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Category >> S Clay Wilson

SAN FRAN: S. Clay Wilson to sign at Mission Comics
Written by Jen Vaughn | Filed under S Clay WilsonPatrick Rosenkranzevents 28 Aug 2014 2:54 PM
Pirates
You heard right! THE S. Clay Wilson will be at Mission: Comics and Art signing copies of his new book Pirates in the Heartland: The Mythology of S. Clay Wilson Vol. 1. Along with Pirates writer and noted historian, Patrick Rosenkranz, the guys will be signing copies on Saturday, September 20th from 2-5pm deep in the heart of San Francisco
 
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.
Pirates in the Heartland S Clay Wilson
Mission: Comics and Art
3520 20th St. Suite B
San Francisco, CA 94110
Ph. # 415-695-1545 
 


The Complete Zap Comix - Cover Uncovered
Written by Sonia Lei | Filed under ZapVictor MoscosoSpain RodriguezS Clay WilsonRobert WilliamsRobert CrumbRick GriffinGilbert SheltonComing Attractions 1 Aug 2014 9:00 AM

The Complete Zap Comix - 3D

The Complete Zap Comix - Cover

This deluxe, lovingly-designed slipcase is for The Complete Zap Comix, and we are incredibly excited to be able to show you this first glimpse of what the final product will look like. The comprehensive collection will include every single issue and cover of Zap produced, as well as the unpublished 17th issue and the mini comic jam Zam—a deservedly luxurious homage to the vanguard of underground comics artists of our time.

Keep your eyeballs peeled for more updates and previews in the coming weeks. We anticipate this set to be in stores by October. For now, the pre-sale is finally set up and ready to take your order!

Weekly OCD 7.22.14
Written by Sonia Lei | Filed under Will ElderS Clay WilsonPatrick RosenkranzOCDMoto HagioLane MilburnJohn SeverinJaime HernandezHarvey KurtzmanGilbert HernandezEleanor DavisEd PiskorEC Comics 22 Jul 2014 1:00 PM

This week's pre-Comic-Con warmup of Online Commentaries and Diversions:

How to Be Happy by Eleanor DavisReview: How to Be Happy by Eleanor Davis

"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

 

Pirates in the Heartland: The Mythology of S. Clay Wilson Vol. 1 edited by Patrick Rosenkranz - CoverReview: Pirates in the Heartland: The Mythology of S. Clay Wilson edited by Patrick Rosenkranz

"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

 

Bomb Run and Other Stories (The EC Comics Library)Review: Bomb Run and Other Stories by John Severin, Will Elder, Harvey Kurtzman, et al.

"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 by Moto HagioReview: The Heart of Thomas by Moto Hagio et al.

"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

 

Fantagraphics at San Diego Comic-Con - The Debuts
Written by Jen Vaughn | Filed under witzendWally WoodWallace WoodShimura TakakoSergio PonchioneS Clay Wilsonnew releasesLucy KnisleyLove and RocketsLane MilburnJohn SeverinJoe OrlandoJim WoodringGilbert HernandezFloyd GottfredsonEleanor DavisEd PiskorEC ComicsDrew FriedmanDon RosaDisneyDash ShawCrockett JohnsonCCIBarnabyAl Feldstein 14 Jul 2014 3:37 PM

CCi 

This is your official warning to bring your heavy duty bags and library book carts because here are our San Diego Comic Con graphic novel and comic debuts. Need a workout? Well, you're gonna get it by grasping our beautiful tomes to your chest as you happily leave, arms full from a fun time at Fantagraphics, booth #1718! 

How to be Happy

 How to Be Happy is Eleanor Davis's first collection of graphic/literary short stories collecting the best stories she's drawn for Mome, Nobrow, and Lucky Peach, as well in her own self-published comics. Davis achieves a rare, subtle poignancy in her narratives that are at once compelling and elusive, pregnant with mystery and a deeply satisfying emotional resonance. Happy shows the full range of Davis's skills — sketchy drawing, polished pen-and-ink line work, and meticulously designed full-color painted panels — which are always in the service of a narrative that builds to a quietly devastating climax. In stores August, $24.99

An Age of License

 An Age of License is Lucy Knisley's (French MilkRelish) comics travel memoir recounting her charming (and romantic!) tour of Europe and Scandinavia. Featuring her hallmark mouth-watering drawings and descriptions of food, Knisley's experiences are colored by anxieties, introspective self-inquiries — about traveling alone in unfamiliar countries, and about her life — that many young adults will relate to. It's is an Eat, Pray, Love for the alternative comics fan. In Stores August, $19.99



