"This collection of short stories about people desperately trying to suppress or embrace or just somehow deal with all the difficult emotions careening around in their brain just underscores what those who have seen Davis’ work in scattered anthologies already suspected: that she is a tremendous talent, and one of the smartest voices working in comics today." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
"Ultimately, Wilson is a perfect representative of the dark side of the '60s. His work crackles with the viciousness that was the flip side of flower power. If he has any message to convey, it's that the world is falling apart: that (to quote Yeats by way of Joan Didion) 'the center cannot hold.'" – Etelka Lehoczky, NPR
"What's striking about these 34 stories, written by Harvey Kutzman and illustrated with bold, deft confidence by Severin, is their range of tone. Sure, there are the expected heroics of American soldiers fighting in the relatively contemporary war zones of WWII and Korea; there are strong-jawed sergeants, good-natured grunts and daredevil flying aces. But there is also plenty of cowardice, irony, shame and sheer wastefulness–elements that must surely be part of any large-scale conflict, yet are often excised from their comic-book portrayals." – David Maine, Spectrum Culture
"The Heart of Thomas works in several different themes, many revolving around the concept of love. It asks the questions, what does it mean to love or be loved? What will we do to be loved or to help the one we love? Is it okay to accept another’s love? While asking all these questions, Hagio doesn’t put any conditions on them… The feelings are portrayed so genuinely that gender becomes meaningless, and just seeing the characters happy are all that's important in the end." – Lori Henderson, School Library Journal
"Part biography, part retrospective, part collected chronicles of a comic legend, this is a huge undertaking that pays off in every way you could expect, and a million ways you couldn't." – The Daily Planet
"It's a stunning body of work that brings together loosely personal and wholly fictional stories about joy, anguish, fear and loneliness - emotions all motivated by that essential quest to be the best you can be." – James Cartwright, It's Nice That
"This book contains many more examples of the sorts of stories that made him so rightly famous, including a couple of epic globe-trotting adventures, plenty of swiftly swelling domestic comedies, and two Christmas comics, which Barks seems to have specialized in." – J. Caleb Mozzocco, School Library Journal
"After last issue's splashy stories, this issue is a bit more low-key with regard to Killer and her story, preferring to lay some narrative pipe and give the characters a bit of room to breathe and interact." –Rob Clough, High-Low
Will Eisner Hall of Fame artist Joe Orlando drew EC's most (in)famous science fiction story, "Judgment Day," a blunt parable about racism that triggered a blow-up with the Comics Code Authority.
Orlando was a mainstay at EC, especially on science fiction, and Judgment Day and Other Stories collects 23 of his best. All of them, most scripted by Al Feldstein, serve up clever, suspenseful O. Henry-style shock endings, including "In the Beginning…," "The Teacher from Mars," and "Fallen Idol."
Orlando and Feldstein also adapted Otto Binder's fabled Adam Link stories, starring an intelligent robot poignantly struggling to claim his humanity. (The robot/man later headlined TV's The Outer Limits with Leonard Nimoy." Adam Link was EC's only ongoing science fiction series — and it's all here in these pages!
To top it off, this volume features two of Orlando's outstanding adaptations of classic Ray Bradbury science fiction — "The Long Year" and "Outcast of the Stars."
Prepare yourself for an amazing journey to the stars!
Gilbert Hernandez's sprawling family saga focuses on the United States, where newly immigrated Luba and her sisters, body-builder Petra and therapist/film star Fritz, find their families' and friends' lives becoming more and more intertwined. As the three sisters have "memories of sweet youth," the next generation finds the spotlight: Luba's adult daughter Doralís emcees the proceedings in her role as mischievous host of a children’s TV show, while Petra's little girl, Venus, has adventures with her aunt Fritz and her best friend Yoshio. At her mother's urging, Venus also writes missives to her fierce, one-armed cousin Casimira, who's back in Palomar. In these stories — never before collected together — Venus tells it like it is!
S. Clay Wilson's taboo-busting, eyeball-blistering comics changed the course of the medium. Best known for his Checkered Demon character and as one of the co-founders of the seminal Zap Comix anthology, Wilson cannonballed the collective — which includes legendary underground cartoonist R. Crumb — to even greater heights of artistic depravity. The first of three volumes, this documentary-style biography — told both in his own words and in firsthand accounts from his peers — and retrospective includes Wilson's childhood drawings, his early contributions to Zap, his collaborations with William S. Burroughs, and his work for Arcade. Preeminent underground comics scholar Patrick Rosenkranz (Rebel Visions) paints a revealing portrait of the Midwestern artist who hid his shyness behind an outré persona — and held a cutlass to the throat of the establishment.
