Prepare to be fully entertained at Fantagraphics Bookstore in the month of August. On Saturday, August 10 we'll host a haunting reception for Ben Catmull and Josh Simmons. Catmull will sign copies of his new book Ghosts and Ruins, while Simmons will sign his recent collection of horror stories The Furry Trap. Frightening fun coinciding with the colorful Georgetown Art Attack. (Catch the Trailer Park Trannies drag show at the Georgetown Trailer Park Mall.)
On Saturday, August 24, Fantagraphics Bookstore welcomes Brandon Graham. The cartoonist behind popular projects like Prophet, Multiple Warheads, and King City returns to his former Seattle home to sign copies of Walrus from PictureBox press.
Don't miss Fantagraphics Follies at the Bumbershoot Arts Festival on Saturday, August 31. This lively variety show in the format of a late night talk show features diverse works from some of the country's most accomplished cartoonists: Jim Woodring demonstrates his giant pen, Ellen Forney takes a turn on the couch, Eroyn Franklin presents a shadow puppet show, Kelly Froh does a multimedia comedy routine, and Danny Bland performs a beat poetry act. Peter Bagge's Can You Imagine? featuring Steve Fisk is the house band and the host is played by Fantagraphics curator Larry Reid. The festival also includes Death Cab for Cutie, the Breeders, the Zombies, Superchunk, Redd Kross, MGMT and many more. Fun! (Oh yeah, them, too.)
We're kinda busy. All of these books are slated to come out in a 4- to 6-week period from August to mid-September! (Plus a few others we've already shown you.) We're going to take the less-is-more, show-don't-tell approach with this update; each photo links to the product details page where you can learn more and pre-order each title. And of course we'll have more pretty preview pics coming soon. Get your wallets ready!
Next door at All City Coffee is the companion exhibition CP25/SP25, featuring 25 arresting mages by famed photographer Charles Peterson commemorating 25 years of the Sub Pop phenomenon. Don't miss the last weekend of the Sub Pop Mega Mart, scheduled to close their temporary quarters across the street on Sunday. This Friday, June 19 get a groove on with an in-store DJ set by Shabazz Palaces.
And in case you somehow missed it, here's a Charles Peterson picture of our own Janice Headley during Mudhoney's unprecedented set on the top of the Space Needle last Thursday as she snaps a picture of Peterson and Fantagraphics curator Larry Reid as they buzzed the pit in a helicopter at the end of the show. Awesome inadequately describes the moment.
Fantagraphics curator Larry Reid caught a ride in the back seat of a helicopter on Thursday for Mudhoney's unprecedented set on top of the Space Needle as famed photographer Charles Peterson leaned out the open door to take photos. Yikes! You can catch a down to earth Mudhoney show for free this Saturday, July 13 in Georgetown at the Sub Pop Silver Jubilee.
Before the music begins on Saturday, join Peter Bagge, Charles Peterson,Danny Bland, Bruce Pavitt, Greg Dulli, Jim Woodring, Owen Connell, and others at the opening of SODA POP: Super Sugar Big Buzz at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery. We'll be open all day with celebrity guests and lots of great surprises. And awesome music right outside the bookstore doors. Bonus: An amazing show of 25 Charles Peterson photographs commemorating 25 years of Sub Pop right next door at All City Coffee.
In the life imitates art department: Sub Pop Soda Pop! Catch a super sugar big buzz at the Sub Pop Mega Mart across the street from the bookstore.
The evolution of the Sub Pop empire will be examined at Fantagraphics Bookstore in SODA POP: Super Sugar Big Buzz opening Saturday, July 13. These hand made publications serve as exquisite time capsules of early 80s indie culture. I recall sessions at Rosco Louie gallery with Bruce Pavitt and Russ Battaglia in 1981 individually coloring issues of Sub Pop #3 with crayons. The only directive I remember was "Don't stay inside the lines." Covers and random interior pages were scribbled with infantile abandon. Multiple examples of these early Sub Pop zines (with a quaint 80¢ cover price) will be on display.