Son of the SunWalt Disney's Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck: The Son of the Sun (The Don Rosa Library Vol. 1) by Don Rosa - The Richest Duck in the World is back — and so are noisy nephew Donald, wunderkinder Huey, Dewey, and Louie, and rascally richnik Flintheart Glomgold! We’re proud to present our first complete, chronological book of Duck adventures by contemporary fan favorite Don Rosa, who drew a whopping two decades’ worth of ripping Scrooge and Donald yarns! It's at a price even Scrooge would consider a bargain! In stores September, $29.99. 

heroresHeroes of the Comics: Portraits of the Legends of Comic Books by Drew Friedman - Featuring approximately 75 full-color portraits and essays lovingly rendered and chosen by Drew Friedman. Heroes includes the full spectrum of American comics pioneers and legends of the ‘30s to the ‘50s: publishers, editors, and artists like Stan Lee, Harvey Kurtzman, Will Eisner, Al Jaffee, Jack Davis, Will Elder, Bill Gaines, and more. It’s a Hall of Fame of comic book history from the man Boing Boing calls "America’s greatest living portrait artist!" In stores August, $34.99 

 

Hip Hop Family Tree 2

Hip Hop Family Tree Vol. 2 by Ed PiskorBook 2 covers the early years of 1981-1983, when Hip Hop makes its big transition from the parks and rec rooms to downtown clubs and vinyl records. While many performers use flamboyant personas to stand out from the audience, a young group called RUN-DMC comes on the scene to take things back to the streets. This volume introduces superstars like NWA, The Beastie Boys, Doug E Fresh, KRS One, ICE T, and early Public Enemy, with cameos by Dolemite, LL Cool J, Notorious BIG, and New Kids on the Block(?!)!

In stores August, $27.99.

Box setHip Hop Family Tree Box Set by Ed PiskorTo celebrate the critical success of the first two volumes of Piskor's unprecedented history of Hip Hop, we are offering the two books in a mind-blowingly colorful slipcase, drawn and designed by the artist, featuring exclusive all-new cover art on each volume. Also included is the box set exclusive 24-page comic Hip Hop Family Tree #300, Piskor’s elegant reflection on the ‘90s confluence of hip hop and comics, told in a perfect parody/pastiche/homage to that era’s Image comics. In stores November, $59.99. 


 

JIMJim by Jim WoodringJim is a mind-bending collection of all of Woodring's best non-Frank creative work — comics stories, prose stories, drawings, and paintings all centered around Woodring's cartoon alter ego. This fictional doppelganger has for 30 years inhabited Woodring's alternate universe where shifting, phantasmagoric landscapes, abrupt, hallucinatory visual revelations, and unexpected eruptions of uninhibited verbal self-flagellation are commonplace. Collected here for the first time, Jim is a bounty of Woodring's inspired artistry. In stores late July, $29.99. 

 

Luba and her Family

Love and Rockets Library (Palomar & Luba Book 4): Luba and Her Family by Gilbert HernandezBeto's characters bid "Farewell, My Palomar" as they exit the Eden of the Central American town in Volume 10 of the Love and Rockets Library. When an earthquake levels Palomar, ever-resourceful Luba and her clan are on the move once again. In the U.S., the lives of Maria's daughters — mayor and matriarch Luba, body-builder Petra, and therapist/film star Fritz — and their families become more and more intertwined. In stores now, $18.99.

Cosplayers 2Cosplayers 2 by Dash ShawThe "Cosplayers" chronicle continues as Annie and Verti attend the 3-day anime convention "Tezukon." entering the competition as Princess Mononoke and the Devil May Cry Lady. During the convention they face off against a Street Fighter 2 Cammy, encounter two otaku boys who are obsessed with their youtube videos, and meet a manga scholar named Ben Baxter, who sleeps in a dumpster outside of the hotel and receives visions of the ending of Tezuka's unfinished "Phoenix" saga. "Cosplayers 2" is a sweet, funny, melancholic ode to the anime convention experience!

In stores now, $5.00. 

 

BarnabyBarnaby Vol. 2 by Crockett Johnson; edited by Eric Reynolds and Philip Nel - The long-lost comic strip masterpiece by Crockett Johnson, legendary children’s book author (Harold and the Purple Crayon), designed by graphic novelist and Barnaby superfan Daniel Clowes. Vol. 2 collects the years 1944-1945 of the series, as five-year-old Barnaby Baxter and his cigar-chomping, bumbling con-artist Fairy Godfather J.J. O’Malley encounter leprechauns, gnomes, ghosts, ermine hunters, soap salesmen, and more! In stores now, $39.99.

