• Review: "Early reviews of The Artist Himself: A Rand Holmes Retrospective are heralding it as a much-deserved tribute to a forgotten genius... Around these parts, Holmes, who passed away in 2002, has been a revered figure for decades. [...] Through excerpts from the artist’s own journals and interviews with those who knew him, Patrick Rosenkranz presents his subject as a man of contradictions, both prodigiously gifted and painfully insecure. [...] Holmes’s art was always marked by sharp visual wit and a sometimes astonishing attention to detail. He was indeed a genius, and thanks to Fantagraphics, he won’t be a forgotten one." – John Lucas, The Georgia Straight
• Review: "...High Soft Lisp remains another Gilbert Hernandez winner. Frank and trippy, sexy and creepy, nobody working in comics creates worlds as deep or intriguing as Gilbert Hernandez’s." – Michael C. Lorah, Newsarama
• Interview: At the KEXP blog, Chris Estey talks to Peter Bagge about his band Can You Imagine?: " The main reason I took up the guitar and abandoned the drums was so I could have more control over what type of music my band plays and how. Pop rock from the 60s is obviously my favorite kind of music, but I also loved punk and new wave from the late 70s, since those bands broke free from the self important and self indulgent style of music that was ruining rock. I also loved that the self deprecating humor they all exhibited (or that the best bands did, anyway)."
Two items which are due to arrive in this week's shipment to comic shops were not published by us but are of interest, one of which we are distributing and the other of which comes from one of the "big two":
136-page black & white 5.5" x 8.5" softcover • $10.95
Contrary to what is being reported, this is not a new printing of Hans Rickheit's Xeric-winning 2002 graphic novella which preceded The Squirrel Machine: this is the original self-published edition, which we are distributing to the Direct Market for the first time (via Adult Previews, due to the book's mature content). View some sample artwork here.
"...[R]un, don't walk, to get that book. Rickheit's a major talent and that book is something erotic and special. It's like a dirty secret." – Sean T. Collins, Attentiondeficitdisorderly
The "Summer of HATE!" continues at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery with a fresh batch of signed copies of Peter Bagge's HATE ANNUAL #8 available for cover price. If you haven't read this awesome issue yet, you're in for a thrill. If you have, pick one up for a friend.
And while supplies last, you can also spread the HATE with a set of 10 collectable HATE postcards for the special price of only $2.48. The cards include beloved Bagge characters like Buddy and Valerie, explosions, demolition derby crackups, and more! When you're in Seattle, drop by our store for a complete selection of HATE and more.
My picture-taking fell off on the last day of Comic-Con as things got even more hectic with last-minute wheeling & dealing, including our Sunday-only 20%-off-everything sale. Here are a few things I managed to capture:
Peter Bagge chats with Scott McCloud (while our own Eric Reynolds and D&Q 's Jessica Campbell watch from a distance)...
...and with Jeffrey Brown, visiting from the neighboring Top Shelf booth (while our own Jason T. Miles confers with Sparkplug's Dylan Williams in the background).
Pete keeps his Inkpot trophy handy while Stephen DeStefano diligently signs and sketches.
And it was over! Here's me & Janice, all packed up & ready to go, with mixed feelings. Thanks to our booth neighbors at BloodFire Studios for this last shot (and for loaning us their handtruck at the very beginning):
We did a few things differently this year, most notably a smaller booth and smaller staff, but sales and enthusiasm seemed to be greater than last year. And while there are "teachable moments" every year, this was overall as smooth and successful a Comic-Con as I can remember in my brief history with the company. Thanks to all the staff, volunteers, artists, family members, professional colleagues and especially the fans who helped make Comic-Con 2010 another great show!
This is somewhat belated news, but we didn't get the photo uploaded until just now: Peter Bagge, Moto Hagio and C. Tyler were all awarded with Inkpot Awards at Comic-Con this year! Above, Peter and Carol pose with their trophies; Moto didn't bring her trophy to her signings, so if anyone has photos of her receiving or holding the award, we'd love to see them!
You know the old saying: "If you remember the 60s, you weren't there." For me this cliché also applies to most of the 80 and 90s. Rampant grunge nostalgia has given rise to no fewer than a half-dozen recent or soon-to-be-published books on the subject. As a peripheral player in Seattle's proto-grunge punk scene, I've been asked repeatedly to recount the specifics of my misspent youth to a cadre of eager young "rock historians." Hell, I'm lucky if I remember what happened last week, much less 25 years ago.
Thankfully we had Peter Bagge to chronicle the entire era. His comic book series HATE went far beyond simple satire. Buddy Bradley and his gang of hapless losers helped fashion the attitudes and aesthetics of the movement. It's a sure bet that BUDDY DOES SEATTLE, collecting the first 15 issues of HATE, more accurately reflects the grunge milieu than an entire library of murky oral histories. In a prescient 1992 review, Bruce Barcott of the Seattle Weekly observed, "Twenty years from now, when people want to know what it was like to be young in 1990s Seattle, the only record we'll have is Peter Bagge's HATE." If you too are gripped by grunge nostalgia, or just curious about the period, skip the revisionist histories and pick up a copy of the real deal.
