In anticipation of their exciting book release party this coming Sunday, October 28th, we've been asking our artistsSteven Weissman and Ron Regé Jr. about the genesis of their friendship. You can read Steve's answers on Ron here. And now, today, it's Ron's turn...
Do you remember the first time you met Steven? No, I don't remember the first time I met Steven! It was probably at a comic convention? One of the 3 or 4 early memories I have of Steven must be the "first time," but unraveling it now, it feels like I already knew him all of those times. It was around the turn of the century. Who is this Steven character, anyhow? I thought his name was Ribs?
Do you have any funny stories of Steven? Steven used to live in a little house in Chinatown in San Francisco. It was on a really steep hill. It was a little shack in between all these big buildings, like that old Warner Bros. cartoon. As I came up the hill, there he was at his desk, looking out the window. I think it was at this moment that I stopped calling my peers "cartoonists" and just started calling them "cartoons." All them funny cartoons. haha.
Write me a haiku about his brand new book Barack Hussein Obama! ribs new book is art makes sense if you just read it stories get told all drawn
Angelenos, do not miss this incredible event. Now is your chance to ask them much better questions than the ones I asked! The book release party starts at 5:00 PM at Skylight Books [ 1818 N Vermont Ave. in the Los Feliz neighborhood ].
What will happen when these two incredible talents collide at Skylight Books in Los Angeles? Will time stop? Will doves cry? You'll have to find out for yourself at 5:00 PM!
To prepare everyone for the awesome, and to give those outside of the L.A.-area a glimpse of what we'll be missing, I asked the guys a few questions about the other. Today, we start with Steven:
Do you remember the first time you met Ron? Ron and I met at Wonder Con '99. I traded him a copy of Hi-Yo Silver #21 I'd just spent all my money on for The Dum Dum Posse Reader. He was really cool about it, so we exchanged numbers.
Do you have any funny stories of Ron? A few of us were driving around L.A. a couple of years ago when Ron's car started smoking like crazy. Luckily, we were near a mechanic I knew, and he was willing to take a look at it while we waited around. It was really hot out, so Ron bought us ice-cream from a passing cart vendor. After a bit, we wandered back to the garage where the mechanic was just finishing up, and he said it looked like Ron had blown a seal.
"What? No!" Ron told him, embarrassed. "We just had some ice-cream."
Skylight Books is located at 1818 N Vermont Ave. in the Los Feliz neighborhood of L.A. Someone go and tell Steve what a haiku is!!! And stay tuned for The Squeegee Thief's answers on Steven, coming tomorrow...
• Eugene, OR: The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon in Eugene, OR is hosting the exhibit GOOD GRIEF! Original Art from 50 Years of Charles M. Schulz's PEANUTS, and curator Ben Saunders will interview Jan Eliot about her experiences with Charles Schulz and her own career as the artist of the nationally successful newspaper strip "Stone Soup." (more info)
The blackest ink in the pot of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:AV Club shows presidential love for Barack Hussein Obama and The Hypo. Noel Murray on Steven Weissman's book: "For the most part Barack Hussein Obama is just wild fun, built around the notion that a president can be easily reduced to his public image—and that we, the people, have the right to manipulate that image for our own delight." And Murray on The Hypo: "[Noah Van Sciverrenders] an American icon as a lumpen everyman, fighting through the same fog that many people find themselves in—even if few of those ordinary folks wind up in the Oval Office."
• Review:Publishers Weekly picks The Hypo by Noah Van Sciver as one of the best new books of the month. "Van Sciver’s psychologically astute examination of what might be termed Abraham Lincoln’s “lost years” (1837–1842) is as gripping and persuasive as the best historical fiction. . . .A thoroughly engaging graphic novel that seamlessly balances investigation and imagination."
