The strongest umbrella in the wind of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review: Paul Constant of The Stranger looks at The Last Vispo: Visual Poetry 1998-2008, edited by Nico Vassilakis and Crag Hill. "As an art book, it demands hours of investigation. . . For those linguistic pioneers looking to find the future of fiction, this could be one of the most informative poetry anthologies to be published in the new millennium."
• Review:NPR's My Guilty Pleasure looks at the Jacques Tardi graphics novels of Adèle Blanc-Sec who is "young writer with the brains of Sherlock Holmes, the body of Angelina Jolie and the stoic fortitude of the Marlboro Man." Rosecrans Baldwin states, "The books are part adventure comic, part hardboiled fiction. They're terrific whodunits that conjure up all the precise atmospheric detail of, say, a Georges Simenon novel, but with twice the plot."
• Review:Blacklung by Chris Wright gets reviewed on Nerds of a Feather. Philippe Duhart says, "Wright’s genius is further evident in his ability to use these aberrant cartoonish characterizations to convey human emotion, particularly terror. Wright’s portrayal of violence is stark and chilling – despite or perhaps because of his singular style. . . Black Lung worked on all counts. Plus, pirates."
• Review (video):Kapow Comics down in Australia reviews Chris Wright's Blacklung. Al states "this is a complicated book with musings on philosophy, literature, mortality and especially, religion has a big focus." Sonya says, "Every single character changes in this story, their journey changes them . . . [Blacklung] prayed on my mind. It lingers with you."
• Review: Glen David Gold looks at Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons edited by Kelly Gerald in the LA Review of Books. In an attempt to see how the bread is made, Gold, "Cartooning was O'Connor's first artistic passion. . . . An article in the local paper and a pile of rejection slips from The New Yorker indicate how serious she was. . . not an early blush of Flannery the fiction writer at work. But I'd still recommend it to the curious. Come at it without expecting same genius, but look at it because it's an extreme close up of biography."
• Review:Publishers Weekly looks at Jack Jackson's Los Tejanos and Lost Causes. "Comics’ current vogue for nonfiction was pioneered in these two works from the late underground comix founding father Jackson, who died in 2006. Jackson brought an R. Crumb–style crosshatching and love of facial grotesquery to these two densely researched historical graphic novels."
• Plug:Publishers Weekly and Ada Price show a sneak peak of The Heart of Thomas by Moto Hagio. Enjoy 14 pages of pure genius but don't forget to read each one right to left! We're talking manga here.
• Review: Rob Clough of The Comics Journal enjoys The Hypo by Noah Van Sciver."he’s made a fairly significant leap as both a draftsman and a storyteller in a relatively short period of time . . . Van Sciver’s greatest achievement in this book is his storytelling restraint. He lets his cross-hatching gets across the grime . . He wants to show the reader a different side of the Lincoln we grew up reading about in the history books, but also wants the reader to connect this younger man to the future president."
• Review:Fantasy Literature takes a peek at Castle Waiting Vol. 1 by Linda Medley and Ruth Arnell is in love. "the charming ink illustrations have a piquant charming quality that match the story wonderfully. . . Linda Medley has written a gentle feminist fairy tale comic book that truly deserves to have a wider audience."
• Review: Sonia Harris of Comics Book Resources reads Black Hole by Charles Burns all in one sitting, one evening. "Reading Black Hole all at once in a nice, tidy bundle, it is impossible to experience what Black Hole was for all those years while it was slowly seeping out, issue by issue. . . it is visceral poetry, a true expression of the medium with imagery and words working together to create the most intimate impact. Black Hole is beautiful and terrible, it is a treasure."
Here lie the records from The Hypo Pacific Northwest Tour starring Noah Van Sciver. Recently the Fantagraphics store hosted cartoonists David Lasky and Van Sciver as guests of honors for a signing, Larry Reid arranged their gorgeous work out on the wall. The two signings were perfect, graphics novels about a young depressed Abraham Lincoln struggling to be a great politician and a young family in a depressed era struggling as music makers. The Hypo is available on our website while The Carter Family by Lasky is available at Abrams.
Frank M. Young, David Lasky, Ellen Forney and Noah Van Sciver pose with their books. Young (who survived as a TCJ editor for 13 months in the early 90s) and Lasky are both local to Seattle but Van Sciver was the Denverite on the move. Another Fantagraphics' favorite Ellen Forney stopped by to say hi (holding up her new book, Marbles).
One dad brought his very interested and inquisitive children to the signing. They asked Noah many, many questions about Lincoln.
Our production and art director Jason T Miles wins the staring contest with Van Sciver.
