Save the visit to the Library of Congress, which will come up later, these are THE pictures and thoughts on Small Press Expo 2012. We honestly were so busy that there was little time to make the rounds to other aisles and buy books or snag pics of our friends at this family reunion of a show. So please accept my apology for no SWEEPING landscapes of the table set-up as it was busy, busy, busy. SPX'sExecutive Director, Warren Bernard, ran a good show and David Michael Thomas could not have been better with convention previews and making sure we were comfortable throughout.
The Washington alt-weekly newspaper or insert covered the special guests of the con including the Hernandez brothers. Love and Rockets tattoos are the ink du jour as you can see along with Jughead hats and SUPER short skirts (even though we all know leggings that look like wormholes or intestinal tracts are really in this year). Drawing by Thomas Pitilli.
The signing at Politics and Prose in D.C. kicked off the 30th Anniversary Northeast Tour. With trusty escorts like Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds, PR Director Jacq Cohen and myself, what could go wrong? First things first though, toothpicks to make sure teeth are clean.
The first book of the weekend AND the first copy of The Hypo by Noah Van Sciver went to Leon Avelino, publisher at Secret Acres.
Long lines formed for the Hernandez Brothers both days and were chock full of other exhibitors and cartoonists like First Second's George O'Connor.
Fans got books signed, bought drawings and got their SPX convention badges signed.
That night at the Ignatz awards, Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez cleaned up. While humbly accepting their Herriman bricks, they thanked Daniel Clowes & Art Spiegelman for NOT having new stories this year. The Brothers won Outstanding Series for Love and Rockets while Jaime won Outstanding Artist and Outstanding Story for "Return for Me"of Love and Rockets: New Stories #4.
Author Phillip Nel sold his Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss biography to whet everyone's appetite for the Barnaby book. Rich Tommaso sold his The Cavalier Mr. Thompson, a Fantagraphics-distributed book about a 1920s hotel in Texas.
Fans and friends got their signatures and tiny drawings by Tommaso.
Cartoonist TJ Kirsch shows off his Daniel Clowes drawing in Twentieth-Century Eightball.
Despite his dour face, Daniel Clowes genuinely liked Gary Panter's Dal Tokyo while Charles Burns looks on.
John Porcellino (of Spit and a Half, King Cat and Drawn and Quarterly) soaked in the cross hatching glory of Van Sciver's The Hypo. Maybe he was enjoying it too much.
As always, my partner-in-crime Jacq Cohen and I accidentally dressed to match some of our favorite classic books, me with Nancy and Jacq with Peanuts.
Jacq and I ran off after the convention to eat some delicious food with our good friends. Clockwise from the bottom left: Gilbert Hernandez, me, Jaime Hernandez, Tom Neely of Sparkplug, Joseph Remnant of ZAP/Top Shelf, Noah Van Sciver and John Porcellino. Delicious!
And finally, a picture from 2010's MoCCA Fest where I'm handing Jaime minis as a fan. Now we get to argue about baseball uniforms and proper sock height while working the Fantagraphics table. Thank you everyone for coming to the Fantagraphics table to buy our books, talk to our artists and spread more of the convention cheer. See you next year!
Photos by Jacq Cohen and me. Attitude by Fantagraphics.
The debut graphic novel from Noah Van Sciver follows the twentysomething Abraham Lincoln as he loses everything, long before becoming our most beloved president. Lincoln is a rising Whig in the state’s legislature as he arrives in Springfield, IL to practice law. With all of his possessions under his arms in two saddlebags, he is quickly given a place to stay by a womanizing young bachelor who becomes his friend and close confidant. Lincoln builds a life and begins friendships with the town’s top lawyers and politicians. He attends elegant dances and meets an independent-minded young woman from a high-society Kentucky family, and after a brisk courtship, becomes engaged. But, as time passes and uncertainty creeps in, young Lincoln is forced to battle a dark cloud of depression brought on by a chain of defeats and failures culminating into a nervous breakdown that threatens his life and sanity. This cloud of dark depression Lincoln calls “The Hypo.”
Dense crosshatching and an attention to detail help bring together this completely original telling of a man driven by an irrepressible desire to pull himself up by his bootstraps, overcome all obstacles, and become the person he strives to be. All the while unknowingly laying the foundation of character he would use as one of America’s greatest presidents.
