A report released this week by Auburn University shows that the oil unleashed on the Gulf of Mexico by the BP oil spill is not degrading and poses a long-term threat to coastal ecosystems. The Deepwater Horizon disaster is the subject of a new graphic novel by journalist Steve Duin and cartoonist Shannon Wheeler. On Saturday, October 1, Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery will host a reception for Duin and editor Michael Rosen where the public will get the first glance at this remarkable new book from Fantagraphics, Oil and Water.
On a trip to examine the aftermath of the BP oil spill, ten friends from Oregon discover that "Oil and Water" is just the first of many insoluble contradictions. Between the tarred sands of Grand Isle and the fouled waters of the Louisiana bayou, they discover that Gulf Coast residents are economically dependent upon the very industry that is wreaking havoc on their environment. In the shadow of the greatest ecological disaster of our time, they are forced to reassess their roles as witness, critic and environmental steward.
In this 120-page graphic novel — written by Steve Duin, a columnist for The Oregonian, and illustrated by award-winning New Yorker cartoonist Shannon Wheeler — readers will tour the shark-pocked beach at Grand Isle with the local head of Homeland Security; step aboard the crabbing boat of a 20-year-old Mississippian who works 16-hour days and spends his nights dreaming of M.I.T.; enter the "Hot Zone" where volunteers work desperately to save brown pelicans drenched in British petroleum; and hear residents describe what happens to their livelihood when 200 million gallons of oil flood the scene. The readers' perspective on what hope and what mission remains along a ravaged coastline will be changed as irrevocably as that of these ten Oregonians.
Duin and Rosen will conduct a workshop at the Northwest Conference for Teaching Social Justice in Seattle before the reception at Fantagraphics Bookstore. The public is invited to meet these activists and informally discuss their observations from 6:00 to 8:00 PM. A limited number of advance copies of Oil and Water will be available for sale. Fantagraphics Bookstore is located at 1201 S. Vale Street in Seattle's Georgetown arts community. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110.
Mark your calendars for these exciting events the first week of October: Wednesday, October 5 at 7:00 PM, we co-present Craig Thompson discussing his much-anticipated new book Habibi in the Microsoft Auditorium at the Seattle Public Library central branch. Thompson's talk will be followed by a book signing with copies of Habibi available for purchase; and don't miss comix legend Trina Robbins at the bookstore on Saturday, October 8 at 6:00 PM presenting The Brinkley Girls with a Nell Brinkley slide talk, art exhibition and book signing, in association with that weekend's Geek Girl Con.
When the preeminent master of the comics journalism form praises your book of comics reportage, that's gotta feel pretty good. Oil and Water is coming later this year and we're thrilled to have received this advance praise from the great Joe Sacco:
"Reporter Steve Duin and cartoonist Shannon Wheeler visited Louisiana to investigate the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, and their legwork shows. By contrasting the perspectives of out-of-state do-gooders and hard-bitten locals, Duin and Wheeler tell a nuanced story that goes a long way to evoking what the catastrophe means to those who still live with it."
Make a habit of visiting Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery this fall as we approach five years of presenting comix culture to the masses. It just keeps getting better:
On Saturday, September 3 between noon and 3:00 PM, we host a sneak preview of "Hooked on Comix 3." Fimmakers David P. Moore and Audry Mandelbaum will be present for a continuous screening of the latest installment of their insightful documentary series on alternative comix. This one features the lovely Dame Darcy and always entertaining Tony Millionaire. Can't wait.
On Saturday, September 10 we open Drawing Power, an amazing exhibition of cartoon advertising curated by Warren Bernard. On Saturday, September 24 Bernard will present a slide talk followed by a book signing from 6:00 to 8:00 PM. He'll be joined by visual artist and cartoonist Tom Neely presenting his latest "painted novel" The Wolf.
On Saturday, October 1 we'll host a special preview of the topical graphic novel Oil and Water with journalist writer Steve Duin from 6:00 to 8:00 PM.
The following Saturday, October 8 we welcome comix legend Trina Robbins for an exhibition and slide talk on Nell Brinkley from her phenomenal book Brinkley Girls, who will be in town as an guest at the Geek Girl Con.
Don't miss a minute of the action. Visit Fantagraphics Bookstore daily. If you don't live here, with local housing prices remaining soft and the Seattle job market improving, now's a good time to move. See ya'll soon.
