Public confusion surrounding the overwhelming critical regard that the WATCHMEN graphic novel continues to be held in amongst those who haven't read the book but paid good money to see the feature film is rampant. "Wait, are comics for kids, or aren't they?" many have asked. Now that these people have seen WATCHMEN the movie, how do they erase it from memory and avoid wantonly dismissing the entire medium from which it sprung? We're here to help. Point them in the right direction with Fantagraphics Books' new "AFTER WATCHMEN, CLEANSE YOUR PALATE" program.. Please visit our homepage for more information on these fine "essentials" from Fantagraphics Books, perfect for anyone who sees WATCHMEN on film and can't believe that comics are worth taking seriously.
Our own Janice Headley stumbled across the following gem, which we're just going to quote wholesale from the Matador Records website:
My Worst Memory of Playing with Yo La Tengo Bilinda Butcher, My Bloody Valentine
I have a true memory of doom descending upon me during one of the shows we played together. We were in Seattle, around 1992. I'd been chatting to James in the dressing room and got all excited at the thought of Peter Bagge (of "Hate" comics creation) being at the gig, not to mention all the other "Seattle-ites," like Hole. Well, for a start I ate too many jelly teddies while we were chatting, which was a bad start to any gig, wouldn't you say?
YLT played a storming set and then it was our turn. Behind the stage curtains waiting to go on, someone appeared with a pure grass joint, and I partook of just one drag, thinking it might settle my nerves. Anyway, we all then strolled onto the stage and oh dearie me, my jelly teddies nearly came running out of my tummy with their little hands raised in horror! I felt absolutely petrified like never before, and, looking sick-like at the set list, I realize I have to sing "Only Shallow" to open the set. When I hit my guitar, it sounds all peculiar and I just want a big trap door to open up and swallow me. Oops! And then I have to sing and I just can't, basically, I sound like Minnie Mouse on her deathbed, and feel like crying and running away. By this time Kevin is shaking his head and glowering at me from across the stage, and I want to go home. Anyway, by the end of the next song, I was fine again and quite enjoyed myself in the end, even though I never did get Peter Bagge's autograph!
With MBV finally returning here to Seattle next week, I'd be as excited to meet them as Bilinda was at the possibility of meeting Pete. Dear Bilinda, unfortunately we can't bring Pete to the show with us, but we will say "hi" on your behalf, and you're cordially invited to visit our office (and our store) while you're in town.
• Review: "...[T]he primitive funnybooks rescued from obscurity by Greg Sadowski in Supermen! The First Wave of Comic Book Heroes 1936-1941 contain within their awesomely naïve and rudimentarily brilliant pages all the seeds of the postmodern graphic novel... Compounded equally from pulp fiction, movies, newspaper strips, and sheer desperate commercial-deadline-brainstorm lunacy, these early superhero tales created their own fresh synthetic mythology and compositional tools on the fly." - Paul DiFilippo, The Barnes & Noble Review
• Review: "[Bottomless Belly Button] reads almost like a John Updike novel... [Dash Shaw] really utilizes the medium to its fullest capacity..." - Benn Ray (Atomic Books) on WYPR (Baltimore public radio - streaming audio)
• Review: "[The Wolverton Bible] is fascinating read; it's a fascinating document by one of the most important illustrators of the 20th century." - Benn Ray (Atomic Books) on WYPR (Baltimore public radio - streaming audio - same link as above)
• Review: "Fantagraphics’ collection of the four issues of Blazing Combat blew me away from the start. The size and heft of the hardback reminded me of my textbooks from my school days. And once I cracked open the book, I found myself getting a hell of an education with this one."- Tim O'Shea, Robot 6, "What Are You Reading?"