Bomb Run

Bomb Run and Other Stories (The EC Comics Library) by John SeverinCombining the taut emotional and psychological insights of Stephen Crane with the gritty verisimilitude of eyewitness reportage, Harvey Kurtzman and John Severin, with inker and friend Will Elder, produced 34 war stories in just under three years. Emotionally draining and dramatically eloquent, this book collects epic settings: the Roman empire; the Revolutionary War; the American-Indian Wars; the Alamo; the Civil War; World War I (in trenches and in air); World War II ; and the Korean War. In stores now, $29.99.

DKWDKW: Ditko Kirby Wood by Sergio PonchioneAn exquisite tribute to three of the most acclaimed comic book artists of all time: Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby and Wallace Wood! Acclaimed Italian cartoonist Sergio Ponchione pays tribute to this "holy trinity" in this wildly imaginative one-shot comic, split into three chapters, with each chapter drawn in a pitch-perfect homage to one of his idols.

In stores now, $4.99.

 

 



Wandering Son 7 Wandering Son 7 by Shimura Takako - Takako's groundbreaking, critically acclaimed, and beloved Wandering Son continues to explore gender identity among its cast of middle school students in our 7th volume. Nitori-kun gets his first signs of acne. This may well be the end of the world - unless Anna-chan can help. Meanwhile, Nitori-kun and Chiba-san are scouted by the theater club, leading to friction with Takatsuki-san. 

In stores August, $24.99. 


 

Judgment Day

 Judgment Day and Other Stories (The EC Comics Library) illustrated by Joe OrlandoJudgment Day collects 23 of Joe Orlando’s best sci-fi comics, including Al Feldstein adaptations with classic O. Henry-style endings. With its blunt anti-racism message, the title story is one of EC’s most famous: after publisher Bill Gaines and Feldstein having fought the Comics Code to keep the story’s last panel (and thus its whole point) intact, “Judgment Day” became the last story in the last comic book EC published. Also included are outstanding Ray Bradbury adaptations and EC’s “Adam Link,” which was later adapted for The Outer Limits TV show featuring Leonard Nimoy. In stores now, $23.99.

Pirates in the Heartland Pirates in the Heartland: The Mythology of S. Clay Wilson Vol. 1 by S. Clay Wilson; edited by Patrick Rosenkranz - The first of a three-volume biography and retrospective, Pirates is the definitive account of the boldest and most audacious of the legendary underground cartoonists. Combining first person accounts from his peers with S. Clay Wilson’s own words, this book stands as a revealing portrait of a rebel who hid his shyness behind brash behavior and bluster.Pirates in the Heartland shows us an artist who truly lived his dreams and his nightmares. In stores now, $34.99.

 

Twelve Gems

Twelve Gems by Lane Milburn - The mysterious Dr. Z has enlisted three space heroes to search the galaxy for the fabled Twelve Gems of Power: the hulking alien-brawn Furz; the beautiful and deadly sabre-wielding Venus; and the soft-spoken canine technician, Dogstar. They meet many strange and storied characters on their journey, but none so strange or sinister as their dear benefactor himself. With a heavy dose of humor and wall-to-wall action, this sci-fi epic is one of the most action-packed and funny books of the year.

In stores now, $19.99


Mickey Mouse Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 5: Outwits the Phantom Blot by Floyd GottfredsonOur latest book finds Mickey battling "Mighty Whalehunter" Pegleg Pete on the high seas, meeting a powerful genie, and taking on Disney’s greatest villain — the vile Phantom Blot! Lovingly restored from Disney's original proof sheets, this volume also includes more than 30 pages of extras: including rare behind-the-scenes art, vintage publicity material, and fascinating commentary by a most-wanted list of Disney scholars. In stores July, $34.99

witzend witzend by Wallace Wood and various artists - When the formulaic constraints, censorious nature, and onerous lack of creators' 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. In stores now, $125.00

Weekly OCD 7.01.14
Written by Sonia Lei | Filed under Ulli LustS Clay WilsonPaul HornschemeierPatrick RosenkranzOCDLove and RocketsLos Bros HernandezEleanor DavisEd PiskorDash ShawConor Stechschulte 1 Jul 2014 1:00 PM

The latest fluffy love-concoction of Online Commentaries and Diversions:

Pirates in the Heartland: The Mythology of S. Clay Wilson Vol. 1 edited by Patrick Rosenkranz - CoverReview: Pirates in the Heartland: The Mythology of S. Clay Wilson edited by Patrick Rosenkranz

