It was a mad, Mad afternoon when Robin McConnell, MK Reed and I dropped into the Mad Office. Assistant Art Director and comics consumer Ryan Flanders reluctantly fell for my charms and agreed to a tour even though their deadline loomed large a few days later (hey, we don't want to impede a dying medium, right?). Even the guards had a cute shtick that took 5 minutes of my life and a humorless person would have left. Luckily, that's not me.
Ryan started off the tour by showing us his first office at MAD, it's near the door, pretty cold but looks a bit similar to mine at Fantagraphics.
The MADtropolitan Museum of Art showed off some of the best and brightest of recent hilarious paintings, complete in their gold gilded plastic frames melted down from the plastic noses and vintage glasses frames of the cancelled shows The Real Housewives of Jersey and Williamsburg.
The props display case was amazing from Gutrot which I've definitely drank and Spy vs Spy toilet paper. Photoshop ain't got nothing on printed, folded and glued cardboard.
Everyone else in the office was just as charming, waiting for the day their piles of tchotchkies bury them. Art Director (and a cartoonist himself) Sam Viviano showed off some amazing original artwork and Sculpey sculptures created for photo-shoots. Check out that DREW FRIEDMAN drawing over Ryan's shoulder.
One of my favorite props was an actual headstone used as a support structure in the office created for a back cover thanks to a Feldstein/Gaines joke.
Ryan's new office turned out to be a nightmare, so well organized I made a mental note to courier him a spring-loaded box of trash upon my return home.
Like any good office the mail room is actually where all the good stuff is located (at Fantagraphics, our fridge is in there). Snuggled among packing materials and one hell of a cutting board are sexy flat files full of Al Jaffee, Tom Bunk — EVEN a Tom Fowler, internet friend.
LOOK at this Al Jaffee fold-in drawing. My dream is to have one printed SOMEDAY, SOMEHOW instead of lamely attaching my fold-in to the magazine and tricking my friends into thinking it was actually printed in the magazine.
Jewish Batman, you slay me. That utility belt must have some tasty kosher deserts near the back. (by Al Jaffee)
One beautiful Jack Davis drawing that was REJECTED from the magazine (or Davis decided to redraw) blew me away. The best part was the tattoo "My Mom Loves Me" is infinitely better than Mother tattoos of the world.
In gorgeous ink and the now-illegal duoshade/duotone. Please place your drinks down, Fantagraphics and MAD magazine are not responsible for your spittle shorting out your keyboard.
Despite the slow decline of the magazine industry, MAD magazine has lived on, able to pay cartoonists for their work (wow-za!) and maintain a staff. By raising prices and creating a Mad reading app, they stay current and accessible. MAD's first audience may be a bit gray in the face now as they celebrate their 60th anniversary but continue to wow audiences. As a kid, I didn't have much access to the magazines but my grandmother would buy any books at any yard, church or library sale. Three rooms in their house were lined with built-in-books shelves and in the ‘humor' or comic sections lay the trade paperback editions of MAD (often with the cover ripped off). Ryan was kind enough to explain that most of those were unused comics and many have not been reprinted to this day due to copyright ambiguity. Sounds like something for a legal intern to help them figure out.
As long as parents send kids care packages at camp, people stay overnight in the hospital and Hollywood makes bottom-feeder television and convoluted movies, MAD will reign supreme. Thanks again to Ryan Flanders for the tour, Robin McConnell for some of the photos (there are MILLIONS more here) and MK Reed for the company.
• Seattle, WA: It's your last chance to see our exhibit The Horror: from the EC Comics Libraryat the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery! I wrote myself a note about this in my calendar that just read "The Horror Ends," which cracked up my friend who saw it out of this context. (more info)
Thursday, November 1st
• Seattle, WA: Our own Jason T. Miles is just one of many awesome local artists in the show Handbound: Exploring the Process of Short Run Small Press Fest Exhibitors at SOIL Gallery. This group show explores the creative process of exhibiting book artists through a combination of original art, sketches, ephemera and books. It's high-brow, low-brow and everything in between. Reception is from 5:00-8:00 PM, and the show runs through December 1st. (more info)
Daylight Savings is upon us this weekend, which means those of us in the Northwest can look forward to darker evenings and some good ol' Seasonal Affective Disorder.
