way. Ever since then it's been at the back of my mind to do a more extensive reprinting, and our ongoing successes with classic reprint series these past five years told me the time is now ripe."
Each volume of dailies will contain four years per volume and be designed by Fantagraphics Art Director Jacob Covey. Cartoonist Daniel Clowes (Ghost World) will provide the introduction to the first volume. Each volume will be 8" x 8" in flexibound format and retail for $29.99. Information regarding collections of Nancy Sunday strips will be announced at a later date.
"I envision Nancy being influenced by pop art and constructivist design in a way that will complement the geometric style of the strip and also give a nod to Mark Newgarden's deconstruction of Nancy's forms," says Covey, whose designs on books like Popeye, Willie & Joe and Beasts! have garnered numerous awards. "In a word: ‘POP'. Like Popeye, I want it to seem fun so kids can connect with it but smart so adults can look at it more deeply. But where Popeye has a Victorian nod, this will be modernist."
Fantagraphics will begin with the "second" volume, 1942-1945. According to Thompson, "While we have access to great, nearly complete runs for most of the 1940s dailies, it looks like it will be far more trouble to collect the 1938 and 1939 material. So we'll be putting out a call to Nancy fans, both over the internet and in the first book itself, until we eventually secure the missing strips to double back and release the best possible 1938-1941 volume."
The character of Nancy, a precocious eight-year-old girl, first appeared in the strip Fritzi Ritz. After Larry Whittington began Fritzi Ritz in 1922, it was taken over by Bushmiller three years later. In 1933, Bushmiller introduced Fritzi's niece, Nancy. Soon she dominated the strip, retitled Nancy in 1938. At its peak in the 1970s, Nancy ran in more than 880 newspapers.
In addition to being one of the great comic strips of the 20th Century, Nancy is a bonafide pop culture icon, having captured the imagination of such artists as Andy Warhol, Joe Brainard, Scott McCloud, Bill Griffith, Mark Newgarden, and many others.
In Spring 2010, Fantagraphics will also publish an revised and expanded book edition of cartoonists Mark Newgarden and Paul Karasik's seminal 1988 essay, "How to Read Nancy." In addition to explicating the brilliance of Bushmiller's cartooning, it also has become a landmark educational essay about visual storytelling through the analysis of Bushmiller's work.
To quote from How to Read Nancy: "To say that Nancy is a simple gag strip about a simple-minded snot-nosed kid is to miss the point completely. Nancy only appears to be simple at a casual glance. Like architect Mies Van Der Rohe, the simplicity is a carefully designed function of a complex amalgam of formal rules laid out by the designer. To look at Bushmiller as an architect is entirely appropriate, for Nancy is, in a sense, a blue print for a comic strip. Walls, floors, rocks, trees, Ice-cream cones, motion lines, midgets and principals are carefully positioned with no need for further embellishment. And they are laid out with one purpose in mind - to get the gag across. Minimalist? Formalist? Structuralist? Cartoonist!"
The Pirates and the Mouse author Bob Levin tracks down the El Dorado of comics, a lost collection of unpublished strips by 190 of the world’s most important cartoonists, including Will Eisner, Vaughn Bodé, Jack Kirby, Harvey Kurtzman, Art Spiegelman, Arnold Roth, Bill Griffith, Ralph Steadman, Don Martin, Gahan Wilson, Jeff Jones, Guido Crepax — even William Burroughs, Tom Wolfe and Frank Zappa! The comics were assembled in the 1970s by Michel Choquette (creator with Neal Adams of National Lampoon’s Son o’ God comics) for a book called Someday Funnies, which never saw print. Levin and Choquette reveal for the first time the whole catastrophic story of what might have been the comics anthology of the century.
Also in this issue: Sean T. Collins interviews Skyscrapers of the Midwest’s Josh Cotter; Noah Van Sciver's cartoon interview with King Cat's John Porcellino; our classic comics section features Myron Waldman’s Eve, with an introduction by Mark Newgarden; our usual smattering of insightful and incisive columns; reviews of Kramers Ergot 7, The Times of Botchan, Chaykin, Clowes, Tezuka and many more!
A comics conversation with award-winning cartoonists Nicolas Mahler and Mark Newgarden. Moderated by Mark David Nevins.
