• List:Time Out New York names the "50 Funniest New Yorkers," and coming in at #16: "Cartoonist Michael Kupperman transports his readers to another world altogether. In the recurring comic Tales Designed to Thrizzle and book-length parody Mark Twain's Autobiography 1910–2010, Kupperman perverts antiquated cultural signifiers into a jungle of foreplay robots, nut bras and absurd character concoctions such as the Mannister (a man whose superpower is turning into a bannister). Even in his live appearances — during which he occasionally appears as Twain — Kupperman has the same sort of folksy okey-doke quality as his pulpy '50s source material; but make no mistake, there's an uncanny comedy brain teeming underneath his cool exterior." – Matthew Love
• Review: "...Swarte’s work does have that free-wheeling and even irreverent feel that you’ll find in the best work of Gilbert Sheldon and Robert Crumb. Chris Ware writes the introduction to this book, and he does a good job of setting up the collection. As he points out, Is That All There Is?contains most of Swarte’s work, which has me wondering what comics were left out, and why. Regardless, this is an incredible collection that spans Swarte’s career from the early 1970s to today." – Derek Parker Royal, Ph.D.
• Review: "Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, the marquee team of the early days of comics, pioneered the romance genre in 1947 with this title, and, as you'd expect from the creators of Captain America, Young Romance wasn't bad. It had its fair share of melodramatic tear-jerkers, and occasional forays into misogyny (stupid women who need a man to teach them how to live), but Simon & Kirby also flirted with social issues like class distinctions and religious conflicts. And they didn't restrict themselves to small towns or big cities, like most romance stories, finding romance out West or in the Korean War. Young Romance offers 21 of the best of Simon & Kirby's romance stories, and that's probably just the right amount." – Andrew A. Smith, Scripps Howard News Service
• Analysis: At The Hooded Utilitarian, Robert Stanley Martin presents "one comics critic’s analysis and judgments of [Robert] Crumb’s career. I hope it’s of more interest than a pronouncement that his work is a single big project and one should just read all of it. Breaking his work down into distinct periods does, I think, help one to get a better handle on Crumb, no matter what one’s opinion of this or that individual effort. I certainly don’t think this essay is the last word. With Crumb, no essay ever is."
• Review: "Here’s the thing about Pogo. There’s never been anything like it. It’s utterly unique and individual in the same fashion that Peanuts, or Calvin and Hobbes or Little Nemo or any other of the great 20th century comic strips are.... It’s a much weirder strip than I think most people give it credit for and that is certainly something worth both recognizing and admiring." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
• Review: "I highly recommend anyone who has an interest in LGBT issues to pick up Wandering Son, regardless of whether or not you read a lot of manga. It is, in many ways, distinctly Japanese, but its straightforward and honest deception of gender issues is rare in any medium, and it shines equally as a coming-of-age tale, especially for anyone who's ever felt they never quite fit in." – Anne Lee, Chic Pixel
• Review: "Prior to 1947, romance existed in comics but primarily as the humorous teenage variety for young readers, typified by the gang from Riverdale in Archie Comics. Simon and Kirby re-imagined the concept with mature stories aimed at adults, primarily women.... Fantagraphics recently collected many of these stories in the handsome hardcover Young Romance: The Best of Simon & Kirby's Romance Comics. Within the true artistic mastery of Kirby becomes evident. The same man, well known at the time for his bombastic stories, delivers these subtle, very human tales of angst, betrayal, and of course love. The volume's essays place these tales within the proper historical context. The beautiful reproductions were completely restored and unlike some of the Marvel Kirby reprints, nothing was recolored." – Rick Klaw, The SF Site: Nexus Graphica
• Interview:Drew Friedman writes us: "I wanted to share. This is the new online issue of INK, SVA's Student run comics mag, featuring an interview with me, also an article about WFMU radio's connection to cartoonists. This is pretty impressive I think. Enjoy!"
• Interview:Robot 6's Tim O'Shea has a Q&A with Kevin Huizenga: "Seems to me like you’re doing something wrong as a writer if you’re not affected or surprised by your own work. But it’s not something to talk about. You’re not supposed to laugh at your own jokes. The author at his desk, deeply moved by his own work is a pretty funny image."
• Scene: "In the exhibition, titled, 'Modern Cartoonist: The Art of Daniel Clowes,' we find the artist revealing the weird underbelly of America through quick and methodical strokes of a pen. Furrowed brows, sneers, and nervous beads of sweat accompany many of Clowes' odes to anxiety, causing us to acknowledge the strange and desperately sad state of his characters, who are striving to fit in." – Kathleen Massara, The Huffington Post
Gagné's interpretive exhibit features enlarged examples of Simon and Kirby’s romance comics, which he spent five years restoring for this gorgeous new collection.
