As the leaves begin to turn shades of red and orange (or fall straight off and green depending on where you live), backpacks are dusted off in preparation for a new load of textbooks, and we move into fall, we figure you could use some cause for celebration. How about our Labor Day/Back-To-School Sale? We've got great titles of all-ages, young-adult, and non-fiction titles at a whopping 40% Off from Saturday, August 30th through Monday, September 1st!
School can be anything you make of it, especially you don't give a damn. For the guy or girl that knows everything, try Unlovable 1and 2by Esther Pearl Watson. She may only break wind and not hearts, but Tammy Pierce is unstoppable. For some short stories from all walks of life, ugly and less ugly, grab Daniel Clowes' Caricature, often compared to to Nabokov for their complex naturalism and sense of humor.
Is cutting class altogether a common memory for you? How about a classic Fantagraphics alternative comic, sure to win even the most jaded of hearts: Daniel Clowes' Ghost World (now in its 20th printing) is for you. Already have it? Try the male version of Ghost World, Celebrated Summer by Charles Forsman, that came out in 2014. Night Fisher by R. Kikuo Johnson also follows the teenage trail of growing up and growing apart.
Cutting class was too weak? You just dropped out all together? Damn, you might enjoy Giraffes in My Hair, a Jack Kerouac-style story lived by Bruce Paley and drawn by his partner,Carol Swain, all about the summer of '67. On the cusp of flunking out with a drug habit, A Mess of Everything by Miss Lasko-Gross, is an intense and raw look at her own high-school experience. If you're looking for more personal and semi-autobiographical comic stories look no further than The Squirrel Mother by Megan Kelso. It also contains stories about the idea of America and American history, such as a trilogy of short pieces about Alexander Hamilton.
Consider some new books about comics as an assignment for a graded discussion. Black Images in the Comics by Fredrik Strömberg walks through comics, old and new, to enlighten the audience about the hideous caricatures racism produces so that we may never stray there again. Best American Comics Criticism compiled by Ben Schwartz features the best essays on comics from Chris Ware on Rodolphe Töpffer, Dan Clowes on Mad's Will Elder, The Daily Show's John Hodgman on Jack Kirby and more!
"What’s most impressive about Swain’s story is its quiet nature, and its delicate portrayal of darkness. Instead of going for the obvious and imposing gruesome imagery to match the backdrop of macabre, Swain portrays the setting as a far more subtle place to contain unease, at time bucolic even with the fog of despair that sometimes hangs there." – John Seven, Vermicious
"That's Davis' sensibility. In her roundabout way, she dramatizes not the prospect of happiness, but the promise of it. Her natural territory is found in all the funny and tragic effects of that promise." – Etelka Lehoczky, NPR
"Though Watson illustrates Tammy’s life in excruciating, embarrassing detail to often-hilarious effect, her clear affection and empathy for her subject shines through. She universalizes Tammy’s experiences, taking us back to relive our own tortured, giddy, deadly serious, horny, boring, and horribly self-conscious teenage years." – Robert Kirby, The Comics Journal
"This is exactly what summer blockbusters should be, only Milburn’s is a singular vision. He exploits clichés by embracing them, and he busily captures hyperspace hilarity, while the black and white pages never feel overwhelmed by the dark backdrops or Milburn’s detailed designs." – Alex Carr, Broken Frontier
"Tardi is unremitting in his focus on the small, human details of the catastrophe—not just the look of uniforms and weaponry, but the way one soldier advances in an awkward, stiff-armed posture, 'protecting my belly with the butt of the rifle,' and the way another makes sculptures and rings from discarded shells, to sell to his comrades." – Gabriel Winslow-Yost, The New York Review of Books
"Many of Davis’ stories here explore the way people live with each other and try to find themselves in the modern world. They are funny, surprising, touching, and insightful. Some have a sci-fi slant to them, some are fantasy, and some are just about real people." – Rich Barrett, Mental Floss