What better time to burrow under the blankies with The Hypo: The Melancholic Young Lincoln, a documentation of Abraham Lincoln's crushing cloud of depression by Noah Van Sciver! Reading Noah's sensitive look at Lincoln's irrepressible ambition despite his troubled times is even better than one of those sun lamps. After all, Lincoln made it through the darkness, and so will you...
Short Run runs (heh) from 10:30 AM - 5:30 PM. A little advice, if I may: get there early! There is so much to do and see at Short Run, and this year's fest is even bigger, if you can believe it!
There's nearly 100 small press exhibitors offering their comics, zines, and art books, from $.50 to $50.00! Plus, enjoy local animation screening all day, featuring Seattle Experimental Animation Team (SEAT), Reel Grrls, and other independent filmmakers. Exhibitors will be showing off all the ways they blend genres, such as advice expert Nicole Georges, writer/professional barber Zach Mandeville who will be giving free haircuts, and puppet master Erin Tanner. You can participate in live silk-screening where you can screen print a comic drawn by local artists or print one of our designs onto clothes you bring yourself. And like last year, there will be another decadent bake sale with donated goodies from Macrina Bakery, Grand Central Bakery, The Bang Bang Cafe, Stumptown Coffee, and our exhibitors and supporters!
Fantagraphics Bookstore and Georgetown Records are pleased to announce a sensational series of music, comix, and literary events for the remainder of this year. Don't miss a minute!
On Friday, November 2, David Lasky and Noah Van Sciver appear for a joint exhibition and book signing from 6:00 to 9:00 PM. Musical entertainment will be provided by K recording artist Dennis Driscoll, who promises to cover some Carter Family material. The following Saturday, November 10 at 7:00 PM, newly christened "Stranger Genius" Ellen Forney will present her courageous new graphic memoir, Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, & Me in the Microsoft Auditorium of the Seattle Public Library Central Branch. On Saturday, November 24 at 6:00 PM, we host a book launch party for The Last Vispo Anthology, edited by longtime Fantagraphics staffer Nico Vassilakis. The evening features readings by many contributors and music by another "Stranger Genius" honoree Lori Goldsten (former Earth and Nirvana cellist), joined by former Black Cat Orchestra bandmate Kyle Hanson. On Saturday, December 8, from 6:00 to 9:00 PM, Fantagraphics Bookstore commemorates its 6th anniversary in style with Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez celebrating 30 years of Love & Rockets. Special guest artist and musician Geneviève Castrée will perform for the occasion. The series concludes on Sunday, December 30 from 2:00 to 4:00 PM with Nathan Bulmer signing Eat More Bikes collection from Koyama Press. All events are all ages and free. Make plans to move to Seattle now.
Don’t Forget This Song chronicles the colorful career of The Carter Family, country music legends of the 1920s and '30s. Written by Southern-born Seattle resident Frank M. Young in the dialect of the day, this engaging narrative parallels the turmoil of that period. It portrays the family’s perseverance in the face of rural poverty, bigotry and isolation, as well as the myriad problems brought by sudden success. Meticulously rendered in full color by veteran Seattle cartoonist David Lasky, the book includes a CD of vintage Carter Family radio recordings. Both Lasky and Young will be available to sign copies of the book at the reception.
The Hypo: The Melancholic Young Lincoln documents the troubled young adulthood of one of America’s most beloved leaders. The book follows Abe Lincoln as he arrives in Springfield, Illinois to begin his life in politics and law. A promising career is sidetracked by a series of professional and emotional setbacks that result in a crushing cloud of depression Lincoln described as "The Hypo." Van Sciver’s attention to detail and emotive drawing technique combine to create a compelling story of irrepressible ambition overcoming all obstacles — laying the foundation for a figure bound to alter the course of history. Van Sciver will appear at the reception to sign copies of his new book, as well as his popular self-published Blammo comix.