Michel gave a great presentation on his delicate restoration process, which you can watch below (YouTube link)! WARNING: I have to apologize -- I'm not the best filmographer, and as the sun was setting in Seattle, the lighting in the video gets kinda weird. But please don't let the lousy lighting detract from Michel's great presentation -- it's really fascinating to hear how he cleaned up all those old images and restored them for this book!
Also, our exhibit features an original Jack Kirby page from 1967's "Fantastic Four #65," thanks to Gary Groth, of course!
“Young Romance: The Best of Simon & Kirby’s Romance Comics” will be available for viewing through May 9, 2012, and you can get the book any ol' time! If you can't make it to Seattle, check out more photos of the exhibit at the Fantagraphics Flickr! The Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale St. (at Airport Way S.) just minutes from downtown Seattle. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00. Phone 206.658.0110.
• Review: "Gagne’s selections are first-rate. These stories are fiery fare. Lovers clash like storm-tossed waves on rocky shores. They battle misconceptions and social injustices.... Even stories created under the constraints of the Comics Code pack a wallop. In the skilled hands of Simon and Kirby, love is most definitely a battlefield. The book’s special features are also top-notch.... Young Romance: The Best of Simon & Kirby’s Romance Comics belongs in the personal library of all Simon and Kirby fans and all serious students of comics art and history. It’s a prime example of what I mean when I say this is the true golden age of comics." – Tony Isabella
• Review: "[Nuts] is certainly a very good strip... and it was this completely left-field life event, showing a style of comics I'd never seen before.... The book looks just great, even if I would quibble with the designer's very odd choice to call this a 'graphic novel' on the front cover, and while something about it honestly lacks the genuine, timeless brilliance of Wilson's decades of Playboy comics, this is still an important and very readable collection.... Recommended." – Grant Goggans, The Hipster Dad's Bookshelf
• Interview: At Publishers Weekly, Casey Burchby talks to Kelly Gerald, editor of Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons: "I’d been researching and working on the cartoons for a while, but I can’t take any credit for getting this project off the ground. Gary Groth and Fantagraphics approached O’Connor’s agent about doing a book and worked out an agreement for an exclusive contract in late 2009, which was when I was contacted. Some years ago, I gave a presentation on the cartoons at an O’Connor conference in Milledgeville where some representatives of the O’Connor estate were present. They liked what they saw and remembered me when the Fantagraphics contract was developed. I’m very grateful to them."
• Profile: At The Comics Journal, R.C. Harvey on the life and work of Ernie Bushmiller: "Various among us have long been baffled and sometimes afflicted by the persistent presence, lurking at the fringes of cartoon afficionadom — or, sometimes, burrowed deep, prairie-dog-like, into its heart — of a sect or cultish non-organization of penumbra dimension, cult-ivated (so to speak) by a person or persons unknown.... In an effort to explain this mysterious and irrational dedication, we now paw through the alleged facts of Bushmiller’s life and work."
So said the mighty and wonderful David Gedge (leader of one of my all-time favorite bands, The Wedding Present) leafing through the copy of Michel Gagné's Young Romance: The Best of Simon & Kirby's Romance Comics I gave him at their Seattle gig on Friday night. He opened right up to that page — I swear I didn't plan this moment! Being able to present our books to folks I admire is one of the best parts of my job. What an absolute thrill.
By the way, David is not only an avid comics reader, he's published a comic book of tour stories, Tales of the Wedding Present, and his songs have inspired an anthology of comics short stories titled Snapshots.
Jack Kirby is among the most influential American artists of the last century, but a substantial body of Kirby’s work has been largely overlooked until recently. In the post-war years, with the popularity of superhero comic books fading, Kirby teamed with writer Joe Simon to create the new genre of romance comics.Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery celebrates these forgotten works with “Young Romance: The Best of Simon & Kirby’s Romance Comics.” The interpretive exhibition opens on Saturday, April 14 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM with a discussion by Michel Gagné, author of a recent collection of the same title from Fantagraphics Books.
At the end of World War II, with soldiers returning from long deployments, romance was in the air. The superhero comics that served to instill a sense of patriotic heroism leading up to the global conflict had lost their appeal. Simon and Kirby seized on these emerging sensibilities to create one of the most popular comic book series of all time. Unlike previous comic book genres, the work appealed largely to women readers. The stories and imagery reflected mid-century American society while discretely challenging the conventional morality of the era. Kirby’s work from this period was mimicked by pop artist Roy Lichtenstein and others, and is emblematic of post-war American aesthetics.