From designer Alexa Koenings here's the striking final cover design for Steve Duin and Shannon Wheeler's Oil and Water, coming in late Fall/early Winter. It's similar to the preliminary design we've already shown you, with some small but important differences. We're hoping to have the bottom half of "OIL" printed with iridescent metallic stamping for that authentic oil-spill sheen, which should look pretty fantastic if it works out.
We're also excited to share this advance praise we received from Jeff Lemire, creator of Essex County and Sweet Tooth:
"Oil and Water is smart, informative and completely engaging. We experience the disaster through the eyes of Duin and Wheeler's richly developed, beautifully illustrated characters and the result is a stunning graphic novel not to be missed."
• Review: "Macherot’s animals are cute and full of character, from the porcupine sheriff to the cigar-smoking, shop-keeping bird. Visually they resemble Walt Kelly’s Pogo, with backgrounds that will look familiar to anybody who ever watched The Smurfs cartoon.... There might be more slapstick than the average post-elementary school reader can appreciate, but the adorable art, amiable characters, and a thrilling late-story air battle will keep you interested until the end. Best of all are the brief glimpses at domestic country mouse mundanity, like Sibyl-Anne’s love for baking pies and the aside where she and Boomer talk about how nice a certain table and its parasol are." – Garrett Martin, Paste
• Review: "This series [Wandering Son] is beautiful, perfectly capturing that time at the age of 10 or 11 where naivety and confusion meet in the formative years of your young identity. Where androgyny is a fine thing, defined by its ambiguity and as distinct as any sex." – Tom Rosin, Page 45
• Review: "The Willie and Joe cartoons and characters are some of the most enduring and honest symbols of all military history.... Alternating trenchant cynicism, moral outrage, gallows humour, absurdist observation, shared miseries, staggering sentimentality and the total shock and awe of still being alive every morning, this cartoon catalogue of the Last Just War [Willie & Joe: The WWII Years] is a truly breathtaking collection that no fan, art-lover, historian or humanitarian can afford to miss. …And it will make you cry and laugh out loud too." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!
• Review: "...[Willie & Joe: Back Home] features some of the most powerful assaults on the appalling edifice of post-war America ever seen. The artist’s castigating observations on how a society treats returning soldiers are as pertinent now as they ever were; the pressures on families and children even more so; whilst his exposure of armchair strategists, politicians and businessmen seeking to exploit wars for gain and how quickly allies can become enemies are tragically more relevant than any rational person could wish. ...[W]e have here a magnificent example of passion and creativity used as a weapon of social change and a work of art every citizen should be exposed to, because these are aspects of humanity that we seem unable to outgrow." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!
• Review: "Visually, Tyler's style is unique in the comics world.... The scrapbook design of [You'll Never Know, Book 2: Collateral Damage] is just one of many remarkable decorative touches she adds. Color is tremendously important both in a narrative sense (identifying key times and characters) and an emotional sense (modulating feelings felt on a page in an expressive style). The complexity of her page design (changing formats on an almost page-to-page basis) is brought to earth by the simplicity of her character design. The result is what feels like an ornate, powerful and cohesive sketchbook/journal.... Most impressively, Tyler manages to bring a static kind of craft (a sketchbook) to life with panels that crackle with energy and movement. There are no easy outs or answers in Tyler's attempts to create, maintain and understand connections with her loved ones..." – Rob Clough, High-Low
• Essay:The Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon on Jaime Hernandez's The Death of Speedy, written for Team Cul de Sac's Favorites zine: "Hernandez's evocation of that fragile period between school and adulthood, that extended moment where every single lustful entanglement, unwise friendship, afternoon spent drinking outside, nighttime spent cruising are acts of life-affirming rebellion, is as lovely and generous and kind as anything ever depicted in the comics form."
• Commentary: "It could be seen as frustrating that I've still got five years to wait to complete the Peanuts collection, ...but in some ways it's nice. If they came out more quickly, there would be more of a feeling of urgency about ploughing through the strips, whereas I'm able to take a more leisurely approach, reading bits here and there. After all, they were only really meant to be read once a day. I don't buy many books these days, preferring to download them to my Kindle, but these books are definitely going to be a part of my life for as long as they'll last (or as long as I'll last, whichever comes first) and I do look forward to seeing 50 years of Schulz magic lined up on my shelves. I just need to work out where I'll put them all... Such is the life of a completist!" – James Ellaby, Lullabies from a Giant Golden Radio
• Analysis: At Robot 6, Matt Seneca examines a page from Ganges #2: "Kevin Huizenga is one of the cartoonists whose work addresses comics’ conflict between the abstract and the literal most frequently and interestingly. Huizenga’s attempts at using comics to mimic the visual effect of video games are especially notable: rather than creating the simulacrum of reality that the vast majority of comics do, what is brought forth instead is a simulacrum of a simulacrum, a copy of a copy, something already abstract abstracted further, its ties to reality stressed and stretched about as close to the breaking point as they can go."