Smartly, right-handed Lasky and left-handed Van Sciver smartly sat with their drawin' hands away from each other. Check out the amazingly posh table cloth provided by store curator, Larry. Nothing says MONEY like two books about depressed poor people! Luckily, each have their silver linings.
Dennis Driscoll from K Records sang both songs by the Carter Family and some 'old' languid creations of his own. Forgive me but he needed a volunteer for the troll song.
Upstairs, an Intruder comic art show was also opening up at the One Night Stand Gallery. Noah and Kaz Strzepek enjoy the show.
Intruder and cartoonist Marc J Palm jaws on with Floating World's Jason Leivian.
The next day Short Run (a small press comics show in Seattle) was held at the Vera Project who had the sickest looking screen printing setup ever! Their vacuumed-table allowed for perfect printing on the thinnest of paper like this here comic.
The celebrated locals also sat pretty at their tables. Pat Moriarity shared space with Noah Van Sciver while Peter Bagge commanded attention, standing and selling and constantly talking.
The party continued at the Black Lodge, here Noah yukks it up with Fantagraphics' Jacq Cohen and Pat Moriarity (stolen photo from Robin McConnell).
The Hypo Pacific Northwest Tour hit the road again after a successful Short Run, this time over the border in Vancouver, Canada.
Noah's reading at Lucky's Comics took place on a rainy afternoon but that didn't stop us!
Another artist's soft sculpture provided some texture to the room during the reading.
Jason Zumpano, a local musician stopped by (far left) as well as local Ph.D. students and book sellers, interested in Noah's graphic novel.
Store owner Gabe and Noah.
Check out some the Fantagraphics books on the display!
We stopped by the Vancouver Comic Con (it takes place about every other month) organized by Leonard Wong. Below Noah cuts in line to speak to James Lloyd from Bongo Comics.
We spent the rest of the time drawing in a cafe, waiting for the bus.
We were both sad because we saw a cute dog get attacked by another dog and then we read in the paper about a giraffe dying at the zoo. Noah commemorated the cute dog on a bookplate for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.
I drew that sad giraffe who died, a little after two OTHER giraffes in the zoo. C'mon, Vancouver.
The trip continued to Floating World thanks to Jason Leivian but the pictures were so epic, they exploded (digitally) when sent via email. But that's okay because I have another original Van Sciver for you. Remember that troll song? This JUST came in the mail today for me from Noah. What a funny man.
Enjoy The Hypo and his other comics today! Thank you to everyone who came out, bought a book, talked to us, bought us drinks or showed us the way.
The first bit of frost of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review (video):Last Gasp's John Longhi reviews The Lost Art of Ah Pook by Malcom McNeill, a story originally created with William Burroughs. Longhi says, "I can see why Burroughs wanted to work with McNeill because he's one of the few guys who could capture the crazy wacked out details of his story writing. . . [It contains] all the wonderful social discord that made his writing fantastic."
• Review:Blacklung by Chris Wright gets high marks on Paste Magazine. Sean Edgar says, "Blacklung is a weird, compelling creation, telling a harrowing story of redemption and savagery through art that could initially pass as adorable before you get to the tongue necklaces. Highly recommended for those with strong stomachs."
• Review:School Library Journal announces their BEST BOOKS OF 2012 and in the graphics novels section, Noah Van Sciver's The Hypo is listed. "Van Sciver makes Lincoln real by picturing one of the hardest times in his younger life. . . Dickens-style squalor and melodrama plus Austen-style romance, all done in gritty cross-hatching."
• Plug:The NY Times listed Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons at the top of the Best Bathroom Reads of 2012. Dwight Garner believes "the prints collected here are droll and strange." Two of our favorite words to describe Fantagraphics-style creators such as Flannery O'Connor.
• Review: Roughly translated from Ediciones La Cupula, Jaime Hernandez's God and Science: Return of the Ti-Girls is reviewed. "Theexcitementthat overwhelms usafter readingeach of theinstallments ofthe sagaof [Ti-Girls] isdirectly proportional to itsartistic excellence,histalentas a storytellerandhuman greatnessthat livesin his cartoons."
• Review:Lanacion reviews the writings and works of Alexander Theroux (Laura Warholic, Estoniaand The Strange Case of Edward Gorey) and translated, barely, Matias Serra Bradford states, "If left as an untreated rarity,AlexanderTherouxseemsmysteriousto the fantasticand impossible point of determiningthe trajectoryofa particle and itsposition."
• Review:The Snipe News looks at Joe Sacco's Journalism collection. "the decade’s worth of stories. . . are most notable not from any kind of torn-from-the-headlines sensationalism but for the empathy the author brings to his subjects. . . . Sacco has a feel for displaced persons in general."
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.