The opening at Fantagraphics Bookstore in Seattle’s historic Georgetown arts community on Friday, November 2 is associated the Short Run Small Press Fest activities. A coinciding exhibition of work from Seattle alternative comix tabloid, The Intruder, will be held next door at One Night Stand gallery from 6:00 to 9:00 PM.
David Lasky and Noah Van Sciver art exhibition and book signing Friday, November 2, 6:00 to 9:00 PM. Exhibition continues through November 22. Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery 1201 S. Vale Street, Seattle 206.658.0110 | www.fantagraphics.com
The fantastically newest Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review: Over at Read About Comics, Greg McElhatton cracks open a copy of Lewis Trondheim's newest English translation. "Ralph Azham Vol. Oneis a nice little surprise; what initially looks cute and fun is dark and enjoyable, and Trondheim’s gradual reveals of the story’s contents are strong enough that it makes reading the next volume a must. . . I’m definitely back for Book Two; this was a great deal of fun."
• Interview (audio): Robin McConnell of the Inkstuds podcast interviews Noah Van Sciver on The Hypo and his newest work online, Saint Cole on The Expositor.
• Interview:AV Club caught up with Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez during this year, the 30th Anniversary of Love and Rockets! Jaime could not see a future without Love and Rockets: "The only thing I can see in the future is I picture Love And Rockets number whatever way down the road and they have to explain: 'This special issue, Jaime died halfway through doing it. So there’s going to be some pages with just pencils on it and some blank pages. But we thought we owed it to him to finish it, to print it.' A half-issue and then, well, that’s it."
• Review: Steven Heller writes about Dal Tokyo by Gary Panter on The Atlantic: "Dal Tokyo might best be seen as a combination of nightmare, daydream, ramble, and sketch, with a decided stream-of-consciousness tone, which is not unlike Panter's own Texas lilting manner when talking. In fact, for all its eccentricity, Dal Tokyo is akin to a Texas tall tale."
• Plug (video): The short film Objects of Our Desire focuses on the project Significant Objects as part of the The Future of Story Telling series. The book is edited by Joshua Glenn and Rob Walker. “Stories are the foundation of what we do everyday,” Richelle Parham, the vice president and chief marketing officer of eBay.
• Review:Read About Comics and Greg McElhatton looked at Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge: Only a Poor Old Man by Carl Barks. "The more I see of Barks’ comics, the more I kick myself for having taken this long to read them. . . If you haven’t experienced Barks’ Duck comics yourself, I think this is a great a place as any to begin. Definitely check it out for yourself. Highly recommended."
• Review:Blog Critics's Sixy Minute Manga reviews and summarizes Shimura Takako's Wandering Son Vol. 2. Lesley Aeschliman states ". . . the more minimal and simplistic art works for the story being told in this series. . . I would recommend this manga series to readers who have an appreciation for literature that concerns LGBT issues."
• Review (audio):Deconstructing Comics podcast spend the full hour discussing A Drunken Dream and Other Stories. Tim Young and Kumar Sivasubramanian argue and agree on Moto Hagio's work in the book with stories that "dwelt on not fitting in, losing what you love, and other themes that could be depressing, but were usually expressed in innovative and compelling ways."
•Review: Gene Ambaum of Unshelved enjoys his read of Wilfred Santiago's 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente. Ambaum says, "I was intrigued how the author would fit his life story into a brief, illustrated book. It emphasized the major events that shaped his life, and the powerful, stark images made me feel like I experienced the tragic and poignant moments."
• Commentary:ComicBooked talks about the 90s and Fantagraphics' place within the context of pushing out music and the amazing album art of Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes and Peter Bagge.