• Review:Paste Magazine reviews Steven Weissman's newest book and Hillary Brown gives it a 8.1 (outta 10). "With its gold foil stamp and red, white and blue partial jacket, Barack Hussein Obama could well be a semi-official graphic rendering of a presidency. . . If this book is a portrait of anything, it shows the grind and the way that hope and idealism erodes when faced with the everyday, and that is valuable"
•Review:La Tempestad on Barack Hussein Obamaby Steven Weissman. Rough translation states "Through these pages, Weissman satirizes and creates a parallel reality of based on the stewards of American power."
• Review:MetroPulse enjoys reading Ralph Azham Vol. 1 "Why Would You Do That To Someone You Love" by Lewis Trondheim. Matthew Everett states "There’s action, drama, pratfalls, bad-ass mercenaries, and a last-panel surprise that promises future volumes will head off in entirely unexpected directions. . . Ralph Azham is off to a near-perfect start. It’s a quietly marvelous addition to the English-language catalog of a working world master. Get it while you can."
• Review:The Quietus peeks at Dal Tokyo by Gary Panter. Mat Colegate can barely contain himself: "Panter is probably one of the single most influential underground American cartoonists of all time, a kind of Ramones to Robert Crumb’s Jefferson Airplane, which makes his relative unknown status a bit baffling. A cartoonists’ cartoonist, maybe?. . . The man’s inks are practically sentient, devouring white space like it was candy floss as his crude likenesses become imbued with a very deliberate purpose, that of guiding the reader through Panter’s personal inferno: the urban Twentieth Century."
• Review:The Quietus continues comic coverage on Joe Daly's Dungeon Quest: Book Three. Mat Colgate states,"Dear J.R.R. certainly never had one of his characters wank off a gnome, did he? Indeed Dungeon Quest’s good natured, silly humour gives it much of its character and combines with Daly’s beautiful Charles Burns-esque artwork to make the book much more than the sum of its parts. It feels like a real labour of love and when you read it you’ll see why. Nerdgasm guaranteed. I’m in love with this comic."
• Review:Unshelved looked at Dungeon Quest: Book Three by Joe Daly. Gene Ambaum writes "I never know where this weird, Dungeons & Dragons-ish adventure will take me next. . . Every dungeon should have a vending machine [a la Dungeon Quest]! Makes more sense than turning a corner and finding an elf with a fully-stocked shop where there’s little to no foot traffic."
• Review:The Quietus focuses New York Mon Amour by Jacques Tardi. Mat Colgate states"Using only black, white and red, Tardi illustrates a seedy, roach-infested New York that’s utterly plausible. You can practically smell the trash on the sidewalks as you follow the hapless narrator’s spiral into madness and murder. . . .if you know anyone looking to take the plunge into comics, someone who’s interested in what the medium can do and the fascinating ways it can do it, then point them in this books’ direction."
• Review:BUTT Magazine sinks its teeth into No Straight Lines, edited by Justin Hall. "Justin’s 328-page anthology is a very thorough introduction to the world of GLBT comics. His knowledge on the subject is pretty extensive, probably because he’s been a fan of the medium since he was a kid. Justin tells me that’s how he learned to read. . . In fact, the entire collection features a healthy dose of realism from a genre usually characterized by fantasy."
• Interview: Brandon Soderberg of The Comics Journal interviews the elusive Josh Simmons on The Furry Trap and his recent short film, The Leader, plus horror in all aspects: "Often, the best horror is about losing. And maybe struggling to keep a shred of dignity while you do. But often, you don’t even get that. Sometimes, you get your throat cut while a clown is pulling your pants down. It’s not enough that you’re getting murdered, you’re being humiliated at the same time!" Simmons eloquently states.
• Review: Los Angeles Review of Books ponders Listen, Whitey! The Sights and Sounds of Black Power by Pat Thomas. Rickey Vincent says,"The book is meticulously detailed, reflecting Thomas’s skills as a researcher (and record producer), yet conversational in tone, balancing the voice of a rock critic with the heft of a historian. . .The book remains consistent with its vision, and Thomas delivers black power with authority."