"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

 

How to Be Happy by Eleanor Davis - CoverInterview: How to Be Happy by Eleanor Davis

"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

 

The Amateurs by Conor Stechschulte - CoverReview: The Amateurs by Conor Stechschulte

"Stechschulte's narrative is one of shifting gears and perceptions, moving between the clutter of immediacy and the fog of recollection." – John Seven, The Comics Journal

 

Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Trail of the Unicorn by Carl Barks - CoverReview: Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Trail of the Unicorn by Carl Barks

"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

 

Love and Rockets: New Stories #6 by the Hernandez BrothersReview: Love and Rockets: New Stories #6 by the Hernandez Brothers

"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

 

Hip Hop Family Tree Vol. 1: 1970s-1981 by Ed Piskor - CoverToday is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life by Ulli Lust, translated by Kim Thompson - Cover

New School by Dash Shaw - Cover

 

Now in stock: Three New Juicy Titles
Written by Sonia Lei | Filed under S Clay WilsonPatrick Rosenkranznew releasesLove and RocketsJoe OrlandoGilbert HernandezEC ComicsAl Feldstein 24 Jun 2014 5:26 PM

Shipping now from our mail-order department:

Judgment Day and Other Stories (EC Comics Library) - Cover

Judgment Day and Other Stories (EC Comics Library)
by Joe Orlando, Al Feldstein, et al.

192-page black & white 7.25" x 10.25" hardcover • $29.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-727-7

See Previews / Order Now

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!

Luba and Her Family (Love and Rockets Library) by Gilbert Hernandez - Cover

Luba and Her Family
by Gilbert Hernandez

228-page black & white 7.5" x 9.25" softcover • $18.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-753-6

See Previews / Order Now

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!

Pirates in the Heartland: The Mythology of S. Clay Wilson Vol.1 - Cover

Pirates in the Heartland: The Mythology of S. Clay Wilson Vol. 1
by Patrick Rosenkranz

232-page black & white 8" x 11.25" hardcover • $34.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-747-5

See Previews / Order Now

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.





New Comics Day 6.25.14
Written by Jen Vaughn | Filed under S Clay WilsonNew Comics DayJoe Orlando 24 Jun 2014 5:10 PM

This week's comic shop shipment is slated to include the following new titles. Read on to see what comics-blog commentators and web-savvy comic shops are saying about them (more to be added as they appear), check out our previews at the links, and contact your local shop to confirm availability.

Pirates in the Heartland
Pirates in the Heartland: The Mythology of S. Clay Wilson Volume 1
by S. Clay Wilson, edited by Patrick Rosenkranz

232 page color and black & white 8" x 11.25" hardcover • $34.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-747-5

"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. Stay tuned." –Forbidden Planet  

Judgment Day
Judgment Day and Other Stories (The EC Comics Library)

illustrated by Joe Orlando; written by Al Feldstein, Ray Bradbury et al.
92-page black & white 7.25" x 10.25" hardcover • $29.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-727-7 

If you're not familiar with his magnificent EC art, do yourself a favor and order the book. Joe was a deserved member of comics' Hall of Fame for his work as an artist, editor, teacher and industry leader...and mentor to so many of us." –Paul Levitz

"[Orlando's] technical skill, editing abilities, breadth of work throughout the industry's formative years, and the subsequent influence that he left on everyone that ever picked up one of his comics, is true to the core." –Forbidden Planet  






Pirates in the Heartland: The Mythology of S. Clay Wilson Vol. 1 - First Look
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under S Clay WilsonPatrick RosenkranzComing Attractions 30 Apr 2014 3:58 PM

Pirates in the Heartland cover photo

Pirates in the Heartland pages photo

Pirates in the Heartland pages photo

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.

Pirates in the Heartland: The Mythology of S. Clay Wilson Vol. 1 - Excerpt
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under S Clay WilsonpreviewsPatrick RosenkranzComing Attractions 29 Apr 2014 11:24 AM

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!

Pirates in the Heartland: The Mythology of S. Clay Wilson Vol. 1

Pirates in the Heartland: The Mythology of S. Clay Wilson Vol. 1 - Cover Uncovered, Designer's Notes
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under S Clay WilsonPatrick RosenkranzComing Attractions 17 Mar 2014 12:36 PM

Pirates in the Heartland: The Mythology of S. Clay Wilson Vol. 1

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.

Pirates in the Heartland: The Mythology of S. Clay Wilson Vol. 1 cover 

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