The blackest ink in the pot of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:AV Club shows presidential love for Barack Hussein Obama and The Hypo. Noel Murray on Steven Weissman's book: "For the most part Barack Hussein Obama is just wild fun, built around the notion that a president can be easily reduced to his public image—and that we, the people, have the right to manipulate that image for our own delight." And Murray on The Hypo: "[Noah Van Sciverrenders] an American icon as a lumpen everyman, fighting through the same fog that many people find themselves in—even if few of those ordinary folks wind up in the Oval Office."
• Review:Publishers Weekly picks The Hypo by Noah Van Sciver as one of the best new books of the month. "Van Sciver’s psychologically astute examination of what might be termed Abraham Lincoln’s “lost years” (1837–1842) is as gripping and persuasive as the best historical fiction. . . .A thoroughly engaging graphic novel that seamlessly balances investigation and imagination."
• Review:Paste Magazine reviews Steven Weissman's newest book and Hillary Brown gives it a 8.1 (outta 10). "With its gold foil stamp and red, white and blue partial jacket, Barack Hussein Obama could well be a semi-official graphic rendering of a presidency. . . If this book is a portrait of anything, it shows the grind and the way that hope and idealism erodes when faced with the everyday, and that is valuable"
•Review:La Tempestad on Barack Hussein Obamaby Steven Weissman. Rough translation states "Through these pages, Weissman satirizes and creates a parallel reality of based on the stewards of American power."
• Review:MetroPulse enjoys reading Ralph Azham Vol. 1 "Why Would You Do That To Someone You Love" by Lewis Trondheim. Matthew Everett states "There’s action, drama, pratfalls, bad-ass mercenaries, and a last-panel surprise that promises future volumes will head off in entirely unexpected directions. . . Ralph Azham is off to a near-perfect start. It’s a quietly marvelous addition to the English-language catalog of a working world master. Get it while you can."
• Review:The Quietus peeks at Dal Tokyo by Gary Panter. Mat Colegate can barely contain himself: "Panter is probably one of the single most influential underground American cartoonists of all time, a kind of Ramones to Robert Crumb’s Jefferson Airplane, which makes his relative unknown status a bit baffling. A cartoonists’ cartoonist, maybe?. . . The man’s inks are practically sentient, devouring white space like it was candy floss as his crude likenesses become imbued with a very deliberate purpose, that of guiding the reader through Panter’s personal inferno: the urban Twentieth Century."
• Review:The Quietus continues comic coverage on Joe Daly's Dungeon Quest: Book Three. Mat Colgate states,"Dear J.R.R. certainly never had one of his characters wank off a gnome, did he? Indeed Dungeon Quest’s good natured, silly humour gives it much of its character and combines with Daly’s beautiful Charles Burns-esque artwork to make the book much more than the sum of its parts. It feels like a real labour of love and when you read it you’ll see why. Nerdgasm guaranteed. I’m in love with this comic."
• Review:Unshelved looked at Dungeon Quest: Book Three by Joe Daly. Gene Ambaum writes "I never know where this weird, Dungeons & Dragons-ish adventure will take me next. . . Every dungeon should have a vending machine [a la Dungeon Quest]! Makes more sense than turning a corner and finding an elf with a fully-stocked shop where there’s little to no foot traffic."
• Review:The Quietus focuses New York Mon Amour by Jacques Tardi. Mat Colgate states"Using only black, white and red, Tardi illustrates a seedy, roach-infested New York that’s utterly plausible. You can practically smell the trash on the sidewalks as you follow the hapless narrator’s spiral into madness and murder. . . .if you know anyone looking to take the plunge into comics, someone who’s interested in what the medium can do and the fascinating ways it can do it, then point them in this books’ direction."
• Review:BUTT Magazine sinks its teeth into No Straight Lines, edited by Justin Hall. "Justin’s 328-page anthology is a very thorough introduction to the world of GLBT comics. His knowledge on the subject is pretty extensive, probably because he’s been a fan of the medium since he was a kid. Justin tells me that’s how he learned to read. . . In fact, the entire collection features a healthy dose of realism from a genre usually characterized by fantasy."