• Commentary:SFWeekly talks about Love and Rockets' art show at the Cartoon Art Museum, Chris Hall explains "If Love and Rockets brought one innovation to the comics field, it could be its lack of misogyny. . . Love and Rockets has, from the beginning, been praised for consistently depicting strong, complex women characters."
• Commentary:Jordan Hurder posted some APE coverage on the Hernandez Brothers and our company: "Fantagraphics crushed this show. It helps that they had Los Bros celebrating 30 years of Love and Rockets and Jim Woodring was already there as a special guest, but there was a consistent buzz around their table, and there were lines for pretty much every signing they had."
• Commentary:Jaime, Gilbert and Mario Hernandez appeared at APE much to JK Parkin of Robot 6 's delight. "All three Hernandez Brothers were at the show, and when they hit the Fantagraphics table the crowds surrounded them."
• Interview:The Comics Reporter links to some great vids from SPX interviews with Jaime Hernandez, Gilbert Hernandez and Daniel Clowes.
• Review:Simcoe looks at Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge: Only a Poor Old Man by Carl Barks. Glenn Perrett says, "The stories are entertaining and the illustrations are excellent with a wonderful use of colour. . . Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge: Only a Poor Old Man will appeal to young and old."
• Review:Pat Afforo looks at Stigmata by Lorenzo Mattotti and Claudio Piersanti. "If anyone has not read it you are definitely in for a ride and it is not a smooth one at the very least. This book covers a lot of different topics: religion, redemption, reincarnation, sin, good vs. evil, and above all love."
• Review:AV Club has high hopes for Rich Tommaso and his future books starring The Cavalier Mr. Thompson. Noel Murray posits,"Tommaso’s talented enough that The Cavalier Mr. Thompson might one day be seen as the lurching beginning to something truly great. . ."
•Interview:The Guardian asks Chris Ware some questions. In answer to Rosanna Greenstreet's question 'Which living person do you most admire and why?' Ware answers,"For intellect: Art Spiegelman. For art: Robert Crumb. For poetry and vision: Gary Panter. For decency: Barack Obama. For genuine goodness: Charles Burns. For genius: Charlie Kaufman. For soulfulness and love: Lynda Barry. For words: Zadie Smith. For unique life's work and superhuman effort expended: Ira Glass, Dave Eggers."
I make no bones about how much I love this job, but when we get to throw an event like this, I really, reaaaallly love my job.
We're thrilled to announce that Steven Weissman and Ron Regé Jr. will be signing and reading from their brand-new books on Sunday, October 28th at Skylight Books in Los Angeles, CA. Goosebumps, people.
With the election on the horizon, you'll wanna get your copy of Steven's latest Barack Hussein Obama. And Ron will be unveiling his Magnum Opus, The Cartoon Utopia. Ron and Steve are two of my most favorite artists, and the thought of having them together in an event is mind-blowing.
At first glance, these books seem pretty different. But attend this signing and you will see that behind the surrealism and the psychedelia, there lies something very human and real. There's no better time for both these books than right now... or, um, 5:00 PM on October 28th, if you live in Los Angeles.
Skylight Books is located at 1818 N Vermont Ave. in the Los Feliz neighborhood of L.A. Come prepared for awesome.
In the face of the election season, voters on both sides of the issues and firmly encamped in their parties were shocked at the turn of events from the first Presidential Debate and the only Vice-Presidential debate. But it was a shock to no-one at Fantagraphics for we have all read Steven Weissman's graphic novel Barack Hussein Obama. He managed to capture the essence of America so well that he even predicted the future.
This is how Obama was reacting on the sidelines during the VP debate as Biden laid down the law:
This is what Biden was thinking by the end of the debate:
But this is what Biden said:
When interviewed later by the media, all he could say was this:
How contrary of him! But don't take my word for it. Check out Barack Hussein Obama out for yourself and see all the pickles he gets into with Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and the Obama girls. And tune in Tuesday to see what happens in the debates next!