In 1983 Pavitt migrated north from Olympia to Seattle, enabling him to interact with a larger cultural community. He soon found a home for Sub Pop as a regular feature in TheRocket, where he joined an extended family of talented writers, artists, cartoonists, and graphic designers that would play an important role in the future development of the Sub Pop aesthetic. The second installment of the column in May 1983 featured an early appearance of what would become Sub Pop's signature logo, designed by future Fantagraphics art director DaleYarger. TheRocket regularly ran comix and illustrations by LyndaBarry, CharlesBurns, Matt Groening, GaryPanter, RobertCrumb, GilbertandJaime Hernandez, and PeterBagge, among others. Several examples of these important columns will be featured in the SODA POP exhibition, along with art and artifacts by Barry, Burns, Bagge, DanielClowes, Charles Peterson, JimWoodring, and more.
At 1:00 PM on July 13, I'll moderate a panel discussion, PopGoesSeattle, with Pavitt, Bagge, Peterson and DannyBland on the formative period of the Sub Pop phenomenon. This informal but informative talk will be followed by a short reading by Danny Bland and GregDulli of Afghan Whigs from Bland's debut novel, InCaseWeDie, set in grunge-era Seattle. Patrons at the reading will be the first in the country with the opportunity to acquire this essential book. Russ Battaglia will spin period platters following the reading. Then the real fun begins. Free concerts by Mudhoney, BuilttoSpill, Chad VanGaalen, JMascis, TomPriceDesertClassic, and countless others right outside the bookstore. Don't miss a minute. Arrive early. Stay late. Buy comix!
My first encounter with Sub Pop founder Bruce Pavitt came when he participated in an art show I co-curated at Rosco Louie gallery called "Famous Artists of the 80s," which opened on New Year's Eve at the dawn of that decade. Bruce contributed a delightfully playful painting rendered on the headboard of a baby crib. Though still a student at Evergreen State College, he came closest to fulfilling the ironic premise of the exhibition.
Pavitt soon began producing his hand crafted Subterranean Pop fanzine, enlisting recent Evergreen alumni Lynda Barry to create the cover of issue 2 and Charles Burns to illustrate the back cover of issue 4. At this point the young editor was anxious to have the esoteric regional music he was promoting available for readers to experience. The inexpensive cassette format with a mini-zine insert ideally suited the dual-purpose publication. He again tapped Burns to draw the cover of the three subsequent cassette releases, and later the cover for the landmark Sub Pop 200 vinyl release.
Pavitt had an intuitive appreciation of the alternative musicians, cartoonists, and graphic designers in the region. As the '80s progressed, these elements combined to create an amazing atmosphere in Seattle that would soon impact popular culture on a global scale.
By the end of the decade I was director of Seattle's Center on Contemporary Art. In 1989 I coerced Pavitt and partner Jonathan Poneman to program a weekend concert series at this space. The shows featured Nirvana, Mudhoney, GWAR, Dwarves, Supersuckers, Tad, Dickless and Cat Butt. It's worth noting that Cat Butt's Danny Bland helped book the bands. None of the acts were named publicly. The event was promoted simply as SODA POP: Super Sugar Big Buzz - a reference to Mudhoney's recent Sub Pop release Superfuzz Bigmuff. (During Mudhoney's raucous set, the audience was showered with 80 pounds of powdered sugar.) In retrospect, this event seemed to suggest that something extraordinary was about to happen.
On Saturday, July 13, the legendary Seattle label commemorates 25 years of going out of business with the Sub Pop Silver Jubilee featuring free concerts by more than 15 amazing bands throughout the historic Georgetown arts community. Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery contributes to the festivities with SODA POP: Super Sugar Big Buzz, an art exhibition, panel discussion and reading fousing on the formative years of Sub Pop, emphasizing the role of regional cartoonists in shaping the attitudes and aesthetics of the emerging youth movement. Don't miss this! Make travel arrangements and hotel reservations now!