When the formulaic constraints, censorious nature, and onerous lack of creator's rights in mainstream comics got to be too much for the brilliant cartoonist Wallace Wood in 1966, he struck out on his own with the self-published witzend. It became a haven for Wood and his fellow professional cartoonist friends where they could produce the kind of personal work that they wanted to do, without regard to commercial demands — and with friends like Frank Frazetta, Al Williamson, Reed Crandall, Ralph Reese, Archie Goodwin, Angelo Torres, Steve Ditko, Harvey Kurtzman, Will Elder, Art Spiegelman, Don Martin, Vaughn Bodé, Jim Steranko, Jeff Jones, Howard Chaykin, Trina Robbins, Bernie Wrightson, and literally dozens more, it was bound to be a great ride! Now, Fantagraphics presents the complete run of witzend in this beautiful slipcased two-volume set with a special introduction by Bill Pearson and a history by Patrick Rosenkranz.
A lovely book filled with depraved, degenerate art and the colorful story of the man who made it, Pirates in the Heartland: The Mythology of S. Clay Wilson Vol. 1 is due out in about 2 months, and we've got our advance copies to begin showing off. Above, one of the only borderline-SFW comics spreads we can show you from the book, and the beginning of a middle chapter of this volume's part of the biography by underground comix historian Patrick Rosenkranz, who also compiled the comics. This book is An Event and we're excited to get it out into the world! You can check out some excerpts and reserve your copy right here.
How did a nervous, creative kid from a normal family in Nebraska grow up to make some of the most outrageous, transgressive, Id-ful comics ever put to paper? You'll find the answer — and the comics — in Pirates in the Heartland, the first book in our 3-volume biography and retrospective of S. Clay Wilson by Patrick Rosenkranz. Wilson, of course, is a member of the Zap Comix collective and creator of the Checkered Demon; Rosenkranz is one of the preeminent authorities on underground comix and the author of the definitive history of the genre, Rebel Visions. Their mighty powers combine in this essential series that takes an unflinching look at the man and his work.
In our downloadable excerpt, read about Wilson's childhood in the heartland, see some of his youthful artwork, and read some of his earliest underground comix stories with, yes, pirates. Expected availability is in about 8 weeks, give or take;pre-sale is on now!
The man. His work. They coexist on the cover and in the pages of Pirates in the Heartland: The Mythology of S. Clay Wilson Vol. 1, compiling Wilson's seminal underground comix work along with the first part of Patrick Rosenkranz's authoritative biography. Wilson unleashed a cannon barrage on the boundaries of the comics art form and rushed through, flintlocks blazing, cutlass in teeth, and fly open, taking no prisoners with his outrageous output. This book, combined with its two forthcoming sequels, will be the last word and the ultimate collection of a comics legend. Look for more previews between now and its release this summer.
And for lots more insight into the cover design, art director Jacob Covey wrote these notes on his personal Facebook page, re-presented here with his kind permission:
Here's the cover design for the new Fantagraphics book from Patrick Rosenkranz, The Mythology of S. Clay Wilson, Volume One: Pirates In the Heartland. This is the result of more comps than I have ever produced before and I figured I'd write about it to get at some idea of why.
For one thing, I went into this project with little enthusiasm. Wilson is a pioneering Underground Comix artist who inspired R. Crumb to let loose his id, to break comics wide open for self-expression. But Wilson on the surface -- and after forty years of being built upon (back to before I was born) -- lacks the contrasting dignity of Crumb's linework and his compositions are DENSE. Wilson art is recognizable: His line, and his humor, is crass; there is no white space and there are no taboos.
There are artists you have to recalibrate for and, for me, Wilson turns out to be one of those. It took a lot of sitting with the stories to let down my guard and enjoy how powerful the work is. A lot of artists talk about wanting to get back to creating like a kid again. Wilson manages to remain as unfiltered as an adolescent in detention. His is not the art of an innocent kindergartner who draws fanciful anatomy in a surreal landscape but that of the self-realizing, hormone-raging, unclean middle-beast that is boys who are becoming men. He still draws like a kid, just not the kid we romanticize about. At a time when most of us become self-conscious and begin self-censoring Wilson did not.
That accomplishment in itself is remarkable but his relentless creating is the application that makes him genius. Wilson seems to exist solely to get his sprawling imagination down on paper. His prolific output is that of the consummate artist. That it is also very graphic, violent, and offensive to most all social norms takes a little adjusting to.
So all of this is what I had to assimilate just to start my job. To feel like I had enough grasp on Wilson to "brand" his life by designing this cover to (volume one of) his biography. My first attempts weren't about Wilson but associations with his Underground brethren and the psychedelia connected to the period. Pinks, Cyans, solid clashing color. All completely missing the character of Wilson. Wilson was (is) certainly a drug user but of the escapist, rebellious variety, not the trippy, feel-good variety. He's a meat-and-potatoes guy who creates fevered worlds, including his own. Hence the title "The Mythology of S. Clay Wilson" -- a smart nuance on the part of Rosenkranz.
In publishing, one has to approach a cover with the information of an expert and the ignorance of a browser. In biographies, a photo of the subject is generally employed for good reason: The viewer immediately knows this is a book about a person. (Hence the trend in fiction of generally cropping off the heads of models or having them looking away -- this is not about THEM.) But Wilson is recognizable only by his artwork, so a photo alone isn't enough information. Ultimately, my solution is a kind of psychedelia but a practical one: Pirate art (a favorite theme of Wilson) overlaying a mythic portrait of young Wilson. Creation and creator in color overlays that force your eye to try to unhook one from the other.