While you're at it...the most splendid comic book of the summer is Peter Bagge's HATE ANNUAL #8. From the first page you'll be reminded why you so closely identified with the series in the first place: Sexy and silly, but with an unmistakable air of familiarity. This book gives you an uneasy feeling like, "Hey, I think I know these people. Omigawd! That's me!" An imperative addition to your summer reading list.
I thought I could keep up with Online Commentary & Diversions while at Comic-Con. Ha ha ha ha ha.
• Coming Attractions: At Robot 6, Chris Mautner takes a look through the 46 (!!!) upcoming books listed in our Fall/Winter catalog (note: listed release dates may no longer be accurate and are all subject to change)
• History/Profile/Review: "What A Drunken Dream reveals is an author whose childhood passion for Frances Hodgson Burnett, L.M. Montgomery, and Isaac Asimov profoundly influenced the kind of stories she chose to tell as an adult. ... For those new to Hagio’s work, Fantagraphics has prefaced A Drunken Dream with two indispensable articles by noted manga scholar Matt Thorn. ... Taken together with the stories in A Drunken Dream, these essays make an excellent introduction to one of the most literary and original voices working in comics today. Highly recommended." – Katherine Dacey, The Manga Critic
• Review: "Anyone interested in the historical development of manga and the women who’ve contributed to the art form should read this book. I hope A Drunken Dream sells well enough for Fantagraphics or other publishers to consider putting out some of Hagio’s longer works. Her short stories are great, but I’d love to see what she does with a longer storyline." – Anna Neatrour, TangognaT
• Plug: "What Osamu Tezuka is to shonen and seinen manga, Moto Hagio is to shojo manga -- a true innovator who challenged and stretched the conventions of the medium by created touching, memorable and truly artistic comics stories. ... Fantagraphics had copies of the absolutely gorgeous hardcover edition of A Drunken Dream available for sale at their [Comic-Con] booth..." – Deb Aoki, About.com: Manga
• Interview:The Comics Journal's Shaenon Garrity sat down with Moto Hagio & translator Matt Thorn for a conversation at Comic-Con International: "I find it very embarrassing to read my very early work, but when you see the stories arranged chronologically it gives a good overall impression of my career. In Japanese, too, it’s common to present an author’s works in a sample spanning his or her whole career, so it’s turned out very much like that."
• Review: "Deadpan dialogue, drawings that move from panel to panel with the strange and deliberate force of kung fu performance art, and a subtle interweaving of humor and angst come together to make [Werewolves of Montpellier] a brief knockout of a book." – Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
• Review: "...[T]his cartwheeling shaggy-dog story begins, like a lot of metafiction, with the semblance of reality... But by the time a frog demon reanimates a 19th-century French peasant whose brains it has eaten, it’s fairly clear that Deitch is making stuff up. The fun of [The Search for Smilin' Ed] is the way it constantly darts back and forth across the line between genuine show-business lore (a favorite Deitch theme) and delirious whole-cloth invention. There are stories within stories, unreliable explainers, secret passageways that lead from one part of the tale to another." – Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
• Review: "Wally Gropius is a book that’s constantly lying to the reader, with a terrifying chaos roiling just immediately below its surface. The book is a flood of visual and textual information, but the information itself is near constantly false. ... For me, it’s a book that lies constantly, that lies at its very core, but that nevertheless ends up getting at a greater truth of things. And so, yeah: I thought that was pretty neat." – Abhay Kholsa, The Savage Critics
• Review: "There’s more derring-do [in Prince Valiant Vol. 2: 1939-1940] than you can shake a sword at! Foster’s stories are filled with vivid, colorful characters, none more engaging than the aptly named Valiant and his never-ending quest for adventure. The artwork is breathtaking. Foster’s figures are handsome and graceful whether eating a sumptuous feast or fighting on a crowded battlefield. ... Even if the age of chivalry is not your flask of ale, Foster’s art and storytelling will win you over." — Rich Clabaugh, The Christian Science Monitor
• Review: "This book is why Fantagraphics is one of the best and most important comic publishers in the business today. [Blazing Combat] is a series that could have easily been forgotten to the ages but Fantagraphics always is at the forefront of making sure important works of sequential art are remembered. ... This is a brilliant collection of stories that should be required reading. Intelligent, gripping stories and fantastic art! Grade A +" – Tim Janson, Mania and Newsarama
• Review: "Formally inventive and emotionally acute, Bottomless Belly Button indeed proves to be all those things: as fascinating and affecting a depiction of family ties as Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections or Wes Anderson's The Royal Tenenbaums." – Ed Park, Los Angeles Times
• Plugs: Alex Carr of Amazon's Omnivoracious blog has Weathercraft by Jim Woodring ("I am woefully ignorant when it comes to Woodring’s Frank comics, and this looks like the weirdest place to start") and Dungeon Quest Book 1 ("After The Red Monkey Double Happiness Book, I will read anything Joe Daly produces") on his summer vacation reading list
• History: For the Los Angeles Times, Ben Schwartz compiles an oral history of the 1980s heyday of L.A. alternative comics with Matt Groening, Gilbert & Jaime Hernandez, David Lynch (!), and Gary Panter