• Interview:The Daily Cross Hatch's Brian Heater wraps up his 4-part conversation with Mome editor Eric Reynolds: "I think Mome actually got better as I actively stopped worrying about who the readership might be, and actively indulged my own interests.... I think that began to happen as early as the fifth or sixth issue. And I think, by the end of it — you can point to a lot of things that we probably would have leaned against publishing at the beginning."
• Profiles: Following the news that the Xeric Foundation is discontinuing its publishing grants, the writers of Robot 6 spotlight some of their favorite past grant recipients, including Megan Kelso and John Kerschbaum
• Awards:The Oregonian's Steve Duin congratulates his Oil & Water collaborator Shannon Wheeler on Wheeler's Eisner Award win last weekend
Fantagraphics is puttin' the "comics" back in Comic-Con as we head to San Diego this week with a slew of scintillating signings, almost two-dozen dynamite debuts, and a collection of comics sure to please any comics fan... and fill those enormous free tote bags they give away at the door.
Friday, July 22nd: • 10:30-11:30 Comics Arts Conference Session #5: Critical Approaches to Comics: An Introduction to Theories and Methods— Matthew J. Smith and Randy Duncan with panelist, Andrei Molotiu. [Room 26AB] • 1:00-2:00 Comics Arts Conference Session #6: Wordless Comicswith Andrei Molotiu. [Room 26AB] • 12:00-1:00 CBLDF Master Session 3: Jaime Hernandez [Room 30CDE] • 1:00-2:00 Publishing Queer: Producing LGBT Comics and Graphic Novels with moderator Justin Hall [Room 9] • 1:00-2:30 The Golden Age of the Fanzine moderated by Bill Schelly. [Room 24ABC] • 10:30-11:30 Cartoon Network Comedy: Regular Show/The Problem Solverz and More! The Problem Solverz talent includes Ben Jones, John Pham, and Jon Vermilyea. [Room 6A]
Comic-Con has announced their programming for Thursday July 21, the first full day of the convention, and here are the panels to circle in your program or plug into your smartphone app or scribble on the back of your hand (we will, of course, give a complete run-down along with our signing schedule and more info in the near future):
12:30-1:30 Spotlight on Bill Schelly— Comic-Con special guest Bill Schelly (The Golden Age of Comic Fandom, The DC Archives) is a leading fandom and comics historian. Moderator Gary Brown interviews Bill about his work, with special emphasis on his latest books The Art of Joe Kubert (debuting at Comic-Con 2011) and Founders of Comic Fandom, followed by a Q&A session. Room 8
1:00-2:00 CBLDF Master Session 2: Shannon Wheeler— From DIY zine making to the pages of the New Yorker and every flavor of independent press in between, Shannon Wheeler has distinguished himself for an ability to craft humor strips that are equal parts sardonic and existential. Take a close-up look at his approach to creating cartoons and gain insight into the nuts and bolts of making cartoons that connect with editors and readers at this CBLDF Master Session! The pieces created during this event will be available for bidding in Saturday's CBLDF Benefit Auction! Room 30CDE (Recommended by The Washington Post's Michael Cavna: "From zines to New Yorker magazine, Portland’s own has much knowledge to share with the aspiring.")
2:00-3:00 Love and Rockets —Gilbert, Jaime, and Mario Hernandez converse with Gary Groth about 30 years of creating their landmark comic book series, Love & Rockets. Since 1982, Love & Rockets has virtually defined alternative comics and culture, launching from the punk rock scene in Los Angeles and growing into one of the most mature bodies of work ever produced in the medium. Room 9 (Recommended by The Washington Post's Michael Cavna: "The Brothers Hernandez talk with Gary Groth about three glorious decades of L&R.")
2:30-3:30 Joyce Farmer: Special Exits, A Memoir — Can graphic work become serious literature through excellent artwork, writing ,and subject matter? Where does graphic work belong in bookstores and libraries? This Q&A with Comic-Con special guest Joyce Farmer examines her Eisner Award-nominated book Special Exits, A Memoir (Fantagraphics) in this spotlight panel. Room 4 (Recommended by The Washington Post's Michael Cavna: "Her Eisner-nominated Fantagraphics graphic-novel memoir is a must-read. Which makes Farmer a must-see.")