Join us for a lively and visually rich conversation with Nicolas Mahler and Mark Newgarden, in which we will explore how comics work, the marketplaces for graphic humor, where these cartoonists get their ideas, and, yes, the answer to the eternal question, "What is 'Funny'?"
• Did you know that if you buy the Popeye the Sailor: 1941-1943 (Vol. 3) DVD set you also get an exclusive Popeye mini-comic we produced with a story from our upcoming Popeye Vol. 4 collection? Booksteve noticed
If you're anywhere near Brooklyn you would be crazy to miss a yard sale that includes Mark Newgarden (creator of the Garbage Pail Kids, etc.):
COLOSSAL Multi-Family GARAGE SALE! So big, it's practically an entire Flea Market! This weekend! Saturday, October 4 & Sunday, October 5, 10am - ?
A MOUNTAIN OF TREASURE INCLUDES: Collectibles, Antiques, Art Books, Kid’s Books, Vintage Paperbacks, All kinds of Books, Old Magazines, Advertising, Comics, Paper Ephemera, Posters, Maps, Records, Record Players, CDs, Vintage Toys, Old Squeak Toys, Vintage Games, Projectors, Vintage Film Boxes, Old Cameras, Electronics, Vintage Women's Clothes, 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's & 70's Kitchenware, Assorted Vintage Trays, Housewares, Antique Linens, Fabric, Tables, Chairs, Homemade Stools, Shelves, Lamps, Clocks, Mirrors, Waste Baskets, Old Office Supplies, Old School Chairs, School Coat Rack, Old Wooden Sled, Primitive Ladder, Old Watering Cans, Christmas Paraphernalia, Kitschy Paintings, rude Vintage Gags, Mesquite Mexican Shrine, Antique Brooklyn Soda Bottles, like-new 70's TWA Flight Bags, Religious Statuettes, Vintage Wooden Butler, Mannequins, and too many Oddities to list!
Cheap prices for excellent stuff. No earlybirds please!
Williamsburg, Brooklyn @ corner of North 8th & Havemeyer Streets
Every day in July we're spotlighting books from our month-long Hidden Gems Sale, wherein we're featuring some of our under-the-radar backlist titles and encouraging you to try them by offering them at a nice discount of 25% off!
Today's spotlight on cartoonist's cartoonist Mark Newgarden features one of the funniest, and certainly the fuzziest, books in our catalog.
Acclaimed cartoonist Mark Newgarden debuted in the first issue of RAW magazine in 1980 and his work subsequently found its way into a variety of high and low profile media. He co-created the '80s pop culture fad "Garbage Pail Kids," wrote, drew, and syndicated a weekly humor feature in the '90s, and created a "Web Premiere Toon" for The Cartoon Network called "B. Happy." Newgarden is currently developing an unconventional Christmas special for The Cartoon Network. Newgarden's comics are hilarious, alarming, and masterful uses of the medium, alternating between old-time gags and avant-garde storytelling, often on the same page without missing a comedic beat. His syndicated strip in such publications as L.A. Weekly and The New York Press encouraged a fervent following and exerted a fresh influence on the medium. Today they remain as vital and entertaining as when they first appeared. Those syndicated comics will make up the bulk of this book, the balance drawing on Newgarden's long form stories from various anthologies, including the much-lauded "Love's Savage Fury." In addition to compiling his comics, this book is a full picture of the artist, his influences, and his many other careers. An avid collector and historian of 20th century ephemera, Newgarden has achieved the rare distinction of both contributing to and furthering the mediums he collects: novelties, comics, and cartoons. Newgarden remains a great link to the past while moving ever further into the future. We All Die Alone is an uproariously funny and fascinating book that will appeal to comics readers, pop culture buffs, and any appreciator of the graphic arts. Designed by Dan Nadel (The Ganzfeld, The Wilco Book) and Helene Silverman (Jimbo in Purgatory).
224-page b&w/color 7.5" x 8.5" hardcover with flocked cover regularly $28.95 • ON SALE $21.71 Order Now
Paul Karasik sends along photos and reports from last weekend's event in Brooklyn:
Well, it happened. Karasik and Newgarden in the same place at the same time. Tears of joy were wept by those in attendance. Tears of sorrow were wept for those who were not. An exhibit of Garbage Pail Kids rejects and Fletcher Hanks' student work remains on display at Desert Island in Williamsburg, a very fine book store.