"Noah Van Sciver has brought new soul to this hard, weird time in Lincoln's life. The Hypo is a story of suffering & yearning, artfully told." — Joshua Wolf Shenk, author of Lincoln's Melancholy
"Noah Van Sciver has developed a storytelling style that I find enormously appealing. In this book he's used that style to create a vivid and engaging portrait." — Chester Brown, author of Louis Riel
Join Fantagraphics this weekend for the 2012 Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland! On September 15th & 16th, we'll be filling the Marriott Betheseda Conference Center with some dazzling debuts, panels, and signings! Come meet your favorite artists and get your books signed:
The cleanest sock you've never lost of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review: The Comics Journal and Tucker Stone hit up two of our books this week. Stone lauds Jacques Tardi's New York Mon Amour, "The later three stories are all excellent installments in the various ways the city can grind you into oblivion. . . " And on the subject of The Furry Trapby Josh Simmons, "There’s been a solid amount of recommendations already for this volume, and there’s not going to be any contrarian tut-tutting to be found here: this is worth reading, owning, and possibly gifting . . . having this much nasty in one hardcover is a reading experience like no other, and one you’d do well to deny not one minute longer."
• Review:The Comics Reporter reviews Lorenzo Mattotti and Jorge Zentner's latest translated collaboration. "The Crackle Of The Frost finds an elegant balance between abstraction and more traditional cartoon rendering. . . it's fully realized, and satisfying, and occasionally beautiful."
• Review:The Library Journal sent us this review of The Hypo by Noah Van Sciver, M. C. says "Perhaps our most beloved president, Abraham Lincoln threatens merely to disappear into sainthood for most of us. Van Sciver has made him real by portraying one of the most difficult times in the future leader’s younger life. . . It’s rather like an American version of Dickens infused into a Jane Austen love story, and Van Sciver’s moody cross-hatching works exceedingly well in showing these lesser-known facets of Lincoln’s nonpolitical life. . . An excellent choice for compelling leisure reading as well as for use in classrooms."
• Review:Comics Bulletin covers what goes on under the covers of Sexytime edited by Jacques Boyreau. Jason Sacks says, "Sexytime is a glorious representation of work that was forgotten shortly after it was created, but is full of joyful reminders of the recent past. . .Oh god! Oh god! Oh god! Yes! Yes! Yes! is this a great book."
You won't believe how many debuts we're bringing with us to Bethesda for the 2012 Small Press Expo on September 15th & 16th! Here's your SPX shopping list -- bring extra bags to carry everything:
• The Lost Art of Ah Pook Is Here: Images from the Graphic Novel by Malcolm McNeill (not officially out 'til October!) In 1970, William S. Burroughs and artist Malcolm McNeill agreed to collaborate on a book-length meditation on time, power, control, and corruption that evoked the Mayan codices and specifically, the Mayan god of death, Ah Pook. McNeill created nearly a hundred paintings, illustrations, and sketches for the book, and these, finally, are seeing the light of day in The Lost Art of Ah Pook.
• Observed While Falling: Bill Burroughs, Ah Pook, and Me by Malcolm McNeill (not officially out 'til October!)Observed While Falling is an account of the personal and creative interaction that defined the collaboration between the writer William S. Burroughs and the artist Malcolm McNeill on the graphic novel Ah Pook Is Here. The memoir chronicles the events that surrounded it, the reasons it was abandoned and the unusual circumstances that brought it back to life.
• Barack Hussein Obama by Steven WeissmanIt’s neither a biography nor an experiment, but a whole, fully-realized parallel America, a dada-esque, surrealistic satirical vision that is no more cockeyed than the real thing, its weirdness no more weird, its vision of the world no more terrifying, where the zombie-esque simulacra of Joe Biden and Hillary and Newt and Obama wander, if not exactly through the corridors of power, through an America they made and have to live in, like it or not. NOTE: Steven Weissman will be signing at SPX!
• Blacklung by Chris Wright (not officially out until October!) Chris Wright’s Blacklung is unquestionably one of the most impressive graphic novel debuts in recent years, a sweeping, magisterially conceived, visually startling tale of violence, amorality, fortitude, and redemption, one part Melville, one part Peckinpah. Blacklung is a story that lives up to the term graphic novel, that could only exist in sequential pictures — densely textured, highly stylized, delicately and boldly rendered drawings that is, taken together, wholly original. NOTE: Chris Wright will be signing at SPX!
• Came the Dawn and Other Stories (The EC Comics Library) by author: Illustrated by Wallace Wood; written by Al Feldstein et al.; edited by Gary Groth (not officially out until October!) Working within the horror, war, crime, and science fiction genres, publisher William Gaines and editor/writer Al Feldstein combined a deliciously disreputable, envelope-pushing sensibility with moments of genuine, outraged social consciousness, which shone a hard light onto such hot-button topics as racism, anti-Semitism, mob justice, and misogyny and sexism.