3:30-4:30 Spotlight on Frank Stack— Comic-Con special guest Frank Stack, pioneer of underground comix in the 1960s with such titles as New Adventures of Jesus, Feelgood Funnies, Amazons, and Dorman's Doggie, remains active as a fine artist and cartoonist. His Jesus stories were recently reprinted as The Second Coming by Fantagraphics. Frank will present a visual presentation and Q&A. Room 4
6:00-7:00 Comics for Social Justice: The Making of Oil and Water —Oil and Water is a book-length comic (Fantagraphics, Summer 2011) that is a partly fictionalized account of a 10-day trip that 22 Oregonians (activists, teachers, business owners, scientists, and artists) took last summer to "bear witness" to the BP oil spill on the Gulf Coast. Shannon Wheeler will briefly present the historic impact of comics on issues of contemporary social relevance and give a quick overview of why this project was conceived and what it hopes to accomplish. He'll then present his sketches from the Gulf Coast and show how he and collaborator Steve Duin transformed them into a compelling portrait of what hope and challenges remain along a ravaged coastline, one awash in both seafood and oil, that will be changed as irrevocably as those Oregonians that chose to bear witness to the tragedy. Q&A session to follow. Room 9
Whew! Get ready for a lot of running from room to room. Why, you'll barely have time to hit our booth and buy books!
• Review: "Congress of the Animals is a beautifully illustrated modern fable, which manages to say more without words, than most graphic novels can with hundreds of words. The tale rewards repeat readings, with each successive exposure to the story revealing new and interesting details that were not at first apparent. Woodring has really outdone himself here, and has created the finest work of his career. This is a strong contender for graphic novel of the year, if not the decade!" – Edward Kaye, Hypergeek
• Plug: "...Jim Woodring has created a universe that is as unique as it is brilliant.... Congress of the Animals is due out at the end of May and without knowing anything about it I’m certain that it will be worth owning. If his last book Weathercraft is anything to go by you’ll probably read through the full book in one sitting and then spend weeks thinking about the terrifying images that you saw there." – Phillip Buchan, Starburst Magazine (registration required)
• Review: "Approximate Continuum Comics is a black and white collection of stories that feel different, but are still distinctly Trondheim.... The fact is, there aren't too many cartoonists who can do this kind of work today, period. And there weren't many who could do it a decade ago, which is how old this material is.... At $19 for 144 pages' worth of material, the book is worth the price. As usual, Fantagraphics goes out of its way to design something nice here..." – Augie De Blieck Jr., Comic Book Resources
• Review: "...[T]he adventures [in Take a Joke] start at an outrageousness level that’s over-the-top and go north of there, until they climb higher, then scale a wall, then take an elevator, then an escalator, and finally jump real high. They never, ever come down.... In any other artist’s hands, I’d probably hate the damn thing. But Ryan’s cartoon style... makes the filth seem innocent, as if the deviant behavior within his panels [is] perfectly acceptable.... While I admit I found some it very, very funny, I’ll never be able to look at a bottle of A-1 sauce the same way again. Or Robert Crumb, Yogi Bear and The New Yorker, all of whom take quite the licking. Licking just what, I leave to you to discover on your own. – Rod Lott, Bookgasm
• Review: "The protagonist in Fantagraphics Books new Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse: Race to Death Valley isn't your father's Mickey Mouse. It's your grandfather's. These early newspaper strips, beginning in 1930, by Floyd Gottfredson... show a character who seeks out adventure, gets in fights, jumps from speeding trains, steals a car and chases after bad guys out west.... Gottfredson's drawings are just about perfect.... The artist could capture both the excitement... and the wit..." – Michael Chevy Castranova, The Sparrow Papers
• Review: "...[O]ne could not have asked for a better presentation, with the reproduction about as good as it gets for 80-year-old comic strips, and a veritable plethora of extras.... It's rather startling... to see the amount of depth we get in these comic strips presented here.... I also found the language in these strips extraordinary.... To sum up, anyone who likes Disney, cartoons, or comic strips will find tons of things to love about [Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1: Race to Death Valley]. The comics are exciting adventure strips for the most part, though there's a lot of standard 'gag' stuff as well.... A terrific book, highly recommended." – Sean Gaffney, A Case Suitable for Treatment (via The Comics Reporter)
• Plug: At the Forbidden Planet International blog, Wim Lockefeer comments on our Guy Peellaert publishing news: "You don’t need to know that Jodelle and Pravda were based respectively on French chanseuses Sylvie Vartan and Françoise Hardy to enjoy these books, and I think they will prove to be a very good addition to Fantagraphics’ continually growing library of classic comics from round the world."