"The title story might be the best known in the entire EC comics oeuvre… EC tales often sported morals reinforcing decency and forward-thinking that were decades ahead of their time. 'Judgment Day' is one such story, an O. Henry type of tale about an Earthling astronaut who visits a robot-inhabited planet that is strictly divided along color lines…When the twist ending comes, it carries a surprise even today; sadly, this reflects as much on our own time as the era in which the story was produced." – David Maine, Spectrum Culture
"I was amazed to find that many of these people were born in the late 1800s and that most of them have military service as part of their illustrious resumes. These weren’t hoity-toity art students born with silver spoons in their mouths; these were hard-working American mutts that, against nearly impossible odds – using only their imaginations, a lot of blood, sweat and tears (and apparently a huge amount of cigarette smoke) – managed to craft a uniquely American artistic medium that would influence countless generations to come." – Bob Leeper, Nerdvana
"The story unfolds asynchronously, creating a sense of mystery. Why does the kids’ teacher, Miss Sakaki, have bandages on her face? Why is the class bully so affected by what happened to Arié? Why is the new kid at school, Amahiko, willing to jump out of his classroom’s window? And why are there glowing butterflies everywhere?" – Unshelved
Plug:Paul Gravett has a feature on French artist Jacques Tardi: "The exhibition and much of Tardi’s work reveals his strong anti-war feeling. It’s an obsession that goes back to his childhood, part of it spent in post-War Germany."
Commentary:MTV.com on social issues being discussed and dissected at Comic-Con. Trina Robbins "described the underground comics world being like a boys' club she wasn't invited into. So she and other women made their own comics. 'I produced the very first all-woman comic book in the world, in 1970,' she said. Her new book, 'Pretty in Ink,' is about women cartoonists, and only the latest book by this herstorian of women in comics."
• Seattle, WA: It's time for the fourth annual Graphic Novel Panel at the Seattle Design Center, with an after-party at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery! Megan Kelso and David Lasky lead workshops, and Fantagraphics staffer Kristy Valenti will be on a panel... if I were gonna be in town, this is definitely where I'd be! (more info)
Kick off 2014 with the fourth annual Graphic Novel Panel, held by our friends at the Seattle Graphics Arts Guild! Every year, it just gets better and better, and here's what you can expect on Saturday, January 25th:
From 10:00 AM to Noon, the amazing Megan Kelso will lead a workshop on "Comics for Writers" -- This workshop is for writers who are interested in comics and want to dip their toe in but who may be self-conscious about their drawing skills. Perfect! Megan will lead the class in both drawing and writing exercises -- all drawing abilities are welcome!
The great David Lasky will also teach a workshop on "How to Make Your Own Mini-Comic"! He will guide you in booklet-making, the grammar of comics, and simple character design. Supplies and basic drawing tips will be provided. Drawing skills are helpful, but not necessary; the only prerequisite is a desire to communicate through the medium of comics.
Later that afternoon at 1:00 PM, our own Kristy Valenti will be on the Graphic Novel Panel, alongside Matthew Southworth, Crystal M. Rollins, Quenton Shaw, Travis Bundy, and moderator Mark Monlux. How do you get started? What are the essential tools? How do you build a career in today’s publishing climate? These are just some of the questions they'll explore in this panel! (And check out a great chat with Kristy here!)
This event is open to the public, and you can get your tickets here for either the class, the panel, or the whole shebang! Tickets are not needed to attend the after-party.
The Graphic Novel Panel 2013 takes place at the Seattle Design Center [ 5701 6th Avenue South, Plaza Building, Suite 370 ]. The Plaza Building entrance is on Orcas between 5th & 6th. Suite P370 is on three floors up from street level. Take the elevator to first floor, then glass elevator to third floor. From the Atrium Building cross the sky bridge to Plaza Building, take glass elevator to third floor. Free parking!
And, of course, the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale Street in Seattle's Georgetown district. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM.