• The Cartoon Utopia by Ron Rege, Jr.(not officially out until October!) Ron Regé, Jr. is a very unusual yet accomplished storyteller whose work exudes a passionate moral, idealistic core that sets him apart from his peers. The Cartoon Utopia is his Magnum Opus, a unique work of comic art that, in the words of its author, "focuses on ideas that I've become intrigued by that stem from magical, alchemical, ancient ideas & mystery schools." It's part sci-fi, part philosophy, part visual poetry, and part social manifesto. Regé's work exudes psychedelia, outsider rawness, and pure cartoonish joy.
• Corpse on the Imjin! and Other Stories (The EC Comics Library) by Harvey Kurtzman, et al.; edited by Gary Groth(not officially out until October!) Corpse on the Imjin! is rounded off with a dozen or so stories written and laid out by Kurtzman and drawn by “short-timers,” i.e. cartoonists whose contributions to his war books only comprised a story or two — including such giants as designer extraordinaire Alex Toth, Marvel comics stalwart Gene Colan, and a pre-Sgt. Rock Joe Kubert... and such unexpected guests as “The Lighter Side of...” MAD artist Dave Berg and DC comics veteran Ric Estrada — as well as a rarity: a story by EC regular John Severin inked by Kurtzman.
• Naked Cartoonists: Drawers Drawing Themselves Without Drawers by Various Artists; edited by Gary GrothIn an irreverent twist to the fine art tradition of The Nude, this unique and original collection presents a “stripped” down version of the infamous “Gallery of Rogues” exhibit of cartoonist self-portraits at Ohio State University. Here you’ll find a cornucopia of cartoonists’ nude self-portraits from the collection of Mark J. Cohen and Rose Marie McDaniel.
• Heads or Tails by Lilli Carré(not officially out until November!) The creator of 2008’s acclaimed graphic novel The Lagoon — named to many annual critics’ lists including Publishers Weekly and USA Today’s Pop Candy — is back with a stunningly designed and packaged collection of some of the most poetic and confident short fiction being produced in comics today. These stories, created over a period of five years, touch on ideas of flip sides, choices, and extreme ambivalence. NOTE: Lilli Carré will be signing at SPX!
• The Hypo by Noah Van Sciver The debut graphic novel from Noah Van Sciver follows the twentysomething Abraham Lincoln as he loses everything, long before becoming our most beloved president. Lincoln is a rising Whig in the state’s legislature as he arrives in Springfield, IL to practice law. As time passes and uncertainty creeps in, young Lincoln is forced to battle a dark cloud of depression brought on by a chain of defeats and failures culminating into a nervous breakdown that threatens his life and sanity. This cloud of dark depression Lincoln calls “The Hypo.” NOTE: Noah Van Sciver will be signing at SPX!
• Is That All There Is? by Joost Swarte[softcover & hardcover 2nd edition debut] Under Swarte’s own exacting supervision, Is That All There Is? will collect virtually all of his alternative comics work from 1972 to date, including the RAW magazine stories that brought him fame among American comics aficionados in the 1980s.
• Love and Rockets: New Stories #5 by Gilbert & Jaime HernandezIn Jaime's story “Crime Raiders International Mobsters and Executioners,” Tonta comes to visit for a weekend and sees what kind of life the Frog Princess is living with Reno and Borneo. On the other-brother side, Gilbert celebrates the 30th anniversary by bringing one of his current characters (“Killer,” granddaughter to the legendary Luba) into the Palomar milieu. NOTE: Gilbert & Jaime Hernandez will be signing at SPX!
• Prison Pit: Book 4 by Johnny Ryan(not officially out until November!) “Cannibal F***face discovers the only way to escape the Caligulon is to brainf*** the Slorge and create a giant, brainless oafchild that only knows how to annihilate everything in its path. And what happens when the Slugstaxx show up and use their nightj*** to turn this mindless monster against CF? Total F***ing Mayhem.”
• Ralph Azham Vol. 1: Why Would You Lie to Someone You Love? by Lewis Trondheim(not officially out until October!) Within his tiny village, Ralph Azham is considered an insolent good-for-nothing layabout, a virtual pariah — particularly since he was supposed to be a Chosen One. (Things didn’t work out.) Yet his odd azure coloration and a few unique abilities (he can predict births and deaths) suggest that there may be more to him than meets the eye.
• Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 4: House of the Seven Haunts by Floyd Gottfredson(not officially out until October!) Who says dead men tell no tales? When grim grinning ghosts come out to socialize, they’ll find fearless Mickey all ready to rumble — as soon as he’s done fighting gangsters, bandits, and international men of mystery, that is! From Africa to Eastern Europe, our favorite big cheese is in for terrifying thrills — and he’s bringing Goofy, Donald Duck, and that big palooka Pegleg Pete along for the ride!
• You'll Never Know Book 3: Soldier's Heart by C. Tyler(not officially out until October!) In one of the most eagerly-anticipated graphic novels of 2012, Soldier’s Heart concludes the story of Carol Tyler and her delving into her father’s war experiences in a way that is both surprising and devastating — and rather than trying to summarize this episode and thus possibly spoil it for readers, we prefer to simply offer a selection of comments on the first two installments of this autobiographical masterpiece.
The we'll-need-to-iron-these-papers Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Interview: Everything is coming up Barnaby this week. On the Westfield Comics, writer Philip Nel and Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds (both editors of the upcoming Barnaby collections) dish on this popular but hard-to-find strip comic by Crockett Johnson. Reynolds states, "If Peanuts was the Beatles, Barnaby was the Velvet Underground." Nel continues, "Yeah. Schulz read Barnaby. Bill Keane read it. Dan Clowes, Spiegelman, and Chris Ware are all fans of it. . . It was a strip the culturally influential loved. So it's important and influential, but it's not something that many people have read because it's not been available or hard to find."
• Review:Scripp News mentions the Barnaby book while conducting a concise account of creator Crockett Johnson's life: "Once a hugely popular comic strip, whose fans included columnist Dorothy Parker, jazz great Duke Ellington and actor W.C. Fields, 'Barnaby' now has been all but forgotten, except by comics aficionados.
• Interview: Creator Gabriella Giandelli of Interiorae was interviewed onSequential Highway by Will Scott. When asked if she sees the world a bit surreal, Giandelli said, "I try to focus on aspects of life related to the magical, the irrational. Life is hard; I place my hopes in finding all the things in the world that seem to be less harsh, less sad. I’m interested in the spirituality of many aspects of life."
• Plug: Chris Mautner mentioned in Food or Comics? on Robot 6 that he'd splurge and spend more than the $30 allotment for Dal Tokyo by Gary Panter. ". . . if my comic shop should happen to get an early copy, I’d definitely splurge on Dal Tokyo, Gary Panter’s wonderful sci-fi/punk comic strip, now lovingly collected by Fantagraphics."
• Plug: Dan Nadel of The Comics Journal boasts about Cartoon Utopia, "Ron [Regé] is one of our very best cartoonists and it’s been too long since we’ve had new material from him."
• Plug:Forbidden Planet gets excited about The Cavalier Mr. Thompson by Rich Tommaso, "It combines a great two colour fine-lined cartoon style, with the era and genre invoking a Darwyn Cooke Parker feel. . .it looks fantastic -lively and humorous. It’s been a while since I’ve been excited about an upcoming book after July’s deluge, so I’ll definitely be grabbing a copy."
• Plug:The Hypo's Noah Van Sciver and comics legend John Porcellino had a boy's night out and just went wild at the pottery painting place in Denver. Purchase your own special Van Sciver or Porcellino porcelain mugs, vases or clocks here.
• Plug: Another drink inspired by Love and Rockets Ghost of Hoppers was created and featured at the Rye on Market in Louisville, KY today. Recipe by bartender Scott Kirkpatrick:
2 oz. Pampero Aniversario Rum (or another aged dark rum) .5 oz Cynar .5 oz Agave Nectar .25 oz Ruby Port 3 dashes blood orange bitters
-combine ingredients in a mixing glass -add ice and stir vigorously -strain into a double glass filled with ice -express and orange peel onto the cocktail and use as garnish
Join Noah Van Sciver on Wednesday, September 19th at Quimby's in Chicago, with special guest, John Porcellino, who will be debuting King-Cat #73! Together, they’ll be reading from and showing slides of their work, answering questions, and signing books.
The event kicks off at 7:00 PM. Quimby's is located at 1854 W North Ave. Gather up your pennies and five dollar bills, and head down there, Illinoisans.
The ink is still wet on these Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review: Andrew Wheeler of the Antick Musings rolls the dice with Dungeon Quest Vol. 3 by Joe Daly. "Dungeon Quest is so mellow and stoner-joyful that there's nothing to do but go along with it. . . it's an entirely amiable, perfectly cromulent wander through well-emulated quest-fantasy tropes, enlivened by cursing, drugs, and just a hint of sex."
