Philadelphia, PA: The Wild Boyz Tour is wildin out in Philly tonight with a signing at Locust Moon Comics. In addition to Hanselmann, Deforge, and Kyle, they will be joined by Annie Mok, Noel Freibert, and Portland extraordinaire, Farel Dalrymple. This signing begins at 7 pm, but the good times continue the next day (17th) at LAVA Space when everyone magically turns into musicians! (More Details)
Friday, September 19
Seattle, WA: The highly anticipated follow up to the acclaimed books, The Hive and X'ed Out, is finally being released and long time friend-of-Fanta and author, Charles Burns will be back in Seattle at the Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery from 6-8 pm to drop his new baby, Sugar Skull. Come party at the best bookstore in the business! (More Details)
Portland, OR: The Pacific Northwest College of Arts presents the Super Trash exhibit, a celebration and exploration of exploitative art and images in cinema. Currated by Jacques Boyreau, author of the upcoming book, Super Trash, the exhibit runs in conjuction with weekly films at the Laurelhurst Theater; tonight's film is the sci-fi adaption of The Omega Man, featuring everyone's favorite gun slinger, Charlton Heston. (More Details)
Brooklyn, NY: No sleep till the next leg of our Fantagraphics tour, which just happens to be in Brooklyn! 8 pm, at the beautiful Bergen Street Comics, the whole gang is getting together to sign books and be merry. The gang for this stretch includes: Eleanor Davis, Jesse Reklaw, Simon Hanselmann as well as Michael Defore, Patrick Kyle, Matthew Thurber, and Alex Degen. That's a lot of people hanging out at one store, at one time. And you can be one of them! (More Details)
Sunday, September 21
Brooklyn, NY: If you're skipping church this morning it better be because you're headed to the Brooklyn Book Fest at the Brooklyn Borough Hall and Plaza, running from 10-6 pm! There is a slew of great vendors attending, but you'll want to hit up the best of all (us, Fantagraphics) because we'll have the best books and signings in the business! Additionally, there are more amazing panels and book debuts than you can shake a stick at. Catch all the details here.
Seattle, WA: Something about fall screams psychological thriller, and few do it better than Chris Wright in his seminal book, Blacklung. He, and that gruelling pirateship thrill ride of a book, will be signing at the Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery from 3-5 pm. Stop by to get your hands on a great work that will be perfect to read right before you fall asleep! (More Details)
Monday, September 22
Brooklyn, NY: On her whirl-wind tour with the beautiful, inspiring, heartbreaking (and almost sold-out) graphic novel debut, How to Be Happy, Eleanor Davis will be stopping by indie oasis, Desert Island Comics, to delight and educate audiences with her carefully crafted presentation. Beginning at 7:30 pm, come learn about the relationship between art and the artist, and see what it takes to create a New York Times Bestseller, and stay until 9 to get said Bestseller signed. (More Details)
Pirates in the Heartland features Wilson's work from underground publications such as ZAP Comix, Snatch, Gothic Blimp Works, Bogeyman, Felch, Insect Fear, Pork, Tales of Sex and Death, and Arcade. 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. So come on out for an afternoon of good times and great comics.
Mission: Comics and Art
3520 20th St. Suite B San Francisco, CA 94110 Ph. # 415-695-1545
As the leaves begin to turn shades of red and orange (or fall straight off and green depending on where you live), backpacks are dusted off in preparation for a new load of textbooks, and we move into fall, we figure you could use some cause for celebration. How about our Labor Day/Back-To-School Sale? We've got great titles of all-ages, young-adult, and non-fiction titles at a whopping 40% Off from Saturday, August 30th through Monday, September 1st!
School can be anything you make of it, especially you don't give a damn. For the guy or girl that knows everything, try Unlovable 1and 2by Esther Pearl Watson. She may only break wind and not hearts, but Tammy Pierce is unstoppable. For some short stories from all walks of life, ugly and less ugly, grab Daniel Clowes' Caricature, often compared to to Nabokov for their complex naturalism and sense of humor.
Is cutting class altogether a common memory for you? How about a classic Fantagraphics alternative comic, sure to win even the most jaded of hearts: Daniel Clowes' Ghost World (now in its 20th printing) is for you. Already have it? Try the male version of Ghost World, Celebrated Summer by Charles Forsman, that came out in 2014. Night Fisher by R. Kikuo Johnson also follows the teenage trail of growing up and growing apart.
Cutting class was too weak? You just dropped out all together? Damn, you might enjoy Giraffes in My Hair, a Jack Kerouac-style story lived by Bruce Paley and drawn by his partner,Carol Swain, all about the summer of '67. On the cusp of flunking out with a drug habit, A Mess of Everything by Miss Lasko-Gross, is an intense and raw look at her own high-school experience. If you're looking for more personal and semi-autobiographical comic stories look no further than The Squirrel Mother by Megan Kelso. It also contains stories about the idea of America and American history, such as a trilogy of short pieces about Alexander Hamilton.
Consider some new books about comics as an assignment for a graded discussion. Black Images in the Comics by Fredrik Strömberg walks through comics, old and new, to enlighten the audience about the hideous caricatures racism produces so that we may never stray there again. Best American Comics Criticism compiled by Ben Schwartz features the best essays on comics from Chris Ware on Rodolphe Töpffer, Dan Clowes on Mad's Will Elder, The Daily Show's John Hodgman on Jack Kirby and more!
"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.