• Interview: Brandon Soderberg of The Comics Journal interviews the elusive Josh Simmons on The Furry Trap and his recent short film, The Leader, plus horror in all aspects: "Often, the best horror is about losing. And maybe struggling to keep a shred of dignity while you do. But often, you don’t even get that. Sometimes, you get your throat cut while a clown is pulling your pants down. It’s not enough that you’re getting murdered, you’re being humiliated at the same time!" Simmons eloquently states.
• Review: Los Angeles Review of Books ponders Listen, Whitey! The Sights and Sounds of Black Power by Pat Thomas. Rickey Vincent says,"The book is meticulously detailed, reflecting Thomas’s skills as a researcher (and record producer), yet conversational in tone, balancing the voice of a rock critic with the heft of a historian. . .The book remains consistent with its vision, and Thomas delivers black power with authority."
• Commentary:SFWeekly talks about Love and Rockets' art show at the Cartoon Art Museum, Chris Hall explains "If Love and Rockets brought one innovation to the comics field, it could be its lack of misogyny. . . Love and Rockets has, from the beginning, been praised for consistently depicting strong, complex women characters."
• Commentary:Jordan Hurder posted some APE coverage on the Hernandez Brothers and our company: "Fantagraphics crushed this show. It helps that they had Los Bros celebrating 30 years of Love and Rockets and Jim Woodring was already there as a special guest, but there was a consistent buzz around their table, and there were lines for pretty much every signing they had."
• Commentary:Jaime, Gilbert and Mario Hernandez appeared at APE much to JK Parkin of Robot 6 's delight. "All three Hernandez Brothers were at the show, and when they hit the Fantagraphics table the crowds surrounded them."
• Interview:The Comics Reporter links to some great vids from SPX interviews with Jaime Hernandez, Gilbert Hernandez and Daniel Clowes.
• Review:Simcoe looks at Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge: Only a Poor Old Man by Carl Barks. Glenn Perrett says, "The stories are entertaining and the illustrations are excellent with a wonderful use of colour. . . Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge: Only a Poor Old Man will appeal to young and old."
• Review:Pat Afforo looks at Stigmata by Lorenzo Mattotti and Claudio Piersanti. "If anyone has not read it you are definitely in for a ride and it is not a smooth one at the very least. This book covers a lot of different topics: religion, redemption, reincarnation, sin, good vs. evil, and above all love."
• Review:AV Club has high hopes for Rich Tommaso and his future books starring The Cavalier Mr. Thompson. Noel Murray posits,"Tommaso’s talented enough that The Cavalier Mr. Thompson might one day be seen as the lurching beginning to something truly great. . ."
•Interview:The Guardian asks Chris Ware some questions. In answer to Rosanna Greenstreet's question 'Which living person do you most admire and why?' Ware answers,"For intellect: Art Spiegelman. For art: Robert Crumb. For poetry and vision: Gary Panter. For decency: Barack Obama. For genuine goodness: Charles Burns. For genius: Charlie Kaufman. For soulfulness and love: Lynda Barry. For words: Zadie Smith. For unique life's work and superhuman effort expended: Ira Glass, Dave Eggers."
Election season getting you down? Think no more of it as you download the latest in Fantagraphics and comiXology's digital storm, The Hypo by Noah Van Sciver. We can all agree that President Abraham Lincoln was a great man and leader of the country but what were the seeds that sprouted this enormous forest of a man?
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. Available for purchase at comiXology today!
"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
"A thoroughly engaging graphic novel that seamlessly balances investigation and imagination." -Publishers Weekly
"[Van Sciver renders] an American icon as a lumpen everyman, fighting through the same fog that many people find themselves in—even if few of those ordinary folks wind up in the Oval Office." -Noel Murray, AV Club
He'll be signing this Sunday, October 14th from 12:00 to 3:00 PM. Get your copy of the acclaimed graphic novel that NPR's Glen Weldoncalled "achingly familiar, relatably human and — most of all — profoundly real."
Time Warp Comics is located at 3105 28th Street in Boulder, Colorado. Don't be jealous West Coast — Noah's heading our way soon!