• Review (audio):Factual Opinion with Tucker Stone, Joe McCullogh and Chris Mautner rattle on about Dungeon Quest from the 5 minute mark on. They love Daly's descriptions of his characters like Steve's bulkiness is a "vest of fat" and the fight scenes play out like manga. "The rules of the world operate around the rules of the quest. . ."Listen to many reasons on why Dungeon Quest is a fun read.
• Review: Round table review of Noah Van Sciver's The Hypo on Comics Bulletin . Danny Djeljosevic writes ". . . most people perceive Lincoln not as a person, but as a series of signifiers: a stovepipe hat, a beard . . . a figure we put that much emphasis on could use a re-injection of humanity, and it appears that Van Sciver is just the man for the job." Jason Sacks reiterates, "Van Sciver takes Lincoln off of Mt. Rushmore and puts him on a human level."
• Plug:Fritz the Cat by Robert Crumb makes the Top 10 Cats of Comics at Comics Bulletin. Jason Sacks says, "Fritz always depicted himself as the downtrodden, yet always came off as the only character in the story that seemed to have it at least somewhat together. . . Crumb held a mirror up to youth culture and all they caught were the dick jokes."
• Plug: Speaking of the man himself, Crumb answers questions on other people at Crumb Products.
• Review: Gene Ambaum of Unshelved rates Wandering Son Vol. 2 by Shimura Takako which explores the lives of middle school kids who come to realize they enjoy wearing clothes typically reserved for the opposite sex. "Even though Shuichi and Yoshino keep one another’s secrets, I felt their embarrassment when hanging out and trying to decide how to address one another / refer to each other. The story felt even more real when their teacher asked them to share their dreams and neither could."
The freshest fried-this-morning Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review: Tucker Stone on The Comics Journal gives a thumbs-up to Dungeon Quest Vol. 3 by Joe Daly. "Dungeon Quest–the mumbling stoner counterpart to its methed up metal freak cousin, Prison Pit–has a whole new stack of penis-obsessed pages to play with. It’s tempting to single out one part of this volume to label as best, but that temptation dissipates upon the realization that it’s going to be impossible to pick a winner."
• Review:BookGasm raves about Jacques Tardi's New York Mon Amour. JT Lindroos says, "It shuffles in elements from Tardi’s other books, but distills those familiar ingredients into a wholly unique concoction. . . It’s a love letter to an imaginary city bursting with life, depression and death, a city you love to observe from a distance."
• Plug:Noah Van Sciver finished out the TCJ Comic Diary week with a visit by Gary Groth. Heidi MacDonald of The Beat said nice things about The Hypo: "an extremely well researched look at Abraham Lincoln’s early days as a depressed young lawyer, will be one of the buzz books of the fall."
• Plug:Bleeding Cool and Rich Johnston show off some pages from Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life by Ulli Lust, coming out this fall.
• Plug:Robot 6 and Bridget Alverson are excited for both the upcoming Wilfred Santiago books on Michael Jordan and John Brown. "If the images are any indication, Santiago is busting out from the limited palette he used for the Clemente book to full, brilliant color, applied in a bold, painterly style."
• Plug: The Covered blog continues to highlight new versions of Love and Rockets covers. This time it's L&R #50 drawn by Robert Goodin. Check out Goodin's eerie treatment of a classic.
• Plug: The Love and Rockets Northeast Tour is mentioned on BoingBoing. Thanks, Marc!
• Interview:Casey Burbach interviews editor John Benson on fanzine Squa Tront's issue #13 (forty years after issue #1 came out) and the EC collections that have been published: "I thought that the color in the latest “EC Archives” series was pretty bad, at least in the book that I saw – not appropriate for comics of that era. . . The Fantagraphics series will be produced with quality and taste, I’m sure. Hopefully, with a different distribution set-up, going into bookstores, they may also reach a new audience."
• Review (audio): The Comic Books are Burning in Hell podcast recently chatted up Johnny Gruelle's Mr. Twee-Deedle edited by Rick Marschall. Around the 38 minute mark is where they predict ". . . it'll wind up a real contender for 2012's 'thru the cracks' award for most sadly obscure release. . ." Let's avoid ANY books falling through the cracks, check out this broadsheet-sized wonder today!
• Review:The Australian checks out Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons, edited by Kelly Gerald. Owen Heitmann says, "Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons is primarily of historical interest, documenting the early development of the first postwar female writer to merit inclusion in the Library of America series. Editor Kelly Gerald has taken this archival approach to heart, reproducing apparently every extant example of O'Connor's cartooning, even doodles from later handwritten letters."