• Interview: At Comics Bulletin, Jason Sacks talks to Shannon Wheeler about Oil & Water and shares some never-before-seen artwork from the book: "A lot of our goals had to do with keeping the environmental disaster on the radar nationally, saying 'This is something that what we did that's a travesty,' basically, and 'How do we keep paying attention to it so it gets cleaned up and never happens again?' It's a big deal."
• Book Club: If you would like to take part in a recorded podcast discussion about Jason & Fabien Vehlmann's Isle of 100,000 Graves on Saturday, head over to Inkstuds to find out the details (and of course we'll let you know when the recording is posted)
The new Diamond Previews catalog is out today and in it you'll find our usual 2-page spread with our releases scheduled to arrive in your local comic shop in August 2011 (give or take — some release dates have changed since the issue went to press). We're pleased to offer additional and updated information about these upcoming releases here on our website, to help shops and customers alike make more informed ordering decisions. (And we'll continue and hopefully improve this feature every month!)
You'll find hotly-anticipated titles like the next Love and Rockets, Oil & Water (both "Certified Cool"!), the new Ganges, Kupperman's Twain book, our long-awaited Toth book, new editions of The Frank Book, and a new classic pin-up collection. See them all here!
• Review: "Like Saturday morning cartoons, Yeah! was about a kind of science fiction that embraced weirdo aliens rather than science fact. From alt-comix came characters that were outcasts, lived on the margins of society, or had outsider personalities. Instead of being offensive and edgy, this unusual comic book series was imaginative and inventive. ...[I]t was an all-ages gem, and I’m glad that it's back..." – Leroy Douresseaux, I Reads You
• Review: "How does Peter Bagge stay so good after all these years? Hate Annual #9 was as good as any of the previous issues of Hate (possibly better?). I guess that's why he's one of the all time greats. He just stays good year after year, issue after issue. This latest offering involving Buddy and his wife Lisa and son Harold visiting Lisa's parents in Seattle was hilarious, awkward and sublime! It's a hell of an issue and I want to see what happens next..." – P.D. Houston, Renderwrx Productions
• Review: "I was not familiar with Leila Marzocchi's work before [Niger #3], so the subtlety and nuance of her scratchy dark art entranced me right away. It's spooky yet tame enough to remind me of top notch children's book style illustration.... The art is so lovely [that] even when I wasn't sure what exactly was happening story wise, the work on the page was enough to keep me involved." – P.D. Houston, Renderwrx Productions
• Coming Attractions: In the latest "Graphic Novel Prepub Alert" from Library Journal, Martha Cornog spotlights a bunch of our upcoming Fall releases:
Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture: A Career Retrospective: "Boomer veterans of Mad magazine will remember Davis's exuberant caricatures, windows into the 1950s and 1960s. Davis also worked extensively on horror, war, and Western titles for EC Comics and other publishers, and his mangier version of the Crypt-Keeper became the character's portrait. Known as a super-fast worker, Davis turned out a huge amount of work, and this collection brings together a variety of comics and commercial art from every stage of his checkered career."
Oil & Water by Steve Duin & Shannon Wheeler: "In 2010, Duin and Wheeler joined a group from Oregon touring the environs of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. And, it appears, theirs is the first graphic novel reportage on the devastating BP blowout.... You will buy this."
The Hidden by Richard Sala: "Classic setup: a bunch of strangers stranded in a diner during a snowstorm, with a killer on the loose outside. And just for extra fun, maybe a global catastrophe in the works.... Clean line color drawings with a tongue-in-cheek feel."
Mark Twain's Autobiography 1910-2010 by Michael Kupperman: "The recent publication of Twain's real autobiography sets the stage for mocking the master of mockery, who surely would have chortled at the homage. This Twain tells of hunting the Yeti ('Come out here and face me, you snow-covered coward!'), meeting the Six Million Dollar Man, having a love affair with Mamie Eisenhower ('Boy oh boy, this lady was one hot dish'), and accidentally becoming involved in X-rated films. Proceed at your own risk!"
• Plug: "From his musings on Hamlet to his thoughts on the TV show Married..with Children, Alexander Theroux covers pop culture, literature, and high art while he takes us on a rambling tour of this tiny Baltic country. Theroux examines Estonia’s language and customs in order to get a larger view of a land which holds a population of less than two million. As he states, 'Seeing Estonia — disrobing her — was my focus.'" – Kathleen Massara, Flavorpill "10 Most Anticipated Summer Reads"