Fantagraphics is thrilled to be part of the third annual Short Run Small Press Fest here in Seattle on Saturday, November 30th at historic Washington Hall in the Central District. Even though Short Run is a festival spotlighting self-published works, limited editions, and handmade books, Fantagraphics will have a presence in many, many ways, as you will see below...
• Visit the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery at Table L-51 on the first floor of Washington Hall! We'll have an excellent array of independent comics in stock from publishers who weren't able to make the trek to Seattle, like Koyama Press, Uncivilized Books, PictureBox, and more.
Plus, throughout the day, Manager/Curator Larry Reid will be joined by special guests who got their start in small press: our own Ellen Forney, who self-published her title I Was Seven in '75 with a Xeric Grant, and Bruce Pavitt, co-founder of Sub Pop Records, which started as a zine back in 1979. Stop by the table for a chat -- all three of them have tons of experience and knowledge about self-publishing that they'd love to share with you!
• All throughout the day, Short Run will be screening animation, including pieces from our own Dash Shaw and Lilli Carré, alongside Reel Grrls, SEAT (Seattle Experimental Animation Team), and dozens of other animators from around the country. Screenings take place on the balcony level of Washington Hall.
• Fantagraphics staffers Jason T Miles [C-11] and Jen Vaughn [landing] will be exhibiting with comics of their own!
• And then there's the panels (all taking place on the first floor)!
---> 12:20 PM: Women in Comics // Our own Megan Kelso will lead and moderate a panel focused on the females with panelists Geneviève Castrée, Gabrielle Gamboa, Roberta Gregory, Julia Gfrörer, and Virginia Paine. I have to say, Megan has been doing some amazing planning and research for this panel, and it is not to be missed!
---> 2:40 PM : The World of Comics // A survey of comics around the globe with Jason T Miles, Pat Moriarity, David Lasky, and Leonard Rifas. (Inspired by our own Kim Thompson.)
But, wait! There's more... The day before Short Run Small Press Fest, Friday, November 29th, they'll be hosting Read/Write, a day of panels, workshops, and more at the Vera Project, including...
---> 2:00 PM : DIY Publishing in the Digital Age Panel // With our Associate Editor Eric Reynolds, plus Bruce Rutledge (Chin Music Press), self-publisher Alec Longstreth, and moderator Zack Soto (Study Group).
• And for full-disclosure, I, Janice, your friendly Flogger, should mention I'm one of the organizers this year, so there's that...!
For the complete Short Run Seattle schedule, including Read/Writeon Friday, November 29th at the Vera Project [ Warren & Republican Ave North ], and Short Run Small Press Fest on Saturday, November 30th at Washington Hall [ 153 14th Avenue ], visit shortrun.org! Both events are FREE and open to the public! See you there!
• Pasadena, CA: The great Jaime Hernandez comes to The Crawford Family Forum for an evening of art, books, and conversation. KPCC FM "Off-Ramp" producer Kevin Ferguson talks with Hernandez about his latest work, how it relates to Love and Rockets, and where his future's taking him. (more info)
• Seattle, WA: Fantagraphics artists Megan Kelso, Roberta Gregory, and David Lasky, along with fellow local artists Colleen Frakes and Stan Shaw will appear at the Seattle Public Library at 7:00 PM to discuss their artistic careers and their contributions to the Graphic Canon anthology! (more info)
Portland, get ready for a lot of cool accents in the comics community this weekend as the Rose City hosts the 2013 International Comic Arts Forum!
From Thursday, May 23rd through Saturday, May 25th, you are invited to attend this annual academic conference, featuring Fantagraphics special guests Megan Kelso, Tommi Musturi, and T. Edward Bak!
The entire weekend is jam-packed with wonderful panels, discussions, and papers, but here are a few highlights we thought you'd particularly enjoy! (... 'cause they feature our artists!... )
Thursday, May 23rd
7:30 - 9:00 PM // A Celebration of Finnish Comics at Floating World Comics: Comics illustrator Tommi Musturi, whose work is featured in Kolor Klimax: Nordic Comics Now, and editor Ville Hänninen will discuss their work on Finnish comics at Floating World Comics [ 400 NW Couch Street ]. A pre-talk reception begins at 6:30 PM, with a Q&A to follow the talk.
