Make plans for Labor Day weekend in Seattle now! The Bumbershoot art and music festival promises to be the best in recent memory. In addition to performances by the likes of Bob Dylan, Neko Case, Hole, the Decemberists, Weezer and countless other bands, the festival includes a large exhibition of contemporary Seattle cartoonists.
Organized by Fantagraphics resident curator Larry Reid, "Counterculture Comix: A 30-Year Survey of Seattle Alternative Cartoonists" begins with Lynda Barry's work circa 1980 and continues through the present. The show reveals Seattle as the ancestral home of the alternative comix genre and examines the role comix played in Seattle's youth movement of the 90s, which penetrated popular culture globally.
Peter Bagge fans in the Northwest can get a double dose this weekend. First, Peter's band Can You Imagine? plays at the Sunset Tavern in scenic downtown Ballard, in Seattle, on Friday night. Also on the bill: The Tom Price Desert Classic, which is studded with Fantagraphics staff past and present, and more special guests. Get more info and RSVP on Facebook. Then on Saturday Peter appears as a special guest of the Olympia Comics Festival (where our own Jason T. Miles will also be tabling with his Profanity Hill concern). Good times!
• Review: "Operating in the territory of Rube Goldberg, Wolverton's convoluted plans for achieving his ludicrous goals [in The Culture Corner] rely less on mousetrap-like technical gewgaws than the artist's signature grotesques, which are laugh-out-loud joy. While a must-have for Wolverton completists, even newcomers will find the humor readily accessible." – Publishers Weekly
• Review: "Just what is Dash Shaw on? And may I please have some? ...The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century A.D. [is] an anything-goes anthology quite attractively packaged by Fantagraphics Books, right down to the transparent, animation-cel-esque jacket. ... Yeah, [the title story] is different. Yeah, it’s awesome. ... Much of Unclothed Man is stunning..." – Rod Lott, Bookgasm
• Review: Thanks to our Twitter follower Tim Leng for the following alert: "Awesomely positive review of The Art of Jaime Hernandez (and L&R in general) on BBC 6music this afternoon!" For a limited time the show is streaming here (click on Tuesday)
• Plug: At EarlyWord, Robin Brenner singles out Weathercraft by Jim Woodring as one of "the most artful finds" at TCAF
• Interview: Greek site Comicdom presents a brief Q&A, in Engish, with Peter Bagge: "Almost all my story ideas are based on people and events from real life. Truth is always stranger than fiction."
• Interview:The Daily Cross Hatch presents the first of a 4-part talk with Gene Deitch: "It’s really bad to look back on the communist time with nostalgia [laughs]. There was a downside. But the animation studio here was kind of a Shangri-La. First of all, nobody in the communist hierarchy had any idea what we were doing or how, but they knew it was popular and they left us alone."
Hate Annual #8 features a whopping new 20 page Buddy Bradley story where Lisa (everyone’s favorite psycho!) makes her first foray into show biz and gets way more than she bargained for! This issue of P. Bagge’s annual Hate also features strips compiled from his Discover Magazine gig: 5 biographies of scientists you’ve never heard of! — other than maybe Walter Reed, who’s well known only for that hell of a hospital named after him, and not for the handy yet forgotten fact that he discovered how malaria is spread... All that and many other odds and ends from hither and tither (see below for details). Why love when you can Hate!
• Review: "Peter Bagge’s not-so-yearly update on the life and times of his signature character Buddy Bradley takes up about half of Hate Annual #8... It’s a funny story with a confident, natural progression and some keen observations to make... [T]his is... a welcome renewal of one of alt-comics’ most treasured series… [Grade] A-" – The A.V. Club
• Review: "The mid-’70s found Schulz pushing the strip further and further into the oddball, mixing fantasy and reality in extended storylines... The strip as a whole feels less scrappy and more settled in this era, though it’s no less inspired, and Schulz was clever enough to keep working his own state of mind into the finished product. The Complete Peanuts: 1975 - 1976 collects comics clearly drawn by a successful man still nagged by feelings of inadequacy not easily explained away… [Grade] A-" – The A.V. Club
• Review: "Don’t be misled by High Soft Lisp’s cover. This isn’t just comic book smut or an adult version of Archie. Gilbert Hernandez has created some of the most fleshed-out and memorable women in comics since launching Love and Rockets with his brother Jaime in 1981. Their breasts might be outsized, but so are their minds and souls." – Garrett Martin, Boston Herald
• Review: "Fantagraphics’ fourth oversized collection of Elzie Segar’s legendary Thimble Theatre strips, famous as the birth place of Segar’s notorious Popeye the Sailor, continues the winning standard set by earlier editions. ... Fantagraphics’ enormous format remains among the best-looking strip reprints available." – Michael C. Lorah, Newsarama
• Review: "Levin’s is not often a forceful tone; he digs up information and can deliver it in a scholarly enough manner, but also will follow his muse, digressing into dry humor and even an admitted Faulknerian flight of fancy. He’s fully engaged, grappling with the facts and the issues as he uncovers them, and the reader grapples right along with him. [Most Outrageous] is a much more compelling book for the fact that Levin doesn’t try to wrap it all up in a bow." – Christopher Allen, Comic Book Galaxy
My pal Hernán Migoya sent me this cover to his new novel, Quitame Tus Sucias Manos de Encima (a.k.a. Get Your Hands Off Me), being published in Spain this summer. The book tells the story of an obscure, fictional movie from the '70s written by Rod Serling and Richard Matheson and directed by Tom Gries and sports an original cover by our own Peter Bagge (and, I might add, a title page by yours truly)!
It was our great pleasure to once again host hometown hero Peter Bagge at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery and to welcome the great James Sturm all the way from Vermont for a joint signing and book release on Saturday evening. Unfortunately some technical difficulties put the kibosh on James's planned multimedia presentation but it was a lively evening regardless, with a great turnout of fans and Seattle cartooning luminaries alike. Above: David Lasky chats with James, Fantagraphics' Janice Headley rocks the register, and Peter takes a breather. Check out some more photos on our Flickr page.
Peter Bagge will sign fresh copies of HATE ANNUAL #8. The latest installment of his signature series has Lisa rockin' out and right into trouble. It's everything we love about Hate — silly, sexy, and outrageous, but with a disquieting air of familiarity. The signing will mark the world premiere of OTHER LIVES on DC's Vertigo imprint. We haven't seen it yet. (It won't be officially released until next week.) Peter takes on the socially awkward high tech crowd, and he assures us it's a laff riot. [Ed. note: I've read it and it's a cracking good yarn.]
James Sturm returns to Seattle where he co-founded alternative weekly The Stranger in the early 90s. He went on to co-found the Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont and continues his career as a cartoonist. He'll give a brief slide presentation on his early days at The Stranger and sign copies of MARKET DAY, his first full graphic novel in a decade.
Saturday, April 17 is also national Record Store Day at neighboring Georgetown Records. Created 3 years ago by our good pal Eric at Criminal Records in Atlanta, Record Store Day draws attention to the cultural value of these essential enterprises. Not to mention lots of great swag. Support your local record store.
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale at Airport Way S., mere minutes from downtown Seattle. We're open every day 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110.