SODA POP: Super Sugar Big Buzz exhibition at Fantagraphics Bookstore examines formative years of Sub Pop coinciding with Sub Pop Silver Jubilee
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery celebrates the Sub Pop Silver Jubilee celebration in Georgetown with an exhibition, panel discussion and reading on Saturday, July 13. The show examines the influence of alternative comix, illustration, and graphic design on the legendary music label, which gave rise to the last significant youth movement of the millennium. This event coincides with the Sub Pop Silver Jubilee, a free music festival commemorating 25 years of Sub Pop featuring 15 bands on 3 stages in the Georgetown industrial arts corridor.
The SODA POP exhibition, organized by Sub Pop founder Bruce Pavitt and Fantagraphics Bookstore curator Larry Reid, focuses on the formative years of Sub Pop as a hand-crafted zine, cassette label, and column in Seattle music monthly The Rocket, laying the foundation of the grunge phenomenon that would later impact global pop culture. The exhibition features art and artifacts from the formative years of Sub Pop by Lynda Barry, Peter Bagge, Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes, Owen Connell, Charles Peterson, Art Spiegelman, Jim Woodring, and more. The show takes its title from a 1989 concert at Seattle’s Center on Contemporary Art during Reid’s tenure as director of that organization. Featuring seminal bands like Nirvana, Mudhoney, Dwarves, GWAR, Supersuckers, Tad, Cat Butt, and Dickless, this event foreshadowed the Seattle sound that would soon reverberate around the world.
The exhibition programming includes a panel discussion “Pop Goes Seattle” at 1:00 PM featuring some of the principals of the early Sub Pop period including founder Bruce Pavitt, cartoonist Peter Bagge, photographer Charles Peterson, and author and musician Danny Bland. A book signing will follow the panel. At 2:00 PM, Bland will read passages from his debut novel In Case We Die, a fictional account of the grunge era in Seattle. Danny will be joined by guest reader Greg Dulli, who will later perform music outside the store. A limited number of advance copies of the book will be available at the reading. A companion exhibition, “CP25/SP25: Charles Peterson Presents Twenty Five Photographs from the Vaults in Celebration of Sub Pop's Twenty Fifth” takes place next door at All City Coffee.
The Sub Pop Silver Jubilee features sets by Mudhoney, J. Mascis, Built to Spill, Tom Price Desert Classic, Shabazz Palaces, Father John Misty, Chad VanGaalen and many more. Patrons are encouraged to arrive early. The event also coincides with the colorful Georgetown Art Attack featuring visual and performing arts presentations throughout the historic neighborhood. Patrons are encouraged to return the following day for the free Georgetown Garden Walk and Cross Pollinate art and music festival featuring residential garden tours; music by Shivering Timbers, Tummy, Dennis Driscoll; and more.
“SODA POP: Super Sugar Big Buzz” Art and artifacts from the formative years of Sub Pop by Lynda Barry, Peter Bagge, Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes, Owen Connell, Charles Peterson, Art Spiegelman, Jim Woodring, and more. Opening preview Saturday, July 13, noon to 9:00 PM.
“Pop Goes Seattle: The Seminal Years of Sub Pop” Panel discussion with Bruce Pavitt, Peter Bagge, Charles Peterson, Danny Bland, moderated by Larry Reid 1:00 PM, followed by book signing
In Case We Die Reading of Danny Bland's debut novel by the author and guest reader Greg Dulli 2:30 PM, followed by book signing.
The last thing you'll read before the San Diego PR Storm 2013:
• Review: The AV Club looks at Ulli Lust's Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life. Noel Murray writes, "Today Is The Last Day Of The Rest Of Your Life takes the form of a post-apocalyptic horror story, wherein the heroine ekes out a meager existence by day and then fights off monsters by night.…Lust takes readers inside her experiences, letting them feel how high hopes can devolve into raw survival."