• Review: "If nothing else, Supermen! puts Fletcher Hanks’ career in perspective... These are comics designed to make you tear your hair out waiting for the next issue, just to see if these guys could top themselves. Great fun all around." - Tom Bondurant, Robot 6, "What Are You Reading?" (same link as above)
• Review: "Jason is an expert at expressing a complex idea with simple visuals and dialogue. Most of his works contain little to no dialogue, actually -- entire stories can be read in facial expressions, twitches, color changes and movements. The entirety of Tell Me Something contains 7 lines of dialogue. It tells the story of 2 lovers and the trials they go through to be together, using dual layered story arcs differentiated simply by the panel borders to convey depth and reshape the story into an intriguing form." - The Inside Flap [Ed. note: Tell Me Something is out of print, but will be collected along with other Jason stories in a forthcoming hardcover]
• List: For Robot 6, Chris Mautner names "Six ‘retired' artists we'd like to see return to comics," including Brian Biggs ("...Frederick and Eloise [brings] a whimsical, storybook approach that never seem[s] overly twee or sweet. Indeed, [it is] often grounded by some dark undercurrents, not to mention backed by some serious artistic chops"), Dave Cooper ("Surreal, mind-warping books like Suckle, Ripple and his ongoing series Weasel, which chronicled a number of sweaty, paunchy, disturbingly neurotic and oversexed characters, had Cooper earning acclaim equal to the likes of Clowes and Ware"), and Mary Fleener ("...[S]he remains one of the most original voices in comics, with an art style that’s completely her own (no one draws a sex scene like her)." [Note to Mautner: Mary Fleener had a new comics story titled "Niacin" in Hotwire Comics Vol. 2, which we put out last year])
• Interview: At Robot 6, Tim O'Shea talks to Esther Pearl Watson about Unlovable Vol. 1. Choice quote: "I was a lot like Tammy and still am. It’s everything I fear."
Stussy just released a series of T shirts that Peter Bagge designed for them, which can be seen here along with a video interview with a very bearded Bagge man.
Bagge has also been doing a monthly comic strip for DISCOVER Magazine. Each strip features a famous (or not so famous) scientist of yore behaving in the quirky, asperger-y ways that scientists are renowned for (Bagge has uploaded a sample strip in the "pics" section of his MySpace page for you to marvel at here.)
Meanwhile, a book collection of Bagge's REASON Magazine work (accurately titled Everyone is Stupid Except for Me) will be coming soon from Fantagraphics, and he's more than halfway done with a GN for DC/Vertigo. Could be a banner 2009 for Mr. Bagge!
We've brought our previous website poll to a close. In answer to the question "Following Palestine and Ghost World, what should get the Special Edition treatment next?" the top response is "The Bradleys / Buddy Bradley saga" after an early lead for "Complete (non-Frank) Jim Woodring" and a long period of domination by "Complete Eightball." See the final results here. (UPDATE: apparently we've been the victims of ballot-stuffing -- see the comments for details.) So does your top choice have a chance of being made? Well, they've all been discussed at one point or another, but so far the only one to make it onto our schedule is Usagi Yojimbo: The Special Edition, debuting at Comic-Con this summer as a two-volume slipcased hardcover set with loads of extras -- our biggest Special Edition re-issue yet!
Our new poll asks "What never-reprinted Fantagraphics series would you most like to see collected?" Vote in the right-hand column here on Flog or on our home page. As far as I know, none of the choices have actually been discussed as a possibility, but who knows, if we get an overwhelming response...
Bagge's "History of Science" comic will present the characters and events of science history in a fresh and irreverent light, sure to capture the eyes of DISCOVER's readers and blind them with science.
DISCOVER's February issue hits newsstands January 13, 2009.
Yes you can! Yours truly recorded videos of every song played by Peter Bagge's new band Can You Imagine? at our gala Beasts! print show opening and 2nd Anniversary party at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery last Saturday and plunked 'em on our YouTube page, where you can enjoy the strains of their original (correction) the Herman's Hermits hit "A Must to Avoid," embedded above, and a dozen more swingin' numbers!
Of course we have photos of the exhibit and the party crowd, too, including our special guests (not to mention Peter Bagge & Steve Fisk's erotic birthday cake). Check them out in this slideshow; to see all the annotations and credits, browse through manually. (By the way, if you missed the opening, don't despair, good prints are still available — hustle on down to Georgetown on your little Bobby Orr legs.)