Curator Michel Gagné will discuss his delicate restoration process at the opening reception on Saturday, April 14. An exhibition will display enlarged examples of Simon and Kirby’s romance comics and examine the creative process of these American masters. Gagné has worked as an animator and cartoonist for Pixar, Disney, DC Comics and the Cartoon Network. He won the 2011 Annie Award for Best Animated Video Game and the 2012 BAFTA GAME Award for Best Debut Game for his independent creation Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet.
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale St. (at Airport Way S.) just minutes from downtown Seattle. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00. Phone 206.658.0110. This event coincides with the colorful Georgetown Art Attack featuring visual and performing arts presentations throughout the historic arts community.
YOUNG ROMANCE: The Best of Simon & Kirby’s Romance Comics Curated by Michel Gagné
Opening reception and curator discussion Saturday, April 14, 6:00 to 9:00 PM. Exhibition continues through May 9, 2012.
• Northridge, CA: Gilbert, Jaime, & Mario Hernandez will be speaking to Professor Charles Hatfield's class on Monday, March 26th at the California State University, Northridge (in greater Los Angeles). This event is open to the public, not just students! (more info)
Tuesday, March 27th
• New York, NY: Get ready for another editior of The Crime Stoppers Club with Michael Kupperman and co-host Kate Beaton! This month, they welcome Dave Hill, Victor Vardnado, Domitille Collardey, Jim Torok, and Corey Pandolphfor a night of laughter and imagery. This free event starts at 7:00 PM at Luca Lounge. (more info)
• San Francisco, CA: Daniel Clowes will be interviewed by Rene de Guzman, Senior Curator of Art at the Oakland Museum of California, at the Kadist Art Foundation! More details coming to the FLOG very soon!
Visit us at Booth 704 from Friday, March 30th through Sunday, April 1st at the Washington State Convention Center. We're bringing a special collection of titles from seminal Seattle names like Peter Bagge, Megan Kelso, and Charles Burns. And joining us will be some of those brilliant talents from right here in the Northwest, from artists to editors! Special guests include:
Ellen Forney: Named "Best Local Cartoonist" last year by the Seattle Weekly! (top left / photo by Mike Urban)
Jim Woodring: Recipient of The Stranger Genius Award in Literature in 2010! (top right)
On Friday, March 30th at 6:00 PM, Fantagraphics is proud to present the panel Northwest Noir: Seattle's Legacy of Counterculture Comix in room 3AB:
In the mid-seventies a trio of gifted cartoonists emerged from The Evergreen State College in Olympia: Seattle's Lynda Barry and Charles Burns, and Matt Groening from Portland. Their influence helped attract a new generation of cartoonists that fashioned a new comix movement. Among them; Jim Woodring, Joe Sacco, and Peter Bagge. Coupled with this new comix movement was the creation of prominent publisher Fantagraphics Books. The global popularity of the Grunge movement elevated alternative comix to unprecedented heights and firmly established the region as the center of this new form. By the dawn of the millennia, Seattle and Portland boasted no fewer than 6 alternative comix publishing houses. Learn more about the connection between the Northwest and "Alternative" comics in this lively panel Q&A. Panelist include cartoonists Jim Woodring and Ellen Forney, Real Comet Press publisher Cathy Hillenbrand, and Fantagraphics Books associate publisher Eric Reynolds. Moderated by Larry Reid of Fantagraphics Bookstore.
Booth 704 is located right in the frontline of the exhibitor floor, in the second row as you cross the Sky Bridge. Please note: this is a condensed version of the map. You can view the full map here.
Don't miss the action at Shorty's pinball emporium as Fantagraphics Bookstore presents the Emerald City Pinball Party on Saturday, March 31 from 7:00 to 10:00 PM following the Emerald City Comicon. Hosted by celebrated Seattle cartoonist Jim Woodring, this festive affair promises free fun for all comix and pinball enthusiasts over the age of 21.
The highlight of the evening will be a pinball competition with prizes galore, including the grand prize of a colorful Jim Woodring-designed back glass from the forthcoming Frank pinball machine (currently in development.) Other prizes include Jim Woodring hoodies and tee shirts from Americaware, signed copies of Woodring's graphic novels Weathercraft and Congress of the Animals (finalists in consecutive years for the Los Angeles Book Prize), coveted out-of-print issues of Jim and Frank comix, and other Woodring rarities.
In an effort to level the playing field -- so to speak -- pinball tournament contestants will be vying for the lowest score. That's right! Tank it without tilting; the worst games win the best prizes. It's harder than it sounds, but requires little in the way of actual pinball prowess.
Shorty's is located at 2222 2nd Avenue in Seattle's lively Belltown neighborhood, just a few blocks northwest of the Washington State Convention Center, site of the Emerald City Comicon on March 30, 31 and April 1.
Visit the bookstore or Fantagraphics booth at the convention for more details on the Emerald City Pinball Party and other exciting events.