Friday, May 24th
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM // Women & Politics: Alisia Chase will present “Matrixial Graphics: Motherhood and Politics in Megan Kelso’s Watergate Sue" at the University of Oregon's White Stag Building [ 70 NW Couch Street ].
Saturday, May 25th
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM // Self, Memory, Perception: Josina Robb will present "The Spatiality of Voice: How Joe Sacco’s Palestine Takes Up the Ethos of New Journalism" at the University of Oregon's White Stag Building [ 70 NW Couch Street ].
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM // Roundtable: Comics and the Pacific Northwest: With comics creators Megan Kelso, Greg Rucka, and T. Edward Bak. Moderated by Ben Saunders at the University of Oregon's White Stag Building [ 70 NW Couch Street ].
All these wonderful panels and events are totally FREE! All you gotta do is register online here.
• Review:Dal Tokyo by Gary Panter is listed in The Times of UK as one of the essential books for Chris Ware. Ware says "Gary Panter is the William Blake of comics; a true poet who sees and feels what the rest of us can't, and he's done more to expand the power of drawing in the medium thatn probably anyone else alive." Original article here.
• Interview: Cartoonist and creator of Jimmy Corrigan, The Smartest Kid on Earth Chris Ware is interviewed by Phawker by Rita Book.
• Commentary: ArtVoice visits the Spain Rodriguez retrospective at the Burchfield Penney Center in Buffalo, NY. Jack Foran says,"Rodriguez was a kind of incorrigible rebellious type. . . when abstract expressionism with its two-dimensionality principle was dogma—he was into three-dimensionality, in spades—and his blue-collar employment in Buffalo area manufactories, where the curriculum was the much more interesting subject to him of simmering socioeconomic class warfare."
• Review: Rob Clough of High-Low reposted his Seqart post on Megan Kelso and The Squirrel Mother. Cough states, "What makes Kelso one of my favorite artists is her total devotion to the medium and a constant desire to improve. . . Kelso's art is all about the narrative. Every word and every line advances the story; there are no extraneous pyrotechnics. Indeed, Kelso's line is more elegant than spectacular."
• Review:Publishers Weekly enjoys Love and Rockets New Stories #5. "In the 30 years they’ve been writing and drawing Love and Rockets, Los Bros Hernandez have created wonderfully complex story lines and characters. . . This web of superior magical-realistic storytelling involves readers in the perplexed yearnings of a huge cast of unforgettable characters unaware of their own capacity for general self-delusion and occasional self-discovery."
• Commentary: Hannah Means-Shannon contines her SPX coverage with more on the Bros on The Beat. On the "Life After Alternative Comics" panel, Jaime Hernandez and Daniel Clowes spoke about the past and present of their comics-making environment. "Dan Clowes addressed the 'wasteland' of comics in the early 1980’s and the origin of his LLOYD LLEWELLYN series and the strange, often intriguing piles of fan mail he received from readers and prison inmates."
• Interview: Also on Phawker is an interview of Charles Burns, creator of Black Hole. He weaves stories by "paying close attention to the way my brain functions. I sit and write every day and it amazes me how often I repeat myself – come up with the same “brilliant” solution to a plot thread only to discover notes from years earlier where I’ve already clearly laid out the same ideas."
While in town, and when not engaging in some Spring Break-style shenanigans, they'll be giving some "Illustrated Talks" that are free and open to the public!
Megan Kelso will be speaking on Monday, October 15th at the University of Central Florida [ Math and Physics Bldg, Room 206, Orlando ], and Ellen Forney will hold court on Thursday, October 18th at the Deltona Library Auditorium [ 2150 Eustace Avenue, Deltona ]. Both events start at 7:30 PM, and both nights will feature a reading from the artists, followed by a Q&A and book signing! Tell 'em we say hi!