• Review: Ulli Lust's Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life is reviewed in the New York Times by Douglas Wolk. "the book ripples with exuberance:…Lust’s pen-and-ink work (augmented by the pale green tint of European paperbacks) depicts the stretched and crimped features of the people from whom she bummed change, the architecture of St. Peter’s Basilica and the chaos of a Clash concert with equally manic panache, and her line is as seemingly unkempt but as deliberately molded as her younger self’s punk-rock shock of hair."
• Review:Booklist Online spends the day with Donald Duck: The Old Castle's Secret by Carl Barks. "The applause-worthy effort… Oodles of shorter pieces provide more evidence yet that this series is an essential addition to any serious (or just plain fun) comics collection" writes Ian Chipman.
• Review: The New York Journal of Books reads Donald Duck: The Old Castle's Secret by Carl Barks. "There is no tantrum like a Donald Duck tantrum…Every single page of this new collection of classic Donald Duck stories is filled with silliness and slapstick and adventure…Try not smiling at Carl Barks’ work. It’s impossible," says Mark Squirek.
• Interview: Zak Sally on The Comics Journal interviews on Peter Bagge and The Beat follows up. Bagge states, "I like the way [a pamphlet or floppy comic] feel. To me it's an ideal format, the traditional comic book format. It's the perfect amount of material to read in one sitting."
• Commentary:The Beatand Hannah Means-Shannon discuss the humor panel from HeroesCon 2013 featuringPeter Bagge(there promoting his new book, Other Stuff). When asked advice from a younger cartoonist Bagge replied, “If you’re goal is to be a starving artist, it’s an easy road ahead."
• Review:Dead Canary Comics look at Prison Pit series by Johnny Ryan. "It's so extremely excessive in its hilarity it draws stifled belly laughs from your gut on packed trains as parents and politicians glance witheringly at images of monsters shitting themselves, ghouls eviscerating ghouls... in an age when we've got more X Men titles than people on the planet it's refreshing to just have a comic book that's all about entertainment!"
• Plug: Speaking of Johnny Ryan, show off how you don't fucking mess around with a PRISON PIT patch! Only $5 (plus shipping).
• Review: Brian Heater of BoingBoing looks at Leslie Stein's Eye of the Majestic Creature Vol. 2."It’s a sort of childlike forgiveness of life’s darker corners, which carries on into grown up stories…Stein's is a welcomingly unique take on the well-trod world of autobiographical comics, and once you've excepted her rhythms as your own, it can be a hard world to step away from."
• Review (audio): NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour enjoy Dash Shaw's New School. Glen Weldon states, "Instead of a tidy narrative, [New School] is about art, about the art that's in the book itself…There's stuff going on at other levels, the intuitive, the leve of the unconscious, the subconscious I guess you could say.…This book is just fascinating."
• Review:Booklist Online reviews Goddamn This War by Jacques Tardi and Jean-Pierre Verney. "…six years of hopelessly indistinguishable trenches, explosions, corpses, mud, and maggots, all of it depicted via three panoramic panels per page rendered in smoky grays and foggy blues—with blood accents… The pages are strewn with images of dead bodies and midexplosion terrors, but the unforgettable centerpiece is two wordless pages of disfigured postwar faces"
• Review:About.com looks at Anders Nilsen's The End. Jeff Alford writes "these pages come from such a raw emotional place that they'll reverberate like an echo from a well....It's a message we've heard before, but its majestic delivery and the difficult path that led to this revelation make The End all the more exceptional."
• Review:Comic Pusher looks at Anders Nilsen's The End. "This isn't a non-fictional description of grief written after the fact, this is grief, unfiltered and complete…The best sequences are where Nilsen breaks away from the heartbreaking emotional literalism and opens out into almost abstract expressions of the nature of grief."
• Review: Johanna Draper Carlson of Comics Worth Readingunpacks Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Color Sundaysby Floyd Gottfredson. "The lighter approach makes this book a better choice to share with your young ones. They should love the timeless highjinks of the mouse and his friends. And anyone can appreciate the skilled cartooning and astounding art, so well-done it almost seems to move on paper."