I generally consider it a failure when cover design requires a band of color upon which to set the type. In this case, it allowed for the art to be the primary feature, to be a bit uncontrolled, while the type treatment is an anchor that harkens classic album design. This kind of visual messaging is trying to align Wilson with rebels and rockstars without making false promises. The trickiest part was simply finding Wilson art that had ANY white space so his portrait could connect with the viewer. The dual function of his artwork blowing the brains out, simultaneously, of Wilson and another of Wilson's creation was too wonderful to pass up but I'm going to leave the symbology of such things to the viewer.
224-page color/black & white 7.5" x 11" hardcover • $34.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-747-5
This is the definitive account of the boldest and most audacious of the legendary underground cartoonists: the taboo busting, eyeball blistering S. Clay Wilson. This first volume contains all of his underground comic stories from ZAP Comix, Snatch, Gothic Blimp Works, Bogeyman, Felch, Insect Fear, Pork, Tales of Sex and Death, and Arcade magazine as well as the many adventures of the Checkered Demon, Star-Eyed Stella, and Captain Pissgums, and even his earliest collaborations with William Burroughs. Also: selections from his teenaged and college years, both in comics and painting form. First person accounts from his peers, as well as Wilson’s own words, offer a revealing portrait of the artist who hid his shyness behind brash behavior and bluster. This first of a three-volume biography and retrospective gets to the heart and soul of an artist who lived his dreams and his nightmares.
160-page full-color 9" x 12" hardcover • $34.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-731-4
Featuring approximately 75 full-color portraits of the pioneering legends of American comic books, including publishers, editors, and artists from the industry's birth in the '30s, through the brilliant artists and writers behind EC Comics in the ’50s. All lovingly rendered and chosen by Drew Friedman, a cartooning legend in his own right. Featuring subjects popular and obscure, men and women, as well as several pioneering African-American artists. Each subject features a short essay by Friedman, who grew up knowing many of the subjects included (as the son of writer Bruce Jay Friedman), including Stan Lee, Harvey Kurtzman, Will Eisner, Mort Drucker, Al Jaffee, Jack Davis, Will Elder, and Bill Gaines. More names you might recognize: Barks, Crumb, Wood, Wolverton, Frazetta, Siegel & Shuster, Kirby, Cole, Ditko, Wertham... it’s a Hall of Fame of comic book history from the man Boing Boing calls "America’s greatest living portrait artist!"
(Note that the final cover art will feature Drew's portrait of Jack Kirby, rather than Siegel & Shuster as shown here.)
Holy comicsolly! Here's photos from the Stumptown Comics Fest in Portland, OR. Dash Shaw was in attendance with New School, which flew off the table. WHY THE WAIT on pictures? We forgot our own con rules. To remain human you must 5-2-1-I: At least 5 hours of sleep, 2 meals a day, 1 shower and Ibuprofen at night. Four hours of sleep one night wrecked this gal and boy, did she pay for it.
Lots of our Fantastaff came to the show since it was so close! Me, Designer Emory Liu, PR Director Jacq Cohen, Dash and Office Manager Steph Rivers.
Patrick Rosenkranz held some long, lovely conversations with fans of comics history and his book Rebel Visions. Patrick also led a Spain Rodriguez tribute panel, if you can ever take a class by him bring a recorder!
Dash talks to fans, cartoonists and the awesome Ming Doyle (who is both).
Portland is awesome because there are cartoonists everywhere. And by everywhere I mean at bars or restaurants. We ran in to Greg Means, Alec Longstreth and Claire Sanders at the Red Flag on the way to the Top Shelf party.
Having the warehouse van proved useful driving home slightly drinky cartoonists. James Kochalka, Rachel Foss and Dash Shaw hold court in the back.
ACCESSORIES. We saw quite a bit. Ed Luce rocked some additional tags.
Dash signed the Stumptown sketch poster HIS WAY.
Patrick Yurick had the best NEW comics-related tattoo. It even has the Wattersonesque dropped panel borders for that comic beat.
Speaking of PANELS: Dash tickled the audience with this animation and comic panel. He's got comedic timing DOWN.
Here I am looking goofy alongside some of the smarter people in comics on a submissions panel: Allison Baker of MonkeyBrain Comics, Jamie S. Rich (talking about old Oni days), Bob Schreck and Sina Grace of Image and Skybound. Panel photo by Glenn Peters.
Our Kristy Valenti, Patrick Rosenkranz and Tom Spurgeon gave a beautiful Spain Rodriguez tribute panel. Photo by someone who still rocks a flash.
INTERN POWER. We had several interns tabling with their own comics. Low-res intern Kevin Uehlein and Ben Horak on the edges of a beautiful comics table, Beth Hetland and Pat Barrett in the middle. Ben's shy so all you get is his sideburns.
Intern Nomi Kane and her comic spread. The Back of Ben Horak.