A report released this week by Auburn University shows that the oil unleashed on the Gulf of Mexico by the BP oil spill is not degrading and poses a long-term threat to coastal ecosystems. The Deepwater Horizon disaster is the subject of a new graphic novel by journalist Steve Duin and cartoonist Shannon Wheeler. On Saturday, October 1, Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery will host a reception for Duin and editor Michael Rosen where the public will get the first glance at this remarkable new book from Fantagraphics, Oil and Water.
On a trip to examine the aftermath of the BP oil spill, ten friends from Oregon discover that "Oil and Water" is just the first of many insoluble contradictions. Between the tarred sands of Grand Isle and the fouled waters of the Louisiana bayou, they discover that Gulf Coast residents are economically dependent upon the very industry that is wreaking havoc on their environment. In the shadow of the greatest ecological disaster of our time, they are forced to reassess their roles as witness, critic and environmental steward.
In this 120-page graphic novel — written by Steve Duin, a columnist for The Oregonian, and illustrated by award-winning New Yorker cartoonist Shannon Wheeler — readers will tour the shark-pocked beach at Grand Isle with the local head of Homeland Security; step aboard the crabbing boat of a 20-year-old Mississippian who works 16-hour days and spends his nights dreaming of M.I.T.; enter the "Hot Zone" where volunteers work desperately to save brown pelicans drenched in British petroleum; and hear residents describe what happens to their livelihood when 200 million gallons of oil flood the scene. The readers' perspective on what hope and what mission remains along a ravaged coastline will be changed as irrevocably as that of these ten Oregonians.
Duin and Rosen will conduct a workshop at the Northwest Conference for Teaching Social Justice in Seattle before the reception at Fantagraphics Bookstore. The public is invited to meet these activists and informally discuss their observations from 6:00 to 8:00 PM. A limited number of advance copies of Oil and Water will be available for sale. Fantagraphics Bookstore is located at 1201 S. Vale Street in Seattle's Georgetown arts community. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110.
Mark your calendars for these exciting events the first week of October: Wednesday, October 5 at 7:00 PM, we co-present Craig Thompson discussing his much-anticipated new book Habibi in the Microsoft Auditorium at the Seattle Public Library central branch. Thompson's talk will be followed by a book signing with copies of Habibi available for purchase; and don't miss comix legend Trina Robbins at the bookstore on Saturday, October 8 at 6:00 PM presenting The Brinkley Girls with a Nell Brinkley slide talk, art exhibition and book signing, in association with that weekend's Geek Girl Con.
When the preeminent master of the comics journalism form praises your book of comics reportage, that's gotta feel pretty good. Oil and Water is coming later this year and we're thrilled to have received this advance praise from the great Joe Sacco:
"Reporter Steve Duin and cartoonist Shannon Wheeler visited Louisiana to investigate the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, and their legwork shows. By contrasting the perspectives of out-of-state do-gooders and hard-bitten locals, Duin and Wheeler tell a nuanced story that goes a long way to evoking what the catastrophe means to those who still live with it."
From designer Alexa Koenings here's the striking final cover design for Steve Duin and Shannon Wheeler's Oil and Water, coming in late Fall/early Winter. It's similar to the preliminary design we've already shown you, with some small but important differences. We're hoping to have the bottom half of "OIL" printed with iridescent metallic stamping for that authentic oil-spill sheen, which should look pretty fantastic if it works out.
We're also excited to share this advance praise we received from Jeff Lemire, creator of Essex County and Sweet Tooth:
"Oil and Water is smart, informative and completely engaging. We experience the disaster through the eyes of Duin and Wheeler's richly developed, beautifully illustrated characters and the result is a stunning graphic novel not to be missed."
• Review: "Macherot’s animals are cute and full of character, from the porcupine sheriff to the cigar-smoking, shop-keeping bird. Visually they resemble Walt Kelly’s Pogo, with backgrounds that will look familiar to anybody who ever watched The Smurfs cartoon.... There might be more slapstick than the average post-elementary school reader can appreciate, but the adorable art, amiable characters, and a thrilling late-story air battle will keep you interested until the end. Best of all are the brief glimpses at domestic country mouse mundanity, like Sibyl-Anne’s love for baking pies and the aside where she and Boomer talk about how nice a certain table and its parasol are." – Garrett Martin, Paste
• Review: "This series [Wandering Son] is beautiful, perfectly capturing that time at the age of 10 or 11 where naivety and confusion meet in the formative years of your young identity. Where androgyny is a fine thing, defined by its ambiguity and as distinct as any sex." – Tom Rosin, Page 45
• Review: "The Willie and Joe cartoons and characters are some of the most enduring and honest symbols of all military history.... Alternating trenchant cynicism, moral outrage, gallows humour, absurdist observation, shared miseries, staggering sentimentality and the total shock and awe of still being alive every morning, this cartoon catalogue of the Last Just War [Willie & Joe: The WWII Years] is a truly breathtaking collection that no fan, art-lover, historian or humanitarian can afford to miss. …And it will make you cry and laugh out loud too." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!