• Commentary: Heidi MacDonald of The Beat talks about Lorenzo Mattotti at BEA. "In Italy Mattotti is pretty much an all around art and design god, and he's known here for his New Yorker covers, and Fantagraphics has been putting out his recent work in Englias."
• Review:Wandering Son Vol. 4 by Shimura Takako gets reviewed by Read Comic Books. "…what continues to make Wandering Son a fantastic read is the frankness it presents developmental sexual identity…Few comics will challenge you like Wandering Son. It covers a topic not widely written about or discussed, and does so in a tactful, warm, embracing manner," concludes Nick Rowe.
• Review: The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center gives Wandering Son Vol. 4 a whirl. Terry Hong comments," ‘Fresh' is exactly the right word to describe this gentle gender-bender series…Creator Shimura Takako is a compassionate, empathetic storyteller without judgment or guile. Her young characters face their inescapable maturity as best as they can in a brave new world of ‘gender-fluid'."
• Review (audio):It Has Come to My Attention recorded a short 7-minute review of Barnaby Vol. 1 by Crockett Johnson. "Fantagraphics deserves a Nobel Prize in Literature for their efforts to reprint complete runs of classic American comic strips… There is rarely an attempt at more than 2-dimensions but that flatness provides a late art deco elegance to [Barnaby].…This strip is fun, funny, I'm so glad its back and Fantagraphics is giving it their usual top-notch presentation,"
• Review: Letterer Todd Klein looks at Pogo Vol. 2Through the Wild Blue Yonder by Walt Kelly. "…this strip is perhaps the opposite of 'Peanuts,' which went with a minimalist approach. 'Pogo' is maximalist! Both are great fun and often quite funny.…There’s really not a single thing to fault in this fine book"
• Review: Jack Davis' new collection 'Tain't the Meat reviewed on Sound on Sight. "It's entertaining in the juvenile delight it takes in grossing out readers. You also get to witness Davis' style as it improves with every story: his lines get sharper, there's more detail and contrast in the panels… It might also provide a good trip down memory lane for some, reminding them of late nights spent with smuggled comics contraband and a flashlight under the sheets. It's a good introduction as well to a genre that may today seem corny and hackneyed, but I'll be damned if it still ain't pretty creepy, bad puns an all," writes Chris Auman.
• Review: Broad Street Review gazes upon 50 Girls 50 by Al Williamson with love. Bob Levin pens, "Williamson's art could infuse aliens and monsters, no matter how hideous, with sympathetic personalities that reinforced Feldstein's feelings about brotherhood and tolerance.…His delicate line, intricately constructed panels and gossamer-like space-station cities and landscapes are fully on display in this book."
• Review:Comics Bulletin on Came the Dawn by Wallace Wood. "…the true delight and fascination of Came the Dawn will be seeing again Wood's sublime understanding, indeed his enrichment of, the comics language, from panel and page composition to the pacing, direction, of capturing and conveying of mood…Let's face it: No one draws an emaciated corpse - especially in zombie form - better than Wood," pens Eric Hoffman.
The fastest hot-to-trot release of online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:Good Dog has it this week. Graham Chaffee's return to comics gets a starred review from Publishers Weekly. "Chaffees’s art is both lyrical and dramatic when it needs to be, mixing Craig Thompson and Gilbert Hernandez. As with White Fang and Black Beauty, Chaffee goes inside the psychology of animals without over sentimentalizing and shows why the human/pet relationship is so precious for both sides."
• Review: Diamond Scoop is all over Wake Up, Percy Gloom by Cathy Malkasian. "Malkasian fills the story with multiple levels, never once making any of them obvious. Her experience as an animator shines through as her pencil and panel construction holds an incredible sense of movement inside a graphic novel format.…More than a fable, Percy Gloom is part of story telling myth that can be traced back to campfires around a cave. This is an inspiring work that speaks to all levels of our existence."