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.
As TCJ.com's Joe McCulloch notes in his "Conflict of Interest Reservoir," "Oh wait, we’ve still got $100+ of good-looking Fantagraphics books to cover."
112-page full-color 7.25" x 9.25" hardcover • $22.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-623-2
"When it comes to splurging, I’m going to be topical: Steven Weissman’s surreal, alternate take on the life and times of our current president, Barack Hussein Obama (Fantagraphics, $22.99) just may contain an explanation for that sleepy debate performance last week, if nothing else." – Graeme McMillan, Robot 6
"I’ve heard a bunch about Steven Weissman’s Barack Hussein Obama, a cracked fantastic vision of the contemporary political scene, and now it’s time to witness its 112 pages on my own." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
"This book advertises on this site, but there's no talent in comics exactly like Steve Weissman and this book is bound to hit at a key moment in history: Obama's win of a second term or his defeat at the polls." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
"Set in a surreal, parallel universe, Barrack Hussein Obama's odd world is really no stranger than our own. In our world, politicians exist with the protective Beltway Bubble, but in BHO politicians are made to live in the world they create via their policies." – Benn Ray (Atomic Books), Largehearted Boy
228-page black & white/color 9.25" x 9.25" hardcover • $35.00 ISBN: 978-1-60699-499-3
"If I had $30, I’d... steal $5 from somebody — anybody — to get my hands on Vol. 2 of Buz Sawyer: Sultry’s Tiger. Buz doesn’t have quite the same pep as Roy Crane’s Captain Easy, but the art is much more professional and lush and beautiful. Besides it’s Roy Crane, and even middle grade Crane is miles and miles better than just about any other cartoonist around." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
"Roy Crane proffers 228 pages of vintage derring-do with Buz Sawyer Vol. 2: Sultry’s Tiger." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
Just in time for the presidential debates and November election season, Fantagraphics and comiXology are proud to release the brand new Barack Hussein Obama for digial download. Steven Weissman's surreal view on the time and the powerful man in the world is too funny to be true. This book represents a whole, fully-realized parallel America, a dada-esque, satirical vision that is no more cockeyed than the real thing, its weirdness no more weird, its vision of the world no more terrifying, where the zombie-esque simulacra of Joe Biden and Hillary and Newt and Obama wander, if not exactly through the corridors of power, through an America they made and have to live in, like it or not. The book twists and turns with regular beats and mini-adventures including a feathered-Obama.
Didn't Mitt Romney mention shutting down or killing a 'Big Bird' of some kind? Don't let Malia or Sasha Obama hear that. In Weissman's universe, they are unstoppable, punny forces of nature running around in a Nancy-Drew fashion.
What does it mean to live in America today? If you know there’s no right answer to that question, you’ll want to read Barack Hussein Obama — a book about you; about your country, your family, your president.
Barack Hussein Obama is not a graphic novel. It’s neither a biography nor an experiment, but a whole, fully-realized parallel America, a dada-esque, surrealistic satirical vision that is no more cockeyed than the real thing, its weirdness no more weird, its vision of the world no more terrifying, where the zombie-esque simulacra of Joe Biden and Hillary and Newt and Obama wander, if not exactly through the corridors of power, through an America they made and have to live in, like it or not.
American cartoonist Steven Weissman takes from the lives of the leader of the free world, his friends, his family, his sworn enemies, and gives them a new life that is both withering and oblique, devastating and contemplative, chaotic and pellucid.
Before you lose your will to vote, read Barack Hussein Obama.
Join Fantagraphics this weekend for the 2012 Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland! On September 15th & 16th, we'll be filling the Marriott Betheseda Conference Center with some dazzling debuts, panels, and signings! Come meet your favorite artists and get your books signed:
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