• Review: "...[Willie & Joe: Back Home] features some of the most powerful assaults on the appalling edifice of post-war America ever seen. The artist’s castigating observations on how a society treats returning soldiers are as pertinent now as they ever were; the pressures on families and children even more so; whilst his exposure of armchair strategists, politicians and businessmen seeking to exploit wars for gain and how quickly allies can become enemies are tragically more relevant than any rational person could wish. ...[W]e have here a magnificent example of passion and creativity used as a weapon of social change and a work of art every citizen should be exposed to, because these are aspects of humanity that we seem unable to outgrow." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!
• Review: "Visually, Tyler's style is unique in the comics world.... The scrapbook design of [You'll Never Know, Book 2: Collateral Damage] is just one of many remarkable decorative touches she adds. Color is tremendously important both in a narrative sense (identifying key times and characters) and an emotional sense (modulating feelings felt on a page in an expressive style). The complexity of her page design (changing formats on an almost page-to-page basis) is brought to earth by the simplicity of her character design. The result is what feels like an ornate, powerful and cohesive sketchbook/journal.... Most impressively, Tyler manages to bring a static kind of craft (a sketchbook) to life with panels that crackle with energy and movement. There are no easy outs or answers in Tyler's attempts to create, maintain and understand connections with her loved ones..." – Rob Clough, High-Low
• Essay:The Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon on Jaime Hernandez's The Death of Speedy, written for Team Cul de Sac's Favorites zine: "Hernandez's evocation of that fragile period between school and adulthood, that extended moment where every single lustful entanglement, unwise friendship, afternoon spent drinking outside, nighttime spent cruising are acts of life-affirming rebellion, is as lovely and generous and kind as anything ever depicted in the comics form."
• Commentary: "It could be seen as frustrating that I've still got five years to wait to complete the Peanuts collection, ...but in some ways it's nice. If they came out more quickly, there would be more of a feeling of urgency about ploughing through the strips, whereas I'm able to take a more leisurely approach, reading bits here and there. After all, they were only really meant to be read once a day. I don't buy many books these days, preferring to download them to my Kindle, but these books are definitely going to be a part of my life for as long as they'll last (or as long as I'll last, whichever comes first) and I do look forward to seeing 50 years of Schulz magic lined up on my shelves. I just need to work out where I'll put them all... Such is the life of a completist!" – James Ellaby, Lullabies from a Giant Golden Radio
• Analysis: At Robot 6, Matt Seneca examines a page from Ganges #2: "Kevin Huizenga is one of the cartoonists whose work addresses comics’ conflict between the abstract and the literal most frequently and interestingly. Huizenga’s attempts at using comics to mimic the visual effect of video games are especially notable: rather than creating the simulacrum of reality that the vast majority of comics do, what is brought forth instead is a simulacrum of a simulacrum, a copy of a copy, something already abstract abstracted further, its ties to reality stressed and stretched about as close to the breaking point as they can go."
• Interview:The Daily Cross Hatch's Brian Heater wraps up his 4-part conversation with Mome editor Eric Reynolds: "I think Mome actually got better as I actively stopped worrying about who the readership might be, and actively indulged my own interests.... I think that began to happen as early as the fifth or sixth issue. And I think, by the end of it — you can point to a lot of things that we probably would have leaned against publishing at the beginning."
• Profiles: Following the news that the Xeric Foundation is discontinuing its publishing grants, the writers of Robot 6 spotlight some of their favorite past grant recipients, including Megan Kelso and John Kerschbaum
• Awards:The Oregonian's Steve Duin congratulates his Oil & Water collaborator Shannon Wheeler on Wheeler's Eisner Award win last weekend
At Examiner.com, Christian Lipski has a great writeup of the "Comics for Social Justice" panel at Wondercon last week which featured Shannon Wheeler (recent recipient of an Eisner nomination) and Steve Duin, creators of our forthcoming book Oil & Water, about the impact of the BP disaster on residents of the Gulf Coast.
The Cartoon Bank Blog's new interview with cartoonist Shannon Wheeler gives you your first glimpse at his artwork for Oil & Water, which we are publishing this Fall. Wheeler explains the book: "Mike Rosen, a manager at the Bureau of Environmental Services, Watershed Division, organized a group of writers, scientists, activists, environmentalists, teachers, and students to go to the Gulf Coast to get a better understanding of the oil spill and its implications. It is possibly the greatest manmade disaster in our history. Steve Duin, metro columnist for The Oregonian, is fictionalizing our side of the story to build a strong narrative, keeping the local characters and situations real. Our main goal is to help keep the situation on the national radar."
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