• Review: Bob Temuka of the Tearoom of Despair checks out Peter Bagge's Other Stuff. "This book is excellent… the looser Bagge's stuff gets, the better. Other Stuff is funnier than [Everybody Is Stupid Except For Me], even if there is that same sociological satire, because it has Bagge people wigging the fuck out, and nuthin' is funnier than that.."
• Review: Shawn Starr of The Chemical Box reviews 3 New Stories by Dash Shaw. "3 New Stories is a comic which explores the juxtaposition and superimposition of images within the structure of text/drawing based comics (a.k.a. traditional comics) as a means of underlining the thematic nature of it's stories.…Shaw codes the pages of '3 New Stories' with layers of visual subtext that work as an interesting color palette and also through their existence as “images”, create additional layers of meaning to each page and the narrative as a whole."
• Review: Bill Boichel from Copacetic Comics enjoys New School by Dash Shaw. "This purposeful leveling of the high/low, fine/popular distinction in the arts has a specific aim in reinforcing the "message" encoded within the narrative. The basics of the story we are given in New School are about as old school as you can get, centering on two brothers, each sent by their father on a quest to a faraway land. The brothers, Daniel and Luke, are each given names with strong biblical associations. The latter, however, additionally references the modern mythology of Star Wars. This dual reference serves as a key opening the door to New School's narrative strategy."
• Review: IndieWire has a suggestion for you in regards to Micky Mouse Color Sundays by Floyd Gottfredson (edited by Groth and David Gerstein). Jerry Beck writes, "Leave it to Gerstein, with co-editor Gary Groth and the team at Fantagraphics, to reprint these rare strips with the greatest of care. The reproduction of the line art is superb, the coloring is vivid and faithful to the original newspaper printings … stop what you are doing and order this book today. 280 pages of absolute joy."
• Review: KC Carlson of Comics Worth Reading read and weeps (from laughter) in the latest Carl Barks collection, Donald Duck: The Old Castle's Secret. "I read it as a child. Yet I remember clearly every detail about it. Such is the power of Carl Barks’ work. His storytelling is designed to appeal to youngsters as well as folk who are as old as Scrooge.…I laughed so hard that I had to put the book down for a couple of minutes. Sharp-eyed readers should also pay attention to other jokes hidden in what Donald is reading in other stories throughout the book."
• Interview (audio): Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds and co-editor, Philip Nel, talk Crockett Johnson, Barnaby and Ruth Kruss on Inkstuds with Robin McConnell.
• Review:Comics Grinder makes some new meat with Beta Testing the Apocalypse by Tom Kacynski. "Kaczynski’s humor is, at times, acerbic, with an attitude…Read as a whole, the author’s vision comes through as heart-felt, witty, and maybe even, perhaps, genuinely concerned…Architecture is seen as a possible solution to the many ills of one struggling nation," writes Henry Chamberlain.
• Review:The Austin Chronicle weighs The Adventure of Jodelle by Guy Peellaert. Shannon McCormick writes, "Christ, this thing is gorgeous…Like his American Pop Art idols and comrades, Peellaert’s work smashed distinctions between "high" and ‘low’ modes of art, drawing from the visual language of advertising, cinema, fashion, and youth culture, as well as classical and neo-classical sculpture and architecture."
• Review: Stuff I Read This Week and the Darling Dork revisit Maggie the Mechanicby Jaime Hernandez. "A large part of the fun of Love and Rockets is seeing how the Herndandezes grew and developed as creators, with experimentation giving way to clarity of vision…You can look at these characters and still recognize them perfectly well, only sans several decades of growth…there’s still plenty of greatness to be found here."
• Interview (audio): Gilbert Hernandez talks about kids' comics, Love and Rockets, plus D&Q's Marble Season on The Dinner Party.
• Plug (video): Staffer Jen Vaughn speaks very briefly on working for Fantagraphics and comics at TCAF on Comics Bulletin (I apologize for speaking in 3rd person)